I grew up cooking alongside my mother, Cathy, in the commercial kitchens of the camps and retreat centers my father, Jim, managed and went on to cook in various food service venues including a deli, a bistro, and a corporate chain restaurant that shall remain unnamed. I credit my mother, Cathy, with igniting my passion for adventuring with my food.
My all time favorite meal is Mom’s lumpia. One of my first forays into experimental cuisine came at the expense of my parents’ stomachs. I reasoned that if orange and chocolate taste wonderful together- which they do!- that it would be a gourmet snack for mom and dad if I served them Cocoa Krispies in Orange Juice. Thankfully, my skills have since improved.
Welcome to my virtual kitchen! I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer, cooking teacher, mother of five perpetually hungry boys, and wife of my biggest culinary fan. I like to think of Foodie with Family as an homage to all things food, family, and travel related because friends, I love food.
All of it. Fancy, humble, simple, complicated, and everything in between. I love cooking from scratch and I love sharing recipes that work for our family.
I’m a life-long travel nut with a serious case of wanderlust. I spent my senior year of high school abroad and travel wherever whenever I can. I love traveling alone, with my husband, or with my whole crew.
My heart thrills when I’m packing a suitcase and hitting the road, the skies, the rails, or the sea. Any chance I get to explore a corner of the world gives me joy. George A. Moore said it best, “A man travels the world over in search of what he’s looking for and returns home to find it.”
My first cookbook, Not Your Mama’s Canning Book: Modern Canned Goods and What to Make with Them, is currently available here. No more canning a bajillion jars of something and not knowing what to do with it because it isn’t just canning recipes, friends, although they are there in abundance! Each canning recipe has at least one corresponding recipe that uses what you canned.
And the canned goods aren’t your average pickle recipes either (though you can find pickle recipes here, here, and here); we’re talking about modern staples like chipotles in adobo, Asian pickled carrots, ginger lime marmalade, tikka masala meal starter, maple bourbon pecan pie filling, and so much more.
You may have seen me featured teaching mozzarella making at The Pioneer Woman’s ranch, in the Better Homes and Gardens 2013 special Canning edition, and much more.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dreamworks Animation, Land O’Lakes (hosting a Twitter party that trended globally), Kraft Foods, Homemadesimple.com, Captain Morgan Rum, the Pork Checkoff, Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Horizon Organic, Shenandoah Valley Organic, and many other brands.
Additionally, I work as a ballet and movement photographer specializing in quality classical ballet photography. Images have been used in a variety of local, national, and international print and online properties. A limited ballet imagery portfolio may be viewed.
I was sometimes joined by my beloved and fabulous culinary genius of a stepmother, Valerie. Together we were a step-daughter/step-mother team with a shared obsession for all things food-related. Val was born a New York State Resident and lived in the glorious U.P. and I was born a Yooper and live in the lovely Southern Tier of New York.
This bio was written by Valerie before her passing and I leave it here out of love and in memoriam:
Valerie has been a ‘foodie’ since well before they were given that label! There were two strong connections—one through the family, where her mother and grandmother, outstanding cooks and bakers, both—gave her a great foundation in basic American country home cooking, and the second, through her reading—food seemed to be a great way to explore connections with all these countries and cultures she would read about.
First attempt at “blanc mange” came after reading Little Women—successful in the taste department, but unfortunately it was also her “joy of food coloring” stage, so it was presented in a lovely shade of turquoise.
Follow-up attempts included Mexican, Jewish, French and Italian foods, inspired by some neighbors, and in later years all varieties of Chinese, Southeast Asian and Indian foods. Health concerns came later, leading to a segue into vegetarian, vegan and raw food areas.
She loves them all! Fortunately, so does her husband, Jim, who remains with her in an otherwise empty nest and supports all her forays into whatever culinary direction presents itself.
Cooks with a passion are her gurus. Julia Child is a definite hero—for her passion, her generosity, her overall love of life! And cooks who make cooking fun and approachable—Nigella is current top of the heap there!