I have known Kim since our kids started at the same school together in 2013. She is perhaps the most genuinely happy person I’ve ever met: her personality is contagiously bubbly and she is inspiringly optimistic. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about Kim, but this could get long . . . instead, you can see for yourselves how her creativity and genuine love of life shine through via her business called Bumble Box. These “family time kits” are meant to get families moving, learning, and crafting together. Each box is so well though out and creative and perfect for families who want to add some fun and variety to their play together! (It is also great for grandparents, babysitters, and holidays!) Kim has shared some lovely thoughts about cooking for her family, as well as one of their favourite weeknight meals below!
Kimberly Mears: Indian Squash Curry
Growing up in the American South, my mum always made our family meals from scratch. We’d devour the typical Southern favourites like fried chicken, beef stew, pinto beans with coleslaw, cornbread and collard greens. YUM! With so much flavour on the table, we never battled over food. As kids, we ate what we liked and left what we didn’t and with vegetables often fresh from the garden, there’s wasn’t much not to like.
These days as a mum of two in London, I realise what a gift my mom’s wholesome, homemade meals were to us growing up. I want my children to enjoy the same sort of made from scratch meals that we did as kids. But, finding it difficult to recreate mom’s classics, I’ve had to develop my own collection of healthy, fresh, made from scratch dishes that can be made in 30 minutes or less with little feet in the mix. Tall order, right?
Slowly, I’ve amassed a large collection of favourite recipes, which meet the criteria. I like variety—so rather than the typical family’s rotation of 15 favourites, we so far have a spreadsheet of 100+. If left to me we’d have each meal once every six months, but that’s much too infrequently for my family’s liking. So, each Sunday around the dinner table, I ask everyone to suggest a meal they’d like to include in that week’s menu plan—each family member selects one (or a couple) and I select the others. We order the groceries online and cook the meals together.
My 3 & 5 year olds help with peeling the vegetables, squashing the avocados, grating the cheese, setting the table—just like my husband and I used to when we were their age. My husband and I take on the ‘dangerous’ tasks of boiling, slicing and the like. Together, we make lovely meals—and loveliest of all, I’m pleased to say that my kids know their way around the kitchen as a result.
If you also like to prepare fresh, flavourful, healthy meals in 30 minutes or less, give our family’s favourite veggie curry a try. This recipe typically makes our menu rotation twice a month by popular request—that’s a rarity in our house, so it’s a surefire favourite.
On busy days, I pop all the ingredients into a slow-cooker in the morning and leave it stew all day, but in a pinch I can prepare the curry on the hob in 30 minutes or less. Either way, this curry is always fresh, flavourful and delicious.
I’ve made adjustments to the original recipe to suit my family’s taste.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons crystalised stem ginger (or the same measure of grated fresh ginger root if you have it)
- 2 tablespoons curry powder (pick your favourite—I use a mixture of a medium curry powder and garam masala)
- 1 cup [200 grams] dry, red lentils
- 1 litre [4 and 1/4 cups] boiling water
- Veggie stock cube
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 fresh lemon, cut into 8 wedges for squeezing
- For the coriander oil:
- ½ cup coriander (sans stems)
- ½ cup rapeseed oil
- Accompaniments: cooked long-grain rice, steamed broccoli
Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy pot. Throw in the butternut squash, onions, carrots and celery—stir frequently.
Once the veg starts to soften, pop in the garlic, ginger and curry powder—cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add lentils, veggie stock cube and boiling water and simmer, covered until the lentils are tender (~25 minutes).
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To make the coriander oil, puree the coriander and oil with ½ tsp salt in a blender. Drizzle over the curry as you like.
We like to serve the curry with long-grain rice, lemon wedges (to squeeze over) and steamed broccoli.
Kimberly is the founder of Bumble Box–family activity kits designed to bring families together. Bumble Box subscribers catch animals’ footprints in the sand, give the trees a shake to see what’s living in there, host a Family Olympics, race homemade boats on the stream, plant a fairy garden…you get the drift. Bumble Box helps young families to make it through their family-time bucket list while their children are small.