The Plan to Eat Podcast

#9: Interview with Debbie Brosnan of The Effortless Kitchen

February 09, 2022 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 9
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#9: Interview with Debbie Brosnan of The Effortless Kitchen
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we interviewed Debbie Brosnan a personal chef turned virtual cooking class instructor! Debbie is a passionate self taught home cook who began her journey cooking alongside her mother and grandmother as a young child. Her focus is on healthy food that tastes amazing using simple recipes.  We chatted with Debbie about her business, how she got started as an entrepreneur, making cooking simple, getting your kids in the kitchen, and so much more! Don't miss this inspiring interview!

Debbie's favorite kitchen tools:
Microplane Grater
Mini Angled Measuring Cup

Find the recipes in this episode:
Debbie's Marinara Sauce

Connect with Debbie:
Get Debbie's recorded Potato Leek Soup class here: https://cook.theeffortlesskitchen.com/fosignup
Website: www.theeffortlesskitchen.com
You can e-gift one of Debbie's classes to someone here: https://cook.theeffortlesskitchen.com/SeasonalEGift
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theeffortlesskitchenbyDebbie
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theeffortlesskitchenbydebbie

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Contact us at podcast@plantoeat.com

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plantoeat
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlanToEat
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/plantoeat/ 



[00:00:00] 

I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.

Roni: Hello everyone. And welcome to the Plan to Eat podcast. Today, we get to share an interview.

We had with Debbie Brosnan of The Effortless Kitchen. She is a personal chef, turned virtual cooking class instructor, and we got to have a wonderful conversation with her. 

Riley: We did, we are so inspired by her story. We are so excited to share more about the cooking classes that she offers. She's incredibly knowledgeable. You're going to get so many helpful tips and tricks, and just really feel connected to this lady. We adored her and could have talked to her for seven hours. 

Roni: Yeah. She has been a long time Plan to Eat customer and we didn't really talk that much about plan to eat, but she is just a beautiful person and we hope you enjoyed this interview.

Today we have [00:01:00] Debbie from the effortless kitchen. She has actually been a long time Plan to Eat customer, and we are very excited to talk to her today. 

Debbie: Thank you for having me. I'm very excited to be here. Plan to eat is my favorite app on my phone. So I can't wait to talk about it and all things, food. 

Riley: So we'd just love to start by learning a bit more about you, Debbie. Can you just tell us your story and what you do. 

Debbie: Sure. Yeah. Um, I have, always been obsessed with food and, ever since I was young learning to cook my grandmother and my mother, and always wanted to have a food business and.

Start until I was 48. So I waited a long time, but, I started my business as a personal chef business. Uh, the effortless kitchen. I make your meals effortless for you. I come into your home and cook your weekly dinners and that launched in 2019 and it was going great until the pandemic hit and, Turned it into a virtual cooking class business during the [00:02:00] pandemic, not a big plan of mine ever to be live on camera, but, it was out of a total organic, transition of my business out of the need for people to know what am I making every single day while you're in quarantine, you know, stuck in our houses, cooking for everybody.

And I just started making Facebook videos of what I was making for. Um, and it really just organically turned into a business from that. And I absolutely love it. So I teach virtual cooking classes and hold private events as well as corporate events all online so I can reach you wherever you are.

Riley: Really awesome. 

Roni: Yeah. Did you just start up by doing like, iPhone kind of videos or did you already have a camera set up? 

Debbie: So I was using, I'm not very tech, uh, you know, tech challenge as well. I'll call myself. Um, so when I started, I was using my, Mac book. Now I have a Mac book air with the old 11 inch [00:03:00] screen.

So everybody was very tiny on there and I didn't have a microphone. And then I used my, I don't know how this worked out, but I just figured it out. I use two screens. So I have the main screen, which is. Laptop was my laptop now is my, monitor with webcam because it's much better that way. And then I, early on had two screens.

I figured out how to hang my iPhone from my, um, cabinet above my countertop, where I do all my work so people can see exactly what's happening on the cutting board and on the stove top next to me, or they can watch the whole thing from the big screen. I don't know how I figured it out, but it worked, it worked the little laptop thing worked for a while and then I'm like, I gotta, I gotta up my game. So it was months until I did that. I probably eight months of the little laptop set up till I switched. 

