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I’m Betsie and I am here to show you that cooking using mostly fresh ingredients can be simple! Why am I an expert? Well…I’m no trained chef or master gardener or anything, but I do garden and I do cook – and people seem to like it. I am also
a little a lot obsessed with food. Fortunately, I have steered my obsession away from junk food toward healthy, fresh food.
Why? Well, it started when my husband left. Oh, wait. He didn’t leave me – at least not permanently – he left to work out of state for almost a year, beginning in August of 2011. While he was away, I started cooking more for me and less to please his meat and potatoes-butter or gravy laden-deep fried-salt encrusted-with sugar on top tastes. Sure, I like all of that too, but I knew I shouldn’t eat it (major family history of diabetes and heart disease and weight issues), but tended to cook it because I didn’t think he would be interested in a more healthy menu. Think? I knew because he grumbled when I attempted to serve chicken breast or vegetarian meals (“Too dry,” he said).
So, when he was gone the pressure was off: I only had to please my own tastes. I started buying more produce and hanging around on healthier cooking sites AND THEN…I found Pinterest.com and my life was forever changed! I pinned tons of recipes for fresh food – and I actually started making them…and I ate well! I am a self-trained cook. For no particular reason, I never really learned to cook from my mother, though she was a pretty good, albeit old-school, cook. Previously, I tended towards casseroles, meat loaves, Bisquick meals and even…sigh…Hamburger Helper meals. But, I have always loved watching Food Network and other cooking shows, like Top Chef and I think it all started rubbing off. Home alone to experiment, I focused on creating flavors I like, using fresh produce, more seafood and less meat.
When springtime arrived, I planted a fairly ambitious garden out back. Not my first gardening attempt, but certainly my most focused and vast attempt to date. I planned, I read, I pinned and then I planted. Amazing results this year – only one major fail: raspberry bushes. Once the garden started producing, I HAD to use it. There is no greater mortal sin than growing something from seed and then allowing it to wither in the bottom drawer of the fridge! When the hubs (that’s short for the husband) returned home, he wasn’t sure what to think about the small farm out back and the plethora of veggies in the fridge…and on his plate. Did he resist? OH yeah. But, not that much. He is good enough to at least taste something before he rejects it and to his credit, he’s very honest. Some wives may be offended, but I have learned to take it as feedback so I can improve, just like a contestant on Top Chef! Now that he’s adjusted to the new menu, he gushes over the “fresh flavors” of real, homegrown food (he brags to his buddies at work about the eggplant pasta, roasted veggies and stuff summer squash meals he has now), but still harasses me to make more meat and use more butter. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks.
My friends have noticed a change in my kitchen habits, too. People ask me for recipes and I find myself offering (sometimes unsolicited) advice on cooking and gardening. That’s why we’re here now! My Facebook friends are weary of me prattling on about my latest kitchen exploits and posting my endless garden pictures. I needed an outlet for my passion for gardening and cooking and as a former teacher, I always have a need to share what I learn with others. I know that if I can do it, anyone can do it! We do not have to rely on packaged convenience food to get dinner on the table in our busy lives.
I’ll show you!