~* Q&A *~

Q: How long have you been baking?Oh, like, I dunno....forever? Seriously, I've been cooking (or helping) in some form or fashion since I was a little girl. My parents have pictures of me sitting on the kitchen counter with a chocolate ring around my mouth; I still love batter to this day (that probably isn't p.c. but I'm letting it all hang out, here)! One of the first dishes that I learned to make all on my own was French toast.

When my sister and I were young, Mom forewent her job as a social worker to stay home with us, while Dad worked outside of the home. During that time, she cooked three full meals a day, and in addition to having a lot to eat fresh vegetables from our gardens, we canned and froze them as well. (I can still easily pull to mind the unmistakable smell that would permeate the kitchen when we canned tomatoes - if you've done this you know what I'm talking about!)

As we got older, we helped more in the kitchen, and when Mom returned to work Dad jumped in some, too. I remember watching him cook dishes and tossing in a little of this, sprinkling in some of that.... Once when we had a babysitter while my parents went out one evening, I got into the spice cabinet and mixed up some concoction that tasted absolutely horrible, but definitely entertained me and made me think I was cool for a while.

Now I cook and bake and my daughter helps me - it is an awesome bonding experience for both of us, and a learning experience for her!

"Helping" - she is bigger now, but still loves working in the kitchen!

Q: Are you Italian?My roots are primarily English, Scottish, and Irish. I am also proud to say that I am part Native American (I'm 1/132 Choctaw....so it's not like you can TELL...). I have visited Italy and made some great friends there!  I think living there would be totally awesome. Is that good enough?!  ;)  I actually love exploring cuisines from around the globe, but I love exploring the different things I can do with biscotti. 

Q: So, are you a chef?I'm pretty much self-educated and self-trained.  I got a Bachelor's degree in English in 1993. It is kind of significant in that my alma mater, Mississippi University for Women (see beautiful pic of "The W's" front campus below that was taken by my uber-cool friend Brandie), opened their culinary arts institute in 1996 - I sure hated that, because if it had been available when I attended, I would absolutely have a culinary arts degree! 

Most of my culinary "expertise" comes from observation, self-instruction, and a lot of trial and error. I guess I am somewhat of a foodie, but I'm not a snob about it. I love fine foods, but I don't subsist on them. Honestly, a backyard barbecue with friends and family excites me, too. Or cookie dough for supper (purely hypothetical situation)....

My "Day Jobs" have, in general, been front desk ones and customer service-focused. I worked for a paper company at their corporate offices and at one of their paper mills for 14 years, and then in a physician's office for four years. 

Q: Then how did all of this get started?In early 2008, I joined an online baking/blogging group called The Daring Bakers , which was really fun. They had been in motion for over a year already, so I decided (along with a friend I met through D.B.) to make all of the previous recipes they'd done before I joined. One of their projects was making biscotti, which I greatly enjoyed.

Not long thereafter, my university had their annual Homecoming, and a Champagne & Chocolate party which alumni were welcome to bring something for if they wished. I brought chocolate-cherry biscotti with almonds and cinnamon biscotti dipped in chocolate, and everyone loved it. When I got home, I offered to make biscotti for some friends who were involved in a secret pal event. Several of them took me up on it, and once those orders started arriving and people started raving (not bragging, but they seriously were) then more orders came in. 

I was a single mom for a while, and took a break from a lot of things during that time to focus on my career and kiddos.  In 2015, I got remarried and had the opportunity to chill out, regroup, and think about how to do what I love most - making things that make people happy! 

Q: All right already - what about the biscotti?!Glad you asked! Please see "About My Biscotti" for more information about the actual cookies.

My biscotti are made in my home kitchen in Georgia, which also serves our Brady Bunch family well on a daily basis.