Updated: Mar 19
I grew up with the coolest mom! I loved playing in the kitchen. Despite, my fantastic kitchen set and all the play dough colors, I really just wanted to play for "real". Real kitchen, real utensils, real ingredients. However, reading recipes or being told what and how to make something wasn't my thing. So my crazy and very cool mom would occasionally allow me to bake what we affectionally
named real pretend cookies! She would give me free reign in the kitchen, allow me to pull out any ingredients I wished, combine them in whatever order and amount I felt inclined, and she'd even allow me to bake them!! The catch was despite it all being 'real' the final product we labeled 'pretend' and I was not allowed to eat them. Since my mom had no idea what I had actually created and most the time the smell lofting from the oven was less than appetizing. That was fine with me. Back then it wasn't about eating, it was about the freedom to create and oh how lucky I was to have a mom who gave me that freedom.
Fast forward 30 years. Little has really changed. I still love to play in the kitchen. I love baking and occasionally cooking. Yet, following recipes and being told what to use and how much takes away some of the fun for me. So I still experiment and sometimes I come up with some not so appetizing creations. However, over the years I've refined my skills! I've begun to learn how much of an ingredient is typically enough, what gives great flavor, and what does not. I'm not a professional baker or chef. But, I've learned to make food that finally is not only edible but taste like an indulgent treat.
There is more. In the last handful years I have turned into a total health nut. I'm very picky about my ingredients. I only want to make and eat food that allows my body to feel fantastic. While I don't follow any specific dietary trend fully such as keto, paleo, whole 30..etc, I have narrowed down what ingredients do and do not work well for my body. I am dairy free and mostly gluten free. I never use refined sugar or most artificial sweeteners. I choose real whole foods, and combine them in a way that feels as though they are pretending to be deliciously unhealthy. I don't care much about calories or macros anymore either. Yes, it's important to not over eat and to make sure your body gets a good balance of all the things it needs. However, I've found when I use good quality ingredients, pay attention to how my body responds to what I am eating and am careful to not over indulge (to often anyway), the rest just falls into place.
So what can you expect from this blog? Recipes? Yes! I'll post recipes I have found that I love and recipes that I have made up on my own. However, I want to take a slightly different spin. Instead of just another blog that shares recipes, I want to share my creative process. How I find ways to make food I love and crave with ingredients my body agrees with. I want to use this to teach you how to look at a recipe but then make it your own. How to experiment with different flours, oils, egg substitutes, and healthier sweeteners. I want to share how cooking and baking can fuel that creative inside of us and turn into an exciting part of our lives instead of just another chore. I also want to teach you how to find foods that make you feel fantastic both while you're eating them and after!
A lot of my process I'll show through quick post and videos on social media as well. So make sure to follow @Real_Pretend_Kitchen on IG and Tiktok!