Cooking Ripe! What’s this all about?

Some of the garden harvest. We better do something with those tomatoes and zucchinis right away!

Like I explained on the About page, I’m not a trained chef or master gardener, but I am a pretty good cook and gardener and I have learned some simple healthy cooking tricks that anyone can use. I subscribe to Thoreau’s philosophy of life: “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!” so that’s how I cook and garden (did I mention that I’m a former English teacher?). I hate tedious, fussy, complicated and expensive recipes. I love fresh, tasty, scratch cooking.

So you can expect to see those types of recipes here. While I do have some really good original recipes up my sleeve, most of my savory creations are inspired by other recipes and I’ll always give credit to the original recipe (if I remember where it came from). I would encourage you to try my recipes, but always feel free to put your own spin on it – that’s what makes cooking fun! Rules only apply to baking recipes – and I don’t bake all that often, so please don’t feel constrained to stick to my ingredient lists or my techniques. Use what you have on hand and add more or less of what you like or don’t. My recipes will be seasonal since I have to use what’s fresh!

I’m trying to make healthier recipes, but I DESPISE counting calories and points or weighing and measuring my food, so you won’t see me including that type of nutritional information here. By all means, if you want to figure it out and post it in the comments for others, have at it! I just prefer to use healthy ingredients and eat reasonable portions. When I give ingredient amounts, they will always be approximate values so you don’t have to be super precise with your measurements either.

By healthy ingredients, I mean that you won’t see me using much butter, heavy cream, mayo, white sugar or white flour or frying anything (well, maybe once in really long while to humor the Hubs). But, on the flip side, I don’t go crazy with the new fancy/super expensive healthier substitutions (rice flour, nutritional yeast, etc.) because I live in a fairly rural area and we just don’t have easy access to a lot of those ingredients. I don’t get to hang out at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but if you do and you have a suggestion for a fun and healthy substitution, please leave a comment to share with others. I will also include other ingredient options if it occurs to me that something else might be a good sub if I think of them as I create the dish. I try to stay away from packaged food, but do use a limited amount of commercially canned and packaged ingredients when I have to.

I am very focused on veggies right now, but that doesn’t mean I only do vegetarian dishes (the carnivore Hubs balks at the concept of “Meatless Monday”). We use mostly chicken and pork, but you will see the occasional beef or turkey dish. I also tend to be more interested in dinner-time dishes than other meals and I don’t bake or do dessert all that often (not because of the complicated techniques, but because I like to eat way too much at one sitting). I’m also learning to can my harvest and preserve anything that I can’t use right away because too many people are hungry to be wasting food!

Because I’m still learning and because the Hubs always has constructive criticism, I will also include a “Notes for next time” section at the end, explaining what I might try if I do this recipe again. I find it really helpful to track these notes to self so I will remember to try those tweaks the next time around.

And the posts that will be the most fun are the ones that will feature my friends and family. I am surrounded by excellent home cooks and gardeners, so it would be wrong not to include some of their deliciousness to this blog. This includes the Hubs, who doesn’t cook a lot, but has some great recipes he remembers from his mama and grandma.

So, I hope you enjoy the show and tune in often! If you want to receive an email when I send up a new post, click on the “Follow” button to the right.

Betsie

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