Riley: I heard some from so many of my friends that they were really getting into either they were really getting into baking or they were really getting into. Cookies or they were really getting [00:04:00] into a rut of eating the same thing all the time, because they were stuck at home having to eat the same thing.

So I, I honestly wish I had known about you sooner because I could share you with so many people and I can just imagine the way, um, that you just really were able to help people with, just kind of revolutionized the time that we were, that we had, in this really unique time of our lives. So that's right.

Debbie: Yeah. Yeah. And it started as like, I'm going to be sharing new recipes with people and that's what they're going to be getting out of it. But it turned into so much more because it's virtual and we're seeing each other on zoom. It became a community of people. And then I'm realizing that, you know, um, foodies are very drawn to my, my classes and that is, that's kind of what I expected, but there's also the other side of people.

We need help in the kitchen and the people who say they can't cook or they're terrible cook, or they just can't do anything. They come to my classes, with like fear in their eyes. And in [00:05:00] the end of the hour, they've made a complete meal that they don't even realize they've done because they're just focusing on what I'm doing.

I do full instruction from start to finish. Then they feel really empowered and accomplished. And then that leads into more recipes that they try out. Or maybe it's just the one that they learned from me, but then they're just doing something for themselves. That's healthier than taking out. And that's really what I'm trying to promote is more healthier eating.

And if you cook for yourself and you know, what's in your food, then that's like the very biggest step that you can take towards that. 

Roni: Amen we're all about that here at Planty you know that 

Debbie: yeah. 

Riley: Just instilling confidence in people, I think is one of my favorite things about what you were just saying is you're, you're tearing down this wall of fear that they have about doing this thing.

And then once you've done something successfully, once it just makes you, it gives you more confidence to do it again. Um, and then the whole process before. Uh, less of a burden. Cause I think that that's what we see a lot is then the [00:06:00] meal planning process and the cooking process has such a burden for people.

So we really genuinely have a similar mission of hoping to help instill confidence and empower people to do this thing. And then the more you do it, the easier it gets. So we're all about it. Love it. 

Debbie: Awesome. 

Roni: So then if your class structure, just like every class is a one-off class, do you have like class series that teach, you know, Like building skill levels or what Hows it work?.

Debbie: So they're one-off classes. I, um, introduce them seasonally. So I introduce, about 10 classes every season. So my new season kicks off for the winter on January 8th. And they, you can join in an individual class. You can buy a class pack or you can buy a membership and get all of them. And, they happen to be because I live in Massachusetts, they happen to be at 1:00 PM Eastern on Saturdays.

They last for an hour when that is not good for somebody, but they're still interested. They [00:07:00] can sign up for the class and they get the recording as well as the recipe. So they can do it on. 

Riley: In your classes, are people able to ask questions as you're cooking or is everyone 

Debbie: we're very interactive. So, um, if there's a lot of background noise, People are muted, just so that everybody can hear what I'm saying, but, yes, it's totally interactive questions during, interruption. You know, I want people to pause and ask what they need in the moment, because it's important. That's learning lesson and if they have the question, maybe other people do. So, um, there's definitely chatter. 

Roni: So how do you go about deciding what recipes. Help teach people if you have this kind of balance of like satisfying the foodies, but also making it easy enough for beginners.

Debbie: Yes. So that is probably my biggest challenge every quarter, when I go to build a new menu, I want to keep it. Healthy-ish not, they're not all completely, you know, I'm not, I'm, I'm not a nutritionist by, by, uh, by trade at all. So, I just [00:08:00] like to eat on the healthier side. So I like to tweak recipes that I find to be a little bit healthier.

I want them to be simple so that the repeatable, because I don't want that complex recipe to go well, that was a fun experience, but I will never do that again. And I want to kind of give them a mix of, um, different types of cuisines. And so I don't focus on, you know, one style. And I also offer, I try to mix in some vegetarian and if it's not, I'm almost always offering a vegetarian option. And then dietary substitutions as well, so that I can try to please everybody. 

Roni: So then what do you, what do you feel like is a criteria for a simple recipe? I personally also like to cook simple recipes and I feel like things for me that helped me identify a simple recipe is like a shorter list of ingredients or like a shorter list of directions to follow. Like what do you, what is your criteria that you find. 

