I’m not sure how you made it here, to my little creative space, amongst millions of other websites, but I couldn’t be happier that you did.

Heartbeet Kitchen is a celebration of the sweet and savory recipes that l create in my Minnesota kitchen, along with the other tidbits that make up my everyday life. One day that might be a travel adventure, the next my vintage finds from the thrift store, natural living ideas, or anything cat related (self-professed cat lady raises her hand).

My passion for sharing food stories and experiences is rooted in the enjoyment of cooking for all that it brings to our lives, whether that be a nourishing meal or a friendship. The recipes are based around seasonal vegetables, whole grains, eggs and dairy from happy animals. Many are vegetarian, and all are gluten-free with a specialty in baking with alternative flours. And what would life be without excellent chocolate?

I grew up in a small German town, where we always ate dinner as a family, the dishes were washed by hand, and winter afternoons were spent making lefse. Food brought us together, just as it does in many other cultures, but it wasn’t until I was 25 that I started to dig deeper into the stories behind what was on my plate.

As refuge from a stressful corporate job in the pharmaceutical industry, I found relaxation in the kitchen, along with newfound creativity I never really allowed myself to have before. My focus had been straight A’s, a college golf scholarship, and a high profile job for way too many years. And then I realized that without happiness, none of those things matter.

My weekend farmer’s market trips encouraged me to bring a new vegetable home that I had never eaten before, and talk to one of the lovely people behind the stalls, those who we rely on to bring us nutrient dense food yet we often forget their importance.

Soon my heart began to “beat” around these experiences, and it was at that point I began writing this blog, Heartbeet Kitchen. Which also resulted in me publishing my first cookbook, Smitten with Squash, in 2014.

Amanda About Me

My philosophy is this.

That the best meals are those made with fresh, simple ingredients, local if possible, and always what’s in season.

That good meals become great meals when you know the story behind it.

That our bodies deserve health, love and happiness through food.

That the hands that grow the things we put on our plate are some of the most passionate you will ever know.

And that food is joy, and joy is food.

I’m so thankful for the opportunities, connections and creativity that this space has brought me. I’m constantly broadening my horizons in the kitchen, discovering new ingredients and flavors, yet embracing the tried and true that will always be my favorites. Simply put, I’m happily embracing my passion, one kitchen mess at a time.

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48 thoughts on “About Me

    1. amandapaa Post author

      Nice meeting you too Virginia! You can email me at [email protected] – looking forward to seeing the article.

      Reply
  1. Haley

    Hey! Just found your website.. great recipes and photos! I definitely want to try the squash hummus.
    It’s fun to find other local food bloggers out there. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. Randy

    Amanda,

    I just listened to your interview on 950 AM radio and I am now so excited to go to the Farmers Market today to get some “real” food. Are you available to rent out as a cook for a social gathering in the near future?

    Reply
  3. Chyna Bounds

    Hi, my name is Chyna Bounds and I’m from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I was looking to find some contact information for authors of this blog, as we are looking for Minnesota food bloggers for an upcoming project.

    Thanks, Chyna Bounds

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Chyna! Thank you for contacting me! I would love to help out with a project for the Walker if you are in need. You can email me at [email protected] – look forward to speaking with you soon!

      Reply
  4. Fred Renfrow

    Hi, I am searching for a source of ground cherries to can or to purchase. As a youngster, I spent several summers on my grandfather’s farm in West Virginia. He would “disappear” from time to time and come home with a bucket of fresh picked ground cherries. The preserves my grandmother made were awesome! Can you help? My email is [email protected]. Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Fred! check your inbox – I sent you an email guiding you to a source for a ground cherries, Bossy Acres CSA here in Minnesota. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  5. Ruby

    Wait hold on- I didn’t realise you were from Minnesota! I grew up my whole life in Minneapolis. Are you still in the Twin Cities? As much as I love travel, I still get seriously nostalgic for home. So glad we have found each other through the bloggin’ world :)
    xx

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Wow, small world! Which area did you live in and when did you move? I live in St. Paul.
      This is just another reason why the internet is such a fascinating place. I’m so glad we’ve connected. I want to start traveling more as well, it’s just that my current job doesn’t leave much time for that. If you ever come back for a visit let’s meet up!

