Hi, I’m Teresa.
I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and over the years I have tried thousands of recipes. One of my goals with this blog is to try to get all the recipes from my cookbook online here. But when you have 600-800 recipes that you’ve used over the years it’s quite an involved process. I also love trying new recipes. I cook a lot….for family, for friends, for families in need of a meal at our church.
So I am constantly cooking, experimenting and trying new recipes. Part of that process is changing and transforming dull recipes into ones that shine. It also means creating recipes from scratch based on what you have on hand at the time. That’s a whole lot of fun. I would never classify myself as a gourmet cook or professional chef, even though I have done some catering over the years. I’m more of a down-home, southern-style kind of a cook. That doesn’t mean that I don’t experiment with dreamy desserts (because I do), but there are certain combinations and styles of cooking that I really love to cook.
As I’ve gotten more into healthy cooking over the last few years, my palate has increased and expanded and I’m enjoying a wide variety of foods, spices and seasonings. I hope to share all of those, plus my old-fashioned recipes with you in this blog. Enjoy.
Here are some pictures from our family album.
This is me on a trip near Apache Lake outside Phoenix, Arizona, in April, 2011.
This is me on a bike trip through the Grand Canyon in June 2011.
This is a picture of John and me taken in May 2014 at a local park where we live. We had just celebrated 36 years of marriage the month before.
This is a picture of us on a pontoon boat near Breckenridge, Colorado, with my sister and her family in Summer of 2006. My hair is shorter here. John won’t let me cut it any more. He was not happy when I was talked into getting it cut really short in 2005. Our running joke is I’m going to be a 90-year-old hag with gray hair down to my ankles!
Here’s a picture of John and me taken in our former home over the Christmas holidays in 2009.
This was the following month at the birth of our granddaughter, Eliana, January 2010.
This is Poppy with Eliana at our son’s home in Pennsylvania, January 2010.
This is a picture of Eliana on her first birthday in her home in Pennsylvania, January 2011.
These are our two boys, Jared and Jordan. The angle of the camera makes Jordan look several inches shorter than Jared, but actually they are about the same height. This was taken at Mimi Pownall’s home in Black Mountain, North Carolina. They had not seen the Pownalls since they were very young children. July 2012.
This is Jared and John at Texas Motorcross Speedway, August 2012.
This is Jordan and John after completing a 7k run at White Rock Lake, near Dallas, 2011.
This picture is Jordan completing a marathon at White Rock Lake in Dallas, 2011.
This is me after graduating from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, May 4, 2012 with a Master of Divinity degree. Dr. David Mills, my evangelism professor, is on the left. (Instead of wearing the traditional hat regalia, Southwestern professors wear cowboy hats instead).
This is a shot of me (on the right) with our pastor’s wife, Bev Simmons when we worked Frontier Days in July 2010. On Thursdays everyone wears pink in honor of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation during Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Jordan, my younger son, is married to Candice.
Here’s another picture.
Here’s a picture of Jordan and Candice with Eliana before Canaan came along. Summer 2010.
This is a picture of my grandbabies, Eliana and Canaan. Summer 2013.
Here’s one more. Summer 2013.
And now to blog stuff and why I’m writing this blog……..
Here’s a picture of my cookbook. Over 300 pages with an average of 2 or 3 recipes per page. I learned the hard way to put each page in plastic sheet protectors to protect pages from spills and foods getting all over them.
The Recipes Tab:
So, I’m going to start with what I have pictures for and then slowly, methodically go through each section and begin making many of my favorite recipes again, take more pictures and post them so others can enjoy them, too. Where I know the origins of a recipe (or a picture) I will reference them. However, some of these recipes are old and I really can’t remember what magazine I got the original recipe from. Also, most of the recipes came from individuals and I didn’t cross-examine them to discover where they obtained the recipe! So in the interest of full disclosure I will do the best I can and give credit where I know it.
Here’s a meal I prepared for company in late June 2012. Clockwise from left: Strawberry Twinkie Dessert, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots and Cheese, Fried Zucchini, Greek Salad, Watermelon, My Favorite Lasagna, Butternut squash Bake, and Broccoli Bread. You can see the poor quality of the pictures I posted when I first began my blog. 🙁 I’ve been systematically going through all my older recipes and remaking them and taking new pictures so you can have a better appreciation for what each recipe is supposed to look like. I’ve remade all these recipes so they have new photos (circa 2014).
One of the things I love and enjoy most is preparing meals for others. Whether they are guests in our home or whether I am taking a meal because of sickness, a new baby, moving or bereavement I love blessing other people with food. I’m not sure why it gives me so much joy except that it is so easy for me to throw something together on the spur of the moment (even better if I have 24-hours notice) and it can really be a comfort to a family going through stressful times.
For some this would be a real chore, but I have so many recipes rumbling around in my head that I know in the spur of a moment whether I have the ingredients on hand or not to make something. It also helps to have made so many of these recipes multiple times that I know them by heart. I don’t get flustered in the kitchen trying to get things coordinated and timed perfectly like I did when we first got married and I didn’t know squat about cooking. Cooking meals and having a ministry of hospitality isn’t easy for everybody, but thankfully, God has made it easy for me.
While cooking and hospitality can be spiritual gifts from God they can also be learned skills. In my case, I’ve had to learn how to be hospitable. My parents rarely had people over for dinner and except for family reunions we never ate with other people. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a household where his parents entertained all the time — both family and friends. I learned first hand from my mother-in-law what it was like to show hospitality to others. She did it with grace and aplomb and she worked full-time until retirement (sometimes 60-70 hours per week) back in the days of “Leave it to Beaver” when everyone seemed to be a stay-at-home mom, and still managed to be hospitable to others.
