I can’t believe I’ve finally done it. I’ve started a food blog. The idea has been percolating for many months. I just wasn’t sure I was ready for the self-exposure, the ego-centricity of it all (which is not my style), the dedication of time and energy and the effort required to post consistently of the culinary (and even mundane) creations that happen in my world and in my kitchen. But, it’s done and here I am.
And what brought me here, you ask? That’s a good question.
In May, 2009, I started Cowgirl Enterprises which manufactures Cowgirl Granola, an all-natural, hand-crafted (by me) granola that is good + good for you. In four short months, Cowgirl Granola has been warmly embraced by the San Antonio community, as well as by people all over the country that I ship it to. It’s been an amazing feat and I am so very grateful and humbled by the cult-like following that has developed.
About the Inspiration
While I grew up in the kitchen with my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother making everything from scratch, much of my love for food was solidified when I lived in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. From 1997 through 2001, my husband and I co-owned and operated Puerto Mio, a resort where we catered to a luxury clientele and had the time of our lives. After selling the hotel, we traveled back and forth to Zihua and throughout Mexico for another few years working on various projects.
When people are on vacation, food is the epicenter of the way they spend their days—what are they going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and where? Or at least those at my resort felt that way—and so my (now) husband and I focused much of our energies in establishing one of the finest restaurants in Mexico, La Cala. Granted, the restaurant itself is magnificent—nestled on a cove, with the Pacific Ocean washing over the rocks–but, when we arrived, the food left a lot to be desired.
In fact, it was pretty awful.We brought in chefs from all over Mexico as well as from the United States to train our kitchen staff and the efforts paid off in droves. I remember one night during high season, perhaps February, and the restaurant was packed. Chef Sabino, who used to serve us week-old fish when the ocean was 50 yards away, walked out of the kitchen in his chef coat and toque. As he strutted through the restaurant, everyone stood up and applauded. Seriously. It was awe-inspiring, for him and us. Most especially, knowing from where we started and how far we had come.
Longing for the Food Industry
Once we returned to the States, I missed this aspect of the business—pleasing people with great food—and did everything I could to stay in tune with what was going on in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Every month, our mailbox was filled with industry publications—Food Arts, Hotels, Restaurant Hospitality, Restaurant Business, Lodging, etc.—as well as every food publication possible. I just couldn’t seem to get enough. And, yet, I did not want to work in a restaurant. So I sat back, read, cooked and enjoyed life working in the hospitality and arts industry as a marketing consultant.
While I had been making granola since 2001 as one of the various homemade holiday gifts for friends, it wasn’t until enough people begged me (and one in particular who kept calling incessantly in early 2009) to make it and sell it that I thought seriously about starting a granola business.
The Birth of Cowgirl Granola
And so I did. I had semi-retired in 2006, just before I turned 40, and that’s when I officially caught the “cooking bug.” Since I wasn’t working and felt unaccomplished in my daily life, I found cooking both therapeutic in a creative way and rewarding in the realm of accomplishing something.
Cowgirl Enterprises has provided me with a vehicle that allows me face-to-face customer contact, as well as the immediate gratification of putting a smile on people’s faces when they taste the granola. I learned early on from my grandmother that food is a form of communication—cook well and people will feel the love you put into things—and it will create a bond that is hard to break.
Throughout the last four months of business, I have had countless conversations with customers about food, how to prepare healthy meals, how to eat when you have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, heart issues, etc. While I am neither a nutritionist nor a dietitian, I do believe I have the basic knowledge on how to eat and cook healthfully and, at the same time, prepare tasty meals.
Good + Good For You Food
Being healthy doesn’t mean food should taste bad or bland, on the contrary. (Note: My husband, David, had a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 47. Over the last 10 years, we have learned how to modify and redefine the foods we love and still enjoy them in healthier ways—many of these lessons learned will be shared here.)
And through these conversations and experiences, as well as posting some of my food creations on Facebook, I have been inspired to start this food blog. I hope that you will be inspired to eat better and understand that it’s not that difficult, time-consuming or impossible to eat healthier—food that is good + good for you—and enjoy every bite and sip.
Please join me on this culinary adventure. I welcome your comments, thoughts, suggestions and feedback. Life is about continuously learning and improving. And I think it’s a lot easier if we do this as a community and inspire one another to eat thoughtfully, forage with passion and not be afraid to stumble in the kitchen.
Because as in life, it is in the faltering when we learn the most.