Kari: Good Cooking Runs in the Family

Being in the kitchen always seemed to bring such joy to everyone.


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Kari: Hero in the Kitchen via @CookSmartsCooking seems to be something that runs in the family of Kitchen Hero Kari. She first learned to cook from her mom, who encouraged her to experiment in the kitchen. Even now, her mom is still Kari’s number one go-to source for cooking questions. This love for cooking has been passed down to Kari’s two-year-old son, who is as eager to help his mom out in the kitchen as Kari was when she was younger. With so much enthusiasm for cooking, it’s no surprise there’s a lot of happiness and good food coming from Kari’s kitchen! Read her Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Names: Kari Caldwell
Ages: 37
City, State: Denver, CO
I cook for: my husband, 2-year-old son, myself, and anyone else who would like me to.
Outside of the kitchen: I work in the biotechnology industry as a Quality Control Associate.
My favorite cuisine is: Italian.
I cook because: I love to, and cooking at home is healthier and less expensive than eating out.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Maple Thyme Panko Salmon. My son would not stop asking for more.

How did you learn to cook?
From my mom. Growing up I would watch her cook, or we would watch cooking shows on TV. One of my fondest memories with my mom was when she would cook breakfast sandwiches or egg rolls for my brother and his friends late at night; being in the kitchen always seemed to bring such joy to everyone.

She is a great cook and has encouraged me to experiment; she does not measure a lot of things and often does not have a recipe to follow. When I moved out on my own, I would often call her and ask questions about how to cook certain things, and I still do today.

What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
Time. I think, as most working parents, we all struggle with finding the time to get a home cooked meal on the table during the work week.

“Since starting Cook Smarts I have the time to get those home cooked meals on the table…I can simply assemble great-tasting dinners for my family.”

How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
Since starting Cook Smarts I have the time to get those home cooked meals on the table. The weekly shopping lists and weekend prep is a great time saver during the week. No running to the store for a missing ingredient or struggling to get all the chopping and prepping complete. All the prep is complete, and I can simply assemble great-tasting dinners for my family.

Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
When my son sees me in the kitchen cooking and he comes running in, shouting, “I wanna cook!” I let him help as much as he can; he is only two. We do a lot of baking together. He loves to stir, pour, and mix together ingredients.

Kari's 2-year-old son: Hero in the Kitchen via @CookSmarts

What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
Use fresh local ingredients when possible, and don’t be afraid to try new things. You might just discover a new favorite dish or ingredient.

Kari, your son is too cute! Pretty soon he’ll be kicking you out of the kitchen just so that he can make gourmet meals for Mommy and Daddy! But in the meantime, we’re sure he’s happy enough eating the delicious food that his mom makes. Thanks, Kari, not only for being a Kitchen Hero and Super Mom, but for always sharing your food photos with us, so that we can be a part of your family’s cooking journey as well. Cheers!

Kari's favorite @CookSmarts meal: Maple-Thyme Panko Salmon with Avocado and Citrus Salad

To join Kari and cook meals like her favorite Maple-Thyme Panko Salmon with Avocado and Citrus Salad, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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