by Michell Spoden
Most parents are very concerned about their children’s lives and especially when it comes to the meals they eat. Making sure the kids eat and eat healthy is essential to help them be healthy and avoid eating problems. With today’s busy work schedules and different family dynamics we all need a little bit of help sometimes to keep us on top of things. Today we are here to have a chat with the author of “School Night Dinner Ideas” by Heidi Swain, a 40-year-old professional meal planner and cookbook author who was born and raised in Colorado.
Michell: You have an e cook book called “School Night Dinner Ideas”. What made you want to put it all in a book? Are they are all your recipes or input from others too?
Heidi Swain: When you get the urge to cook something, it is a hassle to go to the store if you don’t have all of the ingredients you need. I thought it would be great if there was a cookbook that came with the recipe AND the grocery lists. Since I could not find such a cookbook, I made my own. Some recipes in the cookbook are derived from recipes on the internet, but I have changed enough ingredients and methods that they are all my own. Not only that, I am a meal planner so there is the meal planning element. For instance, if there is a box of rice on the grocery list, more than one recipe will call for rice so the box doesn’t go to waste.
Michell: Please share with our readers a bit about you and your life.
Heidi Swain: I am a single mother of two teenage daughters. I just graduated with my BA from Colorado Mesa University…at age 40. My passion is cooking and meal planning, so instead of looking for a regular job out of college, I have decided to focus on my passion, which is my cookbook. I have been working on this cookbook for over fifteen years and I am excited because it is really starting to take off.
Michell: Do you think families struggle more with budgeting the grocery list or just creating the time to cook the food?
Heidi Swain: I think all families struggle with creating time to cook. Most families have a food budget, but they are unprepared when it comes to the dinner time crunch. When six o’clock rolls around they realize they don’t have everything they need to cook at home. Let’s face it, it’s easier to pull through the drive through or call for pizza than go to the grocery store. If they use the grocery lists I have prepared in “School Night Dinner Ideas”, they would be able to go to the store once and return with all of the ingredients needed to cook for the entire week! It might take a little longer to prepare a meal at home but it is so much healthier for wallets and waistlines in the long run.
Michell: What is the most favorite entrée you like to cook for your family and why?
Heidi Swain: My kids never get tired for the baked macaroni and cheese recipe in my cookbook (issue #2). The recipe is so easy. Plus it’s cheaper, healthier and tastes so much better than the bright orange cheese powder that comes in a box.
Michell: Did you always love to cook or was it something you had to work at learning?
Heidi Swain: I’ve always loved to cook! I used to watch my grandmother make egg noodles from scratch and cut up vegetables from her garden. Cooking at home for my family is a labor of love. Gathering everyone around the table as the house is filling up with delicious aromas and then watching them lean in as something hot and comforting is pulled from the oven is so much more fulfilling than handing them greasy bags from the drive-thru. When I think of my grandma, I think of her food. I’m sure my daughters will remember my food too.
Michell: As an author are you involved with any humanitarian or environmental causes?
Heidi Swain: Cookbooks have always been a great fundraiser for schools and churches. I offer my cookbook as a digital cookbook fundraiser for these types of organizations. Schools and other organizations can purchase the license for my cookbook for around $100. Once they have the license, they can sell the cookbook to their supporters to raise money for their cause. Since the cookbook is digital, there is no assembly, no inventory and no delivery. It’s an easy fundraiser.
Michell: What are some of your future goals?
Heidi Swain: First I would like to get a copy of volume 1 into the hands of every “too-busy-to-cook” parent in the US. Then, I would like to start working on volume 2. I would love to get the word out to schools that they could post “School Night Dinner Ideas” on their websites as a great resource for parents.
Michell: If you allow people submissions of their recipes, where should they send them?
Heidi Swain: Everyone has a recipe that saves them on a school night…something that they can always whip up last minute to save them from fast food temptations. If they would like to share that recipe, they can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would definitely post it on my Facebook page “School Night Dinner Ideas” and possibly put it in the second volume of the cookbook.
Michell: Where can your e book be purchased?
Heidi Swain: It can be purchased from a link on my blog www.supperweekly.blogspot.com. Once purchased, it is immediately downloaded in a pdf and sent to your email. Once in your email, you can print the 30 issues and place them in a binder, or you can view them on your smart phone or tablet at the grocery store. It’s always nice to have 30 different weekly grocery lists to choose from at the store.
Michell: I noticed that Keller Williams is the sponsor of your online book. How it is that Keller Williams is involved?
Heidi Swain: A real estate agent from Keller Williams Realty was nice enough to sponsor the free issue of “School Night Dinner Ideas” that is posted on our School District’s website. The realtor paid the fee for the cookbook license so the school didn’t have to. Now every time a parent uses the cookbook, they will see his contact information on the cover page…just in case they are in the market for a house.
For more information and updates, visit www.supperweekly.blogspot.com
Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/schoolnightdinnerideas?ref=br_tf
About the Interviewer
Michell Spoden is the author of Stricken Yet Crowned and is also pursuing a transitional housing project for woman with an agricultural aspect. She has a degree in Business Science Administration and is finishing her bachelor’s in Project Management.