When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
My Mom was a great cook when I was growing up, and she influenced my brother's and I a great deal; we all enjoy cooking. I remember learning some of the basics cooking just watching my Mom and also in Home Economics class in 7th grade. I loved baking when I was a teenager, and did most of the baking at Christmas time. I cooked the first meal I remember for my boyfriend (now husband) in Highschool. I made Spaghetti and Marinara sauce. He loved it, I've been cooking ever since. I believe the fact that I enjoy food, and love to experiment with different kinds foods has a lot to do with loving to cook.
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
My kitchen is on the small side, which has always made it a bit of a problem to make organizing easy and efficient. We put a large Armoire in the kitchen and my hubby built shelves in it for me, which helped. I also turned a closet in my den into another pantry with shelves, and that has helped as well. I buy many of my ingredients in bulk, and store small portions in large jars for easy access. I did a blog post of our kitchen remodel, and you can go to the link below to see the post.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
Set aside time to think and plan your recipe. Be patient and prepare your ingredients ahead of time. When I was younger, I was often in a hurry, because I did things at the last minute. As time went on, I learned to plan and prepare for my dinners in the morning, and then I wouldn't be trying to throw something together carelessly at dinner time (which I have done on many occasions).
I also believe when you stir up creative ideas in yourself, and be willing to experiment, you can you change the atmosphere when you cook, by making it feel like an adventure, rather than a drudgery. Think up fun ideas for each season, and let food be a part of those ideas.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
I dream about having all of my family home for the Holidays. I have seven children and they are spread out in different States; I would love to plan a Holiday meal for them when they could all be home at the same time. My latest thoughts have been for Christmas. I would plan a Christmas dinner with Prime Rib and Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Yorkshire Pudding.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I love to have my hand in almost anything creative, including: Painting with oils, and drawing with pencil and pastels. I also make jewelry, and love to sew and crochet. I enjoy gardening, and delight in my grandchildren as well as the many animals that we have had over the years... all of which inspire creative ideas in me.
Which cooking blogs do you love to read?
My favorite cooking blogs are thepioneerwoman.com and pinchofyum.com ; I enjoy reading them regularly, as well as many recipe sites such as foodgawker.com, and tastespotting.com : I also get inspiration from Pinterest on a regular basis.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I have really enjoyed Cut Out + Keep. It is a wonderful site and I have enjoyed the inspiration I have gotten from reading through it.