Anna’s “Summer Meets Fall” Dessert


IMG_1148Today, on the way home from school, Anna said she had been thinking and wanted to make a dessert for us. Since Central Florida is sopping wet, football practices and games have been canceled for week #2, so we had the whole evening at home  together as a family! After backyard playing, showers, and dinner, Anna joined me in the kitchen to make this “Summer (Cherries) Meets Fall (Apples)” Dessert.

  • 2 cups organic whipped cream (about 1 cup organic cream and 1 Tablespoon honey whipped together until soft peaks form)

  • 1 organic apple, chopped

  • Cherry sauce (We had this leftover already in the fridge – click here for the recipe – just substitute the cherries for the berries)

  • Mini Chocolate chips

    Place a dollop of whipped cream on the bottom of a bowl. Add a large spoonful of cherry sauce, followed by chopped apples, more whipped cream and then the chocolate chips. This made 3 kid-sized servings and 1 adult serving. IMG_1149-0.JPG

The Kitchen is Our New Classroom


Now that school is out, lunch takes on a whole new meaning…so long lunchboxes, hello kid-prepared dishes! For the first day of summer break, Anna decided she wanted to be “chef of the day”. For breakfast she decided on ham and egg cups (recipe below), Ezekiel english muffins, and apple slices with spiced fig hummus.  

For lunch, she chose chicken, spinach salad, and fresh fruit salad. She did the chopping and assembling for the salads while I oversaw Aleyah (and kinda Joel) making sushi. She’s really getting the hang of it so I’m looking forward to more rolls over the summer 🙂

Dessert was simply store-bought, organic chocolate ship cookie dough squares that we cut in half and baked. We made a basic cream cheese frosting and turned our cookies into sandwiches topped with a strawberry slice.

And all this was done while wearing their PJs!




20140526-202549.jpgHam and Egg Cups

  • 4 slices of deli-sliced ham (We used Applegate Farms – nitrate free!)

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 1/4 cup milk of your choice

  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Beat eggs and milk. Place a slice of ham into a muffin tin. Press center down. Fill to the top with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with a half of a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Repeat with the remaining ham and eggs. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife between the ham and the muffin tin to release. Serve warm.

Cooking with Kids – One of my Favorite Parts of Summer!

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Last week, I once again had the honor of opening up my home and kitchen to a handful of kids. We spent time around the table creating some fun meals. Below are the menus we whipped together and enjoyed together as well. Click on the menu items to take you to the recipes so you and some of your favorite little ones can also create and eat!

Mexican Feast

Italian Cafe

Brownies for the Finale

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This was another recipe I searched for online since the kids in last week’s cooking class requested brownies for our final day. I made these brownies exactly according to the recipe, and they turned out great! I will be making these again but will try replacing the butter with coconut oil or extra light olive oil. I will also decrease the sugar by 1/4 cup and add in 1/4 cup of local honey to replace it. We topped off our brownies with fresh whipped cream and strawberries!

  • 1/4 cup organic butter

  • 1/2 cup organic sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/3 cup white whole-wheat flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, applesauce, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven until brownies are just set in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.


Homemade Pizza


I found this recipe online as I researched whole grain pizza crusts. This was recipe #2 that I tried, and it was the winner! Next time I will try to mix a higher protein flour (like chickpea or brown rice) with a lighter protein content flour (like a whole wheat pastry flour) just to see how it turns out.

      2 c. whole wheat flour
      1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
      3/4 tsp. salt
      1 c. warm water
      1 tbsp. olive oil
      1 tsp. honey

Pour flour into a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and salt. Mix well. Add water, oil and honey; mix well. Spray with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for 10 minutes to rise.
Punch down. Lightly cover pizza pan with cornmeal. Press dough onto pan. Spread sauce and other ingredients on pizza crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Summer Kids’ Cooking Camps – Sign Up Today!

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In my spare time this summer 😉 I am teaching a cooking camp for kids. This will be my third summer of hosting these camps, and I love doing this and working with the kids as we create healthy and fun meals together. You click here to see some of the fun we had last year. We focus on creating our lunches from scratch, and I include several hands-on opportunities for the children to assist in preparation and cooking. They also receive information to help them make the best food choices for their growing bodies! Here are the dates and a basic menu for each of the two weeks:

Tuesday, May28th-Friday, May 31st

  • 10:30-12:30 PM

  • The menu will be locally-inspired including garden fresh fruits and vegetables, local meats and seafood

  • We will have the opportunity to visit a local organic farm one of the days!

Monday, July15-Thursday, July 18th

  • 10:30-12:30 PM

  • The menu will focus on international fare such as tandoori chicken and Brazilian chimichurri.

  • We will take a “field trip” this week as well, but I have not finalized our destination yet.

The camps are $50 per child per week. You can sign up for one or both weeks. Please message me to sign up or if you have any question.

Also, if you live in the Indialantic area, you can sign up for our VBS for June 3-8! Click here to sign up or to find one where you live.

