Meet the Neighbors with Noel Lizotte
Welcome back to Meet the Neighbors! 🙂 Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Noel Lizotte, who blogs over at Apron Free Cooking. Noel specializes in easy, accessible recipes that anyone can make with “no strings attached.” She is a sweet, charming lady with a lot of awesome recipes and a can-do attitude. I was so impressed, as I read through Noel’s story, with the way she has taken obstacles in her life and turned them into opportunities. Her attitude was so encouraging and refreshing, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her.
What is your name, and where are you located? (Hint: if you live in Hawaii, I am packing my bags as we speak 😉
My name is Noel Lizotte, and I live in “The Heart of it All”– Ohio. Ohio is shaped like a heart and is located where the heart would be if the United States were a “person-ish” character. We’ve got beautiful shorelines (Great Lake Erie), rolling hills (Southern Ohio is part of Appalachia), fertile farmland (corn and soy beans, anyone?) and lovely towns. Ohio is home to 8 presidents, a few astronauts, a couple of celebrities, 3 major football teams, and quite a few “Hall of Fame” destinations. I live in a small town halfway between Cleveland and Columbus. I grew up on a farm, so I think of myself as a Midwestern country girl.
Tell us a little bit about yourself– what is the name of your blog, and how did you get started?
Apron Free Cooking is about simple recipes made from easy to find ingredients without tricky instructions. I call it “Convenience Cooking.” I was a single mother raising two kids, working full time, going to school full time, and juggling the kids’ extra-curricular activities. Everything, especially my time and money, was on a tight budget. I needed recipes that went a long way, filled us up, and didn’t take all day to make. So I started collecting recipes. When I remarried, my new husband suggested I write a blog. He taught me a few things about websites, and Apron Free Cooking was born. He gets credit for the name since he came up with the catchy phrase that beat out Convenience Cooking.
What is your favorite food? And what is your least favorite food?
If I had to pick a single favorite food, it would be pecan pie. I love the nutty crunchy of pecans over the top of the sweet pie layer! My favorite meal would be Potluck! There’s nothing like staring down that long table piled high with everybody’s best dish and knowing that I can take a nibble sized serving of each one. If I could pick a cuisine, it would be Mexican, because it involves many ways to use the same basic, tasty ingredients. My least favorite food is shrimp, because it makes me sick. I think I’m allergic. Recipes with 800 ingredients and 72 steps are not on my good list. Foods that are too messy when you eat them also fall to the lower end of my “love it” chart. I don’t like Fire Spiced anything. I want to taste my meal, not have my taste buds burnt off.
(Emilie insert: Bwahahaha– I adore everything about this response!)
What advice would you give someone who is just starting to cook?
Don’t be afraid! Start with something that uses only a couple of ingredients and appeals to your taste. Recipes that I feature on Apron Free Cooking are these kinds of recipes. Keep trying new recipes, adding new ingredients or finding new ways to use familiar ingredients. Practice on recipes with fairly cheap ingredients; wait until you have confidence and success before you spend a lot of money on ingredients. Expect to ruin something. Feed it to the dogs and move on. (Again– Emilie insert– that is the best life advice I have ever heard– “Expect to ruin something. Feed it to the dogs and move on.” Noel, I just love that answer. 😉 Try again. Cooking is a journey; embrace it.
What keeps you going, every day? Who are your greatest cheerleaders/supporters?
My husband, John, is at the top of the list. He suggested this project and shares in my success of all the growth that’s come with it. He eats every meal and says “Thanks for cooking,” regardless of how it really tastes. He makes suggestions on ways to improve foods that taste bad. My editor friend, Rachel, has also guided me through weekly column writing, such as NaNoWriMo and other writing projects. Rachel pulls no punches but always points me in the right direction. My kids are also some of my greatest supporters for always sharing my posts, sharing my books, and telling their friends to try the recipes. I also have many amazing friends: Sheila for sharing everything! Amy for being a combination of Sheila and Rachel. Heather at PackMomma.com for marching beside me in the blog parade. Nagi at RecipeTinEats.com for her mentorship. I have a dream to retire from working in Corporate America and Healthcare to cook, write recipes, and still pay all the bills doing something I love!
Noel was kind enough to share with us her recipe for Black Bean Salad. Noel says:
“This Black Bean Salad is delicious and super easy to make. I mean, if you can chop some veggies and open a can, you can make this dish. Trust me, you’ll love it and so will your guests!”
Noel, it has been such a pleasure having you with us and getting to know you and your delicious work better! You made me chuckle, smile, and say, “Now that’s GOOD.” I am so happy that you are experiencing happiness and success in your life, because I can’t think of anyone else who deserves it more than you do. We are hungry for more and can’t wait to read more of your delicious recipes! 🙂 Thanks so much for spending time with us here, on Cookies for England! 🙂 The very best of luck to you and your family.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which just means that we get a few pennies if you purchase through our link. I never recommend products that I don't personally use and love. Thanks!