Get to Know Community Cook Joyce Moynihan

Joyce is determined to make every day special. And her contributions as a Taste of Home Community Cook are definitely worth celebrating.

This Minnesota native loves special dinners so much that she just keeps looking for more reasons to celebrate. Find out how Joyce’s enthusiasm for the holidays shines all year, from Christmas to Elmo’s birthday.

Taste of Home: Tell us a little about you. Where do you live, what do you do when you’re not cooking, and who’s in your family?

Joyce Moynihan: I live in Lakeville, Minnesota. I am a retired registered nurse. My husband, Pat, and I have been married 47 years, we have two sons, two lovely daughters-in-law and two adorable grandchildren. When I am not cooking, I enjoy sewing and quilting.

TOH: You’ve traveled to Peru many times on mission trips. Have your travels there influenced your cooking? What’s your favorite Peruvian dish?

JM: Lomo saltado is Peru’s national dish. It is a beef stir fry served over papas fritas (french fries)! It’s so good, and is one of my husband Pat’s favorite dishes.

I was also introduced to quinoa, an ancient grain that originated in the Andean region of South America. It’s used in many dishes in Peru and I make several recipes with it. Quinoa is great for meal prep.

TOH: What’s your desert-island meal? The one you could eat over and over again and never tire of?

JM: I hope I never get stranded on a desert island, but my family never tires of my Pork Tenderloin with Pear Cream Sauce. It was a recipe contest runner-up!

TOH: How did your love of cooking get started? Was there someone in your life who taught you?

JM: I grew up on a farm and learned to cook with my mother at an early age. We were blessed to always had an abundance of meat and vegetables to choose from. Our farm was a busy place but we always came in at the end of the day to have a meal together, and we always had the traditional Sunday dinner after church.

TOH: What inspires you to cook?

JM: Any special occasion or time to celebrate—there is always something to celebrate and make a meal an event! Food really brings people together, and when you cook for someone, it makes them feel special.

My husband, Pat, is very supportive of my culinary creativity. He’s a willing taste tester (aka, my personal guinea pig) and an honest critic. We make a great foodie team.

TOH: How long have you been part of the Community Cooks, and what do you enjoy most about it?

JM: I have been a Community Cook since June 2013, so about eight years! I’ve really enjoyed the friendships I have made. I feel like I have known them forever even though we have never met in-person!

TOH: I love what you shared in your Community Cooks application, that “every day is a holiday”—so fun! What have been your favorite foods to serve at any holiday, big or small?

JM: For King Kamehameha Day (a Hawaiian holiday on June 11), we had mai tais and Hawaiian shrimp over rice, topped with fruit salsa and toasted coconut, then flambeed. And we can’t forget Johnny Appleseed’s birthday, September 26: I made appletinis and pork apple pie.

The kids always love Elmo’s birthday on February 3, with simple cupcakes frosted with red icing, then decorated with candy eyes and an orange jelly bean nose. Mickey Mouse’s birthday (November 18) calls for another special treat with cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting and Oreos pushed in to resemble mouse ears! Can you tell how much I love doing this?

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Sue Stetzel
Sue has been working with Taste of Home since 2011. When she isn’t writing, she’s answering your burning cooking questions and working with our team of Community Cooks. She spends her free time cooking, crafting, and volunteering for various organizations in her home town.