How did you come up with your winning recipe?
For about a year I've wanted to experiment with blueberries and chocolate in a muffin or cake. I love healthy cooking, but I also love desserts and think that my strength lies in making not-so-healthy food healthier. I made this cake three times before I thought it was right. Then I started tinkering with the frosting and sauce. Once I got it to a good place I called my sister and said, 'You have to try this and see what you think,' and she liked it. I also ended up sharing a lot of cake with neighbors.
What is your secret for coming up with a winning recipe?
Stick to what you love and are inspired by. I have tried to come up with recipes out of thin air for other contests and not won.
How did you get so interested in healthy cooking?
When I was a child I was bigger, which led me to start being health-conscious and active. Now I try to teach my kids about healthy eating as well. I buy whole-wheat macaroni and cheese and whole-wheat bread. My kids think bread is brown, and if I buy white bread, they think it's weird.
Is there anything you can't do well in the kitchen?
It seems like every time I try to double a recipe or make a bigger batch of something for a crowd, it always goes wrong. I'm jinxed! I know if I have to make a double batch it will fail miserably!
Is there any ingredient you use that might surprise people?
I use white beans as a fat substitute a lot. I just cook up a bunch of white beans and throw them in the freezer. I even have a frosting recipe that uses half butter and half white beans that I used for a birthday party of one of my boys. It turned out great and my mom couldn't even tell a difference!
What are your favorite kitchen tools?
I love my Bosch mixer and my wheat grinder, which I use for grinding my own flour.
Do you have any cooking pet peeves?
I try and get rid of the "hocus pocus" in recipes. It seems like there are a lot of unnecessary directions, so I try to get to the heart of the matter as much as possible. The same goes for when I'm creating recipes.