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I am a native Californian, and a zealous fruit and vegetable gardener. Most of the produce I eat comes from my back yard. I'm very grateful for a climate that allows for a year-round harvest!
Quality of life is the primary yardstick by which I measure the choices in my life -- the question is always at the forefront of my mind: which option here will bring us (and anyone else involved) the most happiness and fun?!
Generally (not always!), I try to stay away from processed foods -- particularly hydrogenated fats & high fructose corn syrup. I find I feel best when I follow the Zone diet, and I also aim for half my food intake to be vegetables (even at breakfast! I love a good egg-and-veggie scramble with onions, sweet and hot peppers, and summer squash!). No fanaticism however -- a little decadence is the spice of life... so I rationalize that indulging in two rich meals a week only makes up 10% of my total! ;-)
For me, investing in high-quality basics yields great rewards -- so naturally, good cooking ingredients are a big priority, e.g. freshly picked organic produce and high quality spices. And I am just thrilled that since consumer demand is steadily increasing for free-range poultry, grass-fed beef, and the like, these items are becoming more available. (I don't think it's a coincidence that when animals are treated kindly during their lives, given room to roam, fed the food their bodies were designed to eat, and killed humanely, the result is better quality meat. Makes sense to me!)
I love to travel the world and the U.S., and make an effort to take at least one international and one domestic trip every year.
Favorite cookbook is definitely Joy of Cooking. I love its comprehensive coverage of the basics. But it is more for background, since my cooking style is usually healthier and spicier than Joy's traditional/mainstream recipes. So with Joy and Recipezaar, my kitchen is complete! I love vegetables, all kinds of spices, and hot, hot, hot! I grow many varieties of sweet and hot peppers in my garden. I love the cuisines of India, the Americas, Polynesia, China... as well as Southern comfort cooking. But I'll try anything once! :-)
One of my favorite things about Recipezaar is that I can always find a variation I really like of just about any dish!
A pet peeve of mine is oversized pieces of salad ingredients. Ooo, I hate having to use a knife to eat a salad! I make at least one salad at day, and you can be sure every piece is bite-sized. ;-)