I am not a classically trained chef. I never went to culinary school and I haven’t spent decades working in the underbelly of restaurants across the globe. I haven’t cooked for masses of people or for celebrities, and I don’t follow the latest food trends with anything more than a passing interest. I cook for the two most important people in the world – my son and his mother – and I do it nearly every day.
I’m the single mom of a wonderful
6 yr old 7 yr old 8 yr old 9 yr old 10 yr old little man. I enjoy vastly different cuisines and I love to replicate dishes I’ve enjoyed in restaurants. I’m currently a pescatarian (vegetarian with seafood), but I spent almost 9 years as a strict vegetarian (dabbling in vegan-ism before I got pregnant when I SWEAR the baby wanted bacon). I try to eat a healthful plant-based diet, but I know that sometimes everyone needs a little piece of pie!
I have lost almost 60 pounds since the birth of my son (yes, it was Weight Watchers), and have maintained a loss of over 40 pounds for about 3 years (no, it isn’t easy). I constantly battle with gaining weight because I’m an emotional eater and sometimes Ben and Jerry’s shoulders are the ones I like to lean on. Having healthful and satisfying foods in my kitchen that can be easily transformed into appealing meals in very little time is key.
I’m a self-taught cook. I learned most of what I know through cookbooks. I sat for countless hours in bookstores with my nose in books by authors and chefs of all types. I grew up watching Julia Child, the Frugal Gourmet and the Great Chefs series on PBS. I made my first cake from scratch at age 11 and it was a total flop, a pool of liquid batter under my cooling rack. In fact, my mother credits me with single-handedly creating sugar-free pumpkin pies for our Thanksgiving dinner in 1974. I was three. They were NOT a success.
I joined Weight Watchers when my son was just starting to eat solid foods. It was important to me that I become a positive role model for him as he grew into an independent young man (and BOY has he done THAT!). I always had a limited food budget, so it was a bonus that my little guy actually enjoyed whole wheat couscous, quinoa (keen-wa; Google is your friend), brown rice pasta, polenta and lentils.
I also have the luxury of growing up and still living on my family’s vegetable farm. I couldn’t be happier that I am able to raise my son here because it truly is a magical place. It’s not unusual for my boy and I to walk (seasonal, of course) around the farm and ‘pick’ dinner, then go home and cook. Preparing foods from scratch at home not only guarantees you know the ingredients, but also pretty much insures you’re paying merely a fraction of what a restaurant or take-out place would charge. And getting the kids involved in the whole process can help turn them into lifelong adventurous eaters!
I am constantly being inspired by the produce my family grows here in Orange County’s fertile Black Dirt. In fact, it’s like a drug for me…. I MUST CREATE. I must try something new with all the amazing things we raise – it’s just part of who I am – and I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy writing.
Thanks for checking me out!