      Reply
  6. Crista

    I’m so happy to have found your blog Amanda :) …and after reading about those 3 co-ops within 3 miles of you, I’m jealous all over again :)

    Reply
  7. Bonnie

    Hi Amanda, so happy that I discovered your website through Yammie’s Gluten Freedom site. I’m celiac, and appreciate all of your time and effort to bring us fabulous recipes, just ordered cup4cup flour because I just have to make the chocolate chip cookies! Thanks, again!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Bonnie! Thanks so much for stopping by and I’m glad we can connect over gluten-free recipes! Cup4Cup certainly is fantastic. If you’ve never tried it, you will be amazed at the result in gf baking. Did you see I have a giveaway going on with them right now for a whole gift package of their gf flour & mixes? It goes along with a gluten-free apple pie, using their Wholesome Blend for the crust – here’s the link: http://heartbeetkitchen.com/2014/recipes/homemade-gluten-free-apple-pie/
      You should enter! xo -Amanda

      Reply
  8. Pingback: Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

  9. Jessica Hessler

    Amanda, I stumbled across your website from aPinterest post. I am so happy I found it…I too am gluten free and from MN. I also have a gluten free recipe blog that I just started a few months ago. I look forward to following your page! This is a beautiful website and I can’t wait to try out your recipes!

    Reply
  10. Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewife

    Hi Amanda,
    I wanted to respond to your question regarding the Salted Caramel Blondies. WordPress has exceeded my technical skills tonight and for some reason it won’t let me reply to you on my website (which is SUPER frustrating!!). Totally not a dumb question. I should have completed my thought. Yes, you flip them over and then cut. If you were going to use cookie cutters, then you would not flip back over because you would want the smooth surface on top. Definitely let these babies cool in the pan. It’s hard to wait…but worth it.

    As a total aside, love that photo of the beets and carrots I found on Pinterest!! I was just looking at your site. Gorgeous.

    Let me know if you make them! xo

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Rebecca, thanks so much for the clarification! Hopefully I’ll get around to making them – they look amazing. And thank you for the kind words about my blog! xo

      Reply
  11. Megamommy

    Amanda,
    I too am a Minnesota blogger and a member of our local Farmers Market. I do not live in the MSP area though. As a vendor at our local FM I hear the same gluten experience happening to more and more people. I’m glad you are feeling better and I really enjoy your blog! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  12. Megan Neitzel

    Hi Amanda, I just came across your squash/kale/wild rice recipe on pinterest and came across other yummy recipes. I also came across your notice about your leaky gut that you are healing. I experienced the same health problem a couple years ago and wanted to let you know YOU CAN DO IT. As daunting as the healing process is for this mighty disruptive disorder, stick to your plan and you will see results :)
    Smiles,
    Megan

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Megan! Wow, this is the nicest note I have gotten in awhile. Thank you so much for sharing your story about autoimmune conditions and I’m so proud of you for healing. It’s hard…. Right now I’m experiencing a lot of the ups and downs, which I know is normal, but still can be tough. You made my week. xo

      Reply
  13. BrittaP

    Hi Amanda, I took your cooking class Saturday morning at the Arboretum. I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed the class and meeting you, and can’t wait to check out your blog and try more of your recipes. Thanks for teaching!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Oh, thanks for stopping by Britta! I loved having you in class and hope to teach more there next fall. Have a great time cooking all the freshness that surrounds us right now!

      Reply
  14. John Kaz

    I love your blog, it’s very well done & easy to view. I live in LA, and will be in Minny for a couple days. Could you please recommend for me 3 restaurants to try. I eat everything except indian ha. I’ve dined all over the world. Also what is the best fine dining restaurant, if money is no object?
    Lastly any good art galleries featuring local artist or craftmakers? Or specialty food stores I guess.
    Thank you & you have a good resource the next time your in LA!!!!!!
    John Kaz

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi John! So great that you are going to be visiting Minny. Although I do love LA :) If I had to pick 3 restaurants to try right now they would be Spoon & Stable (more fine dining, if money is no object :), Tilia, and Revival (amazing Southern food but done in a modern way – the chicken, burger, grits, everything..). And if you are looking for a cool coffeshop I recommend any of the Spyhouses. I’m not as up on the artist/craftmaker galleries, sorry! And for a specialty food store, the Wedge coop has just about any ingredient you could ever want, and Bill’s Imported Foods is a cool little shop that has things from everywhere and a deli. Hope that helps, and thanks so much for connecting John!

