My Free Healthy Cooking Series at the Montrose Library

I have partnered up with the Montrose Public Library to offer a “Free Parent Cooking Class” on 3rd Wednesdays of each month, from 10:30 – 11:30 AM. (9/15, 10/20, 11/17, & 12/15)

The first class would be on Wednesday, Sept. 15th. With classes in October, & November. December.( so far) In my How to get  your kids to eat healthy and like it, I have planned… Sept- homemade applesauce, Oct- pumpkin pancakes with yogurt, Nov. oven roasted veggies, Dec- Magical Marinara (it is a great gift to give in lieu of sweets)

There is a require pre-registration. That way we can plan appropriately for cost, etc. Due to cost/space, we are limited to 15 people. To sign up contact Jennifer at the library. Please let us know of any allergies too.

Jennifer Boyce – Children’s Librarian

Montrose Branch Library

2465 Honolulu Ave.

Montrose, CA 91020

(818) 548-2016

Apple Sauce

This is a great treat for the lunch box or as an after school snack. My kids even eat it for breakfast. If you have never had homemade apple sauce, you must make this recipe. It is super easy and super delicious. Of coarse it is best to make this in the fall when the apples are in their peak of sweetness. In my cooking class we use the rotary apple peeler for the red apples and the carrot peeler for the yellow apples. Just to give the kids a chance to peel with both kitchen tools. A good thing about using a crock pot is that it cooks without you even being home. But also, the house smells delicious and cheery. A wonderful autumn smell.

Hardware- rotary apple peeler or carrot peeler, knife, cutting board, crockpot or pot with lid, teaspoon, small bowl, wooden spoon, electric blender, big bowl, dinner plate, oven mitt, dish towel.

Software- 6 red delicious apples, 6 golden delicious apples, ground cinnamon, sugar, water


  • Using either the rotary peeler or a carrot peeler, peel the skin off the apples.
  • Place them in the bowl of water.
  • Lay the plate on top to keep the apples submerged in water. This will prevent air from touching your apples. So your apples won’t turn brown. A process called oxidation.
  • Using your knife and cutting board, cut the apples off the core by cutting around the core.
  • Be sure to put the cut apple slices back into the water.
  • When all your apples have been peeled and sliced, put them in the big pot with 2 cups of water.
  • Meanwhile in a small bowl mix together 3 Tablespoons of sugar with 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.
  • Stir them together. Add 1-2 Tablespoons to the cooking apples. (depends how sweet your apples are to start with)
  • Cook til the apples are soft. Stir occasionally.
  • Once the mixture has cooled enough to handle, transfer it to a blender.
  • Place the lid on top and cover the lid with a dish towel.
  • Hit the button to blend. In minutes you will have the best applesauce ever.

If you make it in the crock pot, you reduce the water to 1 cup.  If you do it on the stove top, there is enough steam leaving your pot that you don’t need to do this step.

Enjoy it as is or as a topping to oatmeal, pork chops, pancakes, potato pancakes, or waffles. I also like to cut french toast into sticks and use the apple sauce as a dip. Enjoy.

TMT- Good science moment to teach about Oxidation. We used a barrier to prevent oxidation. Lemon juice and honey are other barriers to try. Apples can be graphed, written about, life cycle of an apple tree to explain the 4 seasons, read about John Chapman and why he greatly helped pioneer families stay healthy. Weigh things using the weight of apples to balance it. taste different apples and use descriptive adjectives to tell about the flavor. Graph which apple flavor you liked best. Document the cost of an apple in the course of American history.

Pumpkin Pancakes (adapted from for Halloween/fall

We made these for my cooking class and read Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Very fun since the movie is out now too. In the book the whole story starts because Grandpa flips a pancake and it lands on his grandson’s head. You can also read If you Give a Pig a Pancake. or any book about pumpkins.

TMT – Good teachable moment to be scientists. I had them guess what was in my bottle. We talked about the 3 states of matter. They took a sniff of what was in the bottle to see if they guessed correctly. Most had said water. Then they all watched as I slowly poured the vinegar onto the baking soda. They were very thrilled to see all the bubbles. We talked about what is in a bubble. And recapped. Solid-baking soda, liquid-vinegar,and bubbles-gas. This explains why these pancakes are so amazingly light and fluffy. Enjoy.

Hardware-frypan or griddle, flipper, plate, fork, big mixing bowl, medium mixing bowl, mesuring cups for liquid and dry, spatula, ice scooper that sweeps out the cup or 1/4 measuring cup, measuring spoons, paper towel

Software- 2 and 1/2 Cup Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Mix, 4 Tablespoon brown sugar, 3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (available in baking aisle), 1 egg, 1 and 3/4 cup milk, 2 Tablespoon canola oil, 2 Tablespoon white vinegar, 1 and 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie mix), 1/8 cup ground flaxseed meal, 1 teaspoon vanilla yogurt, fresh bananas, chopped pecans (optional), real maple syrup

