When we first found this week's Featured Friday blogger, we were confused by the title...how can someone be married AND single? Well, after reading Michelle's stories of raising two girls while her husband was deployed, we got it.
Not only is her story inspiring, she blogs about food too! Sharing recipes from her own stash as well as some from our books and other places, she's always got something tasty on the table.
We asked her to share a little bit about her life...here's what she had to say.
Tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live.
Well, according to our tax forms I am a Domestic Engineer. One year while having our taxes done I didn’t appreciate the way the tax preparer called me just a housewife. It was the tone of his voice more than the word. I objected to him writing that down as my occupation. Since my previous career was in the engineering field Domestic Engineer seemed more fitting. It wasn’t until we had our taxes done the following year that we found out he actually wrote it down as my occupation.
I love being a SAHM and taking care of my family. I enjoy cooking, but baking is my way to de-stress and relax. Right now I’m in holiday planning mode. I am known for my Christmas cookie trays and the variety I make. I have already picked out the top 25 cookie recipes and I’m in the process of making out the final list and baking order. Some of my other interest include blogging, web design, digital photography and gardening.
Our family lives in Central Pennsylvania, in a little coal town surrounded by mountains. It is absolutely beautiful here during Autumn with all the changing leaves. My husband is my best friend and an amazing man. Christopher is currently an Army ROTC Instructor and in the PA National Guard. He has been deployed three times and will again in 2011. I could never do what he does. We have two daughters, Haillie and Abby. Haillie is fourteen and a freshman in high school. She plays flute and is a very talented digital artist. Abby is eleven and in the sixth grade. She is our social butterfly and has an eye for photography. They are my taste testers and harshest food critics.
What originally inspired you to start blogging?
Family. I started my first blog to keep family members updated on what we were doing and to share photos of our girls. It was back in the day of dial-up and html coding. I remember clicking on the upload button and praying that the phone didn’t ring, making me lose my internet connection. Over the years as my family has grown and changed so has my blog. When my kiddos no longer wanted to be blogged about I started posting recipes. Food is happy to be photographed, sits still and never objects. A food blog has been the perfect way for me to share, store and save my recipes. A quick search is all it takes to find the one I’m looking for. Long gone are my days of lost recipes that were written down on a scrap of paper and stuffed in a drawer.
Monday I will be celebrating my 10-year blogoversary!
As a busy mom of two girls, how do you carve out the time to write & share photos on your blog?
I sort of have a routine in place, plus I have the help of my family. While I’m menu planning for the following week I make draft posts of all of recipes I want to share. My camera is always on my kitchen counter or tripod ready to go. Sometimes while I’m setting up a plate for a photo my family jumps in with an idea for a better presentation. I love when they help me out. Then in the evening after the kitchen is cleaned up from dinner, homework is done and the house is calm I blog. At that point all I have do to is edit, add the photo and write about dinner and my day.
We love that you include our recipes on your blog. How did you first hear about our cookbooks?
I was shopping for Americana decorations in a cute little country craft store when I came across my first Gooseberry Patch cookbook. Meals In Minutes. A couple months later my daughter brought home a school fundraiser. Guess what she was selling? Gooseberry Patch cookbooks of course. I bought three more cookbooks. I love all the cookbooks but the Christmas ones are my favorite.
Flour! In my pantry you will usually find at least four bags on hand. I love to bake fresh breads, muffins, scones, pies, cakes & cookies.
Care to share a favorite recipe?
With this cool autumn weather I am always ready for a bowl of potato soup and a slice of homemade bread. This recipe has been a hit with family and friends. It’s actually three different recipes that I combined and tweaked to my liking. Absolutely delicious!
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
6 baked potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1/2 onion, diced
2/3 cup flour
4 cups heavy cream
4 cups chicken broth
10 pieces bacon, crumbled
1/3 cup chives
1 garlic clove, minced
8-oz. container sour cream
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Peel and cut the baked potatoes into medium sized chunks. Place butter and onions in a large pot and cook till onions are semi-clear. Pour the chicken broth into the pot with the onions. Warm broth and while it is heating mix milk with the flour, whisking till smooth. Whisk the milk/flour mixture into the heated broth, continuing to whisk till well blended and smooth. When soup has thickened add the potatoes, chives, salt, pepper, and garlic. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or till potatoes are heated through. Finally mix in the sour cream and Cheddar cheese until melted and well blended. Sprinkle with bacon when ready to serve.
Aside from family and friends, what are 5 things you just can't live without?
2. Mocha Jo – She is my fur baby and goes almost everywhere with me.
3. Laptop – I am addicted to the internet.
4. Cookbooks – Give me a cup of tea, a blanket and I’m snuggled on the couch reading them like a novel. I get so excited when I get a new cookbook.
5. Digital Camera – I love the freedom of being able to take a hundred pictures to get that one great one.
Tell us something that no one would guess about you.
This one is a tough one because the one thing that comes to my mind is so embarrassing. I am a HUGE Twilight fan. It’s getting to the point that an intervention may be required. We original bought the books for our oldest daughter. Then when the first movie came out I rented it for her. She was not a fan of the books and had no interest in watching the movie. I decided to watch it myself before sending it back. I was hooked. Within the following six days I had read all the books. I’m currently reading the series again for the umpteenth time. Team Edward all the way!
Thanks for taking time to share with us, Michelle...we always look forward to what you're cooking up in the kitchen and hearing updates on the girls too. Keep up the great work and thank Christopher for his service in the military for us, would you?
Be sure to check out Married/Single Parent today...Michelle's sure to be making something yummy!