Lija: The Family Cooking Genes

It’s important to our family to sit down all together for a home-cooked meal. – Lija

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Cooking seems to run in Kitchen Hero Lija’s family – her husband has been throwin’ it down in the kitchen since they met 20 years ago, her 9-year-old daughter enjoys cooking Pad Thai, and her 7-year-old son can effortlessly turn flour and sugar into amazing baked goods. As for Lija, she took over dinner duties when her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and her quick learning has yielded delicious and impressive results. Best of all, with the whole family partaking in the kitchen responsibilities, they have more time to relax and enjoy the thing that’s most important to them – sitting down to a home-cooked meal together. Read more about Lija’s Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: Lija Greenseid
Age: 42
City, State: Saint Paul, Minnesota
I cook for: myself, my husband, and my two kids. And the guinea pigs get first shot at the leftover veggie scraps.
Outside of the kitchen I: help organizations evaluate their public health programs, work on a family history project, raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes, and play games, ride bikes, and watch movies with my family.
My favorite cuisine to cook is: Southeast Asian.
I cook because: it’s important to our family to sit down all together for a home-cooked meal for dinner.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Steak with Miso-Lime Butter


Cook Smarts! My mom taught me to cook a little as a kid, and I knew enough to keep myself fed while in college, but my husband had been doing all the cooking since we met 20 years ago. Cooking was his passion, so after we met, I left the kitchen to him.

Two years ago, our lives changed after our daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We tried for a year to manage the complexities of two working parents, two busy kids, and a demanding disease, but then we decided we needed to make some changes. I took a sabbatical from my work and focused on taking care of my family, volunteering, and writing a family history. I then had more time than my husband to cook, so I needed to learn quickly. Cook Smarts has perfectly filled that need.

who else does the cooking in your family?

Besides my husband and me, both of our kids also cook. Our daughter, age 9, likes to follow recipes out of kid cookbooks. One of her favorites is to make Pad Thai. Our son, age 7, has been baking without recipes since he was 5! He mixes a random combination of flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda or powder, and some milk – plus whatever “special ingredients” he chooses – and makes amazing baked goods!


Getting things not to stick to the bottom of our non-nonstick pans. I’ve learned to wait until the oil is really hot before adding anything to the pan.

“I had more time than my husband to cook, so I needed to learn quickly. Cook Smarts has perfectly filled that need.”


When my husband and I both used to work, we would figure out our dinner plans around 3 pm everyday in a flurry of text messages. With Cook Smarts, I forward him the weekly menu, and, unless we decide to skip or substitute a dish, we’re pretty well set for the majority of our dinners. Planning ahead for the week is a great time saver and stress reliever!

Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.

Over Thanksgiving my mother-in-law said that I was a “closet-chef.” That made me proud!

Lija, we’re so impressed with you and your family. Nowadays with everyone’s busy schedules, it’s so hard to cook a homemade meal, much less have the time to sit down and enjoy it with the family. Kudos to you guys for keeping this family tradition alive and well! Although we predict that your kids will take over the kitchen soon. . .which means you and your husband can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the most delicious dinners and freshly baked goods!

To join Lija and cook meals like her favorite Steak with Miso-Lime Butter, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!


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