IMG_0759Hi, my name is MaryAnne Hoekstra-Shekar.  Gastronotherapy is where I create and share delicious recipes that cover an array of cuisines and lifestyles. I try to make recipes that veer on the healthy side, but I love to splurge every once in a while!

Growing up in Minnesota, I had no interest in learning how to cook but I had a fondness for baking at an early age.  My lack of interest in cooking probably had to do with being fed a lot of frozen pizzas and bad pot roasts (sorry, mom!).  When I reached my early 20’s, I started eating out more and became interested in learning how to cook tasty meals that were also healthy.  I also discovered that being in the kitchen felt therapeutic for me.  I could get out of my own head and focus on creating something for an hour or two, and I almost always felt better afterwards.

I moved to New York City in my late 20’s and felt the need to eat my way through the entire city.  Besides putting on a few pounds, I tried a plethora of foods that were new to me and sharpened my palette along the way.  I began experimenting more in my own kitchen and started inviting friends over for dinner.  And dessert.  Anyone who knows me knows dessert is always in the picture.

I started a small chocolate company in 2011 called H.S. Chocolate Co. and had great success.  However, in March 2013 I made the tough decision to close it.  During the months that followed, I couldn’t seem to step foot into the kitchen unless I needed a cup of coffee.  Finally, at the end of the summer I started cooking again.  And by the time September rolled around I was dying to go on a baking bender. Getting back in the kitchen again made me feel better, and more like myself again.

I have no recipe restrictions for this blog.  I always try to focus on whole foods and avoid preservatives. I love desserts.  I love chocolate.  And I hope I have good genes.