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Interview with Stephanie

Meet Stephanie at the stove and as a food writer.

Stephanie has been publishing her own blog about the joys of frugal living before starting her contributions at All Foods Natural.

Interview with Stephanie Appleton

Stephanie at the stove

Tell us about your background: Where and when did you learn to cook?

I’ve been cooking for as long as I remember. My parents worked a lot when I was young. I made a lot of the family meals from about the time I was twelve.. Though I did some cooking with my mom, and of course watched her cook as a child, mostly I was self taught. I loved -and still do- to throw a little of this and a little of that in a dish, and see what happens. I learned to cook with what was on hand, and to use a recipe as a starting point for creative cooking.

Which one is your favorite food? Which dish is the one you cook best?

I like a wide variety of foods. It is hard to pick, but one of my favorite meals to cook and eat is lasagna, salad, bread, and cheesecake for dessert.

Who does the cooking at home? Do you cook for one or two, or a family?

I do most of the cooking. My husband can cook, and is willing to help out when needed. We cook for six most nights, but it is not uncommon to find many more than that around our table.

Which ones are your favorite recipes/dishes at home? Eating out?

Meals at home generally are simple, and use a lot of the foods we raise here. Eating out is expensive with this size family, so if we do go out we usually opt for what is cheap. If just my husband and I go out, for a special occasion, we often choose ethnic. I like to try new dishes, and things that I don’t normally make at home.

Please, share with us a typical menu you serve when you entertain friends.

 I’m not sure there is a typical menu. It depends on the friends and the occasion. I enjoy serving our home grown foods, but not everyone appreciates them, especially the meats, so I try to consider that when planning. I often do serve the meals mentioned in Easy dinner party recipes. In the summer, the grill is used a lot. I try to plan meals so that much of the preparations can be done before the guests are there.

Stephanie, food writer

What was your motivation to start writing about food and creating recipes?

I’ve always created recipes by cooking with what is on hand, and never exactly following a recipe. Trouble is I’m bad about writing the creations down. My husband jokes that we’ve never had the same dish in thirteen years of marriage.

Writing about food started on my blog. I began writing about food in the context of saving money on your groceries, and living a frugal and simple life.

How did you get started with writing? Do you have a special routine, a special place?

I really hadn’t written anything since college. I started my first blog, Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood, about three years ago to keep in touch with family and friends. Then started Stop the Ride to explore some different ways to earn money. Then Erin Phelan recommended me for a freelance job, and now here I am.

What problems did you have to face in order to balance your family time, your writing time and the work you do on your homestead? Did you use any specific time management techniques?

Balancing my time is still something I am working on. Since we home school, I have children under foot all day, every day. I find myself thinking about articles while doing tasks such as laundry, dishes or feeding animals.  It is challenging to find any quiet time to put the thoughts together. The best opportunities for writing are before the children get up, or after they go to bed. Unfortunately, I am not always at my best at these hours.

What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again? What would you do the same if you had to start over?

I’m pretty happy with the way things have developed. I do wish that I had been a little more mindful of time requirements. The writing started as I added several other things to my schedule, I underestimated the time requirements. I also wish some of my grammar courses were a little fresher in my mind.

If you had to advise a friend who wants to follow on your footsteps to become a food writer, what would you tell?

 I’m not sure. I’m still pretty new to this, so I guess I would tell them, “Let’s figure this out together.”

Thank you very much Stephanie, we hope to enjoy your writing for many more issues of this newsletter.

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