Meet Ali. When she’s not busy with her musician career (worship leader, musician, arranger, choir director) she’s busy writing and taking photos of her yummy recipes on her cooking blog; “Gimme Some Oven”. Ali’s the type of girl that loves people and any excuse to entertain. She grew up with a family of entertainers and creatives that cherish family and believe there is nothing like a good meal around the dinning room table. Believe me I’ve had the pleasure of sharing some of those meals with her family (including AMAZING homemade cheesecake) and in college you could always avoid the school cafeteria by “stopping by” Ali’s apartment around dinner time!
Q1. How did you get started cooking?
I had the great luck to grow up in the kitchen alongside my mom, who is and talented, creative, and very resourceful home cook. She had dinner on the table for our family to enjoy together most nights of the week, and instilled in each of us an appreciation for healthy, well-balanced meals (always followed by dessert!!).
But for better or worse, I didn’t really develop my own passion for cooking until college. It was there that –- after the novelty of all-you-can-eat fried food and ice cream wore off -– I was finally motivated to learn the basics!! Thankfully, I had plenty of willing taste-testers around. (Quickly learned that college students will come over instantly at the mention of homemade food!) And while my roommates would affirm that there were definitely plenty of hilarious cooking disasters along the way, it was a blast and I learned a ton those years.
During that time, I also discovered what an absolute blessing it is to have your home filled with friends, enjoying a meal you have prepared. I still think there’s nothing better.
Q2. Define what makes a meal great?
I love-love-love exploring new restaurants, especially in Kansas City. But without a doubt, homemade meals will always be my favorite.
As for what makes those meals “great”, I most enjoy meals that are good all around – good for you (fresh, healthy ingredients), good for your schedule (which in my world usually means 30-minute meals!), good for your community (buying local when you can)…and occasionally, good for your sweet tooth (YUM). I also gravitate towards ethnic foods, so anything with lots of spices/herbs is an extra plus in my book.
Q3. What has been the most rewarding part about blogging your food adventures?
When I began blogging, my main hope was just to create a nice “little” archive of my favorite recipes, and maybe learn a little about photography in the process. (And I thought it would be a plus if my family or a few friends tuned in!)
Little did I know how quickly word spreads on the Internet, and what amazing and encouraging readers I would soon connect with from all over the world. To this day, it still boggles my mind people from all over the world tune in to my little site. It has been so fun getting to know them!
But I’d have to say that I think that the best “reward” of blogging (that still surprises me whenever I hear it) is having someone tell me that they made one of my recipes. Such a humbling honor.
Q4. What advice do you have for others interested in starting a food blog?
Oh man, I still feel like I’m the last person to give advice here. But I would say to blog about what you really love best. Because you quickly learn that it takes much more time than anyone imagines to actually create a recipe post from beginning to end (planning, cooking, photographing, editing, writing, posting, etc.). So be sure to stay focused on what you enjoy, and share your unique voice and passion in your writing!
Also, invest in a DSLR camera and learn how to use it. A good, appetizing photo is worth about ten thousand words in the world of food blogging!
AND NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF!
Q5. Your roommate just called. You’ve got 30 minutes till she and about 6 hungry friends show up at your doorstep. With what is in your kitchen RIGHT NOW, what do you throw together?
Oooh – I love these sort of challenges! Since I just made a trip to our local farmer’s market today, there is an abundance of produce in my house. So I would probably make a fresh green salad (with some sort of berries), toss a quick chicken and veggie stir-fry on the stove (shredded chicken and shrimp are staples in my freezer), and enjoy some homemade ice cream for dessert (my flavor of the week is earl gray – yum!). Easy, healthy, speedy, pretty well balanced, and delicious!
Q6. Describe your favorite cooking gadget/utensil, why do you like it, and where do you get it?
Hmmm. Aside from my beloved mixer and Santoku Knife, I’d have to say that my favorite kitchen item is still my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. It makes me ridiculously happy, and makes ridiculously good ice cream, yogurt, slushes, and more.
Mine was actually given to me as a gift, but I know they’re available online and at most local stores.
Q7. Is there a recipe on your blog that you will never make again?
Ha! Um, that would be a “yes”.
As adorable as they were, you will never again find me making a zillion marshmallow petals for these “Mum Flower Cupcakes”. I had bookmarked the recipe a long time ago, and was so excited when I finally sat down to make them. But after the 400th or so petal, pretty sure I began to lose my mind… Everyone seemed to love them on the blog though. I wish them the best if they give it a go!!!
Q8. (Fill in the blank) There is nothing sexier than a man who can cook ___________?
A fantastic steak. I have to admit – I know it’s a little cliché, but I love a man behind a grill.
Q9. What are your favorite food related hangouts?
Ahh! I can hardly narrow a list down to 20 in Kansas City! But if I must, here are 5 favorites…
- Blue Koi – This local noodles and dumplings Chinese restaurant in Westport is where I always celebrate my birthday. Their pot roast noodle soup and bubble teas are my favorites!
- Chez Elle – This charming creperie on the Westside is near and dear to my heart. I have so many wonderful memories with friends there. And their amazing French crepes, and beautiful sun-filled restaurant always make for a lovely morning or afternoon.
- Waldo Pizza – Oh my goodness. Of all the local pizza places we have, this one is by far my favorite! Nestled in the heart of Waldo, this place is always a popular hangout. I could live on their honey-wheat crust pizzas!
- Glace – Christopher Elbow, a local chocolatier, recently opened this incredible ice cream store in Brookside (my neighborhood). It features an amazing assortment of creative flavors that change often/seasonally. My favorites are “salted pretzel”, “goat cheese and honey”, and “Venezuelan dark chocolate”.
- Downtown Farmers Market – We are lucky to have many farmers markets in KC, but my favorite is the one downtown. They have an incredible selection of just about anything that can be grown, and then all kinds of international markets/restaurants form the perimeter of the market. I spend just about every Saturday morning there – love it!
Is your mouth watering yet? Her photos are honestly delicious and make me want to go bake all kinds of goodies. I have tried several of Ali’s recipes and they have ALL been nothing but sweet successes! Even my first attempt at a Flour-less Chocolate Cake!
She’s one of my best friends (honestly…she was in my wedding I swear!) and it’s been amazing to share our adventures in blog world together! What I love about Ali is that she really is just a regular gal trying to find healthy, well-balanced meals, on a genuine budget…AND believes in making room for dessert! Now, that is my kind of friend!
I’m looking forward to MANY MORE delicious photos and recipes and Cale is looking forward to taste testing them all! Thanks for letting us get to know you a little better Ali! Love you friend.
From the Farm
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