Laney Schwartz is the founder of the blog Life is but a Dish and creator of Cook with Confidence. We sit around the fire with Laney to discuss how she moved from Maryland to L.A. Starting a food blog, which lead to teaching other home cooks to build confidence in the kitchen, cook without being tied to a recipe, and learn life-long foundational cooking techniques. Laney shares tips on how to use what you have on hand in the freezer, fridge, and pantry from your harvest to create a quick, easy and healthy meal that the whole family will love + great tips along the way to learn how to cook with confidence.
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We’ve discussed on the podcast before butchering, field care and wild game recipes with wild game chef Jeremiah Doughtry on this episode here!
I wanted to take it back a notch and really dig deep with our guest today, Laney on finding confidence in the kitchen to actually be able to start making recipes and/or not being tied to a recipe by using what you may have on hand from your hunts, garden or just what’s hanging out in your pantry/fridge.
On this episode we discuss:
What would you expect to see around the campfire if I was you?
Laney’s first memory of the outdoors.
How she got started in cooking.
What sparked the move from Maryland, to Michigan to Los Angeles?
How did Laney started her food blog Life is but a Dish.
How are people finding you on Snapchat?
Teaching people how to set up their kitchen for success.
What a common lack of confidence is within the kitchen and how to over come it.
Tips for being able to keep a variety of staples on hand to throw together a quick, easy, and mostly healthy meal that the whole family will LOVE.
When it’s good to go back to the basics of cooking and what those are.
We play a game: “What’s in your pantry?” and Laney helps us see how to build a dinner without a recipe with ingredients we have on hand with wild game from our freezer, pantry staples and produce from the fridge.
You should be wanting to get excited about your dinner! How to do so and gain more confidence in the kitchen with Cook with Confidence.
Transcript:Click HERE for full episode transcript
*Please note this was transcribed by ai and may not be 100% accurate.
Brittney Long: I’m so excited because as we were just saying, We’ve kicked it kind of around the campfire before, I don’t know if we ever actually ended up getting a campfire started. But if there’s one
thing I know about you, Lainey, that if we were hanging out, and we were just chilling at night,
that I wouldn’t be able to kind of like sit back. I mean, I would want to help because I can’t just
sit there, but you would have some kind of like spread of food happening. What would I expect
to see you bring around the campfire? If we’re just hanging out? What What would I see?
Laney Schwartz: It’s funny when I was thinking about like envisioning, it would depend because if it was
my campfire, I think I would have spread but if I was at somebody else’s, honestly, I think I
would just want to like sit and eat potato chips like I want. I want something to Frenchie. I want
to do nothing I want like a glass of wine, pulling a glass of wine and some like delicious crunchy
potato chips. And I can’t like think of anything else except for potato chips, which I don’t.
Brittney Long: It must be hanging around me because I am like, chips are my I can’t they’re my kryptonite. It’s so hard for me to stop. Good. What’s your chip of choice?
Laney Schwartz: Do just like a plain potato chip, but I also do like salt and vinegar. Oh, yeah, I like the kettle brand. Salt and vinegar chips. They’re just, it’s something that I don’t keep on hand all the time.
Probably because I’ll just eat the whole bag. But no, I just I like things that I mean, normally I
feel like I would have some sort of like cheese and crackers and like some fruit and some nuts.
I’m not that so camp fiery, but
Brittney Long: no, no, totally,
Laney Schwartz: just little, little anything finger food that I can just pop in my mouth easily and have a glass of wine on the other hand,
Brittney Long: totally. I get it. That’s my kind of, that’s my kind of snack too. I would love for you to kind of walk us through your backstory because you’re currently based in LA, or the LA area. But like
tell us who’s Laney Where did Laney grow up.
Laney Schwartz: I am from the East Coast. So I grew up in Maryland. And was there my whole life until I went to college and went to University of Michigan. So I kind of went from East Coast to the Midwest
and then decided to come out to California when I graduated. Just for the summer. I was just
going to go and spend the summer and learn how to surf and what is it now 16 years later, I’m
still here. met a boy got married had babies. And I guess I guess I’m here for good. That’s
where I am. And yeah, I used to be an elementary school teacher. And that was also part of
why I ended up staying here. I got a job. And I was teaching first grade at a great school and I
loved it. And fast forward to I don’t know how many years after that 10 years ago at this point.
had babies and then eight years ago from just about now started the blog. And here we are.
Brittney Long: I find it so interesting to that. Because a lot of our listeners are like the small town
person, right? But so many of us have so many mud, like so many more dreams outside of just
like the small town. And so when you hear someone went to like growing up in high school,
right, you always hear someone that’s like, when I graduate, I’m gonna move to LA or like New
York. Was that always kind of your vision of like, I want to go experience it? Or did you have a
friend and you were like, let’s just go for it?
Laney Schwartz: No. Well, so I didn’t really have a vision beyond college. Like I was just like, I don’t really know what’s next. Everybody. I liked it. I went to a big school. So I like that big school energy. I kind
of thought like, I love New York, but I didn’t really see myself living in New York, everybody
from Michigan kind of moved to Chicago or moved to New York. Okay. And I just I didn’t I don’t
know, I just didn’t see myself doing that. And I lived with my cousin who was also my best
friend and she was like, I’m gonna go to California for the summer. Why don’t you just come
and I was like, okay, like, what else am I gonna do? So I really moved out here with her again
just for the summer. And with really no plan, it was just kind of to come out here and live life fo
a few months and party it up. And it was awesome now that when I looked back on it, but I
didn’t really have a plan. I did go to school for elementary education. So I knew that I wanted to
be a teacher. So I was kind of babysitting and coaching soccer and doing things with kids over
the summer and then just started applying for jobs and again didn’t plan to necessarily live out
here. I would have never thought that I would be living in California my whole life and honestly,
I would be happy to leave I actually crave the small town like now that I’m grown and have kids
I crave the quiet and I just I would like to You kind of get out of the hustle and bustle of a big,
big city one day, we will see.
