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Indiana Blogs: The Stay at Home Chef

This marks another addition to the regular feature here at little Indiana: Indiana Blogs! If you are an Indiana Blogger, please use the contact form and send me an email. You may be featured right here on little Indiana.

Indiana Blogs: Stay at Home Chef

Indiana Blogs: Stay at Home Chef

The Stay at Home Chef is an Indiana blog that features Kelin, a whiz in the kitchen.

This lady makes a variety of amazing recipes that are so very good, you won’t know how you ever did without them! Seriously, go take a look at her recipe for Rollover Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Kielbasa. It makes me want to dash away to the kitchen!

So go. Be encouraged to use your leftovers. Get inspired and make a commitment to stop wasting food! Here’s a peek into another Hoosier life on this week’s Featured Indiana Blogger.

Indiana Blogs: The Stay at Home Chef

Why did you start The Stay at Home Chef?
I started The Stay at Home Chef just about one month prior to giving birth to my second born, our son Liam.  After several years of working crazy long restaurant hours and struggling emotionally with missing a lot of my daughter’s early months in this world, I requested a less active role in my very own restaurant.  I promoted my sous chef and tried to step away.  I think I was ready at that point to move on to the next chapter life had for me, which I hoped, was becoming a stay-at-home-mom.

Before I ever became a chef, I was a writer first, a student of classic literature, history, art history, and any other subject I could get my hands on.  I’m a passionately curious person and somewhat of a professional college student with far too many credits to her name to still be a semester shy of an actual diploma.  I have taught and tutored writing, and I have written and performed poetry.  For me, then, starting the blog in the wake of cooking in my restaurant was the perfect place for me to unite all these varying facets of myself.  Put simply, the blog is where I absolutely feel the most me.

It’s been a little over 2 years and I can honestly say I feel proud of my little blog.  It gives weight and purpose to so much of my own life experiences to simply put it out there in the world and hope someone else somewhere can make good use of it.

What about that name? Why The Stay at Home Chef?
The Stay at Home Chef is a literal translation of who I wanted to become and what I was trying to do: bridging two separate pieces of my life into one unit.  I was becoming a stay-at-home-mom, but I will never stop thinking like a professional chef.  Ever. :)

What are three of your most favorite posts?
This is hard because I cover A LOT of territory on the blog. Everything from what’s for dinner, to gardening, to what’s going on with the kids, to Deep Thoughts.  If I had to choose 3, though, I do think my choices err on the more personal side – the Deep Thoughts side – because they show the most of who I am and who I’m trying to be.

The first is a post I wrote during a very difficult trial last year called Lessons From Joseph via Veggie Tales.   It addresses why bad things happen to good people and how people can cope with their bad things.

The second is a simple post I wrote after working in the garden this summer called Growing Roots and Weeds.  It addresses one of the tenants of our family’s core philosophy: learning to take care.

The third is a post I wrote in a fit of frustration one morning after talking about food with some local moms called The Anti-Weekly Meal Post.  It addresses the distinction I have observed between Americans as food consumers and food purchasers, and calls on people to “waste not want not.”

What keeps you ready and raring to post? Why do you blog?
Having done this now for a few years, I recognize there is a natural ebb and flow to the blog.  A few weeks a month I produce tons of new recipes and eagerly post them, then for a few weeks a month I am less intensely productive and more introspective, which is when some of my Deep Thoughts post get written.

On the intensely productive weeks, I am driven by my own passion for what I’ve made and my love of teaching to post it as quickly as possible to the blog which much enthusiasm.  On the quieter, more pensive weeks, it takes discipline to make myself sit down to write, really recognizing in myself the need to keep putting words on the page in order to keep propelling the cycle forward.

Out of all the types of foods you prepare, what’s your favorite items to work with? 
This question is always my least favorite.  I cycle through and always have.  A new ingredient will peak my curiosity, I’ll feverishly experiment with it for a few months and put it in everything, and then I’ll move on.  At least, that’s the way it was before becoming a personal chef to two preschoolers.

No, my favorite foods and ingredients and meals right now are not the ones that blow my mind or my palette, or even challenge me to grow beyond my comfort zone.

Right now, my favorites are the items I know I will be able to sit down with my kids and watch them eat and enjoy. I am constantly struggling to temper my own adventurous palette with those of the wants of my children, and when I hit the mark and make that meal that all of us find delicious, my heart sings.

If you could have anyone over for dinner, living or dead, who would they be and why? More importantly–what would you serve?
My Grandmother.  She passed away right before I met my husband, before I had kids, and before I really grew into the grown-up woman I have become.  I cooked for her only a few times, but oh how I wish I could make some more food for her now.

I remember as a young college student of 18 calling my Grandmother requesting her pumpkin pie recipe because, let’s face it, her pumpkin pie was the best.  She chuckled, the best sound in the world, and said, “well all you have to do is look on the back of the Libby’s can!”

She was the most loving and encouraging woman I have ever met.  She never judged and everything anyone of her family did was always the best.  But, I’d love to show her how much I’ve grown away from that Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe.  I’d dig-up some potatoes from my garden and bake them up Irish-style with herbs tucked in here and there, then I’d go pick some fresh romaine and whatever vegetables my garden happened to be growing and toss them all into a salad.

I’d make a dressing and we’d sit down to a simple meal of essentially baked potatoes and salad.  But it would be so much more – it would be me showing her all that I have learned since we parted, that most often, the simplest meals can bring about the greatest joys.

Is there anything else that you would like little Indiana readers to know about you or your blog?
I’m often funny and light-hearted, too.  I promise.  :)

Get in the Kitchen

Well, if The Stay at Home Chef doesn’t influence you to get in there and do some cookin’, then I don’t know what will! Thanks to Kelin for sharing her world with little Indiana today.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the little Indiana owner, Host of a little Indiana segment state-wide on PBS and Publisher of the little Indiana Quarterly magazine. Sometimes, she even sleeps. You'll usually find Jessica gallivanting around Indiana towns (population 15,000 and less) with her husband, Jeremy, and two boys (ages 7 and 3) in tow in search of where to stay, play and eat in small towns across the state! Small towns: destinations, not drive-thrus!

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