Who We Are

I’m Kirstjen…he’s Josh. We met in college at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul and married in October 2003 after three months of dating and a short engagement. Currently, Austin, Texas is our home where we love the warm weather, an abundance of outdoor activities, friendly people and delicious food.

the characters:

       Kirstjen – in my spare time I love to read, be outside, entertain friends in our home, and explore new areas of our town

       Josh – he works full time as a web programmer on the platform Magento; loves disc golf, camping and hiking, and playing with the boys

       Shane – social, energetic, has a love for all things active…sports with friends, using anything as a weapon, and parkouring my walls

       Bryan – very expressive, likes to make people laugh, runs everywhere he goes and a mirror personality to his older brother

       Erich – tender-hearted, happy and content, loves cars, planes and riding his tricycle – the sweetheart of the family

all photos by: Karen Feder Photography

how I arrived at a cooking blog

Assuming I live to be 100, I am a few years into the second quarter of my life. But, I really like butter and baked goods so there’s no guarantee on the number of years.

I became interested in cooking after Josh and I married in the fall of 2003. At one of our bridal showers a good friend of my mother-in-law gave us Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: Bridal Edition. I thanked her and put the book on a shelf in our first home, a little basement apartment with no heat…pretty sure they weren’t renting to us legally. A few months into our marriage the standard college fare we were used to sharing wasn’t really cutting it anymore.

I pulled the Betty Crocker book down one night and attempted to make a pot roast. The recipe calls for a thick slather of horseradish on the meat, which neither of us liked at the time. I was so skeptical and somewhat embarrassed to put dinner on the table that night. We loved it. Josh sang its praises and while eating leftovers the next day I knew we were onto something. There was more to meals at home than ramen and a pan-fried cheap cut of steak with white rice.  I had always loved good food, new foods, and untraditional ways of eating them, I just didn’t cook it for myself or anyone else.

I’m also prone to love books and reading. At a very young age I started devouring books. My dad even began “family nerd night” and (don’t ever tell him) I loved it. The four of us would load into the car on a Friday evening and we’d go to the library. Yes, the library. Not the movie theater, or a friends’ house or shopping. The library, which in that day wasn’t the fun zone they are now with toys, comfy chairs and loads of computers. We’d spend an hour or two each on our own. Often I would first pick out the books I wanted to check out and then spend my time reading magazines that I didn’t have access to elsewhere…mostly the teen variety with tips on tight rolling jeans and teasing your hair.

This predisposition caused me to read the Betty Crocker book. I read almost every word and loved it. A new world was opening up to me. I began trying more and more recipes and in the years since my cookbook collection has grown exponentially. I’ve only had one failed recipe from the Crocker book – a bisquick coffee cake; to us it was not tasty, but I never really liked bisquick anyway – and it is still my go-to book for many basic recipes and quick information about cooking techniques or foods.

When I read that former White House chef Walter Scheib has a personal collection of over 1,000 cookbooks I was awed and now have a goal in life. I kid – mostly. Josh reacted like most humans would with a “what in the world would someone do with all those” followed by a “don’t you try to get that many!” My personal collection is growing and my wish list is long, very long.

I love to cook and bake. And when I’m purchasing a new cookbook I sometimes research it to death. Bookstore reviews (most of the time) only go so far and sometimes the author hasn’t even tried a recipe. In this space we are going to try many recipes from a book, share thoughts about the aesthetics, techniques and more, author interviews and more. And mostly, use it for real life – family weeknight dinners, sharing a meal with friends, that quick sweet tooth craving and more.

We hope you enjoy!