I am a wife and mother with a 17 year old daughter and a 19 year old son. I have always had a passion for cooking and started making dinners at home when I was about 10 years old when my mom went back to work. I always watched my mom cook and I guess that's how I learned as much as I have. She did canning every summer and that brings back fond memories but I have yet to can anything. I have always loved the foods that a lot of little kids don't like, especially vegetables and my kids have always liked them too. I have collected cookbooks for many years and especially liked the community cookbooks that different organizations have put together. Now that I have found allrecipes, I spend hours looking at all kinds of recipes - it's like one big, ever changing community cookbook. I tend to read cookbooks like novels, and I have found that by doing this for so long, I have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. I really enjoy putting together different dishes for entertaining.
My favorite things to cook
I LOVE making soup! My mother didn't make soup very often, so I sort of taught myself. I like to make down to earth soups. A favorite of my family is my Chicken Noodle, Vegetable, Alphabet soup. I always make extra so I can give some to my elderly neighbors!
I also love to bake. My kitchen is small and it can be a hassle, but there is a real satisfaction in making something from scratch for family and friends. My 17 year old daughter insists that I cannot follow a recipe to the letter, but I try to especially here since I don't feel it's fair to rate a posted recipe unless it is followed exactly. Her big joke is that I always add onions or garlic when cooking and vanilla when baking. In general, I like to make things up as I go along.
My favorite family cooking traditions
A few traditions that we follow in our family is always making St. Patrick's Day dinner. I color the mashed otatoes green and even brighten the cabbage with some green food coloring in the water. A must have is the peas and carrots and always a boiled for hours, tender as can be corned beef brisket. The little neighbor girls that my daughter babysits love our tradition and are now a permanent part of not only eating the dinner, but also preparing it. Green jello is a must have at our annual dinner! Another tradition is chili on Halloween. It's just the right thing to have before going out trick or treating or going outside to hand out candy by our roaring fire pit. Christmas morning brunch is a rather new tradition that we've developed since our kids are older and it's just the four of us celebrating at that time of day. It's not always the same, but I really enjoy setting a beautiful table (with Christmas dishes won on Regis and Kathy Lee years ago.)