Food tidings


Sending Hope to the Frontlines

Do you hear what I hear? A song, high above the trees, with a voice as big as the sea…We are in this TOGETHER. This tagline is resounding through communities everywhere, encouraging and engaging superheroes of all sorts. It’s becoming an anthem, a beautiful rallying cry…a voice of HOPE, as big as the sea. (Hey, a little bit of ‘Christmas’ always cheers things up, right?!)

In particular, we love the innovative ways people are helping each other and the economy; which helps all of us. How many of us have asked local restaurants and businesses to support a local schools, sports teams or annual fundraisers? Or have been on the receiving end of a local business’ generosity? In our community, these are the folks that generally step up eagerly and often. These restaurants and businesses have Little League team photos and thank you cards from school events hanging up proudly for all to see. It’s a rare thing for the tables to be turned, where the businesses are the ones that could use some support. We are going through one of the most trying times of modern history. It’s heartbreaking to see hard-working people struggle at no fault of their own, on both ends of the spectrum – and everywhere in between. Even so, we still see hope. 

Source: Twitter #Superheroes

We personally know families who have workers in “essential” positions, including a Fireman who still goes out on calls not knowing who they will be exposed too and a Physician Assistant who works in the Emergency Room. These families are use to the general risks they are exposed to everyday. However, there’s now an extra layer that adds increased risks to their families at home. This means not being able to return home for long periods, having to stay in a travel trailer or some place outside the house and/or they have to take extra precautions to remove clothing, sanitize and quarantine items and themselves at certain times. It has a physical and emotion toll on the whole family. At the end of their shift, they can no longer turn off their day and “leave it at work”. However, they proudly continue, day after day.

Despite the depressed, fearful and uncertain air in our world today, imagine a community that rallies together not only over little league or school fundraisers, but especially for the couple who just welcomed their first baby during a time of isolation, the family whose 4 yr old is battling leukemia, the grandma who is going through chemo treatments alone since she can’t risk being exposed to the virus due to her suppressed immune system, the family who lost their son to a tragic car accident, the family who is struggling with COVID-19, the family whose Dad and Mom lost their jobs and are dealing with uncertainty, or the local business who is struggling to keep their doors open and their employees paid. These are all real people, real situations that are only scratching the surface of the needs that exist. There are so many opportunities to be a light all around us, to send encouragement and hope.

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

Dr. Seuss

We just have to start, somewhere. What if we all pooled together, little by little, and helped our local community businesses by paying it forward to our frontline workers (eg. $5 each or whatever you can)? We could put the local restaurants to work by ordering take-out or delivery for the local frontline workers, knowing that we each contributed in our own way. What a win-win!! Restaurants get to keep their workers working, frontline workers get refueled and energized from the support and our community grows from the generosity of pulling together and getting things done; as we are supported by those frontline medical workers.

Food Tidings is use to seeing communities rally together. From our vantage point, we see the impact that generosity has every day; one that lasts a lifetime. Food Tidings schedules are being used to help individuals, groups, businesses, organizations, medical centers and countless others. Regardless of the name, we call it ”community”. We couldn’t be prouder, but we know ALL the credit goes to the “Organizers”. We are only a tool — it takes a person, an Organizer, to be the real difference maker. 

Source: Inside Out Club

We see countless ways of people saying “Thank you”. We see people stepping up and sharing. Face Book Groups have sprung up that are helping share supplies and letting people know when local stores are back in stock with some of the high demand items like baby food, baby wipes, toilet paper, eggs, milk, etc. More importantly, they are growing optimism and encouraging “community”, it’s such a beautiful thing. It just took one person to be an “Organizer”, to get it started.

While Food Tidings is used across America and world-wide, we are a local, family-owned and operated business in Northwest Phoenix, Arizona. To help local businesses in our own backyard, we are encouraging our community to support local restaurants and medical workers. For example, drop off your own take-out order or donate money gifts via a Food Tidings schedule that will be used to provide meals to local medical center workers through local restaurants.

We’ve adapted a version of our tool to allow “Purchase-only” schedules to accommodate collecting funds and meal purchases only. This enables meals on the schedule(s) to be made by restaurants rather than homemade; putting restaurants to work and giving confidence that the food handling and delivery is as safe as it can be. 

Restaurants are giving their best prices and all proceeds will be going toward meals; Food Tidings won’t be making any profit on this effort. It is our joy and pleasure to enable and support communities; it’s especially endearing when it’s your own. It doesn’t take much, but it adds up quickly when we work together.

Food Tidings Schedule Example – Supporting Local Medical Workers & Restaurants

What COMMUNITY do you know that could use some support? Be the catalyst. Be the spark that ignites your community into a generosity machine. The benefits are always returned, it’s a universal principle. We are better together, no doubt. 

