Four years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl, and became a single mom a short few months thereafter. Overwhelmed by everything that I had to juggle (caring for a child, a full-time career, and custody proceedings), I started thinking about how I could simplify life as a parent.
I was daunted by the school and day cares rules about the lunch box. I knew that I could not be the only one struggling with what to pack for my kid's lunch that would meet all of her needs.
After channeling my ideas and spending hours testing different concepts and recipes during my daughter's naps, I decided to take This & That Lunch Kit to the Kickstarter audience.
Creating This & That Lunch Kit is a project of love. It has uplifted me and I hope that it will make a difference to parents. Today, I am expecting my second child and life is happy. While I did not exactly simplify my life (with another child in the making, a Kickstarter campaign in progress and a wedding in planning), lunch box prep has become easier and I hope will be for you too.
Carine's Cooking Philosophies
Embrace what you have
I am a dreamer and a planner. As a child, I had the blueprint for my life… literally. I kept a folder of architectural designs of my future house and cut-outs of the shoes that I would wear for every decade of my life (this was the pre-Pinterest era!). Having goals and direction is great but also allow life to take you where you did not expect. Embrace the good and bad surprises and make the most out of them. I would not have the life that I so enjoy without getting displaced with hurricane Katrina, opening my eyes for opportunities and taking some risks. As a new mom, I want to have a grand plan but give some room to the unpredictable, and every spontaneous smile that comes along with it.
Cooking Philosophy: Out of a specific ingredient? Experiment with what you have in the fridge. You might come up with with a great recipe that you never would have otherwise dreamed of.
Keep it simple
We all have busy lives. Who has the time to spend several hours in the kitchen every day?
The good news is that you don't have to. I grew up in a family of origin where many of our meals consisted in pasta mixed with seasonal vegetables, garlic and lots of olive oil. This is still my go-to dish.There is a reason that comfort food is often the most basic of preparations.
Cooking Philosophy: No need for elaborate, complicated preparation. I am a big fan of no-fuss cooking. Just focus on a few fresh ingredients and let them speak to you. Think of their flavors, how to showcase them and compliment them.
End on a sweet note
A meal is like a story, with a natural progression from beginning (appetizer), middle (main) to end (dessert). These different courses help us appreciate the simple act of eating a meal because eating should be a pleasure, not a task. Even when your time is stretched, take the time to breathe and reward yourself for your accomplishments. There are certainly days where I don't have the leisure of sitting through several courses but I don't let that take me away from eating a piece of chocolate to conclude my meal.
Cooking Philosophy: Don't neglect the dessert and certainly don't feel guilty about it. It's the natural conclusion to a meal. This often comes in the form of chocolate for me but there are many ways to prepare simple and healthy desserts. Turn to In Season blog for ideas for simple fruit-based desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way.