Brittney Long: I know if anybody follows Laney on Life’s but a dish on social media,
something that is very big for you as me is getting out and doing your walks. And I know that
you crave like nature and being on trees and a little backstory, Laney came to Park City, Utah
and visited and we kept running into the aspen trees. And we were just like, underneath them
videoing because anybody that’s been there like we’re seeing them they know that it gives like
the most beautiful rustling sound of leaves. What was your first Do you remember your first
memory outdoors? Because I know like the trees and nature really speak to you?
Laney Schwartz: That is I no one’s ever asked me that question before my first memory of outdoors. I now that I’m like, oh, but going back through my brain picturing Yeah, I really do have I don’t know if this
is my first memory. But my some of my earliest memories. The house that I grew up in, there
was a townhouse. It was an amazing neighborhood. Like I grew up with tons of kids. We were I
mean, in the 80s. You know, we were outside all day until it was dark out like that we were just
outside all of the time. And right outside of our house was it when I was a kid, I thought it was
huge. But I don’t think that it was this like forest and huge tall trees. I mean, it couldn’t have
been more than 50 yards wide, you know, in like a square shape. But I just remember we just
would go in there and explore and I don’t even know what we would do. But that was just
literally right outside my front door. And I lived in that little forest and so that that’s kind of my
earliest memories of trees. And maybe that’s why I love it.
Brittney Long: I was just gonna say now that I hear that story. I’m like, now you write your new little therapy session. I love that now that I know that like you love getting out and like I know you find so
much clarity on your walks as do I and a lot of people that listen is being outdoors. It really
clears that headspace for him. So I’m always interested to hear people’s vivid memories,
because I do think it packs a lot for us as we look at it. That’s so that I love that story. I’m so
glad you were able to share that you thought about that.
Laney Schwartz: I never thought about being outside. What do you mean? Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s never thought about being outside. What do you mean? Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s
Brittney Long: So you are in LA now and you’re a teacher. And then I believe you said you started your blog as you started to have your babies your girls, you’re a mom of two girls. Is that what happened is
you kind of shifted into the blog and cooking.
Laney Schwartz: Yes, so I was teaching and then when I had my oldest who’s now 10 She’ll be 11 in December. I stopped teaching I actually got this like random one year homeschool job, which was awesome while she was like nine months old, but I never officially went back into the traditional
classroom after that I had my second child. And so then I had two babies under the age of two
and I thought okay, this is a good time to start. I don’t know why I was already cooking at the
time I was taking pictures of my food and posting on Facebook for for no good reason. And
what year is so this was 2008 was born 2014 So at that point, it was like okay, am I gonna go
back to the classroom? My gonna hire you know, someone am I gonna do daycare like the man
I was getting paid as a teacher, it was just it wasn’t worth it for me to go back. I wanted to
come with the girls as much as I could. And so I was taking pictures of food I was already
cooking. And I used to go on the internet to get inspiration for dinner. And I used I found food
blogs and I was like, Oh, this is a job people are taking pictures of their food and posting
recipes online. And this is their this is their job like, like I could do this and understand. And I
just started to do more research and I found kind of a handful of blogs that I thought visually
looks really beautiful. And were so inspiring. And you know, at that point blogs were just blogs,
like there was no crazy social media there was Instagram but you just post a picture and go
away it was all about photos. It was all about writing. There was no video you didn’t know who
the person was behind the screen and I was just I there was so some beautiful ones. And there
were so many out there that were just like crappy recipes, ugly pictures. I was like I can do this.
I can do this. I have delicious recipes. I know how to teach I can. I want to try this. And so that’s
literally how it started. And I just this was 2014 In October 2014, I decided to go live with it and
try it for a year or two, I basically, in a conversation with my husband was kind of like, Okay,
let’s try this for, you know, give yourself like a two year window we had enough where I could
just stay home and do that be with the girls, and not worry about, you know, making so much
money at that point. But let’s see if this can be something. And if at that point, it’s not then we
have another conversation, and maybe you need to find something else to do. And if it is, keep
going. Yeah. And we’re going. And we’re still here are still here.
Brittney Long: Were you always someone who loved cooking and being in the kitchen since you were young? Or did that come after you’d moved out?
Laney Schwartz: It came after I moved out. I’ve always loved eating, and I’ve always loved food. And I’ve always been around people and family that loved cooking. And so my mom cooked. I just didn’t cook. I’d
been around people and family that loved cooking. And so my mom cooked. I just didn’t cook
because she just always did. And so we were I don’t ever remember really being in the kitchen
together. Like making meals. I just remember the excitement around food always. holidays and
family dinners. And my family just loves food. Like we could just talk about food all day. And
like things as simple as going to the grocery store and getting you know, a loaf of the bread
and just eating it in the car ride home. Like, we just love. We just love food. And so I grew up I
grew up loving it. But it wasn’t until I was on my own where I was like, Oh, well, no one’s
cooking for me. So I just started and I fell in love with it too.