Especially during this time, show the firefighters, policemen, medical workers or frontline workers near you that they matter. Your impact will be a life changing, history making. Go ahead, be an encouragement to others and spread hope – we would love to hear your stories. #FoodTidings #MeaningfulMeals #TidingsOfHope #Superheroes

If you need assistance or would like to customize a Food Tidings Schedule, let us know – we are happy to help! Contact us at:

Send Hope to the Frontlines

Be the catalyst for your community!


A Goal Worth Making

New Year, new goals? How do you set your goals? Do you pick something from a bucket list, do you try to improve some area of your life or do you commit to stopping a bad habit? There are many motivations fo why we pick certain goals. However, of all the personal goal options, most of them are rooted in trying to be “happy”, right? The elusive challenge of just trying to be happy…

However, we want to let you in on a secret. We know of a sure way to happiness: “generosity”. I heard someone say, “I’ve never met an unhappy, generous person”. I haven’t either, have you? There’s something about generosity that is a universal principle. You give, and you get. You reap what you sow. Period.

However, generosity is rarely set as a “goal”. It’s often overlooked, taken for granted or considered a by-product of a nice act of kindness. Sure, we all try to “be nice” or “be kind”; at least, every now and then. However, imagine the impact you would have on your life if you made generosity a goal

In fact, there is science behind it. Helping and serving others has proven to improve outcomes for others and YOU. Reduce depression, lift spirits, unlock happiness and make an impact that goes beyond a single act. These are just a few of the potential outcomes of putting others first and thinking beyond yourself. Don’t wait for the random and occasional acts of kindness; although, those are nice. Make generosity a part of your routine and everyday life; make it a goal.

We are inspired by Generous Giving’s ( playbook, where they share that generosity extends from different aspects of your life. Using the acrostic: L.I.F.E.:

L – Labor (eg. Putting your hands or mind to work!)

I – Influence (eg. Who do you know, that can help someone else?)

F – Finances (eg. Giving, donating and sharing!)

E – Experience (eg. Your story was made to inspire, put it to use!)

Seasons of life will change how, where and when you serve others. However, you’ll never regret pouring into others and being generous…from whichever aspect fits best, at the time. We hope you make this your best year, yet — and share some aspect of your L.I.F.E. with others.

Be intentional about generosity. Infuse generosity into your life by committing to it and taking small steps to follow through and make it become part of who you are. We dare you — make generosity a goal and discover how much your life will change; yours and others.

Have a goal of being “happy”? Be generous.

Generous people are always the happiest people.

Food Tidings is L.I.F.E.

Be an Organizer. Be generous. Be happy.


Tidings of Thanksgiving Challenge

Gratitude can be a mindset that changes how you view the world. In fact, gratitude, or giving thanks, is an act that is very contagious at its core. Unlike the flu, it is a great thing to pass along and is welcomed by all.

Dare to see the good in people around you and share it with them. Whether it’s November or any other month – we challenge you to experience what “Tidings of Thanksgiving” will do for you and your family, not to mention the Recipient(s)!

For the next 10 days, give a “Tiding” and show some “Thanksgiving”!

Tidings of Thanksgiving Challenge Check List:

  1. TEACHER TIDING: Write a “Thank You” to a Teacher or Coach that influenced you.
  2. SWEET TIDING: Give a pie or treat to a neighbor, because life is sweet.
  3. TIME TIDING: In appreciation for your parents or grandparents, call or stop by to visit an elderly person or couple to give a few minutes of your time and thank them for their advice & wisdom.
  4. SERVICE TIDING: Pay it forward. Have a family (or friend) meeting to brainstorm who you know that could use some “service” and plan to make it happen before Thanksgiving or within the next month (eg. Yard work, dinner, fill the pantry, encouragement letters, etc).
  5. FOOD TIDING: Be thankful for community support you’ve received in the past, and let it be someone else’s turn. Organize a Food Tidings Schedule for someone to give them hope through the holidays and/or to kick off the New Year (even if it’s just one meal a week or once a month for a few months, it doesn’t take much to help and brighten a day…and a life).
  6. TEXT TIDINGS: Text 2 people, thanking them for something they’ve done for you; even if it’s just something simple that they may not have realized they did.
  7. DINNER TIDING: Show warm appreciation for a friendship. Drop off a simple dinner to a family; the first family you think of, whether they “need” it or not.
  8. SPIRITUAL TIDING: Send a note of gratitude to your Pastor or the person that encourages you spiritually, thanking them for their influence, time and effort.
  9. FOLLOW UP TIDING: Follow up with someone and let them know you’re just thinking about them; maybe from a previous Food Tidings schedule or someone that you haven’t talked to in awhile. What name just popped up in your head? That’s the person.
  10. WORK TIDING: Give a gesture of kindness (note, snack, dinner, dessert, etc) to someone at work (yours or your spouse’s) letting them know you appreciate them and/or the work they do. 

Join us by spreading ‘Tidings’ of all sorts!

Simple gestures. A difference made, in you AND them.


