About Big Red Kitchen

“Salt so that life may always have flavor.
Bread so that our home may never know hunger.
Honey that life may be sweet.
Wine so that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”
— Manderley’s Blessing

Big Red Kitchen, the place— will always my Moveable Feast. It was where it all started, in that big red room where I served thousands of meals, packed that many lunches, and entertained family and friends.  It was the place where I said, “I can do this.”

Now I live at Manderley Cottage.  A different world really. A different time too.  We border on Colonial Williamsburg which is permanently stuck in the 18th century, while all else around is in the here and now.  Thank goodness!  I can’t live without my Nespresso.


In 2014 Himself and I looked at each other and said, “let’s do it!”  And just like that we moved to Manderley Cottage.  We got rid of 75% of our belongings and downsized from a 4100 square foot home to an 1100 square foot home with three children and four sugar gliders.  It was just before our oldest’s son’s senior year, whilst in the midst of his Eagle Project and processing to earn his Eagle Rank.  We wanted him to be part of our journey, and as important as the things going on for him were, this journey as a family was even more important.  We were seeking a lifestyle that was simpler, more relaxing, abundantly active, and invited generosity.

We achieved all that and more.  Here at Manderley Cottage and on these pages of Big Red Kitchen I will share how life is full of flavor, joy, and prosperity.

Why we wanted to Change Our Lifestyle
“The One Thing” that prompted us to change our lifestyle when we did.


About me:
I am Robin, nurse by education, teacher by talent, writer by night, CrossFitter by day, and Proprietor of Manderley Cottage by God, and Saved by Grace.   Himself, laird of our wee clan and I have been married for 23 years, we have three children- two at home and one off to college. I have been writing here since 2008, developed Mason Jar Meals in 2011— look how those have taken off!

I have co-authored my first book with Himself which should be out very soon.  It is a lifestyle book based on our mad dash to living our dreams.

About Mason Jar Meals:


When I posted this photo on Facebook in 2011, it went viral, and when people wanted to know more, I posted a few tutorials on making Mason Jar Meals.  Although this was seen in the media as a cutesy trend that would quickly pass, the virality of those posts told me that people are seeking order and balance in their lives. As many of us are drawn to clean lines, layers, and bright colors, I observed that people were primarily attracted to the design and packaging of these meals more so than the product inside, further proving to me that we  do indeed eat first with our eyes.  But then something changed.  After the love affair with  design came a desire for it’s contents. Individuals began putting these glassy meals into practice as they understood the need of having prepared meals handy to make busy nights stress-free, lunch boxes healthier, bring food budgets under control, as well as their meal portions. Keeping what I observed in mind, I intentionally designed meals that were easy to make, pack, and eat on the go or at home.

It’s not about the jar, it’s about aesthetically designed meals that will make your life easier. Use your vessel of choice because with these meals, there is no canning, preserving, sterilizing, boiling, or putting up, just the twisting of a lid.   If you are eager to live this ordered and balanced lifestyle, see for yourself how Mason Jar Meals can help you.

Terms of Service
You may distribute, transmit, or share any of my copy-righted work following these rules:
1. You may print out recipes for personal use only.
2. Please do not copy, cut, and paste my recipes, content, or photos on your own website, blog, facebook page, or anywhere else on the web- a link to specific posts will suffice. If you would like to use my work, please write for permission. After receiving written permission, you must provide an attribution link for any copied text or photos. You are not to copy the post in its entirety. Even small excerpts require attribution to the specific post. Not to be used for commercial gain.
3. If you are doing a round-up and want to use my photo with a link to that post- please ask permission first.
4. Sharing with attribution= good! Stealing= sad.

Disclosure Policy
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. I sometimes accept forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. Any compensation received for a post will be clearly identified on that post. The honest views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own.

Privacy Policy
When signing up for my newsletter, your email address will be collected by Word Press and only used to get the newsletter out to you.

We allow third-party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our web site. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to  provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you. These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information. To learn more about this behavioral  advertising practice or to opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit HERE.

Contact me- robinsue {at} bigredkitchen {dot} com

Would you like a tour of the former Big Red Kitchen? Come on in!

Tour of Manderley Cottage Kitchen! Come on in!



Big Red Kitchen® is a registered trademark of Big Red Kitchen LLC


  1. Robin Smith
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    I am planning a Tea for a Baby Shower and loved your recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches but there is no indication of how many sandwiches your recipe makes. Do you have an estimate?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted April 21, 2012 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

      Hi Robin,
      The recipe makes 7 sandwiches on very thin bread, you can cut these in half or quarters depending on the size you wish. I always figure at least 1- 1 1/2 sandwiches or 4-6 quarters per person- depends on how much other foods you are serving of course! But I can personally down a dozen quarter sandwiches myself;-)
      Hope this helps!
      The Other Robin

      Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

  2. jackie
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    Robin Sue;
    I saw your article in the valley news, I want to try and make the pumpkin muffins, but in the store there are two kinds of canned pumpkin, one that is without any spices in it, and the easy pumpkin with spices already in it, Please tell me which one do i use for the pumpkin / cake muffins, Thanks so much


    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 16, 2012 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

      The one without, just plain pumpkin puree without anything added. Enjoy!!

