Measuring SpoonsMy name is Jo, and I love to cook.  Even though I cook and bake all the time, I’m always learning something new.  I love to eat healthy, but sometimes my idea of healthy gets carried away, and I have to get back to what my husband likes to call “real people food.” So although you will find no Splenda for baking here, and the mere suggestion of an egg substitute would get me kicked off the island, you can trust that I won’t ask you to try something unless it’s really good for you and/or also really good!  I like to focus on whole foods, made from scratch.  I firmly believe that love is the absolute best ingredient.

I used to be scared of cooking.  Baking was so much safer–all you had to do was follow the recipe, set the oven at precisely the right temperature, and then pull it out when the timer beeped and the toothpick came out clean.  Cooking was a much stranger beast.  I mean, there were so many variables!  Spices, methods, cooking times…You could cook on a barbecue, you could broil it, you could pan fry, sear, saute.  You could add 1 tbsp of dried basil or you could cut up fresh basil leaves.  You could add red pepper, which also happened to be called cayenne, etc, etc, etc!  I always felt overwhelmed, and I never really got a lot of direction from anyone.  My mother’s favorite phrase was “till it looks right,” and my husband thinks that timers are for sissies.  My room-mate even banned me from the kitchen when I was trying to teach myself to cook.  (The final straw, I think, was the third pot of burnt rice accompanied by charcoal briquettes that had started out as pork.  He told me I could bake to my heart’s content, but other than that, leave well enough alone).  Much later I found out that most of what confused me was that so many things were called by multiple names.  Go figure.

Now that I know recipes are more like guidelines, I use them as inspiration.  Kitchen experiments are really exciting, and they foster my non-artsy/crafty but still creative side.  So when I try a recipe I generally don’t follow it exactly, and I hope that when you try my recipes you go at it with the same idea.

I won’t always talk about food though. I have the incredible fortune to live in a place (Missoula, MT) that fosters creativity and community, and sometimes I’ll talk about that.   Sometimes I’ll talk about the challenges and rewards of having a family and a life in progress.  Sometimes I’ll talk about bruising my toenails in ballet rehearsals or skinning my knees in modern class.  You never know!  This place is a sounding board for me, so feel free to stop by and shoot the breeze, have some coffee, and stop and smell the cookies.

Photos:
You’ll notice that the quality of pictures fluctuates from post to post, and sometimes even within a post! I’m not a photographer, I generally don’t know how to use my camera, but I sure do try.  I use a Cannon Rebel XTI with a 50 mm lense.  It’s super awesome, but I’m still learning how to use it properly.
I really like using photos I take myself a) because it proves that I’ve actually tested and tasted the recipes I’m using and b) even though other people take nicer pictures, I’m a stickler for citing my sources, and I’m just too lazy for all that hassle.

I love to hear from you (it really does make my day), so feel free to contact me at mommajo28 at gmail dot com.

See ya in the kitchen!