Brittney Long: Do you think that’s probably where a lot of like your recipe comes from? Because if you get on Life is but a dish.com? You can see that so many of them are very approachable recipes. Do
you think it’s because you were kind of figuring that out as you were cooking? That it wasn’t
like you had this big culinary experience? I mean, there are amazing recipes. And a lot of them
are very, very elevated, but you break it down enough to where it’s digestible.
Laney Schwartz: Oh, that was like a good digestible into bite sized pieces. Yeah. You know, I really believe that. My, the way that I cook has a lot to do with my teaching style. And you know, I taught first graders for so long, and I taught second grade also. But first grade is really my passion. And there’s something about that age developmentally that I I love. I love breaking down directions, clearly and concisely, to the point where a child can not understand something, and then I can explain it to them. And then the light bulb goes off and they get it like, that process is what lights me up inside. And so I feel like that style for me, just transferred over to my cooking. Teaching people and sharing recipes became a passion, but also the transformation of an adult, looking at a recipe and being like, like unsure, I’m not sure I can do this to be able to then explain to them or show them how and then for them to be like, Oh my god, this is amazing. And it’s delicious. And they love it. And I want to make it again and I can
do this. It’s it’s a very parallel process for me. And so I don’t know. But remember what the
question was. Good, just the simplicity, I just and also just being a busy mom, like I know, I’m
not not want to make I found myself. I used to when I used to follow a bunch of recipes, I would
find recipes. And I would love it. And I would make it and I wouldn’t use those ingredients again,
ever. And they would expire. And I just hated that. And so I just started, I found myself using
the same ingredients over and over in different ways. And I realized that cooking doesn’t have
to be complex, it can be really simple. You can get the same handful ingredients and make a
million different things with it. And I just found that that was super helpful for so many people.
And that’s just the way that I cook.
Brittney Long: After you started sharing your recipes online where you starting to see more people having that experience with your recipes, but then also maybe like seeing that there was a gap in people
maybe being intimidated by cooking.
Yes, so that really shifted when video became prevalent in the social media space and it really
started with Snapchat. And when this is when all the bloggers started to go from being behind
their camera, behind their blog, to in front of the camera, and it was a really scary transition
and I’ll never forget it because I talked about this all the time. But there was bloggers that you
know, you read their blogs, and you make you make up just like when you hear like singers and
like you don’t know what they look like But you’ve made you create this whole, you know,
version of them. You know, I’m reading these people’s blogs and I develop this, I paint this
whole picture of who this person is. And then they come on to the video and I see them. And
it’s one of two things, either. It’s exactly who I thought it was, and I love them even more, and I
fall in love, or, Oh, this is not how I pictured you. And you’re very different than what how your
writing style is. And like, it just it wasn’t a match. And I found myself either falling in love, or
like not really liking these people. And I think that’s the beauty. It’s the good and the bad of
video, right? So yeah, if you do connect with somebody, and once I started to be able to share
recipes, and not and not just post pictures on my blog, but actually show people how to make
things. That’s when people were like, Oh, it was like mind blowing to be able, it’s like watching
a cooking show on your phone. Right? Oh, yeah. So I started to learn that people who would
would say to me, like, oh, I used to be really intimidated by this, and I watched you do this. And
that made me feel like I could do it too. And that was just such a powerful time for me to be
able to just do more and to just help more people believe in themselves that they can, they can
how are people finding you on Snapchat. But that feels like forever ago, Snapchat.
I was so nervous. I was terrified to go on video. It was like my biggest fear. And so for a long
time, I didn’t tell anyone and nobody was finding me. I was just practicing, you know, talking on
camera and doing all of that. So for a long time, they didn’t find me until I slowly started telling
people on Instagram to come find me on Snapchat. Not everybody listened. So I had a much
smaller community on Snapchat than I did. But I didn’t have a huge Instagram at the time, but
large enough. And so I had this like really tight knit small Snapchat community. I don’t
remember how many people maybe it was 1000 Maybe it was a few 100. But everyone who
was there, I mean, that was like the first time people were like, could see me. And it was it was
fun. And it was like a little family. And so I don’t remember from there. And then eventually
Instagram stories came. And then I was trying to do both. And then I was like, forget it.
Just pick one.
I wanted to have you on because I love hearing the backstory of how it all began. And
we’ve known each other for a while. And I’ve heard snippets, but I haven’t got to hear like the
whole story, which is really fun for me to hear. But I know such a large part of what you do is
helping people gain confidence in the kitchen. And our audience like anybody honestly, if
you’re a human being like you have to eat soy. And like your kids are eating dinner and lunch
every damn day like you fed these people and they’re hungry again. Everyday. Unbelievable.
I don’t know. Yeah. And oh my gosh, every day, something and like you’re sick of what we’re
doing. Okay? No, you do it. For real. Someone do it for me.
Brittney Long: Can you imagine just like it shows
up on your counter. But I know that so many people we’ve had experts on that are like
professional chefs and have all this knowledge. But I love being able to go back to the basics.
Because that can be a lot of that can be so overwhelming. And there’s people that aren’t there
yet. They just want to know how to make like, a fucking salad or Cook a steak. Like, what
do I do is where are you finding a gap as you started to get on and interact with people now
that video is going Did you see that there was like a common lack of knowledge in the kitchen
around like beginners or intermediate?
