My name is Linda Kay Maxwell. I am 24 years old, and I live with my boyfriend and my three children (two dogs and a cat) in rural eastern North Carolina. I am a freelance writer and a college student, and I adore cooking.
My favorite things to cook
Lasagna with cheesy garlic bread and a salad -- always a hit!
Any type of meat with gravy, served with rice or mashed potatoes.
Delicious baked or fried pork chops with twice-baked potatoes,
Roasted chicken with lemon-pepper seasoning...yum!
A satisfying stir-fry with homemade fried rice.
Cheesy broccoli and rice casserole...yum...my favorite food ever!
I am also starting to enjoy cooking different desserts; this was something I was a bit nervous about. I'll admit, my baking projects usually turn out disastrously ugly, but they are usually delicious!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Growing up, I always made Christmas cookies and candies with my mother, who was a stay-at-home mom for most of my childhood. I still cherish those memories today, although I'm not sure the cookies turned out quite as delicious as I thought they did back then!
I love learning from my mother nowadays.
My cooking triumphs
I will never forget the first time that I actually made sausage gravy from scratch. If you read my "cooking tragedies," you will understand my pain when it comes to gravy. One day, however, I somehow prepared the PERFECT white sausage gravy. I don't think I've ever been so proud of myself in the kitchen.
My next kitchen triumph was preparing Christmas dinner COMPLETELY alone, and everything turned out marvelously. A delicious ham with a brown sugar-and-pineapple glaze (stolen and adapted from a recipe here at Allrecipes), baked macaroni and cheese (this was my first time EVER making mac and cheese without the help of a Velveeta Shells & Cheese box), sweet potato casserole, fresh string beans, homemade mashed potatoes w/ pork gravy (from a package), rolls, apple pie AND peanut butter cookies with kisses in the middle...and everything came out with perfect timing, which is usually one of my biggest challenges in the kitchen.
My cooking tragedies
The first year that my boyfriend and I were together, my neighbor and I decided to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for both of our men. Neither of us had done it alone before.
We got everything right. The turkey, the stuffing, the green bean casserole, the mashed potatoes...everything looked great.
We then realized that NEITHER of us knew how to make gravy from scratch -- we were both dependent on packages or jars, and we both thought that the other knew this seemingly "simple" kitchen task.
Needless to say, we took turns whisking ridiculous amounts of flour into our turkey juices, but it was all to no avail. Finally, we took a risk. My neighbor stood with her back to the guys, and I quickly whisked in a can of cream of chicken soup to thicken up the turkey broth and flour mess.
Believe it or not, the guys thought the gravy was delicious!