Hi, I’m Dana! I’m so glad you came to check out Gravel & Dine.
I love to cook just about everything. If I try a great recipe in a restaurant, I enjoy looking for ways to try it at home. I like quick, light meals for most weeknights, but I also enjoy sophisticated Sunday dinners that simmer all afternoon. Cooking is my way to relax after work each night. Fortunately, my husband enjoys my adventurous tastes in food and cooking, and is always willing to try new things. I love a great steak, couldn’t live without pasta and cheese, am striving to learn new ways to cook vegetables and incorporate them into meals, and I haven’t met a cookie that I didn’t love!
Most nights, I cook for just the two of us so I really enjoy getting a chance to cook for other people. My favorite place to do this is at duck camp where I will prep ahead all the meals for a week of hunting. It started as all freezer meals that I could pop in the oven in foil pans – back when there was no water at my Uncle’s farm – and has shifted into more sophisticated meals now that I have access to a full kitchen up there! I also usually bring with me at least 3 kinds of cookies and a pan or two of bars – and I rarely repeat a cookie recipe (with the exception of my Dad’s favorite oatmeal raisin).
I love to hunt, fish, hang out by the lake, swim, or just about any other outdoor activity. I’m an avid reader and can get lost in a good book for hours – and I have a slight addiction to cookbooks which I will devour with as much enthusiasm as my favorite novel.
I like to think that my love of being in the kitchen started as a little kid smelling all the spices in my mom’s spice cabinet. If you wanted to keep me entertained you could sit me on the counter and hand me jars of spices to smell and I was a happy little kid. Later, Tory & I would go to our Aunt ‘Thann’s in the beginning of the week when Mom & Dad were at work. Aunt ‘Thann loves to bake and I remember making brownies getting smears of chocolate ALL over her kitchen and best of all she didn’t care! What a great introduction to baking. Back at home, I liked hanging out in the kitchen with mom and helping which soon morphed into me starting dinner before she got home from work. My cooking repertoire really started expanding in college – the dorms had free cable (we grew up with 4 channels of network TV from an antenna on the roof) and there I discovered Food Network. 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray was my first introduction to cooking shows and it is now the only channel number I know by heart.
I like that I can share my love of cooking with Tory and it’s something that ties us together even when we don’t get to see each other in person. In fact, I like to think that I helped inspire Tory to enjoy cooking – starting with that day she couldn’t trick me into making her a grilled cheese and I started teaching her. I hope that some of our recipes will inspire you to try new things in the kitchen!