Cyndi Kane: Simplifying Suppertime
The start of summer ushers in feelings of bright, happy days and a slower pace that is conducive to creating special memories. The extra family time is wonderful, especially around the dinner table, but that can add an additional layer of complexity to meal planning and preparation. Enter Cyndi Kane’s new cookbook, Save-It-Forward Suppers. Her unique concept simplifies meal planning and is a game-changer that considers budget and time. It even helps with recipes that include those ever-important vegetables!
As a mother of four, Cyndi will be the first to admit that getting dinner on the table every night can be daunting, but she has devised a way to make it easier with just a little strategic planning. And she discovered this first-hand while planning meals for the past 30-plus years! During that time, she simplified her meal planning and is now spilling the beans on the techniques she uses to make meals with ease. Even her best friend, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, sings her praises as the home cook that she most aspires to be like!
TK: Tell us about the “Save-It-Forward” concept in your cookbook, Save-It-Forward Suppers.
Cyndi: Instead of warming up leftovers, this cookbook provides a way to reimagine your leftovers into something entirely new! The book tackles meal planning and provides components for one meal to be the basis of the next meal. There are 15 weekly menus along with 130 recipes.
TK: What contributed to the idea of saving items forward in meal planning?
Cyndi: My mother was a child during the Depression. Sadly, my grandmother became a widow and was left with four kids to raise during the Depression. So, I believe it was in my DNA to be budget-minded and resourceful with meal-planning.
TK: How does this cookbook target those who are budget-conscious?
Cyndi: The cost of groceries is so frightening for families! I didn’t want to have people buy unnecessary or specialty items or waste a bunch of food. If there are expensive ingredients at the beginning of the week, I incorporate less expensive items at the end of the week. I also made sure to incorporate vegetables, but in tasty, kid-friendly ways.
TK: How did your interest in cooking come about?
Cyndi: I have spent the last 20 years homeschooling my kids, so I joke that feeding them three meals a day became the accidental fodder for a cookbook. In an effort to make dinners new and provide that comfort of sitting down to a good meal, especially at supper time, I really had to plan if I wanted to save my sanity. My kids range in age from 31 to 17, so I’ve made a lot of meals in my 36 years of marriage!
TK: When did you decide to write your cookbook?
Cyndi: My passion in feeding my family gave me the idea to help others enjoy their family mealtime. I know it’s a grind to get a meal on the table every night. During the last two years of the pandemic, life slowed down and gave me time to organize the recipes and tricks that I’ve been doing for years. Just remember, meals don’t have to be elaborate, and if you are strategic, you can get a great meal on the table with much less effort.
TK: Do you have a favorite week of recipes?
Cyndi: Big Ol’ Honkin’ Ham Week! It’s very economical to buy a big ham. The book has different ways to use different pieces of ham. My kids love eggs benedict – it seems like a special restaurant meal, and my cookbook shares several shortcuts – including tips on making packaged hollandaise sauce taste fresh. Another favorite of theirs in “Ham Week” is jambalaya, and they are also big fans of shepherd’s pie.
TK: Do you have any tips about kids helping in the kitchen?
Cyndi: You have to remind yourself that it will take twice as long and make twice the mess to let your kids “help” you. BUT – if you can look at that as an investment in the future, I promise it will pay off. You will eventually have kids who will not only cook for themselves, but, believe it or not, will even cook for their parents one day!
TK: Do you have any advice for parents who have children who are picky eaters?
Cyndi: Just keep presenting them with the things that they don’t like, trying to cajole/persuade/trick them into taking “just one bite.” You have to do it enthusiastically and with a spirit of fun. Whatever you do, don’t make mealtime turn into a battle. You may win a few battles, but you will lose the war. You want mealtimes to be their safe haven, not a battlefield. Their tastes will likely broaden a bit over time unless it becomes a battle of wills.
Cyndi: It’s been fun to hear from people who are using the cookbook!
TK: Who inspires you in the kitchen?
Cyndi: My friend Ree Drummond has certainly been a huge inspiration for me! Everything she makes is so delicious – it’s always good!
TK: What do you enjoy about sharing meals with your family?
Cyndi: My daughter asked me if I enjoyed cooking, and it made me realize that I really don’t love the process of cooking, but I do love the results. Meals are a time of relaxation and connectivity and conducive to ideas. Sharing meals is a good way to do it around the family dinner table. So, it’s worth the effort!
TK: When you’re not in the kitchen, what do you enjoy doing?
Cyndi: I have an entrepreneurial streak, and I have a business where I sell kitchen products at my website houseofhyacinth.com. I have a collaboration with an influencer known as “Reluctant Entertainer,” where we design and manufacture really wonderful, American-made charcuterie boards. So, that excites me! I also love to read and putter in my flower beds. Now that I am on the brink of being an empty nester, I would love to travel more.
TK: What are you passionate about right now?
Cyndi: Right now, I’m working on getting the word out about my book, and I love hearing from people who are using the cookbook to help with their family meals! I’m also helping my 17-year-old navigate his path to college – my last act as a homeschool mom, so that’s bittersweet.
You can find Cyndi online at: houseofhyacinth.com and on Instagram: @therealcyndikane. She also has a Facebook community called Save It Forward Suppers where people cook along with each other from the cookbook.
Her cookbook, Save-It-Forward Suppers, can be found everywhere books are sold.