Archive for September, 2009

Come and Make a Gingerbread House

September 30, 2009

Sugar and spice and everything nice. Here is the perfect class for you have fun with your child or to connect with your inner child. After all, why make the big mess and have a bunch of left over candy at your house. I will be teaching a one day workshop at the Community Center of La Canada Flintridge on Dec 4th at 1:00 for preschoolers/kindergarteners and 3:30 for all other kids. This class has no age limit. I will put the houses together. Last year I assembled a whole village. I will provide lots of fun things to decorate your winter wonderlands. I even get some healthier options in there too believe it or not. To find out the details go to or call 818-790-4353. Last I heard I already had 7 kids signed up. These make such cute holiday decore for home.


Easy Mexican Soup

September 28, 2009

My 10 year old wanted to make Rice a Roni for dinner. I see he is reading the box. That’s a good start. He says he can do it himself. Well, after some time, I look into his pot and there was way too much liquid. When I told him so, he just casually said. Ok. then it is soup. I thought that is a great attitude and idea. So with some additions on my part that is how this soup came about.

AHN-“Adult Help Needed” to watch over you as you use the stovetop

Hardware- soup pot, wooden spoon, metal ladle, colander, peanut butter knife

Software- One box of Mexican Style Rice a Roni mix (plus ingredients to make it), one can of mexican style stewed diced tomatoes, 1 cup of black beans from a can (see note), 1 cup of frozen corn, chopped fresh cilantro, 1 cup of cooked meat (see note), lime, chopped green onions (optional)


  • Cook the rice a roni according to the directions on the box. Then add 2 and 3/4 cups of water. Let it all simmer together on low heat til the rice is fully cooked.
  • Turn up the heat to med. Add any  leftover cooked meat you have in the frig/freezer.
  • Open the black beans and dump them into a colander and give them a stir rinsing them off under cold water, measure out 1 cup and add it to the soup, put the leftover beans in a tupperware and refrigerate for a later use. see my note.
  • Pour in the frozen corn.
  • Rinse off the cilantro and chop just the leaves and very small stems.
  • Wash off the lime and cut it in half and squeeze in the juice. If you put one hand cupped under the lime while you squeeze the lime, you should be able to catch the seeds.
  • Turn off the stovetop

Serve with broken tortilla chips on top. (now you know what to do with the broken ones at the bottom of the bag), sprinkle wih green onions or not.

Note: You can use up the rest of the beans in a fiesta salad, put it inside a quesadilla, smash them up and use them in a 7 layer dip

Note:I try to alway have cooked chicken or cooked ground turkey in the freezer in case I don’t have any as leftovers.

Halloween Kids Free Event at Pasadena Whole Foods

September 27, 2009

Come join us on Sunday, Oct 25th from 12-3 at the Whole Foods Market in Hastings Ranch on Foothill Blvd and Rosemead Blvd. in Pasadena. It will be a frightfully delicious time. Kids, 3 yrs old and up, and the young at heart will be making some tasty halloween treats. Mummy’s Rags (taggliotelli with Alfredo), Crunchy Skeleton Rib Bone (Frozen Bananas), Dracula’s Coffin (cucumber avocado roll) and Witch’s Brew (Orange Juice with Vanilla Frozen Yogurt). Leave me your email in the comments and I will be sure to forward you a flyer.

Please look at post Spooky Recipes for a bewitching meal for the recipes I taught.

My Demo at Whole Foods in Glendale

September 21, 2009

The Demo was amazing and fun. I really want to thank Whole Foods Market for providing this free demo to folks. I know the people who came enjoyed the food and loved the recipes. For me and my helper it was so cool to go behind the scenes at the store. They are so organized. For those of you who couldn’t make it to Whole Food Market in Glendale to watch and taste my demo in person, I have included the flyer of quick and simple recipes for you. These are some of the items that my kids take for lunch.

BBQ Chicken Pizza by Chef Sonia at Whole Foods Market

Kids love to help assemble this. I use a rotisserie chicken from the store to simplify my life a bit. I figure any bit helps. An adult will have to debone the chicken. I pull off the meat and set it aside then chop it into bite size pieces for the pizza all at once. I take some of the leftover steamed carrots, frozen spinach and puree it up with some of the BBQ sauce just to sneak in some more goodness.

