I was born and raised in southeastern Washington state, and lived for about 30 of my first 40 years among the sagebrush, heat and windstorms. When I married my third husband 15 years ago, we transplanted ourselves and my three now-adult sons to the western side of the state. It was totally different there, with evergreens and lots of rain. In August 2008, we decided to move back to eastern Washington. I love cooking and recipe collecting, and owning a computer has totally expanded my horizons in this respect.
My favorite things to cook
Hearty soups, including chili and variations on corn and potato chowders.
Chili cheese dog casserole. Spanish rice. Hamburger stroganoff. Franks and beans. Other casseroles and skillet dishes using pastas, rice, or beans. Garlic mashed potatoes. Oven-roasted seasoned potato wedges. We- make/U-bake pizzas. Variations on garlic bread. Recipes for all the holidays on the calendar.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The first would be roasting the pumpkin seeds after we carve jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. The second would be a tradition I adopted from my mother, which is making pickled eggs and beets for Easter. I absolutely love the eggs and they turn out such a pretty shade of pinkish-purple. The third would be making sun tea on hot, sunny summer days. I have a gallon-sized glass pickle jar that doubles both as a container to make the eggs and beets, and as a container for making the sun tea.
My cooking triumphs
The first was a party that my first husband and I threw for a bunch of our friends. I spent the day preparing a diverse variety of appetizers that filled our dining room table.
The second was a Chinese New Year's dinner that I created for my husband, parents and a couple of our best friends.
The third is that I always find it a triumph when I prepare a full-course Thanksgiving dinner for my family almost single-handedly. It takes two or three days of planning, shopping and preparation, and some volunteers as dinnertime approaches, but it's a worthwhile endeavor and it's nice having leftovers to feed my family for the next couple of days.
My cooking tragedies
The first was a pistachio pudding pie that I made for St. Patrick's Day when my three boys were little. After I was finished, I realized that I forgot to bake the piecrust before putting in the filling.
The second was a Thanksgiving when I invited my parents to my home, and I wanted to impress them by making the dinner myself. I was taking two pumpkin pies out of the oven, and I pulled the oven rack out a little too far. The pies fell off and flipped over face down, right onto my carpeted kitchen floor. At that moment, I had myself a good long cry!