Kristin: Kitchen Confidence

I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me, and I felt my confidence grow. I actually heard myself tell someone that I had fun cooking, and I did. – Kristin

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The kitchen can be a stressful place, made difficult by the uncertainty of recipes, timing, and overall, how to prep and cook. This was the case for Kitchen Hero Kristin. Cooking was intimidating and frustrating, when all she wanted to do was get healthy, delicious meals on the table for her family in a timely manner. When Kristin started to learn all the basics and tips to cooking through our online cooking course, she was able to feel more relaxed and confident. The best part? She actually has fun cooking now and is a happier cook! Read more in her Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: Kristin M
Age: 45
City, State: Chicago, IL
I cook for: my family.
Outside of the kitchen I: am a mom of a 4-year-old boy and an 8-week-old girl.
The one kitchen tool / equipment I cannot live without is: I love all the little gadgets that make things easier, such as the citrus squeezer, potato / veggie peeler, apple corer, taco stand, egg slicer and my manual chopper.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: There are so many meals that I love from Cook Smarts. Here is a short list: the Roasted Butternut Squash and Hummus Pizza, the Maple-Dijon Panko Crusted Salmon, Chicken Miso Ramen, Vietnamese Salad with Chicken and Vermicelli, and the Chicken with Pineapple Salsa.

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO COOK?

I didn’t learn to cook until I was 43 years old and I took the Nourish course through Cook Smarts. Before taking this class I was literally just hacking away at stuff, trying to decipher recipes, and taking FOREVER to get a meal on the table. If a recipe said that it would take a half hour to make I would still be working on it 90 minutes later. It was very frustrating. After taking the 6-week class I became a much more relaxed and happy cook. It was the best investment I could have made for myself.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST COOKING CHALLENGE?

My biggest cooking challenge would have formerly been just having the confidence to try new stuff. I was afraid of cooking outside of my comfort zone, so I got intimidated by fish dishes, or ethnic dishes, or just cooking something I hadn’t heard of. After being with Cook Smarts for a few years I can say that I enjoy all types of cuisines, fish is so much easier than I thought it would be, steaks come out great, and I am so proud of my stir-fry meals.

The other thing I struggled with was timing several dishes for a single meal. It was so stressful to do an entree, side dish and salad before because I didn’t know how to make it easier and I was afraid to take my eyes off of something on the stove in order to put together other menu items. The cooking course helped so much with how to manage several items at once. Additionally, all the tips, tricks, prep instructions and videos from Cook Smarts make it so much easier to time an entire meal and get everything on the table in the temperature it was meant to be served.

HOW HAS YOUR COOKING ROUTINE CHANGED, and what have you learned, SINCE STARTING COOK SMARTS’ MEAL PLANS?

When I started with Cook Smarts I had no idea yet how to cook. I was so intimidated by cooking still that I hadn’t even noticed that the service literally walks you through a weekend prep in order to make your weekly meal assembly go much quicker. I wasn’t taking advantage of all of the efficiencies and dependencies built into the program, and was instead picking one or two meals a week that I thought I could maybe pull off.

When I finally relaxed and took the time to breathe and go through everything, I realized how much easier it was once I started incorporating all of the meals each week, utilizing all of the prep suggestions, and watching the videos to show me just how to put everything together. I learned so much!

Then, once the Nourish cooking course started, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me, and I felt my confidence grow. I actually heard myself tell someone that I had fun cooking, and I did. Prior to joining this meal plan service, nearly all of my meals were straight out of a box, a drive thru window, or enjoyed at someone else’s house.


“After taking the 6-week [Nourish] class I became a much more relaxed and happy cook. It was the best investment I could have made for myself.”


tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.

I owned a wok for 10 years before I finally used it during one of the lessons in the Nourish class. I had wanted to learn how to use the wok so badly, but because it intimidated me I never had the courage to try it. The cooking lesson from the class broke everything down so that I felt excited to go for it. Now I use my wok without reservation. I’m also proud of learning how to cook fish en papillote. Delicious and so easy!

What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?

My biggest advice is have the courage to try! I signed up for the service on a whim, hoping I’d learn to make a few staple dishes for my family, but what I’ve gotten out of my time with Cook Smarts is learning methods and formulas to be able to put a meal together on the fly, with or without a recipe. I’ve gained confidence to cook for my family as well as gift others with meals / dishes too. I’m happier and more relaxed in the kitchen. I get very excited for Thursdays when the new menu comes out for the next week. I enjoy the fact that I am teaching my children how to prepare food and eat more healthfully.


Kristin, this is such an amazing cooking success story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us and our cooking community! It is really inspiring to hear that someone can go from intimidated and frustrated in the kitchen to being relaxed and happy while cooking. We’re so happy that we’re a part of your cooking journey, and that we get to see your cooking skills grow through all the food photos you share with us. We’re so proud of you! Keep up the fantastic work!

To join Kristin and cook meals like her favorite Roasted Butternut Squash and Hummus Pizza, Maple-Dijon Panko Crusted Salmon, Chicken Miso Ramen, Vietnamese Salad with Chicken and Vermicelli, and Chicken with Pineapple Salsa, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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