Welcome to my kitchen!

I have always enjoyed creating delicious food in the kitchen, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. But for many years, having young kids at home made it hard to carve out ample time to get creative in the kitchen. But as my kids have gotten older and I have more free time on my hands, I have had more time to do what truly brings me joy. And so The Joy-Filled Kitchen blog was born, a place where I get to share with you all the delicious recipes that feed my family. 

My passion is desserts…my downfall is desserts! That won’t surprise you as you look around and see that the majority of the recipes are sweet! But one can not live on sweets alone, so I try to balance things out with a variety of recipes from breakfast and dinners to sides and beverages. I’ll even mix in some tips and tricks to help you successfully create delicious dishes in your own kitchen. 

You’ll discover a wide variety in my recipes. This is mainly due to two reasons; my family and where we live. My husband is Japanese, and due to his wonderful influence, I have come to love Asian cuisine and have learned that everything is better with a side of rice. He has also brought out my more daring dining side as I have tried things that I would have never considered before (can we say tripe and raw fish). But no matter how hard he tries, natto is a firm no-go for me. For those who don’t know what natto is, you can check it out here. So thanks to my husband’s enriching influence, many of my recipes have an Asian flair and have that rich depth of flavor Asian dishes are known for. 

The other reason for the diversity in my recipes is due to where we live; beautiful Hawaii on the island of Oahu. We have been here since 2003, and it’s where we call home. Hawaii is truly a melting pot of people, cultures, and food. We have access to foods that are not grown easily in other climates, but we also don’t get to enjoy others, like fresh-picked peaches, rhubarb, or berries that grow in abundance on the mainland. We do however, grow our own lilikoi (passion fruit), lemons, limes, bananas, and papayas, which I incorporate into many of my recipes. Being on an island and the fact that we are surrounded by water, fresh fish is a staple in our household, especially raw fish. I am also blessed to be married to a man that loves to fish, so we get to eat fish often, and it really can’t get any fresher than eating it the same day it has been caught! 

More about me:

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, along with two older brothers and a twin brother. Being the only girl, I was the one that was often in the kitchen with my mom. My mom loved to bake, and it grew in me a love for all things “homemade.”  One of my favorite memories as a kid was our homemade birthday cakes. Every year for our birthdays, my mom would make us a themed cake from something significant that happened during that year. One year, 1980, it was a Mount Saint Helens cake (because it erupted that year and covered our house in ash), another year it was a black cat cake (because we adopted our cat Cherry that year) if you got a bicycle that year, you guessed it, you got a bike cake! I remember her banning us from the kitchen for most of the day while she baked and decorated. The excitement would mount as we anticipated the grand cake reveal! So it’s probably safe to say that I get my creativity in the kitchen from my mom.

I met my husband in 1998, and we married in December 1999. We made our big move to Hawaii in 2003 for a “can’t pass this up” work opportunity!  We quickly settled into life in the islands, enjoying the sun, sand, and surf! We adopted our two boys, one here in Hawaii and one from Oregon. And life got busy! I choose to homeschool, so most of our home life revolved around school. As rewarding as it was and continues to be, I am beyond excited to pursue my passion and delve into the food blogging world with you!

When I’m not teaching or cooking, I love to get out and hike. Hawaii has some beautiful jungle hikes with stunning views. And with my sweet tooth, exercise is a must! I also love to fish. My dad often took me as a kid, and even with three brothers, I was the one who took to fishing the most. So thanks to my dad, I’m hooked on fishing (pun intended)! My husband is also an avid fisherman, so it’s a hobby we get to enjoy together and have enjoyed passing on to our two boys.

The Blog:

You’ll find something for everyone here. Some recipes are completely from scratch, some use box mixes, some are simple, and some are over the top and complex. Some are healthy, and others throw caution to the wind and requiring you to pull out your stretchy pants (I will include a warning on those recipes). You’ll discover that I absolutely love to grill as many of my recipes use the grill. Yes, I use cool whip sometimes, and I occasionally use Crisco (gasp!). The point is we should have fun in the kitchen and let the creative juices flow. My motto is, if you enjoy it, eat it. Moderation and balance is the key, but be sure to thoroughly enjoy the process! I hope you find recipes here that get you excited about cooking and baking and encourage you to get creative in your own kitchen!

Feel free to comment or reach out to me with questions, suggestions, or to just say “Hi” at thejoyfilledkitchen@gmail.com.