Once I heard a phrase that has stuck with me through my cooking adventures. The advice was to take inspiration from everything around you. For example, a coconut, lime and vanilla candle can be inspiration for a muffin or pancake. Be creative, observe colors, flavors, textures and themes that cross your path. If you are a follow the recipe kind of person, that’s fine too. Try switching it up subtly by substituting different ingredients or flavors that fit your life, family, tastes and budget. With cooking the sky is the limit.
I have loved the kitchen ever since my mom stayed at home with my sister and I growing up. We intently watched her make good ol’ comfort food like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, homemade donuts, cookies and pasta salads. My take on food has changed a bit since then, but that’s where it all started. And I still believe you can eat the dishes you love with a few simple modifications. I’m constantly fascinated by the process of taking separate, often times very diverse ingredients, and coming up with a tasty, beautiful end product (usually). Cooking isn’t always a formula, that’s what I love. It’s adaptable, a vehicle for creative juices to flow, or if you’re not “feelin’ it” that day, can follow a recipe and at the end still feel a sense of accomplishment -you made a beautiful, yummy creation.
I remember going to softball practices on hot summer afternoons, with red-stained hands from all the strawberry pies I’d constructed in my mother’s lab earlier that day. I’m sure my fellow highschool teammates thought I was ridiculous, but I was the one who got to go home eat strawberry pie after many games and practices (at this point in my life I was burning tons of calories, so the pie I consistently ingested didn’t settle on my hips or thighs yet).
My dad’s contributions to my culinary efforts have been addressing me as Chef Boyardee when he learned of my enjoyment in the kitchen (I could start a whole other blog of my dad’s original one liners and nicknames ~ he is uniquely hilarious and I love him.)
The remainder of my cooking knowledge, passion and skills have been obtained and refined through watching countless hours of the Food Network, especially while I was sentenced to the couch, for a few ill years. All my recipes include serving sizes and nutrition information. Every recipe I post will be archived and listed under the appropriate meal tab in the recipe category. I love remaking restaurant, or otherwise unhealthy dishes into healthier versions (and still tasty). So, if you have a request don’t hold back.
If you want free, daily calorie counting software suggestions go to my nutrition tab. I am a firm believer that eating nutritiously doesn’t have to include meal after meal of plain grilled chicken breasts, brown rice and bland, steamed vegetables. Boring! My philosphy is healthy eating as a lifestyle; no crash, elimination, or fad diets. You can eat good tasting food, that is also healthy.
Many of my tips and cooking methods will help draw the most flavor out of your ingredients. I like to use fresh, flavorful, whole ingredients in my recipes. Organic when possible, especially meat. I understand living in a small town and/or having a small budget, so do the best you can within your resources. If you need product recommendations please go to my cooking tips and products page. Bon Appetit!