Learning the Fun Way

Classes have begun…. not those classes- the Maggiano’s Kids Cooking Classes!! YAY!!!

With most of the schools out and summer vacation beginning all parents want the kids to have fun but have quality activities.

Cooking covers a lot of school subjects without the kids even knowing!

Let’s see….. there’s reading. Won’t know what the recipe calls for without reading the recipe first.

Math is covered, especially when you have to make more that one batch of the recipe.

Finally, if there’s any baking to do, and you know you’ve heard this before… there is a science to baking!

Throw in “art” for the creativity each personal chef adds to a dish!

At the May class they began with preparing dessert first. Our favorite, the apple crostata!

Besides the science and “exactness ” of baking, creativity plays a part when it comes to adding or not adding caramel sauce or a whipped topping.

That’s just a quick sample of what they do.

Don’t worry parents, you start the class with coffee and fresh made Maggiano’s pastries!

The class doesn’t end until all have had lunch!

All the dishes prepared by the kid chefs are packaged up and ready to take home and share with the family.

Check your local Maggiano’s restaurant for time and days of their Kids Cooking Class

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Don’t just shake off Winter dust

Spring went by in a flash and Summer is now here. But not without a few souvenirs to remember Spring by. You know, dust, pollen and allergens to add on to what we normally have in our homes.

From past posts you’ve heard me talk about Winix Air Purifiers. I absolutely love mine!

Though I think I can always use another one, especially the Winix QS!!!! Why, you ask?

This particular model is perfect for absolutely any room in the house!! It not only cleans the air, it plays music!!!

Functional and fun!! The JBL speaker is built right in, can you see it? It’s the small rectangle in the front. Being it’s JBL you know the sound will be amazing. Now, excuse my mini “geek out” here…. it has two 8 watt speakers. Part of the signature sound that JBL is known for, it has dual passive radiators to do the job.

Let’s go to the functional side. Here’s how the air travels through

Check out the 4 stage air cleaning system. Features such as hair collecting pre-filter too.

I like the the air quality indicator, it shows it’s working. I can be a skeptic when it comes to caring for the family and there are times that “seeing is believing “.

Don’t worry about changing the filter, “easy-peasy”.

A little tech talk, Bluetooth capability is always a plus. For the JBL speakers verified at 320 sq.ft. There are Smart Sensors that can constantly monitor the air quality giving it that famous “set and forget”!

Where can you find it?

It is offered on the Home Depot website, along with Wayfair, and of course at the Winix website

(http://www.winixamerica.com)

The Winix QS is not only a great idea for your home. They make great gifts, truly the gift that keeps on giving. Great for wedding gifts, graduation gifts (those dorms do get stuffy), and Father’s Day is right around the corner!!

Clean air and great sounds! What more could you ask for???

Simply Salmon

Everyone has mixed tuna into their egg salad or eggs into their tuna salad. But when you’ve got affordable high quality pink salmon from Wild Planet Foods, you go for the salmon!

We’ll call this Salmon egg salad salad since the salmon is the star of this salad…..

I used two cans of salmon, 2 tablespoons very fine diced onions, and three fourths cup cubed seedless cucumbers.

In the two photos above I have added one tablespoon of lemon zest and about one to one and a half teaspoons of paprika.

In goes the dill – I got a little heavy handed, so a tablespoon would be good. Salt and pepper to taste.

Because of the two cans of salmon I added almost a little over a half a cup of mayonnaise. The creaminess came from the Greek yogurt, it was half of the regular size cup. It is the plain Greek yogurt that I used.

I’ve had a great lunch with my freshly made salad…. and of course I shared with my buddies!

A big “thank you” goes out to Wild Planet Foods for sending their amazing salmon for me to cook with and have the opportunity to share it with my family and friends.

Sweets you don’t have to feel guilty about

Ah.. the annual Memorial Day BBQ! Family, friends and fun; a potluck buffet for appetizers to desserts.

When at a bbq you want food that easy to eat. Even when it comes to dessert, how about a classic sweet treat made petite?

Chocolate brownie!! Bite sized for your convenience, baked in mini cupcake wrappers makes for easy clean up too.

You could always bake from scratch, but you’ve committed to bring other dishes as well. But you hesitate to grab the usual boxed mix at the store, you’ve stumbled on the long list of ingredients….

But wait…. there’s another box brand, and it’s organic! It’s Miss Jones Baking Co., no this I can do.

I’ve got two boxes, it’s a big party and I want everyone to have the opportunity to have seconds.

All I need is eggs, water and vegetable oil.

Stir it all up, and add the brownie mix

I’ve spooned the mix into the cups, couldn’t resist to give it a little color with M&Ms

They’re done!! Super easy!

Being Memorial Day, I needed more red, white, and blue

Off we go to the party!

And wouldn’t you know, it began to rain….

No worries, even indoors Miss Jones Baking Co brownies shared top ranking on the dessert table by the other organic favorite

Is it me or does that plate look a little empty in some spots?

Seems they are too hard to resist!

Check out their other irresistible products on:

http://www.missjonesbakingco.com

Warmer Weather, Lighter Fare

The sun is finally here!! Time to put the down blankets and warm fuzzy sweaters away until next winter!

