Baking with my grandsons – we made a Rainbow Cake – from a Betty Crocker Recipe ( take you back a few years?)

My middle grandson Jonah loves baking. So that is what we do when he comes to visit. This cake – although a Christmas one – took his fancy and so we made it! We found the recipe on the Betty Crocker site.

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/rainbow-christmas-wreath/358392f7-9643-4f9a-978b-17b2889f89d6?src=SH

Brought back memories of years ago – for you too?

Jonah and Rainbow Cake Summer 2015

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I love this Technology Hacker solution – when kids are connected and communications suffers – do this!

Someone sent me this and I love it! Try it out yourself!

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Spending time with grandkids – nothing better in the whole wide world!

This week for the first time our youngest grandsons – three year old twins – came to sleepover. What a thrill for all of us! I hid little presents all over and presented them at opportune times – on arrival – at bed time – when waking up this morning after sleeping the whole night and so on. They have been exemplary! What a joy! Some memorable pictures… here they are arriving at Grandma’s Little Farm for their first solo sleepover!Arriving at Grandma's house for first solo sleepover

 

And making a cake – soooo happy!

NOah and Gabe making a cake

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A recent meal at Spago in Beverly Hills – truly sublime!

Here is a starter dish at Spago’s restaurant in Beverly Hills – cuisine at its best!Spago at its best July 2015

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A recent board retreat at our Little Farm – of course all board members left with goody bags!

Recently we held a board retreat at our Little Farm for a board on which I serve. It was productive and fun too! I made sure that all board members left with goody bags filled with cheese, jams, papaya and banana bread and much more! I do so love combining work with hospitality, pleasure with focus, and doing good with having fun! You can see everyone was having a very good time!

NACD Board retreat 2015 at Little Farm

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Papaya from The Little Farm – as delicious as it looks!

Papaya grows like crazy at our Little Farm -and it tastes wonderful with warm salted ricotta as well as blended into a drink or accompanying curried chicken salad – truly versatile and wonderful.

Papaya Drink:
Blend a peeled and seeded papaya with or without orange juice – enjoy!

Papaya

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Slow Cooker Chicken – easy when cooking with kids!

Slow Cooker Chicken – sooooo easy!

The children can help you make this – let them mix all the ingredients as instructed – and there is nothing for them to burn themselves on – as the slow cooker will heat up slowly – so actually a teenager could cook this meal without any adult supervision! Basmati Rice is an excellent accompaniment!
ENJOY!

White Rice

White Rice

INGREDIENTS:

2-3lb Whole Chicken with Giblets removed

1/4 cup of butter ( softened)

1 tsp Lemon Pepper

1 tsp thyme ( fresh is best)

1 thick slice of lemon

2 Cloves of garlic crushed

2 Tbsp Olive oil

2 Tsp seasoned salt

Cracked black pepper to taste

IMG_6456

DIRECTIONS:
1. Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towels and loosen skin under breast and thighs.

2. Put lemon slice into the clean chicken cavity

3. Mix butter and pepper and push under the skin

4. Put chicken into slow cooker.

5. Mix thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper and rub into the skin of the chicken

6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours ( perfect if you put it in before you leave for work – and its ready when you come home – even if you are delayed!)
Cook up some rice in a rice cooker that will keep hot (cook on a timer which most rice cooker’s have) and serve with some cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers for a really healthy dinner! ENJOY!

 

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Making fun with food! Individual pies for kids – cooking with kids

Individual Berry Pies

Oranges and Lemons

You can make the filling ahead and refrigerate it for up to five days; bring it to room temperature before using.

Serves 12 (serving size: 1 pie)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 (6-ounce) package raspberries
  • 1 (6-ounce) package blueberries ( we grow our own at The Little Farm)Friends Swimming Underwater in Backyard Pool
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 large egg white

Directions:

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, and cook for 8 minutes or until juices thicken. Pour mixture into a medium bowl; cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray. Roll 1 dough portion into a 12-inch circle. Cut out 8 (3 1/2-inch) rounds; arrange in a single layer on prepared pan. Reroll scraps; cut out 4 more rounds. Place on pan. Cover dough rounds; refrigerate. Repeat with remaining dough portion for 12 more dough rounds; place on work surface.
  4. Cut 3 small slits in center of 12 dough rounds on work surface; set aside. Top each with 4 teaspoons filling, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Moisten borders with water using your finger. Place rounds with slits over filling; press edges with a fork to seal. Mix milk and egg white; brush gently over pies.

5. Bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pan 3 minutes; carefully place pies on a wire rack; cool completely

 

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Slow cooker heaven – have you made desserts in one? YUMMY!

Here is a summer slow cooker recipe. For dessert. Its so delicious – enjoy!

Slow Cooker Caramel pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2(14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1graham cracker crust (9 inch)
  • 1(8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1(1 1/2 ounce) English toffee-flavored candy bars, coarsely chopped ( I don’t eat chocolate so use caramel candies instead)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour condensed milk in a 1 quart electric slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook 6 to 7 hours or until mixture is the color of peanut butter, stirring mixture with a wire whisk every 30 minutes.
  3. Pour into graham cracker crust; cool.
  4. Spread whipped topping over top, and sprinkle with chopped candy bar.
  5. Cover and chill.

And here are our twins with ice cream that is almost as tall as they are! Happiness is a hot day with cool ice cream!

Noah and Gabe with icecream June 2015

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And a couple more tips from ALLRECIPES.COM – enjoy!

 Here are the rest of the tips from ALLRECIPES.COM – (my last post had the first one about fresh baking powder etc) and I especially like the last one! ENJOY!

Below is the reason why I bake – two little boys each of whom lost a tooth last week – so cute!
Jonah lost one tooth

 2. Take the time to preheat the oven

Some ovens preheat in just minutes. Some take a ridiculous 30 minutes! Know thy oven. Know it even better by dangling an oven thermometer from one of your baking racks. Finally, you’ll know for sure that the temperature on the oven dial matches the temperature inside. While you’re at it, make sure your oven rack is centered for even baking.

3. Actually wait for your ingredients to come to room temperature

You know those recipes that call for room temperature eggs and butter? Stop ignoring them. You’ll be glad later when that smooth batter becomes a moist cake with a tender crumb.

4. Don’t overmix your batter

You wanted to be thorough, you say. Well, sadly, your cake can easily fall victim to your good intentions. Overmixing the batter (easy to do with a stand mixer, especially) can incorporate too much air and result in a fallen cake as it cools later on. It’s all about a light hand. Think gentle.

5. …but don’t undermix your batter, either

Not enough of a good thing can also cause drama: unintentional swirls of flour or sugar, nuts and raisins playing refusing to play with the wet ingredients, butter blobs. You’ll know your batter’s in a good place when nearly all the flour is absorbed.

6. Definitely grease, flour, and/or line your baking pans with parchment, per your recipe

7. Nope, nope, nope: Don’t fill your pan to the brim

Fill your cake pan(s) no more than halfway (unless the recipe says otherwise). Why? This helps ensure your cake will rise evenly rather than overflow into your oven like a cake batter volcano. Check our handy Baking Pan Conversion Chart for more tips on volume.

8. Smooth the top and tap the pan

Take your spatula and smooth the batter for your best shot at an even cake. Tap the pan against your countertop (tap-tap-tap-tap) to scare away any last few little air bubbles trapped within.

9. Resist the urge to open the oven and check your masterpiece every five minutes

You know why? You’re letting out all the hot air and temperature fluctuations make for an unhappy, uneven cake (or, worse, Total Cake Collapse, which hey, could make a good band name for a bunch of bakers). Resist until the last few minutes of baking when you should…

10. …But remember to check for doneness

Poke a wooden toothpick into the center of your cake about five minutes before its suggested baking time comes to an end. if it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs stuck to it, it’s time to pull your cake from the oven. Batter on the toothpick? Let it keep baking. Out of toothpicks? Use a dry spaghetti noodle.

11. WAIT until your cake cools before you frost it

Yes, this means you! Build adequate time in your day for this by counting backward from when you want to slice into the cake. Allow for at least one hour for your cake to completely cool before you frost it so that it goes on smooth and doesn’t tear blobs of cake along with it—it’s just not a good look.

12. And if all else fails…

Crumble up your cake and make trifle!

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