AHN-“Adult Help Needed” to help you cook them on the griddle


  • Crack the egg in a small bowl. Make sure there are no shells. Dump the egg into the big mixing bowl. Wash the egg off your hands.
  • Next add in the milk, pumpkin, oil, and vinegar
  • In the medium bowl mix together the pancake mix, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, flaxseed meal. Stir them together to combine
  • Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet. Stir with a spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Over mixing causes pancakes to be rubbery.
  • Let the batter just sit. It is called rest. This allows the bubbles to form.
  • While your batter is resting, peel your banana and toast your pecans
  • Have your plate where you will be putting your finished pancakes on right next to the griddle. Put a sheet of paper towel on the plate. Bring over your batter and flipper.
  • Heat up the griddle on med heat. AHN part
  • pour out a 3 sec pour of oil. Wait 2 minutes.
  • Using the flipper spread the oil around the griddle
  • Using the ice cream scooper or 1/4 cup measuring cup put the batter. Use the back of the scooper to spread out the batter and shape it into a frisbee.
  • When you see the edges getting not as shiny and bubbles forming in the pancake, you are ready to flip it.
  • Hold your flipper as if you were shaking hands with it. have your thumb nail facing up. Get the edge of the flipper under the edge of the pancake. push the flipper so the entire pancake is on your flipper. Then roll your hand as if you were turning the page of a book. This should make the pancake flip like a page in a book. Never flip the pancake toward you. You don’t want to risk splashing the hot oil on you.
  • Cook 2 mins or til golden brown
  • Using the flipper, remove the finished pancake to the plate. The paper towel will soak up any excess oil if you have some.

To serve- put 2 pancakes on a plate, top them with a dollop of yogurt, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of maple syrup, sprinkle on the chopped pecans. (optional)

Variations- you can use cooked sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin. Adding cranberries after you pour the batter onto the griddle is nice too.

I have used this as an on the go meal/snack by heating up a breakfast sausage and rolling the cooked pancake around it. Smear on some strawberry cream cheese to help it stick together. Send it with some apple slices and you have a super easy to pack school lunch. great for fieldtrips too.

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup

Oven roasting any veggie is great because you let the oven do a lot of work for you. By oven roasting you are carmelizing the natural sugars in veggies. I love to oven roast in the fall/winter because it also heats up the house and fills it with yummy smells. For the same reasons, I also crock pot cook a lot more during this season too.

Hardware- 2 Lasagna trays, blender, mixing spoon, strawberry huller, mixing bowl, cutting board, knife, dish towel,

Software- 4 containers of hydroponicly grown in USA compari tomatoes, (I buy hydroponicly grown because that means they are grown using water not dirt and they are pesticide free.), 2 heads of garlic, 1 large sweet onion, (like wallawalla, oso sweet,), olive oil, salt, cracked black pepper, 1 tspn brown sugar (optional/if needed)


preheat oven to 350 F. Wash the tomatoes. Using the huller pick out the stems. If the tomatoes are large cut them in half. Peel the garlic cloves and cut off the dried hard ends. Peel the onion and cut into large pieces. Place all the veggies into a lasagna tray. Drizzle with olive oil and 2 pinches of kosher salt and cracked black pepper and mix altogether so the veggies are shiny. Bake them in the oven til you see the skins of the tomatoes and onions getting dark brown. There will be liquid in the pan from the tomatoes. Let it cool down and transfer everything into a blender. Place the lid on tight. Cover it with a dish towel. And blend. In a 2 minutes you will have a delicious creamy vegetarian soup.

Garlic Crostini to garnish the tomato soup

Software- french Baguette, head of garlic, olive oil, kosher salt,

Hardware- aluminum foil, knife, cutting board,


Preheat your oven to 375. Cut the garlic head in half horizontally to expose all the cloves, drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on the cut side of each half, add a pinch of kosher salt. Lay the garlic on the foil cut sides up, loosely wrap the foil around it and crimp it so the steam stays in.

Magical Marinara

The magical part of this marinara is how many oh so good for you items you can sneak in. Not only do the added veggies bump up the nutritional value, they really add to the flavor profile by adding a natural sweetness to the sauce. This is a great sauce to have in your go to file because since you are using the blender at the end, you can cut up the veggies in big chunks. The kids at the library enjoyed the chopping, tearing of herb leaves, and working the immersion blender. And of course the eating of the finished culinary creation.

Hardware- 2 big pots, colander, wooden spoon, cutting board, knife, immersion blender aka stick blender/a regular blender,

Software- two 28 oz. cans of peeled whole tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 sweet onion, 2 cups of chopped carrots, 1 medium size zucchini, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, 1/8 c  flax seed meal, 1/8 c wheat germ, 1-2 tsp of brown sugar, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh basil, fresh flat leaf italian parsley,


Cut off the woody ends of the garlic cloves.

Smash the garlic cloves and peel off the paper, set aside.

Cut your onion in half through the roots and top.

Peel off the outer papery skin. cut the onion into big cubes.

Rinse off the carrots and zucchini and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces.

