You'll love the genuine warmth and heart that comes through in Brandie's posts, and the recipes she shares...wow! They're just the kinds of dishes you'd expect to see in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook and we're always delighted to see what Brandie's cookin' these days.
We're so excited to feature...
Brandie's blog is so fun to read and her tone is perpetually positive (even when she's having a bad day). She always makes us smile with the stories that go along with her recipes and they're truly what keep us coming back to visit...not to mention handy recipe secrets like this one!
We asked Brandie to answer some questions for Featured Friday and give us a little peek behind the scenes...here's what she had to say.
Tell us about yourself, your family and where you live.
My name is Brandie Skibinski. I grew up as a Navy brat (that’s what they call us military kids) in Norfolk, Virginia. Eventually, I married a Navy man. My husband is out of the military now and we live in beautiful Southwest Virginia, near the Appalachian mountains.
I'm a proud Virginian and I like to soak up Virginia's history and heritage. My husband and I have been married for 14 years. We have been blessed with two beautiful children. I'm the stepmom to Zackary, who is 19 years old, plays lacrosse and is in his first year of college.
My baby, Alex, is 5 years old and is beginning to share his Momma's passion for cooking and baking (mainly so he can lick the bowls). There are perks, after all, to helping Mom in the kitchen.
How did you get your start in the kitchen?
When I was a kid, I loved to put together food. I can remember the first thing I ever learned to cook properly was a fried egg. Then I moved up to crepes filled with grape jelly and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I was 12 and apparently I thought that was very gourmet. What can I say, my Mom indulged me.
As I got older, she trusted me more and more in the kitchen and taught me how to use all the appliances. She often worked late at her job so I was happy to take on the role as family cook some nights. I became the master of overdone spaghetti noodles. But my family (God love ‘em) ate everything I made without complaint.
After I grew up and left the nest, I got busy with work and life and for many years I didn't cook much at all. Then, when my youngest son was born, I was able to stay at home with him for a couple of years and I began to reacquaint myself with my kitchen and my love of cooking. The passion was reborn.
What was your inspiration to start your blog?
My husband and friends were very encouraging. They really thought I should give it a shot. I was a bit skeptical because I figured I would just be writing this blog for about 10 people to read.
The more I started thinking about it, the more I realized that I wanted to keep track of my recipes and my family’s recipes for future generations. I realized it would be completely okay if I just did this for myself and for my family and friends.
It was a way for me to not just share a list of ingredients and directions, but to share the story behind those recipes. We all have family traditions and family recipes. No matter how humble or how simple the ingredients and recipes may be, they are ours and we owe it to our kids to pass on that legacy.
What's the best thing to happen since starting your blog?
Finding out that we are all more alike than we are different. I just love to hear folks say how their Mom or Grandma made something exactly the way my family makes it. And just hearing other peoples stories and memories.
Our lives are so entwined with food and meal time. It’s not just recipes we are passing on, it’s memories as well. So connecting with people on that level has been truly special and amazing.
Quick! You have 30 minutes to put dinner on the table...what do you fix?
I read this question to my husband and his knee-jerk response was to answer, “Definitely Chicken Philly Sandwiches”. Now if y’all knew my husband better, this would come as no surprise.
If I don’t have time to whip up a roast and potatoes, he will always go for the chicken. He’s from the Midwest, and a meal just isn’t a meal without some sort of meat. Heaven forbid if I just hand him a bowl of beans and cornbread.
Absolutely! My favorite recipe is one of the first recipes I posted on my blog. And believe it or not, I have made friends because of these pork chops. Pork, it’s a beautiful thing.
If you could design your ideal kitchen, what would be in it?
That answer is easy – more counter space. I have so little counter space right now. I don’t care if the kitchen is 100 years old, give me counters and I’ll be a happy woman.
Oh, and enough room to put a big ole farm table in there so that I can cook for my family and have plenty of room for everyone to be right in there with me. The kitchen truly is the heart of any home.
Honestly, I can’t imagine myself being anywhere other than where I am right now. God has blessed me in abundance. I have a loving and supportive family, a roof over my head and food on my table each day. What more could a gal want?
Except for maybe a spa day and private cooking classes with Paula Deen. Hey, a girl can dream, right?
Tell us something that no one would guess about you.
I can pick up stuff with my toes. And it completely grosses my husband out. Sure, I could just bend down and pick something up with my hands but it's so handy to be able to do it with my toes instead. No bending or straining my back. Now if only I could pick up animals and small children - that would be really handy!
Thanks for sharing all your secret talents, Brandie, and thanks for taking part in our Featured Friday series today too! Your passion for food and the lasting legacy of recipes makes you a girl after our own hearts. We'll be reading to see what you cook up next!
We predict that you'll be visiting The Country Cook often...the tried & true recipes along the right side of the blog will get you started on her delicious dishes. Handy printable links on each one make it easy to add Brandie's family favorites to YOUR recipe box. Get your clickin' finger ready and be sure to stop by on Wednesdays for Brandie's regular Guest Blogger series too.
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