Welcome! I’m Carla. I’m a recipe developer and food photographer sharing my kitchen adventures with you on my blog.
Are you looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Or perhaps you need something quick and easy to make for dinner without sacrificing flavor? Whether you’re making cookies and cupcakes for friends or need dinner for two, you’ve come to the right place. I focus on desserts and everyday dinner recipes made from scratch for small households. This means most of my dinner recipes makes 2-4 servings, leaving you with no or minimal leftovers (which are excellent for lunch the next day). Instead of quarts of ice cream and a 13×9 pan of brownies, I make pints and an 8×8 pan of brownies. Instead of three layer cakes, I’ll cut them down to two (hey you still need a dessert or two for parties). Sometimes I’ll even throw in single serving or just for two recipes, which you can read more about on my dinner and dessert for two page. All of my recipes are made from scratch within reason. This means no baking mixes, no jarred Alfredo sauce, no boxed mac and cheese. However, on the occasion a specific ingredient takes several hours or longer to make before you can even start the recipe, such as puff pastry or apple butter, I’ve accepted that it’s ok to have some help in the kitchen when it makes sense.
My cooking knowledge and expertise comes from years of cooking for myself. I am not a parent nor in a relationship, yet I still needed to find a way to eat without wasting food. That’s how I learned how to cook and bake on a smaller scale (read the full story below). I’m also an award-winning baker with my cupcakes, cookies, and cake, which you can read the articles on my press page. In addition to recipes and photography, I’m a freelance writer for publications such as Parade Community Table.
Currently I live in Pittsburgh where I was born and raised (although I lived outside of the city for a few years). When I’m not in the kitchen, I love to travel with my camera, whether it’s on an adventure or just locally around Pittsburgh. You can check out those photos on my Instagram account or read some of my travel posts.
Why Chocolate Moosey?
The name came from a stuffed moose (pictured above) I had received as a prize for selling Girl Scout cookies many years ago. As I was struggling to come up with a blog name, I looked over at him and said “Chocolate Moosey!”. He still sits in my bedroom to this day. Although most of my recipes are desserts, I still love to share my savory recipe creations (even though the name may suggest otherwise).
How Chocolate Moosey Was Born (And How I Learned How To Cook)
It all started with brownies.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I would steal my mom’s magazine and rip out the recipe pages for my oversized binder (that I still have today, falling apart and all). The very first article I saved was about brownies; I would dream about baking each of those decadent gems, drooling over the mouthwatering photos. Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t much of a baker; the most she baked was a 13×9 cake from a box for everyone’s birthday. I never did make any of those brownies. It wasn’t until my 8th grade home economics class that I learned how to maneuver the kitchen, making banana bread, Alfredo sauce, salsa, and other basic recipes. I loved it so much, I continued my education into high school where I took both cooking classes offered.
When I moved away to college, I didn’t have a kitchen (unless you considered a microwave and fridge a mini “kitchen”). I relied on the campus dining halls, which surprisingly had really good food (and also why the Freshman 15 existed). It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I learned how to cook on my own. I studied abroad in Ireland for four months and shared an actual kitchen with three other housemates. I had to buy groceries on my own for the first time (did you know a shopping cart in Ireland is called a trolley? Try asking employees where to find a cart and watch them stare at you like you’re crazy). None of us had a car and when you’re a poor college kid, you can’t afford the bus fare every trip. I walked 20 minutes to the store, filled two (heavy!) bags with food, and walked another 20 minutes home. You soon learned how to menu plan so that shopping became much easier (and lighter).
Although I had housemates, we mainly cooked for ourselves due to our class schedules. That meant I had to learn to cook small. Even though I knew the basics, I relied on websites and food blogs for recipes. Soon I realized most of these blogs were geared toward moms. What about us college kids? The ones with very little budgets and no army to feed? It wasn’t until my last month in Ireland that I really struggled with being homesick. To occupy my mind, I started Chocolate Moosey as a creative outlet. I knew college kids didn’t know how to cook, and I would be the one to show them how. I didn’t focus much on baking until I got back to the U.S. because we didn’t have any baking equipment, and there really was no point in buying any when we were only there for a few months (not to mention no money for baking ingredients).
My last two years of college I lived in an apartment with a kitchen and three new roommates. Again, we mainly cooked for ourselves. They cooked Easy Mac and Hamburger Helper; I cooked chicken a la king and butternut squash curry, all from scratch. It didn’t take long to notice I was “weird” in the kitchen. During this time, I went through a slightly ambitious phase where I made everything from scratch. That’s why you may see older recipes for homemade condiments such as ketchup and sweet chili sauce. I still cook from scratch, but I did ease up a bit and now buy condiments to help save some time.
Fast forward to college graduation day, I moved back home with my parents. I spent the next year looking for a job while working part time at Target. I still cooked at home, but my parents mainly took care of that when I worked evenings and weekends. Finally I was offered a full time videographer job at a machine manufacturing company. Not ideal, but I was desperate to start my career. The catch? It was located in a tiny country town three hours away. Here I was living by myself – no family, no friends, no boyfriend. Just me on my own two feet. With so much free time on my hands during the weekends, I really focused on Chocolate Moosey as my escape from the corporate world. Little did I know I was shaping the career I have today as a recipe developer and food photographer. This is when I really started to dive into baking. Although I’ve baked all my life (hello, sweet tooth!), I really embraced it and brought most of my leftovers for my coworkers to eat. After four years as a videographer, I decided it was time to move on and moved back home to Pittsburgh to do recipe development and photography full time.
Disclosures and Disclaimers
To read all of the legalese necessary for running this blog, check out my Disclosures and Disclaimers page.
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