In a heavy bottom pot, drizzle olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pot. put on med heat. add the onions, when they become limp, add the garlic cloves, carrots, and zucchini, stir the veggies around till the onions take on a brown color, Add the canned tomatoes. While the sauce is simmering, wash and cut off the stems on the herbs, Add the wheat germ, flax seed, fresh cracked black pepper, brown sugar, and herbs to the sauce, let it simmer, Add the balsamic vinegar and turn off the heat. Let it cool down. Using a towel to cover the pot so as to prevent splattering, stick your immersion blender into the pot under the towel and blend away. Or you can transfer the sauce to a blender and pulse it. Cook your favorite pasta and top it with your yummy sauce. Don’t forget to add half a cup of the water you cooked the pasta in to the sauce. The starchiness of the water will help the sauce stick to the pasta better.

Simple Guacamole by Sonia Chung 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. This method of making guacamole was developed for the Autism Awareness Day at Whole Foods. In order to be “go Green”, please use a potato masher and mixing bowl when making this at home. Saving the Earth from one more plastic bag in a landfill.

Hardware-big mixing bowl, potato masher, cutting board, knife, plastic juicer, mixing spoon, flatware spoon, zip top plastic bag, pizza slicer

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


  • Wash the avocados and lime
  • Rinse off the cilantro and chop it up by rolling the pizza cutter over the leaves. Remove any thick pieces of stem. Set aside.
  • Rinse off the tomatoes and dice. (optional) 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 shell 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 plastic bag
  • Sprinkle it with garlic salt. Remember to use less because you can always add more later
  • Press the air out of the bag and zip it up. Mash up the avocados by squeezing the bag.
  • Cut the lime in half and put it in the juicer. Squeeze lime juice to a bowl.
  • Open the bag. With a teaspoon add juice to the bag.
  • Add the cilantro and red onions (optional) and smash it around in the bag.
  • Add the tomatoes and stir gently. Chill until ready to serve

I like to serve this with baby carrots, celery, and the oven baked no salt added chips or the oven baked flax seed Omega 3 chips. It is also great in sandwiches and wraps instead of mayo. Try it on your next BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato). I use the Applegate brand turkey bacon over at Whole Foods. Enjoy.

Stuffed French Toast

My kids will eat this as a breakfast on the run because it is easy to take and eat in the car. I make them the night before and just reheat in the toaster oven/microwave. This is a great recipe to add to any college students recipe files since you will usually have all the necessary ingredients on hand and it is really easy. Pack this with some turkey sausage and you have a nice lunch item too. Don’t forget the fresh fruit.

Stove Alert-AHN “Adult Help Needed” to watch you flip it.

Hardware: pancake flipper, bowl to scramble eggs in. make sure it is wide enough for a piece of bread to fit in it, fork, dinner plate, peanut butter knife, fry pan that a lid can cover

Software: canola/vegetable oil, 2 eggs, cream cheese, your favorite jam, 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract, cinnamon sugar/powder sugar (optional), splash of milk about 2 tsp, small pinch of salt, maple syrup/yogurt to dip

Tip- If possible leave the cream cheese on the counter to soften up 30 mins. prior to use so it is easier to spread. Or you can use the whipped cream cheese.

Spread the cream cheese on one slice of bread, spread jam on the other slice of bread. Put the 2 slices together as if you were making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Set it aside. Crack the eggs into the bowl, make sure you don’t have any egg shells in the bowl. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Using the fork scramble the eggs. Place the egg mixture and the sandwich next to the stove top. Have your empty plate ready. Have an adult turn on the stovetop to medium to med low heat. Pour 2 tsps of oil into the fry pan. Place your fry pan on the heat. While you are waiting for the oil to heat up, Dip your sandwich in the egg mixture then quickly flip it over and dip the other side of the sandwich in the egg mixture. Keep in mind that you do not want the sandwich to sit in the egg mixture too long or else the bread will get soggy from soaking up too much of the mixture. Using the fork transfer your sandwich to the fly pan. When you see the edges getting brown it is time to flip the sandwich. Using the flipper lift up the edge of the bread, slide the flipper under and give it a flip. Read Safety Tip. Once you are frying the second side, put the lid on the pan to ensure that the egg on the side of the bread is getting cooked too. After the second side if cooked, use the flipper to take it out and place it on a cutting board. Let it cool. Once it is cool enough to handle. Cut it into 4 long sticks. using your fractions lesson. Cut it into half, then cut each of the halves into half again lengthwise. Arrange them on your plate. Now you have some fun options. You can dust them with powdered sugar, or dip them length wise into cinnamon sugar, or leave them w/o a topping and have a small dish of maple syrup or yogurt to dip. or leave them plain and take them to eat in the car while on the way to dr appts, sports, music, or tutoring. Don’t forget to pack a bottle of water and napkins.

Safety Tip- It is important to remember to flip thing turning the flipper to the side. You never want to flip things towards you because you might splash hot oil on yourself. I tell my students to imagine they are turning the pages of a book. They should hold the flipper with their thumb nail pointing up and roll their hand so the thumb nail points down and away from their tummy.

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 3. To enroll for my class go to

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


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