We are Two Food Girls, also known as Jess and Vanessa. We met at a birthday party/sleep over more than 25 years ago. We hit it off over our mutual love of cheese and the movie “Free Willy.” Over the years, we’ve continued to bond over music, theater and life and eventually discovered our shared appreciation for really delicious food. We have shared many experimental “hits and misses” in the kitchen, traveled and found new delicious dishes outside of Minnesota, debated over what really makes up the perfect brownie or bread and butter pickle, built a lifelong friendship and sisterhood and developed our own individual “food identities” along the way.
Being raised by a long line of great cooks and kitchen creators helped me to build a strong foundation and a great love of food. Many of my memories of food are attached to favorite family gatherings, entertaining friends and traveling. I love trying new things in the kitchen. I get a particular satisfaction out of shaking up traditional recipes and adding my own twist. Some of my faves include Asian Turkey Burgers (with peanut butter!!), Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna with Arugula and Brown Butter Sauce and “Grown Up” Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Beets, Spinach and Goat Cheese. Lately, I gravitate toward recipes which are delicious and interesting and that my family will love, but are also easy to put together with fresh ingredients during the week between baths and diaper changes and after a long day at work.
By day, I manage communications and marketing for a local Minnesota non-profit and by night/weekend, I help support expectant mamas and families as a birth doula and placenta encapsulator. When I’m not at work or cooking up something new for my family to try, I love spending time singing and performing with my musician husband or reading and snuggling with my one-year-old baby boy. I’m the proud mama to 3 fur babies (1 cat and 2 King Charles Cavaliers), I enjoy gardening and growing my own food and have recently taken a special liking to capturing it all on my camera when I have the chance.
The kitchen is all about nostalgia for me. I find satisfaction in perfecting beloved recipes that have been passed down by family and friends. These recipes often have a story or a “trick” that make them unique and full of love. The recipes I love represent joy, togetherness and tradition. I believe food is a vehicle to show love. Whether it be at a small family dinner or a Thanksgiving feast with many of my closest friends, eating favorite recipes conjures some of my most cherished memories. I inherited my joy of traditional recipes from my late grandmother, a baker for 40 years whose recipes, most accurately filed away in her head and recreated most effectively through demonstration, illustrate how the most delicious food is made through frequent tasting and having just the right “feel.”
During the week, I’m a nurse and director of a surgery center. My spare time is filled by spending time with my husband, my miniature long-haired dachshund, and my 5 month old son. With a passion for theater, I spend my weekends directing a youth theater company that was started by my mother, some of my closest high school friends and me. My greatest joy in life is spending time with people….potlucks with co-workers, dinners with family and friends and even cafeteria style meals with my youth actors between performances. Cesar Chavez said it best: “The people who give you their food give you their heart.” The time, effort, agony, joy and love that went into the recipes I’ll be sharing is what food is all about to me: HEART.
Follow along with us as we share some of our favorite crowd pleasers and try out some new twists on the classics. We’ll talk recipes, food, friends and family as well as restaurants and some favorite local artisans we love.
Cheers and thanks for visiting!