Hope > Cancer

Fall into HOPE, anytime of year.

Cancer stinks, no doubt about it. The reality is that all of us will experience some impact from this awful disease; if it’s not us or our family, it’s someone we know or know of. The closer it is, the deeper the impact. Once you’ve been through it or watched it, you’ll never be the same. Your heart will ache when you hear the word. However, there is always a way to give and feel HOPE. You may need it yourself or you may need to share it. The fact is, the ups and downs of the ‘cancer road’ is smoother when people feel supported.

However, receiving can be hard. Pride and dignity can put on a brave front, but everyone yearns to feel and be supported. I get it. My family has experience; with both sad outcomes and good ones. My Father-in-Law fought cancer for 6 years and my Mother-in-Law for 12 months, before they lost their battles. However, we’ve had other family and friends beat it. Most recently, I had two friends diagnosed with breast cancer within a month of each other; thankfully, their prognosis looks good but, they have a long road ahead of them. Through these experiences, we often had to talk these people into letting us help them. They never wanted to impose on others, but I saw the gratitude well up inside them when support, of all kinds, was given. The gestures, big or small, all helped beyond words.

I know there are tons of suggestions on how to support people with cancer. After seeing support coordinated through Food Tidings for years and having some very authentic conversations with people I deeply respect, I wanted to share some recent take-aways. So, whether it’s October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” or any other month, we want to make sure you have some meaningful, tangible ways to support others, make it easier for them to “receive” and GIVE HOPE.

That is the essence of Food Tidings – to give ‘comfort & joy’; and hope. 

Let’s make it a HOPE STORY, more than a cancer story.

10 Ways to Share Hope:

  1. Take a Little Time: Just Be There. The ‘more the merrier’, is especially true when you’re going through something that’s not so merry. Chemo or radiation visits are one of those things. Yes, just “sit” there. Simple. No pressure. The smiling face of a friend and even the smallest chit-chat can provide a welcomed distraction to the anxiety and physical discomfort. They can do it alone, but it’s a huge gift if you can spare 1 hr to join them. Be courteous and read their ques; if they don’t seem up to talking much, that’s ok – just hold their hand or sit nearby. You are helping more than you know. They’ll remember the company over the treatment – a priceless gift. If you can’t be there in person, send a text, card or note letting them know you are there in spirit.

Tiding Tip: Ask Multiple Times

It’s common for people to refuse help, at first. Be sure to ask 2-3 different times to help get past any humble hesitation to accept assistance and/or to allow them time to hone in on what will be the most helpful. It may take them awhile to sort out their needs, so be sure to keep checking in and (gently) asking multiple times.

  1. Meaningful Meals: Give nourishment and encouragement, in one! Providing a meal not only impacts the person fighting cancer, but the whole family. A simple dinner is always enough, don’t worry about being a chef! A few fun ideas that easily ‘fancy it up’ in a meaningful way: add a personal note or kid’s drawing, fix a ‘favorite’ dish of theirs or pick a dinner theme like ‘Mexican fiesta!’ to make it a dinner-party at home. They are more likely to remember the gesture, than what you actually cooked – so, take the pressure off. Of course, creating a Food Tidings schedule to coordinate meals is convenient and helps organize meal delivery for the family; easily giving instructions and details to meet the family’s needs. Rally the troops and give others the opportunity to help with meals, it’s a win-win-win.

Tiding Tip: Rally Near & Far

Quickly rally many people, near and far, with a Food Tidings Schedule. With options to make food, send food, have local restaurant food delivered (where available) or give money to pool toward expenses, everyone can lend a hand in a way that fits their time and budget, while meeting the needs of the family.

  1. Grocery Gratitude: This gift gives food, convenience and time – a true trifecta of help that is sure to have them bursting with gratitude! For someone going through chemo or radiation – it’s hard enough thinking about a grocery list…imagine trying to find the energy to actually stop at the store, lift legs that feel like 100 lb weights and fight nausea as you make your way through the grocery store. Then, the mere task of loading & unloading the grocery bags can zap you of energy for hours. Be a hero and provide some basic groceries or ask for their list, to pick up. There are so many options to make it a simple, but extremely useful gesture – send your driving teenager (great life & serving experience), order ahead for pick up or have the groceries delivered straight to their door.

Tiding Tip: Groceries Made Easy

Schedule Grocery Delivery from a Food Tidings schedule, it really can be that easy.