Debbie: For me, it's more about the time it takes to prepare [00:09:00] the dish. It shouldn't take more than 45 minutes. I'm on my class structure is an hour time. So I never pick a recipe that is longer than that because I want it to fit into the format of the class.

I did launch recorded classes for people who couldn't make my live classes and I have been offering. And those are usually things that I've done in the past because I don't, I want my, I want my. Live class a clients to feel exclusive because it is really the, the, the big part of my business. So the recorded classes or previous classes I've done for my live.

And then I've added in things that I won't do in a live format because they take longer, like if I'm using an instant pot, um, or, you know, braising, something that takes a longer cook time, but it's not a two and a half hour video. Here, let's put it in the pot pause and then come back when everything's out.

So that doesn't work in, in a, in a live class. Um, but I feel like, if I can keep the recipe, the ingredient [00:10:00] list a little bit simple, but there are times when, there are things on there that are not obscure ingredients, but something you might not have in your pantry. But that you can then use again and again, because I'll teach you how 

Riley: that actually is a great segue to my next question. Which was, do you offer resources for people to kind of, they learn from you they're learning probably so many techniques. Um, And then once they're done with your class, do they have resources for finding their own recipes or, how to use those ingredients again? Or how does it work after that? After they're done with the classes?

Debbie: Oh, that's a good question. So I'm always talking about during the instruction. Oh, you have this ingredient and it can be used these other ways. So I'm not necessarily pointing them to recipes, but I'm giving them other tips on ways to use it during the. 

Riley: that's really helpful.

Debbie: Well, I don't want them to just go, okay. This bottle of Sesame oil is only for this recipe. 

Riley: [00:11:00] Totally. I'm definitely guilty of buying ingredients like that for one recipe. Um, and I've been, I've been trying to do better about, okay, I've got this ingredient now. How can I use it again? Because I don't want it to just go bad in my pantry because I have that one thing and then I'll get tired of that. 

One thing if I make it too many times, 

Debbie: so totally. 

Roni: Well, so I want to just backtrack a little bit. You said that you didn't get started with your business until you were in your forties. What did you do before you started this business? 

Debbie: Oh my goodness. Um, I was a CPA with KPMG out of college. Uh, the practical way to get hired out of college was really the, the reason I did not enjoy.

Sorry, KPMG. But it did give me a good foundation, a business foundation, and I also went to very different clients. So I saw different industries of, of potential places to work. I stopped working when I had my oldest daughter she's turning 21 in February. So, I became a stay-at-home mom full-time, which was [00:12:00] never in my plan, but, It worked for the, for, for that period of time.

And then I picked up a side gig with Stella and dot and I was a Stella and dot stylist, selling jewelry, bags, and clothing. Um, for, I probably did it for like seven years. Pretty , consistently. And what was great about that was a total 180 from what I was doing prior to having kids. But it, it gave me a really good sense of how to market myself, how to network and all of the things that I needed to be a good solopreneur .

Um, to build this business. So it was a real, another good foundation and building block, but I have always wanted to have something centered around food and I didn't know what it was. And at the age of 17, deciding upon what I want to do for college, I thought, well, nutrition, cause I don't want to be a restaurant chef.

Those are my two options in my mind. And nutrition is a lot of science. So I didn't [00:13:00] do that. But when I was working like 50 to 60 hours a week at KPMG, I tried to start a catering business out of my tiny apartment, because all I wanted to do was cook and it never took off. Cause I didn't have a business plan.

I didn't have time. I, you know, I was basically just cooking for my roommates. Um, and uh, it kind of like it's, it's kind of coming. Here and there over the course of time, until I just said enough, I just jumped in, in 2019. And what I did as the personal chef is I chose something that can give me the opportunity to cook for people where I didn't have to invest a lot in a business because I wasn't sure where it was going to go. So thankfully my brick and mortar idea didn't happen in 2019 because you all know what would have happened in 2020. So. Yeah, 

Riley: maybe this sounds kind of silly, but I have like chills thinking, like just how inspirational it is that this [00:14:00] dream that you had since 17, it dwell, it didn't come to fruition until you were later in your forties. You never gave up on it. And all of those things you did along the way, just like led you to this point. And now it's this thriving, wonderful thing. That's probably so fulfilling to you. Probably so helpful to other people. I can only imagine just how many people are benefiting from what you're doing.

