I remember being around 6 years old and standing at the counter helping my mother stir cookies or frost cakes. I have always had a love for cooking and by the time I turned 8 I quickly became the full time cook for my family of 7 at the time. I would come home from school around 3:00 or 3:30 and then look at what my mother had laid out for thawing and then start planning what needed to be made first and what needed to be made last.
The meals that I made for my family were the typical Standard American Diet recipes such as: chicken fried steak, roast, vegetable and potatoes, fried chicken and many other types of chicken or beef dishes, never fish since my family were not fish lovers. The meal also included a starch such as mashed or fried potatoes and of course a vegetable such as corn, peas or green beans. Once in a while I would make an iceberg salad with tomatoes and then the Dorothy Lynch dressing and then always we had a dessert such as cookies, pies or cakes. I learned a lot of tips and techniques on how to manage making sure the food was ready but also delicious.
I then went away to college and graduated with a degree of Interior Design and Architecture but soon knew that this line of work was not all that I wanted it to be so I went back into the culinary world. I didn’t do a lot with it at the time since work became the focus. Speeding forward about 20 years and my significant other is faced with heart disease and we knew about the plant base lifestyle but only enough to be dangerous. After my significant other received news that his arteries were about 80% blocked after following the Heart Association diet, then that is when we made the decision to go plant based. We found the news out on a Friday, cleaned out the house on a Saturday and donated the items not needed to our 9 New Health Food Drive and went shopping to purchase all that we needed on Sunday. We went plant based
about 13 years ago and have not looked back since and he now has a clean bill of health and he is not taking any medications.
After about 5 to 6 years of being plant based and helping friends and family, my significant other decided to move from the IT world into becoming a plant based nutritionist. After completing his certificate, I decided to reenroll myself into the cooking world and started offering small classes at Whole Foods and then expanded into offering larger classes at Whole Foods (45 to 65+ attendees), cooking on videos for Whole Foods, Natural Grocers classes to then moving into Cook with Me classes.
I remember being in front of the classes and having many questions asked about how to make the dishes that I demonstrated taste exactly like how I had made them. There were many questions about what spice or brand of spice I used and exact products, so this led me to starting the Cook with Me classes. The classes are offered every 2 weeks and are usually themed or set up as a meal prep and when the students arrive they chop, sauté, spice, simmer and prepare all the dishes, sit down and enjoy the food and then always take some home.
About one year ago I met Jyl and there has been no looking back. Jyl is a fireball and is very passionate about helping everyone but most especially children and schools to Think Outside the Lunch Box. My next step in partnering with Jyl will be to offer cooking classes (demo and cook with me) for children and their caretakers. There is no experience like it when you see a child’s eyes light up after they discover the wonder of food and preparing food.
Please enjoy the labor of love cookbook. There is not another one out there like this. Please also take a look at my website and meetup: www.plantbasedkitchenista-recipes.com and https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Healthy-Plant-Based-Cooking-Classes/ to see all of the cooking classes and events that I am involved with.
Kelley has most recently formed a non-profit, Healthy Living thru Nutrition, in May 2015 which will focus on establishing relationships with schools, students, families, and volunteers across the state of Colorado. The essential purpose of this non-profit will be to fulfill the Healthy Living thru Nutrition mission by teaching cooking classes that focus on proper nutrition, which helps families build the skills and knowledge to cook meals and make healthy choices on their own. Professional Credentials: Chef *Food for Life Instructor Certification* Forks Over Knifes Certification* Plantrician Certification* PlantPowered Lifestyle Coach