For December’s spotlight, we are pleased to feature Shirl (J) 831. A host of our Special Diets and Holidays forums, Shirl (J) 831 is an avid NCIS fan, although she never commits crimes when she’s cooking in the kitchen. We spoke with her about her winter favorites and holiday traditions.
Tell us about yourself. I am from Alberta, Canada, and now live in the U.S. in North Carolina, where I work as an Independent Avon Representative. My hobbies include photography, reading, volunteering and writing — I will find any excuse to write about something just so I can buy a new notebook.
Ever take food photos? Everyone learns early on what they are good at when it comes to photography. For me, it’s birds and flowers. I have taken some food photos, but like everything else, I need to practice. I would tell others wanting to take food shots, try it and keep trying — you will get better.
What is your cooking style? While I enjoy all types of food, I primarily stick to low-fat versions. I cook the way my mom did; she rarely followed a recipe but was a fantastic cook.
What are some of your favorite winter dishes? When the weather turns cool, I like to make soups and casseroles — comfort food all the way.
The holiday season is coming up. How do you celebrate? I carry on traditions from when I was a child. On Christmas Eve I watch It’s A Wonderful Life, have a pizza or some homemade mac and cheese, open one gift and hang stockings.
What is your favorite part of hosting our Holidays forum here on Food.com? I enjoy running this forum because I’m such a holiday person — Christmas is my favorite holiday ever! It’s my goal to engage forum visitors and get them thinking and talking about upcoming holiday meals and decorating.
What’s your favorite cookbook? I love to “read” cookbooks and will find any excuse to buy a new book. My favorite is the Gooseberry Patch collection. I had my famous Tilapia with Jasmine Rice published in Taste of Home and have a few recipes published in Gooseberry Patch. I have also published two of my own cookbooks.
Any kitchen disaster stories? Have you ever tried to make pumpkin muffins and forgot the pumpkin? I have! To me, that was a disaster.
What drew you to Food.com? I stumbled upon Food.com way back, looking for a recipe for Soft Molasses Cookies. I never found one I liked, so I created my own, and it just happens to be my most highly rated recipe on the site.
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