the cheery chef Trista Ainsworth

My Story

I have always loved to cook and bake. I remember when my mom showed me a cookbook for kids that she had used as a little girl. The book was so charming and had pictures of all of the equipment and ingredients you would need for each recipe.  I was fascinated and pored over all of the recipes. One by one I started to go through them and try out each one. I remember learning how to make cinnamon toast and homemade lemonade. I was so proud to be able to make things for my family and serve them. 

As time went on I began to read all of the other cookbooks my mom had. I wanted to learn how to bake and cook out of them. I was so fortunate that my mom allowed me complete freedom in the kitchen and soon I was creating lots of dishes for the family to try. There was lots of trial and error. I remember working so hard on a baked rice pudding recipe only to have it burn on the bottom! However, I learned not to give up and tried again. 

Continuing on, when I was in college a person that I was in a long-distance relationship with made a comment that I was not as skilled a cook as one that he knew that cooked a lot for his family. I took this as a challenge. I looked up recipes, made menus and called up relatives and friends to come over for dinner. I practiced cooking for and entertaining many different groups of people. Through this process I learned how to time dishes so that they are hot and ready to serve at the right time. I also learned how to create menus with dishes that compliment each other from the main dish to the dessert. I really enjoyed this process and my favorite part was seeing the joy that it created as everyone shared a meal together. 

Later on, after college as I worked as a part-time English as a Second Language Instructor for Clackamas Community College I decided to start a baking business. Together with my mom and my sister in law we formed Farmer's Tea, a baking business where we baked all day on Fridays and sold the baked goods on Saturdays at a local farmer's market for about 6 months out of the year. We sold cinnamon rolls, scones, cookies, cakes, pies and more!  Through this experience we had many customers come to us to tell us that they needed gluten free baked goods or vegan ones or that they were allergic to different ingredients. I took an interest in developing recipes for those with food allergies and we started to create some gluten free and vegan options that gained a following. After Farmer's Tea a few years later I started my own pie company- Cheery Pies. I had noticed that our pies sold very well at the market and decided to focus on them. Through this experience I learned once again the need for gluten free baked goods and ones that are tailored to those with specific dietary restrictions. 

As the years went on and I married and had a family of my own, I ran across more family and friends with food allergies. I wanted to make sure they had delicious food to eat and felt welcome at my parties and gatherings. I love to experiment with different ingredients, alternative sweeteners and more. I want the food to be delicious, beautiful and safe for those with food sensitivities. I love the light in someone's eyes as they discover that they can enjoy this dish too! 

I have dedicated myself to creating recipes and menus for those with food allergies and sensitivities. I feel that they should be joyfully included at the table too. I would love to hear your story and see how I can help you. 

MY TAKE ON FOOD: 

I have a balanced "in moderation" philosophy on food. I believe that everything should be in balance and it is fine to balance treats with healthy foods. Everyone's body and metabolism are different. We each have to find foods that help our bodies and at the same time provide joy for ourselves, our families, friends and guests. I have a healthy love affair with food. I sometimes indulge in chocolates or other treats but about 80-90 percent of the time I eat whole foods and lots of vegetables. I exercise regularly and garden a lot. I love to find my own balance in life and with food. I want to share the recipes, experiences and dishes that are continually a part of my happy balance. I want to help you find that joyful balance as well, especially working with and around food allergies. I want everyone to  be able to cook and eat safely and enjoy foods with their families and friends. 

Throughout the years I have remained obsessed with food. I subscribe to many food magazines, have a hard time passing up recipe books and have lots of pins in my food boards on Pinterest. As a family my husband, son and I  love trying out new restaurants and food carts and especially love trying new dishes while traveling. Food is a big part of my life and I want to share that same joy with everyone. Food is more than just something that sustains us, it connects us and brings us together as a community. 

I invite you to share the joy by enjoying the recipes on my blog, checking out my ebook: Recipes to Live By or checking out my soon to be published book "Gluten Free Brunch for Everyone." out on April 23rd, 2016. 

Make sure to subscribe to my weekly email to get my 7 page quick start guide with a pantry list, and recipes to get you started cooking and baking gluten and dairy free! 

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