MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - It all began on her third wedding anniversary in 2009. In the midst of celebrating with her husband, Lisa Bynum created a digital haven for her homemade recipes.
Hence her food blog's name, Cooking Bride. Now, Bynum shares everything from down-home Southern recipes to a grocery shopping guide for her readers.
Bynum lives in the Jackson area, but grew up in Grenada. She is a wife, mother of two, Delta State University grad, freelance writer and photographer.
Her inspiration for her food blog can be traced back to her post-grad days.
"I realized that if I didn't learn how to cook now, I was going to go hungry and eat Hamburger Helper for the rest of my life," Bynum said jokingly.
She also noticed that a lot of young people do not know how to cook. One of her friends even mentioned that he missed his mama's cooking and was, needless to say, underwhelmed by his choices.
While growing up in Grenada, Bynum's dad cooked on the weekends and was always trying new recipes.
"A lot of times, he would let me stand on a chair at the kitchen counter to help," she said. "We used to pretend we were chefs in a restaurant."
Her cooking influence also stemmed from her grandma, who was also deemed a fantastic cook.
"I lived with my grandparents for a short time after I graduated from college," Bynum said. "During that time, my grandma encouraged me to learn to cook and we frequently compared recipes."
And Bynum's Hamburger Helper days are surely over as she whips up a savory mashed potato casserole or a pumpkin-black bean and turkey chili that soothes the soul. She said her family eats a lot of pumpkin chili.
"It doesn't taste 'pumpkeny,'" she said. "It actually thickens the broth."
Other ingredients she enjoys cooking with this time of year include sweet potatoes and mustard greens.
Bynum's mother-in-law buys a case of sweet potatoes every year from a local farmer and distributes half to Bynum, so she is searching for new ways to prepare them.
"Twice-baked sweet potatoes are one of my favorite recipes," Bynum said. "People usually load sweet potatoes up with sugar and cinnamon, but this is a savory recipe. With the sausage and the cheese, it is just good!"
Another recipe she cannot live without is pasta. Whether it is spaghetti with homemade meat sauce or lasagna, Bynum loves a good pasta dish.
But Bynum is no stranger to recipes that flop and said even though a lot of recipes were delicious, some were complete disasters.
As for cooking tips for beginners, Bynum said to start simple and work from there with the most tried-and-true quote: "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again."
"There has been a lot of recipes that I have failed at and never thought I would make it again," she said.
Bynum also rolled out a four-part series about saving money at the grocery store for those who want to reduce their monthly grocery spending, but still eat healthy.
In her own experience, Bynum committed to a set budget and reduced her monthly grocery spending to $400.
"I'm a freelance writer, so my income is not always guaranteed," Bynum said.
She also advises to do research and look for the things that are on sale. For instance, beef is expensive right now, so Bynum steers away from the meat and buys a filler item such as sweet potatoes to add into meals two or three times a week.
Along with her guides and recipes on Cooking Bride, Bynum hopes to write a cookbook one day.