The Picky Palate has moved from occasional bookmark to daily read for us as our mouths water at the delectable images. Founder Jenny Flake turns everyday items into tasty treats with recipes even a novice can pull off. Jenny stops by today to give us a glimpse at the woman behind the wildly successful blog, and tomorrow debuts an incredible recipe that will make you shine like a star at your holiday cookie exchange.
Tell us about your background
I grew up in Mesa, AZ, went to college to become a Registered Dental Hygienist, and practiced for 8 years in Scottsdale. I started writing Picky Palate October 2007 and moved to Orange County, CA several years ago for my husband’s job. I’ve got 2 little boys and a hubby that keep life fun and exciting!
How did you get started in baking competitions?
My love of cooking didn’t kick in until my husband and I got our first home when I realized I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what to do in my new kitchen! That led me to read countless cookbooks and watch cooking show after cooking show. The Million Dollar Pillsbury Bake-off on Food Network peaked my interest, so I told myself “I am going to try to be a finalist.” I researched the contest and created a number of recipes. Six months later I got a call from Pillsbury saying I had been chosen a finalist for the 2004 competition. I competed for 4 more years in all sorts of cook-offs throughout the country, took a 2 year break, and then competed in the Better Home’s and Garden Cook-off this year.
Where do you get inspiration for your recipes?
Inspiration for my recipes comes from just about everything – ideas come to me at all times of the day and my brain is always thinking about food ideas. I especially love writing family friendly recipes since this is the phase of life I’m in right now.
What tips do you have for cooking with kids and getting the whole family involved?
Start when your kids are young so they have an interest in food right away. Whether it’s stirring or measuring, make them feel important by being your special helpers. Make their food fun and exciting. I let them “create on their plate” by cutting shapes out of their food so they have fun while they are eating.
What suggestions do you have for those on tight time constraints?
Organization and preparation are key. When you have the time to cook one full meal, try doubling the protein so you can easily create another meal out of it quickly. Having fresh fruits and vegetables on hand will also allow you to prepare wholesome foods in pinch.
Let’s get to know Jenny a little better with a “quick-fire” round of questions:
- Blogs I check out often are:
- Soooo many, but my favorites are Bakerella and The Pioneer Woman.
- My first job was: at a mall as an Eddie Bauer sales associate.
- My favorite color is: deep green.
- I cannot live without: my goofy family.
- My favorite guilty pleasure is: a good piece of dark chocolate . . . okay, the whole bar!
- The best advice I ever received is: laugh often, it’s the best medicine.
- A cause I care deeply about is: The Ronald McDonald House. I was able to tour a Ronald McDonald House in Chicago and it is an incredible facility that helps families in need during difficult times.
We’re Sweetening the Deal with a Giveaway: Jenny bakes up a storm in our Jessie Steele apron and pot mitt, and her cookies look fantastic displayed on our Rosanna, Inc. Footed Square Cake Stand. To get your holiday baking season started with a bang, we’re offering two lucky readers a Jessie Steele oven mitt and apron of their choice. Tell us below or on our Facebook page your favorite holiday treat and you’re entered to win. Contest ends Friday, November 19th at 6pm EST.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for a recipe to make the giant oatmeal m&m cookies you see here!