Celebrating life’s joys over mealtime with family & friends is one of my favorite pastimes. Taking time to rejoice in both the big and little things in life is so important. I’m for sure a glass is full (hopefully with wine) kind of girl, and I try to live in a positive light. Being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and an aunt, family is very important to me. I grew up in Michigan, followed my parents & brother south to Florida, and then to Boston with my husband. Florida is now ‘home’ but I am so thankful to have many wonderful people in all these locations & beyond to call my friend. I treasure my family & friends. They have influenced me in so many positive ways and have shaped who I am today. One gift I can give to them in return is to welcome them into my home and feed them well!

Cooking for me is about more than eating. It is an art – a display of care & love. Gathering for a fabulous meal is a way to share enjoyment and connect with the significant people in your life. But yes, I wake up excited about food. My days are filled with trying new recipes by both professional chefs and other bloggers, as well as creating my own dishes. I love to cook, entertain & to share my passion for the art of hosting. My foods have a heavy Mediterranean focus, but mainly I like to cook simple foods that let the fresh ingredients shine. I’m inspired by my environment… the people, cultures, the season… The recipes I share with you are traditional meals, new takes on old classics, simple dishes, family recipes, farmer’s market inspired creations, quick out-of-the-freezer meals…because that is what I serve in my home. The photographs are not staged in a studio – they are literally what we are eating. I snap them on my phone while I’m cooking, and I try to remember to get a finished product picture in the delicate moment of plating the food and serving it before it gets cold. Thank you to my very patient husband!

My professional cooking experience happened by accident. During a waiting period for a banking position to commence, I started baking cookies in a friend’s gourmet catering restaurant – who knew a single-batch recipe of cookies could have 16 lbs of butter?! I soon was handed a knife and pounds of vegetables that need chopping. Before I knew it, I was not only manager of the restaurant but also the catering business. I learned about the importance of fresh ingredients, creating flavor profiles, how to build a menu & plate a dinner. Not to mention, how to keep my cool when things got hot…which every host & chef can attest is a hard lesson to master.

Besides being in the restaurant business early in my career, my cooking skills are homegrown. I am very fortunate to not only have grown-up well-fed, but to have learned the art of cooking and entertaining from the wonderful women in my family. I grew up in a home that centered family-time around the dining table. From weeknight pasta dinners, Sunday brunches of pancakes & fresh squeezed orange juice, to elaborate summer porch dinners of fresh baked fish & potato salad with the extended family, we have always placed importance on the family gathering to share a meal.  I’m also the beneficiary of an incredible group of friends, the DIVAs, who truly cultivated my passion for cooking & hosting.

A friend who is a DJ was recently asked what makes a great DJ. She had many answers, but one response that stuck with me was, “you lead them on a journey.” A true entertainer, whether it be a DJ or a host, takes her guest on a journey. From the moment a guest is greeted at the front door, the blank canvas of the senses start to have color: the aroma of a roast wafts in the air, the shimmer of bubbles in the sparkling crystal, the depth of flavor & texture of the tomato pastry, to the laughs around the abundantly filled dining table; a host creates a memorable, taste bud -expanding voyage for her company.

My hope is to inspire you to add more flavor to your surroundings and celebrate life’s sweet moments. So embrace the creativity of your inner host and join me for A Party in My Pantry!

Where it all began…

Cheers to the DIVAs!

 My other passion…

Caught By A Snapper