      Reply
  15. Katie

    Hello Amanda ~

    Thank you for experimenting and posting your Gluten-Free recipes & stories for us! I found your chocolate chip cookie recipe on Pinterest and am anxious to bake!
    This year I’ve been on an adventure of learning that gluten is no longer my friend.. and am delighted to have a non-swollen, red face and new recipes to keep my taste buds happy. Lucky you, to call the Twin Cities home, we loved it for 2 decades before putting down roots in Naperville, IL. Again, appreciate your knowledge! katie

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      hi katie! so glad we’ve connected and you’re on your way to feeling better. and yes, Minnesota is fantastic! we talk about moving, but have realized the grass is greener on this side. :) thanks for the note!

      Reply
  16. Kim

    Hi Amanda,
    Im also from Minnesota! We live close to the Arboretum and I’m wondering if you will be doing another class there in the near future? Last July I finally decided to do something about the stomach pain I have had for the past 45-50 years. I’ve been grain free and have cut out processed sugar and foods. I feel the best I ever remember feeling!
    It’s funny, but once I started cooking more I started enjoying cooking more. I’m so glad to have found your blog and can’t wait to try some new recipes.!
    Kim

    Reply
  17. Carol Bisson

    Amanda, I have vinegar mothers that I am willing to share with you if you are interested. Both red wine and apple cider. Email me

    Reply
  18. Ashley Messner

    How cool are you?! I grew up in Alexandria but I’ve been living in Gaylord now for almost 9 years. What an area right? Tough for this Scandi to hold her own with all the Germans but I think I found my footing. :)

    Just wanted to drop a note and tell ya I love your blog! It’s literally beautiful but the recipes look delish too. Thanks for doing all the hard work for the rest of us ;) Happy cookin’!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      totally a small world! so nice of you to leave this message. my mom grew up in gibbon, so plenty of passing through gaylord for me. thanks for reading and glad we could connect. xo

      Reply
  19. Mike Howell

    Hey Amanda,

    I heard your interview on “The Dinner Special” and really enjoyed listening to your story! I love your attitude towards food and look forward to visiting your website more often.

    Reply
  20. Thia Rennie

    Dear Amanda,
    Hello from Swansea in South Wales, United Kingdom. My name is Thia and I really enjoyed meeting you on your blog today. I totally share your passions surrounding food and have made start on my journey of creativity… which includes cooking and writing too. Your philosophy is so simple, wholesome and accessible and in my opinion most certainly makes it’s contribution to saving the earth! I look forward to reading more of your posts!
    Thia

    Reply
  21. Barby Cahill

    Hi Amanda!

    I am gluten free and can’t wait to try the the coconut butter with dates. Yum. I am a palette knife painter,
    “Gammy” to my daughter’s twins and love feeding my family GF meals that are yummy.

    Reply
  22. Loral

    Hi Amanda! I am so thrilled that your brother (my co-worker) told me about your blog! I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and have only just started telling people even though I changed my diet awhile ago. However, before my diagnosis, I was a Locavore with an extensive veggie garden. My hubby raises chickens and hens, so I have access to lots of healthy protein. Anyway, I just want you to know that I about DIED when I saw your post about Salty Date Caramel Scotcheroos – so I ordered a Cake in a Crate today!!! Will be my Thanksgiving Day treat to myself (not gonna share!!) Thank you for your lovely blog!

    Reply
  23. Heather

    Hi Amanda!

    Your blog is beautiful, and I’m not sure there is anything better than nourishing, delicious food enjoyed by friends and family-especially when it is fresh and sustainably sourced!
    Just out of curiosity, are you gluten intolerant or is your choice to bake and cook gluten-free just a personal preference?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Heather! Thanks so much for the comment, and it’s so fun that we connect on several different levels. I have a gluten allergy, but not celiac, and discovered it almost six years ago. But I believe that gluten-free doesn’t not have to be the focus, because it’s just real food that anyone would love. xo

      Reply

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