  3. Posted July 9, 2012 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    I have a question about your mason jar meals. I have a recipe for bread in a jar that you can put a flat and lid on as soon as it comes out of the oven and it will seal. It will keep for up to a year. Can you do that to your meals? I was looking at your peaches and cream coffee cakes and it makes a bunch so I was just wondering. Have you ever tried it and if so how did it turn out?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted July 9, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

      Hi Norma
      I am using the jars just a storage vessels, not for canning. I do not preserve any of my meals, only store them in the fridge or freezer. Sorry I can’t help. I am not really sure about bread in a jar for a year??

    • Robin Sue
      Posted July 9, 2012 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

      Norma, I did find this article. Be careful…

      Robin Sue

  4. Posted July 11, 2012 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    I have made bread in a jar and it wil keep for a year. Just have to make sure you seal it as soon as it comes out of the oven. Pumpkin chocolate chip is really good

  5. jenn
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

    hey, robin sue! i saw this today on pioneer woman’s blog and thought of you immediately, but didn’t know where else to submit this comment so you’d get it! i know you’ll be thrilled!


    jenn in GA

    • Robin Sue
      Posted July 25, 2012 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

      These things are so funny! I must get one soon. I do have the redneck wine glass which is a hoot too!
      Thanks Jenn!

  6. Heidi Leonard
    Posted September 2, 2012 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Hi!! I would love to know what dish you used for your pasta bar, the yellow serving tray. We do various “bars” with our kids all the time and I would love to have one.


    • Robin Sue
      Posted September 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

      I got it about 6 years ago from Costco. Its a lazy susan serving tray. Hope you find one!

  7. Jamie Wyatt
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    So glad I found your blog! (And Pinterest Board!)

  8. Terry
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    Hi. My name is Terry and I was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC. My father was a pastor there for more than 20 years. My mother had a recipe for that she called “Potato Candy” that is really close to your Pnut butter candy. Only she boiled a small russet potato first then added the box of powdered sugar, rolled it out and spread the pnut butter on it. Then rolled it up, chilled it and then sliced into pinwheels to eat. It was never too dry or too sticky…..

  9. Katie
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

    Hi Robin Sue, I am from the UK and came across your site through Pinterest. I was just wondering if you refer to teaspoon or tablespoon when you have a ‘T’ in your recipes.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted November 23, 2012 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

      Big T is tablespoon and lowercase t is a teaspoon. One of these days I’ll go back and do it the real way- tsp. or tbsp. Thanks!!

  10. francine schissell
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    I am not receiving my newsletter for a while. can you check this out thank you
    Francine Schissell

    • Robin Sue
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

      Will start up again in the New Year. Thanks!

  11. Posted June 26, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    AWESOME blog! Glad I stumbled upon it! I loved your description of who you are and I found a lot of similarities! I’m a Christian, wife, mom (of soon to be 4 in July), BSN RN (ER is my specialty), love to cook (mostly Paleo), be in the outdoors, holistic health, natural living, homebirther and would love to be a cross fitter when I’m done with having kids! And I love to blog about all of the above at GreenandGrateful.com. Thanks for blogging and I look forward to following you!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

      Welcome Bethanie!

  12. Margolita Rouse
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Would love to have the recipe for the Drippy Coconut Cake but can’t locate it.
    Could you share the recipe with me?

  13. Diane Benson
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Hi I am from Ontario, Canada. I was wondering how I might be able to order the jars with the inserts?

  14. Kim S
    Posted February 20, 2015 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

    Robin Sue, you are an inspiration. I read your “About” page and have to say WOW what a wonderful story!
    I have been looking for inspiration to
    1. Get our family to eat and live healthier
    2. Get some pounds off me and Hubs.

    I hit 40 and man…. my once skinny, didn’t have to work for it self developed a tire that wont go away. lol

    Thank you for being an inspiration… I’m so glad I stumbled on your site. I look forward to visiting often.
    Blessings to you and your family 🙂

    • Robin Sue
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

      Thank you Kim! It is a chore to get them to eat healthy but in the long run it will be worth it:)

  15. Peggy Gehrman
    Posted February 24, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    You are an amazing inspiration to me! I have wanted to change my health and fitness for a long time…managing to lose 30 lbs and keep it off over a year ago, I find that my minset and “bad habits” have not changed. I would love to follow a mostly Paleo diet and try the Crossfit route…but I am an insulin dependent diabetic (also and RN) and I worry about the blood sugar issues that go with such a lifestyle. I am ready to aproach my Endo and Educators for assistance…as an RN yourself, any advise?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted March 10, 2015 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

      You would have to really keep a good record of your pre and post WOD sugars, keep a snack on hand, and listen to your body. With Paleo you would still have to make sure you are getting the right Macro ratio and log your diet for a while to see how it goes. Curious to see how it goes for you. My Mom was pre diabetic and reduced her sugars on the Paleo diet and maintains without med so far.

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