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Who Am I?

I’m a writer, mom and home cook with a passion for the old ways of doing things.

During my childhood learning to make ends meet while still making satisfying meals was just the way things were done. We didn’t have much, but we felt like we had plenty. That’s the power of food and knowing how to use what’s on hand. A hearty bowl of stew, bread made with your own hands, even a steaming pot of homemade beans – all of these simple pleasures have the power to nourish both body and soul.

My family saved even the smallest bits of leftovers so that they could be combined into a “mix up bowl” and make a meal for someone. We made lasagna with cottage cheese because we couldn’t afford ricotta. And if my brother and I wanted a stick of gum (a treat) my grandmother would split one stick three ways – 1/3 for me, 1/3 for my brother and that last bit for Nana, because she liked chewing gum too.

You may think these experiences made us kids feel deprived, but just the opposite was true. We felt taken care of and empowered. Frugal living, knowing how to stretch a meal, and understanding which food substitutions will do goes a long way. To this day I never worry about putting food on the table because I know I can make a meal everyone will love using whatever is available.

Today my family & I live in a modest house with a large garden and opinionated chickens who lay more eggs than I know what to do with. Our yard borders a small forest, and at the right time of day you can see deer heading to the pond at the back of our property. It’s a simple, good life – and that’s about all I could ask for.

What Is Rustic Family Recipes About?

This blog is about “back to basics” recipes that anyone can make. Almost everything we eat can be grown at home, sourced from a local farm or purchased in bulk. I’m a big fan of recipes that can be easily adapted for what you have on hand. I also believe in storing food for lean times, whether that’s by dehydrating, canning or freezing. If you want to live simply, then we are of the same mind.

I do like to experiment with “fancy” ingredients sometimes. While most of my recipes are fairly simple, I sometimes like to incorporate less common things into my recipes. Nothing crazy, we’re talking blue matcha for Bantha Milk or green matcha for a lemon cake glaze.

Game meat is on the menu. In addition to more common meats, I also enjoy cooking with venison, rabbit and elk.

I really like mug cakes. They’re perfect for satisfying sweet cravings without leaving any leftovers that might go to waste.

My recipes are what I make for my family and we love them. But every family is different and I encourage you to substitute spices, cooking oils and make other changes that will please your tastebuds.

My recipes also assume a basic amount of cooking & baking experience. I learned to cook “by feel,” which means when I make homemade pasta sauce I taste it and adjust the seasonings according to what I like. (My recipes assume you will do the same.) Similarly, in bread recipes the amount of flour can vary according to the humidity in your area, how old your flour is, etc. Instead of giving you an exact amount that is set in stone, I will give you a range and tell you how the dough should look and feel.

Experiment with my recipes and make them your own. Use a different kind of meat, swap out the fruit, add nuts, adjust the sugar, change up the spices. In the process, you’ll gain confidence in the kitchen and learn how to use what’s in your pantry.

I’m Not Super Into Social Media

If you’d like to keep in touch the best way is to subscribe to my email list, which will send you an email once a month with new recipes that were published. Although I just kinda-sorta started using Pinterest, the truth is I don’t have the time for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok or YouTube. I would rather be digging in the dirt, tending the chickens or cooking in my kitchen. Maybe that’s a crazy thing to say, but in an era where our attention is pulled in so many directions, I try to be intentional about where I spend my energy. You can also find my recipes and save your favorites on Smackeral.

Thank You For Reading

This site is relatively new and I’m grateful that you stopped by my neck of the virtual woods. If you like one of my recipes, please share them with your friends. I’m thankful for every reader and hope you will enjoy this little blog.