Junior Sous Chef? Maybe

 You’ve heard me talk about how kids now a days are foodies. Way more than we were kids… back in the day. It’s not a bad thing, in fact it’s amazing to see their take on all the different foods around us.

What makes it even more amazing is that these young foodies not only want to taste all the flavors, they want to create it!

So grab your toque, and tie that apron. Maggiano’s Kids Cooking Class are in full swing.

Now, I may have some biased, my kids have been attending these classes for some time, dare I say- years!

Do the classes repeat menus? Sometimes, but that’s ok. Repetition helps them remember what to do.

So how long have we been going? For kicks, my daughter acted as sous chef for Executive Chef Mike at the last class!

They had her wear a chef’s coat and class began! Side note- she has attended enough classes to qualify for her own her coat, it’s on order. How? They offer each attends a lunch card. Once the card is completed the “student” earns his/her own chef jacket compliments of Maggiano’s!!

Starting with fundamentals and at each course Chef Mike goes to each table to help guide and answer questions.

Maggiano’s makes sure that all their guests are comfortable and happy. So as the kids are learning and creating, parents- breakfast and warm coffee awaits!

What happens to all of their creations? The student get to take it all home. No, it doesn’t become their lunch. Maggiano’s has something else for them!

A nice buffet of their famous dishes, spaghetti and meatballs, along with their Mac n’ cheese. Complete with salad and bread

Do I recommend these classes? Yes! There fun, yummy and a great way for kids to learn a life skill!!

Check with your local Maggiano’s, mine has a class once a month. Where to find them?

You can call your local Maggiano’s, or check the Eventbrite website, where you can also purchase tickets for the event.

Earth Day Everyday

April 22nd is Earth day!

How do you celebrate Earth day?

It doesn’t have to be a big parade or a big party. We can celebrate Earth Day, each day, a little but every day.

You can start with the food you share with your family and friends. Here’s some fabulous tips from Chef Gerard Viverito in an article he recently wrote:

Five Earth Day food-shopping tips to follow all year   
Earth Day, celebrated every April 22, is a global event designed to raise ecological awareness. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world. I’ve seen firsthand how different cultures protect their natural resources. Here in the U.S., we’re getting better at making planet-friendly food decisions but doing the right thing can be confusing. Here are five simple grocery shopping tips you can start doing right away that will help protect our environment.

Buy only what you need. It’s all about efficiency. More than 30 percent of the United States’ food goes to waste. Eat your leftovers or freeze what you can’t consume right away. If you find you overbought, share with your neighbors or donate the items to a local food shelf.Choose products with less packaging. Stroll past the individually wrapped packaged snacks. Drink more tap water. Spread Nutella on apples or whole-grain crackers instead of stocking the cabinets with bags of fruit snacks or chips. You will produce less waste, and consume more essential vitamins and minerals.

  1. Use cooking oils that require less land to produce. For example, genetically modified crops such as corn, soy and canola require as much as 10 times more land than palm oil. As our world population increases, the edible oil demand could easily lead to more deforestation. Thankfully, a large percentage of the nutritious palm oil in our U.S. food supply comes from Malaysia, where it is certified as sustainably produced. Plus, while those other oil crop fields are routinely plowed under, oil palm trees produce fruit for up to 30 years. So, the lush oil palm plantations provide stable homes for wildlife. Fun fact: In Malaysia, barn owls and snakes are used to control the pest populations, enabling farmers to reduce the use of harmful chemical pesticides.

  2. Go meatless at least once a week. Not only is a plant-based diet healthy but livestock is the largest driver of deforestation in the world. The Union of Concerned Scientists  (UCS) have even made beef cattle the emphasis of its deforestation campaign. Livestock accounts for 71 percent of agricultural land, or 30 percent of land surface on the planet, according to a FAO report. While less significant, soybeans, pigs and poultry, and corn are causes of deforestation according to a Climate Focus report.

  3. Buy only US-caught seafood. Ninety one percent of our seafood is imported. We don’t know how it was caught or what regulations were followed to protect our oceans. I serve as Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, an NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. One of the most important questions you can ask at the supermarket or fish market is the country of origin. The American seafood industry generally has better sustainability practices than those of other countries.


This year’s Earth Day theme is “Protect our Species”. Some of the best solutions for protecting our wildlife and their habitats are to support the global use of certified sustainable products, such as Malaysian palm oil, buying local to help keep nearby farmlands from becoming paved shopping malls, and choosing American seafood to help protect the health of our oceans.


Author Biography: Chef Gerard Viverito, The Sustainable Chef, is a culinary instructor as the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, a NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. He is also operator of Saveur Fine Catering, a company whose beliefs and products center on local, sustainable and organic foods. Chef Viverito’s pantry is loaded with items commonly overlooked in the supermarkets, yet he has a thorough understanding of them and a passion to teach others how to cook more healthfully.


