Did you know that I am not the only crazy, nuts, mad, completely wacky foodie out there? In fact there is another Food lover who calls herself on top of that a lunatic. Kim Beaulieu, the fascinating creative brain behind Cravings of a Lunatic surprises the online food world again and again with her distinctive and sweet temptings. You don’t know Kim’s work yet? Oh my friend you are missing out enormously and it was about time that I introduced you to the lovely Kim.
Kim lives in a small town in Canada and she actually lives in the same house she grew up in. Her Mom was not the best cook, she was usually trying to juggle too many things at once. Kim was only 15 when her mother passed away,..
We were lost without her. She had always done the household stuff so no one knew how to cook or clean. My brothers and I just started teaching ourselves and that was when I fell in love with cooking.
She explains that cooking helps her to tune out all her troubles and just get in the zone. The art of food preparation stayed in the family and inspired also her other siblings. Kim’s favorite comfort foods are homemade pizza and lasagna and for dessert she would choose a black forest cake.
If I could go back in time, and suspend reality for a moment it would be my mom’s peanut butter cookies, made by her. She made the best peanut butter cookies in the world.
Although Kim has gone through a lot in her live, she has never lost her humor. Armed with a strong and fun personality she has been capturing our hearts with her lovingly prepared food and friendly being. Kim is a bombshell! Her work at Cravings of a Lunatic has been gaining exceedingly appraisals from her fans and she keeps on pushing her limits to become the best in her field.
I wanted to know what she thinks sets her blog apart form others. She in turn replied that she wasn’t sure what makes her blog any different, other than herself. She believes in being completely who you are all the time, in other words, Kim digs her life. So when you read her blog you ll get to experience a 100% Kim. Most days Cravings of a Lunatic is silly and crazy, some days it is sentimental, but one thing is certain, Kim always writes from her heart. she also added…
Growing up we are told not to play with our food, I grew up & get to play now with my food for a living. That’s pretty cool!
The question arises, how did Kim end up with a Food Blog? Kim started blogging at the suggestion of a friend and before Cravings of a Lunatic was born she would post daily facebook statuses with her new creations. Soon Kim found herself run over with requests for recipes. She wanted an easy way to share recipes with family and friends without a ton of work. Little did she know back then and she confessed that she had no idea what she was doing. However Kim loves her blog and what she does and her motto in life is “do what you love, love what you do”.
A seasoned cook and food blogger such as Kim has something like an invisible schedule to complete her daily blogging tasks. Lately she has been spending way too much time on her blog, because when she started, she did not have a clue about tagging photos or SEO etc, so she has been going back and fixing those things. In the last month she has been putting in a lot of 12 to 16 hour days fixing issues on the site and doing research.
Kim normally tries to limit her blogging work to 4 hours a day maximum, maybe 4 to 5 days per week. Kim explains that when it comes to time management,she has to live her life in order for it to be happy and interesting. She believes that sticking yourself behind a computer day in and day out won’t take you anywhere and you will miss the good things and naturally life provides stories to write about. Kim tries to spend her days having fun and laughing and she think that every day is an adventure, in and out of the kitchen.
Kim brought us the Aerosmith Potatoes, the Trix Krispies, the Shirley Temple and many more extraordinary delicious to die-for-dishes, so of course one wonders where her inspirational sources lie. Kim says some days it’s a single ingredient that sparks a fire in her or on another day it’s a memory of something her mom or dad made and another time it’s a recipe from a magazine that awakens the lunatic’s cravings. Further she finds other bloggers incredibly inspiring. There’s so much talent out there in the blogosphere! People like Jaden Hair and David Leite inspire Kim to make her want to work harder and be better.
Kim admits that she wouldn’t mind sharing her Canadian neighborhood with the likes such as Jade, David and Elise Bauer as well as her close food blogging buddies Joanne from Fifteen Spatulas, Jenni from Pastry Chef Online, Kita from Pass the Sushi, Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake and Ann from Cooking Healthy for me. Kim was lucky to meet her friends at conferences in the past.
When I asked Kim if she could share a dish with us that reminds her of her childhood, she came up with two recipes that are dear to her and which remind her of her parents. Kim lost her mum in her youth and a couple of years ago she lost her dad to cancer. Kim’s favorite treat that reminds her of good times with her mum, is her above mentioned mother’s Peanut Butter Cookies recipe. Kim’s Daddy was a big time fan of Kim’s spicy Lasagne. Her recipe is loaded with cheese and sauce, just the way I like it too!
- 1 package of lasagna noodles, cooked al dente (do not use oven ready, they blow)
- 3 jars of pasta sauce (650 ml)
- 1 to 1½ pounds of ground beef
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons dried basil
- 4 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 bay leaves, to be discarded after simmering sauce
- 3 to 4 shallots, diced, cook in the microwave for about 30- 40 seconds till soft
- ½ large sweet onion, diced, cook in the microwave for about 1 to 1½ minutes till soft
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic, pressed
- ½ to 1 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
- 5 to 6 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated ( I am seriously partial to the pizza mozzarella, even on lasagna)
- This will make two 9 x 13 pans, two layers deep
- Preheat oven to 375 to 400 depending on how your oven works. I set mine to 400 degrees F.
- For the noodles:
- Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil on the stove.
- Once it's boiling, add some salt.
- Toss in your noddles, I find alternating the way they lay helps. Allow to cook according to the package minus about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Drain, pat dry and get ready to line the pan
- For the sauce:
- While the water is cooking for the noodles cook your ground beef in a skillet till brown, and juices run clear. Do not overcook, it keeps the flavour from getting in there.
- In a large dutch oven combine the sauce, sugar, cooked ground beef, spices, bay leaves, shallots, onions and garlic. Stir and cook over medium heat till it boils. Let it bubble like that while stirring for about 3 or 4 minutes, reduce to simmer and allow to cook until the noodles are done.
- Once finished you need to take out the bay leaves and throw away.
- Putting it all together:
- Spray your casserole dish with non stick spray.
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons of sauce into each pan to line the bottom thinly. This helps keep noddles from sticking to the bottom and getting a wicked crispy bottom.
- Depending on your brand of noodles you should be able to use 4 or 5 noodles per layer. I was able to use 5. So I lay three, then place two more on top.
- Toss a bit of mozzarella cheese on top of the noodles (trust me!)
- Spoon ¼ of the sauce over that layer. Spread evenly
- Toss one fourth of the parmesan cheese over top. (trust me!)
- Toss about ¼ of the cheese over top.
- Lay another layer of noodles.
- Then another thin toss of mozzarella cheese. (trust me!)
- Then another layer of sauce.
- Then toss on one fourth of the amount of parmesan cheese (trust me!)
- Another layer of mozzarella.
- Now repeat with second casserole dish, or if you're like me you can layer them at the same time so you can divide evenly.
- Now place in the preheated oven.
- Cook uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how golden brown you want the top. It's a good idea to start checking at 10 minutes since every oven is different and all cheeses vary depending on moisture content.
- Remove from oven.
- Grab a spatula and wish for a clean slice.
- Serve with a big old "my tummy hurts, but in a good way| smile!
What’s next for Cravings of a Lunatic, what are Kim’s plans for her food blog in the future?
Well, it’s sort of been kept under wraps but I’ll be starting to include cooking videos this summer. I’m wildly nervous about it. Another new thing on the horizon is a second site. More of a narrow niche site, hoping it’s ready this summer. Super excited and nervous about both projects.
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