I am a married 43 year old (WHOO HOO!)SAHM to 2 great kids, ages 11 and 8. My husband is a Marine and we live in Stafford, VA, close to Quantico. I started cooking a TON more @ our last duty station where our expenses were much greater and there weren't a ton of choices out there that could please all of us... and didn't have a line to wait in (with kids a real pain)..so I'm always looking for ways to torture my family with something new and exciting. Everything I've made from this site I've reviewed... and have loved it all. I do make substitutions where I can (such as lowering sodium or subbing splenda for sugar) and I make sure I mention that in my reviews in case someone else is looking for ways to control/improve/modify certain aspects of their diets like we do.
My favorite things to cook
I wish I could say I have a favorite thing to cook... because honestly, I have never really "loved" to cook. If I had to pick something though, I would pick chocolate chip cookies (toll house recipe) and I grill a mean steak. Over all though... if I find something that my gripey little kids & my meat/veggie/no starch hubby will eat without complaint, that is a success and I will make it again.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Before I cooked so much, I really enjoyed cooking for the major holidays... Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. I have to say now that my first thought on those days is that I wouldn't mind just going out... but then I think of the crowds... and the fact that I know we like what I make and no one complains (TOO much)... I just work it because I've perfected it... and it gives me an excuse to drink a glass of wine earlier in the day while cooking! :)
My cooking triumphs
I mastered prime rib (which freaked me out that I was going to ruin a $60 cut of meat) on the first try...you could have knocked me over with a feather. Since moving back to northern VA, our food choices have increased... but now, since I can make at least one "good" (everyone eats without complaining) dish from every "category"... it is hard to go out and pay restaurant prices for something I can throw together at home for so much less...shrimp/scallop scampi, eastern NC pulled pork, ribs, the perfect roasted chicken... steaks... pretty much something from every type of food we used to like to out for... so we do not feel deprived. I also search the net for knock offs of other favorites... like Chicken Bryan from Carrabbas, the great bread from Macaroni Grill, cheesecake from TGIFridays...bagels from Einsteins...and work to make those for special meals at home.
My cooking tragedies
When my husband and I were first married, I hadn't cooked a great deal at all... so I was getting recipes off the back of Stove Top stuffing boxes... for some really oddball things.... one was thin slices of beef, rolled up around prepared stuffing mix, with apple juice or something used to moisten the mix... I can't remember the name of these things, but my husband refers to them in a way that I really can't say here.... and then my other standout memory.... is the first time I decided to make turkey. My husband LOVES turkey with all the trimmings... and I'd never had turkey in my life... my family always had ham for holidays because my mom didn't like turkey. So one day, I was at the grocery store and found something called "turkey loaf"... which essentially was a pieced together "loaf" made out of white turkey meat (kind of like a chicken nugget, I guess) and it came in a tinfoil pan from the freezer section of the store. It was also covered in "gravy" which I guess wasn't "real.