Interview with Raquel Haggard

Published 2013-12-29.
How did you become Aunt Purple?
When my niece was a year old she could say a lot of words, but she would not try to say Raquel. She was learning colors and knew purple. My sister used to make fun of me for wearing so much purple (it's my favorite color). So, one day I told my niece to just call me Purple. The rest is history.
How did you start writing cookbooks?
After joining Weight Watchers in 2001, I became interested in tweaking recipes to give me more food for my WW point so I had a lot of recipes. My full time job was fairly routine and a friend suggested I needed a fun project. I decided that would be to self-publish cookbooks of my recipes.
What is your favorite cookbook you've written?
That would be like asking a parent to name their favorite child. But I will say I really like appetizers. For some reason, to me, those are the most fun recipes.
Do you have a favorite cookbook by someone else?
I enjoy a lot of cookbooks. I have a pretty large collection. Every so often I have to go through and thin it out some. There's just not enough room to keep them all. I like Rachael Ray's recipes because she uses natural ingredients and lots of veggies. I like church cookbooks because there are often new and interesting recipes I can tweak to be a little healthier.
How do you describe your cooking style?
Easy. I want it to be easy and taste good. I don't care so much about how it looks, but it must taste good. And I think my recipes help people cook delicious meals for their families rather than depending on eating out every night. The ingredients I use are easy to find at the store and you probably have most of them in your pantry already.
What do you keep in your pantry?
I always have Splenda, Smart Taste pasta, reduced fat Bisquick, various canned beans, canned pumpkin, oats, quinoa and often couscous. In my deep freeze I always have ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken thighs. And usually broccoli flowerets.
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