Heather: Winning in the Kitchen

My heart really swells when I see someone enjoy a meal I’ve made . . . When I see clean plates, second helpings, and hear a “That was so GOOD! Thanks, Mama!” I call that a big win! – Heather

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Cooking for kids is not always an easy feat, and if you’re like Kitchen Hero Heather, a stay-at-home mother of 4 who also does homeschooling, you’ll find that coming up with a variety of meals everyday is a big challenge. With Cook Smarts meal plans, Heather is able to keep all mealtimes interesting, healthy, and delicious for her family. And of course, there is nothing more fulfilling than when your kids love the food you cook and clean their plates – total win! Read more about her Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: Heather Hardin
Age: 35
City, State: Waxahachie, TX
I cook for: my husband and four children (and family occasions every chance I get).
Outside of the kitchen I: am a homeschool mom. I work part time doing administrative work for my husband. I also love to paint, draw, read, and especially travel.
The 3 pantry items I cannot live without are: butter, fresh garlic, and pink salt.
I cook because: I love to cook. It calms me down after a long day. I can just sort of zone out and relax (if I can manage to keep the kids out of the kitchen). I also LOVE to eat GOOD FOOD, and with my various dietary restrictions, the easiest way to eat the food I love, is to make it myself. It brings me great joy to see people enjoy a meal that I have cooked.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: There are a few, but the family favorite is Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs.

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO COOK?

I started reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows on channel 13, and fell in love with cooking. I would make dinner for my family because my mom worked late. The first thing I ever remember making was “meatloaf”, except I was so excited, I forgot the seasoning, and ended up just baking a pan of plain meat. I burned a lot in those early days because I was impatient, and HIGH was the only setting I could be bothered with.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST COOKING CHALLENGE?

I really struggle to bake . . . all that measuring!!! I do not like to measure, I am definitely an “eye baller” and a “little of this and a little of that-er”, which is not ideal for baking. I do love to eat baked foods, I just don’t love to make them.


Cook Smarts has really helped me create a diverse menu and learn how to improvise to suit our tastes.


How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?

As a stay at home mom, who also homeschools, I cook A LOT! Three meals a day, almost every day. I was in a definite rut and had begun to hate meal planning. My family was probably getting a little sick of my constant repeats, too.

Cook Smarts has really helped me create a diverse menu and learn how to improvise to suit our tastes. I have also learned to cook cuisines that I always wanted to make, but never had the courage. An unexpected advantage is that we are eating healthier, too! I actually look forward to seeing what will be on the menu and making my list every week now.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROUDEST KITCHEN MOMENT.

I can’t think of any ONE moment, but my heart really swells when I see someone enjoy a meal I’ve made. Particularly my children. When I see clean plates, second helpings, and hear a “That was so GOOD! Thanks, Mama!” I call that a big win!

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR HEALTH AND SUCCESS IN THE KITCHEN?

Never be too afraid to try!


Thanks for sharing your cooking story with us, Heather! We’re so happy that our meal plans can bring some variety to your dinner table. It sounds like you’ve come a long way since those “meatloaf” days, but we can also tell by the incredible food photos you’ve been sharing with us on the Facebook group. We look forward to seeing what you cook up next!

To join Heather and cook meals like her favorite Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs with Broccolini & Rice, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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