Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Was I Thinking!

That wasn't a question, but a statement of disbelief. Well, yesterday I decided to open my kitchen to the kids. My 10 year old niece and 11 and 13 year old cousins came by yesterday to get a cooking lesson. I promised them last week I'd show them how to make a few things. It started off with a lesson in the different types of Latin foods and a history lesson from within our own family tree. My grandfather, their great grandfather was originally from Spain and my grandmother, their great grandmother, was from the Virgin Islands. Somewhere along the line they met, got married, moved to New York and when my grandmother passed and my mother left home to get married (she's the baby of the family), my grandfather moved to Puerto Rico. But I digress.

My grandfather was a tremendous cook and I felt an appropriate lesson for the girls would be a Latin themed menu. I wanted to infuse some of the skills he passed on to me into the lesson and pass them down to the girls. I pulled out cookbooks from various Latin genres (Mexican, Cuban, Spanish, Puerto Rican, South American) to let them see that some dishes can have different variations depending on the region. They immediately fell in love with the variety of colors and "textures" of the foods they saw. They tried to get me to make Paella, but that was not happening. I need to do that alone in an empty kitchen! So we created the menu. Chicken & Rice, Black Beans, Pork & Pineapple Soft Tacos and Cilantro-Lime Rice.

As I chopped and diced I let the girls watch and ask questions. They were itching to do their own chopping but I wouldn't let them. Not just yet. Maybe after a few lessons. But it was so funny to see them say eww and ill at certain things, not sure it would be a good idea to use the ingredients, to watching their faces as the ingredients came together and started evolving into actual dishes to listening to them praises and requests for more after the food was done. The menu was a success. Not undertanding how tired I was, they asked to continue cooking. So I told them we'd make dessert. They didn't want anything fancy, just cupcakes. Easy enough.

What started out as something simple turned into a war zone. There was cocoa powder, sugar and flour all over my kitchen. At one point I moved everything into the dining room and started from scratch. The batters I was attempting to have them make for simple Black & White Cupcakes were a mess. But nothing I can't salvage ALONE. So I went into the pantry and came out with my trusty Pilsbury cake mix boxes! LOL One Devil Foods, the other White. We prepared the mixes and began filling the cupcake foils half white half chocolate and baked the cupcakes. They came out beautifully marbled...well some. The others came our exactly half and half, which was beautiful as well. As we sat and frosted the cupcakes the girls delighted in "their work". In essence it kind of was their work. I let them do the mixing, pouring and now frosting.

What I learned from that was not all kids are the same nor do they learn at the same pace. The one I thought was going to be a mess ended up being an A student and the one I thoguht would be the front runner ended up being a mess! LOL As they left I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief as my body was tired. Then I went into my kitchen and just about had a heart attack. I had a whole kitchen to clean up. I generally clean as I go but with the girls there it was too much going on. I just wanted to get them squared away and out of my kitchen. They really enjoyed themselves and for that I'm glad. Next time I need to have a designated assistant on hand to help with damage control.

Oh, and as far as the batter we tried to make from scratch. Don't worry, I took care of it. I finished them off and stored them in the refrigerator. I'll be making the Black & White today. But don't tell them. I only got one cupcake last night. So these will be all mine!

Til next time. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saving Money on Food Costs Starts with Kids

Yes, believe it or not, it does start with the kids, at home. We live in a microwave, fast food, instant gratification society. Everybody wants it fast, now, quick, in a hurry. Whether it's food, information, material items or money, that is the society we live in. But your pocket and health don't have to suffer for it.

As you know, I teach cooking classes (mostly online and some live in person). The economy dictates that we can no longer afford to eat out all the time. I know as a Mom, the convenience is a tempting lure. You've put in long hours at the office and the last thing you want to do is stand in a kitchen slaving over a stove. But our mothers and grandmothers (in some cases) did it. What makes us exempt and worse, what are we teaching our children. The healthcare issue is on fire right now. People want the right to healthcare and to be as thin or fat as they want to be. Americans are the largest population of overweight people in the world. I attribute some of it to eating out so much.

