You may have noticed that IEShineOn.com looks a little different. We're providing our readers with more of the lifestyle content they demand. We’ve reached out to our community and gathered a team of writers, who have a passion to share the best of the Inland Empire.
We are proud to announce that the ever-popular and wildly creative food enthusiast Sara De Leeuw of My Imperfect Kitchen will be writing an inspiring new column for IEShineOn.com entitled, “Sara’s Kitchen Adventures—Recipes with a Local Flair.” We look forward to following Sara as she travels throughout the Inland Empire finding the freshest and most delicious local ingredients, where she then creates a fun and delicious recipe for readers to enjoy.
As a fun and successful internet food blogging sensation, Sara joins our family with solid roots in the Inland Empire. Calling the I.E. home for her entire life, Sara attended Upland High School, Mt. SAC and Cal Poly Pomona. She studied Liberal Arts and Communications with minors in Theatre and American Sign Language, and her professional experience ranges from being a classroom teacher, for various grades and subjects, to serving as a Starbucks Store Manager for years.
As a seasoned local, Sara spends most of her time working from home, cooking, writing full-time and helping care for her adorable mini sous chef, AKA her new granddaughter! Sara was gracious enough to tell us more about her life, and favorite recipes, while giving us an inside peek at her new and exciting endeavor.
Q. What are your favorite ways to have fun?
Sara De Leeuw: Most of my favorite things involve food! I love taking and teaching cooking classes and going to food events! When I’m not in the kitchen, I enjoy reading, traveling, photography, going to the theatre, camping, fishing, singing and most recently, scrapbooking!
Q. Tell me about the conception of My Imperfect Kitchen.
Sara: My Imperfect Kitchen started in August of 2011. I was looking for a creative outlet to share my passion for cooking, learning new techniques, interviewing chefs and going on cooking adventures. All the blogs and TV shows I followed at the time, made dishes perfectly. My kitchen was NOT perfect (and it still isn’t!). I wanted people to know it was okay to mess up in the kitchen. We’ve all burned toast or dropped a bowl of something on the floor. Cooking isn’t about perfection, it’s about sharing delicious food and spending time around the table with people you love!
Q. When did you first realize you had a passion for creating recipes?
Sara: When I was in Jr. High, I had a Home Economics class (if that doesn’t tell you just how old I am . . . nothing will!) and the teacher gave us a basic recipe for cookies we could “adjust” to make five different kinds of cookies by adding different ingredients. I always thought recipes were hard, fast rules that could never be changed. It was enlightening! Since then, I’ve enjoyed trying new flavors and creating personal recipes that were fun and easy!
Q. What is unique about your cooking style?
Sara: I’m passionate about feeding people delicious, simple food. I want my readers to feel the recipes are accessible, no matter their skill level in the kitchen. I want them to be comfortable recreating recipes and experimenting with flavors and ingredients they like!
Q. What can readers expect from your new column at IEShineOn.com, “Sara’s Kitchen Adventures—Recipes with a Local Flair?”
Sara: I’m a big supporter of eating and shopping locally! Readers can expect to find new (or favorite) places to shop for fresh ingredients. I’ll be visiting mom and pop shops, farmers markets, ranches, groves, farms, specialty stores and more, to showcase the very best of the Inland Empire. Readers will get to meet the real people behind the scenes who work hard to bring their ingredients to life! Then, I’ll be going back to my kitchen to create plenty of great recipes with the things I’ve found. It’s going to be a delicious adventure every single month!
Q. Which recipes on your blog My Imperfect Kitchen have gone the most viral as fan favorites?
Sara: Melted Snowman Cookies, for sure! They are the most popular recipe on the blog. Other fan favorites are the copy-cat NorthWoods Inn Cabbage Salad, Fresh Strawberry Biscuits, Pizza Quesadillas and my Quiche with Hash Brown Crust!
Q. While all recipes from My Imperfect Kitchen are amazing, are you able to pick one in particular that really stands out among the rest?
Sara: I love all my recipes, but there are two that really stand out as personal favorites. The first is my Berry Danish post. I love it because it uses puff pastry and I have *never* had success using puff pastry until that recipe. I was so excited it actually worked! The second is my recipe for Meatloaf Skulls. Obviously, it was for Halloween, and they were over-the-top perfect for a freaky foods party!
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with IEShineOn.com readers?
Sara: I’d love to know where they like to shop! Where they like to hang out, and eat great food! What are the local places they’d like to see featured in my column? Share your suggestions with me via email at: Sara@myimperfectkitchen.com
To check out Sara's tasty new Holiday Gingerbread Cookie recipe, click here!