Welcome to This Farm Girl Cooks, my name is Deanne Frieders! This is the place I LOVE sharing recipes and ideas with busy home cooks.
My focus is on simple, delicious meals your family will actually eat!
A little about me…
I grew up in a small town (population 750), with a cornfield at the end of my street, but I paid NO attention to the agriculture around me.
Heck, my grandparents were farmers and still, I didn’t take the time to soak up the gift that was right in front of me.
I was NOT a farm girl.
In my late 30’s, I married my husband and left my corporate job in the burbs so we could build our family and help on the farm.
Little did I know my role change would help hundreds of thousands answer the question, “What’s for dinner?”
These life events transformed me in the very best way possible. I created a tribe of farm wives to connect with and life has never, ever been the same.
I could write this about me page in the third person but nope, this really is me, Deanne, sitting at my kitchen island, writing to you.
This is my story, and I hope you’ll know me a little better after reading it.
Pie Scraps and Power Suits
As a kid, I grew up cooking alongside my mom, where I made apple pies in miniature pans using her leftover pie dough scraps. I took my first cooking class at age 7 and loved it.
I watched my mom balance her career plus a family business all while she fed us mostly from scratch, home cooked meals - with a little help from Market Day and the Schwan’s man as needed. Orange push-ups will always have a special place in my heart.
My parents were entrepreneurs and I learned from them early on. At age 8, I answered the business phone line that rang at our home.
Sure, the messages I took were a little sketchy and sometimes missing digits in the phone numbers, but it was a small town and my mom knew most of the numbers by heart. The business survived me!
When I had a lemonade stand, my mom helped me figure out a pricing strategy. Yep, she loaned me the money to buy the lemonade mix with the expectation that she’d be reimbursed after my sales.
It was a lesson I remember even today.
I carried on that entrepreneurial spirit through middle school and high school with a lawn mowing business and babysitting jobs.
In high school, I took Home Economics classes, sewing, and cooking every single
When it came time to select a college major, though, I headed in a different direction.
Because even though domestic type things were my passion (and my talent), majoring in home ec sure didn’t sound like an I am Woman Hear Me Roar kind of gig.
Nope, I wanted a power suit. A 90’s power suit with shoulder pads. So I started out in International Business so I could travel the world and escape small town life. Except….I wasn’t good in finance. Or economics. Or really much else that degree had in store for me.
I kept plugging away trying to figure out what I wanted to do
On weekends, I still read cookbooks for fun and baked up from scratch apple pies. I fed our college volleyball team from scratch lasagna. Doesn’t every college student do that??
Finally, I found the liberal arts world of communications and public relations. I loved learning about how people communicated, verbally and non verbally. I loved writing, engaging, and helping. I had found a purpose.
In the end I graduated with a degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and worked in several different career fields.
Many years later, I could take my skills I learned from my degree and use them to start This Farm Girl Cooks.
Direct paths weren’t my strong suit.
Right out of college, I took a job in the staffing industry and got married not long after graduation. Two of my greatest blessings from that were my kids, Ava and Carson.
In the end, that particular marriage wasn’t the right place for me. The kids and I moved back to DeKalb County to be closer to family.
What the heck is a field meal, anyway?
I met my husband Ryan, and knew on the second date we were meant to be. Not only did he remind me of my dad, but his kindness to me and my kids was amazing.
The only problem was….he was a farmer.
After some prayer and soul searching, I learned that you can’t define a person by their job title. Just because one farmer wasn’t for me didn’t mean this guy wasn’t “the one”.
He was unlike any farmer I ever met and I knew we were meant to be together. Prayers were answered.
We got married and moved to his farm in Northern Illinois, along with my two kiddos. I literally moved into a house 5 miles from my hometown
Yes, I totally get the irony here. I went from the “I’m gonna leave this small town” mentality at 18, to living on the same road I was born on.
Life is so funny sometimes, you know??!?
When our daughter, Eleanor was born, we made a decision to have me more involved in our farming operation here in Waterman.
I quit my corporate job in the burbs and buckled up my overalls, so to speak.
With one, then quickly, two, small children plus two middle schoolers, I had my hands full.
Every day was a first with me as fear of running equipment consumed me. I felt out of sorts as I struggled to navigate my new role on the farm.
There’s no guide for this!!!
They asked me to make field meals for them. Okay, what’s a field meal?
I Googled, “what’s a field meal”. Crickets. Chirp…Chirp…
So I dove in head first by trial and error. By God, I had birthed four children; I could figure out how to feed people, right??
I served pork chops tractorside with plastic knives. Epic fail.
Next time, it was pork chop sandwiches. Major win!
I made a fancy dish with a sauce that would break if not served immediately. That wasn’t so great.
But making sliders or even pot roast that was delicious whether is was cold or warm was a major success.
Trial and error removed my paralysis and I began to learn, share and repeat. I shared it to my personal Facebook page, and people were listening.
I discovered that sharing this food and farming thing could ALSO help others simplify their dinner time chaos.
I realized I was onto something here.
….I could streamline recipes to make things easier for every day life
….used those methods to start making meals our family would actually eat.
….and realized I could help others do the very same thing in their own kitchens.
And This Farm Girl Cooks was born in 2016.
I’ll be the first to say that it’s hard to feed our families every. single. day. Some people cook because they love it and some people cook just because they have to.
For me, it depends on the day. Ha.
Maybe you’re juggling a career, or managing working at home with your family. Or maybe you just feel overwhelmed by this crazy thing called life and food just seems to be one more thing to do.
I’m here for you.
This little farmhouse on the internet is here to give you a place to call home. I hope you’ll invite me into your kitchen and feel my hand in yours as you are cooking.
Meeting like-minded individuals is one of my favorite things. It’s why I overcame my fear of public speaking and now travel the midwest, sharing cooking ideas, farm living and building community.
My recipes are simple to recreate and family friendly. Meal planning and a well stocked freezer are just some of the tools in my kitchen arsenal.
There’s so much I love about this life and I’m always looking for ways to shine a light into your kitchens and farms.
I have a podcast, conveniently called, well... This Farm Girl Cooks Podcast.
I make recipe cards because they inspire me to cook.
And I now drive a tractor. Have tears been involved in learning to drive the grain cart? Heck, yes!
If you love easy meals, a sprinkle of humor, and a dash of keeping things real, you’ll feel right at home here. I share tips, shortcuts and an insight into our everyday life.
Before I send you on your way, here are a few fun facts.
A Little About Me
- Authored a Table to Tailgate cookbook for meals on the go.
- Proud mom of 4 kids ages 7-19. Yes, two in college, two in grade school, plus a high maintenance mini Schnauzer named Duke. Yes, it's kinda crazy.
- Can’t get enough of anything remotely related to a taco bar. My family thinks I'm morbid but I've already requested tacos for my funeral. Someday. Far, far away.
- Embarrassingly obsessed with kitchen dish towels.
- Will dance around to 80’s or 90’s music on a whim. Play Miami Sound Machine and I will lead the conga line.
Thanks for following along!