I’m a married mom to three boys who love to eat which is great because I love to cook.  We live in Northern Indiana where summers on the lake are amazing and winters in the house suck big time.  I get through the winter months by cooking for my family and friends, I like to cook with what’s in season so I can get my hands on the freshest ingredients, in the winter I live in the kitchen but when temps warm up I’m all about grilling and also creating dishes that don’t require any heat.

I’m all about that taste…but I’m also all about those skinny jeans so my goal is to accomplish one without sacrificing the other.  It’s very easy to make healthier versions of traditionally non-healthy food, you just have to know what you can substitute without screwing up the deliciousness.  It is a crime to eat bad tasting food, in my opinion.  My other rule of thumb when cooking is to simplify, I’m not into making a meal that has me running around the kitchen sweating profusely because I’m stressed about the complexity of a recipe…that does not sound like a fun time.  I also have a day job and kids who are very involved in extracurricular activities so time is always of the essence.

About those kids, I have three boys who are my toughest critics and they’ve gotten pretty attuned to what good tastes like.  Forget food critics, if a 4 year old likes your vegan split pea soup…you’ve got a winner of a recipe on your hands.

I’m not a vegan, or a vegetarian, I don’t eat paleo, or gluten-free, or follow any other restrictive diet.  Some people need to follow a certain diet due to allergies or intolerances but fortunately I don’t have any of those medical conditions.

I do prefer to eat more vegetables and less meat.  I have followed a vegetarian and sometimes vegan diet for extended periods of time in the past but now I just stick to eating lots of vegetables and grains, some lean meat (turkey mostly) and seafood…I freaking love seafood.

My biggest concern these days is making sure I’m making food that is real.  “Real Food” has become sort of the catch phrase these days for healthy eating, and I’m on the bandwagon!  Sixty years ago people would have been totally confused by this term, back then it was just “food”.  But we humans in our never ending quest for innovation (and bigger profits) have made the term “real food” a necessary part of the food conversation.

I’ve been a habitual label reader for years but companies can get pretty creative when listing ingredients.  My advice…Make what you can from scratch (it’s not that hard I promise!) and know where your food came from. Wow, I’m getting a little preachy here…let me reign myself in.  I can’t tell you that I don’t occasionally eat an Oreo or a piece of birthday cake from the Target Bakery (just don’t look at the label if you decide to do that).  I am not a purest, it’s just not in my nature…if I was I would probably still be a vegan.  I buy organic meat at whole foods but my kids eat fast food chicken once in a while and I’m okay with that.

Bottom line, this is a judge free blog…I’m not into scolding people (unless you’re texting and driving).  If some of these recipes inspire you to cook at home instead of hitting the drive through then I think that’s great, not that there’s anything wrong with the occasional drive through dinner…McDonald’s fries are freaking good.


The Good Cooker