Gift Children a Cookbook for Valentine’s Day

Instead of  giving candy for Valentine’s Day, gift your children a cookbook that will keep them cooking and enjoying food all year around. Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun has a section of easy recipes for Valentine’s Day.

Help children celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Tea Party complete with party games. Have them invite their friends and have a game of A-Tisket-A-Basket. Serve red and white food such as Apple Arrows. Slice red apples into wedges. Dip into lemon juice to prevent turning brown and arrange on plate.

A gift of a book will make a special remembrance for a special child. Get it here at Amazon.

Graduation and End of School

Everything comes to an end. For many these last days in May are filled with graduation plans and parties and thinking about what the summer, and indeed, the future, will hold for them. These are very festive times as well as bitter sweet times when the joy of the present can turn into feelings of “What now?”

For those of you in this situation of having your years of study come to an end, I wish you well. May all your hopes and dreams for your future be fulfilled. Though “study”, in some form or another, continues throughout life

My term here on this blog is also coming to an end. I have tried to squeeze in this writing, which I love to do, in between my work with food, which I also love to do. But I am finding that the summer is becoming too crowded with work and too busy. Therefore I must close down one part of what I love, to concentrate on the other.

However, I am delegating my writing blog to my friend and fellow food enthusiast, Lee Jackson. I have known Lee for many years, having worked with her on Amy Houts’  first cookbook, “Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Regional Food and Fun”.

She is working with Amy on another book and I am sure she will want to tell you all about its progress, from Amy’s initial interest in working with children, to this, her second book in the series.

I know she will take you on an engaging, informative, and fun-filled food journey.

I thank you for reading my posts these past 2 years and for all your input and comments. It’s been fun reading about your experiences, both food and other, and hopefully I may have contributed some to your love of all things food-related.

I may make some guest appearances so, until we meet again, “so long”, and I wish you good health and good food.

Best wishes,
Chef Crombie

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National Nutrition Month Suggestions

MIAMI - AUGUST 06:  Meaghan Cooligan bites int...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

As we are winding down the month of March, National Nutrition Month, I wanted to summarize six “good health” ideas that can get powerful results. For your well-being, these are suggestions for everyday living that can boost health and energy.

1. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of fruit. Try to include 2 a day. Berries and citrus fruits are especially good choices.

2. Vary your veggies. Eat more yellow and dark green vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and dark leafy vegetables. Tomatoes, onions, pepper, celery, mushrooms, cabbage and cauliflower are other good selections.

3. Eat whole grains in moderation. This could include whole grain breads, cereals, crackers, rice and pasta.

4. Choose lean meats and use healthy cooking methods like baking, braising and broiling. Proteins are the building blocks of growth. Protein foods include beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Salmon and fish, as long as they are shown to be safe from mercury and other toxins, are also good protein sources.

5. Young children need whole milk or 2 percent for calcium. Yogurt and cheese are also rich in calcium.

6. Choose foods low in saturated fats and no transfats. Healthy fats and oils include butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts.

7. Spare the sugar. Sugar is not an essential nutrient. Our taste buds have become acclimated to the sweet taste. However, we can live very easily, and sometimes, better, without sugar.

This is the guide the Chef uses to maintain vigor and good health.

Best to you,

Crombie

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Cooking at Home – The New Survival Tactic

Image via Wikipedia

Aren’t you glad you know your way around the kitchen and can prepare good food for yourself and others?  Hopefully the recipes in this blog have helped you come up with some tasty dishes to set before the king (I mean, friends or family).

The media tells us we are in a new era of thrift. There is a suggestion we may not be able to eat out as often as we would like. Perhaps the days are gone when everyone can go out for pizza or hamburger after a game.

This is not all bad. Think of the money you are saving. You can still invite your friends over for snacks. These late winter days continue to call for some popcorn popping time or quick and easy snacks like the following:

Bagel Pizzas

2 bagel halves
About 4 tablespoons or more
of tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup grated cheese
Toppings of your choice

Place bagel halves on a cookie sheet with cut side up. Spread with tomato sauce and oregano. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Add any toppings such as pepperoni, cooked hamburger or sausage, olives, extra cheese, or what is available. You or an adult helper can put the pan in a hot oven (375 degrees) until cheese melts.

Should be yummy, especially eating with your friends or family.

Here’s to your happy “cooking at home” days,

Chef Crombie

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How to Prevent Kitchen Accidents

Edison Edicraft toaster, ca.Image via Wikipedia

Here is a list of potentially dangerous home situations. I suggest you discuss them with another member of your family. What would you do if any of the following occurred in your home?

Jennifer has just broken a glass in the sink. How should she clean it up?

Halley just came home from the store with some cleanser and bleach. Where should they be stored?

Meridee is washing dishes but wants to go and turn on TV. What should she do first and why?

She also splashed some water on the floor. What should she do?

Juluis has a pizza in the oven and is ready to take it out. What should he do first? Then what? Then?

Matt is tall but not tall enough to reach a high shelf for a plate. Other than call for help, what should he do?

B.J. was making some toast and a slice got caught in the toaster. What should B.J. do?

Hope you’ve come up with  safe ways of handling these situations.

