HI, MY NAME IS JENICA .
Once upon a time, I made a batch of granola pancakes and it was an epic failure. I burned my hand, my sister yelled at me... nothing about it went well. Also, I was 5 years old and did this while my parents were at work and my siblings were sleeping. The pancake incident of '02 has never been forgotten.
Fast forward 6 years, I decided to make a berry souffle for my dad and brother. I grabbed frozen berries, threw them into a bowl of over-beaten egg whites and sugar, and baked it to oblivion. This story has been known as "berry surprise" in my family to this day. Let's just say it wasn't such a great surprise.
8 years later. I'm fresh out of my authentic Tuscan culinary school and ready to impress my family with my new pasta-making skills. I pressed that dough to the thinnest setting, making it about as transparent as rice paper. I then proceeded to fill it with heavy ingredients and drop it in boiling water resulting in a globby mess. We ate out that night.
There you have it, folks. My top 3 cooking failures that will never be forgotten. All 3 incidents involved a lot of tears and embarrassment, but no amount of frustration ever caused me to rethink my love for cooking. My goal for most of my life has been to make food more than just a necessity for myself and others. I studied the science of it in culinary school and the business of it in college, I worked in various foodservice establishments to gain experience, and now I'm living my dream of cooking for a living. I still find myself making hilarious mistakes in the kitchen, but that's what makes the process ever-so-satisfying when you get things just right.
What's next for me? Continue to live one day at a time and enjoy them the best that I can. I love the uncertainty of tomorrow, it pushes me to take risks and do things that I may have no idea what the outcome will be, like making this website!
FACTS ABOUT ME
1. I was born and raised in the Colorado foothills with my parents, older sister, and older brother. We actually moved 7 different times just within a 3-mile radius! I personally have moved 17 times. Change is fun.
2. Growing up, my parents cooked almost every meal we ate, we only went out for birthdays and special occasions. They are the reason I got into cooking and my biggest inspiration! They are also the two pickiest people I know which I am determined to change.
3. I went to Colorado State University. I began as a major in nutrition with the intent to be a chef nutritionist, but changed my major within 2 months when I realized how truly terrible I am at science. I graduated early with a bachelor's in hospitality management with a minor in business and absolutely loved my program (despite how often I slept through my morning classes).
4. For a decade, my dad and I have taken a yearly trip to New York City and we spend 3 days walking for miles and eating endless food. My plan was always to live in New York... maybe someday!
5. I had the amazing opportunity in 2016 to study Culinary Arts in Florence Italy. Those 7 months changed my life forever. Much of what I do today is a result of that time, and also why I eat so much pasta on the reg.
6. My biggest fears are snakes, clowns, large birds, and heights. Worst nightmare? I'm on top of a building, running away from a goose, which causes me to fall off of the building. I land in a clown's arms, fall onto the ground out of fear, where a snake is there to bite me. Don't tell me you could handle that.
7. The only food I absolutely hate is canned tuna. Ew.
8. I don't do well with mornings, I need a minimum of 9 hours of sleep to feel rested. #notblessed in that regard.
9. I have a dog named Lucca. He is a shepherd/husky/chow mix and was rescued from Gallop, NM. I love him to death.
10. I spent the last year living in a 300 square foot apartment in Los Angeles while working for Warner Bros and as a personal chef. My kitchen had no countertop and my oven could only fit cast-iron skillets. It was an incredibly humbling experience! I am currently back living in Colorado.
Some Mediocre Life Advice from Yours Truly
Some of the best times happen when there is little to no planning involved. For example, the best vacation I went on with my best friend Heather was in Florida when all we planned was an Airbnb and a car. We ended up exploring 700 miles worth of Southern FL. Try and minimize your constant expectations for things. Life will be way more enjoyable that way!
Take time to do absolutely nothing, alone. Don’t be productive, just be lazy. Alone time is key in decompressing.
Don’t regularly plan things too far in advance. Those concert tickets you booked for a year from now? Who knows what will happen until then. You might move to a new city, you might lose interest in that artist, or maybe you’ll grow apart from the person you plan on going with. Don’t get me wrong, long-term planning is necessary for certain situations, but I think in general if it’s not necessary, don’t bother.
Stop completely omitting things from your diet. There are other ways to lose weight and be healthy than to miserably munch on things that don’t bring you joy! Let me give an example. I love carby foods a ridiculous amount. I know myself, and if I made myself give them up for a certain amount of time, I would be unhappy and irritable. Instead of giving them up completely, I strategize with things like omitting heavy starches after 5 PM, or only having it just one a day. Once you practice routines like that, your body will adapt and you will crave them less over time. Just stop torturing yourself!
To continue on from above, creating rules for yourself helps a lot with other vices in your life. Say you love to drink or smoke. Maybe make a rule where you don’t have hard liquor on weekdays or you can only take 3 smoke breaks a day. Go easy on yourself! Cold turkey is not always the way to go, and you're a lot less likely to rebound if you ease out of something.
If you hate your job so much that it’s all you are thinking about outside of work, get out! It is so hard for me to watch people be miserable at their workplaces. The second the cons start to outweigh the pros significantly, start looking at other options. Also on that note though, don’t quit your job until you have another one lined up. Too much financial risk involved in that and you can quickly get comfortable not having a job.
I’m gonna throw a tacky one at you that slightly contradicts my first point. Look good, feel good!! It’s true. If you dress the way you want to look, your whole attitude can change. Who cares if it will make you stand out or if it’s not the normal thing to wear. Wear what makes you feel best. Yes, I've been that crazy person to wear jeans in quarantine. Sweats make me lazy, okay! No jeans, no website probably.
Challenge yourself to do something new every week. You might discover an awesome new place or person, or maybe you will just make some great memories! It will also give you something to look forward to each week amidst your boring routine.
Make a list of everything you are stressed about, or really anything that is on your mind. After your list is finished, go back through each item and write down how you are going to address that problem or make a goal that has to do with it. Then at the top of the page, create a deadline for these goals. I like to make a list each month and it has done some amazing things for me. Also, whether you are religious or not, meditation is for everyone. Check out the yoga section on here, those girls are experts on relaxation.
Cut out negative energy. I’m sure you’ve noticed this, but negativity is extremely toxic!! It can spread real fast. To avoid this, try to distance yourself from those who are so negative all the time. Don’t give in to them and fuel the fire, but maybe change the subject to something more positive and lighter. Instead of focusing on problems all of the time, focus on solutions.
Hold on to old cards from birthdays and special events, or at least take a picture of them. Then, if you're ever having a bad day or simply stumble upon them in the future, it is an awesome pick-me-up.
Write everything down. You know that random thought that pops in your head and then you think huh, I should do that, I'll make a mental note of that for later. Mental notes are BS if you ask me. Take 3 seconds to open a note on your phone and write your thoughts.
My favorite advice: write letters to your future self. Horrible break-up? Bad stress? Doubt? Have letters ready for that moment. Sometimes it's hard to listen to other people in tough situations. Listen to yourself remind you of who you are and what you want in life.
...But don't take it from me. There are others on this site who know a lot more than me. Check them out in the "Experts" section of each tab.