Home Cooked Meals, Without The Work

Urban Pantry Catering, Lake Stevens

Let’s face it, not all of us can cook. I’m someone who used to belong to that group. Growing up meals were generally premade, straight out of the freezer, box, and can. Believe me, I’ve had enough frozen fishsticks to last a lifetime. What changed? My health problems forced me to learn how to cook from scratch in order to know every single thing that goes into my body. Not knowing puts my life at risk.

I’m not the only one with a story like this. Christine, the owner of Urban Pantry Catering in Lake Stevens, also got off to a rocky start when it came to cooking.

“My mom was a terrible cook. Her idea of dinner was, what kind of frozen dinner do you want. Then my dad got remarried when I was 10, and my stepmom turned out to be this really good cook. I would go with them and eat all of this amazing food and spend all day picking food in their huge garden and orchard.”

As Christine got older, the role of food and cooking played in her life grew. She would create menus and host dinner parties at home. Not only that, she began accepting offers to make meals for others and events. It wasn’t for the money though, she just did it for fun an to help others.

The more she fed others, the more Christine knew it was what she was destined to do. She quit her day job, cashed in her stock options, and opened a catering buisness. It wasn’t a bump free road though. Like me, Christine found herself facing health issues that forced a change in the way she cooked and ate.

“I got diagnosed with a bunch of food allergies about eleven years ago. All I could think was, how was I going to make food, how was I going to cater food for others when I couldn’t even taste it.”

Those allergies didn’t keep her down though. Instead, she got to work, figuring out alternatives for ingredients and cooking dishes that were safe for her, and still tasted just as good. As she began to share those alternatives with others it became apparent that she wasn’t alone. Lots of people have restrictions, whether it is allergies and other health problems, or diet and lifestyle choices.

Fast forward to the present day, and Christine is now an expert in cooking for probably every restriction in existence. More importantly, she is an expert in making sure that no one even knows the difference. If you have ever tried store bought alternatives, then you know that is not an easy thing to accomplish.

There really aren’t a lot of options, at least not very good ones anyway. These days, that actually applies to all of us, not just those dealing with dietary restrictions. We are living in world where time is short and eating out and eating quick pre-made frozen, boxed, and can food has become the norm. Neither option is healthy,

Solutions are emerging. Stores and services like Blue Apron are offering meal kits containing ingredients and a recipe to follow. While a healthier choice, the kits don’t address the time crunch. You still have to prepare the meal and clean up after it. More importantly, if you are a legitimate bad cook, well I’ll leave what that means to your imagination. Enter Christine for the save.

“There [was] no place that does real food, cooked from scratch, that anyone can eat, that doesn’t have all of the preservatives, chemicals, and this and that. I decided, I’m going to just open a little place for people, somewhere they can order fully prepared dinners, kind of like a personal chef service.”

 That is exactly what she did. Urban Pantry Catering opened its doors in Lake Stevens in March and in the time since it has been a whirlwind of customers, myself included. Our family has already enjoyed Christine’s meals three times already, including fish, meatloaf, and a vegan tikki masala that had all of us eyeing it a bit nervously, We are still a bit new to the whole eating healthy thing after all, but everyone loved it.

So what will you find at Urban Pantry Catering …

“Our Home Meals menus [have] a large selection of savory home meals, as well as gluten-free, paleo and keto diet options. We prepare all our foods from scratch; all you have to do is take it and bake it! No prep, minimal clean up and no subscriptions! Just order when convenient and we can have it ready for pick up even deliver it].”

The best part, the meals look just like home cooked ones, literally. So, theoretically, if you were to get them plated and dispose of the boxes quick enough, your family might just think you slaved away over a hot stove for them. Don’t act like you weren’t thinking about that, you know you were. Be honest!

As if home meals weren’t enough, Urban Pantry Catering also offers a daily special (follow along with them on social media to catch it), amazing salads, and a deli case full of other goodies for you to take home or sit down and enjoy right there on the spot. Can’t decide what to try, not to worry, Christine is always ready with info about it all (I have no idea how she remembers everything), and samples of course.

Take it from me, someone who is too busy to cook more often than not and that struggles with strict diet restrictions, Urban Pantry Catering is a must try. The food is delicious, it is healthy, it is made for you, and even kids love it. You can’t go wrong, and bonus, you can actually sit down and relax instead of cleaning up after.

Ready to order, or just want more information about what is available, head over to Urban Pantry Catering’s website at:

www.urbanpantrycatering.com

Helping Hand: When it came to opening up her little space, Christine needed some help, and she found it thanks to Alex and Mitch of Rogue Leads in Lake Stevens. They overhauled her wesibte, set up her online order and POS system, upped her social media game, and more, making it that much easier for her to get off the ground and keep her mind where it belongs, on her meals and her customers. These guys are an awesome resource for local businesses and I can’t wait to see who they lend a helping hand to next.

“Rogue Leads has a full suite of services to help you brand and promote your business. From website design, establishing your image, digital & mobile marketing, and setting your online local footprint, to proximity marketing and broadcasting your services to mobile devices nearby. [We also have an] excellent network of business solutions such as the #1 credit card processor, Comcast Business, and many others. Through our creative services and partnerships, we thrive to be personal ambassadors of your business and vision.” – Alex

Need help for your local business, then visit www.getrogueleads.com

Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. It is all about shopping, eating, drinking, and playing local in Snohomish County. More importantly, it is about the ways that local choices can make your life better. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!). As if that wasn’t awesome enough, each issue contains exclusive content that can’t be found on our website or social media accounts. So if you aren’t getting a copy each month you are missing out.

Single issues can be bought HERE and annual subscriptions, which include exclusive giveaways and discounts, can be signed up for HERE. Finally, a limited number of printed copies are available at The Chic Boatique and Artisans Mercantile in Snohomish and Reclaimed Heart in Arlington, Vintage Company No. 7 in Bothell, Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace on Camano Island, and Rustic Redemption in Granite Falls.

Let us know what you think! Share your comments and experiences below and don’t forget to spread the love on social media at the bottom of the page.

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