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Category — Classes

table setting

Every week of summer cooking classes we take time out of the kitchen and gather around the table in the dining room to learn how to set a proper table.

Each student is given a Dinner plate, Salad fork, Meat fork, Dessert fork, Dessert spoon, Meat knife, Soup spoon, Bread plate, kitchen towels, and Water glass (actually it holds lemonade each day).

Sometimes one or two students (usually returning from a couple of weeks earlier or sometimes as long ago as last summer) get it perfect as shown above.

I use this mnemonic to help the kids remember how to set a proper table: The word “Right” has five letters, as do the words “spoon” “glass” and “knife”. So remember that the spoons, glasses, and knives all go on the right of the plate.

Likewise, the word “Left” has four letters, as does the word “fork”. Therefore forks go on the left of the plate.

To help remember which way the dessert fork and spoon face, just place them on the sides of the plate they naturally go on (spoon with 5 letters on the right and fork with four letters on the left) and slide them from there to up above the plate and they are naturally facing the way they belong. 

Finally, if you have trouble remembering which bread plate and which drinking glass are yours at a crowded table, just do this: Make a lower case “b” with your left hand and a lower case “d” with your right hand. Hold them up in front of you. Your bread plate “b” is on your left. Your drink “d” is on your right.

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June 27, 2012   8 Comments

red velvet heaven or “SMTh” – Part 4

This post should be called “Surprise Me Thursday – Part 4” except we didn’t make this dessert on Thursday.  No, we made it to serve 24 at our Teen Week graduation lunch on Friday.  Although, I did find it on Pinterest… and originally I had planned to make it on a Thursday.  Until, one of the students wrote down “Red Velvet Cake” on their menu suggestion card (which I have the teens fill out on Monday mornings), and I thought, “Hey this is the perfect opportunity to make those cute mason jar cakes I see daily all over Pinterest.”  Two Birds – One stone.

These are so delightful and oh so delectable, that they are now my go-to party dessert!

By the way, we made the recipe twice to get 24 jars.  You may double the frosting but don’t try to double the cake portion… instead, make two separate batches.

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June 23, 2012   3 Comments

options and a glance

This recipe was Connor’s favorite from yesterday’s Meatless Monday menu. I might have to agree – darn tasty!

Speaking of Connor, I asked him to grab my camera so I could take a shot of a couple of the girls frosting a cake. While doing so, before I could stop him, he quickly snapped a picture of me.  It turned out kinda artsy and since it’s just a glance, I decided to share … it is of me in “action” during classes.

These toasts call for hummus.  You have three options here –

  1. “Think and Plan Ahead” and make THIS most excellent hummus
  2. “Quickly Put Together” the easy-breezy hummus recipe below
  3. “Super Easy Approach”  use prepared hummus from the store

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June 19, 2012   3 Comments

fun food – Surprise Me Thursday – Part 3

It seems as though about half of the “Surprise Me Thursday” recipes I’ve found on Pinterest have been “rainbow” this or “rainbow” that. I guess colored food is big this summer. It is fun and pretty to look at and this week’s Rainbow Fudge is no exception.

Plus, it couldn’t be easier to make. Place white chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract in a microwave-safe bowl for 35 seconds, stir in some food coloring paste and layer in a foil-lined loaf pan.

There is quite a bit of wait-time while each layer freezes, but the end result and the opportunity to “taste the rainbow” makes it worth the effort.

Check out my “Fun Foods” Pinterest page HERE for a link to the full recipe and all our featured fun foods from summer classes.

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June 16, 2012   2 Comments

what it’s like…

After THIS POST from the first week of classes, in which I put up a “before the storm” photo of my kitchen – I had comment from my friend, Sydney, saying, “I’d like to see the “after” photo :)”

Trust me, no one really wants to see the “after” photos!

