She was diagnosed with breast cancer and after four months of wallowing in bed feeling sorry for herself, she discovered blogging and that changed her life! This is ‘Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen,’ and I call her a true ‘woman of substance.’
She grew up on TV dinners, boxed meals and fast food! Her mother’s “go to” dinners. included things like Monday night Meatloaf, and Tuesday night Tuna Casserole. Many of her Mom’s recipes called for canned soups, and the sides consisted of processed boxed foods.–high in sodium and/or fat. These became her comfort foods–Mac and Cheese (yes the blue box folks), cream of mushroom soup. Vegetables were non-existent. So, how did this now rabid foodie whose got a strong following in the social media as a food blogger and is respected and loved by her adoring fans and followers come full circle! Bobbi from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen bares it all in this interview!
Bobbi, what have you done in the past few years to change your life?
As I said, I didn’t come from a foodie family. My Mom was a typical housewife for that time and so TV dinners were common, heavy casseroles, and boxed dinners were what I was used to. After my children were born I began to gain weight, and with my poor eating habits found it all but impossible to lose it. I finally reached 288 pounds and knew something had to change so in 2004 I underwent gastric bypass surgery. That was when I learned that food was about taste and quality, not quantity. It opened a whole new world to me. I began cooking things that were healthy for my family, and realized I loved doing it!
What are the biggest regrets in your life up to this point?
I was married for 21 years and although I don’t regret the marriage (or the two beautiful children that came from it), I do regret not standing up for myself, or believing in myself and my abilities. I was content with being the one in the shadows helping everyone through their tough times and to achieve their goals. I allowed myself to fall into a “comfort zone” of not having the faith that I was/could be much more than I was. What a huge wake up call I had when I divorced, and I had to discover myself and who I wanted to be.
If you didn’t like cooking with the passion you do, what would you be doing?
After my divorce I decided I wanted to go into the medical field. I began school with the hopes of being able to help other people through the tough times in their lives. My father had lived through malignant skin cancer, and 4 lung cancer surgeries, and I was a cancer survivor as well. My dream was to work in oncology. Then in January of 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My world came to a screeching halt, and I was forced to decide what I wanted to do. I opted for surgery so I had to drop out of school. After months of lying in bed and allowing myself to wallow in self-pity, I discovered blogging, and my life changed when I wrote my first post.
Where do your ideas and inspirations for innovative dishes come from?
At first I was just a crazy woman, wanting to try everything. I went from hating veggies to adoring them and was determined to pull my family in with me. Then a strange thing happened, they began to request things they had never requested before. Oh they still love their chili mac and chili cheese fries, but they would actually request a fish dish, or a certain vegetable. I was shocked! Now I love testing them with new combinations of flavors, or cuisines. But most of all, I love coming up with comfort food. If your tummy is happy and you are smiling, I am a very happy chef!
Which ingredients would always be found in my kitchen?
My kitchen is never without garlic, onions, canned tomatoes, beans, and pasta. I was just recently told I was the “Queen of pasta” which made me giggle. My kids have learned to love the smell of garlic and onions cooking. In fact my daughter said we need to invent a candle with that smell. But seriously, if I have garlic, onions, tomatoes, beans, and pasta, there will always be a meal on my table! My boyfriend might not be happy about it since he is a huge carnivore, but I have been able to convince him meat free is not such a bad thing once in a while.
What is the most valuable advice to would be chefs?
WOW that is a good question. I am still learning so much myself. But I guess the first piece of advice I was given about this journey came from my father before he passed away. He told me that there is nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it. He was one of the pickiest eaters I have ever known but for me he would try anything. His famous line most nights was, “What experiment are we having tonight?” Bless his heart! Don’t be afraid to try. Mistakes are not failures, they are merely a learning experience. If cooking is in your heart your food will show the love, and that is all that matters!
Chicken with Snap Peas~Find the recipe