This past summer the San Jose Mercury featured several recipes that we created specially for them, for picnics and pool time adventures. In the Bay Area, the months of September and October bring us some of our best weather. It has been so super hot on some days the past weeks few, that some of us have found ourselves (secretly) wishing for fog. However, while it is warm, and before the rains come (fingers crossed), some of these grab-and-go snacks are great to have lying around. These cheddar-bacon muffins are a fun cooking project to do with the kiddos on the weekend, before you head out on an adventure. Continue reading
It’s hard to go wrong with a concoction that includes sliced bananas, dulce de leche, pie crust, whipped cream and chocolate shavings. We are a little obsessed with this British treat and made it recently after school with a friend as part of a super fun kitchen play date.
The whole pie making process can me made easier and less daunting if you use store bought pie dough. (Making your own is easy enough, but in a pinch, store bought works just fine!) The kiddos had a blast whipping the cream, cutting the bananas, baking the store bought pie dough, shaving the chocolate (fun and messy!) and spreading the dulce de leche. It is basically an assembly project, but the end result is ridiculously yummy. Continue reading
Our picnic series continues with some our top tips for successful picnics and a sandwich inspired by Greece!
Make a checklist. There is a lot to bring, so a list will help you get organized. Don’t worry if you forget something—as long as it’s not the food!
Make finger food. The fewer utensils you need, the better. Lay out containers of food on your picnic blanket and call it a “garden buffet” so children can pick and choose what they like. Kids love to just pick up and eat their food.
Buy food. If you don’t want to wake up and cook before you head out, stop at your favorite deli or supermarket, and pick up your picnic. Purchase prepared sandwiches or wraps, some fruit, cereal bars, nuts and water, and you will be all set.
Bring plenty of cleanup supplies. You will need more of these than you think Bring a whole roll of paper towels or several dishcloths and perhaps even some wet wipes. Also, bring hand sanitizer if you are going to be somewhere you cannot wash hands. And don’t forget extra bags to collect your trash.
Bring safety items. Make sure you have a first-aid kit in the car or in your basket/backpack. Scrapes and cuts are inevitable, and it is best to be ready for them. Sunscreen is also essential, as are hats and bug repellant.
Bring games or toys. You can spend your time exploring nature, or bring some toys and games along. A travel-size board game or deck of cards will be easy to carry. Or bring a bat and a ball or football for some more active fun.
Select an enclosed space. To reduce your stress level, find a park or area that is enclosed. That way you won’t have to worry about your children wandering away. Particularly helpful when you have younger kids in your picnic party.
With July 4th coming up – head doors on a fun picnic!
Store bought puff pastry is one of those things that makes cooking so many dishes so much easier. We always have some in the freezer to turn into a variety of dishes like these portable stuffed puffs we love, the best homemade chicken pot pie, and tarts of all kinds. Our latest snack time addition, are these quick cheese straws that the little ones can make almost entirely by themselves. I am loving that as the kiddo gets older, I can give her a simple recipe and she can work on it by herself. I am not ready to let her handle the oven, but perhaps over the summer we will make that leap as well….
After the kids are in bed these are great with some bubbles or a cocktail. A friend of mine makes a yummy version of these with prosciutto. Yum. Who needs dinner?
We are currently addicted to this “Indian” variation of a simple grilled cheese sandwich. It’s always fun to take something familiar and mix it up just a little bit. We enjoyed these cheese toasts recently before a family hike and they kept us satisfied as we got some exercise and fresh air. It was also a fun little cooking project with the little one. For kids, feel free to omit the chillies altogether – the tomatoes, onions and herbs are enough of a twist. Another thing we like about this recipe is that you can make multiple cheese toasts at one time by using a sheet tray and the oven, versus slaving over each grilled cheese over the stove. This is the perfect after school snack for a playdate.
Next time we make these, we are going to try different types of cheeses – goat cheese, gruyere, mozzarella or perhaps even some fontina. Or maybe even a variety of leftover cheeses that seem to always languish in our fridge. Another yummy addition could be finely chopped colorful bell peppers.
A throwback to my childhood that I had forgotten all about…excited to have it back :)!
These cookies are delightful and I always love discovering regional American recipes and often wonder why some the good stuff never makes it across state borders. For example, why is loco moco not available in at more breakfast/brunch places across the United States? There could a whole separate blog on “A Little Yumminess Around the USA”, so we can learn more about regional/state specialties.
We first heard about these cookies on a trip to Santa Fe and before I could get round to learning more about them, Stacie had already tried them. I bet they taste better with lard, but we stuck to good ol’ butter. This Spanish influenced cookie was developed by people living in New Mexico over the centuries. It is typically served during the holidays (Christmas in particular) and special occasions such as weddings and baptisms. It’s lovely with a cup of strong coffee, or for the kiddos with some milk. This is a neat one to make with kids (they are the “State Cookies” of New Mexico) and talk about the unique regional recipes of our country.
The food-related thing that we’re talking about most at my house lately is a little impromptu orange tasting we did after dinner the other night. I sliced up a few different varieties of oranges that we had on hand and we took a few minutes to really look at them, smell them and taste them and then capture our thoughts. Beyond just being an easy and fun thing to do, it sparked some interesting conversation and it has made us all want to taste more and more more things which, it turns out, is quite different than just eating them. You could do this with just about anything carrots, jelly beans, cheese, tomatoes, soy sauce, chocolate…… would make a fun kitchen play date activity too. Continue reading