Katie Kimball’s children sharpened their fine motor skills as toddlers by learning how to cut and spread with a butter knife and pour and measure ingredients correctly.
Katie has turned a simple desire to cook healthy food for her family into a growing business.
Early on she discovered that raw milk, homemade yogurt, and sourdough bread, then a gluten-free and occasional grain-free diet, helped her husband through some health issues.
Then, when her first child was born, she remembers thinking, “Oh my, I’m in charge of this tiny life.” It was an awakening that suddenly found her spending large amounts of time in the kitchen making baby food from scratch.
As she learned some of her own kitchen tricks, her desire to use healthier, organic food became a reality despite time and budget constraints. With a background in teaching, this naturally led to a desire to teach other moms what she was learning.
Eventually, several people suggested starting a blog to “see if there was any interest in the idea.”
“I literally said, ‘What’s a blog?’ I had no idea,” Katie says.
That was 2008. By 2009, kitchenstewardship.com was born—a website where adults can find information about finding balance and being good stewards of what God has given them.
“Everything we have is from God, and we are called to be good stewards of it. For me it’s very much entrenched in my faith,” she says. “I so enjoy the social interaction of the blog, being able to get out there and talk to people about the ideas, back and forth in the comments.”
Fast forward to 2015 and she would once again flex her teaching muscles by developing online cooking classes for kids. Her online courses are divided into three levels with eight classes per level. The first level, for the beginner, is geared to kids ages 2-5 and focuses on kitchen concepts like pouring, holding a knife correctly, spreading with a knife, blending spices, and proper measuring by measuring things flat.
Level two, the intermediate level, teaches stovetop safety, how to follow a recipe, an introduction to using a sharp knife, browning ground meat, and other useful skills.
For the advanced cook, level three spends the first four classes teaching sharp knife skills more in depth, ending with how to cook a white sauce and steam veggies.
Today, kidscookrealfood.com offers more than 45 training videos and 400 printables to its 5,000+ members.
When she first began, she struggled with communicating some of the measuring concepts to her students. Her then-7-year-old suggested doing what she had been doing with him and his siblings all along: teaching basic spoon sizes by using words like daddy, mommy, kid, and baby spoons. She created pictorial cards that demonstrate the different measuring sizes to kids who don’t yet read or know their numbers.
Katie says her courses make kids “much more independent than they would be otherwise.”
Teaching kids to cook is Katie’s passion.
“I really want kids to learn to cook,” and have “an appreciation for real food they can make themselves, and I want them to have an understanding of basic [cooking] skills,” she says. “If they come across a recipe, I want them to think, ‘I have the skills for this.’”
To that end, her videos are skill-based rather than recipe-based.
Katie’s classes have been used by a myriad of other organizations, expanding her reach beyond the traditional home cook, including:
- Utah’s Expanded Core Curriculum to provide cooking classes for the blind.
- Youth Villages, an organization working with foster families in in Tennessee and Mississippi in which 80 memberships were gifted through a “buy one, give one” campaign.
- Amara, a nonprofit organization that works with kids in foster care, working to become incorporated into their foster care/adoptive mentoring programs.
- Homeschool co-ops and school-to-home partnerships.
- An afterschool program in Kansas.
- A preschool program in California.
- Charter schools that pay for their students’ home study programs in California and a few other states.
Although her courses are geared specifically to kids, she often hears from parents that they are learning right along with their kids. She’s considering adding classes to her curriculum for young adults who don’t know how to cook, a last-ditch effort before heading out on their own. She’d also like to develop an extension of her current classes focusing on fruits and veggies, teaching kids how to pick, wash, and cook them.
Classes aren’t the only teaching resources available. Katie has written several e-books: The Everything Beans Book, Better Than a Box, The Healthy Lunch Box, The Healthy Breakfast Book, Smart Sweets, The Family Camping Handbook, and her bestselling Healthy Snacks to Go, which is also available in print.
But even this cooking teacher needed help at one time.
“We used to have 40 boxes of cheap cereal in the basement and had Hamburger Helper weekly,” she says.
It’s this kind of honest encouragement coupled with tutorials on both websites that persuade even the most intimidated cooks to get in the kitchen and give it a try. And if you were fortunate enough to score an Instant Pot for Christmas, her website offers tutorials and recipes for it, including a video on how to cook macaroni and cheese with it starring her 5-year-old.
If all of her accomplishments aren’t enough, her 2018 business goal is simple: to be “nationally known as the mom who teaches kids to cook.” When the subject of kids and real food comes up, she wants people to ask, “What does Katie Kimball have to say about it?”
She doesn’t do all of this alone though. Her husband, Kristopher, was able to leave his corporate job three years ago and start his own software business for bloggers, something born out of a need for her blog. She employs a site editor, social media manager, customer service people, administrative assistant, content auditor and executive assistant, graphic designer, photo editor, affiliate manager, four contributing writers, a video team, and her 12-year-old, who does her weekly stats. All the kids pitch in on Sundays and make pizza so she can have the freedom to be involved in other ministries.
“The bottom line is that this crazy business that grew out of a passion and conversations in my head is now part-time income for almost a dozen women,” she says.
Despite her focused pursuit on healthy organic food, she admits her family doesn’t eat healthy 100 percent of the time.
“I have to survive with the family not hating me too,” she says.
Read about why Kristopher and Katie chose Samaritan for their health care needs.