1. Describe your cookbook to us, what should we expect?
I think “Real Simple Summer” is a fun + festive new take on eating that truly correlates with the ideas we have when it comes to summer eating. I want people to expect incredible recipes that they would have never thought of + recipes that have been passed down by family members modified to meet a clean eating lifestyle. We can truly transform ourselves from the inside out using healthy foods + “Real Simple Summer” can show you how.
2. Your cookbook is named "Simple Summer", is there a story behind the name?
I was searching for a perfect way to reach out to people tired of boring health foods + people who are trying to lose weight but simply don’t believe they can actually do it. “Real Simple Summer” is just that! The book is full of recipes with real food made simply + easily all perfect for the summer season that we all just love.
3. When did your passion for cooking begin?
My passion for cooking really began as a child but having developed eating disorders + food addictions, cooking wasn't fun anymore. I was lethargic, overweight, unhappy + disgusted with what I saw in the mirror. A year ago today is when I decided to give it over to God. I cannot believe it has been 365 days since I truly stopped eating sugar + flour — this is when my love for cooking REAL food unraveled.
4. Which was the first dish that you mastered? And can you tell us how you felt biting into it?
The first dish I can remember making was not really a dish but a topping/spread—call it what you want it’s the best stuff ever. What I made is what is now called my famous ‘Homemade Pesto’ featured in my book. It was amazing! Delicate + delicious. The flavors of the raw, fresh basil with the toasted…other ingredient that you’ll have to read for yourself in my book…overtook me by surprise because I did not think that I would actually enjoy living such a lifestyle that required me to cut out sugar, flour + junk in order to heal myself from the inside out.
5. There are so many great recipes in the book. Which one is your favorite or the one you cook the most?
To be honest, my top favorites are of the simplest. I have two that I’ll name: Kale + Mushroom Stir-Fry and Fish Tacos. I often make a small serving of this stir-fry because it’s so easy + scrumptious. As for the tacos, what is not to love + desire? I rest my case.
6. What advice do you have for someone changing their eating habits/lifestyle?
DON’T. GIVE. UP. Trust that God will do this for you because He has already done it for so many + really pour your heart into this. If not you, then who? God gave YOU this body + told YOU to take care of it. I've come up with “Real Simple Summer” to serve as a guide to get you + your body to where they deserve.
7. What inspired you to start living a healthy lifestyle?
Seeing where I was in my life + how miserable I was weighing 260+ pounds. It’s not easy when you could barely bend down to pick up your pen + people are watching. I would go behind closed doors + binge in ways that I would rather not describe. God brought me healing to the pain within that caused me to act out in this way. It all started when I realized that I could make the conscious choice to be different + just give it to God to deal with. Once I started eating right, I was unstoppable.
8. If you could use three words to describe your journey what would they be and why?
Exciting is first because the change was one that was intriguing, fun + even felt good to start. Challenging because there has not been a day since the first that I don’t want to push myself to the next level + get lazy on myself. Freeing more than both of those. I have been freed from the bondage of overeating, weighing + measuring myself excessively, purging + binging. Through this exciting + challenging journey, I have found the freedom of my soul.
There were so many goals in the beginning + it seemed like an endless checklist that would never truly get checked off. I couldn't begin to fathom that I could actually even get the book out right in time, but; boy, does God see me through every single time! I enjoyed the fun of typing up my recipes + seeing what has become of them. Each time I wrote one, I remembered the joy in the kitchen as I created, invented + played with real foods to come up with masterpieces that could one day end up right on your dining table.
10. Can we expect more books in the future?
Many, many more to come! I won’t say too much or I will totally spoil all the fun to come but I will tell you this, “Real Simple Autumn” will be out by October or November of this year. I cannot say much more than that + even so, I know you will all be in for a nice, sweet treat!
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