Q:  how did you come up with “color my kitchen” for your blog/website title?

A:  i’ve always been a visual person and feel a strong need for color and natural light in my environment.  color feeds my soul and affects my emotions.  when creating a recipe or composing a plate, i try to incorporate complimentary colors and flavors to intrigue the eyes and tastebuds.

Q:  did you have professional help designing your blog?

A:  yes, my blog was created by studio aiuto design & marketing.  i am extremely pleased with the final product and design process.  working with the owner of the studio was a pleasure.

Q:  have you been published before?

A:  yes, i was honored to be published on three separate occasions in sunset magazine, which is one of my absolute favorite reads for so many topics.  sunset magazine published two of my “lifestyle” letters to the editor; and, most recently in the sept. 2011 issue, a recipe i submitted to their “fast & fresh” column.  my recipe was called:  grilled chicken greek salad and contained tahini and chickpeas

Q:  why a blog about food and kitchen tips?   

A:  famous and successful authors recommend writing about a  topic one is passionate about.  anything concerning food—preparing, creating  recipes, reading about ingredients and nutrition, designing an eye-catching and appetizing presentation, sharing dishes and ideas, shopping at the farmers’ markets with my family, and eating—is what i am passionate about.  eating is something we all need to do in order to survive, so why not please all the senses?

Q:  aren’t there similar blogs about food and kitchen tips on the web already?

A:  yes, there are several, however we each approach the topic with a distinct voice, style, expertise and set of opinions.  i respect and admire many of the successful bloggers already out there and hope to take my place among them.

Q:  i don’t see many recipes or kitchen tips on your blog yet.   will there be more to come and when?  

A:  yes, definitely more to come!   though i have many recipes, photographs and tips to share, the first step is getting the blog designed and launched.  thereafter, i will publish weekly “posts” and an archive will be born.  of course, the key to success is having many interested and “colorful” readers!  i will be awarding occasional random prizes to my faithful readers (probably food items!).  

Q:  what is your definition of a “colorful kitchen”?  

A:  everyone’s palates and aesthetics vary, but in my opinion, filling your kitchen with seasonal and vibrant produce, fresh flowers, a variety of pottery,   serving pieces and colorful textiles makes the kitchen a pleasing hub of the home.  though my kitchen has brightly painted walls (orange/lime/yellow) and multicolored pottery,  i think you can get the same effect with an all white or monochromatic kitchen by just adding fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers for color accents.   also an assortment of entertaining personalities, candles and music make it all the more pleasant.

Q:  why are you launching the blog now?

A:  being a recent “empty nester” with a new life stage before me and having the spring season upon us with all of its fresh beginnings feels like the perfect time to launch my blog.  the idea of the blog has been brewing in the recesses of my heart and mind for years.  

Q:  do you have a job other than your blog and creating recipes?

A:  yes, i have recently been hired to work part-time at baker & olive in encinitas, california.  baker & olive is a specialty olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar shop with many excellent imported artisanal food items and handmade european-style breads baked fresh daily.  the job is a dream come true for many reasons, but most of all because it is a food-related business and the products are of very high quality.  talking to customers about the dishes i create using our fresh oils and vinegars doesn’t seem like much of a “job” at all because i’m doing something i love.

Q:  i notice you mention baker & olive products often in your recipes.  can i replace the oils, balsamics, artisanal cheeses and salts with what i have on hand?

A:  if you have quality products in your pantry, by all means use them up.  i mention baker & olive products, first of all, because i prefer them and i am familiar with their high quality and flavor nuances.  secondly, because i work there part-time and have easy access to the products.  baker & olive has NOT asked me to endorse their products; i choose to for the superior quality and health benefits of their oils.

however, since cost is an issue for most, if not all of us, using the best quality ingredients within one’s budget should take precedence.  keep in mind that the end product may vary somewhat from my original recipe.   

Q:  how do you come up with your recipes?

A:  i try to create dishes using the produce/herbs growing in my own yard or local and seasonal products.    i read new recipes everyday to determine if i want to try them, alter them to my family’s taste,  or “tweak” them using what i have on hand.  i also attempt to keep things simple and healthy, but always with vivid colors and varying textures.  we have all been inundated with daily news about how processed foods are harmful to our health and how much better it is to start with quality, fresh products and cook them minimally for best results and health benefits.

Q:  why do you feel qualified to dispense advice, recipes and kitchen tips to an audience you don’t know personally?

A:  initially my thought was to focus on the late teen and college-aged audience.  my nieces, nephew and daughter are all very interested in food preparation/presentation and the healthful aspects of fresh versus processed food.    i felt the blog connection with them and their peers would not only give them some simple, healthy recipes and kitchen strategies, but also keep my communications with them alive and current.  this being the age of easy and fast technology, i feel the blog is the perfect medium for my messages.  cost saving strategies are always welcome, but especially during the college years when time and cash are in short supply.  i have had more than forty years  experience than they have had in shopping, economizing, creating, and educating myself about food.  

Q:  are you a professionally trained chef?

A:  no, i am a self-taught home cook who is passionate about with what i and my family nourish our bodies and minds.  over the years i have honed my kitchen skills, enlarged my vegetable/herb garden, educated myself regarding the health benefits of a variety of foods, and most importantly, relished eating the dishes i have created in my own colorful kitchen.  i am always experimenting with recipes and this “creative” process is as fulfilling to me as developing a painting or composing a score would be for an artist or musician.

Q:  who takes the photographs for your blog?

A:  currently i take and style all my photographs using a CANON powershot ELPH 100 HS or my iPAD.

Q:  can i use your photographs or recipes in a magazine or website?