Grilled to Perfection! Day 4 of Cooking Class

For our final day of cooking together, the class decided to grill up some sandwiches. Spread out before us on the table was whole wheat bread, wheat wraps, 2% cheddar and 2% provolone cheese, Applegate ham,  peaches, apples, bananas, peanut butter and cinnamon raisin hummus. I tried to offer tomato slices, pickles, and spinach but had no takers. 😦

For the creamy round, we ended up with grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches, a grilled peanut butter and peach and apple sandwich, and a grilled cinnamon raisin hummus and banana sandwich.

For the ooey, gooey, cheesy round, we grilled up ham and cheese sandwiches for most everyone, and a couple of good ‘ol regular grilled cheeses for two of the kids.

And what’s a sandwich without chips? When we went shopping at Publix, we grabbed a bag of purple potatoes, and I thinly sliced them on my mandloine, laid them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, sprayed them with olive oil, and baked them at 450 for  about 15 minutes or so. As soon as they came out of the oven, I sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and served them to the group until there was just enough left for me. 🙂

For dessert, I shared my all-time favorite cookie recipe- Publix’s breakfast cookies. We even made extra so Madi, one of our students, could share them at her birthday sleepover this weekend.

The greatest rewards from the week included:

  • Ella going home and making her family the tomato and cucumber salad we made on Day 2
  • Knowing that one of Madi’s favorite recipes was the summer salad
  • Aleyah telling her Daddy how to read the ingredients list (i.e. the first ingredient on the list is the main ingredient)
  • Madi informing her grandfather that the white grits he was eating are not as nutritional as the yellow ones

Sometimes we don’t think they hear us, and sometimes we predetermine what their tastes are, and so we don’t “allow” them to explore new foods. The above highlights show us just the opposite!

The pictures below of nail painting was part of a promise … I made sure to leave a little extra time at the end of this day because my daughters have been wanting to paint finger nails and toe nails with their old and new friends. The only spill we had was made by yours truly. 😛

A big thank you to each young chef who came this week, and also to their parents for allowing me the opportunity to share my love and passion with them!

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Spaghetti and Slurpees – Day 3 of Cooking Class

Today we took our field trip to Publix so we could buy our ingredients for tomorrow’s meal. We voted to have grilled sandwiches of various kinds, homemade purple potato chips, and oatmeal raisin cranberry chocolate chips cookies.

When we returned home, we enjoyed whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce, and we had an assortment of salad toppings so each girl was able to create a beautiful layered salad. Our dessert was my homemade slurpees which we decided to rename Italian ice since we had an Italian theme for the day. 🙂

I am looking forward to seeing their sandwich creations tomorrow. This could get interesting!

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An Olympic Tea Party – Cooking Class Day 2

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Because breakfast was such a hit last time around, I decided to do it again with a few variations. In honor of the upcoming Summer Olympics in London, we made orange cinnamon scones and served them up with some sun tea that we made. We pulled out fancy tea cups and saucers to complete the experience. In addition to our DELICIOUS scones, we made our own breakfast sausage patties, grits, and scrambled eggs. Since it is important to me to include fruits and veggies into almost every meal I eat, I also made a tomato and cucumber salad.

Breakfast Sausage Patties

  • 1/3 lb lean ground turkey

  • 1/4 cup celery, diced

  • 1/4 cup onion, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

  • a dash of nutmeg

Saute celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Combine the vegetables and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your hands and form into golf ball-sized balls and then gently flatten. Bake in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes or brown in a pan, about 3-4 minutes per side. Makes about 10-12 patties

Kids in the Kitchen – Week 2, Day 1

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Today the circle of friends gathered around our table enjoyed a feast of BBQ chicken, summer salad, corn on the cob with parsley butter, and a blueberry tart.

We put together a dry rub for our chicken, and then each child received a zip top bag with a skinless chicken thigh in it. We added a dusting of the spices into the bag, and they were able to rub in the dry marinade while avoiding getting their hands tainted! After baking them in the oven until almost done, we spooned on some organic BBQ sauce.

Our summer salad is a remake of the traditional broccoli and raisin salad we all have seen at a pot luck. That recipe is normally made with mayo and bacon. I cleaned it up by replacing the mayo with plain Greek yogurt and substituting smoked almonds in place of the bacon giving it a similar taste without the bad fat. I typically do not put raisins in mine, but rather small chunks of sharp cheddar cheese.

Summer Salad

  • 1 medium head of broccoli, florets cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 3/4 cup 2% sharp cheddar cheese, cubed

  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1/3  cup chopped, smoked almonds

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, vinegar, honey and S&P. Place the broccoli, cheese, and onion into the bowl. Toss to coat. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, and stir in almonds before serving.

Blueberry Tart

Our blueberry tart was a granola crust, blueberries, and a jelly glaze.

  • 1/2 cup  Earth Balance butter spread, melted

  • 1 1/2 cup granola

  • 1/3 c chopped nuts

  • 12 oz blueberries (fresh or frozen)

  • 1/4 all natural fruit spread

Combine granola, butter, and nuts into a bowl. Mix until well combined. Press into an 8″ tart pan (or pie plate). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Place blueberries into tart crust. Bring the jelly to a slow boil on the stove. Slowly pour over berries and place tart into refrigerator to allow to set- about an hour.