Tammy Credicott is a recipe developer, part-time blogger and the author of Paleo Indulgences (release date: September 18th, 2012) and The Healthy Gluten-Free Life. She and her husband owned a successful gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free bakery in Bend, Oregon, The Celiac Maniac, before they were inspired to transform their health further by switching to a Paleo lifestyle. Tammy has a passion for understanding health and wellness as it relates to nutrition and has used this knowledge to help her family overcome health issues such as celiac disease, ADD, night terrors and eczema.
A self-taught home cook extraordinaire and Food Network junkie, she has transformed her family’s well-being with the creation of simple, healthy, allergy friendly recipes that fit their busy lifestyle. And while some of her favorite things include summer vacation, months ending in "-ber," and photography, she finds her passion and enthusiasm for life in the kitchen with her family.
Tammy lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and two daughters, and in her spare time, she likes to help her husband, Cain, with recipes and photography for Paleo Magazine, the only print magazine dedicated to the Paleo lifestyle and ancestral health.
Q: How did you get involved in cooking to begin with?
It always starts with mom, doesn’t it? My mom was a fantastic home cook, which of course, I never appreciated enough growing up. She was always there to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. My fondest memories are of coming home to fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and during the holidays, to pumpkin bread. She taught me how to cook by letting me help her in the kitchen early on. I’m doing the same with my kids, only without the gluten and sugar. You’ll always find them in the kitchen with me!
Was it something you learned to love early on or did you come to it later?
I did love it early on, but not really the cooking so much as the baking. I was an avid baker up until a couple of years ago when I finally converted to a Paleo lifestyle. I went from a traditional baker to a gluten free baker to the occasional Paleo baker! I started loving to cook real food once I got married. It’s so much more rewarding cooking for others!
Q: Why is eating grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish different? How does it affect your cooking?
The flavor and the nutritional quality of grass-fed meat and wild fish are far superior to feed-lot or farm raised. It affects cooking by naturally making your dishes taste better! Cook times are also a little less using grass-fed meat which saves time in the long run.
Q: Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?
For myself and our family it’s primarily about health, though the peace of mind knowing that grass-fed is better for the animals and better for the planet have become important to us too.
Q: How did you learn about grass-fed meat?
I was already an organic shopper prior to going Paleo, but it wasn’t until I read information from folks like Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson and others that the concept of eating grass-fed meat really sunk in. Being that I grew up eating venison, elk, moose etc. (my dad is an avid archery hunter) it was an easy philosophy to understand. For some reason it took going Paleo for me to apply the "animals should eat what they’re designed to eat too" concept to my store bought meats.
Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?
The right ingredients, for me means fresh, local if possible, organic and grass-fed. Using these types of ingredients ensure maximum nutrition and the best flavor possible. It’s kind of like cooking insurance...if you buy quality ingredients, you don’t have to do a lot to them to make them taste great so it’s hard to mess it up!
Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?
First and foremost, RELAX in the kitchen! I talk to so many people that analyze and stress over the smallest details in a recipe. I just want to sit them down and have them take a few deep breaths! It’s like anything in life, if you relax and have fun with it, success will come. And if you make mistakes, oh well, that’s how you learn. Oh, and don’t be afraid to trust your gut and use common sense in the kitchen. If the recipe says cook it for 20 minutes, but you know it’s done after 15, go ahead and take it off the heat. It’s impossible for every recipe to account for every variable of every person and kitchen, so make sure to listen to your inner chef!
Q: What are your best tips for home cooking?
Organization is the thing that saves me in the kitchen. Make a menu for the week and use that to make a grocery list. Shop once a week and get everything you need. A lot of people don’t cook and think home cooking is difficult because they don’t plan ahead or have the right ingredients. If you spend a little time each week planning ahead and grocery shopping, you’ll be much more successful, save money and feel better!
Q: What is your favorite recipe using grass-fed meat?
Anything with skirt steak!! It’s so tender, flavorful and juicy, and you can season it just about any way you’d like. But I really love how quickly it cooks. Throw on some spices, grill a couple of minutes per side, and you’re good to go. That’s a busy mom’s weeknight dream meal!