But no worries. We can reverse this. We have to, as mothers, become a little more patient and try to fall back to the old days a bit. I'm not saying completely give up going out or cooking every day of the week. If you cook strategically, you can have home cooked, healthy nutritious meals for your family. Get the kids in on the act too. Most kids love going in the kitchen and helping out. I used to love going in the kitchen to watch my dad and grandfather cook. My son used to love watching me. If you get them involved early, they'll adopt healthy habits. For me, it was the curiosity of experimentation in the kitchen. I used to (and still love to) create things. I love breaking down a dish I've tasted to try and create my own version of it. Think of how much fun it'll be for your kids to express themselves with food. And if you play your cards right, they can eventually pick up some of the cooking duties for you!

Today I'll be demonstrating some cooking and baking recipes for my niece and young cousins. A kitchen full of preteen girls...not sure how I feel about that yet. But they asked me to teach them a few things and I'm honored to do so. I'll be back to report what we ended up making. Right now, I'm just excited that they are taking matters into their own hands and learning how to cook.

Til next time. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We're In a Recession! Stay Home & Cook- Or Learn How

Yes, the dreaded "R" word. I am fighting this recession tooth and nail and refuse to give it any credence. But the fact of the matter is people are tightening their belts. That means less fast food and trip out for dinners, less eating out at lunch time, and much more people are staying in and cooking. Let's look at the facts.

-> People who bring lunch from home are more likely to eat healthier
-> People who bring their lunch from home save between $25-100 per week
-> People who cook dinner are more likely to have their family gather together to share the meal & quality time
-> People who cook at home are more likely to get creative and try new dishes

One of the main reasons people don't like to cook is because they feel that they can't come up with creative ways of preparing the same old meals. It's not hard to believe because as a woman who knows what it's liek to juggle school, work and family, at the end of the day you're tired! So the easy thing to do is throw something together quickly and be done with it. We have Food Network, websites with recipes, cooking magazines and cook books. Yet, many, especially Moms, are stumped over that age old question....What's for dinner?

Well I feel your pain! So I started thinking, what can I do to help Moms out there keep it exciting in the kitchen? Then it came to me. We have Food Network with shows where you can cook along side your host/hostess. But let's take it up a notch. Thyme Out for Mom will launch its new Online Cooking Classes where you can not only watch and cook along with your hostess, BUT it is fully interactive.

You can chat in real time with your instructor and classmates live and up to the minute. No having to record a show and pause so you don't miss anything crucial. No having to run to the internet to send an email question and wait for a response. Real time interaction and you get to learn some new meals! Each lesson comes with downloadable recipes for that lesson complete with ingredients and tools needed to attend the class. No finding the time to leave home to get to a class and lug around equipment or ingredients. Watch, learn, practice and interact in real time, from anywhere in the world. Take one or many, the choice is yours. If you have an internet connection, web camera and the desire to learn how to cook, this class is for you.

Are you interested? Well send an email to for more information. The first class begins September 8th. Will you be there?

Til next time. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, April 13, 2009

We're Back!

WOW! It has been a while since we've updated the blog. But we promise we won't stay away so long again.

A lot has happened since we've last blogged. Cynthia and I are moving the business along and things are coming together nicely. We've been in the test kitchen experimenting with different recipes and making sure the work we do puts smiles on people's faces. And by the looks on my husband, my son and Cynthia's son's faces, I think we're on spot.

Last week we had our photo shoot and boy it was fun. We had the photographer in tears he was laughing so hard. We had to do multiple shots to make sure we were getting the shots we needed. No Glamour Shots here. I wanted something a little more edgy and fun. Cynthia just wanted the shots to be decent enough to show to the world. In the end, the photographer won out with a few business shots. You be the judge, and let us know how you think the came out.

Hopefully our hectic schedules will not be as hectic and we can bring you more blog posts more often. Stay tuned for recipes, insights and web clip out takes of some of our online classes. If you are interested in taking a class, contact us for more information. The website is under construction and will be available soon.

Take care.

Adrienne Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas & Seasons Greetings to All

I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting this blog and sending your well wishes. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a blessed & prosperous New Year.

Take this time to reflect and give thanks for what you have. Resolve to be kinder to people and to step up your game for the new year. Leave the remnants of 2008 behind you and focus on all the greatness that 2009 will bring.

Now I'm off to put presents under the tree and have some milk & cookies. Merry Christmas!!

Adrienne Graham
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