Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Today Was Interview Day !

This morning the Sun shone, continuing all day through.  Regardless of how I feel, I am sure I always feel better when the Sun is high up in the sky.

February 12th, 2013 I had received an email from Knorr Canada, as follows:

Firstly, thank you so much for your continued and enthusiastic engagement on the Knorr Canada Facebook page.  We saw you recently made the Knorr Shepherd’s Pie recipe on your blog JustNorthofWiarton.blogspot.ca.  As a great love of and ambassador for Knorr, we wanted to offer you an interview opportunity with Sandi Richard, top Canadian meal planning expert.
Sandi has teamed up with Knorr to really get at the heart of why three simple words: “what’s for dinner?”  is so stressful. As mother to seven children, Sandi has first-hand experience with meal planning and has made a career of developing recipes for the rushed and inspiring families to get back around the dinner table. 
Sandi understands that for a mom, it’s not just about cooking dinner – there’s a constant struggle brewing before dinner even hits the table! Meal planning can be stressful and we know dinner inspiration can “eat up” a lot of your precious time.  To help make dinner less stressful and provide solutions to your dinner woes, she can shed light on the following:
  • Key findings from a new, national survey looking at perceptions and behaviours associated with the meal planning process
  • Getting the most out of your grocery store visits
  • Tips to get kids (and husbands!) involved
  • Easy meal solutions and recipes that the whole family will love 
If you are interested in coordinating an interview with Sandi to learn more from her experience and insight, please just let me know and we can organize a time for you.

After putting it to Cindy's Recipe Exchange Members, by requesting their input I compiled a few questions, which were emailed back to Knorr Canada.  They in turned responded with Sandi's suggestion a personal phone interview with me would be more beneficial then answering the questions through an email.

Today was interview day I had the telephone interview with Sandi.  I initially had been a tad nervous, hoping I would not put my "foot in my mouth" as I am  known to do this out of nervousness or fatigue, quite often then naught.  

My phone rang at 10:42 and it was Sandi.  The conversation started of as if it had been a long time friend I hadn't spoke with in a while.  This put me to ease in a "split second".

Once the easiness of our conversation continued on for over a half hour (oh my), we had thought we had better focus our attention to the prepared questions on hand.  This is pretty exact on how it went, with Sandi's educated replies on the subject outlined in red to the best of my knowledge from what I have gathered on my note taking (really my attention span and short-hand is not what it used to be):

1) How to budget for a Healthy Menu with today's rising food costs? (mine)

Families need to modernize themselves, rather then making a weekly grocery list.  They can do this by creating an Eat Sheet (Weekly Blueprint Menu).  This can be done by bringing the family together by choosing a "low stress" time to have every family member give their input on what they would like to eat within a 5 day period..  Once this has been established the shopping for this Blueprint can be done for this week.  Sandi recommends 3 Blueprints be made up to be used on a rotation basis, then incorporate more as time goes on.  This Eat Sheets can be used 90% of the time, saving money and time with good healthy food organized and easy to be made with food choice from the family as a whole.

Paying attention to the Grocery flyers (who base their sales on weekly rotations) with buying non-perishable foods or foods that can be frozen, that are listed on  your Blueprint, "on sale" for another week or two ahead.  

Sticking to your Eat Sheet and avoiding going into the store more then once per week will SAVE YOU MONEY in the long run, as we all know what happens when we go into a Grocery Store for that "one" item.

What is an Eat Sheet?  Examples can been found HERE.

2) How to prepare Quick & Easy Meals without the salt content that so many pre-packaged foods have in them? (Kathy Evans)

Yes we always need to be cautious with the amounts of our salt intake.  Sandi recommends going by the Mayo Clinic Standards of 2,300mg/day.  That being said, Salt content made with product "helpers" (pre-made packages) combined with fresh ingredients lessens the salt content in the packaged foods.

NOT eating out is a good way to cut back on your Salt intake.  Cooking and eating at home gives you control the amount of salt that is used in your foods.

3) In your opinion, Sandi, what is the best cooking material you would recommend for oven and stove top? glass, Teflon, cast iron, ceramic? (Angie King-Webber)

Stove Top:  
Sandi's favourite cookware is Non-Stick.  She uses Swiss Diamond Brand non-stick cookware.  She is not a fan of Teflon.  Also Non-Stick is good for the person who does not cook too often as it an easier type of cookware to be used.  Non-stick is also easier for a family to use when working together in the kitchen.  ie, wherein a different type of cookware might require a specific temperature, or oils to be used in them for some desired cooking results, in turn maybe not being so user friendly for the less experienced cook in the family.

Sandi is a fan of using ALL types of cookware.  Changing up cooking materials gives way to our bodies a change to remove heavy metals from it naturally.  Glass, metal, enamel.

