Cooking Superstar

Simply Happenstance

Cook along with Nicole & Sara from Simply Happenstance

Nicole Lindstrom & Sara Fernandez
Southern California
N - Lifestyle Blogger S - Former School Psychologist turned Stay-at-Home Mom/Blogger

When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?

I would say around the age of 10. I was really into baking cookies. Oatmeal and sugar cookies were my favorite to make.

Oh yes! When I was about four years old, I would wake up early on weekend mornings and whip up “concoctions” for my family members. I remember my mom giving me free range of the kitchen, allowing me to put a little of this, a dash of that, and as many eggs as I desired into a bowl. I used to try to feed it to my mom and siblings for breakfast! When I was seven, I began making coffee cake from scratch, by myself. I still make that special recipe, to this day, but for my own family.

What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?

My kitchen is pretty open and was one of the reason we purchased our house. We upgraded the appliances over time, as I love them all and they help with my cooking and baking. I wish the pantry was more organized, but with small kids, I don’t think it ever will be. I straighten and they destroy my organizing. I gave up!

We have an open floor plan in our house. Our kitchen opens up directly into our dining room and family room. It’s spacious and super functional. It has more of a woodsy feel, since we are now living in the mountains. I try to keep things organized… but to be perfectly honest; my husband is more of the organizer in our home. When cooking and baking, I usually make a complete mess and regret it after I’m finished!

What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?

I would say find easy recipes to follow the basic step-by-step process. Once you master that you can add your own twist and start creating your own versions. Sometimes I think people want to be the best at both cooking and baking, and more often than not, you are a little bit better at one than the other. It takes lots of practice.

Watch cooking shows! My kids and I have a few favorites that we watch together {Barefoot Contessa, Pioneer Woman, and Trisha’s Home Cooking, to name a few}. They enjoy helping me plan meals and cook/bake. I feel like watching shows, and reading the reviews on recipes have helped me become a better… more adventurous cook, over the years.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them? I would say with friends. My son is on the autism spectrum, so his therapies etc. take up a lot of our time. Before kids I would entertain a ton, but life is busy now. I would love to have friends over for either a little cocktail party with fun appetizers, or a wine education night with Italian cuisine.

I would invite my closest family and friends. My dad, who lives in Texas, would definitely be there! I don’t get to see him more than every few years, and I deeply miss him. In regards to what I would prepare, I’m most confident cooking vegetarian dishes and baking. I’d probably whip up a yummy vegetarian lasagna packed full of fresh veggies and serve it with crusty warm French bread. We’d finish by having a decadent, yet light, lemon berry trifle with fresh whipped cream for dessert.

Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?

I love to knit scarves and wish I could do it more often, but life gets busy.

I have so many crafts and DIY projects on my to-do list, but with four little kids, homeschooling, and my husband’s chaotic firefighting schedule, I don’t have a ton of time for myself lately. My favorite hobbies, that are close to my heart are: yoga, sailing, swimming, reading, baking, photography, looking at mid-century design, and recently… learning modern calligraphy.

Which cooking blogs do you love to read?

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

My main priority in life right now is to keep things simple and focus on the important relationships in my life. Food plays a big part… as it seems to be how I’ve always showed those around me love. I sincerely think that your attitude and intentions help to make your food more delicious. All food prepared for family and friends should have “love” sprinkled in! Lately, I’ve tried to be better at preparing food for myself in the same manner… not just eating the leftovers off of my kids’ plates, but preparing healthy, whole foods that nourish my body.

Nicole Lindstrom & Sara Fernandez
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Gluten-Free (X)

What's your favorite...

TV Show
N- The Good Wife S- Scandal & any of the Real Housewives shows {sort of hate to admit that}!
N- Too many! Love The Smiths to U2 S- Wow… I have too many! We love music in our house! It is almost always playing! I listen to every kind of music, from rap, to folk music… and everything in between! I always adore Jack Johnson, Justin Timberlake, and
N- Cambria, California S- ?Hmm…. I’ve traveled quite extensively in my youth. In the United States, I’d have to say someplace in California. {I love San Diego, San Francisco & Monterey… but my heart is in the Dana Point/San Clemente area, where I lived wh
N- The Family Stone S- Brigitte Jones. I love any movie that makes me laugh!
Cook Book
?N- Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls S- I’m infatuated by written pieces by Hemmingway. However, my favorite at the moment is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It’s so beautifully written.
N- Italian and Mexican S- French & Vegetarian Dishes
N- Heavy Whipping Cream and Parmesan Cheese. S- Fresh Vegetables or Chocolate. Maybe not in that order!
Kitchen Gadget
N- My Kitchen Aid Mixer - but that’s an appliance…does that count?! S- My Cuisinart K-cup Coffee Maker. It just makes my mornings happy!