I've been married to a wonderful guy who isn't a picky eater! I'm also the mother of three small children. I have two boys, a 5 year old and a 3 year old and then my daughter just turned one.
My Mom taught be a few basics in the kitchen when I was little, but it wasn't until I was married that I started to seriously experiment in the kitchen and although I will always use a recipe, I rarely stick to it religiously and I'll always add extra garlic or cilantro!
Presently we are living overseas in Saudi Arabia and cooking here can be a real exercise in patience as we are regularly out of really common things like: SOUR CREAM (for the past 2 months), BAKING SODA (last month), CREAM OF TARTAR and COTTAGE CHEESE for the last YEAR (!) Some things you just can't get here on a regular basis ever! And of course we can't buy alcohol or pork so that leaves out a lot of great recipes with wine or bacon! So, whenever we go home we OD on bacon whenever we have the chance.
My favorite things to cook
I love finding a great new salad or soup recipe. I'm always trying to find new breakfast and lunch recipes too. Breads... fish... cookies... fancy desserts. I kinda like to try it all. I try to remember that it's all a part of the learning process.
One of the reasons we choose to live overseas is that we have a lot more quality time with our children. We actually eat 3 meals a day together and I try to make up meal plans each week that always change.
My best friend and I enjoy swapping recipes over the phone now that she has moved back to the States. We used to enjoy looking through stacks of cookbooks while our kids played together. Sometimes we would each make a double portion of our dinners and then take half over to the others house so we wouldn't need to cook the next evening! That was fun! She's an amazing cook so she would help keep me motivated when I got into a "what's for dinner?" slump. Everyone needs a friend like that!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My favorite cooking traditions center around Thanksgiving and Christmas and growing up we always made the same things each year so I carried that tradition on since I began living on omy own.
I also love to cook my favorite new recipes when I go to visit my parents and inlaws during the summer. That is another reason I love ALLRECIPES because little by little I am adding all my favorites and then I won't have to bring copies of my recipes - they are just available to me online!
My cooking triumphs
I've recently made a 50 pound batch of MANGO CHUTNEY in preparation for an upcoming Christmas Craft Fair and I'll also be making other baked goods.
A few years ago my father was working in Saudi and we have always had a tradition of buying him CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES for Chrismas. I was so disappointed that I couldn't get them for him here so... I decided to MAKE them for him and they were the most INCREDIBLE and gourmet-like treat! It was amazing and he savored every last one!
I also just took a SUGAR COOKIE class from my friend here who makes those beautiful glazed sugar cookies! It was so much fun and I can even get everything here except the cookie cutters! Ha!
My cooking tragedies
I have TWO. When I first started cooking as a newlywed I made a wonderful BLACK BEAN SOUP and didn't realize the whole chemistry thing about blending hot liquids... to make matters worse it was a brand new blender and when I took it off - the base flew one direction at the same time the top exploding off! My entire kitchen was a purple-gray hue! That was a hard lesson!
Then for our supper club I tried to make TIRIMASU - key word is tried - for our Italian meal. Of course we couldn't get lady fingers here so I made them by scratch and they absorbed so much of the kahlua so naturally I just added more... it was a great thing nobody smoked that evening because we could have ignited the house in flames from that dessert! It was good, but really potent!