Who Is Andrea?
I’m a wife, mom, photographer, and recipe developer writing about my adventures in the kitchen and garden with my husband and three hungry boys in the Northern Virginia/DC Metro area. I am also a contributor to GoodBite.com, a Tastemaker for Foodily.com, and a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers Connection. My prior career was in K-adult education, and over a 20 year period I worked as an e-learning instructional designer, trainer, and teacher.
Awards and Media
I was incredibly honored to have my blog (then Andrea’s Recipes) nominated as a finalist for the 2008 Food Blog Awards in the Family/Kids category. You can read more about how this blog has been mentioned in the media on the Media page.
Where Do the Recipes Come From?
The collection of recipes here is a mix of my original recipes, old family favorites, and other recipes that I have collected over the years. I’m not a professional cook, but food is one of my passions and I’m fortunate to come from a line of good Southern cooks. I spent eight years working overseas and had opportunities to travel around the world and sample local foods and collect a few recipes as I went. All these recipes are actually used in my kitchen on a regular basis and undergo careful scrutiny of family and friends, none of whom have any credentials other than the fact that they like to eat good food.
If I know the source of a recipe, I give credit. That being said, some of the recipes have been in my collection for a long time and I may not have written down the source when I collected the recipe years ago, or the recipe came from my mother or grandmother who got it from a friend or another relative and the original source of the recipe has passed into legend. I do my best to give credit where credit is due.
Omnivore, Vegetarian, or Vegan?
We eat a varied diet, mostly vegetarian, though we do eat meat a couple times a week. When I feel it’s appropriate I cook vegan dishes for my family.
Why Start a Cooking Blog?
I started putting my recipes in an (ugly) online archive when my husband and I were dividing time between homes in two different states for a couple years. I would get annoyed when I wanted to cook something and the cookbook or recipe was at the other house. So I started planning meals ahead and would add recipes to the archive that I planned to use the next time I was at “the other house.” My online recipe archive was born out of necessity, and it was a whole lot easier than schlepping my large cookbook collection back and forth. What started organically became a big project when I started collecting family recipes and adding them to the archive. But nothing was photographed and my notes about each recipe were very sparse or even nonexistent, and there was no search functionality. I just had to remember where everything was.
When my archive outgrew the static, hacked-together-in-a-few-minutes site it lived on, I decided to move everything to WordPress just to make it more manageable. WordPress has the MySQL/PHP back end already in place, which was very convenient. When I found WordPress, I was in the process of teaching myself MySQL so that I could create a searchable online recipes database, and I’m forever grateful to Ryan, Matt, and all the other good folks who give so much time and effort to making WP a great package.
The funny thing about this food blog hobby of mine is that I never intended to have a food blog, so you can imagine my surprise when I got my first comment. I was still a WordPress newbie and I didn’t even realize the comment was there! It never occurred to me that other people outside my family would visit the site, so that comment was an epiphany.
Some of the recipes that I first added to this blog are in a very rough state, i.e. no photos, etc. The style guide I’ve created for my recipe posts has evolved since I began the blog, so bear with me when you look at posts from the first year. As I get a chance to make the recipe again, I attempt to take a photo although conditions are not always ideal. I don’t like to keep everyone waiting while I shoot a dozen or more photos to choose from for publish, so it may take a while before some of those early posts are cleaned up.
Gardening and Grow Your Own
I’ve had edible gardens wherever I lived since 1997. Some were balcony gardens with a few containers of tomatoes and herbs, in some homes we had enough room to put in a raised bed or two, and now we have over 200 square feet of edible gardening space. We try to grow as much of our own food as possible, hence the inspiration for the blogging event Grow Your Own.
[Updated February 16, 2012.]