The secret to quick, healthy meals with your family…

Focusing on HOW you are cooking things as opposed to WHAT your recipe calls for is the beginning to freedom in your kitchen.

 

It not only opens up your creativity, but over time, it allows you to cook whatever. you. have. available. to make a kick ass, healthy meal in minimal time.

 

This mindset change has more implications than just quick, healthy meals too. It’s the beginning of your families new relationship with food. This relationship begins with quick, easy meals and ends with your ideal meal time on a regular basis.

 

But, right now your knees deep in shit to do around the house, work and making sure the kids still have what they need on a regular basis.

 

 

I get it, “your ideal relationship with food” is not top priority. And that’s ok. Parenting is hard and sometimes that means making hard choices that include putting your kids eating habits under making enough money for a roof over their head.

 

But it doesn’t have to be an either or situation

There is a way to provide your family with healthy meals that are quick and don’t take up all your time and mental space.

 

What if I told you that you don’t have to reread a recipe 10 times while making dinner, or measure every little thing because of your fear of screwing it up. Or that you can use whatever items you have in the fridge instead of going to the market for that 1 ingredient you’re only going to use ONE TIME.

 

It’s possible and I’ve seen people change their weeks around. How? They learn to cook with their senses and based on methods and techniques of cooking.

 

How do you cook with your senses?

By moving away from the question “WHAT do I cook for dinner?” and beginning to ask yourself “HOW am I going to cook dinner?”

 

Changing that one simple question will change your approach to cooking forever.

 

Thinking about the methods and techniques that you are using to cook is the beginning to freedom in your kitchen. Once you can do this successfully, you are well on your way to looking forward to dinner time and being able to even bring your kids in on the action.

 

And if you are already in a place of enjoyment in the kitchen, this will strengthen your skills and give you the foundation that will open up new flavor opportunities for you. Your creativity in the kitchen will blossom!

Stop Stressing About What’s For Dinner!

Download 4 steps to quick, healthy meals as a family.

 

As a chef for David Burke in NYC, I was forced to focus on my methods and techniques of cooking. It was how I moved from a new line cook to executive sous chef in just a year.

 

As a parent, these methods & techniques have served me well in getting a yummy, healthy meal on the table FAST.

There are two rules to cooking with your senses:

  1. Season as you go: do not just season in the beginning or only at the end of your meal. When you are cooking, you are BUILDING FLAVOR. To layer flavors, you need to season (salt and pepper) throughout the cooking process.
  2. Taste as you go: Since the flavors of your dish are being layered, that means that they are changing as the cook. Tasting your food throughout the cooking process trains your palette and allows you to learn how flavors develop with time. (i.e. You might not need some salt in the beginning, but as time rolls on, things might call for more salt.)

 

Now, all of this is great information to change your long game.

BUT WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW NIGHT?

 

What can you do to get a quick dinner on the table for your kids tomorrow?

Many people love a One Pot Meal. These are great, but take a TON of prep time. Even if you have a crock pot or instapot, you have to generally do a lot of cutting and prep work to get your ingredients to that stage of cooking.

I’ve put together a checklist for you.

Here are the top cooking techniques & their how to steps that will start you on the path away from recipes and allow you the freedom and joy of cooking with your senses (with your family).

Stop Stressing About What’s For Dinner!

Download 4 steps to quick, healthy meals as a family.

Free the ladybugs!

Ok, so I just opened a bag of 300 live ladybugs in my NYC living room this afternoon!

 

What the hell is wrong with me?

Yea, I didn’t think that one through too well.

So here’s what happened…

I am doing a whole gardening Semester with my K-1 kids and I started with Ladybugs. They’re “good” bugs and are helpful for your garden. They are also a great opportunity to talk to the kids about bug anatomy and insect life cycles.

Ladybug diversity is live and well!
Did you know ladybugs eat aphids?

Well, looking at pictures isn’t enough for my teaching taste. So, I ordered up some cute little ladybugs off of Amazon. 300 to be exact.

I did a bit (a very little bit) of research on how to care for ladybugs before you let them free in the garden. I read that I needed to use a plastic container, feed them some nectar and keep a wet paper towel in the container with them so they can hydrate.

Super simple, right?!?  I mean, they’re just ladybugs.

Today, they came in the mail.

I had ready, what I thought was a sealed container and some greenery. They arrived in a small bag with some wood chips and a damp cotton ball.

No threat, right?

WRONG!

Lucas passed me the scissors and I opened the little, inconspicuous bag of ladybugs and ALL. HELL. BROKE. LOOSE.

At first, we watched them crawl quickly out of the bag and into the box. I thought to myself, “Wow, these guys are faster than I thought. They really wanna get outta here.”

Then, I decided to help them. (Yea, still not thinking)

I dumped the bag out and 300 ladybugs came AT ME.

