Hello!! Welcome to The Kitchen of Mama Harris.
Let me tell you a little about myself and what brings me to the blogosphere.
You can call me Mama Harris, but I’m not as old as that sounds, I promise! I have a very dear friend who loves to recipe trade with me and coined the term because she always describes my food as comforting. Her words meant a lot so I decided to keep the name.
I am a 30-something stay at home mom with an amazing husband and 5 children under one roof.
We have 4 boys, and our middle child is a girl, they range in age with the eldest being 17 and the youngest is 1.
A few years back I was laid off of work, and shortly after that is when we found out we were having our now 3 year old. Shortly after our 3 year old was born my husband was laid off of work and was out of work for quite a while.
This is when I discovered my passion for cooking. Something about having such a tiny budget to feed so many off of forced me to get creative with simple ingredients. I scour the internet for recipes as well as cooking tips. I love to use a recipe as a skeleton and add to it, or substitute this or that and make it my own. I have literally dozens of food magazines scattered throughout my home and garage, I have index cards and word documents on my computer of recipes I’ve created as well as recipe cut outs from coupon inserts and tops and backs of boxes and cans.
It’s almost an obsession!
I’ve always liked to cook, but never really had the time to delve into it the way I wanted since I was a working mother and wife.
I remember back when I was 10 or 11 years old my parents bought me a kid’s microwave cookbook. One of the first things I learned how to make was scrambled eggs in the microwave. I learned at a young age that I really quite liked most of the things I created!
I also recall in home ec class a few years later I had a final to bake something from scratch at home. I made raisin bread, yeast and all. It was so delicious! As I got older my focus was mainly on baking, and I’ve always made a great breakfast.
Many of my happy memories as a child are focused around the dinner table. My parents and I sitting at the dinner table every night eating together. My dad was good with the BBQ and the meats. My mom made casseroles and sides. I also remember the delicious breakfasts every Sunday. Coffee cakes and crepes.
Oh! And every holiday we would all get together at my aunt’s house, where she would make elaborate meals, complete with fancy dinnerware and beautiful centerpieces and place settings. Every 3 day weekend was the same, we would go to my aunt’s and BBQ.
By no means did I have a perfect childhood, but my fondest memories involve our family gathering together with good food. So with my own family I’ve tried to create those very same memories. We eat at the dinner table every night and I put a lot of love into my meals. We have a big family so it’s not always feasible to go out to eat, but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat well!!
Now that my husband is back to working after that rough period I still keep a budget for our food shopping. I don’t buy much that’s precooked. I like to make my own sauces, and I love to make a lot of things from scratch. This doesn’t mean I won’t use a premade sauce or rub, just something about creating something yourself…I love it.
I do buy our food on sale and the average meats we eat usually consist of ground turkey, boneless chicken breast, boneless pork chops, boneless pork roast, tilapia, whole rotisserie chicken, etc. Sometimes I get fancy with other meats and roasts, but those are the typical weekly groceries. I also coupon, and shop at multiple stores based on what’s on special. Sometimes even 5 or 6 different stores in a week.
Lately I am also focusing more on healthy meals, but to me if I’m going to make Macaroni and cheese I’m not skimping just to cut a few calories. Same goes with my baking. I love to make cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, fruit crisps etc. I use real butter and real sugar and real flour. Sometimes I say I’ll make it healthy but I never actually do. I enjoy those “bad foods” in very small increments though, but still make them for my family. So I promise to have a variety of healthy fare as well as good ol’ comfort food.
I don’t use complicated ingredients. Most of my recipes include ingredients that I normally have in my pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. Occasionally there’s the peanut oil or coconut milk that I’d have to make a run to the store for, but overall nothing too complicated. I don’t feel to eat healthy you have to skimp on taste and I have a broad range of people my food needs to appeal to. My husband has a big, healthy appetite, my 17 year old has the fastest metabolism I’ve ever seen, I have a picky 13 year old that’s finally trying new things, my adventurous 12 year old will try anything once, my 3 year old is infatuated with peanut butter and jelly and spicy food as well as cookies and my one year old loves anything he can eat with his hands.
They are my biggest critics and fans.
Welcome to my kitchen!!