So, shortly after we married, John wanted us to start having company over. It was with great trepidation that I started out. There were very few things that I could cook in those days. I think the desserts I made in those days were limited to a few pie recipes given to me by my mom: strawberry cream pie, apple, custard, and pumpkin pies which I made very infrequently. And even though the pie crust was homemade (I’m not sure there were pre-made pie shells in those days), I assure you my pie crusts were nothing to rave about. My casserole repertoire was limited to the traditional Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole. I didn’t even know how to make mashed potatoes much less gravy. I had a meat loaf recipe that was really good that a friend gave me and I still use, and a few recipes that I had experimented with from the Fannie Farmer cookbook that my sister gave me when I moved into my first apartment and that’s about it!
The first couple of years we were married my husband cooked all the meat because I didn’t know how to do it. Whenever we went to potlucks or someone’s for dinner I always asked for recipes and slowly but surely I started trying these recipes and learned how to cook. My mother-in-law was the inspiration for a hospitality ministry, but my husband was the one who gave me confidence to try cooking to begin with (I am not a risk-taker!). One more person was important in my journey of cooking and hospitality. Bonnie Rodriguez was the one who mentored me spiritually in those early days of becoming a Christian, but she also mentored me with regard to hospitality and a love–not fear–of cooking because she tried out lots of recipes on us. Many of these are in my cookbook today.
Bonnie and Ray became our friends almost from the first day we joined First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo, Florida in the late 70s. They had moved to Florida for Ray’s job with GE and they were away from all their family so their church family became their family. Fortunately, we were some of the ones they lavished their love upon as they had us over to their home for lots of wonderful meals. I watched Bonnie prepare delicious food almost effortlessly, never becoming rattled, and she showed us the importance of hospitality being about relationships rather than the food itself. I still remember her Hawaiian Chicken, Glorified Pork Chops, Chicken Salad Casserole, Apricot Jello Salad and Pink Salad (a fluffy cherry salad) and and a number of casseroles with biscuit toppings and continue to make those and other recipes I gleaned from her. Gradually I gained confidence in cooking and began experimenting so that in a few years I became a pretty decent cook. Then we started entertaining and having company over on a regular basis.
My hospitality ministry branched out to bringing meals to others after two occurrences. First, after the birth of our first child, Debbie Rambaum, a neighbor across the street, brought us a meal the day we brought our son home from the hospital. Beef Stroganoff, noodles, corn, salad and some of Debbie’s delicious chocolate chip cookies. Yummy! We were so touched by that act of kindness. We did not know the Rambaums all that well at the time so it was really special. The second incident occurred when we moved to New England in January 1990 in the dead of winter with snow on the ground and two small children in tow. We were moving all of our worldly goods into a new home – we had to go up and down 3 flights of stairs to unload boxes since we had 2 stories and a basement and we were exhausted. Then, who showed up but the wonderful, bubbly, effervescent, Marge Currin, the wife of the executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England. She brought us a delicious, hot, home-cooked meal of Calico Baked Beans, Tossed Green Salad, and a Lemon Poundcake. We never expected such a thoughtful or generous gesture, but we were so grateful and appreciative of her kindness in thinking about us and meeting a need for food that day.
It was shortly after that when I realized the potential of taking meals to people in situations when they would be really needed or appreciated. As the years went by I began looking for opportunities to take meals to people. I would be talking with folks, find out what they were going through at the time, and ask if they could use a meal. Very few have ever turned me down. Usually people are pleasantly, even shockingly surprised you want to do this for them. Especially if you don’t know them really well. This is just one tiny way God has chosen to bless us and allow us to bless others through the years. We are grateful for the opportunities to serve others in this way.
The Gluten Free Living Tab:
In August 2009 I decided to make some major changes to my diet and exercise regime. I lost about 50 pounds by eliminating most of the sugar, breads, and unhealthy eating habits I grew up with. I’m going to share tips on healthy eating and what I’ve found to be successful in this section. I’ve also created a page and whole section of gluten free recipes. While I don’t cook exclusively gluten free, I do try to prepare clean eating recipes a lot. So there is a large selection of clean eating, paleo, vegan and gluten free recipes among all the other things I share. I currently (September 2014) have over 300 gluten free recipes posted on this blog. There’s everything from soups to desserts, side dishes to salads, and main dishes to appetizers that fall into gluten free categories. Some are healthy AND gluten free. Others are gluten free but not necessarily healthy!
In an effort to keep my blog basically about food and recipes, I’ve deleted the posts dealing with awards, crafts, thriftshopping, biking and exercise. While I at one time had posts catering to those areas, I’ve chosen to make this blog about food and cooking.
Here I am, circa May 2014. The hair keeps evolving, but I’m pretty much the same as I was 30 or 40 years ago. 🙂
UPDATE ABOUT CAN’T STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN:
In September 2013, I realized my pictures were loading too slowly and many of the pictures needed updating, resizing and photo editing. I also needed to add a recipe card to each post. I have been systematically going through all (almost 900) recipes trying to do that. I appreciate your patience because it takes me about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to do each post! I worked on this project approximately 40 hours per week for 15 months before finally finishing in December 2014. All the posts that I’ve completed look much more attractive, download in about 5-7 seconds, and have a recipe card with an easy print-friendly option. I’ve done this to help my blog become more user-friendly and eye-appealing to those who follow it. I hope you enjoy looking through the archives and find recipes that will please your family.