To my beloved children, Travis, Stephanie, Dustin, Holly and my two step children, Laura and Paul.
May the surprises in your lives always be good ones. And may people in your lives treat you kindly and fairly. And may the choices and sacrifices you make in your lives be the right ones for you. May you be blessed in every way, and happy in your lives.
I love you with all my heart,
Meet Joan, aka JJ. The name JJ came from a golf caddy named Sugar, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and it stuck. I grew up in Washington state with two older brothers. I have a very large family, mostly in Washington state. I live in the United States- Winter in Scottsdale, Arizona in a golf community and I Summer on Mercer Island, Washington. We spend most of our holidays with six children, their spouses and our grandchildren. We are a blended family, and have no children together, but, we have two Russell Terriers!! I like to hike, golf, quilt, snow ski, exercise, pilates, yoga, TRX, boating, ice climbing, travel, games, parties, dancing, and gourmet cooking.
In 2012, some of my family members suggested I create a blog. I really didn't know what a blog was, so, I investigated. And, after much research, I decided to take the plunge into the blog world for two reasons. First, to get the knowledge that I have gained over the last 30+ years to my family and friends, secondly, to keep my brain active and learn new things. My intention always being, to create and relay interesting, useful recipes, crafts, quilting and sewing tips that will inspire you!
My interest in cooking started with Mom, a great cook/baker who allowed me to create for the family. I give you my schooling for credibility of my knowledge. In the 1980's I completed certificate classes at Yankee Kitchen, studying under, Eva Kenly, Nancy Lazara, Betsy Oppenneer, Nancy Verriale, Susan Bradley, Kathy Tullis, Marian Morash, and a few others. Other teachers, outside the certification series include Julia Child, Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Ludger Szmania, Barbara Fenzl, David Lebovitz, Tom Douglas, Kathy Casey, Mark Hamilton, Cory Mingo, Steve Pernetti, Guiliano Hazen, Jason Graham, Michael DeMaria, Frank Coloma(Indian cuisine),Dina Phelps, Nicole Aloni, Michael Stebner,Krista Fay, Mauro G and countless other guest teachers. This over 22 years. I have studied local cuisine in Peru, Morocco, Italy, France and Spain. All the while I have considered this fun, not work and have never worked professionally in this field.
|Here is my "Certificate Series" classmates. Nancy Lazara is in front wearing a teal dress. I am in the second row, third in from the left. This is taken in front of the Yankee Kitchen, which used to be located on Main in Bellevue, Wa.|
My family laughs, but, my feeling is, if you are a guest at my house and you ask for seconds....you are definitely "IN" and when your "IN", your "IN"!! Here's what that means to me.
1) It was worth it to shop at possibly 3-6 different markets, to find just the right ingredients.
2) It was worth it to spend 2-3 days in the kitchen, preparing.
3) It was worth it to spend a little more for the very best and freshest ingredients, because, yes, it does make a difference.
Food is a way of communicating; I believe the energy we pass on through our cooking feeds the body as well as the soul. By writing this blog, I am learning right beside you. I do not have a PhD in history, nor am I a classically trained chef or a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. Consider this our shared virtual culinary classroom– a place where we learn not only how to cook delicious food, but how that food came to be in the first place. Every kitchen has a heritage and every recipe has a writer. Knowing the story behind the food– the ancient history, or the family history, or even the history of one particular ingredient– can infuse a dish with meaning. And then a meal becomes more than just food, or something that fills you up physically. Food takes on a deeper significance, and ultimately becomes more nourishing.I am a novice photographer and do mostly my own photography, unless otherwise noted. I have no formal training photography and have learned from observation and looking at other food photo's. My photo's as well as my writing were horrendous in the beginning, but, I refrain from removing or rewriting. I believe it's important to know that everyone starts somewhere, and has the potential to learn. For me, I have lots to learn, but, I'm having a great time learning! I started with a Sony point and shoot. A few months later, Wee Bear bought me a Canon G12, I have learned a lot with that camera. Next came the updated G 16 and now I use mostly a Canon EOS 70 D, and I love it!
If you have found your way to my blog, you are probably somebody who loves food or history. This is a space for us to learn and grow together, inspired by our delicious past. I invite you to subscribe to my website for blog updates and the latest news.
Amy, my daughter-in-law, aka, Sweet One, is everyone's dream daughter. She is truly a sweet one, and loves to cook/bake. Her husband, my son, Dustin, aka, TT (name given when young by his sister, who could not say his name) loves to eat, but, frequently gets his hands in on the action. Sweet One and TT love sweets, so she blogs about sweets, but, don't be surprised to see recipes in all categories, she is curious, fearless and her attention to detail amazes me! Amy and TT started their family and now have a little boy 3, Cooper and a infant, Katie. Amy isn't writing much, she is chasing our grand children these days.
|From left, Nate Dogg, Tink, TT, Sweet One, Wee Bear and JJ!|
Holly, my daughter, aka, Tink, (given by Wee Bear, Bill, my husband when she was a teenager) will show us a few of her yummy recipes now and then. She is married to Nate, who she met at the University of Washington business school. aka, Nate Dogg because U of W are Husky's. She and Doggie are amazing as a couple and make us all proud. She won't be in often, but, listen up when she speaks, it's always good!! Tink really enjoy's making chocolate chip cookies, she even made a Lactation Chocolate Chip Cookie that she swears has helped her provide more milk to her and Doggies new baby girl, Madison Lee. Both her recipes for chocolate chip cookies are superb! Try them! Nate and Holly have a second little girl, Mackenzie and the two girls keep them quite busy!
My eldest son Travis and daughter-in-law Eva, she is born in US but heritage is Hungarian. She loves to cook along with her Mom Eva and daughter(my grand daughter) Olivia. A lot of Hungarian influenced dishes, but, again, not afraid to cook many other cuisines. We always look forward to a delicious meal at their home! Look under Master Recipe List and her recipes are noted with her name.
Bill, aka, Wee Bear, (given by himself when he was very young....giggle, he has a whole little song he sings with his name hehehe!) is my pal, my husband and my biggest fan. We do everything together, well, we are just better together, and between the two of us make the darkest situation, just a little bit better. In other words, we are always looking on the "Bright Side of Life". He is fun, loves to golf, travel, and loves my cooking. Plus, he is not afraid to critique!
I am committed and I will update once a week, unless I'm on holiday. If you have comments, good or bad, please post them, email, FB or tweet and we will be sure to respond.
Live, laugh, love and enjoy everything that you eat!