Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why Your Kids Should Cook

Have you seen Wednesday's (9/26) Frederick News Post yet? Check out the Healthy Living supplement. I was lucky enough to be interviewed for an article. The topic? Healthy eating for kids.

Now this isn't too far of a stretch for me, because I've got 2 great kids of my own. But it was fun to be asked for words of wisdom. Bear in mind, I am the person whose son looked at her (after having a plate I had literally slaved over placed in front of him) and uttered the unforgettable words, "This is disgustin'." I consider it a great testament to my parenting skills that Benjamin is still around today.

To me it seems like healthier eating is a natural inclination these days, and I'm not talking sprouts and tofu here, though that would certainly be ok if that's your thing. I'm talking about branching out from more than just chicken nuggets. One of the coolest things that I've learned in owning a cooking school is that if they make it, they will more than likely try it.

I know you're stressed out and dinner is a hassle almost every night (shameless plug here, try our MTB sessions!), but wouldn't it be great if you could throw control of one dinner a week, heck, start with once a month, into your kid's hands. Be warned, the first meal will almost definitely contain fries and ice cream, but by getting your kids involved in the planning and the cooking, you give them a little ownership and a little pride. Any good chef tastes the food before it goes to the customer. Kids should be no exception.

How to get started? Let them plan the first meal, with your guidance of course. You can always add in a nice big salad to smooth out the rough edges. As you do this more and more frequently, start steering your child to a healthier option of a food they enjoy. Do they love chicken tenders? Make your own and bake them. It's actually pretty darn easy.

A great resource for kid-friendly recipes is This Disney owned site is tied to the magazine of the same name and is a solid resource. I'm also a fan of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals for Kids. Say what you want about Rachael (no more EVOO, ever!), but she has pulled together a great cookbook targeted toward kids 4-17. She breaks it into sections based on age and increasing skill levels. You can get this for a reasonable price at my favorite cookbook website,

Looking for more tips on cooking with your kids? Check out our regular column in Frederick's Child magazine, distributed for free in Frederick County.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Everything Old is New Again!

This past weekend, I had the most fun I've had in a long time, and I usually have a pretty good time wherever I go. Did I hit some great new restaurant? Find an awesome new ingredient? Make the pilgrimage to Wegman's? None of the above in fact. Instead, my friends and family threw a progressive dinner to celebrate my (insert big, but not too big important number here) birthday!

For those unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner entails traveling from home to home and enjoying each course of a dinner at a separate location. The idea is to spread out the work and spread out the fun. The respective hosts can coordinate a theme or go off on their own, focusing on something special to them.

The first stop was Karen's house. Ohh la la do I love some good apps and a cocktail or two! There was a corn and avocado salsa (delicious), fancy green beans with dipping sauce (perfectly cooked), a lentil-goat cheese-lettuce wrap (healthy and tasty), and, my personal favorite, veggie summer rolls made by Courtney from The Kitchen Studio. They were so good, I started and couldn't put them down until they were all gone. Good thing it was my birthday, so I could be a little greedy :). Top it all off with an espresso martini, and you've got the start of a pretty fabulous night.

Now here's a tip for you: Don't have the money for a full bar but want more than just beer & wine? Choose a signature cocktail for the evening. You'll need to have the ingredients on hand for just one fancy drink, plus, you can make it in a large quantity and just shake with ice when ready to serve. It saves you a hassle and still looks great and adds something special. I'm thinking of serving Pumpkin Pie martinis for my next fall soiree.

But I digress...The next stop on our adventure? Michele's house, just down the street. We feasted on stuffed chicken breasts, roasted pork tenderloin, tortellini salad and more! Plus, there may have been a few more espresso martinis on hand, but my memory was starting to go a little by then.

After an hour or two, we paraded on to our final house! The furniture had been cleared for dancing, with a champagne toast and three different cakes from my favorite bakery in town, Proof! I think the Cherry-Hazelnut was my favorite, but you won't go wrong with any cake from this fabulous Patrick St. bakery.

A good time was truly had by all, and I absolutely had the best time ever. So, when you're considering your next party, why not talk to your friends and figure out a plan to share the work and the fun! Split the tasks, split the courses, have a wonderful time. And don't forget, if you're planning that signature cocktail, it's always best to be able to walk from place to place, or at the very least be sure to have a designated driver!

Don't forget to post your comments below. I'd love to know what you're thinking! Bon appetit!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Welcome to Frederick Foodie!

Woo hoo! My first official blog post -- I am VERY excited!

The purpose of Frederick Foodie? To provide you with un-biased culinary observations and information concerning the food scene in Frederick, Maryland and the surrounding area. Features include
  • great restaurants that you don't go to but should,
  • food bargains,
  • culinary happenings,
  • tips and techniques to make your life a bit easier in the kitchen, and, well,
  • anything else I can think of!

Do you have a food-related question for me? Let me know and I'll do my best to answer it for you.

First topic: Awesome Restaurants!

One of my favorite places to eat in downtown Frederick is just a further down Market St.. You'll want to give Lucky Corner, on the corner of Market & 7th a try. This inexpensive, clean, well-run restaurant features food from Vietnam -- delicious! The Summer Rolls are a must (2 per order), as is any dish with crispy noodles or their rockin' peanut sauce. Dinner is cheap cheap cheap, with most entrees coming in under $10. You can't beat that with a stick, unless maybe that stick has their tasty chicken satay (4 skewers to an order)! My husband and I have fed 6 adults on $55 bucks and still had leftovers for lunch the next day. It generally takes about 20-30 minutes to pick up food for takeout, and be sure to check your order before you leave the store. It's not incomprehensible that a dish may have been left out of the bag by accident.

Lucky Corner does have eat-in and pick-up for phone orders, but no delivery is available. Beer is available in-house only, but no wine yet.