First of all, when I cut open this bag, there was another surprise…

I was welcomed by a large Earwig looking bug that I did not expect. It scared the crap out of me and got me pretty skeeved. It also didn’t help that that encounter was followed by a swarm of ladybugs trying their best to escape and run to freedom. These suckers are FAST!!!

Here’s the thing you guys… It doesn’t matter if a ladybug is a “good bug”.

It’s a FUCKING BUG.

And there is nothing you can do to get away from that instinct people have to be afraid of swarms of anything.

Just a little visual aide to help you begin to imagine the panic I felt.

You might ask, “But Kim, why didn’t you just close the lid to the box?”

I DID!

But, like I mentioned earlier, I only thought the box was sealed. It just so happened that ladybugs are like mice and can squeeze through holes that a normal person would think is too small for them.

As I watched these guys slowly leak onto my hardwood floor, I scrambled for the right container. Three options later, I finally managed to seclude the earwig and dump the rest of the ladybugs into a large, “under the bed” style plastic container.

No Dice.

Ladybugs were now crawling on my kitchen chairs & I couldn’t tell if they were IN the container or ON TOP of it.

“Here’s another mommy!”, says Lucas

“Ladybug? Hold it?” says Thiago.

Now, if these were just ladybugs for our pleasure, I would have had no problem just letting them go outside and having their fun in the wild. But remember, my K-1 class is waiting for them come Monday morning. We’ve already talked all about them, done various projects and I can’t let them down. There is no way I’m coming to class Monday morning without some live ladybugs.

I did the only other thing I had left to do…

Barefoot and without jackets; Lucas, Thiago and I ran downstairs to the garden.

After dropping off the container in the garden, we went back upstairs for shoes and I searched for a few quart containers. I poked some holes and we went back downstairs to do the transfer.

(mind you, my house now has piles of dumped crap everywhere from me commandeering every last plastic box I own.)

So, now under control, Lucas and Thiago were able to help me secure 3 quart containers with a handful of ladybugs each. The rest went free and some, unfortunately, sacrificed their lives for this years gardening semester.

There was a moment when, once outside, a bunch began to fly away and it was quite beautiful. (Although, I didn’t get any pictures because of the chaos)

All in all, it was quite the experience and one I was happy to share with my boys. When they grow up, I hope they remember these kinds of stories about how mommy opened a bag of 300 bugs in our NYC apartment. <3

 

The #1 message for your kids about food…

 

For those of you who don’t know me. My name is Kim. I’m a mama of 2 insanely cute, but crazy as hell little kids. I have a calm as fuck husband who balances us all out and deals with all our insanity. I’m from Long Island, NY and spent most of my childhood growing up in typical suburbia. I didn’t eat farm fresh food from a mom or grandma that spent hours in the kitchen. My mom was a single, working mom who did everything she could for my sister and I (and anyone else in the area who needed it).

We didn’t eat out much because we didn’t have the money. She cooked simple, quick food. Lot’s of pasta, meat and potatoes and frozen (and even canned) veggies. Her specialty was Roast Beef and Mash potatoes with gravy. I didn’t eat crappy food, but it wasn’t anything steeped in culture either.

I always loved to eat though. And thank god, I was never taught as a girl that eating too much was something to watch out for. It was always something that tapped into that primal part of my brain and made me feel good. The more I ate, the more I learned, and the more I wanted good quality food. Not snobby stuff, just the best of whatever it was I was having.

Thinking about it now, I think that came from my dad. He’s always had this little Italian grandma sense to him. Always making you eat more and always spending money on the “good stuff”. Granted, the good stuff to us was Red Lobster and the Sizzler. But hell, we were high end middle classers. The point was that he always attached good feelings to food. Food was fun — exciting and adventurous.

As I got older, I didn’t mind investing my time into making something I could enjoy. The result was worth the effort. “Fresh” mozzerella (it wasn’t actually fresh, now that I know better — just less processed), tomato and basil for an after-school snack as a teenager was normal.

I could have eaten just ice cream from a bowl, but I wanted to take the extra time to make a waffle to pair it with. Hell, who doesn’t want a warm Eggo waffle and mint chocolate chip ice cream. — See!? You want it right now don’t you? 🙂

I realize now that the most important thing I got from my parents around food was something they did mindlessly. They instilled in me that food was ok. Food was fun and indulgent and worth your time.

FOOD IS WORTH YOUR TIME.

That is a message worth passing on to our kids.

That’s the message I model to Lucas and Thiago when I carve out the time for cooking dinner as a non-negotiable, even though I’m tired from being up all last night nursing an almost 2 year old like he’s a newborn (damn teething) and haven’t stopped moving since 6:30am AND I know I’m going to yell waaaay before bedtime even starts.

We have our days of tomato sauce and pasta, of take-out and plenty of leftovers.

But the thing my kids see on a regular basis — 

Good Food is Important.

And that’s the message I want to pass on to you.

Sending you love and Red Lobster,

Kim

xoxox