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I married my high school sweetheart and did not have a clue how to cook anything past scrambled eggs and mac and cheese. A dear friend took me in and taught me to cook using her family recipe box during my engagement. I chose one main dish, a side, and a dessert to cook once a week, and she would take me to the grocery store to choose the items and then back to her house where she taught and supervised my progress as I made my way through the foods. She showed me how to select the best meat and produce and how to check for the best prices. I learned about timing and meal planning. I learned how to improvise and be frugal, where to skimp and where to spluge.
I realized that the art of keeping a home and showing love through cooking was being lost for girls like me who were expected to go to college and enter the work world while juggling extra-curricular activities and working a part-time job to pay for all of it. It wasn't that my mother didn't want to teach me, she just didn't have time and I was never home. For that whole year I was engaged I committed to learning the ins and outs of becoming a "domestic goddess". It has paid off in dividends now that I have been married nearly seven years and have two small kids to take care of while working.
We cook and eat at home nearly every night and have hosted many holiday get-togethers. Our friends and co-workers have shown up for meals unexpectedly because they need a little love. I have compiled a family cookbook using the recipes I have gathered and tried from this website. It is a three inch binder and each recipe has a plastic page protector to keep it clean from those splashes that happen in the kitchen when a four year old is stirring the soup pot! My husband is generous in his praise and is a good cook himself. He also enjoys browsing recipes and has become an expert at the Dutch Baby Pancake.
I have learned from using this site that food is love. The memories made in your Mama's kitchen are indelible. I want my kids right there in the kitchen with my husband and I. I will make sure to teach them how to take care of themselves and their homes when it comes time!
I love to plan and prepare "finger foods". Those crowd pleasers that signify you are opening your home to friends and family are the ones that people enjoy. Deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, seven layer dip, swedish meatballs- nothing fancy.
Planning out meals for the week is a family affair and I take great pride and pleasure in checking our schedule, budget, and the ads to help create the grocery list. A healthy, well-fed family is a jewel in this Mama's crown. My husband would rather drive home from a meeting at nine o'clock at night to eat leftovers from dinner I made then go out with co-workers for a burger. I love that!
I am "famous" for my crockpot meals. I have combed over so many of the recipes listed in the crockpot cookbooks and tried quite a few! My family has whittled it down to: pulled pork, chicken and dumplings, pot roast, and chicken taco meat as their favorites. These are the go-to meals when things get hectic. People can't believe the food is coming from my crockpot, and they all say the same thing, "I have one of these but I never use it."
My favorite type of restaurant is Teppanyaki, a type of Japanese cooking where the chef prepares your food in front of you on a grill built into the table! It is fairly common in California (Beni Hana's is an example).
My goals for cooking this year are to try my hand at preserving and canning, as we live in an agricultural area with lots to offer at the Farmer's Markets. I also want to find just the right pasta sauce that can make into the family cookbook. I am also hunting for a good pie crust.