chef tre

Christina and me with Chef Tre Wilcox

Ok, so it wasn’t actually “Chopped” and I was simply one part of a winning team, but the Sprouts Food Challenge at Tre Wilcox’s Cooking Concepts kitchen made me feel pretty awesome. The whole experience fueled this curious, creative part of me that doesn’t get a lot of attention being a full-time parent.

I started learning this lesson after Cortland was born 3 years ago. I had 3-year-old Harper and a newborn. I was a full time stay at home mom. Admittedly, a little bit of a hermit hiding out indoors from, you know, germs and anything else that would threaten our infant’s life. I was seriously lacking some sort of creative expression. Around Christmas, I decided to make a set of Advent lesson cards and activities for our family to do together. Not only did the family thoroughly enjoy the daily activities, but I realized I had been seriously neglecting a part of me that needs to be alive and well. That said, I’ve been cognizant to make sure I keep some sort of creative outlet open. It makes for a happier life.

cooking concepts, chef tre wilcox, chopped

Our team with Chef Tre Wilcox of Cooking Concepts at the Sprouts Food Challenge.

That said, my night out at Cooking Concepts was sort of like the pinnacle of creative expression. Sprouts hosted the outing and supplied a wide array of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables, as well all kinds of high-quality meats and seafood – not to mention a pantry full of odds and ends. We numbered off randomly into teams and were given the task of creating two different dishes, each using these four required ingredients: black beans, marinara, matzo crackers and balsamic vinegar. We were given 40 minutes to make a game plan and execute. It was a blast. If you live anywhere in the Dallas area, get your spouse or a group of friends together and check out Cooking Concepts.

After the competition, we were treated to a delicious meal made by Chef Wilcox and his team. While we dined on salmon, steak, and perfectly prepared comfort food side dishes, a dietitian from Sprouts enlightened us on summer cooking trends and ways to keep ourselves and our kids hydrated during the hot, Texas summer months. Isn’t Sprouts just the best? They’re a regular grocery stop for our family.

Listen, just because you’re a grown up or a parent or have a real job that pays the bills doesn’t mean that you have to stifle the creative spark you have. Find something that ignites it and then invest yourself. Music, art, cooking, dancing, writing – whatever it is. You’ll find yourself alive again in ways that you thought were only meant for childhood and simpler times.

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