Tag Archives: Food

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

ChopChop Big PicnicParsnip and Dill, I tell my kids. Those are my secret ingredients for delicious chicken soup. Well not my recipe I confess, but passed on to me by Grandma Nettie, Auntie Kimbo’s grandmother. They know that “Auntie” Kimbo is not really their aunt, and that her name is Kim (Kimberly but don’t tell her I told you!).  They also know that Kim and I have been friends since we were six, and somewhere Kim turned into Kimbo, as those things go with longtime childhood friends.

In any case, my kids and I love to cook together and it has been fun as they grow to watch them conquer more and more complex cooking tasks on their own. And by complex I mean my 10-year-old is up to the cracking the eggs into a bowl without bits of shell getting in. One of the most rewarding moments of motherhood so far was the birthday morning that I woke up to heart-shaped pancakes made for me by my 13-year-old daughter. My child had cooked for me , and that felt revolutionary.

I like to cook with them for the same reason that I like to keep a small (o.k. weed infested) garden in our backyard. I like for them to know where their food comes from. To understand the process of how what we put into our body is made, and that they can make food for themselves, it does not have to come in a package or be bought off a shelf. We had been big fans of the quarterly publication ChopChop Magazine for years, loving to try the healthful recipes and snack suggestions within its colorful pages. ChopChop is a non-profit  with the mission to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families.

Currently, 1 out of 400 children under 18 in the U.S. has diabetes, and nearly 1 in 3 is obese. ChopChop’s goal is to reverse this trend by teaching kids and their parents how to create healthy, delicious meals that are easy to prepare and use fresh, nutritious ingredients. ChopChop doesn’t demonize particular foods or use scare tactics. They just offer simple, healthy, and affordable recipes for children and parents to make together.

When we found out ChopChop had come out with a  ChopChop cookbook  we were thrilled.   We were sent a copy as a lead up to our participation in The Big Picnic, and when we received our copy of the cookbook  I had the kids pick out a recipe for us to try.  With four kids coming to a consensus can be challenging to say the least, this time somehow they all enthusiastically agreed that they wanted to make Matzo Balls to add to Grandma Nettie’s Chicken Soup.

The ChopChop Cookbook is made for kids so it is easy for them to read and follow the well explained simple recipes. Personally I never knew I could make Matzo balls, so to find them so easy to make surprised me. Of course the kids all wanted to crack the eggs so I was grateful that the recipe they chose called for 6! Of course rolling the Matzo balls was the most fun, but watching them fluff up as they cooked came pretty close.

big pic2

Inspired by National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September, The Big Picnic is being hosted on September 22nd by ChopChop and partner organizations including The White House as a virtual community picnic in which families across the country will cook and eat together at their own picnics. It will be a fun event with a serious goal: preventing childhood obesity.  Who doesn’t love a picnic!?! They are a great way to remind us that cooking and eating healthy food together is lots of fun—a time to share and enjoy. This event is all about good food and good company!

You can join The Big Picnic however you like, spread out a blanket , eat at a picnic table – outside or in. Invite friends, family,  neighbors, and make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. Take pictures or video and share with the hashtag #bigpicnic, and as a participant you will be eligible to win prizes like subscriptions to the magazine, a copy of the  ChopChop cookbook or other fun surprises. We’ll be there, eating our Matzo Ball Soup!

You can also Enter to Win a ChopChop cookbook and a one-year ChopChop Magazine subscription Below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is an original post written by me as part of a program with The Mission List. I received a ChopChop cookbook + magazine subscription for culinary inspiration; as always all opinions are my own.




The BBQ Grilling Hazard You Need To Be Aware Of

The BBQ Grilling Hazard You Need To Be Aware Of

I love nothing more than to grill our meals when the weather permits.  It saves me a mess in the kitchen and is a delicious way to prepare low-fat, healthful meals for my family.  Last year a few of my husband’s colleagues published a finding about a medical issue  that I don’t think many people are aware of. It can cause severe health risks so I wanted to share the information with my readers as the grilling season begins.