  1. Practical Please: Gifts that have a useful purpose are ‘multitaskers’ at its finest – practical and generous. However, don’t be afraid to ASK if they have something already. That’s the key. It’s true that chemo places are so cold. However, people often get a bag of essentials on their first day as part of the treatment. Multiples of the same thing can quickly turn to “waste”. Blankets and socks are really nice, but they probably don’t need 20 of them. Be practical and make a quick call or send a text with a list of a few different items and see what would be the most useful. They’ll appreciate it now and later, as you’ll be saving them from having to deal with all the “extras” that added up in the hall closet. This is not to say, that “fun” gifts are not appreciated or useful (laughter is always good for the soul!)…just another perspective to consider.
  1. Comfort for Days: Jammies and lounge clothing are always a hit, especially right after a surgery. Having a new, comfy something to lounge in immediately brightens the mood and brings a smile to the face. You can’t go wrong with ‘soft and comfy’. By far, this is ranked as a favorite gift! Not sure about sizing? Discreetly ask a significant other or give them a gift card to a store with a note of what it’s intended for. Give them the directive to go on a “PJ or Loungewear Treasure Hunt” for themselves, otherwise they’ll often end up getting something for someone else in their family. Moms, especially, can be that way; so, give them the freedom to treat themselves.  
  1. Happy Household Help: Don’t we all wish we had a cleaning-fairy? This is especially true when you don’t feel good. Helping someone pick up the house, doing a quick dusting, assisting with some laundry or hiring a housekeeper is a huge gift of happiness…on all fronts. You are either helping the person who is in charge of “the house” still accomplish their “job” even when they can’t (boosting hope & fighting discouragement) or giving a caregiver a welcomed reprieve from additional “work” and giving precious moments of rest. Don’t have the time or money yourself? A few friends or small group can pitch in and gift 3-6 months of house cleaning service to cover a treatment period. This little thing can take an unbelievable amount of stress off a person and family.

Tiding Tip: House Cleaning

Some families may be bashful about the state of affairs at their house. Let’s face it, something has to give, right? Assure them you won’t “judge” before you come to help (and actually, don’t judge) – OR skip any awkwardness and enlist a professional who can be a ‘neutral person’ to come in, clean up and leave without it being weird. Food Tidings can assist in coordinating House Cleaning Services, an easy gift to add to a Schedule or to pitch in for.

  1. Flexible Funds: Not new, but still worth mentioning. Restaurant, Gas, Grocery and other gift cards are always appreciated. Patients often have to travel a distance to treatments and doctor offices. Being able to fill up the tank without financial tension or have a family member or friend use a gift card to get something to eat for the patient/group is SO useful! Cancer can have a financial impact on all families, and is certainly a financial burden for most. Having gift cards to fall back on is huge. It’s like Christmas in October, or whatever time of year it is! Gifting flexible funds for any of the basic needs is an easy go-to that you can trust will be put to good use.
  1. Delightful Distraction: For the readers, give them an escape or happy distraction from what they are going through. Not cancer books; they can buy or research those on their own. Give “fun” or “funny” books. Magazines, of any kind! Word Search or coloring books can give them something to do. Uplifting books, such as devotionals, can be a gift that keeps giving; even after their treatment. One recommendation, “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” By Lysa Terkeurst, came with big accolades from a good friend of mine in the midst of a breast cancer battle. (Disclaimer: We don’t get any marketing commission, just sharing a heart-felt recommendation.) Again, asking what they are interested in is always useful (and/or include a gift receipt). Giving coloring books to someone that doesn’t color is wasting your money and not hitting the mark, even though it’s well intended. A quick question or text to them, or someone close, will help make sure you get the best value for your efforts.
  1. Funds to Fight: At the risk of talking too much “money”, let’s face the reality. Even with the best health insurance, medical co-pays, the patients’ portion of expenses, and tons of associated costs add up very quickly for families. Nobody wants to ask for financial help and it can be very difficult to discuss. However, what a gift it would be to have help with even just one medical bill. For some, there’s a point along the way when the well-intended “gifts” they receive start to look like “wasted dollar signs”. No one wants to be or seem ungrateful, but if they had the money for all of the gifts being donated they would gladly make the trade for the financial assistance and peace of mind. If only a family could easily and discreetly trade in unneeded or duplicate gifts for the money they were worth, that would be a game changer. Until then, reducing the ‘waste’ and giving them money to help where they need it most would be a welcomed gift, whether it’s asked for or not. It may not feel very ‘personal’ to you, but giving cold-hard cash could be the thing that reduces anxiety and helps their body to fight and heal without extra stress.

Tiding Tip: Action Speaks Louder than Words

BE AN ORGANIZER. It really is a simple job, taking only moments of your time, but is one of the biggest impacts you can have. Organizers are the biggest advocates for Recipients. Not only are they truly the ‘heart’ of Food Tidings, but the hands, feet and a caring ‘loud speaker’, too!  Having the Organizer ask for the real needs of a family eases a huge burden for them. Use a Food Tidings Schedule to humbly and graciously direct Participants in multiple ways that will meet a family’s needs, without having to ask for it themselves.

