Meet Mandy

I’m Mandy and this is my blog.

Hash browns, steak sauce, homemade pizza, lots of hot sauce, cooking on the grill, marinated veggies and breakfast for dinner are among my favorites. I also eat a lot of buttered noodles. I’m not traditional, or trained, or even right. I just like to cook.

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where I earned a degree in journalism and English, which, incase you don’t know, does not get you rich. Instead, creative. I spent five years as a professional journalist. First, at the largest newspaper in the state–the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel–where I chased scanner calls and wrote about fires and homicides. Then, I spent three years as the education reporter at the Oshkosh Northwestern, where I was also the Food Page writer extraordinaire. Like most newspaper reporters of nowadays, I made the leap to the wonderful world of marketing communications and public relations somewhere along the way. I’ve marketed Broadway theater, health care, even myself that one time I got fired from that one job and now, I work for a university where I get to write about cool things like biodigesters, campus news and happenings and the inspiring should-have-not-made-it students.

I love what I do, spending time surrounded by my own written words. I spend my days writing, interacting, talking, brainstorming and communicating and I usually use my kitchen as a place to unwind. I also talk a lot and drink my fair share of good craft beer and wine.

I discovered my love for cooking in 2005 when I started this blog. My formal training ends there, with discovery. I’ve taken approximately one cooking class, which wasn’t even really a cooking class because it was a sushi making class. But that’s just it–we’re all experts in food. We know what we like, what tastes good and what doesn’t.

I live in a beautiful, 100+ year old home near the shore of Lake Winnebago with my true love (who is now my husband) and our naughty beagle, Jack.

Jeff and I in our early dating days.

Young Jack, in our former home–our lovely baby condo.

The three of us spend much of our time in our tiny kitchen–cooking, sampling, talking and howling.

I started A Serving in Life shortly after I graduated from college as a creative outlet and a place to call my own where I could write. These days, I’m admittedly not as good at writing here, but it feels silly to erase the history of my journey through cooking from the internet; so, here it lives.

In the summer of 2009 I was featured in a “Julie and Julia” cooking challenge put on by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I made a spinach souffle. Since, I have a tiny love affair with Julia Child, who I admittedly went into the challenge knowing nothing about.

 In the past, I’ve partnered with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board on their annual macaroni and cheese challenge and had a blast. In March 2010, I was asked to be a guest on Good Day Wisconsin, where I both cooked and talked about this blog. It was quite interesting to be on the other side of the interview; I’m used to asking the questions.

I’m not really a picky eater but ketchup, mayo and meat loaf make me nauseous. And the worst thing about saying you dislike meat loaf is everyone thinks they have a secret recipe for meat loaf and so they try to get you to try theirs. Hi, I do not like meat loaf.  So, unless you’re pushing meat loaf on me, we’ll most likely be friends.

Thank you for stopping by. Please visit frequently. I welcome tips, suggestions and recipes. Oh, and invites to dinner at your house or favorite restaurant.

A photo from the Julia Child challenge; run originally in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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