Cook Happy       ​cook often, cook happy

My interest in food and cooking began when I was young.   I remember cooking meals for my family at 12,  I loved the idea of being in the kitchen as it is the center and heart of the home.  My first job was at a restaurant at age 16 and as difficult as it was, I was hooked.  I attended the Culinary Institute of America to train as a chef back when there were very few women in the school and in professional kitchens.  I continued to cook in restaurant kitchens all over the United States for 20 years.  Early in my career I worked at Whole Foods Market and began my journey cooking fresh unprocessed foods. I continued my education in Nutrition at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition and I am also registered with the American Dietetic Association as a DTR.  I have clinical experience working in pediatric and adult nutrition. I am a founding member of Growing Great Schools in West Hartford CT,  a non profit organization dedicated to creating a culture of wellness in our schools and community.  


I have been teaching cooking classes for children and adults through Cooking Matters in Hartford, Hartford Food Systems, Glastonbury adult education, Whole Foods Market and the Family Resource Center at Charter Oak and Smith Elementary Schools in West Hartford.  I also have lead a culinary kids summer camp.  


I believe in having fun in the kitchen and enjoying any time you spend creating meals for yourself and your friends and family.  Planning and confidence will help take the stress out of preparing and put the joy into dinner time.  Come take a class and I will help you to unwind from the stress of cooking and show you simple, effective, and fun ways to incorporate your lifestyle into become a comfortable and successful at home cook.  You and your family will eat better, feel better, and have more fun in and around the kitchen.






“People who cook, eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought,”

Michael Polla

If you cook for yourself and your family you will be healthier, what a concept!  In our culture where we are rushing to every meeting and/or after school activity cooking has become outsourced to our local fast restaurants or take  out from the grocery store.  With some planning and preparation you can make delicious healthful meals quickly.  You can also learn how to make meals that double as school or work lunches, or a dinner on the run.

A COOK’S BEST FRIEND
If you buy only one kitchen tool this month, make it a good knife. Experts recommend knives that weigh at least 7 ounces or more. After that, what matters most is how well it fits your hand. Most cooks find molded plastic handles comfortable. 

PUT THESE ON YOUR SHOPPING LIST 

For most cooking and baking, regular ingredients are fine. There are a few items worth splurging on and pay off in flavor and quality. These include quality baking chocolate, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, pure vanilla, prosciutto and cheese. The difference in taste is remarkable. 

MAKE IT FRESH


For spring’s quick and easy meals, buy the freshest in-season fruits and vegetables you can find. The artisanal and organic produce available at many farmers markets produce exceptionally flavorful salads, slaws, frittatas and desserts.

NEED SOME GOOD WARMING SOUP RECIPES?

Nothing is better to warm your family and your home like a simmering soup on the stove.  Try some warm Potato Leek soup or a classic Minestrone spiced up with kielbasa.
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I HAVE SOME COCONUT THAT’S TURNED DRY AND HARD. SHOULD I TOSS IT?


No. Put it in a strainer over a steaming pot of water for a few minutes to rehydrate it.


HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I USE TO COOK QUINOA?

This high-protein substitute for pasta and rice comes in white (golden), red or black varieties. Use a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Red quinoa has a great taste and toasting quinoa in a dry sauté pan prior to cooking in water creates even more flavor. Great with curry, grilled vegetables or braised meat.

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