Artful Cooking

I Love To Cook!

When I was a kid growing up in Minneapolis, I loved to help Mom prepare a roast, steam string beans from our garden or bake a cake for Dad's lunch. Her artful cooking inspired me to become a good cook like she was!

I love to entertain guests with delightful brunches, tasty picnics, and sumptuous dinners. Christmas and Thanksgiving give me a chance to do my favorites: wild rice, sausage stuffing, sweet potato souffle and apple pie.

Back in 2000, a friend suggested I write a cookbook for toaster ovens. I was amused. "How many ways can you do toast?" I asked her.

Little did I know what toaster ovens can do!  I researched recipes, converting them to toaster oven proportions, changing the ingredients to healthy, low fat, low calorie offerings and created over 250 delicious, healthy recipes for energy-efficient cooking for my cookbook, "Pop It In The Toaster Oven." Indeed, artful cooking can be done in a toaster oven!

Now my Palate and Palette YouTube Channel is very popular!  Just type in Welcome to Palate and Palette!

Here are some samples of my "Pop It In The Toaster Oven" recipe videos...

View ALL of my "Pop It In The Toaster Oven" recipe videos by clicking on my picture on these videos OR click on the Palate and Palette Channel at the bottom of this page.

 Purchase "Pop It In The Toaster Oven" at Amazon!

From the Introduction of "Pop It In The Toaster Oven"...

You may be asking," What can my toaster oven really do?" Perhaps you think that a toaster oven cookbook consists of nothing more that a hundred dreary variations on toasted cheese sandwiches. But you'd be mistaken! The toaster oven can go far beyond just "toasting." The BROIL function can caramelize sugar, saute onions and peppers, and produce stir-fries, crisp hash browns, and quick cake layers for a torte.

The BAKE function makes perfectly cooked grains, soups, and casseroles. And because all the uncooked ingredients are combined in a baking dish and baked to completion, there's the added advantage of no "watched pot.."

The TOAST function produces excellent sunny-side up eggs and omelets. In fact, an awesome variety of healthy meals can be created in a toaster oven via one or more of the standard functions and using only one third to one half the energy required by a full size oven!"

About Toaster Ovens

Toaster ovens in a wide range of prices, depending on the oven's capabilities. I favor Cuisinart. I've had two and presently have the TOB 195 which has a convection setting and a key pad, rather than knobs. Cleaning is super easy and the roomy design with an accessible pull out shelf permits a broad variety of baking and broiling options.

Good revues go also to the Breville toaster oven. Both brands offer inexpensive to more expensive models, all of which are designed well stand up well to heavy use. Cuisinart also offers a steam, convection toaster oven which expands baking and cooking options further.

Choose the toaster oven that is right for you. Whatever model or brand you choose, read the reviews and check out the specifications. This will help you decide--consider also where you will be placing your toaster oven (away from flammable items like drapery, blind cords and also out of the reach of children.)

Click here for some great reviews of toaster ovens on the SweetHome website!

What I learned while writing "Pop It In The Toaster Oven,"

Fast Food Is Expensive...

It seems that a lot of people these days think that fast food is cheaper than buying food at the grocery store, spending extra on gas to take it home and then having to take the time to prepare it. And, at first glance, it does seem cheaper and more expedient to grab take-out on the way home from work and plop it on the table. But, keep in mind that someone transports the ingredients to the store or take-out place and then someone is employed to cook, package and sell the fast food. You will pay for that if you buy that kind of product. And you may pay again later, health-wise.

There are ways of preparing "slow" food that definitely save money and are more economical that fast food. For example, a bag of carrots at $2.49 will produce several meals for a family of three or four. They can be cooked with meat and potatoes in a stew, served as a side dish with pasta, expand a garden salad and offer great healthy school and work snack alternatives. But the most important factor above and beyond the budget is health. Across the board, ingredients in burgers, hot dogs, pizza and Chinese food are full of fats, salts and exotic five syllable artificial ingredients to enhance the flavor, color, texture, etc. And these entrees are accompanied by equally harmful sides of french fries, buns, and quart-size quantities of soft drinks. We are a nation of diabetic and obese children, adults and elders because of our eating habits. And we are loyal to the advertisers of these destructive products, believing what they say about good-tasting, popular, trendy, mouth-watering, can't get enough foods that they chemically concoct and package seductively.

Fat is expensive...

Obesity in children, teens and adults is the evidence of our faithful and frequent fast food consumption and down the road diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, lack of energy are the results of high fat, sugar, salt and artificial colors and flavors in fast food. Consequently, lets factor in medical bills, sick days, attention deficit problems related to high sugar and salt consumption.

So what is really cheaper in the long run? Fast food or real food like vegetables, fruit, cheeses, yogurt, whole grain breads, pasta and fish and lean meat?

Go figure.....

Now that food is on your mind, why not grow your own?

Click here for a great Web site I recommend for beginner gardeners who would love to know how to grow a successful vegetable garden.

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Real Feedback

Hello Lois. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn hoy to draw and paint in diferentes styles and techniques. I just started and I've never had taken any classes til now with your tutorial.

I really worldwide appreciate your comments about my still life exercise. I specially have problems with shading the table and painting the wood graining (as you can se in the picture) and also the table cloth. The melon sas difficult too, I feel something is missing there too . (Some things in the picture I didn't want them to apear in my painting)

I'm starting to work with the landscape. As son as I have ir done I'll send you the picture.

Best regards and thank you again.

Andrea Berkefeld (from México)


Lois, Thank you so much for this video. You have really outdone yourself on this one. I am truly inspired to give this a try! This is really stunning! I love it. I wanted you to know that you have been a real blessing to me. After the sudden passing of my husband (of 33 yrs.) I decided to take up art, and your site was one of the first I came across. It was, and still continues to be one of my favorite sites for inspiration and relaxed learning. You're a gem. Keep it up!

Thanks Much

Kim Tanner


I discovered your website today and I am so impressed by the content. Not only it is free but is far superior to other websites.

My name is Dena and I'm from Queensland in Australia. Just recently (few weeks ago I picked up a paint brush and love it!!! I'm a Mother of 4 and 46 this year, work full time real estate sales.

I've never had an art lesson and was surfing the Internet for free tutorage on acrylics. That's how I discovered your incredibly helpful site.

You are the one that should be charging not the majority of other ones I have found. My question to you is below is a painting that I'm trying to copy, however the running bits of paint at top I'm not sure how to get that effect.

I'm only on lesson one of yours as I just discovered it only hours ago. But if you would share with me how to achieve this it would be greatly appreciated.

Again, thank you for such rich information on your site. I'm so excited to get to experiment with all you share



I have had the immense pleasure of discovering your web site and found your online studies. I am a retired person and one of my goals now is to learn drawing and eventually, painting, at which time I'll need formal tutoring or teaching. I made the list of materials to start drawing and am now going out to buy them, then I'll start the six lessons you suggest. I am so excited that I wanted to thank you for being so generous to the rest of us by teaching freely on line. Happy New Year!

Jorge del Valle