It should come as no surprise that Food Network star Molly Yeh is extremely passionate about shopping for food and where she gets it. "I love grocery stores and I love groceries," the cheerful host of the popular TV show "Girl Meets Farm" says during a recent interview with Eat This, Not That!
Now, where Yeh does her shopping, that might surprise some people.
Yeh currently resides with her family in the small Minnesota city of East Grand Forks, where she also recently opened her own restaurant, Bernie's. Popular national grocery chains like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are many miles away. So Yeh's go-to grocery store may not ring many bells for consumers living outside her area in the Midwestern state.
"We have this awesome local grocery store called Hugo's," says Yeh, referring to local grocery chain Hugo's Family Marketplace, which operates around a dozen locations in Minnesota and bordering North Dakota. The grocer sells fresh produce, meats, bakery items, and other staples. Some locations even boast in-store Caribou Coffee shops.
One of the only other local grocery shopping hubs, and another favorite of Yeh's, is Target. While it is a national chain, Target has something of a reputation for being particularly beloved among Midwesterners. This includes Yeh, who describes the retailer as "the best." She goes on to tell a very relatable tale for fellow fans of the big-box store: ""I had a classic Target trip last week where I went in for one thing and came out with like six claw clips and 20 other things I didn't go in for."
Between feeding her grocery store passion, filming her Food Network show, blogging, running her restaurant, and also being a wife and mother to two daughters, Yeh wears many hats in her day-to-day life. But her latest project is an allergy-friendly recipe collection developed in collaboration with MadeGood, a snack brand that specializes in foods that are organic, vegan, gluten-free, and free of eight of the most common allergens: peanut, tree nuts, soy, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, gluten, and sesame. MadeGood products are available at many retailers, including Target, Whole Foods and Wegmans.
Yeh's recipe collection–which is out now and free to download on the MadeGood website–is also free of those top allergens. It features 10 recipes, ranging from main dishes like the Sloppy Joe Pitas to desserts like the Sprinkle Ice Cream Pie.
Cooking foods that are not only delicious, but also safe and inclusive for people with allergies is something that Yeh took very seriously even before developing the collection.
"My mom has a peanut allergy so cooking foods without peanuts is something that I've been doing for decades," she says. "So a lot of it felt like second nature. It was very inspiring and just very creatively satisfying."
Her personal favorites from the collection include the Spicy Ranch Cheddar Crackers, which she eats "by the handful," and a fattoush packed with fresh veggies and falafel that's perfect for summer.
Yeh says that all the recipes are great options for entertaining, not too complicated, and delicious. The fact that they're free of those common allergens is just icing on the cake.
"I was really excited to make this collection because I am all about inclusivity, all about making people feel welcome at the dinner table and including them in whatever I'm cooking, not serving something that they can't eat," she says.