With the world spending more time at home than ever, it’s only natural that we were all cooking and baking up a storm. For months, it seemed like pics of delicious new recipes and yummy baked goods were filling social media feeds. A new year is officially here and ‘eating healthier’ continues to top the list of resolutions I hear from family and friends, which totally makes sense – because when our bodies feel good, our minds tend to feel good too.
What better way to support those goals than to invite my friend (and badass jewelry designer), Jennifer Fisher, to join me for a chat about JF Kitchen and the clean eating recipes we all need in our lives this year?!
Nina Westbrook: I love you and admire everything you’ve accomplished over the years! Having started your career in bespoke jewelry, why did you feel compelled to pursue clean cooking? What serves as the inspiration behind Jennifer Fisher Kitchen?
Jennifer Fisher: It was a happy accident, much like the way my jewelry brand launched. I’ve always loved to cook but it was only recently that I re-prioritized being home versus being out for work and, now that my kids are older and appreciate the food I make, it has become a real passion of mine. When I first started using Instagram, I shared the poached eggs and avocado toast I would make every morning and I noticed that I was getting more inquiries about that than some of the celebrities wearing my jewelry! More often than not, the two questions I received the most were about how I make the food and what I use to season it.
JF: A lot of my inspiration comes from growing up in Montecito. My parents were always in the kitchen. Whether it was my father making amazing breakfasts and barbecuing dinner almost every night, or my mother preparing her famous chili or banana bread, the kitchen was the heart of my home. When I was finishing elementary school and realized that I didn’t have a career in cheerleading, my mother signed me up for cooking classes. We had a large garden in my childhood home filled with raspberry bushes, corn, greens, tomatoes, and zucchini among other things. Every morning, we checked to see what was ripe and what was going to taste best that day.
I still eat what makes me feel good and I eat what I feel like eating. After a very busy day in the office, nothing relaxes me more than coming home and being able to get creative through food instead of jewelry.
NW: Your recipes are divine, you create and sell your own salts, and you launched a collection with CB2! Do you have 1 or 2 tips for launching a successful new career while continuing to manage your original business?
JF: As my business has grown, I’ve wanted to explore other facets of lifestyle separate from the world of accessories. Whenever you start your own business, it’s so hard. The jewelry’s not for everyone; that’s why there’s a million different jewelry designers. Everyone resonates with someone different, but it’s important to remember that for anyone who doesn’t resonate with you, there’s 10 more people who do. You can’t take it personally and you can’t get upset about it. Now that we have our fine jewelry and brass collections in place, I’m able to follow my other passions.
JF: In 2017, we expanded into the food category and launched our first product, Jennifer Fisher Universal Salt. I always say: “I don’t go to therapy, I cook.” It still feels hysterical when my husband and I are standing in a manufacturing plant but we’re loving it!
Ironically, JF Universal Salt all started because I was frustrated by the limited choices in specialty stores. I couldn’t find a universal organic prep and finishing salt that didn’t contain onion or garlic to season my eggs, salads and meats. So, I set out to make my own, just as I had done so many years before with my first dog tag.
NW: How does a clean diet tie into a person’s overall wellness? Have you found that clean eating contributes to your sense of mental well-being?
JF: I have a hypoactive thyroid and have been gluten free and low sugar for almost 17 years. I attribute my endocrinologist for advising me to find the proper diet to manage my disease. That, coupled with the fact that my mother sent me to cooking classes as my after school activity when I was a child, helped develop my love for food and cooking at an early age.
I have always cooked fresh foods for my family, and I’m trying to teach my children the same ideals around food and health that my mother taught me when I was young. Once I started listening to my body, eating what I want and having whatever I’m craving, I started feeling better.
You can call it ‘intuitive eating’ if you want but I don’t follow diets. All I know is that, as I get older, listening to my body and following what makes me feel better has completely changed my life.
NW: Your children are precious! Do you cater your recipes to their likes and dislikes? Do they have a favorite recipe that’s tasty and nutritious?
JF: My kids don’t like lasagna and don’t want to eat a casserole. Honestly, some of the things that are really popular on my website don’t work for them. They keep it pretty simple with a protein, a vegetable and a starch. No matter what they’re eating, meal prep is super important.
The key is prepping simple separate basics that I can then combine into a multitude of dishes. This is great tip for every mom! Train yourself to have a prep day – sliced steak, chopped chicken and a starch and then offer your kids options depending on what they’re in the mood for.
Some of my family’s ultimate JF Kitchen favorites are ‘Mom’s Not Lazy, Lazy Chicken,’ ‘Taco Night Rice,’ ‘The Kid’s Favorite Simple Skirt Steak,’ and, of course, my ‘Gooey Yummy Homestyle Scratch Baked Chocolate Cake” is a huge crowd pleaser when it’s time for dessert!