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I worked as a travel consultant for over 20 years. I am now a stay at home Mom, as I have been on long term disability for a couple of years now. I was looking forward to Freedom 55 before that. Now that the magic age has arrived this is a bonus for my pension. My kids are 13 & 15 years old now, so I think it is a really good time to be home with them.
I try to make as many things as I can from scratch. I really do not like all the artificial ingredients they put in things now. I refuse to use any kind of artificial sweetener. I don't think these things are good for our childrens growing bodies, or our own for that matter. As with anything else, moderation is the key, so please don't try to turn chips or any other treat into a diet food by using artificial sweetener in it.
My husband is a real meat & potatoes fellow, and my son is following in his footsteps. My daughter has not developed much of a taste for red meat, so likes mainly chicken, some veggies and pasta. I am really not much of a meat eater at all, a bit of chicken, turkey or fish, so really enjoy having company. It gives me an excuse to cook the veggies my family doesn't like, and that way I don't have to be eating butternut squash for the next week by myself.
I make a really mean chocolate cheesecake. My kids request it for birthdays and any other occasion they think they can get me to make it. I usually make it in foil muffin papers, so I can look at it as a guilt free treat, 6 dozen individual cheesecakes, instead of 16 servings. I can rationalize that one, even if I eat 2 of them.
I have been baking since I was a kid. My Mom got me a Co-op kids cookbook, and I still use it for the white cake recipe. I am not afraid to tackle any recipe. Well, almost, I just can not bring myself to try to make croissants or puff pastry from scratch.
I enjoy gardening. Nothing can beat the taste of a vine ripened tomato still warm from the sun, or fresh strawberries that you have just picked. I will also can and freeze things from my garden. I had a crop failure in 2010, partly weather related, and partly wildlife. We live in the city and a bush rabbit was visiting my garden all summer. I didn't have the heart to try to prevent him from getting the produce. I know I am a soft touch, but thought he was having a hard enough time being able to survive in the city, with cars, and cats and dogs, and so on, so what were some beets, and spinach, and peas.
I am also an avid reader. I like to do a lot of different crafts, although knitting has never been one of them. I will sew anything, do cross stich, make jewelery, crochet, photography (but food has never been one of my subjects, I may have to change that). I used to paint when I was younger, and have been contemplating getting back into that as well.
I have found that I can spend hours going through the forums and recipes posted here. Some people say I have been known to get lost on this site. I will sit down with my morning cup of tea, and before I know it I realize it is time to make lunch for the kids.
I really enjoy cooking Christmas dinner. I love being able to cook all the extra dishes that make the meal special. I will quite often make lasagne for company, or even for us. My kids love it when I take the time to make home made perogies. They are so time consuming, and they devour them so quickly. I really should make them more often than I do, but I have found some good locally made ones with all natural ingredients, so I cheat.
I have found that we do not go out to eat as often as we used to. The cost of meals in a restaurant has gone up so much, and the quality has gone down in a lot of cases. I just get so disappointed to order a meal, and realize I could have made something better tasting, and fed the family for the price of my meal alone.
I became known as the cookie lady at the elementary school my kids attended. I always made treats up for their teachers at Christmas. I would pack them in a set of Christmas mugs. They would get my home made shortbread, caramel popcorn twists, a salty/savory treat, chocolate dipped pretzels, cheddar pennies. I have also done a sweet and spicy pecan, but with schools going nut free I can not do that one any longer. I have had teachers tell me they will come back at Christmas (even if they have moved to a different school), just to get some of my shortbread. That is the one recipe that I will not share. It had come from an old English lady, who made my Mom swear not to give it to anyone. So it has become a secret family recipe. I will have to pass it on to my kids when they leave home.