In the Kitchen

strawberries

Food is such an integral part of my life. At the age of three, I loved watching PBS cooking shows on our 13 inch black and white television.

That soon blossomed into watching and helping my parents in the kitchen. My earliest memories of cooking with my dad were making fried rice in a big wok, helping my mom make fried cinnamon apples, and stirring hot spaghetti sauce.

By the age of 8, I could make a salad complete with a variety of chopped vegetables without any help from an adult. Had Master Chef Kids been around, I'd have been the perfect candidate.

My parents obviously trusted me to wield knives at an early age and it never occurred to me that I should be doing anything else. Cooking came as naturally to me as walking, or breathing.

In high school, I'd beg my mom to invite people over so I could cook and serve gourmet three course meals. You better believe I'd try to cook just about anything.

Later on down the road, my brother and his fiance asked if I'd make their wedding cake. While extremely flattered, I'd never before baked a big cake, or new anything about cake decorating. It was a mere speed bump and after several weeks of cake decorating classes, I managed to produce a beautiful cake that tasted as good as it looked.

This led to making my own wedding cake, my husband's sister's cake, and a few more.

Now I have several big bins in storage full of cake pans and decorating tools.

With the addition of each child in our home, my artistic cooking style suffered more and more.

I'm now in the phase of my life I like to call SURVIVAL. I cook to feed 6 people, not so much for fun. Often I "make" foods that make me cringe.

It is just that, a phase. I love to cook great food but do it in a more simplified fashion now.

Despite the statistics that promote always eating together as a family, my husband and I will often eat something fancier after the children go to bed.

My current favorite cuisines are Indian and Mexican. Both use a plethora of flavors and colors and happen to be fairly easy and affordable to make.

My spice pantry is bursting at the seams and I LOVE IT. Bring on the spice!

Crock Pot Beef Barley Stew

December 5, 2015
Serves 6 People
Equipment
Slow Cooker
Prep time
5m
Cook Time
8m

My friend Jen blessed me with pages of family friendly freezer meals. This one was the easiest freezer meal I have ever assembled. It took about 5 minutes to get everything in the bag and put it in the freezer. The only thing I have to do the day we eat it is add uncooked barley.

Barley, by the way, is a great grain to use to stretch the meal, especially if you are low on meat.