Beyond the Chicken Coop is a blog run by Kathy, a woman passionate about cooking, gardening, and raising chickens. She created the blog to share her love of homemade food and fresh ingredients with others, as well as to document her adventures in gardening and chicken-raising.
The blog features a wide variety of recipes, from main dishes to desserts, with an emphasis on farm-to-table cooking. Kathy’s goal is to inspire others to embrace a more self-sufficient lifestyle, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of homegrown and homemade food.
In an Interview with CookingDetective.com, Kathy shares her childhood inspiration for gardening, raising animals, and her love for baking and sharing. For those looking to improve their cooking skills, Kathy suggests practicing and seeking guidance from experienced cooks.
She hopes her blog will inspire readers to embrace homemade recipes and preserve food. To capture her beautiful food photography, Kathy currently uses a Canon 5D Mark IV with a 100mm prime lens and encourages others to practice and learn from their favorite photos.
Read our exclusive interview with Kathy now!
What follows is an interesting interview with the Cooking influencer.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got into cooking.
I am Kathy Berget and I started cooking at a young age. I always remember helping out in the kitchen. When I was in 8th grade, I was in charge of planning and cooking dinner for our family of 8 people and I loved it. My mom had to approve the menu and then made certain we had the ingredients.
Sometimes she made changes especially since we had a tight budget. I loved reading cookbooks and trying new recipes. Unfortunately, not every recipe was a hit! I remember one recipe using fresh mushrooms that were cooked in the microwave and they turned out very rubbery.
I don’t think anyone liked it, including me! Luckily I wasn’t discouraged from trying new things!
2. What are your favorite types of recipes to create and share, and why?
My favorite recipe to create and share is the bread of any kind. I really love making yeast bread. There’s something amazing about the process of making bread, watching it rise, and then baking it. It smells so delicious while it’s baking and I also love eating homemade bread.
Along with bread, I also love making muffins. When my kids were little, I made muffins at least once a week. They were great for breakfast or for snacking. My kids loved muffins!
3. What is your favorite ingredient to work with and why?
Lemons! This was hard for me to pick a favorite ingredient, but lemons are definitely one of my favorites! They are so versatile and can be used in sweet or savory recipes as well as beverages.
I love the smell of lemons when you zest the peel and the color is always like a little burst of sunshine!
4. What is your favorite kitchen tool or gadget and why?
Probably my Kitchenaid Mixer. I use it all the time for so many recipes and I use it for making bread. I used to mix and knead all my bread dough by hand, but using the mixer is so handy and the loaves of bread turn out beautifully!
5. What’s your favorite comfort food recipe to make during the colder months?
I love making either a huge pot of chili or a homemade chicken pot pie. Anything that goes in the oven is a double bonus – you get something delicious and your kitchen gets all nice and warm from the oven!
6. Can you tell us the inspiration or motivation behind your decision to pursue gardening and running your own animal farm?
My dad always had a huge garden when I was growing up. I never considered not having a garden. I love growing my own food and then preserving it to use all year long. My husband is also a huge gardener and he loves trying out new vegetables and different varieties.
Currently, we only raise chickens. However, in the past, we’ve raised several different animals on our little farm. When our children were younger, they always raised pigs for 4H and we usually raised one or two extra pigs for ourselves. We’ve also had goats, ducks, and rabbits.
I’ve always wanted to have a cow for milking, but I don’t think that is going to happen, especially since my children are now grown and we’d end up with more milk than we could ever use.
7. Please share any cooking tips or techniques you think are important for beginners.
Always read a recipe all the way through before beginning. It’s important to understand what will be happening in the recipe so nothing catches you off guard. Double check you have all the necessary ingredients for the recipe and set them out on the counter.
8. Can you walk us through your cooking process, from selecting ingredients to plating the finished dish?
When I’m cooking dinner for my family, I first try to plan out a weekly menu. I try to use ingredients we have on hand in our freezer, pantry, and from our garden. I also try to mix things up so we have a variety of meals.
When cooking, I start whatever dish will take the longest to cook and while it’s cooking I’ll build a salad and start the side dishes. I clean as I go and put everything away as soon as I’m finished with an ingredient.
This makes cleaning up after dinner so much easier! When everything is ready, I get it all on the table so we can sit down to dinner together.
9. Can you recommend some budget-friendly ingredients that can be used in a variety of dishes?
Keep some items in your pantry that are perfect for last-minute meals. I like to stock up on dried pasta, canned beans, and rice when they are on sale. These items are perfect for rounding out a meal or even making a quick dinner.
10. What advice would you give to someone who wants to improve their cooking skills?
Just get cooking! The only way to get better is to practice. If you have a friend or family member that you think is a good cook, ask them if you can cook alongside them. Ask questions along the way.
11. What do you hope people take away from your blog, and how do you want to inspire them in the kitchen?
I hope I inspire the love of cooking in all types of individuals. It doesn’t matter who you are, your age, or how busy you are, making homemade recipes is rewarding and delicious!
I also want to inspire people to begin preserving their own food. I enjoy canning, dehydrating, and freezing food we grow and raise. I believe this is a lost art with many, and I’d like to inspire them to start preserving food.
12. What equipment do you use for your food photography, and do you have any tips for taking great food photos?
I currently use a Canon 5D Mark IV with a 100mm prime lens. When I first started, I used a Canon Rebel T5. It was a great camera, to begin with.
You don’t have to have an expensive camera to take great photos. Taking photos is a lot like cooking, you just have to get in and do it!
The only way to get better is to practice. Study photos you like and determine what you like about them; the colors, the styling, the angle, the lighting, and then try to replicate the parts you love in your own manner.
In conclusion, Beyond the Chicken Coop is a heartfelt and inspiring blog that invites readers to join Kathy on her journey of cooking, gardening, and raising chickens. The blog not only offers a wide array of delicious recipes but also encourages a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Through her captivating food photography and engaging stories, Kathy has created a welcoming space that inspires readers to celebrate the joys of cooking and gardening while fostering a deeper connection with the food they eat.
Where you can find me…