JAMJMine Profile - Allrecipes.com (10078261)

cook's profile


Home Town:
Living In: Arizona, USA
Member Since: Dec. 2006
Cooking Level: Not Rated
Cooking Interests: Baking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Dessert
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About this Cook
Cooking is therapy for me, especially baking. I can spend hours fooling around in the kitchen, my laptop sitting on the island counter with a new recipe at the ready. Even though my mom always cooked and we rarely ate out, I never really learned to cook or enjoyed it until my mid-thirties. I suddenly (and unexpectedly) became a mom, put my career on hold, and starting staying home with the babies. I always thought I was inept in the kitchen, so I stayed away from too much cooking, but suddenly I needed to feed those kids! Well, a few messes and mistakes later, and much to my surprise, I discovered I loved cooking and was actually pretty good at it. Now, I not only cook all the time, I cook for family, friends, neighbors, and even occasionally do a little catering when asked. Never say never!
My favorite things to cook
Anything I can bake, from pies and cakes to cookies to breads gets top billing in my kitchen, but I also enjoy making old family favorites, and putting a new spin on them. I like trying to find interesting ways to prepare vegetables to get the kids to eat them. I've discovered that the key is to just keep putting them on the table, without forcing them to eat them, and eventually they come around!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every Christmas when I was a little girl, my grandmother made sugar cone Christmas trees with all the grandkids. We'd glob bright green icing all over the inverted cones and then decorate them with all the little goodies Grandma had put in bowls for us to use, like red hots and silver dragees. They were too sweet to eat, but such fun to make with all the cousins. Looking back, I have to wonder if Grandma was occupying the little ones so my mom and aunts could prepare the meal! Now, my mom has a special holiday baking time with my kids (and they usually do the Christmas trees, too), and I hope someday to carry on the tradition with their kids.
My cooking triumphs
One that comes to mind right away would be the first time I was asked (allowed?) to cook the Thanksgiving turkey many years after my first fiasco (see below), and it turned out so gorgeous and juicy and flavorful. I totally redeemed myself! Since then, I've been asked to prepare it almost every year.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married and very young, I tried to cook the Thanksgiving turkey, but didn't know (since I didn't cook, and had never used it) that the oven in our little house didn't get hot enough. After cooking for hours and hours and still not being done, my mother-in-law took pity on me and came to help out. She realized what the problem was right away, and took it to her house to finish it. I have to say, though, my new in-laws were very kind and sweet, and didn't even complain about the late meal. And they ate that dry, tough bird with a smile and a compliment!
Recipe Reviews 146 reviews
Taco Soup II
My teenagers made this for dinner one night last week, and we all enjoyed it. They made a couple of changes: rather than the green chiles and the stewed tomatoes, they used Rotel tomatoes, and they subbed black beans for the lima beans. They served avocado, sour cream, jack cheese and tortilla chips on the side. This was a quick, easy dinner, and perfect for teens learning to cook.

1 user found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Feb. 24, 2015
Big Ben's Beef Machaca
My favorite Mexican restaurant in Phoenix serves great machaca, and I wanted to try to make it at home. This was close, and everyone liked it, except there was a little note of something that just didn't quite work for me. I will definitely make it again, tweaking it a bit to see if I can't fix that. Overall, though, really nice beef, moist and tender. It made great burritos. And this is exactly what machaca is supposed to be - it isn't supposed to taste like ground beef taco filling.

2 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Feb. 4, 2015
Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting
I helped my kids make these for their Super Bowl party. While they were moist and delicious, I thought they were a little too sweet once the frosting was added. Next time, I would use a smaller pan, so the bars would be thicker, and then halve the frosting. They'd be good with just a dusting of powdered sugar, too.

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Feb. 2, 2015

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