How does a busy mom and entrepreneur find time to pursue her culinary interests? Shortcuts.
“My husband (Dave) and I are foodies, because we love to eat and love to cook,” says Deb Eaton of Mesa, who, with her husband, owns and operates Arizona Concrete Designs.
But “we don’t have much time,” she says. “So, instead of doing things from scratch, which is the ultimate, what we do is use mixes.”
Eaton knows quick and easy doesn’t have to mean bland and mundane. Proof of that — a national cookbook publisher has selected two of her “shortcut” recipes from hundreds of thousands submitted. Her Praline Pecan Biscuits and Piña Colada Cake can be found on pages 19 and 207 of “Almost Homemade” by Gooseberry Patch.
“For this particular title we say, ‘Take shortcuts on time, but not taste,’ ” says Beth Cavanaugh of Gooseberry Patch.
The company, started two decades ago by two moms, produces about five hardback cookbooks a year, all of which focus on variations of comfort food, says Cavanaugh. Fans of the books are asked to submit recipes, which are screened and tested by food editors before a fraction are then published in the next year’s editions.
“We have done a little bit of research,” she says. “And a lot of our customers are busy moms or people on the go, and they enjoy having that comfort food but shaving a little time off.”
Eaton wasn’t paid for the recipes, but she received a copy of the cookbook.
Ironically, neither of the recipes is among Eaton’s favorites, though she does serve the biscuits every holiday at her dinner/cookie exchange. The idea came to her after Food Network chef Paula Deen demonstrated a praline cake.
“And I thought, ‘What if we just do it as biscuits instead?’ ” says Eaton.
As for her piña colada cake, Eaton thinks it was the serving suggestion that scored high with judges. The cake, made from a mix and soaked in cream of coconut, crushed pineapple and coconut flakes, should be scooped up warm and layered into parfait glasses with whipped cream.
“Presentation is everything,” she says.