A:  not without my permission as all contents of  colormykitchen.com are private property.

Q:  do you advertise on your blog?

A:  this will depend on the product.  you are welcome to contact me to discuss.

Q:  do you provide product reviews?

A:  no, i don’t.  however, from time to time i will mention favorite kitchen tools, cookbooks, other blogs or articles that i find particularly helpful or worthwhile.

Q:  you haven’t responded to my email/comment, why not?

A:  i will make every attempt to respond to all questions and comments, but at times i may not be able to respond due to time constraints.

Q:  we are inundated with daily news about organic v. conventional products.   do you feel organic is always necessary?

A:  no, i don’t think you have to always choose organic.   as with most things in life there is a balance.  there are lists of vegetables and fruits that are most likely to contain high residues of pesticides which should be avoided, if possible,  as well as lists of vegetables and fruits that are “okay” if not organic.
the nonprofit environmental working group (ewg.org) updates this list regularly.    my tendency is to use this S-L-O-W anagram (that i personally created):
“seasonal, local, organic, wholesome”.  always keeping in mind our respective budgets and doing what’s best for our families.  i find it interesting that now when consumers, primarily women,  are looking for organic or local products, superstores (big business) are carrying these products in abundance with more  becoming available daily.    we consumers are the controllers of the market and have the power (cash).  if you choose to buy organic, do so with the products you or your family use the most.  

Q:  do you shop primarily at farmers’ markets or have a variety of venues you patronize?

A:  as i mentioned in my ABOUT ME section, we attempt to grow as much of our produce as we successfully can on our small suburban plot.  our garden continues to expand every year with new raised beds being added or fruit trees being planted.   however, we do frequent the farmers’ market weekly for the freshest local items and because it is fun to meet the purveyors in person.  in addition to the farmers’ markets, i shop at my neighborhood specialty store, SEASIDE MARKET and TRADER JOES for certain items. 

Q:  do you think cooking MOST meals at home is more beneficial to your health and food budget?  

A:  yes, it has been proven repeatedly that most, if not all, restaurant/fast food meals fall short on nutrition and score high in calories, salt, sugar and fat.  not to mention the higher cost of eating out regularly.  however,  i am seeing a trend recently in restaurants and supermarkets which offer healthier options on the menu and/or pre-made salads, wraps, well-stocked salad bars, juice bars,  or small portions of healthier foods prepared and ready for purchase.  the restaurants and markets that we, the customers, patronize will be the ones that remain in business and flourish. so, once again, we CAN control the market with our cash and thoughtful (colorful!) choices. 

Q:  how can we cook MOST meals at home when short on time?

A:  planning ahead, making lists (something else i enjoy doing) and having a well-stocked pantry/freezer are crucial to saving money and healthier eating.  if you always keep on hand the foundations of a nutritious and simple meal (or something made ahead) this will cut costs in the time spent driving to/from a restaurant and being subject to their menu offerings.  of course there are evenings when you simply cannot plan ahead or are just too tired to think about planning a meal, much less a healthy and simple one.  we ALL experience those days!  however, if we care at all about our nutrition and economizing in the kitchen, my personal view is we should attempt to minimize meals out.

Q:  do you follow a particular diet or set of food “rules” when creating your recipes and daily meals?

A:  though i felt we generally ate well (healthy), about ten years ago we decided as a family to adopt the mediterranean diet as much as is feasible.  we significantly reduced our consumption of simple carbs, red meat and desserts laden with sugar and cream.  we don’t eat fried foods,  nor processed foods.  rather than experience the usual weight gain and midriff bulge when entering our 50s, my husband and i lost weight each year and had renewed energy.  
my theory is anything is welcome in moderation.   however, if you fill your plate predominantly with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts,  seeds and lean protein you are off to a good start.  adding some lowfat dairy products, if your body tolerates dairy, can be a great source of calcium.

the array of produce available is amazing, to say the least.  it is not only colorful and flavorful but packed with phytonutrients including flavonoids, carotenoids and antioxidant compounds which have been proven reduce inflammation.  inflammation in the body has been linked to heart disease, various forms of cancer and most recently, Alzheimer’s disease.
since different colors of vegetables and fruits contain their own unique phytonutrients which slow down free radical damage to our cells, we should aim to eat one serving per day, at a minimum, from each group.

if you can enjoy a few meatless meals per week, substituting alternative proteins, your body and pocketbook will reap significant benefits.  in our household we started with 2-3 meatless nights per week and found it was so easy and eventually more desirable, that now most nights are meatless.  

the items to absolutely eliminate:  soft drinks, sugar-free or regular; salty and fried processed foods; an abundance of red meat;  most breakfast cereals; and,  breads, cookies and crackers containing white flour, sugar and hydrogenated oils.  

if you enjoy a glass of wine (maybe even two?) with dinner, red wine is preferable due to its possible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Q:  why do you always use lowercase letters?

A:  when i was in 3rd grade (yes, eons ago) i had a negative experience regarding my penmanship.  what i thought was perfect A+ handwriting, my crotchety teacher (i won’t mention names) graded as a C- attempt.  i  vowed to never handwrite again and lowercase printing became my signature “style”.    my use of lowercase absolutely does not display a disrespect for the English language.  if an article or recipe of mine were to be published, i would by all means adhere to the rules of punctuation and capitalization currently in use.

i see my use of “lowercase” similar to my love affair with food:  a personal expression of the art, passion, beauty and mystery in all of us, just waiting to be born in the form of a new recipe or whatever manifestation your own personal passions lead.

 ***if you have any other pertinent questions, i’ll be happy to answer!***