Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Start a Cooking Club for Kids


This year I started my own cooking club. I had a handful of friends that wanted to learn how to cook so I thought what better way to spend time with them  than in the kitchen
If you are interested in starting a cooking club here are some things to help you get started.

Invite Others
Picking friends for your brand new cooking club is easy. Try to choose people who already do some cooking already or who have an interest in it and want to learn.





Choose a Location
How many kids you have join your cooking club varies on the kitchen space you have available and the level of experience each kid has. I think the more comfortable the kids are with cooking, the more kids you can have. For my club there are 4 other girls and I host it in my home. You can rotate houses if other parents want to get involved. I find it easier to do it in my own home, with my mom, because we are sure we have everything we need and I know how to work my appliances.

Choosing a Good Recipe
For your first cooking club, try to chose a simple recipe that you already know how to make. Later on in the club, you can choose more complicated ones that you haven't done before. For my club I chose 3 recipes which included a drink- Strawberry Basil Lemonade,  a main course - Low Country Boil Packets from my favorite show The Kitchen, and a dessert - No Bake Cheesecake.  





Your meal can be any combination of drinks, entrees, appetizers, or desserts, When choosing recipes consider the time it takes to cook, and complexity of the recipe. The plan the steps out so you aren't confused about what to do first.

Have a Plan
Our club is usually held around 5 o'clock in the evening, so we usually finish dinner around the same time as a normal school night dinner. We usually end at 7, inviting the grown-ups who would like to eat with us to join us for dinner at 6:30. 






Always have your ingredients laid out and grouped into "stations". At each station have a slip of paper containing the recipes. And as soon as the girls or guys get there assign them tasks to do. For example, I had two friends make the dessert, two friends make the lemonade (from real lemons), and we all pitched in with the main course. Some kids measured and added ingredients, and others cut up the meat and vegetables My mom cleaned up. 




Always make sure that you have a parent around and medical equipment near by in case of a small or serious cut.

Now its Your Turn
With all the tools and tips I have given you can start a cooking club of your very own. Do you have a cooking club? I'd love to hear any tips you have. 

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spicy Chicken Fried Rice


Some nights when my mom doesn't feel like cooking so she orders in Chinese food. It's one of our family's go to favorites.


During cooking camp this summer I learned you don't always have to order in when you have a craving for restaurant favorites you can make it yourself. Each day at Classic Thyme Cooking Camp this summer we cooked recipes from different cuisines. For example, one day we made all French food and another day it was all Polish food. On the final day of camp, we learned how to cook Asian food.


One of the recipes we made that day was fried rice. I really enjoyed this recipe because it was not only delicious to eat... it was also fun to make! Here is a modified version of Spicy Chicken Fried Rice with Tempeh


This is what you will need…





2-3 tablespoons regular olive oil

1⁄2 cup chopped scallion, green and white

1⁄2 cup chopped celery

1⁄2 cup chopped red pepper

2 minced garlic cloves 

1 pound chicken breast, cut up into small pieces

2-3 eggs

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 cups cooked white rice

2 cups tempeh chopped (optional)

Before you begin chopping up your ingredients, start cooking your rice according to the package.

Heat olive oil in a wok or medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions, celery, red pepper and garlic. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.




Next add the chicken and cook thoroughly. To save time, I use Perdue Short Cuts Chicken Breast or any other precooked chicken I have on hand such as left overs.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, then gently add to the vegetables. Stir continuously until the egg is cooked and evenly distributed.



Add the cooked rice, tempeh, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cook until almost dry. If you are wondering what tempeh is, it's a soy product from Indonesia. You can find it in the section of your grocery store that has tofu. It looks kind of funny but, just like tofu, it takes on the flavor of the dish...which make this fast yummy.



Once it is ready serve it in bowls or on plates to your whole family. Season with additional soy sauce or sesame oil if needed. I like to serve the fried rice with edamame.