You know, not as much online. Because I think that the people who really felt self conscious in
the kitchen, were too afraid or too afraid to speak up to a stranger, even if they felt like they
knew me people who what I did find that people who didn’t feel confident we’re embarrassed to
to admit that. So it actually wasn’t until a friend in real life came to me and was like, I don’t
know how to do anything in the kitchen. And I was like, come on. Like I honestly was like, What
do you mean, you don’t know how to do anything. She was like, I don’t know how to do
anything. I can’t make anything. I was like Mary really? She was like, Would you ever consider
coming to my house to do like a private and this is before I had ever created? Before I
developed my actual program. I just had like ideas in my head. Just like would you come to my
house and do a little class and just teach me a few basic things and I was like alright, and I
went and she didn’t know what you know how to turn on or off. When I mean she never cook,
they eat, they ate out seven days a week. And to me, that was a huge wake up call. Because I I
think was so naive that I just assumed everybody at least could do something. Or I didn’t
realize that people were truly eating out almost every single night, either takeout or going out
to dinner. And that’s when I started asking questions. So once I started asking questions, you
know, who was like this, how many people, you know, are dealing with this, that’s when the
floodgates sort of opened. And I created that safe space for people to admit that, hey, I don’t
know what I’m doing. And I need some help. And to be able to bring that community together
was really powerful. So I didn’t really see anybody else on the internet, doing that there’s tons
people making recipes and showing how to make them but nobody really speaking to that
person who feels overwhelmed or anxious in the kitchen and doesn’t know where to begin and
therefore just throws their hands up and feels super inadequate. I mean, that was just a word
that she had used. She was like, I feel so inadequate, and it just trickles into so many other
areas of your life, right? Like cooking a meal isn’t just about feeding yourself, like, yes, we have
to do that. But if you’re able to cook a meal for your family and your family, or even yourself,
and you sit down and eat, it tastes really good. It’s fairly healthy and nourishing. It brings you
together and it makes you feel good. It makes your family feel good. And it just, it just builds
your confidence outside of the kitchen too.
And I get that’s like a good word that that when I think of other people, even just since getting
to work with you and hearing what you do when I tell people they’re like, oh, like really? Like,
what is it? Oh, interesting, kind of like you, you realize how much anxiety people have around
going into the kitchen and trying to figure out what the hell to make? Or even how to make it if
it’s something that they really aren’t comfortable? In the kitchen? Did you find that people were
like struggling with just coming up with stuff? Or like, how do I cut things? How do I boil? Was
it? Or was it kind of a melody of everything?
It’s a little bit of both? At first I thought it was just I mean, I would say the number one
complaint not complaint, but difficulty that people had was like chicken, right? Like how do I
make chicken actually taste good? It’s always dry. It’s always rubbery. So boring. So when I first
created this program, it was I started with chicken like week, one word, extend, dive into
chicken, I’m gonna teach you all about it. And then we did like chicken and, you know, salad
and veggies and pasta or whatever, just some basic stuff. And I did that for a few times. And
then I realized, Okay, well, there’s actually so much more, there’s so many more things that
you need to deal with before you even get into the kitchen and into cooking with food, that
there were people who couldn’t even set foot in their kitchen, not everybody, but some people
who just even the thought of going in there was overwhelming anxiety producing caused so
much dread. And they didn’t know where to begin. So even just starting with the chicken was
too much for some people. So that’s when I kind of really backed up and realize that people
don’t know how to use a knife. They don’t know what kind of knife they should have. They have
15 knives, and they only need one or they they’re using the one wrong one and it’s causing
their prep work to be frustrating and overwhelming and taking too much time. So teaching
people how to set up your kitchen for success and getting rid of all of the expired spices and
things in your pantry that you don’t use and understanding how to use your pots and pans. You
know, what’s the difference between stainless steel and cast iron and nonstick and how to use
those. Just that knowledge alone gave people confidence to them, they were excited to start
cooking once they understood the tools in their kitchen. You’re like alright, let’s go like I can’t
wait to start chopping. I can’t wait to use this pan. And that’s really what you need, as opposed
to just like walking into the kitchen that’s already overwhelming taking a piece of chicken and
don’t even know how to do it. It was just like the chicken before the egg sort of thing.
Totally saying: what came first the chicken or the egg? Yeah, I think I think that is so true. And like anything you’re right when you say it. When you break down your pantry, staples, your pantry, knife
knives, those really are tools. And they that is what they are. They’re tools to be able to help
you with the final product. Yeah. And like anything, especially our audience will resonate with
that, like you can’t build something without knowing how to use the tools and the best tool to
get the job done efficiently and well. So I do think that’s very important. Is there something that
you would say to somebody that’s listening, that’s a little bit. Maybe they’re just like, they cook
the same thing over and over again. They use a lot of freezer meals even that they just buy. Is
there something that you could say someone could do to feel a little more confident in the
kitchen? Starting out?
Confident or? So I feel like it’s two different things like the person who’s just like in a rut, like
doing the same thing? Or are they doing? Are they using those freezer meals
doing the same thing? Or their? Or their are they doing? Are they using those freezer meals
because they don’t know
they’re using our freezer meals because they don’t know where to start?
Okay. So I would say that, you know, part of my mission also was to help people not be so tied
to a recipe. So a lot of times people think that they read a recipe and they’re like, oh, I don’t
have this and this or, and I don’t want to buy that. And greener, I don’t like that ingredient. And
so they just are like, I’m not going to make it I don’t like it. So empowering people and teaching
people how to look at a recipe and make swaps and make it work for you like that. That’s also a
skill that I found that people did not have. And so if you’re someone who is too afraid to even
start, if you’re able to, you know, go online, go either, you know, to like Food Network or
something like that, or find a blogger who you trust and who you connect with, if something
looks good to you. And you can trust that it, it’s fairly easy and looks doable. Just try it. Try the
recipe that looks simple enough. And you can trust it if there’s good reviews, and just see what
happens. Because I think I think so much of it is we’re just in our heads and we and we think
okay, well what if it What if I make it doesn’t turn out. And I used to say this to my students all
the time. And that doesn’t turn out. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t turn out.