Um, but it happened at the right time. I think that that's just, that's the thing that gets me so excited and it was so inspirational is just. The timing, like equality might not have felt good all those years to feel uncomfortable in what you were doing of, like, I had this other dream, it like happened at the right time.

And then now it's just thriving and you're getting to do something you absolutely love. And I hope that people are thinking that no matter what they're doing, if they're hating their job or they're hating, you know what they're involved, not hating, just not liking what they're involved in right now.

It's never too late to shift. 

Debbie: You're never too late. And this is what. Why it's so important to share this story because there's a lot of young people like I have three [00:15:00] kids, two are in college and the decision for what to do for college feels like a lifetime decision. And I'm like, listen, I know what you're thinking, but it's not, you can just do what you like now, and then it could be what you do later, or you transition to something completely different.

It's never too late to reinvent yourself and change to something new and try something new. So it's a great lesson for, I wish somebody had told me that, um, Because I really felt like, and I think most kids do that. Your major in college is like, you're, that's it. That's all I'm doing for my life. And then what is that thing that I really want to do?

It's hard to figure out if that. Go ahead to your edit any age. 

Roni: I know my mom says my mom still says she's in her sixties and she still says, I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. 

Debbie: Yeah, I think, yeah. I think a lot of people say that for ever. So there's still time to change. 

Riley: And like your story, everything you did, [00:16:00] um, helped you become a. Business owner now. And so it's like when you're telling your kids in college, like it doesn't just pick something that you're enjoying, it's going to be a building block. Whether it's a failure, that's a building block or whether it's a really big win, that's a building block. I'm not doing what I did and not what I majored in either in college, although it was a huge building block. And in some ways I'm still doing it, but in a lot of ways, I'm really not. 

Debbie: So. Right. And that's okay. It doesn't mean that time was wasted. My older daughter totally off topic, but my older daughter is a musical theater theater major and she is a junior in college. And when she came to us, her junior year of high school and said, I want to major in musical theater, my husband and I, who I will go back to being a CPA.

He's a CPA. We were like, uh, well, I'm thinking, what is she going to do with it? How was she serving? And then I'm thinking back to my experience going, how could I say no, she knows what she wants. Of course she's going for it. I did the opposite. I did the practical thing to get a job and that's really not [00:17:00] fulfilling. So she is a musical theater major and she really loves it. So 

Riley: wonderful mom. Good mom. I love that. 

Debbie: Like you live in, you learn, right? Absolutely.

Roni: Okay, well, let's get a little back on track to cooking again. Um, I did really enjoy hearing that story. I'm glad that I asked that question because, uh, I, that was awesome to hear all of those things. Um, so as somebody who is kind of like a self-taught chef, uh, what do you feel like is the biggest hurdle to cooking at home? 

Debbie: I think that, um, for people or for myself too, it's, Knowing all the things, learning all the skills. So my Achilles heel, I would say is like, dough making. So I've made it a focus. I'm actually going to a Paragi making class tonight.

Like, is it always educating yourself? Right. That's what I feel like. You're never going to know all, everything you need to know. So just keep learning. [00:18:00] I watched tons of food shows and I read tons of cookbooks and things, online blogs and everything else. But, um, I feel like my focus for the winter break is digging into.

dough and whether it's savory or for sweet applications. So I feel like, yeah, the biggest hurdle is not knowing all the things, not having the culinary degree, where I was like, went through all of the classes. So I'm teaching myself. And so I don't know everything. And I'll admit that people are like, oh, let's do a, a pasta making class.

I'm like virtually, that's like not the easiest thing to do. I've made pasta, but you know, to explain how the dose supposed to feel and all of that, it's, um, it's definitely more challenging. So that's what I have to say. Keep educating yourself.

Riley: So we know you love to help answer the question what's for dinner. Um, so what's your number one tool for making that happen? 

Debbie: Oh, [00:19:00] planning for sure. What's for dinner. I feel like the Plan to Eat app. The best tool out there for this. So I store all of my recipes in the app. And every time I find a new one that goes in there, whether I'm using it right away or not, I'm like, Ooh, that one's cool.

Throw that in there. Now I always tweak the recipes I find. So I'm never like. I don't know, I can't ever not fiddle at something, but the calendar tool of being able to just pop recipes into the day that I want to use them is amazing. So I would say planning, and if you're not a huge planner, maybe just try one or two nights a week.

