Cityline Featured Blogger: Sarah from (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean

Sarah Huggins' food blog is jam-packed with beautifully photographed, family-friendly recipes that we want to make right now.


There are so many fabulous bloggers out there, and we want to highlight them on Cityline.ca. We profile different lifestyle bloggers from month to month — they might write about food, fashion, beauty, décor, parenting, entertaining, gardening, you get the idea! For September 2014, we’re putting the spotlight on Sarah from (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean. Sarah Huggins’ food blog is jam-packed with beautifully photographed, family-friendly recipes that we want to make right now.  Here’s our Q&A with Sarah:

When did you start (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean and what’s the inspiration behind the blog? How did you come up with your blog’s name?

I started the blog back in January 2013. My friends pressured me into it! I think they were tired of receiving my unsolicited “guess what I made for dinner last night??!!” emails.

I had a tough time coming up with a name for the blog, until it dawned on me that I should just call it what it is: Cooking for Kiwi (my husband) & Bean (my daughter). Since then, I’ve added one more seat at my table: “Beansprout” joined our family in January 2014.

The recipes, tips and tricks on my blog are for families who want to cook and share real, wholesome, tasty food, but don’t have a lot of time to fit it in. That’s us: a lawyer, a banker, and a couple of little kids! We need good food fast.

Sarah_Profile_Pic_2Are Kiwi and Bean picky eaters, or do they gobble up everything you put on the table? What’s your advice to parents dealing with finicky eaters?

Kiwi is the furthest thing from a picky eater, but he’s lactose-intolerant and tries to follow a low-carb diet. The Bean has her picky moments and would probably be thrilled if I served pasta with tomato sauce every night. And Beansprout devours just about everything I put in front of him, but he’s allergic to wheat, eggs and nuts. SO…got any suggestions for low-carb, wheat/egg/nut/dairy free pasta dinners?

My advice for parents of finicky eaters: (1) don’t give up—keep serving your kids the foods they hate and eventually they will come around; (2) involve kids in picking recipes, shopping and cooking (the Bean recently discovered that she “loves” lentil soup after I insisted that I needed her opinion on the salt level!); (3) keep the pressure, coercion and “if you eat this you get that” tactics to a minimum; (4) set a good example by eating and enjoying (as best you can!) a variety of healthy foods; and (5) as a back-up measure, hide veggies in tomato sauce, quesadillas, mac & cheese…everywhere.

Where do you find food inspiration?

Ah, where don’t I find food inspiration?!

Back in the pre-www days, I got much of my inspiration from cooking shows—old school ones like Yan Can Cook and The Urban Peasant. (I’m dating myself!) These days, I get inspired in restaurants, grocery stores and farmers’ markets, and on food blogs, Pinterest and Instagram, primarily. I also have about 100 cookbooks piled up next to my bed.

beansprout-nectarineTell us about a few posts that you’re particularly proud of and want to share with Cityline.ca readers.

I recently wrote a bit of a heart-wrenching piece on my son’s life-threatening allergies to peanuts, wheat and eggs. The diagnosis has really forced me to examine how and what we eat, and to read labels very closely. I think it’s making me a better and healthier cook, and definitely a more empathetic and understanding human.

And in an unfortunate twist of irony, this One-Skillet Peanut Chicken (pictured, below) is one of my most visited and beloved recipes, even despite its really odd combo of ingredients. I am working on a way to make it without peanuts, so stay tuned!

I totally ruled out raw kale until I discovered this Kale Salad with Apple, Avocado, Parmesan & Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (pictured at top), which is out of this world. Even my three year old has taken a few small bites!

What do you hope your readers get from visiting your blog?

I want them to walk (surf?) away, saying “omg, that’s a great idea” or “wow, that’s so simple!”. If just one person throws together my One Skillet Trout with Green Beans instead of defrosting some frozen fish sticks, whips up this Quinoa Fried Rice instead of ordering in, or dishes out these Overnight Oats instead of pouring a bowl of cereal, I will be thrilled. But I also want to paint a realistic and truthful picture of what it’s like to cook for a family, and I don’t want readers to be intimidated or feel like it has to be all (farmer’s-market-made-from-scratch-47-grams-of-fibre) or nothing. Hey, the sushi delivery guy knows me by name, I’m totally ok with that.

ChickenInAPan1What are some other blogs you love reading?

I recently discovered Feed Me Dearly, and I love it. Jessica turns simple ingredients into the most stunning kid-friendly meals.

Jan of Family Bites is one of my interwebs BFFs. We’ve never met or even spoken, but I am constantly drooling over her family dinners and party spreads.

I Am The Milk is where I go for my daily dose of mom humour. Katia finds hilarity in just about everything.

What’s your top advice for other bloggers?

I don’t think I’m qualified to give advice to bloggers! But here’s the advice I give myself on a daily basis: Focus on being real, and not on being perfect.

We want to hear from you! Do you know a blogger we should feature on Cityline.ca? Maybe it’s you! Email us at submissions@cityline.ca and include “Cityline Featured Blogger” in the subject line. And don’t forget to include a link to the blog! Look forward to hearing from you!

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