Tiana: Cooking with Ease

I cook because I enjoy cooking and like to know what I’m eating. Cook Smarts has made both these factors a part of our everyday meal.

-Tiana
#KitchenHero

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Tiana: Hero in the Kitchen via @CookSmarts
It still amazes us to know that we have international Cook Smarts members, and it’s been so exciting to watch it all grow and take off to Australia, the Netherlands, the UK… This week’s Kitchen Hero, Tiana, is from Australia, and she has been more than a huge help to us, in terms of understanding how to better our meal plan service for international folks. We have to give her props for making things work for herself – while we currently feature winter meal plans, she’s grilling up summer favorites!

That’s what makes Tiana a Kitchen Hero – nothing stops her from cooking and enjoying what she makes! Despite failed kitchen experiments and having to convert to the metric system herself, she still continues to cook with ease and create delicious meals for her and her husband. Her meals are, in fact, so good, that even her hubs is willing to do the dishes when she cooks! And isn’t that every woman’s dream?! Read more about Tiana’s Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: Tiana Ivison
Age: 31
City, State: Melbourne, Australia
I cook for: myself and my husband Ryan, and for dinner parties.
Outside of the kitchen I: am a spatial and graphic designer. In my free time, I enjoy travelling and scuba diving, reading novels at the beach, riding my Dutch bicycle on a sunny day, and having a nice cold beer with my husband on the balcony.
If I could have any superpower, it would be: teleportation. Not a fan of driving in traffic.
I cook because: I enjoy cooking and like to know what I’m eating. Cook Smarts has made both these factors a part of our everyday meal.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Really hard to answer this…I have at least one favourite meal every week! But most memorable and repeatedly cooked meal is the Maple-Dijon Panko Crusted Salmon with pear, walnut, and blue cheese salad.

How did you learn to cook?
Years of failed experiments in the kitchen had me at a loss. Then when I met my husband 8 years ago, he taught me that it doesn’t have to be complicated, and a simple meat and microwaved veggies would do (with a dollop of mayo). But now that I use Cook Smarts, my husband actually compliments my cooking every night. (And let me tell you, he’s not one to give many compliments.)

What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
Getting the dishes done afterward! 🙂

Well, apart from getting the perfectly crunchy, but soft and juicy pork chop, making sure I don’t waste any food.

How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
I used to get flustered every time I had to follow a recipe. Now I just go through the prep steps and put the meal together with ease.

What have you learned since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
Ever since I joined Cook Smarts, I have noticed that the fridge is always full of fresh produce and by the time Thursday rolls around, it’s empty. So food wastage is no longer an issue.

Getting my shopping list ready is so easy, and I have been buying different things every week. This has enabled us to try out a lot of different food and, thankfully, no more repetitive weekly meals that we get bored of after week 2.

I’ve definitely learned that, for a successful week of meals, preparation is key.

“Now that I use Cook Smarts, my husband actually compliments my cooking every night. (And let me tell you, he’s not one to give many compliments.)”

Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
Achieving the perfectly crunchy, but soft and juicy pork chop.

Another one was making the adobo sauce from scratch since it’s very difficult to find the chipotles in adobo sauce in Australia. I asked a question on the Facebook group page about substitutes, and I was surprised to get an answer within an hour considering the different time zones.

And last but not least, now my husband does the dishes – very proud of him for taking on my challenge.

What are your tips for a healthy life and success in the kitchen?

  1. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
  2. Homemade meals are the best.
  3. Forget about ‘low-fat’ and ‘fat free’ labeled foods. These are full of sugar and not very healthy at all. Enjoy your food the way your parents and grandparents did.
  4. Be as physically active as you possibly can. That way you can eat as much as you want. 😉
  5. If you haven’t signed up yet – do it now. You will love it just as much as I do.

Thanks for all your support, Tiana, and for your great cooking tips! We’re so happy to have Kitchen Heroes who help us grow. Now that you got the hang of cooking (and Ryan takes care of the dishes), you two can spend more time relaxing on the balcony and enjoying a nice cold beer together. Cheers!

Tiana's favorite @CookSmarts meal: Maple-Dijon Panko Crusted Salmon

To join Tiana and cook meals like her favorite Maple-Dijon Panko Crusted Salmon, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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