{Mandy pictured with hubby Ryan and their sweet baby boy.  Pics by Tracy Hill Photography}

Meet Mandy (a.k.a. Baking with Blondie).

The first time I ever met this chica was when I recognized her husband, someone who was 2 years older than me in our high school, at church and went up to re-introduce myself.  From that day on, Mandy was not only my neighbor, but a dear friend.  Someone that became my go to gal for girls' night outs, babysitting swaps and even family hangouts that consisted of good food and us mostly listening to our husbands gush over their mutual love of sports.  Aside from Mandy being nothing but the greatest of friends, she is an AMAZING chef; constantly whipping up such delicacies as slow cooked sweet balsamic glazed pork tenderloin and mini salted caramel apple cheesecakes that she in turn shares on her beautifully famous blog Baking With Blondie and some our local afternoon news programs.

However, Mandy is more then just a food extraordinaire.  Something you'll learn from miss Blondie herself.  So, without further introduction, here's this month's Inspiring Mum...Mandy.

Name: Amanda Lynn Merriman. I’ve gone by Mandy since I was a very little girl. I still have a few friends from my early childhood that call me Amanda. I secretly adore the way my name rhymes with itself - especially with “Mandy” at the forefront.

Where do you live?: Currently we’re nestled near the Oquirrh Mountains by the Copper Mine in West Jordan, Utah.
Do you have kids? If so, how many?: Yes, we have one beautiful toe-headed bright-blue-eyed little boy.

What are your hobbies/passions/things you absolutely love?: I love that face people make. You know, when they taste something so divine, so mouthwatering, that they close their eyes and savor every blissful morsel. They take a minute to drink in the moment, and pamper the senses. They let life in.  I try recipe after recipe to find the perfect one to create that same
heart-warming result.  And in the process, I tend to one of my deepest loves: creating in the kitchen, and inviting others to celebrate the beautiful flavors along with me.  My food blog “Baking with Blondie” has been the perfect vessel for this passion.
Something not a lot of people know about me is that my roots are firmly embedded in music. It started with a few awkward piano recitals, to more-than-a-few band concerts on saxophone, to the grand stage at Abravanel Hall as a featured soloist with the Utah Symphony, to soloing with BYU’s highest wind band performing on stages as far away as South Korea, and ultimately as a professional musician with Utah’s premiere wind ensemble: The Utah Wind Symphony. It has been a dream-come-true! To me, music is at the heart of all things. It speaks every language, evokes any emotion it wishes, and whispers directly to a place in our souls we can’t always explain with words.  Aside from being a proud mother and wife, these are a couple of my most
treasured passions in life.

Your Story/how it has molded you into the mother/wife you are or want to become: My journey into motherhood started 4 years into our marriage. I had graduated from college, my husband was diving head-first into law school, and within a month of trying, we came out with a positive pregnancy test. I was excited to grow our little family, but I was also completely scared to death. I had never been a mother before, and all the worries of the world occupied my thoughts on a daily basis. I remember checking out book after book on pregnancy/babies/breastfeeding/motherhood from the library. I did all I could to prepare myself - because quite frankly, my experience with babies could be measured in minutes, and the time I’d spent with toddlers and children could be measured in less than that.

Motherhood didn’t come as naturally as I thought it would, and I blamed myself.  Our beautiful son arrived in the thick of law school finals week, and with a very rough recovery after delivering a whopping 9 ½ lb baby boy without a c-section, I had a very hard time adjusting to our new normal.  In the music world, I had fed off perfectionism. Everything had to be just right, and if it wasn’t, it was because I hadn’t tried hard enough or worked hard enough. Reprogramming that thought through the motherhood filter taught me the world, changed my expectations for myself, and has helped me become the mother I am today. 

 I learned quickly that being a mother wasn’t about being supermom. It was simply being a mother - this sweet little boy’s mother. Simple as that. I let go of lining everything up perfectly, and let the beautiful imperfection of motherhood grace my every moment.  I embraced motherhood. It wasn’t because I was the best at it, knew the most about it, or I had the experience for it. I just knew that I loved it, had found the perfect close-your-eyes-in-heaven sweet bite, and was center stage at my most treasured performance yet.

Talk about a woman of many talents!  Lucky for us, along with getting a glimpse into what makes Mandy such an Inspiring Mum, Mandy has also  graciously agreed to share one her all time favorite Thanksgiving recipes with us; and trust me, this is a recipe you wont want to pass up this Thanksgiving!

So, here ya go...

{Photo via: Baking with Blondie}
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
makes 6-8 servings

1 lb medium heat sausage 
8oz package of light cream cheese 
1 lb fresh white mushrooms, cleaned, stems carefully removed  
1/4 C grated Parmesan Cheese 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with aluminum foil. 
2. In a large pan, cook sausage over medium-high heat until heated thoroughly (no pink). 
3. Add cream cheese to sausage and turn heat down to medium. Mix cream cheese with sausage until the mixture is uniform throughout. Sprinkle with Parmesan. 
4. With a teaspoon, or clean hands, stuff each mushroom (pile it high), and place carefully in prepared baking dish. 
5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve immediately

Loves and Hugs,

1 comment

  1. Yum! That looks delish. Mandy, you're adorable!!