Josie + Nina was named in honor of my two Italian grandmothers who made putting food on the table look easy every day. Through this site, I hope to help you do the same thing but with a fresh, modern perspective, lots of Midwestern hospitality, and flexibility for where you are in your life. Every recipe will have options such as make it for one, for some, or for many. I’ve learned that almost everything can be served to any size crowd as I’ve hosted huge graduation parties, intimate dinner parties, and extended family holiday gatherings. To me, it’s always the more the merrier.
I’ve been food-obsessed most of my life –watching my grandmas, mom, and aunts make homemade gnocchi, ravioli or meatballs led to reading cookbooks and everything about food that I could get my hands on. While the food has always been the driver, it’s the feeling that comes with preparing and sharing a great meal that gets me going. After college and a career in marketing, my passion for all things food led to a job for 7+ years at Williams-Sonoma where I was a Culinary Specialist teaching cooking classes and selling culinary equipment. And that propelled me to my current main gig where I spend my days writing about food as a marketing strategist in the food industry.
I’m a mom to two Millennials plus a college student so I know my way around a debate or two. I’ve spent most of my adult life shopping, preparing and cooking meals for my family. That sounds kind of 1950’s, but it’s my jam! Half the time, I didn’t know how many would be around the dinner table between practices, jobs, school and my husband’s crazy work schedule. My awesome husband doesn’t expect a meal on the table every night and left to his own demise might choose a bag of Funyuns and a Diet Coke, but he is a little choosier about what he eats, so I’ve had to work hard to make everyone happy while challenging their taste buds. My kids learned to eat what was in front of them or they could pour themselves a bowl of cereal. Tough love? Yes, but it’s paid off as they love to eat and try almost anything (except are skeptical when I try to pass off butternut squash mac n’ cheese as the real thing). Some dishes should not be messed with or should be saved for your more health-conscious girlfriends. There I said it.
Speaking of health, I eat healthy but balanced. Josie + Nina isn’t a strictly plant-based, vegan, Paleo, keto or any kind of ‘tarian site. Hopefully, you don’t run for the hills when I say that. I like the 80/20 philosophy or 5/7 rule or whatever it’s called. Eat healthy and be conscious for 5 out of 7 days and then let the hair down for the other two. When I entertain, I don’t hold back. I try to have lots of options and lots of color. People want to come to a gathering and indulge. And then they can leave and resume their business. What they eat after they leave my house is up to them – unless they take a to-go container and then they’d better eat every bite.
I am lucky to live in a wonderful suburb outside of Chicago and will be taking field trips to share some of my favorite spots and finds. Please let me know what works and what doesn’t. I want this site to be about you and what you want to feed your families, yourself and your friends. I post pretty regularly on Pinterest and Instagram so find me there and if you send me an email or have any questions, I promise to respond.
Thanks for stopping!