A Quick Bite with Karine Ewart of Today’s Parent Magazine

A Quick Bite with Karine Ewart of Today’s Parent Magazine

We’re bringing back our Quick Bite with Karine for a couple of reasons.

Number One. I find myself repeating a few of the stories Karine shared with us in it, particularly the system she uses for getting lunches for her four kids made each day. It’s genius and I plan to copy it to the letter when my kids are at lunch-packing age. Actually, when anyone with four kids tells me anything about parenting I feel like I should just shut up and follow, you know?

Number Two. Okay, the second reason is utterly self-serving. You probably know that Karine is the new Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Parent magazine and we’re so thrilled to be a part of her team, too. Several of you noticed we were in the November issue (hello, Pumpkin!) but we’ll be there every month with recipes and what we hope will be useful tips and information. I can’t wait to see the December issue – we did a collection of allergy sensitive holiday treats.

Number Three. We love Karine! And not just for the above mentioned two reasons. She’s a funny, smart and loyal friend. Find out for yourself – as well as running the magazine, she’s blogging at TP.com as well. – C.M.

SPC: What’s your earliest food memory?
KE: My grandmother was big on table manners and was quite stict. (She would have us put match books under our arms to teach us to keep our elbows in.) I remember sitting at my grandmother’s table with relatives, and my one cousin was caught stirring her ice cream, and my grandmother leaned in and said, “I like Ice Cream soup, too!”

SPC: How did you learn to cook?
KE: I come from a matriarchal family, and my grandmother and aunts always included us in the kitchen when they were preparing meals.

SPC: Do you still cook family recipes?
KE: Definitely! Profiteroles (“cream puffs” we used to call them) are still my specialty!

SPC: Do your kids cook with you? All four together?!
KE: I try to get all the kids involved at the same time, but I have to admit, there are only so many recipes that call for four eggs! Now, I have a rotating schedule where one helps to cook, one sets the table, one clears the table, and one serves dessert.

SPC: How do you deal with pickiness?
KE: Our rule is you try everything that is put on your plate, or anything that is considered “new.” IF you take a bite and you don’t care for it, the kids say, “No thank you. Not my favorite.” And we move on. But I must admit, I try very hard to make sure there is something at every meal that each kid will eat, so no one starves!

SPC: What do you wish your kids would eat that they won’t touch?
KE: Cooked vegetables! Other than baked potatoes, all kid-friendly veggies in my house are raw. Which, is easier for me, quite frankly, but as a (flexible) vegan, I need more variety!

SPC: What do your kids want to eat for every dinner for the rest of their lives?
KE: Bread and pasta. White, no less. It makes me crazy: I also eat gluten-free and have my own opinions on wheat….

SPC: You’ve got a crazy schedule – how do you make family dinner time happen?
I believe dinner together is very important. The kids get a large snack at about 3pm (usually before sports and extra-curiculars start), and then we eat together at 7pm. It takes planning, but it’s really not too hard. Leftovers on Monday, something simple (like soup and sandwiches) on Tuesday, something from the freezer on Wednesday, take out or delivery on Thursday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are our key family meals.

SPC: I’ve heard a rumour that your kids make their own school lunches – fact or fiction?
KE: Fact! They would starve, otherwise. In our second fridge, I took out the bottom shelf and put in two plastic craft shelves with four skinny drawers each and placed them side by side. I rotate the contents, but in general, there is usually one drawer for granola bars, yogurts, apple sauce, *crackers, *cheese (slices, cubes or string), buns (pre-sliced)
*nitrate-free deli slices, *vegetables (carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, tomatoes  in our house they count as a vegetable!) fruit (apples, clementines and *grapes), drink boxes.

(The items with an asterix means I usually prepare them in individual portions in advance.)

Every night after dinner, the kids go to the pantry fridge with their lunch bags and grab what they want. I only check to make sure they have a drink and spoons if necessary, but I only intervene if they haven¹t included at least one fruit and vegetable.

SPC: What’s your go to dinner on a jam-packed Wednesday?
KE: Honestly, if I forgot to take something out of the freezer, I will do deliver or take-out Wednesday and make Thursday my frozen meal day.

SPC: What are the rules at your table? (Elbows off the table? Clean your plate?)
KE:”No thank you, not my favorite” is a big one. No chewing with your mouth open. No talking with your mouthful. With six of us, our dinners are pretty animated and I encourage a lot of discussions and dialogue. The one thing we made up was, “My Favorite Part of my Day.” Instead of saying grace, we hold hands and take turns telling everyone the highlight of their day. It’s across between showing gratitude, focusing on the positive and thanking the universe for our good fortune.

SPC: As Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Parent, what can readers expect to see in the magazine in terms of mealtime solutions?
KE: I definitely want to give our readers last minute meal solutions, entertaining ideas for family events, and recipes for cooking with kids.

SPC:What’s your favourite thing about cooking with kids?
KE: When my kids feel proud of their accomplishments and you can see it in their faces!

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  1. Nadine
    July 28, 10:47 Reply

    Yay! Love this idea of the lunch fridge. Also love how our family meal styles are so similar. Go Karine!

  2. Teaching With Fun
    July 28, 11:29 Reply

    I love the idea of sharing the best part of the day. When I was young, dinner time was so rushed, so I love spending time laughing, and sharing good stories during meals now.

  3. Jody Robbins
    July 28, 13:04 Reply

    I love hearing how successful moms balance it all. Great tips and inspiration!

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