the joy of cooking for others

January 9th, 2013 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

I started this blog to catalog meals that I had made for my family.  Then I met an amazing client that changed my life and she had me cooking for her.  She broadened my vision of cooking in my life.  The understanding that food is more than just nourishment was not something new to me.  It has always been a source of comfort and joy sharing dinner with family and friends… but bringing that feeling to others was new.  Food, and I guess I can say my food, has allowed me to enter the lives of my clients and bring that joy into their homes.

I have been cooking for the past several months for another special client, someone who brought his food to all of us.  I originally met him back in the 60’s, a family friend.  I cannot begin to do justice to all his accomplishments, but he pioneered the fast food icon ” McDonald’s” with Ray Kroc.  I was fortunate to get to cook for him all the comfort foods we grew up eating.  I had a menu printed for each meal I would serve.  He loved a good soup, a great cut of meat, and always a special dessert.  I think his favorite meal was a piping hot chicken or beef pot pie… his eyes would light up and that smile and look of contentment I won’t easily forget.  That reaction is what makes cooking so worth the effort when you know someone is loving your food and it makes them feel good… it warmed my heart.  I printed my last menu for him this past Monday.  Fred Turner passed away surrounded by his loving family.  I will miss beyond words Fred’s smile, his clenched fist high five, his kind words about my meals, and the encouragement he gave me as a cook.  I ate my favorite meal at McDonald’s today in honor of Fred, comfort food I grew up with that will always bring good memories and a smile to my face.  Thank you, Fred.

 

 

Print Friendly

thanksgiving!

November 30th, 2012 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

I want to recap what a wonderful day Thanksgiving was for me.  First was my eldest son’s birthday so it is always a special day.  We have a large but not too large group of family and friends.   I had 23 this year and set up three tables so everyone had room to eat and expand.  For me just getting the tables set makes me feel like I’m on my way.

We all cook… the week prior we divide up the dishes and everyone brings two items.  The younger twenty something crowd this year brought all the liquid libations, thanks to my youngest son Josh for organizing.  They set up the bar with soda, beer, wine, vodka… I could go on and on, but the best addition was the pumpkin martinis courtesy of my nephew Alex.  I am so glad we put that crowd in charge.  Our cousins Abby and Kyle actually co-host this holiday.  They fry everything for this amazing feast.. .turkey, shrimp, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, onions… anything we can think of goes into the fryer.  It is a big job and Kyle sets this up with the skill of a surgeon.  Abby is his sous chef and works on all the prep getting every item covered in an amazing sauce.  I am beyond grateful for all the work they both do each Thanksgiving.  Abby also brought individual twice baked sweet potatoes that were beyond scrumptious.  She also baked brownies and a beautiful delicious pumpkin pie.  My sister in law’s cranberries were great!  My brother in law Ron was a huge help bringing two different dressing and delicious veggie sides.  Our cousin Annie always brings the Jello that comes out wonderful and this year was no exception even though she didn’t have a kitchen.  Another cousin Amy brought an array of anti-pasta items that were devoured prior to the feast.  Aunt Lou added crab rangoon from Costco that were gone in a minute, and I do mean THAT fast.  My job was the inside turkey, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, corn pudding, apple crisp pie, and pumpkin pie.  My husband is the clean-up crew and I am so thankful he doesn’t mind getting his hands soaked and standing over that sink clearing, washing, and drying.  Kyle the fryer cook also pitched in helping get those casserole dishes, platters, and pans clean and ready to take home.  My son and his roommate were helpers extraordinaire.  If I needed anything, a simple request, it was done.  They were up and down the stairs, in and out of the house, cleaning up, helping me move furniture, anything at all we needed they were available.  Thank you!!!

I love this holiday… it brings back memories of being with family, of mountains of food, a day of grazing, football games, and getting back in touch.  It is great to get to see the college kids’ home and a gift to have their friends come too.  We have several generations and that also makes the day special.  I am grateful the house is cleaned up, everyone is safely back home, and I have a fridge full of delicious leftovers.  I won’t share what I had for breakfast.  I was so busy I didn’t get that many pictures but I am sharing what I have.  Thanks to my family for making this a very special Thanksgiving!

 

 

Print Friendly

fall is here!

October 18th, 2012 | Posted by Pam in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

I’m not sure why I am such a fan of fall.  It does represent the end of summer and the start of winter.  Maybe it’s the cool crisp air that I love or possibly the spectacular colors that fill my senses with awe.  I will never tire of looking up at those gorgeous trees.  I love the contrast of colors and each day a new surprise awaits my eyes.  As for cooking this time of year, there are so many choices.  I want comfort food, hearty soups & sandwiches, roasts, and pastas. I love using up the last of the garden veggies.  I cannot get enough apple desserts, pies, crisps, crostatas, cakes, and caramel apples.  So bear with me as I navigate through fall.  Did I mention my love of anything pumpkin!  A walk in the woods, the smell of fallen leaves… coming home to a house filled with good food and friends, there is really nothing better.

