Jan 10, 2017
By Stacey Stein
In a few brief years, what started out as a personal blog for Katrina Kajganic to chronicle her family’s day-to-day life has evolved into a popular recipe-driven website that attracts between 80,000 and 100,000 readers each month.
“At first the blog was to keep track of everything we were doing as a family, but the more kids we had, the more time I was spending in the kitchen learning how to cook and the website became 90 per cent food focused,” said Kajganic.
A graphic designer in her former life, Kajganic spends her days experimenting in the kitchen and documenting the delicious results (drool-worthy pictures included) on her website, kitchentrials.com, while also taking care of her three young kids, ages seven, five and two.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Kajganic will be especially busy as she prepares a huge feast for her extended family. It’s an auspicious day in her household: not only was Kajganic’s youngest daughter born on February 14, she also started dating her husband around Valentine’s Day.
We asked Kajganic a few questions about kitchentrials.com and how she celebrates Valentine’s Day.
What do you hope moms will get out of kitchentrials.com?
Katrina: I hope they get a whole bunch of recipes that are easy and a few that are really hard but worth it. With three kids, I’m lucky that they’re all up to try anything – I’ve exposed them to a lot. In fact, their favourite food is calamari! If anything, I hope that parents might experiment more with their cooking.
Where do your recipes come from?
Katrina: Anything homemade comes from what I grew up with and then I try to tweak it a little bit. Outside of that, Pinterest is an obsession and I’ll find three or four recipes that I like the look of, then I’ll join them together and tweak them a little bit to make them my own.
Do you have a go-to recipe for Valentine’s Day?
Katrina: I make flourless chocolate espresso cake every Valentine’s Day for my husband – it’s his hands down favourite cake. It uses a pound of butter, several eggs, good quality dark chocolate, espresso, and a cup of brown sugar.
How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day in your household?
Katrina: We have a huge Valentine’s Day celebration and we tie in a big birthday celebration for my youngest daughter. I do a lot of baking and there are lots of cakes – last year we had six or seven cakes for her birthday.
Our Valentine’s Day dinner is always steak, mashed potatoes, cauliflower gratin, homemade macarons, and the flourless chocolate espresso cake. Then a week later we have a big birthday dinner for my youngest daughter and that’s where we have a huge table for the entire family, which is about 30 to 35 people.
Do you have any favourite dishes or treats you like to make?
Katrina: Macarons would be up there – I need to have an excuse to make them because they’re not the easiest, but if it’s Valentine’s Day or a birthday, I can talk myself into taking the time to make them. I make them every Valentine’s Day and I always make raspberry and salted caramel flavours.
We also have a chocolate fountain and I make marshmallow and graham crackers, so guests can make their own S’mores – the kids are in heaven.
For savoury, I make cauliflower gratin and mashed potatoes with sour cream and butter.
What’s your biggest indulgence for Valentine’s Day?
Katrina: All the sweets on a day where you don’t even think twice about it. If it looks good and I want to make it, I just do it – no regrets.
Do you get your kids involved in your cooking and baking?
Katrina: All the time! Today my two-year-old was helping me make peanut butter blossom cookies – it’s really important to me that my kids know how to cook and love to do it.
Any parting thoughts?
Katrina: You need to have fun in the kitchen – this is so important for kids too. I usually do a blog post once a year trying to remind people to get their kids in the kitchen and not to be afraid. Even though it’ll take longer and even though it’ll be a bigger mess, the memories that you make with them are worth it.
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