About Lois Carter Crawford: A Little Bit About Me
Hi. It’s Lois in the kitchen. I have always loved to cook (read: eat!) and make food for family and guests. Well not always. Some of my family members are pretty picky eaters. So, I’ll clarify. I love to cook for people who love to eat what I make. And I show my love by doing things for those I care about, especially making them tasty—usually healthy—food.
Instinctively, I know which spices taste good together and which ones should not be combined. This is a blessed gift when cooking; I seldom make a bad meal. I also rarely follow a recipe exactly as it is written. I generally don’t rush off to the store to get the perfect ingredients. If I don’t have carrots but I do have zucchini, I just substitute the zucchini. For some great ideas, check out the substitutions list I posted.
Mom Didn’t Know Best
For some recipes, of course, I measure everything exactly. Cakes, for instance, need to have the proper balance of dry and wet ingredients. My Favorite Chocolate Cake is delicious whether I make it with baker’s chocolate or I use cocoa; however, if I substitute melted baker’s chocolate for the cocoa, I add additional flour to compensate for the reduction in dry ingredients.
I learned to cook by watching my mom. She was a good, basic cook, but I learned early on that if I wanted it to taste like Mom’s recipe, I had to pay close attention when she was cooking. My mom also took a lot of shortcuts. Perhaps it was the period of time when people did that (1950s and 1960s). She never made cakes from scratch; her macaroni and cheese started with the Kraft box; and she put Lipton Onion Soup on roasts to flavor them.
I, on the other hand, never make cakes from a box (but I do make Ghirardelli Brownies; they are delicious!), make Kraft Mac and Cheese only for the grandkids (because it’s all they will eat), and seldom use Lipton Onion Soup Mix for anything (although I still love it on beef or pork roasts).
Rather, I believe in using fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. I love whole grains and fresh-baked cakes, cookies and breads. I always read the nutrition labels for the foods I buy that are prepackaged or canned, and I make nutrition labels for all the recipes I post (unless I’m distracted and forget…so if you see one without a label, please let me know!). As I get older, I realize how important this is for good health, especially as I watch my friends and family die of various cancers and heart disease.
In addition, I have developed some health issues myself over the past many years. After I had a heart attack in 2007 and was diagnosed with diabetes, I began to look more carefully at what I was eating. Although I thought I was eating well, I found that I was eating far too many calories, fat, sugar and simple carbs. Even though I was eating fresh fruits and veggies, I ate tons of carbs all in one sitting, and that is just not good for anyone.
I also determined that I am allergic to standard milk and can only use goat’s milk or the chemical strain of milk that is known as A2. If I have more than just a bite of commercial cheese or milk, my joints hurt for DAYS. But A2 milk doesn’t bother me one bit. I can drink as much as I want, and since I purchased part of a herd of A2 cows from Misty Morning Farm VA, I now get amazing raw A2 milk every week. (Check out the cows!) So I’m back to drinking milk—whole milk, no less—and losing weight—even if I don’t exercise. No more inflammation! Yay!
I also found out that I definitely should not eat gluten. Although I am not celiac, I am very gluten-intolerant, and when I eat gluten, I get weird symptoms—being extremely ticklish, for instance! And I just start not feeling well. But it’s so hard to resist homemade French Bread, isn’t it? And when I don’t eat gluten, I lose weight, even if I eat potato chips, gluten-free bread, and corn chips. So that’s a little side benefit.
More Reasons I Cook
Another interesting tidbit is that I tend to use baking and cooking as a stress reliever. My kids picked up on this pretty quickly (actually before I did). In fact, one time Roni said to me, “We must not be driving you crazy lately. You haven’t baked anything in a long time. Do I have to be bad for you to bake cookies?”
When I joined my first husband’s family, I was delighted with their mealtime rituals, and my outlook on family dinners solidified. Unlike my family of origin, my new family not only all sat at the table together for the evening meal, but they had a conversation! Conversation and food make great company.
I do have many stories that go hand-in-hand with the foods I make. For most of the recipes I include on the blog, I will tell you a little story about them. I hope you enjoy the stories as much as you do the recipes. I invite you to comment and add your own recipes and stories, too!