Today Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations turns the big 1-0!! Ten years of sharing recipes from my kitchen - I can't believe it!
It's funny to think back on how much has changed in ten years both with this blog and with me personally. When I look back through the blog year by year I can remember things happening in my life by the way I was cooking and the food I would make. Kind of like when you hear an old song and it brings back a memory. My food brings back so many memories of times in my life. Oh how things have changed! Ten years ago we were both in our early 30s -
Ten years ago I had never cooked risotto. I had never baked something that didn't come in a box. Believe it or not, I had never worked with bone-in chicken (except that one time I made chicken soup from scratch in high school). There were so many dishes and ingredients I hadn't heard of, or wasn't brave enough to try. I (thought) I loathed mushrooms and blue cheese and eggs. Things like homemade tomato sauce, pan sauces, homemade frosting and whipped cream did not exist in my kitchen. And my knife skills? None. I still used to put my index finger along the top of my cheap knives.
But then after being married for about three years, I took an interest in cooking, mostly because both my husband and I were getting sick of tacos, stuffed peppers, pepper steak, and cheese nip chicken. Sadly, that's about all we ate when we were both home... Thank goodness for work travel!
When I first jumped into really cooking, I immediately discovered that I did not enjoy measuring and preferred to go by taste, look, and smell. I soon started to read recipes and decide what I'd change before even trying the recipe. I had some failures and some successes, and learned a LOT along the way. Weekly I was trying at least 2-3 new recipes, and Saturday nights were dedicated to date nights at home where we'd cook something new and fancy together (yes, my husband is an awesome cook and loves being in the kitchen whenever he can!). I don't think we ate the same thing more than twice for at least 2 years because I was in love with experimenting and creating new recipes. That is when I decided to start this blog - it was really just a way to keep track of recipes. I had no idea where it would take me.
During those first few years, favorites were discovered and put on rotation, however I never lost that love of creating new recipes. Over the years my food has evolved to suit our lifestyle, and these days, instead of spending hours on one recipe, I focus a lot more meals to feed my family. Although every now and then I do get a full day in the kitchen and love it!!
Writing this blog has taught me and brought me so much more than just cooking.
Entertaining and planning menus is one of my favorite things to do. I love sitting with my notebook writing out ideas and I totally appreciate that my husband lets me run them by him a million times. Luckily he enjoys it too, and we love creating holiday menus together. We often start talking about Christmas months before the big day!
Photography has also become a hobby of mine. I know I still have a lot to learn and hope to find the time to take some classes soon, but on my own I can see much improvement. Those early food pics were pretty homely, as my husband would say! (so please, as I share some old recipes below, be mindful of that :)
And finally, it's crazy to think that I wasn't even on Facebook when I started this blog. There was no such thing as Twitter, Instagram, Yummly, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc. I could go on and on! It has been fun connecting with people through those platforms and learning the best ways to use them to connect with all of you (and meanwhile my 6 year old sees a logo and knows what social media platform it belongs to - it's like second nature to them!).