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Jolene and Lily Mae on a mission to put the heart of households back into the kitchen!

RECOGNISED as the undisputed queen of press-to-plate meals in minutes, local talent Jolene Cox holds a special place in the hearts of busy households right across the country.

An award-winning food blogger and best-selling author, the Newtownbutler native has been developing and perfecting family recipes designed to help families in the kitchen over the last 20 years.

With the help of her eight-year-old daughter, Lily Mae, who has proved to be a key ingredient to the success of the ‘One Yummy Mummy’ nationwide brand, the pair have now launched the brand new ‘Family Cooking Club’ online as well as yet another book, ‘The family Kitchen’ which aims to make the kitchen a fun and stress free environment.

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Speaking to the Herald about her business and its success, Jolene explained, “I started a food blog about five years ago and it done really well.

“Out of that I received a publishing deal and I released my first cookbook, ‘Family Food Made Easy’ which became a best-seller.”

From there, Jolene, who now resides in Dublin initiated a school’s cookery programme for parents and along with Lily Mae, have fast become Ireland’s favourite family cooking treasures who pioneered a home cooking movement across the country with regular TV cookery slots, summer cooking camps for kids, an influential following across social media, not to mention the popular ‘Home Cooks Ireland’ Facebook page which was founded by the star duo.

“The cookery programme for parents was flying to be honest,” said Jolene. “It was doing really well but in January 2020 and I was in a school in March when I was told that schools would be closed due to Covid, all my bookings for the following year just flat lined.”

Like many others during the course of lockdown, Jolene had to re-think her entire business in an attempt to safeguard everything that she had built and worked towards regarding her brand.

“Nobody really knew what zoom or anything was at that time,” she said. “I thought there had to be some way of still getting to these parents.

“During lockdown I done a lot of cook-along’s for families online. My little girl Lily Mae plays a huge part in what I do and the younger audience can relate much better to her.

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“The cook-along’s really started to build momentum and I would also write recipes for the Irish Times.

“The success of this really got me thinking about actually bringing the programme online to reach a wider audience than I would in schools with the aim of getting the whole family back into the kitchen cooking – and this is how the ‘Family Cooking Club’ idea was born.

“I believe that the heart of the family home lies firmly in the kitchen, and I am passionate about encouraging kids to get hands on with cooking that will excite and inspire their taste buds and teach them skills for life.

“It’s about making making home cooking the new convenience food. Our goal is to get the whole family cooking together, making delicious press-to-plate meals in minutes and taking that ‘What will I make for dinner tonight’ stress away from busy parents.

“As a member of the Family Cooking Club, you can enjoy all of these benefits, as well as a wealth of knowledge and tips from our kitchen to yours.

“It features meal plans, shopping budgets, a recipe to shopping list converter and cook along tutorials for press-to-plate meals and a must have for those who dread making dinner decisions.”

While these popular cook-along sessions will continue into the new year, Jolene is also excited about the launch of her new book ‘One Yummy: Family Kitchen.’

“Family Kitchen is packed with easy tasty recipes which are designed to take the stresses and strains out of family cooking,” explained Jolene.

“From fragrant curries to mouth watering meats, from versatile veggies dishes to one-pot wonders, Family Kitchen will have you using hints and tips to cook deliciously quick dishes to from press-to-plate in minutes.

“I’m really proud of the kids section which features in the book, the ingredients have a little photograph beside them so kids can enjoy that visual aspect and it makes recipes easier for them to follow which will immediately make them feel more independent.”

When asked about the pressures of creating new content and ideas on a regular basis, Jolene admits that she “loves” what she does, and that finding inspiration comes easy to her, “I live it myself and these recipes are from one mam to another.”

“I’m a busy mam and like many others I’m trying to solve that problem myself of trying to make home cooking quick, easy and accessible,” Jolene said.

“We’ve all walked into the kitchen after a busy day and opened a press of ingredients and looked at it and thought ‘I just don’t what to cook’.

“I’m forever thinking of different ideas and different tricks that will make life easier.

“For me, it’s all about breaking down that barrier of home cooking so that people will instead take down a cook book and use everyday accessible ingredients and I think that’s what makes my recipes so powerful.

“There’s a generation now that is kind of lost because we grew up in the era of convenience food and I’m trying to bring it back to the basics.

“There’s a lot of parents who find it daunting but I’m very approachable and I’m someone who could talk to me about anything or ask me any questions. We all have to start somewhere and no question is out of bounds with me.

“The feedback and support that I have received from families has just been amazing.

“I get photographs sent to me every single evening by parents of what they’ve cooked, and also pictures of the kids getting involved too which is great.”

If you would like to get your family back into the kitchen and to take the stresses and strains our of everyday cooking, join Jolene and Lily Mae in January as they kickstart a meal-planning challenge to get families back to basics in the kitchen. To subscribe to the Family Cooking Hub or to purchase any of Jolene’s popular books visit www.oneyummymummy.com

Alternatively you can follow Jolene and Lily Mae on Instagram and Facebook @OneYummyMummy1.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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