kids “help” in the kitchen

I hide mixers like I would rat poisin from Rex.  We have been cooking and baking a lot lately, but sometimes I don’t want the “help”  ( Cut to child screaming, “I wanted to crack the egg, I wanted to crack the egg.”)

Here was very simple little exercise in cooking and economics with my kids ( note my slippers.  Could I be more white trash?)

I was making a pound cake and playing beat the clock yesterday.  Must- get -this-done-before-Rex-sees-mixer.”  If he sees it then he wants to do stuff and I’m worried about his little fingers going in the kitchen aid, and keeping track of who put in what last.  Plus, putting in baking powder does not have the same cache as 1) cracking eggs or 2) pouring in sugar.  The latter because he snatches some back for himself.  Then he and Vivien fight over the chairs they are standing on and I think, hmm, what’s a matter with buying a box of factory made cookies?  Oh, that’s right I’m giving them a great childhood memory.

crispy garbanzo bean snack

If you are like me you love throwing crispy, little greasy things in your mouth.

What shall I snack on today?

But, what if you’ve grown out of potato chips, pork rinds and want to wow your college educated friends?  I look to garbanzo beans.

They  are not great for carb counting, but they have fiber and protein.

Fry the bacon for son’s breakfast

Leave the bacon grease in the pan.  Take the garbanzo beans that you drained from the can.  Ideally, they have been left to dry out over night in the fridge.  Mix them in the bacon grease.

Yes, add some rosemary. In my case stolen from my neighbors yard.

Now that his bacon is consumed, Rex wants to help. We sprinkle kosher salt on the beans, grease and rosemary.

put in pan and bake for 20 min at 400 degrees.  Longer if they didn’t drain overnight.  But, watch them.  I can get cocky, leave them and they are charred nuggets.  

The kid loves them too!

No tears meatloaf

A couple of days ago I mentioned how well my meatloaf when over in my house so I thought I would share it with you. Since if the lack of it drove my daughter to tears I’m must be doing something right.  Maybe as a cook, but not as mother.


one pound pork sausage ( or you can get ground pork and add garlic, salt and fennel)

One pound ground beef ( The fatter the better.  A store near here has 27% fat ground beef, perfect)

One egg

Splash of water

salt, pepper

1/2 onion, chopped

1 big or two small cloves of garlic, chopped

One carrot, diced.

1 tablespoon of butter

1/3 of breadcrumbs ( I use store bought.  Homemade are great, but I’m not that ambitious)

1/3 cup of ketchup

I always mean to have worcester sauce in this, but haven’t yet and it’s worked out well, so maybe I’ll let go of that dream.

Here is how it all comes together, the food and the family.


Getting Kids into cooking : Give-a-Way!


I want my kids to like to cook.  I want them to know that things, let’s call them “ingredients” go into something they eat. It’s why I like them to go pick things from our garden. It’s why, even though it takes longer to get the oatmeal out, I like when they “help” me. I like that they know, yes, this is a raw piece of meat we are going to season and then eat. Food doesn’t come from a box.
toast tite

It’s also why I said, Yes, send me that sandwich press thingy to review.  It’s Toas-Tite.
toast tite
They say it’s a replica of the original from the 1940’s. ( you had me at the slogan “we are so yesterday”)).  I guessed my kids would be into making sandwiches with it.
I guessed right.  We had to make two sandwiches so they could each make their own, even though they can’t finish a full sandwich.

See how they love it? And they are ready if we have an intruder
toast tite
How we did it:
1) butter or oil the inside of the pan
2) place bread on one side of toast tite, then the ham, cheese, whatever.  Here is an example of a Rueben.
3) squish together. The kids like the assembly part, but they really like the smash, squish part.  The outside edges of the bread are now no longer needed.  I suggest cutting them off.  If you don’t they will catch fire, no big deal, but maybe your smoke alarm will go off.
4) Adult person hold the “grill” over the flame.  The instructions said 30 seconds each side.. no, longer.  We liked it when we did about 2 minutes each side.  Then you get the crispy rings on the outside like the picture and it’s melty inside.
5) pop it out and slice in half.
6) Eat.  Minimal clean up.

So, here is the deal You, yes you!  Can win a Toas-tite.  I just ask that you “like” my Facebook page coolmomdotcom.  If you are one of the few ( like my sisters) that aren’t on FB follow me on twitter or leave me a comment here telling me what is your favorite sandwich.  Actually, I want to know what all your favorite sandwiches are and I need you to comment below so if you win I have an email to notify you.
This is ironic considering my husband presides over an famous night in LA restaurantdom, Campanile’s grilled cheese night.

He doesn’t use a Toas-tite, but he thinks it fine if we do.
Winner announced MONDAY am.  ( note: if you win you have 48 hours after I email you to respond. If you don’t I will pick another winner)  Good Luck!

Cooking with Coolmom & kids: oatmeal


Cooking with young children is not a quick job, but they love to help. Nothing fancy, not giving my husband a run for his money.  Just like to get the offspring involved in food preparation.  The hope is that they

1) understand what goes in food

2) an appreciation for fresh, healthy foods

3) They won’t starve when they go to college and call me when they are 18 asking me how to cook rice (yeah, I did that, and thanks mom for not saying “read the bag you dumbass.)

I get fixated on a breakfast for about a year at a time.  Right now I’m into Oatmeal ala Daph.