Here’s to working safely in the kitchen,

Chef Crombie

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Sunday Morning Sundae

No, my computer didn’t get stuck on the word Sunday and then ended up misspelling it. I just wanted to give you a suggestion for your Sunday morning breakfast. Since I am on a Better Breakfast kick for National Nutrition Month I thought you might enjoy this recipe.

And we’re serving a dessert for breakfast, you ask?? This will look like a sundae but be filled with lots of good nutrients. This recipe is again courtesy of the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC).

Sunday Morning Sundae

2 cups Granola or other whole grain cereal (no raisins, preferably)
3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain vanilla yogurt
1 cup raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, fresh or
frozen (thawed)

For assembling these sundaes you will need 2 sundae glasses or 2 large glass mugs or glasses.

Into each glass, pour 1/2 cup cereal, then 3 tablespoons yogurt, and top with 1/4 cup of your choice of berries.

Makes 2 servings

For more breakfast as well as foods for all occasions, take a look at Amy Hout’s children’s cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. Amy has written several Dora the Explorer books and loves to cook and write for children.

You can order her book at Amazon. Take a look! Thanks!  Chef Crombie

Get on the Citrus Wagon with This Orange Delight

Orange blossom and oranges. Taken by Ellen Lev...Image via Wikipedia

I just came from the store and saw they had tons of oranges and grapefruits. I bought some red grapefruits and they are oh, so tasty and good! Had enough oranges so didn’t buy any.

Since I had a good supply of oranges, I’ve been enjoying making fresh orange juice and smoothies, and adding oranges to salads, meats and desserts.

Here is a simple but very fancy dessert using oranges that I often make. I hope you will like it, too. So go ahead, get out some showy tall glasses or dessert goblets and surprise your family with this elegant dessert:

Fluffy Orange Parfait

If using fresh oranges, separate and save segments from one orange.

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
or prepared unsweetened orange juice
1 package (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
1 3/4 cups orange juice
1/2 pint whipping cream

Add gelatin to 1/4 cup orange juice and wait a few minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve.

While gelatin is resting, pour 1 3/4 cup orange juice into medium size pan and bring to boiling point. Gradually add gelatin, stirring gently until gelatin is dissolved.

Cool and then refrigerate until mixture is slightened thickened.

At this point, pour whipping cream into a deep bowl and beat with electric beater or rotary beater. Beat until cream is light and fluffy but don’t beat too long or it will turn into butter. When mixture is fluffy, slowly add cooled gelatin mixture and beat at low speed until it is blended throughout.

Spoon into parfait glasses, goblets, or other dessert-type dishes and refrigerate until firm.

When ready to serve, top each dessert with three segments from orange or use canned Mandarin orange segments.

Simply delightful!

Chef Crombie

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Get Kids Cooking

Give Kids the chance to create healthy dishes they make themselves.

If you give kids the chance to help prepare their own food they will eat more nutritionally. What better way to get them hooked on working with food than to have them “help” you in the kitchen.

Just like adults, many children when given a cookbook will not put it down. Encourage this. It is an excellent preparation for this life skill.

Here is a cookbook that will get your kids excited about wanting to make something in the kitchen. They will beg you to let them make something for supper. Check it out.

Making Cupcakes Using Your Baking Skills


OK, let’s practice some of your good baking skills by making something sweet today. These cupcakes are so light and fluffy you can see why they are called Fairy cakes in Britain! Cupcakes are great for taking to a friend’s house for tea, taking to your class bake sale, making for birthday parties or just baking for fun on the weekend.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can easily mix it all up in the food processor, so it is really quick to make. So it’s perfect for those times when you remember a school bake sale only just before bedtime the day before.

You can have fun with the frosting on these too. If there is some food coloring in the pantry, try experimenting with colors … you’ll find you don’t need very many drops of red color to get bright Barbie pink. Make one bowl of white frosting and one of pink and get creative with two tone patterns. If you don’t have any food coloring in the house you can add a tablespoon of cocoa to the powdered sugar to make chocolate frosting.

Light and Fluffy Cupcake Recipe

1 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
½ cup / one stick soft butter
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Collect together these things: the food processor, 12 cup muffin tray, paper muffin cases, measuring cups.

Put all the ingredients except the milk into the food processor and blitz it.

Add 2 tablespoon of the milk and blitz again. It should be smooth and drop easily off a spoon when you tip it. If it is still too thick, add the last spoon of milk.

Put a paper muffin case in each cup of the muffin tin.

Use a dessert spoon to dollop the mixture into each of the cases.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes – they should be a light golden brown when cooked and if you gently touch the top of one it should be springy and not leave a dent in it.

Cool them on a rack.

When they are cool it is time to play with the frosting. The simplest frosting is just powdered sugar mixed with a little water. For this amount of cakes use 2 cups of powdered sugar and add 1 tablespoon of water at a time – you’ll be surprised how little water you need to make it into a thick but smooth paste. Add coloring a few drops at a time and mix well to see what color you’ve got to.

Put about one teaspoon of icing onto each cupcake, let it drizzle down the sides and then add sprinkles or make letters with silver balls.

If your Mom has a piping bag for frosting, ask her to let you experiment with it on your cupcakes. With the smallest nozzle fitted you can try drawing simple shapes and patterns with a contrasting color frosting, for totally cool personalized cupcakes!