Hardware- pizza pan, spoon for spreading out the sauce, bowls to hold the toppings,

Software-Ready baked packaged whole wheat pizza crust, deboned “no salt added” rotisserie chicken, your family’s favorite BBQ sauce pumped up (see above to find out what I add to pump it up), fresh cilantro, motzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic powder, carmelized onion or thinly sliced red onion (both optional)

Steps for Kids to do

  • Wash your hands for 20 sec with soap. Read all directions and gather materials needed.
  • Remove the crust from the packaging. Save the directions.
  • Place crust on a pizza pan or cookie sheet.
  • Preheat the oven (turn the oven on to bake and set the temperature to what the package says.)
  • sprinkle garlic powder all over the crust, spread the pumped up BBQ sauce all over using the back of your spoon.
  • Sprinkle chopped chicken all over
  • Wash and chop the cilantro. If the kids are doing this then have them tear it up with their fingers or put a clean bunch into a plastic cup and let them cut into them using the kitchen scissors.
  • Sprinkle the cilantro around
  • Optional. Scatter onions around. Carmelizing them helps to take off the bite.
  • Sprinkle on an even layer of cheesy goodness by mixing 1/3 motzarella to 2/3 cheddar mix.
  • Slide it into a preheated oven and bake according to the packaging directions.
  • Have an adult help you take it out of the oven.
  • Congratulations you have made a masterpiece. Enjoy!

This is so tasty that my family eats all of it for dinner and I have to make another one for lunch. So buy 2 crusts. Be the envy of all at the lunch table.

Turkey Hummus Spirals by Chef Sonia at Whole Foods Market

Hummus is a great alternative to mayonnaise. You still have the creamy spreadable texture w/out all the fat. You also get the added fiber and protein as an added bonus.

Hardware- cutting board, spoon for spreading out the hummus, plate to have all your veggies on, sharp knife

Software-Wheat tortillas, hummus (I use the spinach artichoke one), chopped carrots, shredded Persian cucumbers, julienned red bell peppers, shredded bib lettuce


  • Lay a tortilla on your cutting board
  • Spread hummus on the bottom 2/3 of the tortilla
  • Sprinkle the carrots on the hummus up to the middle of the tortilla
  • Sprinkle the lettuce on the carrots on the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla
  • Lay slices of sandwich meat on the lettuce covering the carrots, lettuce, and humus
  • Lay a small row of bell peppers at the very bottom of the tortilla
  • Roll the bottom of the tortilla over the peppers, tuck the tortilla around the peppers and continue to roll up the tortilla like a sleeping bag.
  • Place the roll seam side down on the cutting board and cut into bite size pieces.

You can substitute other veggies in this roll. I have substituted low fat cream cheese for the hummus and julienned pears or apples for the bell pepper.

Teriyaki Chicken with Udon Noodles by Chef Sonia at Whole Foods Market

This is a great way of stretching your rotisserie chicken into another meal. By using edename beans you also get the added fiber and protein as an added bonus.

Hardware- Wide skillet with lid, wooden spoon, scissors,

Software-Packaged fresh udon noodles (Ohana Brand is found near the tofu), No salt added rotisserie chicken, bottled teriyaki sauce (I use Soy Vey), frozen mixed veggies. (I like the one with carrots, lima beans, corn, and green beans), frozen edaname beans, toasted sesame seeds, nori (optional)


  • Fill the skillet with enough water to boil the noodles.
  • Once the water has come to a rolling boil, cook the noodles according to the package
  • When the noodle are soft yet still chewy pour them into  a colander to drain
  • Add the teriyaki sauce and chicken to the skillet and return it to the med. Heat. Sauté for a few minutes to let the chicken absorb the sauce.
  • Add the noodles back to the skillet
  • Add the frozen veggies and edaname beans
  • Saute everything together. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and crumble the nori (optional) on top and you are done. Enjoy.

You can substitute other veggies in this dish. I have substituted left over browned ground turkey for the chicken and added thinly sliced mushrooms and firm tofu to the veggie mix.

Simple Guacamole by Chef Sonia at Whole Foods Market

Guacamole is best when mixed up right before serving. If you do have to store it a few hours before using it, then put it in a narrow container and place plastic wrap directly on top of it. The plastic will prevent the air from oxidizing your avocados.

