When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
I started learning how to cook when I went away to college. Once I had to start cooking for myself, I discovered it was infinitely cheaper to make food at home than it was to eat out and twice as tasty to eat food made from scratch than from a box or a can. The first thing I learned how to make was tacos with all the fixings (homemade guacamole, salsa, chips, etc.). To this day, tacos and fajitas are one of my "go-to" meals. We eat it at least once a week in our house!
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! If you are going to start cooking on a regular basis, I cannot emphasize this enough. There is nothing worse than going to make a meal or a recipe and finding you are missing a key ingredient or two. Meal planning is not only helpful for grocery shopping, but it is also a big stress reliever when you do not have to think about what's for dinner every night of the week. I also do ALL of my food prep before I put any food on heat. It creates more dishes sometimes, but to have everything chopped and ready to go makes it easier to manage once the cooking gets started. Plus, that's what dishwashers are for!
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
Follow recipes exactly as written the first time you make something. Once you get a few recipes that you like and know how to make under your belt, you'll start to understand what flavor combinations you like and what foods and flavors work well together. Also, don't be afraid to play around in the kitchen. If something turns out totally inedible, toss it, order a pizza, and try again tomorrow!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
My dream dinner party would be to serve a complete garden to table meal to my friends and family. My husband and I have 4 raised garden beds in our backyard and every year, I think about hosting a dinner party and making everything from items we've grown. I imagine hanging outdoor lights and people sipping cocktails barefoot in the grass. I'd also love to rent a hodgepodge of old china and silverware to give it a shabby chic style.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I love to garden, swim, and lift weights. I try to swim at least 3 times a week, even during the winter months. I dabble in other crafts from time to time, but mostly like to explore my creativity in the kitchen and on my blog!
Which cooking blogs do you love to read?
I love to drool over the beautiful photos on Cannelle et Vanille (http://www.cannellevanille.com/) and get a lot of inspiration for using up my garden bounty from Food in Jars (http://foodinjars.com/). I also love to collaborate and eat with my friend Jenny B over at Honey and Birch (http://www.honeyandbirch.com/).