Recipe for Success

 Kaarina (Ljungholm) Owens ’94

(l-r) Kaarina (Ljungholm) Owens and business partner Kimberly McConnell.

The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is the model of a woman with exemplary, God-honoring character, business smarts and above all— a love for her family. Kaarina Owens is such a woman.
A 1994 Nyack graduate, Kaarina majored in Business Administration with a minor in marketing. After graduation, she moved to Maryland where she met her future husband, Jason, then a student at the United States Naval Academy and now a Naval flight officer and instructor. With married life and children following, Kaarina was fully immersed in the world of a full-time stay-at-home mom.

A family move to Texas is how she met good friend and neighbor, Kimberly McConnell. Though Kimberly worked full-time, she and Kaarina shared similar challenges in juggling school activities, playtime and dinner menus. While on an evening walk, the two commiserated about the joys and timesaving blessings of crock-pot cooking. When Kimberly shared that friends often asked for her weekly menus, Kaarina came up with the idea of creating a cookbook, specifically for slow cookers. Before long, their business, Kitchen Koaches was born.

After a year of planning and gathering recipes and menus, Kaarina and Kimberly self-published the 250-recipe Put A Lid On It in 2004, starting with an initial print run of 200 books. They both realized that today’s hectic pace of life often leads to the lack of quality family time. This factor coupled with the common frustration in the kitchen, many times due to a lack of planning, prompted their desire to serve as “coaches” to other mothers and families. The result was not just to expand a collection of recipes but also to share how to successfully plan meals and to save money by steering clear of “impulse buying.” To date, the co-authors have sold more than 3,000 copies.

The Lord has blessed the former Kaarina Lungholm and her husband with six beautiful children: Kelton Erik, Van Kristofer, Grayson James, Kaja Jolie, Ryder Jason, and Ellexa Katarina. From the very beginning she and her partner, Kimberly agreed the business would never interfere with their family life. Keeping God first in their supportive friendship has enabled them to maintain a positive and healthy balance in their personal and work lives.

Besides earning her undergraduate degree, how did Nyack impact Kaarina’s life? She voices heartfelt appreciation for three of her former professors at Nyack College: Dr. Donald Siebert, Professor Craig Evans, and Dr. Brad Stamm. Kaarina credits Dr. Stamm with steering her decision to pursue Business Administration and for the constructive advice that has influenced both her professional and personal life decisions.

Kitchen Koaches has also published a second book Create a Cookbook, which contains over 100 dessert and appetizer recipes. The three-ring binder format facilitates adding inserts. Thus far, Kaarina and Kimberly have produced three new sections, including one entitled Put A Kid On It, which features instructions for teaching children about meal planning, shopping, and cooking.

To learn more about how God is opening doors for this unique collaboration of two resourceful women, visit

Written by Jonette Miller

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