Category Archives: kitchen tips

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Flashback! Cooking as a Kid–or with one!

4-H In My Youth

I know that 4-H in this part of the country (and many others) means hogs and steers, but my introduction to 4-H was with a group of my girlfriends when I was about eight or nine.  One of the moms decided to start a 4-H club for us, so we spent lots of time at her house learning homemaking skills.
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Sounds old-fashioned, doesn’t it?

And I suppose it was.  But I was just having fun with my friends, learning some food basics, and gaining confidence in the kitchen.  I did lots of cooking with my mom so it wasn’t all that new to me, but I loved my 4-H time nonetheless.  
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That 4-H Club experience helped me to not be afraid of being in the kitchen or of having my children in the kitchen with me.  So my kids regularly made salad or peeled vegetables or measured ingredients or made dessert.  They assisted with everything I was doing.   When they went off to college I knew they wouldn’t starve — or live on fast food — because they were comfortable in the kitchen.

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Some of my favorite phones calls when they were away at school were the ones that started, “Mom, how do you make…?” asking for a recipe.  (I always knew when it was one son’s turn to cook for his dinner group!)

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One of the keys to cooking with kids is to make it fun, not a chore.  Kids are much more likely to eat healthy foods when they have had a hand in growing, harvesting, shopping, and preparing the foods themselves. 

I always loved to eat this side dish when I was a kid, because I got to make the bunny face!

 

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We didn’t have a lot of junk food around our house when I was growing up–no chips or sodas–but we always had the makings for this kind of a snack! 

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Invite your kids into the kitchen!  It will be fun for you and for them.  Teach them how to use the juicer and the blender, the oven and the stove.  Maybe you could be that mom who gets a bunch of giggly girls together to learn to be healthy gourmet cooks.  They will thank you some day!

I found a very simple kid-friendly hummus recipe here.  I think I’ll be making this recipe with my grandsons at Grandma Camp this year!  (They love to be in charge of turning the food processor on and off!)
 
Enjoy the kids in the kitchen!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
 
 
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Cool Kitchen Tips and a Fun Lunch

This is Something That Made Me Crazy for a Long Time

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While my family loved watermelon, I hated to get it.  Why?  I dreading cutting the darned thing.  The knife had slipped too many times and I was knife-shy!  How do you cut up a round thing without putting your fingers in mortal danger?  Every time I cut into a watermelon the thing would roll around and I would get nervous.

Someone Finally Showed Me How!

I was helping at a party, and someone had just the tips I needed!  So now, I share with you!

The First Cut is the Worst

You do have to make one dangerous cut–the first one.  But hold it firmly on the cutting board with one hand while you cut the melon in half.

 

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Flip it over on the cut side and then cut it in half again.

 

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Then you start cutting the rind off.  This is actually easier with a thinner knife, not a big butcher-style.

 

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You’ll end with a quarter circle of rind-free melon, which you then just slice into the size of chunks that you want!

 

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Slice one way…

 

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Then the other…

 

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Then into cubes…

 

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Done!  Right after I cut this melon I put it in front of a bunch of teenagers with forks and they were in heaven!  

Pineapple Cutting Tricks, too!

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We all love pineapple at my house.  I usually have one ripening in the fruit bowl, and when it smells just right, I cut pineapple in a similar fashion to the watermelon.

 

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First, cut off the top and the bottom.  Looks and smells delicious!

 

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Cut off the rind.  Don’t worry if there are some little pieces of the rind left–you can trim them afterwards with a small knife.

 

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Then cut the pineapple into fourths.

 

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Slice off the core of each…

 

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Put the flat sides on the cutting board, cut in half again, and then into chunks.  Done!

For a Fun Fourth of July Snack…

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Skewers some banana slices, chunks of watermelon, and blueberries for a patriotic snack!

 

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 Or sprinkle fresh red raspberries and blueberries into vanilla yogurt!

And Make a Fresh, Crunchy, Cool, Summer Lunch!

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Cucumber Tuna Boats!

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Make a couple of thick peels from the flattest side of a cucumber for the base (so it won’t roll around!)

 

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Take some thin peels from the sides (just to make it look nicer), and then cut a lengthwise wedge out of the top of the cucumber.  

 

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Scoop out the seedy inside of the cucumber.

 

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Discard the seeds, but chop the cucumber wedge and some green onions.  Slice some cherry tomatoes, and get some tuna salad ready (tuna, mayonnaise, salt and pepper) and then add the chopped cucumber and green onion to the tuna.

 

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Arrange the tomato slices and the tuna salad in the cucumber boat.

 

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Slice through the tuna, and enjoy your tuna-cucumber boat lunch, with fresh pineapple and patriotic flag fruit skewers!  Then have a little yogurt and berries for dessert!  Yum!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s