If you don't, if the week is overwhelming, just try one or two nights. And then there's always the whole meal prep thing that people gripe about, but prep, one thing. On a Sunday or whenever you have time prep, some roasted veggies. That's like either the roasted veggies or the grains. Like, I feel like those two things, if you prepped one, at least [00:20:00] you're got a headstart on a component of a meal and those things can be used in lunch or dinner.

So even breakfast, if you really wanted. 

Roni: Yeah, that's great advice. I often find myself halfway through a recipe and then I'm like, oh wait, I have to make rice with this. So yeah, prepping that ahead of time is definitely really helpful because then you can just heat it up and you don't have to worry. You don't have to wait 25 minutes or whatever for it to cook when the rest of your meal is already done 

Debbie: and you can batch. You can freeze it cooked and have it ready to go. So portion it out in your freezer if you don't want to have it sit in your fridge for the whole week. That's great. 

Riley: So you said that, dough is a place that you're learning a lot. But what is your absolute favorite thing to teach people or your favorite thing to cook?

Debbie: Ooh, that's a good one, It checked, like it changes all the time. I find this week, I'm really, really excited [00:21:00] about, shakshuka, especially this time of year, because it's so like warm and comforting. Um, but it's the type of thing that I've always eaten out. And I decided I was going to put it into my winter menu.

So I got the, had the luxury of recipe testing. So I made all different versions. It was very exciting. It's amazing. It's simple. It's super simple and easy to make. It's not hard. So shakshuka is my, my meal of the moment. 

Riley: Roni and I made that together one time, a couple of years ago, 

Roni: we were doing, uh, we got to, review some cookware. From Milo cookware, I think is the name of the business. And that was one of the recipes that we chose for something that we were going to like test out in one of their pans. And that was actually the first time I think I'd ever made Shakshuka and it's, it's in my normal rotation now because we both, me and my husband really like it. And it is really simple and fast. Yeah. [00:22:00] 

Debbie: Yeah. It's a great recipe. Yes. 

Riley: I was, uh, very early pregnant when Roni and I made that. I don't even, I don't even know if Roni knows this story, but, um, the smell of it was incredibly strong for me, uh, for people who don't know when you're pregnant. Those are usually very heightened.

Um, and I've also felt very bad. Um, and so I couldn't eat it and I really, it was so strong in the kitchen, um, that I had a hard time with this. So I have this like permanent memory around that recipe. But in the past I have loved it, but that. I could not couldn't I was, I was struggling. I don't know if you know that Roni. So when you said shakshuka initially, I'm like, oh man, don't make that pregnant. 

Debbie: I picked it for a reason then that the story came out. So have you eaten it since, or is it one of those things that it was a turn off and you can't get back? 

Riley: I have not eaten it again, but I do enjoy it. So in my mind, there's still, there's like these competing memories, like this is a really good [00:23:00] recipe.

I just haven't made it again since then. So it's been a little while. Um, I'm really bad about meal planning, ruts, and I just make these things that I love over and over again. So, this reminder will spark me to add it to my meal plan and then I'll get on another rut and I'll, I'll get back to you guys on if I, uh, I have a hard time with it or no. I do, I do enjoy it. Um, but that day I really struggled. 

Roni: So Debbie, when you make shakshuka, do you make a tomato base recipe or do you use dif like a different, I found a recipe one time. That was a, like a night shade, free shakshuka. And so it was like a lot of greens. It was like leafy greens instead of like tomatoes and peppers.

Debbie: Tomato pepper mines much more traditional tomato pepper base Um, I do add tomato paste to mine to deepen the flavor. I had one and I don't even know where it was in Philly. Um, this tiny coffee shop, it was so incredible was the best one I ever had. So that was the flavor I was going for. And that's [00:24:00] actually how. Design my menu and find my recipes is like inspiration for food that I've eaten out or something I've seen cooked on the food network. Let's say where I'm like, Ooh, that looks so good. Or that tasted so good. I want to recreate it. And then just searching for recipes. And I ended up pulling probably, I dunno, five different recipes and.

You know, I never cook a recipe as it's written, so tweak it to how I like it. And when the addition of the tomato paste to my shakshuka made all the difference to make it taste more like that one that I had that flavor that I was going to.