 

Print Friendly

walk in the woods

October 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

Early morning and the weather is crisp and cool.  It’s the perfect time to take a walk in the woods.  I love looking up at the tree tops, taking a deep breath of fresh air and being grateful for a glorious day!  Nothing better than a walk in the woods to clear your head, awaken your senses, and make you realize how beautiful the world is!

 

 

 

Print Friendly

summer cooking

July 16th, 2012 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

Summer cooking has another feel and taste.  The availability of fresh locally grown produce defines my cooking style and menu.  My favorite early morning adventure in food is visiting the local farmer’s markets.  I am always overwhelmed by the amazing variety of fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits.  Most of the recipes I have recently posted are inspired by my market finds.  My meals are always a mixture of fresh ingredients newly purchased and ready for tasting!  When making summer protein it’s all about grilling.  Whether it’s a burger, chicken, or fish… I am grilling!  My latest favorite great tasting inexpensive meat is boneless, skinless chicken thighs, marinated or barbecued & grilled.  This is the easiest meal ever and goes with all your fresh veggies.  I also can’t get enough of grilled stone fruit.  Take a fresh peach, cut it in half cutting out the pit, and drizzle with a bit of maple syrup or brown sugar.  The peaches are sweet and bursting with flavor.  The grilling process enhances this wonderful fruit.  When it’s hot we don’t want to eat heavy foods so making your meal simple but tasty is the answer.

 

Print Friendly

I was just visiting my sister in Charlotte, NC and we had a great time cooking together.  She actually did most of the cooking, as it was my vacation.  My brother in law Denny has a gift for choosing the perfect wine to accompany every meal without breaking the bank.  It is such a pleasure to have someone pick a great wine for a wonderful meal.  I talked my brother into writing a section of this blog devoted to wine.  It is our goal to have you enjoy wine with your meal and venture into value wines that are affordable without sacrificing taste.  Meet Denny “The Wine Buddy”, I have a feeling you will be tuning into the blog more and more due to “The Wine Buddy”.  I will continue to add recipes, products, table dressings, and places to go that are easy, interesting, and mostly healthy with the ultimate purpose of bringing your family and friends to your table.

– Pam

 

THE WINE BUDDY

Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to share my passion about wine with all of you.  When I say “passion” I am referring to all aspects of what goes into the final product that so many of us enjoy, from the growing of the grapes, to the climates they grow in, and to the art and craft of making wine.

My goal is to make you aware of value wines, those every day wines that don’t break the bank but offer a high quality to price ratio, along with the special occasion wines that might cost a bit more, but are worth the price.  And, the good news is… I don’t mean that you have to spend over $40 for a special occasion wine.  There are many wines below that price point that are absolutely delicious.

My love for wine began about 15 years ago in 1997, which coincidentally happened to be labeled as the vintage of the century in California and Italy.  Since that time I’ve accumulated wines that I have been able to cellar for several years along with buying my every day wines, which can be drunk immediately or held for 1-5 years.

I look forward to jumping in from time to time with excerpts that will enhance your wine buying and wine enjoyment experience.

Salute!

– Denny “The Wine Buddy”

 

Print Friendly

kitchen girl

March 27th, 2012 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

This is Callie, my dearest friend who is always with me whenever I am in the kitchen.  Her usual perch is under the kitchen table beyond the island, where she can get a good look at things but not be in the way.  Her eyes will follow me for hours as I cook and clean up, and cook and clean up.  She keeps me company and warms my heart as I try new ideas, revisit old recipes and listen to music.  I am a dog lover… meaning my dogs are family.  They fill my life with unconditional love, warmth, humor and free therapy!  I wanted you to meet my kitchen girl.

 

 

Print Friendly

welcome!

February 29th, 2012 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

Food is my passion.  My best memories are always centered around a table filled with family and friends enjoying a good meal and great times.  I have been a “sous” chef for my grandma, my mother, as well as my dad, and sister.  I have a wonderful group of friends who are amazing cooks that inspire me to try new things and venture out of my comfort zone.  I have recently started to cook for a client weekly and also for special dinner parties.  Cooking healthy and new interesting dishes on a weekly basis is what brought me to the conclusion I need to keep a diary, a book… a list at least of my best successes in the kitchen. Sometimes I am using my go to cookbooks or my favorite cooking magazines. I am usually changing things up or combining a couple of recipes that seem to suit my client. Other times I am lucky to have some family recipes and friends who love to share their food ideas.  My goal is to be a source of information including easy recipes, mostly healthy with the exception of some decadent desserts, and a source for new products that make cooking a meal easier and tastier.  Feasts should be what we all strive for in a meal whether it is simple or more complex… every meal should be special.  Flowers are just that… I am an avid container gardener and love making interesting arrangements for my home and clients.  So “Feast & Flowers” it is!

 

Print Friendly