Spicy Chicken Fried Rice

2-3 tablespoons regular olive oil

1⁄2 cup chopped scallion, green and white

1⁄2 cup chopped celery

1⁄2 cup chopped red pepper

2 minced garlic cloves 

1 pound chicken breast, cut up into small pieces

2-3 eggs

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 cups cooked white rice

2 cups tempeh chopped (optional)

Before you begin chopping up your ingredients, start cooking your rice according to the package.
Heat olive oil in a wok or medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions, celery, red pepper and garlic.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Next add the chicken and cook thoroughly.
In a bowl, whisk eggs together, then gently add to the vegetables. Stir continuously until the egg is cooked and evenly distributed. Add the cooked rice, tempeh, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cook until almost dry.
Season with additional soy sauce or sesame oil if needed.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Crepes - My Favorite Thing to Make for Breakfast















One of my favorite things to make for breakfast are crêpes. My friend's au pair was from France and made them as an after school snack when I went her house to visit. They were delicious. I kept asking my mom if we could make them and she always said no. I think she thought it was too hard to make.

I thought they were going to be hard too, and the first time I made them they didn't turn out great. But we tried again and after a little practice I got the hang of it.

You can get the hang of it too. And it only takes 5 simple ingredients, ones you should have on hand. This is really simple to do, so don't think you missed something!

This is my grandma's recipe, and to make it you will need...
  • 1 cup of flour (sifted)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/8 a teaspoon of salt


Add all of your ingredients to a medium size bowl and whisk together until super smooth. Use a spatula to push the extra flour to the center so the whisk catches it. Then scoop batter with a ladle and pour into a 12" inch nonstick pan on medium heat. ( I don't have a crepe maker but this does the job.) Then twirl the pan around so the batter coats the whole bottom.







Once the batter in the pan gets a little bit darker then the batter in the bowl, use a spatula to loosen the crepe. Once its cook it won't stick to the pan. I like to use a wide spatula to flip the crepe.

DON'T be frustrated if your crêpes come out too thick or if they rip. It will take a few times to get it right.

When I finish making crêpes, I like to fill them with nutella. But you could fill them with every thing from peanut butter and jelly to marshmallows, chocolate, gram crackers, and everything in between! My mom and dad like them with ham and Swiss cheese. If you are making a ham and cheese crêpe (or something along those lines), then you need to add the ingredients into the pan. This helps the cheese melt.





When I went to Crate and Barrel I found this awesome spatula that is about 9" inches in diameter. It is an pancake/omelet spatula, but I think it is best spatula for flipping crêpes. To buy an omelet spatula for your kitchen, click this link.

Grandma Carol’s Crepes
1 cup of flour (sifted)
1 cup of milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup of water
1/8 a teaspoon of salt
Mix the flour, water, eggs, and salt in a bowl. Ladle ¼ cup of batter in pan. Keep thin. Depending on the heat flip after 30-90 seconds.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why I love Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, also known as Triple D, follows Guy Fieri as he travels around the country from Jersey to California and from Texas to Canada and every where in between. He visits great restaurants that are diamonds in the ruff and gives them the shine they deserve.

Every summer on our annual RV trips we visit these places in all the states we go to. My favorite Triple D restaurant that I have been to is Perfectly Franks just outside of Charleston, North Carolina.  South Carolina. Here they serve delectable hot dogs, delicious fish tacos, and cheese fries that rival the Jersey Shore.

I love this show because when you are staying in a hotel and you are tired of pizza you just look up a Triple D near you. Its your free pass from box pizza. You can find these free passes all over. To find one near you look at this link.

On our last RV trip we visited many Triple D places but some of my favorites were Southern Soul Barbeque in Saint Simons Island, Georgia and Dots Back Inn in Richmond, VA.
The very first Triple D I went to was Hillbilly Hot Dogs in West Virginia in 2011. This bus on the side of the road is dishing up some killer hotdogs that certainly aren't from the dirt. Upon entering you are given a Sharpie and asked to sign the walls of the restaurant. Watch out for spider that comes out of nowhere and spookes you.