Complete the easy 1-2-3 Step form to create your free online schedule, in very little time.
  1. Prayer: The power of PRAYER can not be underestimated. Call it ‘meditation’, ‘good vibes’, ‘good thoughts’ or what you will. It works. Even people of little or no faith will appreciate the gesture of “prayer”; just mentioning the word can bring calming and soothing thoughts. It lets a person know that you actually do care and you want the best for them. Aside from the psychological assurance that the God of the universe knows what is going on through ‘prayer requests’, taking a moment to pray healing and life into a person reaches them, and you, on so many levels. Don’t just say it, actually do it – pray for them in person, set a daily or weekly reminder on your phone and/or write them a card that shares a prayer so they can read it themselves (over and over). Hearing something can make you believe it, especially when you’re too exhausted to say it yourself. Prayer can make all the difference. It gives HOPE. Not only is it free to do, but the impact is priceless; again, to both of you.

Tiding Tip: Plan for the Long Road

There is often a lot of help at the beginning that tapers off in the middle or toward the end of treatment; which is when cancer fighters are actually the most exhausted. Chances are, a person will be in more need of support toward the end of treatment, but more hesitant to ask. Plan to spread out or refresh the efforts so that an entire treatment timeline is covered. A celebration or nice meal to mark milestones, is always a nice touch, too!

We hope this list gives you some new perspective and/or inspires you to come up with your own ideas to support someone you know. HOPE is always in style, so give it away freely.

Give HOPE.

rally the troops to show they aren’t alone

Crystal Van Dyke

Food Tidings Contributor

I loved at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, one is in college (adding a Wildcat to the family), while the two at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16


Refresh Your Views on Frozen


“We’ve seen when ‘frozen’ actually warms the heart.”

Can you imagine life without a refrigerator or freezer? From the store or when planning ahead for dinner time, frozen food or meals are a staple item in most homes. We’ve seen this translate to a Food Tidings schedule, as well — groups will get together and make “freezer meals” to stock up for a family welcoming a new baby, Organizers will request extra portions of soup or a meal so the Recipient battling cancer can freeze the food for a future use or a Participant who lives in another state will have a meal shipped, grateful they can contribute to supporting their relative recovering from surgery. We have seen when ‘frozen’ actually warms the heart.

It’s been proven time and time again, that frozen meals can be a great fit for Food Tidings’ Participants and Recipients, alike. They are convenient to purchase when you are busy or live far away and easy and handy for the Recipient to enjoy at their convenience. That’s why we offer “shipped” or flash frozen meal options in the Food Tidings Shoppe; making it possible to provide a consistent, nationwide meal option to support families, in addition to the home-kitchen or local restaurant.

We take quality very seriously, so we make sure our vendors provide chef-prepared frozen options that make a you proud and represent you well. Trust us, these are not your Daddy’s frozen TV dinners who got a bad rap because they were processed, additive laden, and free of flavor – unless you count the taste of the aluminum tray, that is. Today’s frozen meals are a far cry from the foil-encased atrocities of yesteryear. They have come a long way, baby – thank goodness! In fact, we vet vendors to ensure they are providing the highest quality ingredients, keeping meals preservative and chemical free, flash freezing freshness in and using the most careful packaging and shipping for pre-made healthy meals; not to mention excellent customer service. 

The Food Tidings Shoppe has individual or multi-meal options, to fit every need.
Shown:’s Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken and Artichoke with Spinach.

Additionally, we do most of the thinking for you! We select a variety of meals that meet various diet requirements, as well as covering plenty of the good ‘ol comfort food options. Our vendors, such as, work with us to customize meal packages that fit our customer base; targeting favorites and nutrients that hit the mark for new Moms, surgery recovery, special diets, soups for those battling cancer or looking for lighter fare, etc. In-house chefs whip up these favorite dishes in small batches and immediately flash freeze them for delivery to a Recipient’s doorstep. Think of them as your personal chef and courier service, with a much lower price tag than if you hired them each yourself!


We’re big freezer believers and fans. Here’s five reasons frozen foods are often better than fresh:

Freeze the flavor

Flash-freezing produce and meals ensure the Recipient gets perfectly vine-ripened flavor whenever they’re ready to heat and eat. Typically, “fresh” produce is harvested early, before peak ripeness and then must ripen in a truck on the way to a grocery store.

Nutrients on ice

Key vitamins, nutrients and other good stuff is locked in when foods are frozen fresh. After just five days in the fridge, “fresh” produce counterparts loose vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.

Easy freezy

Once frozen, produce and meals are no longer in a race against the freshness clock. Mealtime simply becomes more convenient. Frozen meals are easy to store – easy to make on the Recipient’s own schedule.

Frozen in time

Frozen food stays better for way longer. Ice is nature’s pause button and is perfect for the unpredictable, busy lifestyles of the real world.

Price drop – Savings 

Because it’s easier to prepare and store, frozen foods end up saving money with much less waste. Less food going bad, more time to enjoy mealtime – it’s a win on all fronts. 

Rest assured, science is on the side of frozen and you can be, too. We’ve tried our vendors’ frozen meals and we haven’t tasted a meal we didn’t like. We trust your Recipient will feel the same!’s Soup Bundle is a perfect gift for Fall & Winter or for a family needing a lighter fare for dinner.

