9 things you didn't know about Joanna Gaines

You know her from the hit TV show, Fixer Upper, and her signature farmhouse decorating. But want to learn more about what makes Joanna Gaines tick?

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Facts about Joanna Gaines
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Facts about Joanna Gaines

Cooking helps her relax

When you’re as busy as Joanna Gaines, you need something to help you unwind. For Joanna, it’s being in the kitchen. As she told USA Today, “Cooking has really become something that grounds me when life feels hectic. On a busy day, I find myself looking forward to getting home and pulling out my pots and pans to whip something up for my family.”

Sometimes she takes a shortcut

Yes, even Joanna Gaines uses the occasional store-bought shortcut in her cooking. She says, “I like to have ingredients to make pancakes from scratch, but I always have a boxed version, too, for those days when there’s just not enough time for anything else.” She also always has store-bought refrigerated dough on hand because she uses it often.

She uses trial and error to perfect her recipes

Joanna's delicious recipes weren't born overnight. Sometimes it takes her years to find the right balance of ingredients, which is the case with her chocolate chip cookies. In an interview with USA Today, she said, "I spent many years trying to bake the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies...but I always seemed to end up with batches that were flat and didn't have enough flavor. Then, one day, I tried using a little more brown sugar and a little less butter—which went against my typical philosophy that butter makes just about everything taste better, but the texture and flavor of that batch hit the jackpot."

Her secret weapon is meal planning

Just like every other busy mom out there, Joanna Gaines knows the value of meal planning. "Planning ahead is key—frantic last-minute grocery store runs can throw off any evening. I think the biggest deal is not going to the grocery store right after I get off work," she told Real Simple, "That's just not as enjoyable. If I can pre-plan, if I have everything in the fridge by the time I get home, I actually really enjoy the process."

Her favorite piece in her home is the kitchen island

There's a lot to love in the Gaines family's historic farmhouse, but for Joanna, her favorite piece of furniture is the antique kitchen island. "I probably stalked that thing for two years," she says in HGTV Magazine. Purchased in an antique store, and painted white, the island is actually a cabinet that was originally in a church.

She doesn't allow phones at the dinner table

With six kids, family togetherness is important to Joanna. The Gaines family makes it a priority to keep technology distractions at bay. In a recent blog post she writes, "At our house, we keep phones away from the table at mealtimes so we can focus on each other and the conversation around the table."

The garden is her happy place

Aside from cooking, gardening is the other activity that brings Joanna peace and relaxation. She writes on her blog, "My garden is truly the place where I find the most peace. There's just something about working the garden and getting my hands dirty that is so relaxing to me."

She hasn't always been a great cook

Although she loves cooking for her family now, getting there has taken time. "For me, preparing a meal for my loved ones is something therapeutic that I look forward to, but it hasn't always been like that," she wrote on her blog, "Learning to love cooking has been a journey for me, and at the end of the day, it's the end result—feeding my family food that they love—that makes it worth the work I put into it."

Cooking is a way to show her children she loves them

Cooking is more than just preparing a meal to Joanna. She uses home-cooked meals as a way to express her love to her children, especially when she's busy with work and can't be with them as much as she'd like. She wrote on her blog, "When Chip and I are traveling a lot, the first thing I want to do when I get home is cook. I want my kids to have the security that when momma's home, there will be a good meal."

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