4) What is your preferred cooking appliance when cooking for your family? BBQ, Stovetop, Oven, Microwave, Slow Cooker, etc?(mine)

Sandi's most favourite way to cook, if she could all the time, would be the BBQ.  However with that said she thinks every type of appliance should be made use of  when required.

5)  What would you recommend a budget be set at for a family of 2, 4, 6, that would contribute to healthy eating?(mine)

Sandi based this answer on feeding a family of 4-6.  She stated they could be fed extremely healthy, foods to include lots of chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables, on a maximum of $125.00, and even could go as low as $100.00 per week.  This can be accomplished by keeping an eye on the bargain flyers for sale rotation, not shopping more then once a week, and of course making and following a weekly Eat Sheet.

Sandi also stated this could also be done on a decreased budget of $60.00 to $75.00 per week.

6)  How to deal with a child who is a picky eater?(Mandy Newgent)

Sandi has a "one bite rule" for picky eaters, believing it is not the food they dislike but the texture.  Picky eaters are often caused by loving parents who bend to what their children wants instead of standing fast on boundaries.  

Once you begin introducing foods to the child(ren) using the "one bite rule",  or one tablespoon, on a regular basis, they indeed will begin increasing the different textured foods in their eating habits.  Do not worry about them losing out on nutrition when administering/introducing the "one bite rule" to them as they will be fine.  Buckle down parents, let them turn their little noses up, or sit at the table a little longer then the rest of the family, as it will eventually turn around with their different food intake increases with constant persistence on the parents part.

(On a personal note, I used this method with my own children, and still follow through by using it with my Grandchildren.  It does work, and they do not starve by any means.  Also I had read an article in the Lifestyle section of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record years ago which was based on "If we would Train our Children with the same consistency as our Canine(s) we would have very obedient Children.", this is not word for word by any means but the general gist of what I do remember it saying.  Consistency and Boundaries do have their rewards with lots of "love" put in the mix).

This was pretty much the how all the questions I had put to Sandi had been answered.  

I am genuinely thrilled to have had this experience, thanks to Knorr Canada and special thanks to Sandi, herself.  I really would look forward to any future opportunity to another telephone interview at any time.

Should you like to see more of Sandi's meal preparation/cooking insights and tips, you may do so by seeing Knorr What's For Dinner by going to their website HERE, or Facebook Page HERE.

Also here are just a couple of Knorr What's For Dinner recipes that I have made in my own kitchen:

... and for Knorr's collection of What's For Dinner Recipes, you can find them HERE.  Stay tuned at a later date as there is a couple in there I am anxious yet to be trying out myself in the very near future.

Any grammar or spelling errors, I do so apologize, however I do the best I can do when I am running on only a little sleep.  I really do not think it was such a good date with Mr. Insomnia after all, knowing all his promises of a night on the town had been bottomless ones...hopefully tonight he stays at bay.

Here I am looking at all these wonderful Knorr dishes I have cooked thinking I have not even begun to think what Dinner is going to be tonight for myself and my "Crabby Cabbie".  What I am thinking is I had better get "cracking" on that right now, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".


  1. Thanks for sharing the interview Cindy! I found it quite helpful & interesting! :) After I comment i'm going to look at the blueprint page, that sounds great! As per all your recipe photos... mmmm!! Making me hungry! lol!!

    1. Carla there is also a link there to print off "blank" Eat Sheets as I am sure you will notice.

  2. How cool is that!! You are such a good cook they should be looking to you for idea's!! Hope you get some sleep tonight!

    1. Do not think I have caught with you yet in your cooking skills, Debby. And thanks I could use some of that sleep stuff.

  3. Great interview Cindy.....
    Your food pics make me feel so inferior since we just ate boring leftovers from the microwave:) B

    1. I LOVE leftovers. Tasty and usually make for a good meal.

  4. Sandi had some great advice here! And I second Debby - you can inspire a few recipes yourself :)

  5. This is such a cool thing to have done, Cindy! Nice job!

  6. I always do a weekly sheet that we call the 'dinner list' and then write the shopping list from there. Doing on-line grocery shopping helps too as I'm never tempted by things I see in the aisles! How exciting having you interview Cindy.....I like the look of those scones...yum.

  7. Congratulations, Cindy! I'm familiar with Knorr. My mother was Swiss, and she used a LOT of Knorr.

    1. Thanks for your input, LuAnn, that is so cool to know this.

  8. Thanks for sharing your interview with Sandi. Knorr is also popular in the Philippines - they have really good products.

    Your food photos are making me hungry! Those scones looks so yummy...


  9. Thank you very much for sharing the interview, Cindy!


How nice of you to drop around to have a wee visit with me to see what I have been up to from time to time. I look forward to your comments as they add much brightness to my each and every day to know there are such wonderful people out there.

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