Riley: As the former CPA, I'm guessing that you're incredibly detailed in your note taking.

I can just, I can see how I, because I do, I do a really similar thing where I'll just like, I'll see, I'll see your recipe. And I'm like, oh yeah. Okay. I'll make that. And then I don't follow it. And then I tweak it as I'm making it until it tastes the way I want it to. And then, um, it always [00:25:00] happens somebody says.

Well, can you tell me the recipe and then I'm sitting there? Oh, no, I've got to figure out all the random things that I put in here. Um, so do you do a really, I bet you just go ahead and tell me about your detailed 

Debbie: I, so I actually teach this to people because I do have a signature talk that I deliver to groups like, uh, networking groups and organizations for like a lunch and learn.

And part of it is. The recipe, following a recipe and then adapting your recipe to what you like. And always, always take notes. So, you know, you've got a lot of stuff online. That's just on your phone. I print those out. So I have a paper in front of me. It's got the ingredients on it and. If I haven't changed it while I'm cooking, I will go back and write notes and figure out what it needs and then try it again the next time.

So I actually have a stack of papers of recipes that I tested for winter that didn't make it into winter that will make it into spring. So those need to be updated in plan to [00:26:00] eat. So I'm ready to go for my spring Menu. Note taking is so you will never remember the next time ever. And then if somebody asks you, like, I don't know, 

Riley: I have recipes that I make that are never the same. Like every time I make it and it's okay, it's green Chile. Can I make the green chili the way I always make it? And then I tweak it and I tweak it. And then, so every time it's different, I, that I got to take your tip and integrate it into my. 

Roni: I do as well. Actually I was just telling Riley, like, I think it was about a month ago actually, that I had made some recipe and I didn't have the actual sauce that it called for.

So I whipped up my own sauce for it and it made the recipe so much better. And then I don't, I never wrote down the things that I put in, in the sauce that I made up. And so I'll have to try, I'll have to try again. 

Debbie: That's the other thing I tell people, Roni is the mistakes that you make. Like you didn't have what you needed and you just changed it.

Sometimes making a mistake in a recipe or preparation turns out better in the end. [00:27:00] And they're like, oh, now it's even better. Now I got to write that down and change the master copy. Let's call it, which is in my plan to eat always. That's awesome. 

Roni: I guess it needs. 

Debbie: It is hard because it's so like I use plant to eat on my phone basically when I'm cooking.

And, um, yeah, you do have to print it out. If you are going to change things. I mean, you could edit it on your phone too, but you know, your hands are dirty and I just like, I'm also a paper person in general. Yeah, we understand sometimes just 

Roni: sometimes being able to scribble a note is much more simple for sure.

Riley: So, I want to go back a bit further in your story to your mom and grandmother teaching you how to cook, because my story definitely resonates with that. My mom was so good at just having us be in the kitchen all the time. And, um, during college one summer, I didn't get a job. And my dad said, [00:28:00] You don't have to get a job, but you have to like cook all of our meals and you have to clean it and they're like, do it like, so he basically like, let me live there by doing all these other things.

Um, so I guess I would just love if you have any tips on how to help parents teach their kids the way your mom and grandma taught you. 

Debbie: That's a good question because I have three children. One has zero interest in being in the kitchen. Um, And I, and one loves it and was in the culinary program and his tech high school didn't pursue it for college, but, um, still loves it and he's like my foodie.

And then the younger one kind of dabbles, And I'm thinking about like what my mother and my grandmother did, and they didn't do anything in particular. Uh, they were there. I was hanging out in the kitchen. I would just start to help and like gravitate towards that. So I think it's kind of more of an inherent thing that that's what I was interested in.

And maybe it was because I wanted to spend time with them. Um, I also loved eating even at a [00:29:00] young age, so I liked, I liked the food that they made. Um, but I feel like. For parents. I have two tips of advice. One is, uh, don't fall into the trap of making the kid food. I did that. I'm not saying I'm perfect.

I did that. And it's, uh, it's it, it's hard to get out of that. And the second is, um, it's kind of like, let your kid make the Play-Doh because it makes a mess, like let your kids get in the kitchen and, and don't worry about the mess as long as they're being safe and, You know, that's how they learn best is by, is by doing and menu planning with them, letting them pick a meal during the week, and then getting them involved that really gets kids interested in the kitchen because then they they're invested.