Frozen or Hot is always better than Not.

Warm someone’s heart, today!


5 Reasons Why Flash Frozen Food is Better

Could Frozen Vegetables Be More Nutritious Than Fresh? 

5 Reasons Frozen Food is Better than Fresh,


Easy Week Night Dinners for Busy Families

Don’t you love when you stumble on a Pinterest “Gem”; you know, a link that actually works and gives you not only what you were originally looking for, but so much more! Recently, we found one – Our Home Made Easy: Helping Working Moms Create Extraordinary Homes the Easy Way. We like the way Brittany, the blog’s creator, thinks. And, as an added bonus for us, she’s local to Phoenix, AZ; the birthplace of Food Tidings. It’s always nice to support “local”, when you can!

Our Home Made Easy created a pin for “20+ Super Easy Recipes for Dinner Time”. We invite you to check out her entire post and website, but here’s a sampling of dinners…all of which would be great options to easily double the recipe, package up the extra & deliver it as a Food Tiding to make someone else’s night, too. In fact, we bet you make their whole week, at least!

Thanks for Keeping It Simple, Brittany!

Tiding Tip

Easily double a recipe, package up the extra & deliver as a Food Tiding to make someone else’s night “easy”, too!

Easy Dinner Recipes:

Sharing them in FULL color, so you can practically taste them – enjoy!

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball Subs

Source: Our Home Made Easy

Philly cheesesteak Crescent Ring

Source: I Wash You Dry

Parmesan Garlic Spaghetti

Source: Damn Delicious

20 Minute Healthy Chicken Burritos

Source: Redefined Mom

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Source: Life In the Lofthouse

Easy Fried Rice

Source: Good + Simple

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Source: Julia’s Album

Cheesy Party Burgers

Source: Kevin & Amanda

AND, since we can’t leave out dessert:

Gluten Free Monster Cookie Cheesecake

Source: The Recipe Rebel

Be the “Easy Dinner Night” for a family

rally the troops and spread some kindness


Easy Midwestern Cucumber Salad

Photo Credit: The Simple Pantry

I became a huge Cucumber Salad fan while visiting the family my husband lived with when he was a high school exchange-student in Germany. It’s a common tradition in many areas around the globe, with local variations that make it a home-town staple.

This “Easy Midwestern Cucumber Salad” recipe by Karly at The Simple Pantry is a great take on the traditional vinegar-based version. This would be a great appetizer or side dish. Give it a try and add a side of “COOL” to your Food Tidings meal. Be sure to make extra to have at home, too!

Cool Cucumber Goodness!
Photo Credit: The Simple Pantry

Easy Midwestern Cucumber Salad Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Total Servings 4


  • ¼ cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Cracked Pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 1 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup feta cheese


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the Sour Cream and white wine vinegar. Add the dill, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and whisk gently. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  2. In a large bowl, add the cucumbers, red onion, chickpeas, and feta cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and toss gently to combine.
  3. Pack it up in your favorite go-to disposable dish, and it’s ready to compliment your Food Tidings meal! Or when serving at home – serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to intensify.
  4. Enjoy!

Source: “Easy Midwestern Cucumber Salad” by Karly at The Simple Pantry; Thanks Karly!

Create a Free Meal Schedule

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Crystal Van Dyke

Food Tidings Contributor

I loved at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16


Leadership Starts at Home: Doing to Leading

How many Parents do you think see themselves as true “Leaders”? Ask a Mom and I’ll bet the answer is even less. Too often, I’m afraid the word “leader” is reserved for the office rather than home; unless it’s a game of “follow the leader”, to keep kids busy. If there is any doubt, let me clear it up for you. If you are a Parent (biological or otherwise), you are a Leader (with a capital L!). 

Parents and family figures really shouldn’t cut themselves short. From day one, we provide the framework for how our children will view leadership. From feeding patterns, sleeping schedules and so on, parents are given the opportunity to establish healthy parameters, routines, discipline habits and confidence that will set up youngsters and the family, for success. Each stage of parenthood and childhood has its own set of skills required; it’s like going from a ‘Start-up’ and growing into a ‘Corporation’, regardless of what side you’re on. To do it well, leadership is required. Just as employees would be lost without vision and management, families will be lost if they let the kids run the roost without direction. 

As with professional leaders, one of the most difficult transitions for parent leaders is the shift from doing to leading. I’ve heard this advice many times over the years and have tried to take it to heart: Don’t do something that your kids can do themselves. Mothers are often the culprits of doing everything. There are many reasons for this, and I get it. It’s easier, faster and usually done better, if you do a task yourself rather than wrangling, arguing or repeating the work your child does. But you’re not doing yourself or them any favors, if you’re always doing it for them. If your toddler is use to you doing everything for them, don’t be surprised when your teen or young adult is, too. 

“One of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the shift from doing to leading.”

