food

Food has been a passion of mine for most of my life. I think I was born with a wooden spoon in my hand! From the time I was very young, I was playing around and experimenting in the kitchen. Surprisingly enough, there have been relatively few cooking disasters in my kitchen career; even as a child I seemed to have an instinct that allowed me to adjust things on the fly and have a finished product that was at least edible (if not quite fantastic). As a young teen I spent hours and hours copying recipes out of my mother's cookbooks to add to my ever-growing personal recipe files (no, as you might have guessed, I was not part of the "cool" crowd!) As a university student, I became more focused on the nutritional aspects of food, and ended up with both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in nutrition. I worked as a Registered Dietitian in various hospitals for a decade, until I could no longer ignore my first true love. I have now come back to playing in the kitchen and devoting as much time as possible to feeding my food passion (no pun intended, of course!)

My food philosophy is summed up as follows:

FAST: As a general rule, I want to get a meal on the table as quickly as possible. Most of my recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Some of them take 45-60 minutes, but generally no more than that. If it takes longer than an hour, it usually merits "Special Occasions Only" status around here!

FUN: I think cooking and eating should both be fun and enjoyable activities. So, I do my best to streamline my recipes as much as possible (recipes that end up with 19 dirty bowls and skillets leave me with a throbbing headache AND a big mess to clean up!) I like to eat fairly simple foods, nothing too fancy or "gourmet", so what you'll find here is mostly good old-fashioned homestyle cooking. I love many different ethnic cuisines (Thai, Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern are some of my favourites) so you will find echoes of those flavours in many of my recipes.

FRUGAL: I like to keep our grocery budget as low as possible (while still enjoying plenty of good food!) so my focus is on using minimally processed, inexpensive foods. You won't find recipes calling for tuna steaks or scallops since they're not in my budget (except for special occasions). I also cook using a lot less meat and a lot more legumes (beans and lentils) than many people. If you're not used to cooking with legumes, I hope my recipes may inspire you to give them a try!

FABULOUS: I believe you should cook foods that genuinely please you and the people you're cooking for. When it comes right down to it, it doesn't really matter if a recipe meets the previous three criteria unless it also tastes great! I will only publish recipes that my family and friends have found satisfying and tasty. Of course, everyone's tastes are different, so it's not possible to guarantee that you'll love everything we do. At the very least, my recipes should inspire you to create a personalized version that will meet with your family's approval!

FLEXIBLE: The recipes I turn to again and again are fluid, rather than carved-in-stone; those that can shift easily to accommodate both your personal taste preferences and whatever's about to expire at the bottom of the vegetable crisper. As far as I'm concerned, the only rule in cooking is THERE ARE NO RULES. If you don't like the way I've suggested, by all means do it your way instead! Have fun, improvise, experiment - it's all good!

Basically, I've been messing around with food for over 30 years. I'm still learning, inventing and playing more every day, and I'll be sharing as I go. My time in the kitchen has always been at least as much about nourishing my soul as it's been about feeding anyone. It is my deep desire that if you find cooking to be mostly a dreaded chore or a benign necessity, that you can find some ways to make it quicker, easier, less expensive, and more fun. I hope you will find both inspiration and practical suggestions to make your cooking experience more joyous and satisfying. I hope that anyone stopping by feels comfortable to leave a comment or two, to join in the conversation. I picture us all pulled up at comfy chairs around the kitchen table, sharing a friendly chat about everything to do with food and cooking that's fast, fun, frugal, and fabulous!

MY FOOD BUDGET: Currently it's set at $400 per month for our family of four (with 13- and 15-year-old, rapidly growing boys who eat WAAAAY more than I do!).

Index of Recipes on this site:


Beef & Pork

Beans & Legumes
Chickpeas with Potatoes and Peas 

Meatless (and beanless!)

Salads & Sides

Desserts
Impress-the-Guests Pavlova
Cream Cheese Brownies
Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding
Amish Oatmeal Pie
Raspberry Cream Cheese Squares
Peach Clafouti
Lemon Blueberry Polenta Cake
Pumpkin Gingerbread 
My Favourite Holiday Pie

Snacks
No-Bake Ancient Grain Snacking Squares
School-Friendly Granola Bars

Miscellaneous Odds and Ends
Make Your Own Sweetened Condensed Milk
Zesty Cheese Sauce (plus Mac and Cheese and Cheesy Vegetable Casserole)
Making the Most of Roast Turkey
Making the Most of Your Jack-o'-Lantern
Making the Most of Mint

If you'd like a whole book full of family-friendly, inexpensive and easy to prepare recipes just like these ones, be sure to check out my book, Cheap App├ętit: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Family for Less Than $400 a Month (While Eating Better Than You Ever Thought Possible). You can find all the details about it HERE. It will give you all the information you need to reduce your food bill by 40-60%, without using coupons!
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