But at least you tried. And you’ll learn something. And if you and what I tried to do is to create
that, again, that safe space where if you try something that doesn’t work out, come to me and
ask me the questions and let’s let’s talk through why it didn’t work out. So that next time you
do try it. It can but I think just getting out of your own way. And trying something and with
intention. So trying it and then if again, if something goes wrong or doesn’t work out, start
asking questions like What what happened? Like did it burn did it did it burn because my oven
is too hot, just really starting to pay attention while you’re cooking and to just start noticing
things can really help help to build your confidence as opposed to just like following the recipe.
Exactly. And being so focused on what the direction say and not noticing if your pans too hot or
was the heat too high. So again, just just start paying attention when you’re when you’re
cooking. And just try something out. Just try it and see what happens. You might surprise
Are you big on like following, especially for a beginner? Are you do you tell beginners to like
follow the recipe? Verbatim?
Depends. If I’m if I’m like teaching them and if it’s like, you know, if it was just some random
person on the street. Yeah. And I wasn’t like working with them and helping them through it. I
might say yes, you know, go if just start to follow it until you get really comfortable, like find a
recipe that you can make, follow it. And if it works for you make it again, make it again, make it
again next time, maybe you’ve made it five times at this point. Okay, now try when you’re
measuring out the salt, like maybe don’t measure it using a measuring spoon like start maybe
swap out an ingredient like find a recipe that you’re really comfortable with and use that as a
guide and start playing with things start again start noticing swap out the vegetables, swap out
the protein and just start you know, building your confidence with something that you’re
already really comfortable with.
Yeah, I think when I talk to people about cooking and I’m not near the cook that you are or have
the knowledge but I find a lot of times to people like do not utilize seasoning and it blows my
mind. So I like yeah, I’m all about the seasoning but I like the idea of for somebody that’s
starting out or wanting to get better in the kitchen following that recipe like you said and kind
of measuring it out and then like smelling the aroma and getting an idea of what it is or what
you could add. But you’re right getting kind of that base. Solid. For sure. A lot of our audience
harvest is and raises that their own meat or girls their own vegetables. So those are things that
we have on hand a lot. But a lot of these people are doing it they grow it they love it and that’s
what they’re wanting to to use as their organic food. But then they’re like what do I what do I
make with this besides just like steak and vegetables every night? Do you have any tips for
being able to keep it like your staples on hand but get a variety of mills out of them.
I do not have to buy Um, food? But you do not know, I do not. I think it’s so cool. I think it’s just
so it’s like what I watch. I know you guys do a lot of that you do a little bit of both. But when I
watch and see what you guys are doing, I’m like, How is this? How is this the same? Are we like
in the same world like it feels like in another world away? It’s so cool. So kind of here’s how I do
it. And okay, I think this is this takes practice and it takes, it takes practice, I wouldn’t say it’s
necessarily a skill, but you have to really push yourself. So for me in my freezer, I always have
a variety of things I always have and things that we like so I’ll have chicken, I’ll have ground
turkey, ground beef, ground chicken, maybe some fish, some steaks, just always like frozen,
you know, some sausages, different types of things to have on hand in the freezer different
proteins than my pantry is always stocked with things that I know that we use. So we have
different pastas. So different shapes, gluten free, regular, different Rice’s sushi rice, white rice,
brown rice, quinoa, different cans of beans, or, you know canned artichoke, just things that I
know that we’re going to use tomato sauce, and those things are always on hand. So then all
I’m left to really shop for or grow is produce. And you can if you’re growing, you’re going things
that are in season. And if you’re shopping, you pick out what looks good, or what’s in season
and what inspires you. So then at any point, you can pull a meal together, because you have
the protein, you have a stocked pantry and you have your produce. And it just takes practice
and figuring out different things to do with it. But I might in the beginning of the week, or my
freezer, pull out, maybe you know, some ground turkey, some ground beef and some chicken, maybe a whole chicken depending on what it is. And I won’t necessarily know exactly what I’m
going to do with it at that point. But if I have grown meat, I know I can do meatballs, I could do
meatloaf, I can do a pasta sauce. You know, if I have sausages, there’s just thinking of different
things that you can do with the meat. If you have chicken, you can throw it in the slow cooker
and do a chili, you can put it on the grill you can so just trying to kind of push yourself to think
of different ways to use the meat. And I think it’s helpful if you have different cuts. So like if you
don’t just have steaks, for example. But having like grown meat versus a steak versus a whole
chicken versus a breast like, it’s still kind of the same thing. It just is presented differently, and
just helps to keep things a little bit more exciting.
That’s probably when it’s good to go back to like the basics. Like you said, figuring out the
recipes that you like me to know you can make. Yeah, and kind of keeping that list on hand and
then knowing like you said to keep the pastas and things like that on hand. Yeah, exactly. Then
I always try to remind myself that too. When shopping. Do you always try and like maybe grab
like an extra can of something or an extra thing of pasta so that you know you’ve got it?
Yes, I don’t have a ton of space. But I always tried to not to always like when they get down to
one. That’s when I go buy more like I won’t wait till I’m out. Because when you’re out then you
forget to go buy it.
