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Biography

Hi there!

Got a tasty snack nearby? Good. You’re going to need it. This is a bit of a read.

Thanks so much for visiting Peanut Butter and Julie, a blog that I started waaaayyyyy back in 2007, when I didn’t even know what blogging was (Confession: I read the book "Blogging for Dummies" before I started. True story.)

What kind of food does Peanut Butter and Julie have in store for you? Well, honestly, a little bit of everything. I like to describe myself as “A self-taught cook and baker, who loves to produce food that is unique yet approachable, using only the best ingredients in my made-from-scratch creations.” I don’t really make anything that is over-the-top fancy, although as a serial restaurant patron, I am more than happy to eat and critique anything over-the-top fancy. Rather, I like to take dishes that may be more of a celebrity chef’s speed, use them as inspiration for flavors, and bring them down to a “Hey! I can do that!” level. Sound good? Great, read on!

My recipes are almost all original. If not, I will let you know. If they are inspired by someone or something, I will also let you know. If I forget to credit someone or something, please, PLEASE call me on it. That’s not cool, and it’s also not intentional.

Each recipe is always preceded by a little story. OK, some of them are big stories, but I am working on being not too long-winded (don’t pay attention to how long –winded this “About” page is.) Brevity can be a good thing. That is my new mantra. Stories often include references to my supportive and oh-so-patient husband, Eric. He has learned that no move he makes or word that he speaks is safe from becoming PB&J material. Sorry, babe, but some of the stuff that you say and do is just too good to pass up. I’ll also occasionally mention my two rescue dogs, Cameron and Fenway, my parents, and my brother Jay.

In addition to blogging, I also love the challenge and creativity involved in my work as a freelance writer, a profession about which I knew very little when I started, but one that has certainly paid off with perseverance! To date, my writing and recipes have been featured in Everyday with Rachael Ray, Food Network, Family Circle, Nevada, Via, Hannaford Fresh, Desert Companion, Taste of Home, Country Woman, and Relish magazines. It’s not always easy to come up with fresh and engaging content, much like blogging, but I have learned that stepping AWAY from the computer and focusing on something else for a while is the best antidote for writer’s block.

I’m hoping to have my own cookbook (or ten) very soon (Psst, publishers, I’m talking to YOU!) I’d also love my own cooking show (Psst, producers, I’m talking to YOU!) And then there’s that Maserati that I’ve had my eye on (Psst, Donald Trump…….). Well, just in case he reads my blog…….:)

Hey--did you know that Peanut Butter and Julie has a sister? Her name is Julie Anne. She’s all natural and sweet and crunchy and goes well with yogurt and…….O.K., Julie Anne’s is the name of my granola company, my food writing alter ego. After an extensive search for "the perfect granola" left me empty-handed, I decided to create my own version. After much trial and error, I finally came up with a recipe that I couldn't stop eating (which is always a good sign!)

Inspiration for our addictively delicious and fun flavors comes from a variety of areas: nostalgic treats, such as a Creamsicle, American classics, such as maple-blueberry pancakes, and childhood comfort foods like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The perfect combination of crunchy clusters and tart dried fruit makes our granola ideal for sprinkling over yogurt, mixing into banana bread batter, or for snacking right out of the bag! How’s that for an elevator pitch??

Here’s a little background on the granola biz:

After I graduated from Duke's MBA program, my husband and I moved back to Las Vegas, where I had lived since 1992. I opened Julie Anne's, a gourmet specialty foods store, something that I felt was missing in the Las Vegas Valley. Inspired by regional stores such as Foster's Market, Dean & Deluca, and A Southern Season, Julie Anne's offered simple, elegant food and gourmet gifts in a comfortable atmosphere. We also sold Julie's Sweet Citrus Granola, which was an unexpected instant hit with my customers, who encouraged me to package it and create more flavors. After selling the Julie Anne's store, I decided to follow my customers' advice, and a few years later Sweet Citrus Granola earned a place on the shelves of Las Vegas Whole Foods Markets. My Maple Blueberry, Tropical Bliss, Decadent Raspberry Truffle, and Berry Yummy PB&J flavors followed, receiving rave reviews.

I’ve been thrilled to have some of my sweet creations featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Food Network Magazine. I even once was asked to make a cake for Jenna Fischer of The Office, which appeared in both People and O.K.! magazines!

When I’m not cooking, writing about cooking, or making granola, I enjoy competitive cooking as a hobby, one in which I have had a great deal of luck and made many fantastic friends. This past December, I won the title of Sterling Vineyard’s “Ultimate Host” in a nationwide competition judged by Top Chef judge Padma Lakshmi. I am thrilled to be partnering with Sterling in various ways, and I am currently working on an “Ultimate Host E-Cookbook”, which will be out later this year. In 2010, I won Aetna’s first ever Healthy Food Fight cook-off, judged by none other than Iron Chef Bobby Flay—I don’t know if winning or meeting Chef Flay, one of my cooking idols, was a bigger thrill. In 2008, I competed on an episode of Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown, where my Double Chocolate Malt Shop Cupcakes took home the $25,000 grand prize. I was also the first runner-up in the 2009 Sutter Home Build a Better Burger cook-off, one of the most fun experiences in which I have participated.

Whew! Any questions? Comments? Recipe suggestions? Need a nap? Me too.
Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] (unless you are trying to sell me something), and I will respond as soon as possible. Thanks again for visiting.

XO,

Julie