self photo


Much to my surprise you are here. Thanks for sharing this journey with me. Here are the top 10 things you may or may not want to know about me. If this is your first visit to the blog I suggest you read the blog from the beginning. Start here

Grief is a journey with a beginning, but no end.

  1. I am a self-taught cook and photographer living in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
  2. I am married 38 years to the love of my life.
  3. I am the proud mother of Caitlin and William and grandma to Annabelle. I didn’t know how deep love goes until I lost my sweet William.
  4. I enjoyed a 30+year career as a Physician Assistant specializing in adolescent medicine.
  5. I started creating original recipes and entering them in contests back in 1990. I am a multi-national award winning home cook.
  6. I started this blog because I have promised myself to follow in William’s light. This is just another example of me stepping out of my comfort zone. If it helps just one grieving parent celebrate their child’s life then my mission has been accomplished.
  7. I have a mutt named Deacon who will do anything for food.
  8. I enjoy gardening, foraging for my food, kayaking and making jewelry.
  9. I have been cooking my whole life. Food is love made edible and I find cooking and baking so very therapeutic. It puts me in a zen mode like nothing else. Unless otherwise noted all the recipes here are my original creations.
  10. If you have read this far please accept my heartfelt gratitude. I am happy you are here and always grateful for any kindness shown me.

And it is official: I am a Food Network CHOPPED CHAMPION (5/6/2014) 

TEDx Talk never been so proud of myself

I am also a certified Food Champ Judge and credentialed Steak Competition Association judge and happy to travel to your event to judge food competitions.

Contact me: Lisakeys64@gmail.com 

41 thoughts on “About

  1. Lisa, you will touch so many hearts with the story of your William. He will be with you every step of the way. And as for your recipes, well… there is no one better than you. I love you, my dear, sweet friend.

  2. Lisa, I’m betting your posts will help more people than you will ever know and in so many ways. Thank you for sharing and for spreading your goodness. Love you, Susan

    • Thank you, Susan. Sadly, I am not the first mom nor will I be the last to lose a child. We all grieve differently, but if I can be helpful to even one then what I am doing is a good thing.

  3. Lisa, What a beautiful tribute to your son. Sharing your courage and love of food will provide inspiration for so many who have suffered the heartache of loss. As you follow in William’s light, you provide a ray of hope. I admire you for sharing your very personal experience and your special recipes. All the best,

  4. Sweet Lisa, I love this blog and I know your beautiful words and delicious recipes will fill many people’s souls and belly. Thank you for being brave enough to do this.
    Cheering you from CT!

  5. Dear Lisa
    Such a beautiful, touching tribute…my best Middlebury Will memory … Summertime, Leigh was a napping toddler and Jay Matthew was not home. I was working in the side garden next to our screened porch. The one with the bleeding heart from your plant 🙂
    Anyway, I see Will in his camo tee, hopscotching between trees and bushes, Belushi style, stealthily approaching. I pretend not to see him…. As he gets to our yard, he saunters casually over, hands in pocket and asks if Jay can play. When I tell him Jay isn’t home, he turns slowly to leave but then turns back to ask if Leigh can play….
    I think of that often and smile. I cherish the sweet summer picture of all the kids in your back yard that you had framed in a button frame. When I heard the tragic news, I pulled that photo out. It sits on my desk and makes me smile every time I see it…such happy times and sweet memories.

    God bless you and your dear family
    Love you

    • One of the best things about this blog is finding my old friends who have these kind of cherished memories. The “Belushi” style made me smile and tear-up at the same time. Love those days in the old neighborhood. Thank you for sharing and best to you and your family

  6. Lisa-
    My heart fills with sympathy and sadness ……. You have a beautiful tribute to Will here. I am a stranger and have come across your blog just by looking around the internet about grief and the armed services. My name is Amanda O’Sullivan my family has also suffered a similar unbearable loss of my Brother SFC Stephen J Perez on April ,28 2012 . Stephen was like Will in his early 20s and had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a Army sniper and was part of the 10th mountain div. .Stephen had been home in MA just under a year when he was shot in the back in a parking garage in Boston during a fight or attempted robbery?? we can’t be sure.Unfortunately his Murderer fled although identified and has yet to be apprehended by the US Marshals. We are and where very proud of Stephen’s service and my other brother Shawn is currently deployed at this time. I would like to thank you and your family for Will’s service as well. Most people don’t fully understand the sacrifice and stress that the entire family endures when a loved one is deployed.
    God bless you and your family,
    Amanda O’Sullivan

    • Thanks for finding me Amanda. I am so sorry about your brother. It makes no sense to me how our brave family members survived real battle fields only to come home and die. It is a great mystery and makes the grief all the more difficult to resolve. There will always be more questions than answers. Please feel free to share more Stephen stories here. He is a great hero to have served his country and family well and we should all get to know him through you. Please thank Shawn as well as the rest of your family for their service and sacrifice. Have you heard of the organization called TAPS (taps.org)? You may also find some comfort there.