Hardware-big mixing bowl, potato masher, cutting board, knife, plastic juicer, mixing spoon, flatware spoon

Software-Ripe avocados, Fresh lime juice, Chopped Cilantro, Garlic salt, Diced tomatoes, diced red onions (optional)


  • Wash the avocados and lime
  • Rinse off the cilantro and chop it up. Remove any thick pieces of stem. Set aside.
  • Rinse off the tomatoes and dice. Set aside.
  • Cut the avocados in half by rotating the avocado around and keeping your knife still
  • Give it a twist and pull apart
  • Using your flatware spoon scoop out the shells into the big mixing bowl
  • Putting your hand under a kitchen towel, place the avocado half with the seed stuck in it on the towel. Wack the seed with a knife so that the blade is slightly embedded in the seed. Give the knife a twist to remove the seed. Place your hand over the back of the knife and pinch right behind the seed and this should make the seed fall off the knife w/out any threat of cutting yourself
  • Scoop out the shell into the bowl
  • Sprinkle it with garlic salt. Remember to use less because you can always add more later
  • Mash up the avocados using the potato masher
  • Cut the lime in half and push it on the juicer.
  • Add lime juice to the bowl. Start with a teaspoon then add more juice if needed.
  • Add the cilantro and red onions (optional) and stir with the mixing spoon
  • Add the tomatoes and stir gently.
  • Chill until ready to serve

I like to serve this with the oven baked no salt added chips or the oven baked flax seed Omega 3 chips. Enjoy.

I hope you have enjoyed the demo and feel confident about trying these recipes. To see more recipes check out my kids cooking blog

I can be reached via email at

You can find me at the La Canada Flintridge Community Center teaching my cooking classes. Young Cooks and Great Books. My next class is a Gingerbread house workshop on Dec 4. To enroll for my class go to

I am also available to teach at boy scout, girl scout meetings and at birthday parties.

Lunchbox Makeover

September 6, 2009

With kids back in school there are many feeling that a parent goes through. I finally get time to get things done while they are in school. Then on the other hand there is all the homework, school projects, and driving around that I have to do. And of course the never ending task of food on the go. My kids prefer not to take a sandwich for lunch. What I tend to do is make more for dinner and let them take the leftovers for lunch. I work hard and I like it when my recipe can do double duty. I will be sharing some of these ideas at the Whole Foods Market in Glendale. It is a free event with free samples. If you are around Glendale, do stop by. Here are a few that my kids like for lunch that you can try.

Teriyaki Meatballs with rice and veggies

Hardware- steamer, pot that the steamer will fit in, sauce pot, cutting board, knife, wooden spoon,

Software- Teriyaki meatballs (homemade or store bought. I like the Aidelle ones from Costco) Teriyaki sauce (I like Soy Vay) , baby carrots and broccoli crowns, canned pineapple chunks, toasted sesame seeds

The nice thing about the Aidelle meatballs is that they are fully cooked so you are just warming them through.


rinse off the carrots and broccoli crowns. I cut the broccoli between the joints and in half more so they become 2 bite size. Steam them until they become the softness your kids like. Then shock them in an ice bath. For more specific directions on what I mean by that, please look at “how to steam veggies” in the cooking for college category.

In a sauce pan place the carrots, meatballs, pineapples and juice, teriyaki sauce and water in equal amounts and simmer on med. until the carrots are soft. By keeping the carrots at the bottom of the pan they will cook faster. Once the carrots are soft, then stir the mixture to coat all the meatballs with the sauce. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

How to pack it for school/work

Take your leftover rice out of the fridge. Put it into a microwave safe bowl and top it with some meatballs and veggies. (don’t forget to put some of the sauce on the rice). Cover it with a wet paper towel. Microwave it for 1 min. -2 mins. (depending on your microwave) After it is heated up, transfer it to a stainless steel container. I put a small piece of paper towel on the rim to prevent a vacuum seal from forming. Wrap the container in a dish towel before putting it in the lunchbox and it should keep it warm. Pack a drink, spoon, hand wipe and you’re lunch will be the envy of all.

Please look at the post title My Demo at Whole Foods in Glendale for more lunch box makeover ideas.