They've chosen the dish. And even if it's a little wacky, let them do it. 

Riley: Great. I that's such good advice. Thank you. 

Roni: When you say, don't get into the kid food, are you referencing like don't you [00:30:00] would, you would argue against making like a specific meal that's separate for your kids or, 

Debbie: yes. Like the chicken nuggets, the Mac and cheese, the pasta, like the pale foods, the brown foods, like those are the things like that's what the kids want. That's what on every kid's menu. And, um, I think it's a cultural thing in this country where other countries do not have that. They feed their children, what they're making for dinner, and that's what their kids eat by offering the other option.

They never get used to the, you know, the real food I'll call it. Um, and then once you start, it's really hard to get out of it. And I did because it was easy because that's what they wanted. And then not only that, but you're making two different meals and that just gets that adds more time in the evening, trying to get dinner on the table. And it's not as healthy. There's so many so many thinks about it. Yeah. 

Riley: All of that is such great info for parents out there. And it's never too late to start trying. I know I've gotten into ruts with my daughter she's, um, a year and a [00:31:00] half, and I've gotten into these situations where I give her the thing that she wants to eat.

She definitely went through the brown phase or the pale food phase. Um, but now it's just like, what we're having for dinner is what you're having for dinner. And so she's definitely adjusted to that. And now she. Love spicy food and she loves to eat what we're eating. And, she, if, if we're eating something different than her, she usually wants what's on our plates now than what's on her. So it just don't even give her the option is what I'm trying to do now is here's what, 

Debbie: and that also changed. That goes through phases too. So like age three and four, that gets really tough. And she might dig her heels in and just kind of refuse to eat, but try to stay strong. Don't starve her, but they, they eat when they're hungry. That's. So if a kid's sitting down to dinner and they're not eating the food, it's probably because they're not hungry and maybe they had snacks or whatever it is beforehand. 

Riley: We could probably have a whole sequel podcast about kids and the kid food and kid eating. And yes, I mean, my kids only a year [00:32:00] and a half old, but I've definitely learned, um, that some meals she'll eat every single thing on our plate and want more and some meals she'll literally not touch it. And she will go to bed and not be, and be fine and totally fine. She didn't eat dinner and she's fine. She's wakes up the next morning and she tells me I'm hungry. All right. Let's get some breakfast. 

Debbie: Cause at that age they're intuitive eating and then you get into the, um, you know, life happens and emotional eating and all of that.

This is a whole other show. Sorry,

Riley: part two. I'm sorry, 

Debbie: when they're hungry, that's the point? And like that's what you go with. Don't force a kid to eat. I think that was all great facts. Bring it back. 

Riley: It is all great advice. Yeah, 

Roni: it is great advice. I don't, I don't have children myself, but I have nieces and nephews and it is interesting seeing the difference in even just like different personalities.

The way that they respond to food is it's just, it's very interesting.[00:33:00] So you've given us some information about your cooking classes. You used simple recipes, the classes are an hour long. What do you feel like when people are done with the class? What is their, what are their main takeaways from working with. 

Debbie: Okay. So I think I mentioned before the, the empowerment and the sense of accomplishment, um, but not only that, but they have it a meal to eat. So people either use my class as a east coast is a lunch. West coast is a brunch. Um, for that in that moment, or other people use it as a meal prep time because some people don't on the east coast don't want eat lunch at two o'clock.

So, they are made using it for meal prep for later in the day for Sunday night, for whatever, for the next day or so , they are getting, um, my quirky personality, um, which, you know, you get what you get. Um, I tell stories about my family. My [00:34:00] background and also tips and tricks. So my favorite kitchen tools, I don't have an affiliate link for anything because I'm not an affiliate, but I mean, I've sent so much business to Amazon for a few of my favorite tools that everybody buys because I use them in every single class.

And I talk about them all the time. And then also the how to, how to safely cut veggies. Um, people are comfortable cutting the way they've been cutting all along. And then I hear. They come to my class like, oh, I've been doing it wrong. I'm like, no, you haven't been doing it wrong. There's not a wrong way.

