Mears admits that there’s no denying that she loves food. “I love eating it and I love teaching my daughter to love food,” shares Mears. “When Olivia’s dad, Michael, and I started dating we immediately realized that was something we had in common and many of our first dates revolved around new dishes, often cooking them together.”
Now that Olivia is two, the couple has introduced her to a wide variety of dishes. “She’s become a great kitchen helper,” exclaimed Mears. “My favorite dinners are ones that we all cook together.” Mears shared that her daughter began by helping her ‘bate.' “She wouldn’t say stir, so we taught her the Spanish term,” explained Mears. Now Olivia can scoop and pour and collect some ingredients. “It’s really neat to show her a picture, set our goal, read her our plan, and then enjoy the final outcome together,” shared Mears.
Mears claims that her cooking skills developed as she matured. “I think my mom gave me my fearlessness to ‘color outside the lines’ in the kitchen. I really think she believes recipes are simply an outline,” stated Mears. “My step mom, on the other hand, follows them and passes them down to me with precision.” Mears says she blends these styles in the kitchen, nervously adding things and is very light handed with the addition. Not only were the woman in her life a culinary inspiration, she also learned a few things from her father. “My dad taught me to be adventurous, ‘just try it’ was what he’s always said,” shared Mears. “In fact, when I would ask what something tasted like he would say ‘I don’t know, just try it’. He’s always been good at giving me space to have my own opinions and voice.”
Mears continued experimenting with new recipes, including some that she found online. “I love finding something new on Pinterest (and it working out) because I’m a work at home mom,” said Mears. “Quick and easy is preferred but I love that I can use a crock-pot and get something that tastes really complex and yummy but doesn’t taste quick and easy, for instance, Cashew Chicken.” Mears claimed to have a soft spot for curry as well. “Its really easy to add curry to a few other ingredients and get something amazing fast. Michael always said he felt Sloppy Joes were cheating but they were my guilty pleasure so I found a way to make everyone happy!”
Although Mears is an excellent cook, she claims to be a terrible baker. “I’m too impatient,” laughed Mears. “I can’t make a two layer cake to save my life and my cookies are always ‘cakey’ but they taste good.”
In her free time, Mears works her Mary Kay business around her life. “I work my personal business as well as lead a unit of 50 amazing women,” said Mears. “I make time for concerts, playing outside with my daughter, and of course princess tea parties.”
Today, Mears is sharing her recipes for “Cashew Chicken” and “Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes”.
For more information on Mary Kay, visit www.marykay.com/jessicamears.
To nominate someone to be featured as Cook of the Week, email Tasha at Tbunch@calhountimes.com.