She auditioned this past summer for The Food Network’s Chopped-Mom’s Episode and was terrified during my 30 minute on air camera interview. Why do this when she admittedly says she’s not generally a competitive person, nor am comfortable being in the spotlight! Sometimes you do things for other reasons, and Carrie wanted to prove to herself, and her girls, that if you set your mind to something, you can achieve anything.
If there were a hidden camera following you, what would we see about you and your life?
8:30am-3pm After everyone has left for the day and I generally spend my day, cleaning, going to appointments, and running errands. I am also acheerleading advisor for my younger daughter’s squad and handle any necessary paperwork or communications during this time. I usually spend 1-2 days per week preparing new recipes, taking and editing photos, and writing blog posts for the following week. Most recently, a good portion of my time is spent on researching local events for book signing opportunities.
I’m busy ALL of the time and rarely make time for myself. Here is a typical Day in the Life:
5:30am Wake myself, husband and sixteen year old for work and school. Then proceed to take out our two dogs, feed them, and make lunches for the day.
6:45am Have my first cup of tea in the morning and share my blog post to social media and food sharing sites. Then if time allows, I catch up with other foodies on Facebook. I post 5 times a week with 4 original recipes Monday-Thursday and on Friday I find seafood recipes from some of my food blogging friends to share with my readers since I don’t eat seafood myself.
7:30am Wake up my 11 year old and shower to get ready for the day
8:30am-3pm After everyone has left for the day and I spend my day, cleaning, going to appointments, and running errands. I usually spend 1-2 days per week preparing new recipes, taking and editing photos, and writing blog posts for the following week.
3pm-9:30pm I spend 4-5 nights per week out of the home carpooling both of my children to and from their cheering practices and tutoring sessions as my husband has a demanding workload and is rarely home to help out during the week.
9:30pm-11pm I am D.O.N.E for the day and like to relax by catching up with the hubby if he isn’t traveling. If he is, I like to unwind by watching mindless tv or catch up on some reading which is usually some self help book.
If you had to re-invent yourself, what would be doing?
I did re-invent myself and my life has come full circle back to where I always knew I wanted to be!
I started out in the food industry after graduating from Johnson & Wales University in 1990 with a bachelors degree in hotel/restaurant management and spent the next 8 years working as an assistant food service director for corporate food services that fed over 2000 people a day. After my first child was born, the hours were a killer on my family, so I took a job at custom storage company where I worked for the next 13 years as their marketing manager.
In April 2011, I was laid off due to the financial health of the company, and after two weeks of cleaning and organizing every closet in my home, I started my food blog. Now I do what I love doing the most…experimenting with new recipes and documenting them for my children so they’ll have them forever. I even had my first cookbook published recently called “Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen: A Collection of Mediterranean-Inspired Family Meals”.
What are your biggest regrets in life up to this point?
My biggest regret, at least not up until about 11 years ago, was not living life for what made me happy. I was always trying to make everyone else happy and put myself last. I guess I still do that from time to time, but I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve created more of a balance and also realize that when others are happy, like my husband and children, that makes me happy. You can’t please everyone, all of the time. I lost my only sister 11 years ago in a car accident and even though we weren’t that close at the time, I have learned that life is too short for regrets. I didn’t grow up in wealthy family, in fact, my parents divorced when I was 8 years old. I saw my mother struggling each week to pay bills and put food on the table for my sister and I, but it was all we knew. As I got older, I realized that you are the only one in control of your destiny and in order to get there, you have to work hard and make sacrifices in order to reap the rewards. Now, I’m extremely fortunate and blessed that I’m able to do what I love and have had the opportunity to travel. You only get one life to live and if you keep putting things off, the day may never come.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Definitely Mediterranean! Even though I’m only half Italian, I love the fresh flavors of Mediterranean style cooking and the use of simple ingredients in my cooking. I had the opportunity to visit Italy and Greece over the past two years and I just felt right at home there. Family. Friends. Good food. What else is there?
My love for cooking started when I was eight years old, and I cherish the moments spent in the kitchen with all of my maternal mentors, including my mother, stepmother, grandmothers, and aunts who taught me all of the important basics while being extremely patient, yet never once asked me to leave the kitchen. I got the knack of cooking at a fairly young age and loved to search the cabinets looking to create something new even then, but I didn’t necessarily want to become a chef. So I decided to head to Providence, Rhode Island, where I graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a B.S. in hotel/restaurant management.
What is the most valuable advice you can offer other would-be chefs?
Don’t be afraid to experiment! Once you know the type of foods you like to eat or spices you prefer to use, the recipes are endless. Start out slow until you build your confidence by tweaking one of your favorite recipes. Instead of using fresh tomatoes, try sun dried tomatoes or instead of red onion, try using scallions. Your tried and true recipe will have a new flavor and you’ve just created something new to add to your meal plan. And, if you make something that didn’t turn out so great, that’s ok. It’s just food. If its really THAT bad, there’s always pizza delivery!
Where can we buy your new cookbook!
Ok, Carrie, I know you’re a social media hound like me…where can we find you??
You have so many great Mediterranean recipes, Carrie, what have you fixed especially for this Boho interview?