Yeah. And it’s when you need it. That’s when you need it.
For sure. Like I have been out of lasagna noodles for God knows how long and I should have. Why did I wait? And now every time I go to make a lasagna, it’s like, I don’t have it. So always
stay on top of it.
That’s what I need. That’s like Laney has the no fuss. Lasagna right? Yes. That’s what I want to
try because my boys love lasagna. And it’s like homemade and so easy. But that’s really what it
comes down to. Right. Yes.
You waited on that Caesar dressing? I know I really should have learned your lesson. Because
you will make that lasagna every week. I should so good and so easy.
That’s my new like goal, because and that one’s one of them to like use your lasagna. Yeah,
that’s a perfect example being like, there’s no way in hell I could make lasagna and in a decent
amount of time. Yeah, probably pantry staples. Right. Most of them are pantry staples.
Yeah. Yeah. So it’s so easy. I have I created actually page specific for your listeners that has
like curated of like my top 10 like quick and easy recipes that if you’re perfect again, if you’re
like I don’t even know what recipes to try, like these will work and they’re delicious. And so if
you’re looking for one, you know fossils on is on there. Oh, good oil noodles. You don’t have to
do anything crazy. It comes together in 10 minutes, and then you just put in the oven and it’s so good.
Oh, yeah, I will. I’ll put that in the show notes. I was thinking about that lasagna.
Actually the other day when I was thinking of meals to make for camp. No, it was like if I put
that in, like a weird usually do like the disposable aluminum pans. It’s just easier when we’re
away. I was like, I think I could do that. And then cold outside and we’re out doors to have like a
hot lasagna to eat after a glass of wine.
Would you do have? Do I have never camped in my life? Would you bake it before you put it
like over the fire?
Oh, yeah. So in our trailer I went through so much but we do have it we do. I mean, it depends
on what kind of camping there is. There are two different kinds of camping but I would say in
this point, I would do it in the trailer. Because we have an oven in there we do. It’s like a little
gas oven that you could say yes. Yeah. You think I should? Yeah, okay, we’re gonna try that.
On the campfire. I want that.
Yeah. Or put it on my traeger and smoke it would be really good because when you do that,
then the cheese gets the like aroma. And okay, I might do that too at home. And then we’ve
done before you’ll like this. We just get like, the garlic bread which maybe you have like a garlic
butter recipe or something. But I’ll just buy the like the store bought. Semi homemade. Okay.
Yeah. And like by the store bought and then it comes in the like the aluminum packaging, you
know, already. Yeah, you would put in the oven and I’ll just throw that on the coals in the campfire.
Laney Schwartz: So good.
Yeah, see? Okay, we’re gonna try that. We’ll try Lenny’s lasagna at camp with camp.
And now I’m craving it. I’m not now that we’re chatting. I’m craving the chicken Caesar wrap.
Oh my gosh. So yes, you need to do that. I like I had to quit making that dressing. Because it’s
so easy. It’s your caesar dressing and I’d put it in a mason jar, which just fits the aesthetic
anyways. But I had to quit making it because I was dipping everything and open the jar. Be
dipping everything. Take a sip. Yeah, just like pour it in my wine glass and go on myself. Yeah.
So ah, okay, I’m gonna try that. I think that sounds amazing. And see that something so easy.
That’s, yeah, I’m really excited to try to camp I think people would really enjoy something like
that. Or being outdoors too. I would love if you would play a game with me. Okay. I know your
specialty. Like we’ve already kind of talked about is being able to people love seeing like when
you post what’s in your cart and what you’ve got. But your specialty I think too is you are so
good at showcasing that as long as you kind of keep like you said, your staples on hand. It’s
amazing what you can throw together for a dinner for your family. And especially when you’re
like, oh my god, the girls are getting off school. I don’t even I haven’t even thought about
dinner yet. What am I going to make? And then by then the night you guys are having this
incredible dinner. So I would like to play to showcase. Like what currently do I have in my
pantry? I’m going to think of what I have. And if there’s something you could help me decide to
make for dinner.
Ever. I feel like so much of what I make is just like a variation of the same thing. And I feel like I
feel like a reason why some people get so bored with the recipes is that is exactly what you
said earlier is that it just doesn’t taste that good. It’s not seasoned properly. Like to me and
maybe also I’m a creature of habit. So like I like kind of similar, not the same thing, but similar
things but I can do this if I can roast cauliflower and make it tastes delicious. I can roast a
different vegetable with the same seasoning and to me like that’s different enough. You know
what I mean? So like, good. Let’s Let’s go. Let’s see what I come up.
I’ll just not gonna do anything crazy. No, it’s good. But that’s like people. That’s the basic
sometimes I think are the best. Yeah, I’ll just like ramble off. Let me think of what I have in my
sometimes I think are the best. Yeah, I’ll just like ramble off. Let me think of what I have in my
freezer. Okay, I have ground bison and I have bison steaks and bison roast. I have chicken I
frozen chicken breasts. I’m in my pantry. So that’s like my meat. Is that good enough?
Okay, sure. If choose one choose one.
Choose one. What are a protein?
Yeah, give me or give me give me either want to hear what’s in my pantry though.
Sure. to like work with it. Yeah. Are you that good? I don’t know. Let’s see. If you’ve never
played before me there. This is making this up as we go. In my pantry I have. I have pasta. I
have like spaghetti noodles. I have swirly noodles. That’s how professional I am. I don’t know
what they are. They’re squirrely noodles.