The hazard comes from the wire bristles on the grill cleaning brush that can become dislodged from the brush and end up in food.  The thin wire bristles can be tiny, and hard to detect on food, but cause major internal damage if ingested.  The Radiologists discovered the bristles in internal images taken of six patients who had come in between the months of May and November with severe abdominal pain. All six of the patients had  just eaten grilled meat of some sort before coming in.

Since then my husband has switched our grill brush to the pumice stone type, and we still wipe down the grill before cooking on it. There may be other safe types of grill cleaning brushes out there,that is just what we are trying this season. If you do continue to use a brush with metal bristles the reccomendation is to wipe down the grill after cleaning with the bristle brush before cooking on it.   With a metal bristle brush the likely hood of ingesting a metal bristle is probably very low, but the risks if you do are quite high. All last sumer after learning about this finding every-time I ate at a  BBQ I was convinced I’d accidentally swallowed a bristle. Luckily that was never the case.  As grilling season resumes again I wanted my dear readers to be aware and keep safe, and enjoy their grill!

It’s Your Latke Day!

It’s Your Latke Day!

It’s your Latke Day because Chanukah begins tomorrow at sundown, and I have two delicious Latke recipes to share! The best part is that these bite sized potato treats are good enough to serve as side dishes or appetizers all year round.


If you want to get fancy:

 Then go with the Sweet Potato Latke recipe that I submitted as a ONE.org Community Partner to the ONE.org Digital Cookbook for their Sweet potato Nutrition campaign.  These are a dressed up version of the traditional Chanukah treat.


2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
 and shredded

¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 ¼ teaspoon Cumin

4  eggs

6 tablespoons  flour

Pinch of salt & pepper to taste

canola oil for frying


8 oz. crème fraiche

1teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Caramelized Pecans


Mix shredded sweet potatoes with eggs, flour, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt & pepper

Place a tablespoon of the batter in a frying pan with oil and fry until light brown and crispy on both sides.

Place on a paper towel before putting it on the plate.

Mix crème fraiche with cayenne pepper and cumin and place a dollop on top of each pancake.

Top with caramelized pecan and serve.

To make traditional Potato Latkes:

4 potatoes peeled & shredded

2 Eggs

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl

Heat oil in a pan and drop in spoonfuls of the batter  and press flat with a spatula. (beware of hot oil splattering, I like to use an oil screen as shown here):

Fry until crispy and golden brown on each side.

Serve with optional toppings of sour cream and applesauce.


Fruit Turkey Recipe

Fruit Turkey Recipe

I have brought this Fruit Turkey that I saw years ago in Family Fun Magazine into my kids classroom celebrations for Thanksgiving and it is always a huge hit!

You Need:

A melon with the bottom sliced off so it sits flat

A red pepper for the feet, feathers, and snood (the thing that hangs over the turkey’s beak)

A Bartlett Pear for the head

Craisins or Raisins for the eyes

Chunks of melon and red grapes for the tail feather  fruit kabobs

Wood skewers for the Kabobs and toothpicks to attach all else.

Gobble, Gobble!



Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster NYC: Ethiopia-Sweden-America

Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster NYC: Ethiopia-Sweden-America

Marcus Samuelsson’s story is amazing.

He was born in Ethiopia, and when he was only three his mother walked for days with her two children to get medical care to treat their tuberculosis. Sadly, his mother did not make it, but Marcus and his sister received the care they needed to recover. A year later they were adopted into a loving family and brought up in Sweden. It was the love of cooking that his Swedish grandmother instilled in him which he credits for guiding him to where he is today. He has risen to become a world-renowned chef and author of Yes, Chef; A Memoir in which he details his fascinating life.

Me with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at Red Rooster

While in New York City for the Blogher conference I had the pleasure to meet Chef Marcus Samuelsson and check out his acclaimed Red Rooster Restaurant in Harlem. He has created a vibrant atmosphere in which to serve what he describes as American comfort food with hints of his Swedish and African roots. While there, he greeted us with the same easy smile and warm welcoming manner with which he seemed to grace all those he encountered. He graciously took us on a tour downstairs to Ginny’s Supper Club , which is fashioned as a modern speakeasy and opened in 2012 as a tribute to the Harlem Renaissance. The food was amazing and the ambiance electric, so if you are looking for a cool night out, Red Rooster is where you want to go.

A drink called Yes, Chef