We are thrilled to introduce our latest “Meet a Mom” and new food/recipe contributor, Kathleen (Kat) Ashmore. Kat recently launched the CatwithaK Cooks food blog with a focus on clean eating recipes that are family friendly and we are so excited to have her share her recipes with us on a regular basis.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
William – age 4 and Coco – age 2
What brought you and your family to town?
I’m from CT originally and always thought I’d move back someday. I was living in Toronto with my now husband when my father got sick and quickly passed, so that sped things up. My husband and I got engaged quickly after that and made plans to move down here a few months later. It was the right time to come back, for many reasons, and I’m so thankful we’ve started raising a family here.
What’s the best part about being part of the community?
We live in Rowayton, and what drew us here was the sense of nostalgia and the energy in the air. There are many beautiful towns in CT, but sometimes you drive by these pristine grounds and wonder where everyone is! I love to see people gardening, walking dogs, jumping off bridges into the water, and enjoying their lives like they do here.
What’s your favorite family activity to do in the area?
We love to go hiking, whether it’s at Ward Pound Ridge or Lake Mohegan, it’s a chance to get us all out into the fresh air and shake up the day a little.
I also love going to Grace Farms for lunch and a walk around the grounds, it’s so spacious and beautiful. And let’s be honest, at this stage of child rearing it’s all about getting my toddlers’ energy out!
Tell us how you first developed an interest in cooking?
I’ve always loved to cook. My brother used to tease me as a child because I’d take Martha Stewart cookbooks on family vacations and read them in our hotel room. He’d be like “Umm, there’s not kitchen.” But I read them like novels, and I still do.
Cooking is a creative form that has always spoken to me. There is a comfort and certainty that comes over me in the kitchen that I don’t find anywhere else. Most of my best memories involve food and the caravan built around it.
What was it like developing recipes for Martha Stewart?
How much time do you have? Kidding aside, it was an extraordinary time in my life. The first day I walked onto the television set I felt a sense of exhilaration I had never felt before. There were many “pinch me” moments. Talking about food and producing television segments with chefs and food personalities I had followed for years was something I never fully settled into. For the first year I had total imposter syndrome, I kept waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder and ask how I got in the building!
I learned so many valuable skills and lessons, and frankly it forced me to really grow up and get a backbone. I’ve taken with me the importance of leading with a point of view, even if you’re shaking in your boots. You can always pivot, but if you sit back and wait to feel ready the moments pass you by.
We love your blog CatwithaK Cooks, and we are so excited to have you as a regular contributor, what types of recipes do you plan to share with our audience?
I’m so excited to be partnering up with you guys! I focus on clean eating recipes for the most part – the majority are gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free simply because that’s how I eat on a daily basis and I want to share myself authentically with you all.
I am a believer that comfort food does not need to be heavy, and developing recipes that are satisfying and delicious is always the most important thing to me. It seems that right now we all need fast, simple, comforting family recipes and that’s primarily what I plan to serve up. I’m here to make your life easier, not harder!
As we approach the holiday season, any tips to help moms get organized in advance?
I am a huge believer in meal planning and preparation, mostly because it allows you to act mindfully. The times where I haven’t been prepared and have reacted last minute, my energy has been rushed and anxious and your family and guests can feel that. Do yourself a favor and schedule it out. I have three tools I use, and they are all hard copy tools since I just can’t get on board with going fully digital. I like to get my hands-on things.
- I have a large binder with all of my favorite recipes, including my own, categorized and covered in sheet protectors. These are the tried and true recipes I turn to again and again on a weekly basis.
- I also have another binder of categorized recipes that are occasion based. My grandfather’s fresh cranberry sauce, the Christmas cookies I make every year, etc.
- I have a meal planner that I use every week. I survey the fridge and freezer every weekend and then sit down Sunday night and decide what I want to make for that week’s dinners. Doing this when I’m relaxed makes all the difference, and it’s a ritual I genuinely look forward to each week. For instance, I pick my kids up from preschool three days a week, and know that I’ll be gone for about an hour right before dinner time. So those days, I select meals that can be easily re-warmed, or better yet, are improved by letting them sit like soups, stews, and braises.
Favorite band, book, tv show…
Band – Paul Simon, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Mumford & Sons… too many to count
Book – Rules of Civility
TV Show – The Office
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
If you’re trying to be a good mom, you’re already a good mom.
My nana also believed that most emotional ailments could be cured with a “nice cup of tea” and I think she was on to something.
How did you end up on Tik Tok?
No one is more surprised than me that Tik Tok has become my main content platform, it’s a total blast. You can find me there under the same handle for lots of tips, tricks, and short form recipe content!
Go out to eat with/without kids:
As a family we like to stay local and walk to Rowayton Market for breakfast on the water, or head to Flour Salt Water Bakery in Darien and have croissants outside. Without kids, we like Terrain for brunch or Tavern at Graybarns for dinner.
Grab a drink with friends: Our good friend opened The White Buffalo in New Canaan, so that’s a place we like to frequent for a casual drink and snack.
Have a date night: Tavern at Graybarns
Shop for yourself/shop for your kids: I just came across Wee Mondeen in Darien and it’s such a darling shop. I picked up a few things for Coco (and myself), so many unique, well made mommy and me options.
Grab coffee: Neat or Roost in Darien.
Connect with Kat: My website is www.catwithak.com and my handle is @catwithakcooks. Come say hello, I’m always eager to hear what people want to learn and see more of!