Hi! My name is Ashley and I am the author and photographer behind CenterCutCook. Welcome! I have no culinary training whatsoever, and do not claim to be an expert. I do, however, enjoy cooking and love experimenting with new recipes and taking photos of my creations. Sometimes the recipes I cook turn out to be a flop. Other times they turn out better than I ever expected, and those are the recipes I share here. CenterCutCook was started in December, 2011.
My husband, Ryan, is my number one taste tester (he’s also the guy that makes sure CenterCutCook purrs like a kitten! He takes care of all the behind-the-scenes technical stuff!). I have two adorable puppies that would love to help taste test the recipes I make if I’d let them. The four of us reside in the west suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We are surrounded by world class restaurants and do enjoy trying new places, but more often than not, we can be found enjoying our meals at home.
What is CenterCutCook and why did you start it? CenterCutCook is a collection of my favorite recipes. I enjoy finding recipes to try, and adapting them to my tastes. Occasionally, I get ambitious and write my own recipes. Each recipe that is posted here has been cooked and photographed by yours truly.
What is your cooking philosophy?: In a nutshell: keep.it.simple. I am the type of person that, unfortunately, lacks patience sometimes. This includes when I’m in the kitchen, therefore, my cooking philosophy is all about making quick and simple meals that are delicious and healthy (with the occasional indulgence!). I’m also the type of person that likes a challenge once in a while. This means that about 85% of my recipes are quick and simple and about 15% might require an excessive amount of ingredients, or a larger chunk of time than I’m typically comfortable with.
I take pride in making as much as I can “from scratch.” Occasionally, I take a little help from the store, but I like knowing what I am putting in my body and what I’m giving to those I love and care about. The rewards that come from menu planning and preparation are worth it, even if it may be time consuming!
What did you do before CenterCutCook: Prior to CenterCutCook, I was a middle school teacher and technology coordinator at a small private school. I enjoyed working with the kids the most and got great satisfaction knowing I was making a difference! Prior to teaching, I was a full-time tech blogger at CyberNetNews.com. I am truly a geek at heart and can partially thank my husband for this, as he is “head geek” in our home.
What is your all-time favorite kitchen gadget? Do I have to pick just one? This is a toughie. Not that long ago I received my first food processor as a hand-me-down. I did not realize until I began using it that it is the one kitchen gadget I should have had all along. I use it at least four times per week, and once in a while, four times per day! I shred cheese with it, make pizza dough, and the list goes on. A close second favorite is my Vita-Mix Blender. In December of 2011, I underwent upper and lower jaw surgery. My mouth was banded completely shut for 17 days which meant I was on a strict liquid diet and “ate” with a syringe. My Vita-Mix blender got used at least 5 times per day for that entire time and gets used at least once per day now!
What do you do when you’re not cooking? When I’m not cooking, I can be found cleaning up the mess in my kitchen that I always make when I cook. :) When I’m not cleaning, I enjoy playing with my puppies, spending time with family and friends, exercising, and traveling to new places with my husband.
How can I contact you? I love feedback, ideas, and suggestions. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.