To Be a Great Leader, You have to Delegate Well, Harvard Business Review

You may consider that doing things for your kids is an act of service or shows your love to them. While that may be true on the surface, let’s remember that our job as parents is really to prepare our children for adulthood; a productive and engaging adulthood is an even better goal. It may seem simple enough when you have one child. However, add one, two or five more kids, have your job or volunteering situation change or you may just start feeling a little (or lot) more tired – and doing everything yourself just doesn’t work anymore. Please consider, even if you can do it, should you? 

Good leaders move from doing, to teaching, to leading!
Tips for Age Appropriate Chores via

In the end, the more you allow your child or others to help you, the more you are actually leading. By delegating chores and work you are preparing your kids for a productive, self-sufficient life that encourages them to develop their own leadership skills. Kids or employees will stand up taller, feel respected and most likely be eager for more responsibility with their newfound confidence and dignity through empowerment.

Another major component to leadership, I believe, is service. Being consistent makes you a trusted leader. Showing compassion makes you approachable. Rolling up your sleeves and pitching in or serving along side your kids or colleagues when needed, makes you relatable. Knowing a leader is willing to do anything that they ask of you is a motivator to the one being led. When you serve others, in whatever capacity, it creates a culture of giving. Giving or serving puts the attention on others, embedding a sense of greater purpose in what you are doing. All of which will develop strong teams, whether in your family or at work.

Also, don’t underestimate how you are leading by example. Helping others and having your kids see it, or better yet having them participate, is one of the best lessons you can give. By serving others and creating a sense of a greater purpose in life, you develop more empathy and an outward perspective that will help reduce selfishness and numerous related pitfalls. We tell our kids all that time that their childhood is “practice” and “experience” for what is to come: how they will get along with roommates, what kind of employee they’ll be, how they will communicate with their spouse, how they will lead their family, etc. Cast a vision for them. Be a good example, they are watching. All. The. Time.

Families that serve together, stay together and thrive!

I tend to view most things through a leadership lens, FoodTidings included. I have always considered FoodTidings much more than just a volunteer coordinating tool. It is a leadership tool. FoodTidings’ Organizers are leaders that are mastering the art of delegation; they identify a need and they address it. Serving others would quickly be overwhelming if you were trying to provide all the support or meals all by yourself. Talk about the work, time and money, oh my! It just wouldn’t happen. More tragically, it would be selfish and rob friends and family the opportunity to contribute and celebrate. Life was meant to be shared. A great leader surrounds themselves with people and resources to reach mutual goals. Tools to help us do that should be embraced; and we hope Food Tidings is a go-to resource for you.

From a new mom, a dear friend fighting cancer, a sweet neighbor who just lost their spouse, a co-worker who broke their foot, a family taking in a couple of foster children, a family who is seeking asylum from their war-torn country to a military family who’s Dad or Mom is being deployed – there are so many opportunities for someone to step up and lead the way, organizing a meal schedule or collecting funds to assist where help is needed most. It just takes someone willing to be a leader.  You can do it. You already are. FoodTidings can help. 

Be a Leader

Rally the Troops and Make a Difference


Crystal Van Dyke

Food Tidings Contributor

I loved at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16


Food Tidings and The Joy Bus Share Common Goal to Support Cancer Patients


Don’t you love meeting kindred spirits? While I had never actually met the people at the Joy Bus Diner, as soon as I saw their tagline, “Making our valley a happier place one meal at a time” and their mission to deliver meals to cancer patients, I knew we must be kindred spirits.

In fact, something kept drawing me to their work; from a Costco magazine write up to social media posts, I kept running into them; so I had to find out more. They are a local Arizona organization, the birthplace of Food Tidings and our home base for operations. While their service is targeted to a specific area in Phoenix, it’s too good not to share with everyone. At the very least, I hope others will be inspired to create a “community that cares” in their local area; a goal that Food Tidings and The Joy Bus mutually share.

The Joy Bus is a Not for Profit organization whose sole purpose is to relieve the daily struggles of homebound cancer patients with a fresh Chef Inspired meal and a friendly face. Like Food Tidings, The Joy Bus aims to relieve the burden put on families during this time. Seems like a match made in “meaningful meals” heaven, right?

“The Joy Bus is a nonprofit organization that delivers fresh, chef-inspired meals, social support, and nutrition education at no cost to homebound cancer patients within a 10 mile radius of 32nd Street and Shea Blvd in Phoenix. We deliver a meal each Friday and the meal is just half the fun, our clients also get paired with an awesome volunteer who is there for them to chat with and help in anyway they can. If a potential client is located outside of our delivery radius we do encourage them to still reach out as we try to make small exceptions wherever we can.”

While The Joy Bus provides meals once a week, this is where Food Tidings complements their efforts. A Food Tidings meal schedule allows family, friends and co-workers to organize and rally, both near and far, to support cancer patients with meals they may need at other times. Being “kindred spirits”, my hope is that we both continue to serve as a resource to inspire, encourage and support cancer patients and their families, all week long.

