When I was in Highschool and Jr. High, everyone knew me as the girl that baked. Every Christmas I would whip up massive amounts of cookies, brownies, and rice krispie treats for pretty much everyone I knew. It was amazing how many people would suddenly act like your best friend when you showed up with a box stuffed with home baked goods! So instead of turning people away I made sure I had enough for everyone. I’d always start off with special desert packages for my closest friends – and then bake extras until I ran out of flour and sugar.
After I got married, I spent less time in kitchen and definitely less time baking (you can’t exactly live off of Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chip Cookies). Pregnancy and the following 2.5 years were very difficult for me. Somewhere in between in the surging hormones, weight gain, and anxiety I lost myself. My first big break through was when I started to learn to spin. Just picking up a simple craft gave me back a portion of my confidence and tapped into my long dormant artistic side. I managed to create and run a successful business (punknsparkle.etsy.com) in just one year, and learn some things about myself along the way.
My 2nd breakthrough came when I decided to start cooking again. I was frustrated with how broke we always seemed to be, and how food never seemed to last very long in my house. So I made up a schedule and meal plan for 2 weeks worth of food and went shopping. I bought way more food than I have ever in my life, and just when I started to think that I had bitten off way more than I could chew (pun intended), I learned (with the help of my trusty slow cooker) that I need only cook 2 days a week (Saturday and Sunday) and I could easily be set for over a week.
Since I’ve started cooking I’ve found many recipes online and tried a lot of them – with a whole lot more still waiting to be tried. Most have been successes, some have been OK, and others have been outright failures. It’s been a learning process, that’s for sure.
I also think it’s important to note that one of the key reasons I’ve enjoyed and experienced so much success in the kitchen is because of my husband. He stood by me through that first 3 hour shopping trip, and he chopped and cubed chicken while I minced vegetables and melted butter. He’s sampled and tasted every new dish, right along with me – and trust me, getting him to try something new is a huge accomplishment!
After a few weeks I realized I really needed to share these recipes with others. I hope my enthusiasm for home cooked meals is catching and inspiring for the budding cook in you. Almost everything I make is quick and easy – and most of it can be cooked in my beloved Crock Pot (I actually have 3, but that’s besides the point).
PS – Now that I’m cooking meals again, it’s a lot easier to justify making an elegant chocolate cake in the middle of the week (at least that’s what I tell myself) – so there will be plenty of desert recipes to share as well!