Really noodles like pasta. Like,
I really don’t know for Tony, what are the
no rigatoni is a fat noodle. Oh yeah, they spiraling Seeley. Seeley. Sure. But as pasta as pasta
Yeah matters, right? Yeah,
I have. I have crushed tomatoes. I have black beans. Pinto beans, kidney beans.
Okay, what about produce?
Produce? I have spinach. Brussel sprouts. Mini peppers cucumbers.
I can’t even go shopping without getting coconut milk.
I don’t have coconut milk.
made last night.
Really helpful. I don’t have coconut milk. I just have like a fairlife milk. I love coconut milk. Is
that something I need to keep on hand? Coconut milk?
Yeah, full fat coconut milk. Maybe not because Oh, my coconut rice, you will you will eat it every second of your life.
Okay, adding that to my list. Coconut is a full fat coconut milk. Okay, full fats.
It’s beyond and it makes an amazing chili also.
And it’s easy to make.
It’s so easy. Have you not made the Instant Pot? Coconut lime, Green Chicken
chili or whatever. So I don’t have an instant pot. Oh, it’s okay. Slow Cooker. You can make it in
the South. Okay. Okay. Anything that’s in the Instant Pot can be made. So like if you don’t have
an instant pot, it’s okay. Okay. Okay. I’m gonna tell you what I made last night. That was so
good. And you can you can do a version of this. So Okay. i I’m very into ground meat. So like, I
just find it. It’s so versatile. There’s so many things that you can do with it. You know, I’m to like
slice anything or like worry about if it’s like cook all the way through it like it’s just I find it
easier. It’s hard to overcook it. It’s usually in some sort of sauce. I just I just need to shove it in
your mouth faster. Just good. Yes. So let’s take the ground bison for example. Which I don’t we
don’t have a lot of bison here or we have it but I don’t know. It’s like ground beef. Right?
Yeah. Yeah, better.
Better. So much. A little bit leaner, right? Yes, yes. Okay, so I did my pica I did last night. Have
you done the picadillo? I
No, I know it. Get my stuff on.
So basically it doesn’t have to be doesn’t have to be pika do I didn’t even have all the
ingredients. I didn’t have any olives. So I left that out but it’s basically just ground it’s basically
like a very saucy taco ish meat. Okay, kind of like a sloppy job but not sloppy joe flavors little
bit and use whatever you have I use so I did a mixture of Turkey and beef which I love the
combination of mixing ground meats it just I just love that. But cook that up with salt pepper,
garlic powder, paprika, cumin. If you want a little chili powder, throw that in to tomato sauce.
Yes, you have a question crushed tomatoes or your favorite jar tomato sauce. Add a
little bit of that. If you have tomato paste lol but a tomato pays for some little extra flavor. Do
you have any chopped tomatoes like throw in whatever like tomatoes or olives and just get it
nice. Add a little bit of water so it gets a little bit like saucy cook up some rice if you are pasta
either one. I love it with rice. I did it with coconut rice and it was amazing. But you can also
flavor your rice with you know garlic powder or some turmeric and it turns it nice and yellow
and bright and just like different than just like a white rice. And then I saw tape up I just
chopped up I didn’t even shred it. I just chopped it up into like cubes just some cabbage. When’s the last time you had cabbage? Oh, it was is so good. I just sauteed some cabbage with
literally salt, pepper, garlic powder. And it got like caramelized and delicious. And I just tossed
it off to I just put it in a bowl and it was like the rice that he could do and the cabbage. I was
licking my plate. You don’t have to have cabbage, you had spinach. You can just throw the
spinach in there. Chop up whatever vegetables but like that meat mixture with the rice and the
veggies. I’m Julie I’m drooling. I had the left is so good.
And how fast did that come together too?
it was 630 and I was like what am I making for dinner? And it was like damn you doing everything at the
same time. Like it does take time management like especially if you’re doing it that late but
once you get the rice going like again this takes practice so you think about okay, what can I
start that’s hands off that can do its own thing the rice so the rice takes one and a half minutes
to prepare. It does its thing and that rice cooks while you’re doing everything else. So while the
rice is cooking, your saute actually cooked in the one pan I did the cabbage first remove the
cabbage from the pan and then I cooked the meat in that that same pan and then it was done.
So So I mean it’s 30 minutes or less it takes again no more dishes minimal
minimal dishes even better, Laney! so good. Oh, that sounds good. Eat it. See now I have a dinner. Dinner. It was a trick. Exactly. Yeah. You have to season though. That’s right. I think people I
don’t think people that even cook aren’t utilizing seasoning. Yeah.
Yeah. It shouldn’t be your food should taste. And I saw someone, I think I shared it a couple of
weeks ago. But I use I always say to my, to my people, when I’m taste. I mean, if you’re making
something that you can taste as you go, obviously, but if you taste it, and it’s like, fine. It’s not
quite there. Yeah, if I get enough, fine is not good enough. But I think a lot of people it’s not
bad. It’s just like, whatever. It’s, it’s like it’s fine. But when you taste your food if you don’t want
to literally start dancing, or if you don’t smile, or where you’re like, Oh, this is so good. It’s
missing something. It’s missing salt. It’s missing an acid it’s missing. It’s usually a salt or an
acid, like a squeeze of lemon, or splash of vinegar, or an extra could be a teeny tiny pinch of
salt. Like, that can be the difference between like, this is fine. Versus I’m licking my plate and
dancing. It’s so good to season your food. Yeah, yeah.
