My Story: From Clueless Cook to Obsessed Food Blogger
I’m Ally, a 28-year-old obsessed with cooking, menu planning, recipe finding, and, of course, eating. I live in Alpharetta, GA with my fiancé, Taylor, (a burger-and-fries-guy), and we both work 9-5’s in corporate America and just finished up getting our MBA’s at night. It’s exhausting. Which is why you’ll notice I put so much time into meal planning, prep and leftovers. I’d much rather spend my (maybe) 2 hours of free time a day cooking, eating, and drinking wine than working out. That being said, my recipes and cooking style is mostly healthy- I go through phases- with one divine and indulgent recipe on the weekend. My food is so freakin’ delicious, my burger-and-fries guy doesn’t even realize it’s healthy 😉
90% of my day is spent being professional Ally, but the real me’s favorite place is in my kitchen, singing Frank Sinatra, glass of wine in hand, coming up with my next delicious meal. This blog is a little taste of my life and my kitchen. But guess what:
I was not always obsessed with cooking.
My parents are great cooks, which means I never needed to learn to use anything other than a microwave until college. There’s a great story my mom tells about me when I was about 16: she’s out in the yard gardening and yells inside for me to get some water boiling for her for dinner. I yell back out, “How do you boil water? In the microwave?”. In that moment she was certain she failed me; a daughter that will never share her love of cooking.
16 is about that age I decided to become a vegetarian, which unfortunately lasted well into my Freshman year of college and resurfaced my senior year, (I gave up in the early years of college when I realized cafeteria grilled cheese for every meal was slowly killing me). My senior year I took a class from one of the vegan hippies teaching at my Ohio liberal arts school, and decided to give vegetarianism another go.
My roommate (and best friend to this day) Hillary was on board with me, and we started to trade off cooking our whole wheat penne with vegetable sauce. Every. Single. Night. But, it’s one of my fondest and first memories in the kitchen cooking for people I love. Hillary wanted to be a private chef, and taught me my first scrappy kitchen skills, in between sips of cold Natty Light and cheap boxed wine, there in that godforsaken college kitchen.
I studied abroad in Germany my senior year of college and lived with a German family in a tiny, quaint village. It was one of the best times of my life, but dear god THE FOOD WAS TRAGIC. I got off the plane after traveling 40+ hours expecting to be greeted in my new German home to steins of beer and sausages. I was handed a plate with one piece of stale bread topped with liverwurst, cheese, ketchup, and pineapple. Microwaved. Needless to say I did not eat that, nor did I eat much of any home cooking for those months.
That’s when I started looking at “food porn” as I liked to call it. I stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman website and became OBSESSED with Ree’s step-by-step pictures and recipes, checking it daily and reading everything like it was my only lifeline to America. That blog taught me all the basics of cooking. I was dying to get home, buy her cookbook, and make everything in it.
My first cookbook became the place where my cooking inspiration and obsession really took off. After I got my first big-girl job and my first big-girl apartment in Atlanta, I spent many days trying to recreate my girl Ree’s recipes. I started by making her White Chicken Enchiladas for my family any chance I could get, even on Christmas Eve.
I still make her Perfect Pot Roast regularly for me and Taylor…
…and to this day her Blackberry Cobbler is about the only dessert I attempt to make.
Then I discovered Pinterest. Holy cooking inspiration.
I like to say my favorite meal to cook is anything I haven’t made before. After 4 years out on my own, cooking different Pinterest recipes every night, I earned myself a reputation as someone who actually enjoys cooking and meal planning. I guess it’s a little rare nowadays in our on-demand, 24/7 world where you can have food delivered to your couch with a simple emoji.
And then, Taylor happened.
I walked into orientation for my upcoming MBA program in September 2015, and panicked at the thought of picking a round table to sit at with random strangers. As I scanned the room, I saw a nearly empty table with a couple of guys sitting in silence. Perfect, I thought. They won’t bombard me with 20 questions, and I can just keep to my socially awkward self. I sat down, and just my luck, the guy next to me turns to me and starts talking my ear off. But guess what, I haven’t spent a day without him since.
We unconventional and untraditional millennials moved in together just a short 6 months later. My cooking and planning obsession reached new heights as I meticulously planned every meal and snack and grocery list every week. I realized my greatest passion in life came from feeding the people I love.
In January 2017, we got our sweet fur baby Chewy and in April 2017 Taylor popped the question! You can read all about our story and engagement in more detail here. Further proof the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
So here I am, letting you in my crazy life because after 8 hours in the office, and 3 hours in school each day, this is what makes me happy. This is where I can be myself and let my freaky foodie flag fly free. I hope I can inspire anyone to cook more and order less, regardless of how busy you are. There’s always a way to plan ahead, and keep it simple.
I hope you enjoy!