Let me put it this way, it took me 95 minutes to mop my kitchen and breakfast room floors on Wednesday afternoon. I use a steam mop and I went over the floors 3 times with 3 different double-sided white micro-fiber pads… all six sides were black by the time I was done.  A few minutes later, I accidentally dropped an ice-cube on the floor… it’s so dang hot here that it started to melt on contact.  So after picking it up, I got a paper towel to get the water off the floor. With only one brief wipe, the paper towel was dirty – and this was after three moppings! There is no winning. The only solution is to have my marble floors stripped and polished, once classes are over at the end of the month.  Now those are before-and-after photos I promise to show you!

Not only did I receive Sydney’s comment from that blog post but also an email from another friend who asked how much time it takes me to set up for classes each morning and just what goes into a class day.  I decided to share a sort of “show and tell” with a sample of a day – yesterday to be exact.

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June 14, 2012   8 Comments

fun food – Surprise Me Thursday – Part 2

We had a great day yesterday during our Teen Week with the “Surprise Me Thursday” theme. Once again, I won’t be posting recipes for any of these cool and fun foods, but you can go to this LINK – which will take you to my Pinterest Fun Foods board. Then just click on any photo there and it will take you directly to the website or blog with the recipe.

How awesome is this Tie Dye Rainbow cake?!?

It is the one thing that we will make every Thursday throughout the summer classes, it is way too much fun to not make!

It’s just a boxed white cake mix, divided into six bowls, with food coloring added to each.

Then layered into the pans. The first pan gets the colors in a specific order and the second pan gets the same colors added in reverse order.

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June 8, 2012   2 Comments

knee deep

I am nearly buried in cooking classes at the moment, so I only have a couple of minutes to slap up a few photos and a couple of recipes – if you can call them recipes. They are more like quick and super easy ideas for tasty bits… almost too easy to even label “easy breezy”!

A few students are missing from this photo. One was homesick, another was late because she was coming from lacrosse practice, yet another was just running late, and so on. We start at 10:30 sharp because there is a lot to do and we can’t wait. So this is a glimpse of what it looks like at the very start of class – when the students are just getting underway. Trash cans are empty, counters are relatively clear, the floor is still rather clean, and my two assistants are observing, rather than washing, drying, and well, basically “assisting”.

The gentlemen in the forefront are mixing up bread dough, for English muffin bread. My assistants, Connor and Troy, are waiting for something to do. The young lady in the orange shirt is frying up bacon for the Bacon Strip Pancakes, the two on the right are starting on a batch of Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and the young lady in the center, at the island, is working on a batch of granola.

For our breakfast-themed meal yesterday, one of the dishes we made was English muffin bread with quick homemade strawberry jam – here is the jam simmering away. You could use a potato masher to crush the berries, but donning gloves and using your hands is so much more fun!

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June 6, 2012   1 Comment

fun food – surprise me Thursday

Our first week of kids cooking ended with my new “Surprise Me Thursday” class.  Each week we’ll be making fun dishes inspired by photos I’ve pinned on Pinterest.  I won’t be posting the recipes for the dishes here, but you can go to the THIS LINK and check out the original recipes right from my Pinterest “Fun Foods” pin board.

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June 3, 2012   4 Comments

1962 advertisement

This is a 1962 advertisement for Aunt Jemima pancake batter.

It reads:

“Just about the best breakfast that ever greeted a hungry family! And it’s as easy as this:  Mix up Aunt Jemima batter according to package directions. Place cooked bacon strips on griddle and pour batter over each strip.  Bake ‘em golden brown on both sides. Couldn’t be easier – couldn’t taste better!  How about Aunt Jemima Bacon Strip Pancake at your house tomorrow?”

We made these in our breakfast themed class this week and they were as popular today as I imagine they were 50 years ago!

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May 31, 2012   3 Comments

it’s that time of year…

… summer kids cooking classes begin on Monday! I spent the entire day yesterday shopping, cleaning, clearing off the kitchen counters, pulling out the school supplies, and generally working my rear off!

Remember how excited I was back in July when I set up my cute little vignettes around the kitchen?

Yeah, those had to go, to make room for the 5 cooking stations for the 10 kids who will fill the kitchen, beginning at 10:30 on Memorial Day.

Here is what my counters look like now.

Seriously Boring!

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May 26, 2012   2 Comments