Knowing people care about you can do wonders in the process of cancer treatment. All it takes is one person to get rolling; on “The Joy Bus” and/or with a “Food Tidings” meal schedule. Just imagine the difference we can make, together!

If you or someone you know in the local, Phoenix area can benefit from their services, I hope you’ll jump on board and check them out. Whether you need assistance or not, you can support The Joy Bus mission by stopping by The Joy Bus Diner and enjoying a meal that pays it forward; as all proceeds support The Joy Bus operations.

Let’s keep making meals meaningful and enjoy the ride, as we spread tidings of food, comfort and joy.

Love this quote.
The Joy Bus CEO & Founder, Jennifer Caraway, with diner and meal delivery volunteers.

More details:

The Joy Bus Diner

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Support them with a free FoodTidings schedule.


Crystal Van Dyke

Food Tidings Blog Contributor

I loved at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16


IRISH GUINNESS BEEF STEW (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

It was my lucky day. I was searching for a hearty, Irish meal for St. Patrick’s Day a couple of years ago, and discovered this recipe from The Cookie Rookie. It was like finding a pot of gold at the end of a dinner-recipe-search rainbow!

I’ll have to admit, I’m personally not a beer drinker. However, I love Ireland and find the history of the Guinness family interesting. A few years ago, I got to tour the Guinness Storehouse/Brewery in Dublin, Ireland and managed to get down the traditional class of Guinness at the end. I still have the glass to prove it. It was a fun experience and I’d highly recommend the tour, with or without the ending taste “test”. This recipe flooded me with memories of that trip and I had to try it.

Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, Ireland

Whether you are a beer fan or not, the aroma of this “Irish Stew” will fill your home with cooking-happiness and the flavor of this stew will leave a lasting impression. It’s hearty, comfort food at its best. Don’t miss out.

This recipe comes with our family’s “Van Dyke Seal of Approval”; which is among an elite few (it can be tough getting 6 people to agree, sometimes!). In fact, it immediately became one of our son’s favorite meals; so much so, he requested it as his “Birthday Meal” (over a restaurant choice). Since then, it’s been in the regular dinner rotation in our house; especially during the cooler months.

So, go ahead and add a little “Irish” to your dinner or someone else’s.

Ingredient prep is simple and goes quick.

Ready to cook! My trusty crock pot is still my friend; but on my busy days, my Instant Pot is my fast and fun BFF.


(Adapted from Becky Hardin | The Cookie Rookie’s “Irish Guinness Beef Stew (Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew”)

PREP TIME: 15 min

COOK TIME: 8 hrs – Slow Cooker; 1 hr 20 min – Instant Pot

Serves 6-8


  • 10 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can sliced carrots
  • 2 full stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 lbs stew meat, cubed (Note: You can make this stew “fancy” (eg. for a Birthday Meal) by using Sirloin Steak, which I use when it’s on sale; otherwise, general stew meat works great)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 10 ounces beef broth (about 1/3 of a large box)
  • 1 (13 g) envelope Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 12 ounces (1 bottle) Guinness Stout
    • Tip: Some grocery stores will sell individual bottles, so you can purchase only what you need. Even if you’re not a big-beer fan (don’t tell that to your Irish friends!), the flavor of this stew is worth the effort!


  1. Put potatoes, carrots, and celery chunks in the bottom of crock pot on low heat. Pour in beer, beef broth, garlic powder, salt and pepper, soup mix, and basil. Stir to combine.
  2. Season beef lightly with salt and pepper and then coat in the flour.
  3. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Cook the beef until almost browned, and then add in the onion. Continue turning and browning until the meat is fully browned and the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. (You might want to brown the meat in batches, so it doesn’t get too crowded.)
  4. Add meat and onions to the slow cooker.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce and cover, heating on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Low is best, but if you don’t have the time, high will work! (*Or in Instant Pot: You can use the “Meat/Stew” button. On busy days, I usually cook it through the cycle TWICE on this setting (1.2 hrs total), to get the meat to extra “fall-apart” goodness; then, let it “stew” or warm until we’re ready to eat.)
  6. Serve with lots of bread! Enjoy!

Tiding Tip

This stew is hearty enough as a full meal by itself. Package it up for your Food Tidings delivery in a disposable pan/dish and deliver it with a french or sourdough baguette. The Recipient will savor the taste for days; be grateful to you, forever.

Sitting down to this meal just soothes the soul, every time.

Tiding Tip

Adding an “Irish” dessert would make a fun meal addition near St. Patrick’s Day or add an “international” flare to an everyday meal (Unless your Irish, of course…then, it’s just a regular ol’ brilliant meal, anytime.)

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Crystal Van Dyke

Food Tidings Blog Contributor

I loved at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to become a Food Tidings Partner in 2011, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration, emphasis in Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16