Cooking Superstar

Veggies By Candlelight

Cook along with Ali from Veggies By Candlelight

Ali Rost
Ames, Iowa
My Career is in IT, though I study Holistic Nutrition

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

I don't remember how old I was when I started cooking, but I was young. All of the women in my family were fantastic cooks and I always loved to help.

I learned about casseroles from my Mom. My Grandmothers taught coconut cream pie, lefsa, and the art of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

My all-time favorite though has to be the love of pancakes .. which came from my father.
I've always found it cool ... men that never really cook .. don't think twice about donning an apron on Sunday mornings to make pancakes.

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

My husband I both like to cook .. so it's a good thing we have a fairly large kitchen.

We're also a pretty good team as far as sharing responsibilities in everything from prep to clean-up.

I should also note we have the BEST of support staffs .. 2 black pugs and 4 cats. When we're cooking .. the kitties are always hovering around for moral support .. and the puppies are at our feet ready for clean-up.

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


Don't be overwhelmed. Start with a few recipes that you love and make them yours with different flavor combinations .. ingredients and spices.

Julia Child always said "No matter what happens in the kitchen.. never apologize!"
She went on to say .. “I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make. Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile — and learn from her mistakes.”

After all .. it's really only dinner

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

My brother and his wife live 1000 miles away and I wish we got to see them more.
My dream dinner party would include them .. along with my parents .. and we'd eat all things Thanksgiving.

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

I'm not very artistic when it comes to crafts (I wish I was!)
Though I'm an instructor and nutrition coach at My Gym. I also study Holistic Nutrition.

Which cooking blogs do you love to read?

I don't follow all that many .. to be honest.
For me .. The blogs I follow are because I'm drawn to the blogger's writing style. I'm not as attracted to those that simply post a quick recipe .. finding them to a bit medicinal and bland.
A good essay/story to tie it together? I'm hooked.
All that being said .. I do check in on Food52 .. Smitten Kitchen .. 101 Cookbooks .. and My New Roots every now and again

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Thank-you so much for the opportunity to be featured. It's been a lot of fun.

Make sure to follow Veggies By Candlelight on

Ali Rost
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Cooking, Healthy Eating, Clean-Eating

What's your favorite...

TV Show
I don't really watch TV (!)
Lyle Lovett
Key West, Florida
Christmas Vacation
Cook Book
Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi
Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Thai
Dates, Cacao Powder, Ground Lamb, Sumac, Za'atar, any in-season fruit or veggie
Kitchen Gadget