  7. No, I haven’t heard of them. Thank you I will look into it 🙂 I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy at the same time it gives a sense of relief and comfort that my feelings are understood.
    My friends call me Mandi

    • Mandi, yes it can be so difficult to find someone who can empathize and understand this pain and I agree 100 percent about not wishing it on anyone. I hope you can find some ways to celebrate your brother. Just remember that he wants you to find joy and happiness. I often hear my son’s voice telling me such.

  8. Hi there,

    (I don’t know how to catch your attention but hopefully you could spare me a minute to read this message.)

    I am Freddy from myTaste, surfing on the net I found your blog and noticed you have a great number of tasty recipes there, that is why I am contacting you. Mytaste.com is a recipe search engine, we index recipes from food sites and blogs. I wonder if you would like join our website and receive more visitors to your blog through making your recipes available to a greater number of internet users.

    So, if this sounds like a good plan to you, please visit our website & add your blog here: http://www.mytaste.com/add-your-food-blog There you will find all the instructions you need to follow to become a part of our bloggers family.

    Hopefully your food blog will be up there in the top!
    If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@mytaste.com

    Warm regards,

  9. Hi Lisa,
    I never post comments online, but I really felt the need to thank you. After watching tonight’s episode of Chopped, I wanted to share with you that I was deeply moved by you. Witnessing your strength, humility, courage, openness, love for your family, sense of humor, and fight like hell spirit was such a special gift. Not to mention, you are an amazing chef! I was routing for you right away!
    As a therapist, I have had the honor of hearing many people’s life stories and joining them on their journeys. I just wanted to share that I think you are very special and an inspiration to many. I am very sorry for the loss of your William. That is a pain I cannot even imagine. Your connection with him through your cooking is a beautiful thing, and your love for your children is obvious. As you mentioned on the show, I fully agree that William would give you the “bad ass” stamp of approval … not just for winning Chopped, but also for being an amazing mom. You also said you felt proud of yourself for the first time – I am so happy you experienced that and hope that feeling continue to grow each day. You have many… many … reasons to be proud. Congratulations on your win, and I hope you and your family have a fabulous time in Italy! 🙂
    Warm regards,

    • It takes a great listener to be a great therapist and I believe your patients are so very lucky to have you. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Very happy you watched the show.

  10. Wonderful blog! I just watched Chopped last night. Then I just saw my friend Anna had posted some cookies on her blog, Cookie Madness, and she left a link here about Sweet William’s Cookies. While looking through your blog, I totally thought you sound like the lady I just saw win Chopped! How fun! Congrats to you!

  11. I stumbled across your blog completely by accident, and discovered that I’d seen your appearance on chopped. Praying that your efforts and remembrance be blessed, and that your process of healing and recovery be filled with surprise blessings.

  12. I really enjoy reading your blog. Here lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Brenton. Our guys left this world way to soon. I love the way you use baking to help with your grief. I know the pain doesn’t go away. My father-n-law once told me after losing two of his sons, that it’s a pain that never goes away you just have to learn to live with it. I think of your family often and pray for your family to find peace. Brenda

    • Thanks, Brenda. I would do anything in my power to bring our boys back, but it is impossible. I will never understand it; a cruel fate. These days we just have to find ways to fill our bucket with happy occasions and brighter lights. It is what our boys would want us to do. Love to you and your family.

  13. I am about to pee my pants that I found you!!!!! I too lost my a son (my oldest). I googled dark chocolate and grief and you came up…. We must be a match made in heaven… no pun intended (ok, maybe a ltitle). I can’t wait to see what you’re cooking up!

  14. Good morning Lisa, I happened upon your site while double checking an APO address. I am part of a charity named Operation Veronica. We make, collect and ship items of comfort to those who serve us in uniform around the world. I am crushed by your loss and amazed at your generosity of spirit. I am also a mother and cannot express satisfactorily my gratitude for all your family has done for mine. My children and I are eternally grateful for your sacrifice and endeavor to be worthy of it.
    I saw that you have an address on your main page. If that address is still active, or if you have anyone else you would like us to share for us to include in our weekly shipping, please feel invited and encouraged to do so. We can be found at http://www.operationveronica.org , on facebook under operation veronica at opveronica@optonline.net or my phone is 631-880-8750.
    You, your family and your sweet William are in our prayers.

    With love and prayers

    Janet Godfrey

    • Thanks, Nita. Holidays are a little tough around here, but we always get through. I have read some of your blog and am wishing you new and sweet traditions for your holidays. Try hiding an ornament in the Christmas tree and give a small prize to the child who finds it. We always hid an ornament in the shape of a pickle. The green is good camouflage.

  15. Lisa,
    Thanks for sharing your journey and all of your photos and recipes. I believe you must be following your William’s light. ( Thanks for reading some of our blog too. We have a recipe for chocolate from a wonderful French chef who fed us when our group of bereaved mothers traveled for our tenth anniversary together. fartheralongbook.com/recipes

  16. Thank you for this blog. You are an inspiration and a comfort to many…in multiple ways. You are a gift, Lisa Keys!

  17. Pingback: Eating Seasonally: Winter Edition (Feat. A Special Guest!) | Sarah Poulin, L.Ac., Dipl.OM

  18. Pingback: Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread | The Vintage Cook

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