Monday, April 20, 2015

People Who Inspire Me: Chef Kayla from Parsley & Pepper

     My dear friend Kayla is often told that she is an amazing cook.  When I was pregnant, she was such a sweetheart and brought dinner to my family when I wasn't feeling well.  We were able to get an idea of her skills, and everyone enjoyed it!  We had told her many times that she should start a blog and share her recipes and secrets.  I am excited to share her brand new website/blog! Parsley & Pepper.

     Kayla is sweet, talented, and humble.  She is a devoted wife and mother of three young adorable kids.  She is a supportive and helpful friend.  It is through her encouraging words, that I have started actually cooking for my family.  She has inspired me to improve my homemaking skills without stress.  

     You see...I DON'T cook!  We live off cereal, pb&j, frozen chicken tenders and frozen pizza.  No joke.  My family is lucky if I decide to make spaghetti, using jarred sauce.  I just don't have the patience and all the ingredients intimidate me.  I have often looked at the meals some moms prepare for their families and felt envious and inadequate as a mom.  However, by following Kayla's instagram account @parsleyandpepper and pinning some of her recipes from her new site, I felt empowered to give this cooking thing a try. This is how it went...

     This recipe is so awesome.  Only THREE ingredients! Yay!  Easiest thing I've ever cooked and I felt so fancy watching the spices and meat cook on my stove. ;)  It only took about 15 minutes to cook.  The guacamole is an awesome addition to the Fiesta Lime taste and that was also super easy to whip up.  My husband and I were excited to get some home cooked protein in our meal for a change. And huge kids enjoyed it!  They ate every bite I gave them and my little one asked for more.  Victory!  I was even able to use the leftover meat for lunch the next day.  I just sautéed a few tomatoes added the diced up meat and salt & pepper.  I served it over white rice and again, my family liked it!  Definitely will be making this again.

     My kids are big fans of macaroni and cheese.  I was excited to try to make it from scratch for the first time.  I had no clue how easy mac and cheese is to cook until I read Kayla's recipe.  I thought, "Hey, I can totally do this!"  And I did.  I wasn't a fan of the smell of Gruyere, so I'll probably use a different kind of cheese next time, but this recipe is incredibly easy and fast.  My family was so impressed that we had a home cooked meal for dinner.  I am a huge fan of the Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts!  This was so easy and delicious.  I love sweet things and bacon...don't even get me started on my love for bacon. ;)  Not a big fan of Brussels Sprouts but somehow Kayla put together a recipe that made me want more. Yay.  Thumbs up!  

     This one was my absolute favorite! When Kayla recommended me to try this recipe, she warned that it wasn't her easiest recipe, because there were a lot of steps, but she was confident that I would be happy with it.  For sure! There are a lot of ingredients and prep for this casserole.  I worked hard on this one and I was so proud of myself when I placed the baking dish in the oven.  It looked fabulous when I took it out, to place it in my broiler.  Warning: I never used my broiler before this, so I was not aware that placing glassware in a broiler is a sensitive issue.  This is how unexperienced I am with cooking ;) Haha.  Well, when I was taking the dish out of the broiler, it shattered in my hands and the casserole was everywhere. :(  I should have taken a picture of the mess (it's funny now looking back), but I was so sad.  I apologized to my family and expressed that it broke my heart because of all the work I put into the casserole.  We were able to salvage about 1/4 of the casserole, to taste some of it for dinner.  Let me tell was SO incredibly delicious.  My kids asked for more.  This picture of Marley laughing is because daddy was teasing her about eating all her dinner...she is my picky eater, but she loved this meal.  My husband and I enjoyed it so much that we went back and picked through the broken glass for a few more bites. Hahaha!  This recipe was a lot of work, but this was the most delicious and the healthiest casserole I've ever made.  My husband asked me to make it again in the future.  But obviously, beware the broiler. ;)

     I have been able to provide nutritious meals for my babies and grocery shopping was not random chaos like usual, because I went with a set list for my planned meals. And since I have learned some basic techniques from Kayla's recipes, I am much more confident in trying out my own recipes or throwing in some extra ingredients.

     PARENTAL NOTE: I have also noticed that my children have been behaving much better!  The evening tantrums have diminished, and the crankiness has disappeared.  I am almost certain that the more substantial meals (in place of junk food and processed food) has had a direct affect on their behavior.  We have all been feeling good and more peaceful. Amazing!!  Um, this is awesome! Hopefully I can keep it up. ;)
     I am so impressed with the quality of Kayla's recipes.  She makes an effort to use natural ingredients to cook healthy wholesome meals.  They turn out delicious and beautiful.  I spoke with her several times telling her, "No really, I am not good at cooking."  She kept encouraging me and assuring me that her recipes are very easy and that anyone can be successful at cooking when they keep it simple and practice.  She has helped me take my first steps in improving my cooking and my family has benefited from my efforts in just the past week.  I am lucky enough to be good friends with Kayla, so I can text her with last minute questions.  But if you comment and ask questions on her blog, she responds as soon as she can.  Kayla is very happy to help and she loves to hear success stories.

      Thank you Thank you Kayla! xoxo

Visit and follow on Instagram @ParsleyAndPepper.