Justyne: Making Cooking a Family Event

I cook because I want to be healthy and know what is going into my and my family’s body.


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Justyne: Hero in the Kitchen via @CookSmarts
For many parents, it can be hard to include kids in the cooking process. Having kids in the kitchen usually requires more time, patience, and (sometimes) more clean-up. It takes a real Kitchen Hero to take time out to involve her child with cooking, and we applaud those parents who cook with their kids! Our latest Kitchen Hero Justyne makes cooking time a family event, so that everyone eats healthier and knows all the food that is going into their bodies. Each family even has their own role (and fun nicknames!) – Justyne as Mommy Chop Chop, Rowyn as Little Sauce, and Mark as Meat Daddy. Now that sounds like some awesome quality family time! Read more about Justyne’s Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: Justyne Biddle
Age: 41
City, State: Austin, TX
I cook for: mostly my family (husband and a daughter). Occasionally, the grandparents join us – which used to be very intimidating ‘cause grandma prides herself with her culinary skills.
Outside of the kitchen I: am a science teacher, volleyball coach, and a fitness dryland coach for local swim team (quite busy!!).
If I could have any superpower, it would be: to project empathy so that when two parties are fighting, they can immediately see the other’s point of view before they get irrational…
I cook because: I want to be healthy and know what is going into my and my family’s body. My daughter (10) is really getting into competitive sports, and I want her to have the energy and health she needs to perform her best.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Ummm…all of it?!?!! One’s that we devoured: Mushu Chicken, Lemon-Oregano Panko-Crusted Chicken, that balsamic maple salad dressing, Spinach Calzones…I love that it’s healthy, but not so healthy that no one will eat it. It’s added a tremendous variety to our diet, and the time it’s given back to me to find recipes and make grocery list.

How did you learn to cook?
Mom was a great cook, but kitchen was her domain. I mostly just found recipes and tried them. Never did I do very well, so lots of cereal and eggs and cheese tortillas for dinner in our household…ugh!

What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
I would just get frustrated spending hours looking for recipes, putting together shopping list, then not liking results…Even if we did like it, my whole day felt like it was gone. I also hate cooking meat. Cook Smarts’ tenderizing tips and videos have helped me begin to turn the corner (but I still prefer my hubby to do that part).

“[Cook Smarts has] added a tremendous variety to our diet, and the time it’s given back to me to find recipes and make grocery list.”

How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
Cooking has become a whole family event. My daughter has become the “saucy girl”. She makes the marinades, dressings etc. Then whoever gets home first, between my husband and I, starts the dinners. The videos have proved super helpful for cutting veggies, tenderizing meats, etc.!!

Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
The fact that we make a home cooked meal at least 4 nights a week!

Justyne, it’s so awesome that the whole family plays an important role in cooking meals together. It definitely looks like a time to look forward to! We’re also super proud of your little “saucy girl” for making all the marinades and dressings. We were still using bottled dressings at that age, so kudos to your whole family!

Justyne's favorite @CookSmarts meals

To join Justyne and cook meals like her favorite Lemon-Oregano Panko-Crusted Chicken, Spinach Calzones, and Mushu Chicken, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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