Inside: If you’re seeking out weekday meals for working moms and dads, then you need to get to know Ruthy Kirwan!
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As it turns out, raising children is not only about teaching them to be kind, finding the appropriate screen time limits, and matching up their socks. You have to feed these kids, like ALL the time.
While my daughter Norah lovingly calls me “the best cooker in the world” when she’s trying to distract me from the fact that she’s not actually eating her dinner, I’m not a chef by any means. I can microwave with the best of them, and I’m getting the hang of the air fryer, but it’s not my favorite pastime.
That’s one of the many reasons I’m so excited to introduce you to Ruthy Kirwan! Ruthy is a cookbook author, entrepreneur, recipe developer extraordinaire, and mom of two. She understands that getting dinner on the table is tough for a lot of parents, so she’s out there making it easier!
Get to know Ruthy and her company Percolate Kitchen. You, your kids, your go-to list of weekday meals for working moms, and your overbooked calendar will be glad you did!
Meet Ruthy Kirwan
Becca: For those who don’t know you yet, can you tell us about yourself?
Ruthy: I’m Ruthy, owner of the website Percolate Kitchen. I’m a cooking school instructor (at least, I was back when we could gather in a kitchen together!), recipe developer, cookbook author, and working mom of two.
I live in NYC with my family, where my husband owns and manages 2 bars in Manhattan and I work during the day as remote staff for my parent’s IT company in northern Michigan.
I’m passionate about helping other busy, working parents like us find simple recipes and routines that make their time in the kitchen streamlined and fuss-free so they have more mental bandwidth to spend on themselves and their relationships.
Let’s Talk Business!
Becca: How did Percolate Kitchen get started?
Ruthy: My husband is from Ireland, so we don’t have much familial support locally. I struggled with postpartum depression after our eldest was born, and once I started to come out of it, I realized that creating streamlined systems would help me immensely with my state of mind.
I started sharing simple recipes and meal plans in an email newsletter with family and friends in the neighborhood, and it blossomed into the website and company you see today.
Becca: Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing The Easy Sheet Pan Cookbook?
Ruthy: This is my second cookbook in the same theme, and when I signed the contract in early February 2020 I figured it would be a cinch, since I already had a ton of new ideas for recipes.
Then the pandemic happened- and my husband and I caught Covid ourselves at the end of March. It was dicey for a while, I’m not going to lie. We didn’t catch the “Oh, I lost my sense of taste for a week” Covid, we had the “Rearranging the pillows in bed means I start gasping for breath” version of the disease. We got through it with good doctors (three cheers for telemedicine!) and a supportive network.
When I finally started feeling better, I started cooking again- and the recipes in this book were some of the first things I could taste again!
Weekday Meals for Working Moms 101
Becca: What’s one of your favorite weekday meals for working moms and dads?
Ruthy: Hands down, one of my most popular recipes is Sheet Pan Kielbasa Dinner with a Sweet Mustard Glaze.
It’s super easy, it’s very kid-friendly, and you can customize it with different vegetables or even slices of apples!
Becca: How about your favorite kitchen hack that saves time and money?
Ruthy: Meal prep!
I’m sorry – I know you were probably hoping for a quicker “hack,” but meal prep has been an absolute lifesaver for me more times than I can count, in saving time, money, and sanity!
And when I say meal prep, I’m talking about batching out the prep for 3-4 meals so I can quickly throw them together on the night of cooking. I make sure these recipes are something simple where I can just drop the prepped ingredients into a slow cooker, or on a sheet pan.
It takes me roughly an hour on the weekend to batch prep, and it saves me an untold amount of time during the week. (You can try this out for yourself with 2 weeks free of Prep Sesh: https://percolatekitchen.com/prepsesh)
Finding Your Career Sweet Spot
Becca: How did you find your career sweet spot (the intersection of your passions, strengths, and value you add to others) as a cooking instructor, recipe testing, and author?
Ruthy: It’s not easy.
I’m constantly refining, finding weak links, reevaluating, and reminding myself I can only do what I can on any given day. I can’t move mountains in a day, but I can get to shoveling.
I don’t know if I’ll ever find the sweet spot but I can give myself grace and be happy where I’m at, so that’s good enough for me.
Becca: Do you have any advice for someone looking to build a portfolio career (different elements/income sources rolled into one career?)
Try to put as many things on autopilot as you can- use apps to schedule social media posts, online banking reconciliation, calendar updates. Use templates for emails and text messages.
Write down what works, so you can recreate it later without reinventing the wheel. It’s as close as you can get to making a clone of you.
That Working Mom Life
Becca: Can you talk a bit about how you manage your time as a busy working mother, author, and speaker?
Don’t worry, I’m not asking “how you do it all?” It’s more, what tips, tricks, and strategies have you picked up to make things even a little bit easier?
Ruthy: Again, creating systems that work for me 🙂
I cannot try to remember/do a lot of things manually, or else I’ll get overwhelmed and then won’t do it. So I rely heavily on recurrent reminders, templates, browser extensions, etc.
I’m a follower of Dave Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method. You assess and assign stuff first, then put your energy where it needs to be- not letting it get pulled somewhere. It’s not easy to do, but it makes my life easier when I do it.
90s Kids Raising Kids
Becca: Time for a little fun! I make A LOT of 90s references here as a proud elder millennial. Can we do some rapid-fire 90s favorites? Musician, TV show, overly processed food, fashion trend!
Ruthy: I, too, am an elder millennial 😉 So yes, here we go!
Musician – Shania Twain
TV Show – My So-Called Life
Overly Processed Food – Hidden Valley Ranch packets mixed with sour cream (I’m from the midwest, we love our ranch dip!)
Fashion Trend – See-through backpacks.
Ruthy’s Parental Wisdom
Becca: Last question! Any piece of parental wisdom you’d like to drop on us? I always like to share that my go-to piece of advice is “none of us know what we’re doing” so the bar is quite low on this.
Ruthy: Give yourself grace. You deserve it!
Huge thanks to Ruthy for sharing her weekday meals for working moms on top of all her wonderfulness! Go check her out at Percolate Kitchen!