It’s true. I really you should be wanting to like get excited like you do about your, like your
dinner you just had last night that you’re just thinking about all over again, because it was that
good. And it’s such simple ingredients that you just told us about? Yeah, they put together.
Even my kids were eating the cabbage. What is happening?
That’s a win in itself. Such a when we used to do a cabbage that made me think of it and I’ve
done it forever. But it was like same thing. Like what the hell am I gonna make? And I was like,
we have cabbage, which I don’t really know why I had cabbage. That seems kind of weird now
that I back then anyways. And then like chicken, and then rice. And so I like sauteed the
cabbage with like a teriyaki, kind of a sauce. And the chicken. And my husband was like, what?
Make us? No idea. Good. Those are the best that happy coincidences. I love it. I love it. I’m sure
everyone’s listening. And there’s probably a few that are like, okay, these are solid tips. And I, I
want to expand my knowledge, I want to feel that confident, or I want to be that excited about
my dinner. The way lady was or the kids were just eating like that. How was it that somebody
can kind of work with you or build their knowledge based off of what you were just saying?
Yeah. So there are a couple ways. Well, you can find me anywhere on the internet. So my my
website has all my recipes, life has been a dish.com. There’s over 600 recipes is bread, as you
well know, crazy. A lot on there.
Like this is new. Oh, yeah, find new ones every day.
Lots of things in there. So all my recipes live there. And then on social media on Instagram, and
Tiktok. I do lots of tutorials. And there’s reels. And I live in my stories. And so if you’re just
looking for to get some inspiration, or to maybe learn a thing or two, you can always DM me or
email me ask me questions there. If you’re really serious about like, making a big change, and
you’re like, Okay, I don’t know how to cook or I do know how to cook. But I don’t know how to
deviate from a recipe and I really want to make a change and get better. And I want to do it.
Now I have a program called cook with confidence, which walks you through kind of in, it’s
meant to be kind of like an eight week thing, but it’s self paced, you can go at your own on your
own time. And it just kind of walks you through kind of the things that we were talking about
from all the way from the kitchen audit to knife skills to chicken and red meat and soup and
pasta and salads, fucking salads, all the basics to kind of get you from from zero to 10. And not
to be a top chef, but just to feel comfortable and confident in the kitchen for you and your
families. And on that on that link that I’ll send to you. There is a coupon code on there for that
Oh, awesome. That’s so sweet of you to give them a discount on that. I am curious since doing
that, have you had anybody that like has went through it and are like since doing this? I’ve now
been able to feed my family has there been like a big aha moment for somebody?
Oh my gosh, so many and I it’s truly you know, I developed this course not on purpose but right
before COVID hit and so it couldn’t have been more perfect timing just with everybody at home
and being everything Yes. Number one, we’re wiping down our groceries.
Yeah, everybody, whatever was Amazon.
I know crazy. So I worked with a lot of people very closely during that time, the program was
not self paced at that time. It is now because people need flexibility and they’re getting back to
their time. And that’s just how it works best now, but so many people whose lives were truly
transformed. I had women who would have actual panic attacks going into their kitchen,
thinking about trying to cook and they just like opened up Pandora’s box, like they just needed
to hear things a certain way. And to have permission to be able to do things simply and has
completely changed her life. In the kitchen. I have people who this woman sent me a message
several months ago who, since the program, this was not like six months after the program.
She’s like I now cook with, she said it was her boyfriend. But now it’s her fiance. We cook
together almost every single night. He has kids and they sit together as a family. She was like,
this program, like has brought me closer to my family and truly has changed my life. Like,
again, it’s not just about learning how to cook a piece of chicken properly, it’s about not only
the confidence that you build in yourself, but also that you pass on to your children. Like, if
you’re listening to this, and you know that you had a mom or a dad who never never cooked,
you probably never really learned to cook and you don’t have those life skills. And now here
you are needing to come to me to teach you how to do it. And so I want my kids to be able to
go out into the world. And even if they just know how to make scrambled eggs and some pasta
and a sandwich, at least they can do that. It really it’s not just about this is not about being the
best chef, this is about life skills to carry on forever.
You’re such a wealth of knowledge, whether it comes to even just you know, someone that
does know how to cook or a mom stuck in a rut or dad or whomever. And they’re just needing
something to shake things up, whether they go to just life is better dish.com Or they decide to
hone in on their cooking skills and get more confident with their cooking. And I think everyone
can step it up because I know it can be stressful. Like we said, like you’re always like, You got
to eat, man. You got to eat. Yeah,
I’m just normalizing that even as someone who loves to cook and enjoys it it I also oftentimes
don’t want to make dinner. I agree. That’s okay. And like give yourself breaks and order takeout
and go out. That’s all okay, you’re not going to cook for a week even though we have to eat.
Yeah, exactly. I know. I was cooking last night and I was like I forgot how much I like enjoy this.
This is kind of like meditative for me. But then some nights it’s like fuck this I don’t want not
interested it just depends but I have the skills to do so when Lanie I appreciate you coming on.
Tell them one more time where they can find you on social media and your website and I’ll put
it all in the show notes below.
Yes, life is but a dish.com is the website and then at life has been a dish on social media.
Thanks for coming on. I appreciate it. This is so fun.
It’s about not only the confidence that you build in yourself, but also that you pass on to your children. Like, if you’re listening to this, and you know that you had a mom or a dad who never cooked, you probably never really learned to cook and you don’t have those life skills.Laney Schwartz
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