IN THE KITCHEN WITH MICHELLE DANIELS
Tell us about yourself:
Hi there US Wellness friends, so fun to be featured here. I am Michelle, the mom half of the blog: Back Porch Paleo, currently living in Lehi, UT. What started out as a health scare for my youngest daughter, Makenna in 2013, has grown into a platform, a cookbook, a prepackaged Paleo Pie Crust Mix and collaborations we never would have dreamed of. I am a foodie at heart and have been in the kitchen creating, since I was very young. I created mini Christmas villages out of cookies in junior high, made wedding cakes in high school and have been in the kitchen ever since. I am an outdoor enthusiast, so if I’m not in the kitchen you can find me with my hubby and friends, hiking, paddle boarding or playing pickleball. We are also avid Red Sox fans and enjoy plenty of baseball games on television or in person when we can. Also, if there is a cooking/chef show on Netflix, I am indeed watching and taking notes!
How did you get involved in cooking?
As mentioned above, I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen. My mom, who didn’t really like to cook, was always encouraging me to get in there and be creative. She was always willing to do the dishes too, which was awesome. She did make amazing Mexican Food, holiday pies and candies, so those are all in my wheelhouse! In 2013 Makenna was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and I was determined to heal her body with food and make sure the comfort foods we enjoyed as a family were still available and she could feel normal. So between my love of being in the kitchen and the need to help my daughter, cooking/baking/grilling has felt so natural to me.
Describe your cooking style:
I really enjoy gathering family/friends in the kitchen, creating memories around the dinner table. I love getting everyone involved in the process so that they can feel comfortable with the myriad of tools/foods/seasonings available to create tasty meals. Experimenting with new kitchen gadgets is always fun, as well as new spices/flavor profiles from other cultures. Food can bring so many people together and I’ve heard laughing is good for digestion, so there’s always plenty of that. I usually vary shared meals depending on who’s joining us and those that know me also know they can show up unannounced and join us. They also know where the stash of frozen muffins are in the garage freezer!
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
When we began using food to help Makenna feel better, I started becoming more aware of where foods came from and how they were sourced. In 2013 the availability of sourcing was just beginning and I realized quickly how important that role could play in how our bodies feel. My mom also had a health and wellness radio show for 25 years, so she chatted often with experts in the meat industry.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
One of our family favorite recipes is a Chile Verde made with pork. It’s one of those recipes that my mom made very well and has been one of the most requested meals for family and friends for decades! When I make it, I make LOTS, since there are rarely any leftovers if I don’t make plenty and the flavors only get happier the next day!
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
Ingredients: awesome sea salt, chicken breasts, butter, garlic & sweet onions
Tool: My chefs knife
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Be curious and creative, there’s just something about getting your feet wet on trying one new dish, perfecting it and then gradually adding more to your list of favorites. Playing with different spices and ingredients is infectious!
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
“Work is love made visible” by Kahlil Gibran – this quote, while originally of spiritual significance, hung in my Mother in Laws kitchen and for her that “work” was creating food for her family and friends. It still inspires me to this day.
Anything else you want to share?
There are always so many new and innovative things to try and enjoy! Watch a few kitchen shows to get inspired then get in that kitchen, grab a few great ingredients and have fun!!!
Your social media links (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube):
Back Porch Paleo Cookbook:
Enter To Win!
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Contest runs from September 1 – September 13, 2023.