Hey, Ya’ll! I’m Mandi
I’m so glad you’re here!
I love sharing approachable, family-friendly recipes.
I’m a wife and mama to 2 sweet babies. I currently have the honor of staying home with my kids. Being able to spend my days with them is the best! I’m lucky to be married to my best friend. We started dating when I was a freshman in college.
I love all things food! I also like to spend time in the garden, play outside, take pictures, and travel.
I am Appalachian, born and raised. My heart is in the Smokies. Ok, my heart is split between the Smokies and Maui. There are mountains in Maui. 🙂
I’m from a tiny town in southern Appalachia. I am part of these mountains. Wherever I go, they go with me.
More about me
I entered the workforce when I was 15 and have had many jobs. I know it’s cliche, but without a doubt, being a mama is the best job I’ve ever had.
In college, I studied nutrition and dietetics for a while. I loved studying food science and nutrition. But, they pushed the clinical dietitian side of things. I realized that was not for me. I changed my major and graduated with a BS in Natural Resource Conservation.
Before having kids, I worked in both public health and water conservation. During that time, I worked with several organizations involved in education and outreach. I got to work with all ages doing health outreach and teaching ecology. I even organized a tailgate market.
I also worked in community planning and worked to make changes at a policy level. The opportunity to teach and help build communities was great. But it always felt like something was missing. I was doing good work. I was helping people. But it wasn’t my calling…
Deep down, I had always known what I should be doing.
That first job at 15 was waiting tables at a local lodge with a fine dining restaurant. That place became a refuge for me. I had felt isolated my whole life, but there, I met people from all over the world. It was a refuge for them too.
I continued to work in restaurants throughout high school and college. Those experiences fostered my love of food and cooking and broadened my palate to new tastes. I loved being around food and people who loved food. My primary job was serving, but I also did a lot of back-of-the-house food preparation. Many of my recipes and techniques stem from those experiences. What I learned during those years continues to inspire me. I am also inspired by trying different foods, traveling, and eating at new restaurants.
Restaurants were not the only place that taught and inspired me. My relationship with food and gardens runs deep. It was woven into almost every part of my childhood experience. For my family, it was an art and a way of life. We would cook, can, freeze, and dry the foods my family grew and hunted. When I wasn’t helping with the work, I would spend hours in my play kitchen. I loved playing with food and making up recipes. You could also find me outside feeding mudpies to my baby brother.
I am also educated in nutrition and food science. I love being able to take the art of food to a scientific level. It is so exciting to use that knowledge to improve the health and well-being of myself and my family.
People should have these life skills and feel confident using them. I love sharing this knowledge and passion with my community, and I’m so glad you’re here!