Cooking with Lizelle

by kate on May 10, 2021

I’ve been thinking about health lately, probably because I’m a bit traumatized by that whole feeding tube diet dust up. So, in an effort to support sane women among us, (and stay on a healthy kick - healthy habits, healthy mind, healthy body), I’m sharing some wisdom from my lovely, and also sane, friend Lizelle. She’s a fellow blogger and during one coffee kvetch session, we got to talking about her commitment to cooking.

I’ll share with you some of her wonderful insights on life in her kitchen. Mostly, though, I’m inspired by how she handles fresh ingredients and all this cooking!

Why did you decide to take on such a large cooking role? Are you naturally Julia Child; did your mom or dad cook (or not cook) - what’s the impetus?

My dad is an exceptional cook. He would try different foods at restaurants and recreate it at home. And, he would also enjoy looking at various recipes and making his own version. He made our breakfast and prepared our school lunches before leaving for work. He would also cook dinners every night until we got a nanny (3 kids and 2 working parents), then he usually made dinners just on the weekend. He still loves cooking.

My siblings and I grew up around a lot of good food and cooks. Family gatherings for birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations were large and full of homemade dishes. You have a lot more choices and flexibility when you cook at home.

How do you plan menus? Or do you?

We have some regulars: Wild Salmon on Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Fridays is Pizza & Movie Night (I don’t cook). And, on Sunday, I always make Judy Rodger’s Roast Chicken recipe. On Monday and Tuesday, we get home late from after school classes so I cook everything earlier and reheat for dinner. One of the other days, we have leftovers for dinner, sometimes I call it the “Thursday Mix” or whatever day it happens to be. Sometimes, we play restaurant where most leftovers make it on the menu.

I also keep a spreadsheet of our grocery list. I’m a visual person so, even if I forgot an item, the list is a good reminder. The list is modeled after a market that I frequently shop at so I’m more efficient with my time.

What is your inspiration? I see that you just posted about the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook! (oooh, can’t wait for that!!!!)

I have a massive cookbook and recipe collection to pull from. I also love discovering new flavors and finding seasonal dishes on food blogs like Smitten Kitchen, Roost, Chow, and Epicurious. Breathtaking food images are also very inspiring.

What’s the fastest meal you can make? What’s the slowest?

Fastest: 1 pound taco meat and all the fixings
Slowest: Recipes from the French Laundry cookbook

Do you use any shortcuts? If so, what are they?

If I don’t make pancakes in the morning, the kids eat frozen waffles. Sometimes, I don’t make kale chips on Salmon night so will use store-bought dried seaweed bits to sprinkle on the rice. The whole family likes Trader Joe’s Traditional Carnitas, and it’s easy to wrap in a warm tortilla for lunch or dinner.

How do you introduce new flavors and ingredients?

Not very well and it’s not often. New flavors or ingredients are introduced with new recipes or at a restaurant. I talk a lot about the new “food” and sometimes need research findings before they will try it. It’s a bit comical. I do put a very small amount on their plate for them to try. My daughter loves trying new foods and is comfortable explaining what she likes or dislikes. My son is picky if it’s not meat, pasta, salmon, rice or ramen. Our rule is that you must try it before saying you don’t like it.

Do the kids get involved with the cooking or planning?

Sometimes, they like make our breakfast on weekend mornings. This usually consist of yogurt, cereal, milk, granola, blueberries, and Wheetabix. They love grating (cheese, carrots), chopping (veggies), and mixing (pancake batter, cookie dough). They also love creating what they call “potions” out of the various herbs, spices, and liquids found in our kitchen. I like when they experiment with different smells and textures, but it’s priceless seeing their expressions when they taste their creation.

How do you handle it when they don’t eat?

I grew up in a loving home where homemade meals were very important. We’re spoiled with the amount of food available so wasting was not an option. We needed to finish whatever was on our plate or go to bed hungry. I’m a bit softer on the next generation. Fortunately, the children are good about eating full meals. However, there have been occasions where my son didn’t like what was served. My approach is first getting them to eat by adding another flavor but, if that fails, I tend to add veggies & protein to their breakfast (e.g. pureed carrots in pancakes) and their lunch (e.g. chicken on multigrain pasta).

photo credit: JD Hancock

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  • Kristen @ Busy Kids = Happy Mom

    I’m all about easy cooking, that tastes good too! I get my best recipes from other moms and pinterest!

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