I'm a stay at home mother to two beautiful girls ages 4 and 2. Before having my children, I was an elementary school teacher. My mother didn't cook at all when I was a kid. She just wasn't interested, so I grew up on frozen and packaged foods. I didn't even attempt to cook until my senior year of college. I was forced to try because I moved to a townhouse with a kitchen and I was off the cafeteria meal plan. At that time, even pasta and jarred sauce was a big challenge for me! According to my husband, I've come a long way (and he's tasted all my progress through the years), but I know that I still have a lot to learn. It's very important to me that my girls learn to cook at a very early age so that they don't find themselves in the same situation that I was. I love finding new recipes on this website that the girls and I can make together. Even my 2 year old gets in on the act. We make a big mess, but most of what we make is at least edible, and we have a lot of fun!
My favorite things to cook
I really enjoy any easy recipes that the girls can make with me. When I'm cooking solo, I like to try new Italian and Mexican dishes. I also use my crockpot quite a bit. Recently, I've experimented more with fresh herbs as well.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother, my daughters and I make Christmas cookies together. It's interesting to see how much more the kids can do each year to help than they could the previous year. I also really enjoy cooking together with my girls just making our regular weeknight dinners. They really like sitting down with my husband once he gets home to share the dinner we've made together with him. It isn't always easy to work into our schedule since my husband's hours aren't always consistent, but we've found that eating together as a family is extremely important to all of us.
My cooking triumphs
I recently started a dinner group with several friends of mine. We get together once a month or so. There is a theme for each meeting- last month was appetizers. Everyone makes a dish to share and brings copies of the recipe to exchange. We open a bottle of wine, taste test some new dishes and get a chance to catch up without all of our kids- they're all home with their dads! Many people have brought recipes they've found on Allrecipes.com. To me, this is definitely been one of my biggest cooking triumph. It allows me to keep learning and getting new recipe ideas from my friends while keeping us in close touch too.
My cooking tragedies
I am not meant to cook Thanksgiving turkeys. No matter how long I thaw them in the refrigerator, they are still frozen when I try to cook them. They always take hours longer than they should. One year, even the "fresh" turkey that I bought turned out to be partly frozen inside. How does that happen? My smoke detector, which in my own defense is extremely sensitive, goes off over and over and usually ends up unhooked until the meal is over. Next year, we are going out to eat!