Yes, I love to cook, but I'm sure that goes without saying. So let me first tell you a little bit about myself, which in turn will provide you with a better understanding of my food. I am a full time graduate student, a nanny, a Food Network addict, and a bit of a health nut. I also love to entertain: big parties, small dinners, poker nights or birthday celebrations, I jump at every opportunity to gather my family and friends together, cook some delicious food, and have a great time.
So where does this leave me in the food department? Well first off, I am incredibly busy. I often leave the house around 8:30 in the morning, and don't return until 8:30 in the evening. This is certainly not conducive to extravagant meal planning, so I strive to create recipes that are both easy and quick. Furthermore, being a graduate student I also follow a pretty tight budget, so I like to make sure that all of my meals stretch a buck as well.
To make ends meet through my many years of schooling, I have also done a fair share of babysitting. Needless to say, I have cooked for a good amount of picky eaters. Therefore, I like to make meals that not only taste great, but are appealing to look at and fun to eat as well. I like to create recipes that get kids involved in the kitchen. I feel it is a great opportunity to get them interested in this fantastic life long skill, and more importantly, I find that if children put in the effort to prepare a dish, they will often try it as well!
As a Food Network aficionado, I love to experiment with new dishes. Watching different cooking shows, reading new recipe books, and paging through magazines are all great sources of inspiration when it comes to creating in the kitchen. I think it is so much fun to take a favorite meal and put a new spin on it, or experiment with a new ingredient and discover all of its possible uses. I always like to try something at least once, you never know what incredible combinations you may find!
I am also a bit of a health nut. I love to take favorite restaurant-style meals or classic comfort food dishes, and add a new twist by lightening them up a bit. You may not believe it yet, but healthy food DOES taste good... just give it a shot! I don't eat red meat or pork, and I often substitute turkey or chicken instead (think ground chicken/turkey, turkey bacon, chicken sausage etc...) That said, if you see a recipe that calls for ground turkey, feel free to make substitutes that fit your diet (ground beef, Boca crumbles, tofu etc...) I'm sure the recipe will be equally as delicious!
Finally, entertaining is hands down one of my favorite things to do. Gathering my family and friends together, telling stories, playing games and eating delicious food is always my idea of a good time. It is also my way of saying 'thank you' to those I love. I think it is really easy to call up a fancy restaurant and make a dinner reservation, but when you take the time to make that dinner every night for your family, that is when you really say "I love you." Sharing a meal and cooking with others brings people together, it creates memories, and forms special connections; when I have the opportunity to do that for my family and friends, I am at my happiest.