Right. Way. My way is a little bit safer. That's what I'm trying to teach people or more efficient depending upon what people are doing. So I do have a series of how to videos that I share with my network and on social media and just very short, two to three minute videos of how to cut an onion, how to clean leaks. How do you cut a butternut squash? That's the big one. People always buy that and cubes in the store and I'm like, just buy the whole one. It's not that hard. Here [00:35:00] you go. So I've got something in your hand 

Riley: off fingers off or something. 

Debbie: Yeah. You gotta be careful with that. So, 

Roni: so then what's your number one tool you want to share your number one tool with us? So we know 

Debbie: I, okay. I'm going to have to do two, sorry. My two favorite tools are the mini Oxo measuring cup, which is the quarter cup measure. It's four tablespoons. So I no longer measure liquid in the little measuring spoon that you're like hand shaking until you get to the bowl and it's like spilling on your countertop.

Everything goes into that little measuring cup. Love it. And then my microplane grater, I have a nice wide one. It's actually microplane brand, but it's wider than the skinnier raspy kind. Um, and I use it for garlic and for ginger and citrus and it's, I mean, I have only one big one, but I have two. Um, skinny ones and between, and I have three of those measuring cups.

So there are constant rotation in and out of the dishwasher. Yep. 

Riley: those sound [00:36:00] amazing. Maybe we can link to those also. 

Debbie: Yeah, I know. I shouldn't, I should hit up Amazon for an affiliate link. I don't think I have enough followers or whatever they look for, but whatever. It's not about the followers. I'm not spreading, such love.

Riley: Yeah. Those companies just contact the companies in them em, how much he loved their stuff. And yeah. 

Roni: But Debbie, do you have, um, a recipe or maybe like a recipe from one of your classes that you're willing to share with our listeners. 

Debbie: Yes. So, um, I actually brought it out for my small business, Saturday customer appreciation, uh, promo and kept it. So it's available on my website. It is, my potato leek soup with grilled cheese, grilled cheese croutons. Delicious perfect for this time of year. And, um, it's not only the recipe, but it's the recorded class. So you can [00:37:00] walk through the whole recipe with me on your screen if you'd like. Um, so that's on my website. It'll actually be a pop-up or there's. Um, you guys can share the link for that. There's a direct link people can use if that's easier 

Roni: show notes for sure. 

Riley: I can't wait to try it myself. it sounds really delicious. 

Debbie: It's so good. And it's so easy. It's just simple, delicious food. Great. 

Roni: Well, before we wrap up, um, can you tell us aside from this one link that we'll share, how are other ways that our listeners can connect with you online?

Debbie: Oh, sure. Yeah. So my website has everything about me, including everything that I offer and I am theeffortlesskitchen.com that first three letters is very important. Um, the effortless kitchen and, I'm on Instagram as the effortless kitchen by Debbie. I shared lots of food photos there as well as family photos. So, um, probably those two places. 

Riley: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time. It's been so great to chat with you. 

Debbie: I could chat for hours about food.[00:38:00] 

Riley: Um, so we do one little fun thing to wrap up the show. And, um, I guess you've mentioned a lot of recipes, but what's your favorite thing you ate this week? 

Debbie: My favorite thing I ate this week. Is, um, very simple. It is a request from my son for, you know, he came home from college. He needed all of the foods that he loves and, it was, uh, spaghetti and meatballs. But what I love about the, well, first of all, the meatballs are Turkey because I have to make them a little bit healthier. Nobody cares. It's my grandmother's recipe, my grandma's recipe for the sauce and the. Pasta came from Eataly, which I have one in Boston, which is great to have one locally, but it is the fusilli, long fusilli noodles that my grandmother used to make every Sunday. So really for me, it's like huge comfort food and I love it. So that, I mean, very simple, very easy dish, but, um, [00:39:00] rustic, that's kind of what I'm about nothing fancy here. 

Riley: Thanks for sharing that. 

Roni: Well, thanks again for joining us today, Debbie, and we just appreciate all of this information, everything that you've talked about, we will do our best to link it in the show notes so that people can find you and find all of these little things that you've given us to help them cook better.

Debbie: Well, thank you for having me and thank you for doing what you do because your business supports my business. So it all works together. I love that. Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you. Bye. Thanks. Bye-bye.

Roni: We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please share it with someone and subscribe to our podcast. Wherever you listen to your podcasts.