In addition, Chef Viverito has dedicated a large part of his career to what he terms “functional cooking.” This is where he adds nutritional ingredients to dishes to gain healthful results. He is well known for his ability to lower the glycemic index value of food, add omega fatty acids, and whole proteins to dishes without compromising the texture or taste. He appears regularly on radio and television programs demonstrating this as well as consulting clients on their dietary needs. www.ChefGerard.com

Now, I have been so fortunate enough to have met Chef Gerard- and he’s so down to earth and practical with his recipes and techniques. He truly understands what the “everyday” family is about.

It’s true that every little bit, adds up to us help preserve the planet we love. And when you put together all the little things that we can easily do, we also lead by example to our children on the importance of clean environment living! ❤️

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!

Salmon To Go

As we make our way into the Spring season, the weather gets a little more warmer and scenery more alive! Who wants to be inside?

Time to start thinking about picnics and food on the go! Maybe some lighter fare..

I know you what me talk a out about Wild Planet Foods, this is another reason why! Their salmon!! Yes, salmon! Another fish that is as popular and versatile as tuna, but a smidge more!

Around the Spring season you tend to see salmon take a forefront with dishes. I love tuna salad and I like to alternate it with salmon. I’ve started from fresh salmon, ok, ok, leftover salmon.

With Wild Planet Foods Wild sockeye salmon it’s as fresh as if I had just cooked it! And since I want to be able to make it quick, easy and on the go, I need a vessel besides Tupperware. Ah ha! I’ve got a package of puff pastry sheets in the freezer!!

So here’s my ingredients:

I made my simple salmon salad of :

2 cans of wild sockeye salmon

One package of cream cheese

2-3 teaspoons Lemon juice

Fine chopped celery

One tablespoon dried dill weed

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Puff pastry sheets

I have an “empanada” mood which has helped in forming my salmon salad pockets.

You could also use a round cookie cutter and fold them over. How many you yield will depend on the size you make. Don’t forget to dab a little water on the edges to seal your pastry. Once you’ve set them on your baking sheet, brush a little egg wash on them .

Bake at 425° for about 15-20 minutes, golden brown. And voilà….

Easy to take to the botanical gardens, or just out to the park.

Hope you like it!!

Special thanks to Wild Planet Foods for sharing their wild sockeye salmon to create this dish!

Small Fish, Packed Protein

Need something quick and packed with protein? Reach for a can of one of Wild Planet Foods’ different varieties of sardines!!

WHAT?!? Why the face? Have you tried sardines lately? Listen, they’re not the same as they used to be eons ago. They have more versatility and personality now. Which is why I chose Wild Planet Foods brand, they have a great variety to suit every need.

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Now, if you already love sardines, I know you can probably pop open a can and grab some crackers. Yes, I’ve done that; their sardines with the extra virgin olive oil and lemon is perfect for that.

But what if you have never had sardines before, where do you start? Or maybe you need a quick lunch (or snack). I’ve got something simple but yet satisfying. Remember these little guys pack the protein.

Checking the cupboard I found some Naan bread, and with a can of the sardines in marinara sauce…..

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How simple? All I did, besides open the can 😉 I added a dash of Italian seasoning and a small dash of parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top. Into the toaster oven in went.

The finished product…..

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Its makes for a great option if you celebrate Lent, too. Now I’m not saying this will convert everyone into sardine lovers, but it is a great option.

In the past I’ve also used the variety in extra virgin olive oil tossed with some Angel hair pasta and a smidge of pesto sauce.

Sardines have come such a long way, there’s  always a recipe that showcases its great flavor. Who knows who you may “convert”.

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I would like to give a special thank to Wild Planet Foods for their endless support and generosity!

Want more details on what makes Wild Planet Foods a family favorite? Just go to http://www.wildplanetfoods.com

“March”On Moms

There’s so much to being a “Mom” that isn’t just like it’s written in all those baby books. Why? Because everyone is different!! Surprise, right? Sure, family and friends can give great advice, but sometimes you need an unbiased answer to all those questions.

That’s why this month’s “Dish the CFA Tea with Geri B” was meant for all the new moms and soon-to-be-moms……This month’s meeting we were so fortunate to have a very special guest; Sharon Filegar, RNC-MNN,BSN,IBCLC of St. Mary’s Hospital Mother Infant Unit. IMG_2062

It’s just us, so ask all the questions. With 30 years experience, it’s safe to say that Sharon has probably heard it all. And reassures us that though as new moms we feel like aliens- we aren’t alone. IMG_2068

So much to fit into the one hour, Sharon brought some take aways for all the moms.

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Now, you know that at every “Dish The CFA Tea” we have goodies to share! I always bring my new finds to share and sample, and Chick Fil A Short Pump Crossing Family has the Sweet Tea flowing!!

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When you join us at the event don’t forget to sign in to our guest book to be entered in to the raffle- great prizes await!!!

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And special “Thanks!” to Sprout Organic Baby and Toddler Food for the awesome coupons they gave to share with all the attendees! Thank you too, to MomsMeet for connecting us!

It goes without saying, a big hug and thanks to our host, Chick Fil A Short Pump Crossing for their generosity !!

 

So much fun having such wonderful moms gathered in one place! Can’t wait for the April meeting!!

*Spoiler Alert * Time for some Spring cleaning……..