Along with the fuzzy sweaters go the warm soup and chili recipes of Fall and Winter. Time for some lighter fare!

Lighter, healthy, satisfying, and quick to make. I’m thinking something fresh and classic- salmon and pasta!!

You’ve heard me talk about this brand and use this brand’s other products. Wild Planet Foods!!

Yes, Wild Planet Foods has salmon!!! Oh my!

Let’s make Garlic Salmon Linguine!!

Let’s start with a couple of cans of the Wild Sockeye salmon ( I feed a family of 5, but with an 18yr. old it becomes 7), EVOO and garlic.

I’ve decided to use a wok just to be able to get everything in there, no spilling. Starting with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, warming up the pan…. once warm I put in the tuna. As I mix it in the pan it’s a great way to stir it into small chunks . Once I have it in the small sizes I like, I toss in the garlic. Don’t leave it too long or the garlic will burn.

Time for fresh parsley because of the amount of salmon I used, I put a tablespoon

Next comes the chicken broth, one cup goes in, I did use low sodium since it’s easier to add a smidge of salt if needed.

I’m sure your looking for the linguine… it’s been cooking on the next burner over. I am going to give this salmon a squeeze from half a lemon for a boost of sunshine.

In goes the pasta!

This is the perfect time of the year to take advantage of all the great fresh produce around us. While at the store I saw asparagus, yum!

Quick clean and chop, into the wok it goes

So, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t put any salt. I’m going to put a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, which is where I’m going to get my salty seasoning from.

Final few stirs and it’s ready for playing, family style of course.

My all in one, fantastic quality salmon, fresh asparagus and a little pasta for a “starch”.

More recipes to come using Wild Plant Foods salmon (www.wildplanetfoods.com) in wild sockeye and pink.

There’s a “New” Oil in Town

Ok, so it’s not super new, and it’s unfortunately gotten a bad rep in the past.

That was then….. this .. is …now- “re”- presenting Malaysia Palm Oil!!

We’ve mostly seen palm oil on commercial/ retail food products. At its height commercially, some took shortcuts which led to less than quality palm oil.

Not anymore! Malaysia is now the supplier and first country to produce sustainable palm oil that is recognized internationally.

A little information about Malaysia palm oil; it is non-GMO and it comes naturally from the fruit of a special species of palm trees. So it is harvest and produced similar to that of olive oil. No trans fat, but contains natural carotene and a potent form of vitamin E.

How about when you cook with it? You can cook popcorn with it! Get this, it’s smoking point is 455 degrees Fahrenheit!!

So, aprons on! My daughter and I might just have a cook off!

Because if it’s high heat capabilities, I’m going to test the palm oil making potato chips! I recently purchased purple potatoes, I’ll throw in a regular potato for contrast. And I have a fun seasoning on my shelf.

Sliced it up, and marinated it with my seasoning for a bit .

Have the oil in the pot just about ready

In go the potatoes

Finished product with an extra sprinkle of the seasoning. Came out crispy, and didn’t burn. I will admit that the regular potatoes came out prettier than the purple- but tasty nonetheless

With dinner time coming up on the clock, my daughter Angela decided on cooking a side dish for tonight’s chicken dinner. She choose potato pancakes, mainly because we haven’t had them in quite a while !!

She’s got the batter going-

Her very shallow abomination of Malaysia palm oil is ready in the pan. She gently places the batter carefully in the oil.

Careful when you flip them!

Each size gets better as she goes through the bowl.

Her end product:

Not bad for her first try. They may not be magazine camera ready but they tasted great. Crispy on the outside, with great rich middle. You almost don’t need the mini dollop of sour cream.

So, where did I learn about all of this?

Go to : http://www.palmoilhealth.org

Here’s a closeup of what I used

Want to give it a try? Make sure the palm oil you purchase is made in Malaysia!

Happy cooking!!

Yes, Chocolate has a Personality

Chocolate had its own character and personality per say- and I don’t mean the Red and Yellow M&Ms!! It can be bold, mild fruity and fun, and even calming. When do you see all of this come together? When it is done right by a true chocolatier.

Now I’m not saying that your favorite bar or mini bag of goodies is a waste of time. But when you have the opportunity to find exactly what you crave in a piece (or two) of flavors you could only dream of wouldn’t you “go for it”?

Fortunately, the chocolate angels have been looking out for “chocoholics ” like me! And have brought Chocolates by Kelly to my area!

Now you may be thinking, “yeah, more truffles”. But it’s more than these little pieces of joy!

These lovely creations are done in house- can’t get fresher than that! Clean ingredients, their cocoa beans are roasted locally. YES, the chocolate creations are made from the bean itself!!!

Who’s making it? Miss Kelly of course! A fifth generation chocolatier!!

Here’s a small sample I purchased. The flavors range from coffee to raspberry mojito, oh and the blueberry lemonade! Surprisingly this little box made it home- and it just an empty box!

CBK has so much to offer: Italian sodas, gift ideas, membership club, classes…..

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Stop by and see for yourself! And yes, you can get just a piece or two.

Stay tuned for upcoming events!!