I cook because it’s healthier, and I enjoy being able to introduce new things to my kids while providing a tasty meal for my family. – Gayla
Kitchen Hero Gayla may have started out with no desire to cook, but once she began cooking, the cooking bug bit! Gayla now gets adventurous in the kitchen, whipping up grand new dishes and trying new ingredients and cooking methods. This willingness to try new things has led to a discovery of new meals to enjoy, and she never has to worry about falling into a dinner rut again. Read more about her Hero in the Kitchen story below.
City, State: Birmingham, AL
I cook for: my family (husband and 2 kids).
Outside of the kitchen I: work full time in technology with a healthy side of sports mom for my kids.
If I could have any superpower, it would be: flying. Seriously, who wouldn’t like to fly? A close second would be to clean my house with the snap of my fingers.
I cook because: it’s healthier, and I enjoy being able to introduce new things to my kids while providing a tasty meal for my family.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: I have several, but the three on regular rotation are Steak with Miso Lime Butter, Sriracha-Honey Chicken (shrimp allergy), and Korean Steak Tacos.
HOW DID YOU LEARN TO COOK?
My mother cooked every night during my childhood, but I had no desire to learn. I had dreams of Corporate America. Besides, Judy Jetson didn’t cook. Once I was out on my own, I realized it was a skill I might need, so I am self-taught by trial and error, mostly on my sweet husband.
My husband jokes that I always make grand new recipes during big events with company, and it might help to practice ahead to reduce my nerves over the results. He is right, but it hasn’t changed me. I have always tried a new recipe every holiday or gathering. Cooks Smarts really speaks to this part of me by giving me new things to try every week.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST COOKING CHALLENGE?
Time. There is never enough time in the day.
Cooks Smarts has helped me develop a nice pantry that enables me to throw something together very quickly with items I have on hand if my original plan doesn’t work out.
How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
The best part is the time saved by not having to plan to avoid being in a food rut. I can organize my menu with awesome new dishes for the week, and order groceries online in a half hour (maybe less).
The other benefit is the ability to be flexible. As any busy mother knows, the evening schedule can shift unexpectedly depending on work or sports. Cooks Smarts has helped me develop a nice pantry that enables me to throw something together very quickly with items I have on hand if my original plan doesn’t work out.
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR HEALTH AND SUCCESS IN THE KITCHEN?
Try everything. You never know what a technique or combination of ingredients will yield until you try them. I have been surprised at what my family does and does not like, as well as how hard or easy a technique can be. If I said to combine pork, mayo and carrots, most people would not find that appealing, but a Banh Mi sandwich was a huge hit with our family when you put it all together the right way.
Thank you so much, Gayla! We always love it when folks try new ingredients and dishes; it’s such a great way to find new favorites (or even discover what doesn’t work for you). We’re happy to hear that your family has been enjoying the meal plans, and that your kids love banh mi! Keep up the great work in the kitchen, Gayla. We truly admire your ongoing desire to continue cooking new things, especially as a first time for big events!