I do have to say that I find the About Me section of a blog to be the most difficult to write. I' never quite sure how much to include or where the line will be drawn between just enough information and damn that woman is full of herself.
So, with that in mind, I'll give this a shot.
I grew up in a small town in eastern Kansas, USA. The sort of place where I was related to most of the long-time residents. I grew up watching my grandmother and mother cook simple dishes that were filling, and cheap to make. These continue to be my favourite foods to cook today.
For the most part I am a cook and not a baker. You won't find many recipes for cakes and pies and breads and such, other than a few tried and tested recipes I can fall back on.
I have been cooking simple foods for myself since at least age 10, generally grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs in those early days. But by the time I was in my teens I could prepare basic meals and follow most recipes.
The less said about my first attempt at making a cake from scratch the better though. That, you could have used as on oversized hockey puck!
Over the years, I have honed my skills as a cook. I very seldom follow a recipe exactly as written, and for the most part don't even bother opening a cookbook. While I will write recipes down in order to share them with others, you should be given fair warning that it is a rare day when I reproduce a dish exactly the same way twice.
I believe that foods as much as possible should be obtained in a whole form and cooked from scratch. I considered it to be a sad reflection of modern times when my eldest son told me that I was the only parent who cooked amongst all of his friends. Oh, the other parents made occasional forays into the kitchen, but they didn't cook foods they just reheated already prepared ingredients and dishes.
My recipes you will find use fresh, whole ingredients as much as possible. I'm not above using the occasional short cut. And indeed, for some things it is pretty much a requirement! While I can make a decent bread dough, most pastry doughs are beyond me - and that doesn't matter so much to me when I can buy short crust or puff pastry ready-made.
Home for me these days is me and my 2 younger sons. I have an older son who will soon be starting a family of his own. And he thanks me often for teaching him how to cook when he was growing up. The boys will generally be referred to throughout in my writing as Number 1 Son, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me why I call them the Things.
Meal time got a bit more complicated when I became a parent, primarily because my sons are on the autistic spectrum and each has his own little quirks when it comes to foods. I set very firm rule early on though, I will not cook multiple meals each night. Not when I am cooking meals from scratch!
However, with a bit of thinking meals can be adapted. Thing 1 doesn't like most casseroles - except for bolognese sauce, he doesn't like stews or soups or other foods that have been mixed together with a gravy. He will, however, eat bits of meat with veg and mashed potatoes. Thing 2 and I therefore get a cottage pie or a savoury pie dish while Thing 1 gets the same meal, deconstructed. The adjustments I make add no extra time to my cooking.
So what can you expect to find here?
Recipes - I'll share some of my recipes. Most will be from dishes that I have been making over and over again for 15 years or longer.
Menu plans - The beginning key to any budget plan (and these days most of use need to carefully budget food money!) is a menu plan. This is what keeps you from buying a load of ingredients you never use and eventually throw out, and will also help to ensure you don't have to make trips to the grocery store every day to pick up forgotten items. Which leads to -
Shopping lists - I cannot stress enough the important of putting together a shopping list before you show up in the middle of the produce aisle with no clue in your mind why.
Hints and tips - over the years, I have discovered loads of time savers and handy hints to make life a bit easier in the kitchen. Feel free to share your own hints and tips as well.