MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - When autumn arrives, Lorie Roach is a fan of all things seasonal – roasting sweet potatoes, making traditional gumbo with a twist and picking zucchini from her home garden.
Roach, a long-time Mississippi resident, is a Nevada native, home cook, wife, mother, photographer and the creator of food blog Lorie's Mississippi Kitchen.
"My blog is a place I have fun and don't take myself too seriously, so I wanted my tagline to reflect that," Roach said.
Hence the blog's signature tagline: "Dishes, not drama."
Her blog delivers dishes that include simple ingredients, yet ones that will cure one's sweet tooth craving and warm one's belly on a chilly day.
She has lived in Mississippi since she was 14 and currently resides in Buckatunna.
Roach's Nevadan roots inspired her to cook and create new dishes. Her love of whipping up new meals came from her father, who also loved to heat up the kitchen.
"He would always try new things," Roach said. "I have just always had a love for food and I would just love to go into our kitchen and experiment."
When it is time to gather around the table with family in the autumn months, she enjoys cooking hearty soups, easy crockpot dishes and classic gumbo with deer meat. She likes to cook with seasonal vegetables such as spaghetti squash, turnips and sweet potatoes and enjoys preparing a roasted sweet potato salad as a light, yet fulfilling dish.
Some her most tasty fall recipes include roasted cauliflower soup, creamy lentils with turnip greens and caramel pumpkin Italian cream cake.
And speaking of cake, Roach said she cannot live without it. If she could eat one thing for the rest of her life, she said it would be pies, cakes or anything with sugar.
In fact, Roach is an award-winning cook for her splurge-worthy coconut pie, which landed her a trip to New York City and her recipe was featured on the Cooking Channel.
"(This recipe) is special to me because I wanted to make it fool-proof," Roach said of the coconut pie. "I wanted to create my own recipe."
She has been in many other national cooking contests and said this is also where her passion for food sparked. Roach's blog was a place where she could share her traveling, cooking and at the same time, keep track of her recipe creations.
Roach's online creation began as a personal blog in circa 2006. A few years later, Roach's lifestyle changed and she transitioned her blog to food specifically, which was the birth of Lorie's Mississippi Kitchen.
"It's been a year of transition for me," Roach said. "I'm posting about things I'm eating every day. I'm eating healthier and I think my readers can see that I've switched a lot in what I post."
The lifestyle shift stemmed from Roach having some health problems about a year ago. It motivated her to make some changes. She found a doctor that recommended a vegan lifestyle and has since changed her eating habits, along with losing 50 pounds this year.
"I'm not a 100 percent vegan," she said. "But I like to eat organic if at all possible." Roach also said she is always looking for recipes that do not incorporate processed food.
As for cooking tips, Roach advises beginner cooks to start with easy recipes with simple ingredients. So save grandmother's famous pie recipe for next year.
"There are so many recipes on Pinterest," she said. "It doesn't take a ton of ingredients to make something really good."
She also said to invest in some good appliances such as a food processor, which can be used for so many recipes.
To save money on groceries, Roach suggests having a home garden and picking fresh vegetables.
She also said to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables and freeze them and to cook dried beans and lentils as a substitute for meat.