Your questions answered…

Can I share your recipes?

Absolutely! Feel free to share any of my recipes. First, choose the recipe you want to share and make sure you have that recipe page open.  Second, if you are on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter, just use the handy links at the top of each recipe page and click away. If you are not on social media and want to share a recipe by email, just copy the link in the address bar at the top and paste the link into an email. Then send the email and the recipient can use the link to access the recipe. It’s that easy.

Why aren’t you on the food network?

They haven’t called but if they did, I would have to pass. I prefer to cook in my own kitchen at my own pace. Besides, they don’t seem to focus much on healthy foods and meals so I prefer to share my recipes on the internet. Doing it on TV might seem too much like work and then there’s the makeup and the hair and I hate Spanx!

Is there anything you can’t cook?

Oh yes there is… pork chops! I’ve tried so many recipes and they always turn out tough and dry, so I’ve decided I can live without pork chops. I have too many other healthy meals to choose from, like my marinated pork loin, which I love.

How old are you?

I was born in June of 1946.

What’s your worst recipe disaster?

Pork chops.

What would you eat every day if you could?

Watermelon… or concord grapes… or homemade bread! I do focus on eating healthy foods and meals but when I have something I really love, like freshly baked bread, I eat way more than anyone should.

What are your favorite recipes?

Oh boy! There are so many that I just love and of course that’s why I post them – because they are what I love making for myself. I will try to list my favorites but it’s not easy. Here goes… Breakfast: Buckwheat Pancakes or Cheese Blintzes & I love my Breakfast Cookies. Breads: Any No Knead Bread and Sesame Seed Breadsticks. Snacks: Granola Bars. Dinner: Cabbage Rolls, Vegetable-Bean Pasta, and Orange-Sesame Chicken. Sides: Roasted Vegetables & Greek Lemon Potatoes. Desserts: Everyday Cookies,  Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake, Marble Loaf Cake, and Rice Pudding.

How did you learn to cook?

My dad was the cook in the family so I grew up eating his healthy meals, mostly Polish cooking. I started learning by helping out with simple recipes like mashed potatoes or salad. I learned how to make some Polish recipes like cabbage rolls but my favorite was desserts. I love sweets so as I got into my teens, I taught myself some dessert recipes, simple ones like pudding and jello. My love for sweets and my desire to stay healthy motivated me to find the best dessert recipes and make them healthier. Today, my focus is on turning those healthy recipes into simple easy recipes that actually have some health benefits. Imagine that – cookies that are good for you.

Did you ever work in a restaurant?

I did, but not as a cook. I worked as a waitress when I ran away from home at the age of eleven. I later worked part time as a waitress again at sixteen. I know what a challenging job this is – that’s why I’m a good tipper.

Where do you like to go out to eat?

You might be surprised. I don’t like fancy restaurants with menu items I can’t pronounce but prefer small, family-run hole in the wall places that serve healthy meals. I like a good burger, Chinese food that’s not batter-fried, and sometimes, I have to go out for Mexican! I’m working on a couple of Mexican recipes.

Are you a vegetarian or vegan?

No. I’m sure it’s good for you but I enjoy food too much…. everything in moderation.

How can your recipes be healthy when you bake with sugar?

I don’t claim to be a health food nut, I’m just doing the best I can to make my recipes as healthy as I can and still want to have seconds. I love sweets and have tried baking without sugar but never liked the result. So I use as little sugar as I can and enjoy my delicious dessert recipes, managing to stay in good health.

What’s your favorite dessert?

You’re killing me! How can I choose? I love sweets and eat dessert every day but only when I make them myself because I bake mostly without butter and as little sugar as I can. If I have to choose (and I don’t want to!) it would have to be my chocolate-almond clusters… no wait, my sweet potato chocolate cake. Everyone asks for the recipe! No wait… let’s add my rice pudding to the list. I love comfort foods. Oh. And my custard pudding.

Why do you use canola oil when they say it’s bad for you?

With a family history of high cholesterol, my biggest concern is saturated fat and canola oil, like olive oil, is recommended as being heart-healthy. Olive oil is the best but when my recipe calls for a flavorless oil, I use canola or extra light olive oil.  There has been a bunch of press about the benefits of coconut oil, which is a saturated fat, but until the dust settles and there’s proof it does not raise cholesterol, I am sticking with olive and canola oils in my recipes.

Why don’t you use fat-free products in your recipes?

I think it’s a mistake to avoid fat altogether. Your body needs some fat, as long as it’s healthy fat, especially monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts so I try to use them in my recipes. Although milk products contain saturated fats, I prefer low-fat products for taste reasons and also because most fat-free products have a lot of unpronounceable ingredients. Most of my healthy dinner recipes contain a little healthy fat.

Do you have a cooking philosophy?

I guess I do. It is to realize that eating healthy foods and meals can have a huge impact on how you look and how you feel. And I find it very hard to eat healthy meals at restaurants so knowing how to cook is an important life skill. I would choose the most simple recipes that are homemade, like rice & beans, over most restaurant meals. Cooking your own food is not only personally rewarding, but you have the power to control exactly what’s in your food. You might order a restaurant item that seems healthy but you really have no idea how much butter or saturated fat or salt is in it. That’s why it’s important to know how to cook.

Do you ever eat fast food?

No. I care too much about my health to eat fast food. I believe that many diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, are preventable by eating healthy foods and meals and not fast food and junk food, and the best way to get those healthy foods and meals is to cook them yourself.

Where do you get these recipes?

I don’t get them anywhere. These are all the things I cook for myself at home. I am not a recipe developer and I don’t do this to make money or sell anything. I’m just sharing all of my own home cooking with whoever wants it.

Do you really take all your own food photos?

Believe it or not, it often takes longer to take the pictures than to cook the recipes. I’m not a professional photographer so my pictures are done by trial and error. The reason I take the photos is for full disclosure. I want people to see exactly how their recipes will turn out if they follow my directions.

Any last words of advice for struggling cooks?

Yes. If I can do it, anyone can cook delicious, healthy meals – it’s just a matter of how much practice you need. It took me years to become the cook I am today and the time I spent was the best investment I could have made in my health. I believe in the power of good nutrition and I just want to share my healthy recipes with the world.

Jenny Jones