An easy task for kids to help with Global Warming

These handy tips are from One Million Women:

1. Kitchen sponges

When plastic sponges begin to fall apart, little bits of them go down the drain. I use cellulose sponges. When they break down, I compost them.

2. Homemade dishcloths

knit these out of natural fibers a couple of years ago so their vivid colours have faded but they still work well. Of course, you can just buy dishcloths but I do enjoy making stuff. Knit dishcloths make a great project for children or adults learning to knit. The texture of the checkerboard pattern scrubs more effectively than a smooth stockinette pattern. If enough people want the pattern for this, I can write a future post on it.

3. Loofah sponges

My daughter bought one of these a couple of years ago and it worked like magic at scrubbing dishes. I would love to grow my own loofah but I have such a shady yard and loofah requires full sun. Find instructions on growing your own here.

4. Natural bristle brushes

If you have reduced plastic in your kitchen already, then you may have developed a glass jar addiction similar to mine. Because I have no dishwasher, I use natural bristle bottle brushes to clean my bottles and narrow-neck jars.

5. Rags

My mother—who, at 83, grew up without paper towels—wonders how I live without them. Let me preface the following rant with the admission that my research into paper towel manufacture comes from the saw mill and paper mill passages of Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? However, I think I can safely claim that just some of the steps in the life-cycle of a paper towel include:

  • Chop down trees
  • Transport logs to the saw mill
  • Harvest scrap lumber from logs cut into rough boards
  • Transport scrap lumber to the paper mill
  • Run scrap lumber through the chipper
  • Add a bunch of water and chemicals to the wood chips to make wood pulp
  • Run the pulp across a bunch of screens to form paper towels
  • Bundle the long sheets into rolls of paper towels
  • Shrink wrap the rolls of paper towels in plastic
  • Transport the paper towels to the warehouse
  • Transport the paper towels to the store
  • Drive to the store to buy paper towels
  • Unwrap the plastic and throw it out or into the recycling bin because you’re in denial that that kind of flimsy plastic can actually be recycled
  • Use the paper towel once
  • Toss the soiled paper towel into the garbage
  • Argue with your partner or kids about who should take out the garbage
  • Lug your garbage to the curb because you lost
  • Repeat until the last tree falls

Rather than wipe up messes with paper towels, I use my lifetime supply of cotton rags I cut out of my kids’ old t-shirts. Yes some nasty manufacturing processes went into the production of said t-shirts but I will use these rags for years.

Read more: 12 ways to recycle your t-shirts

6. Dish gloves

I have given up on using dish gloves because I find they always spring leaks too soon. And I’m actually rather proud of my somewhat rough hands—I have worked hard to get them. If you want to protect your hands, we have tried this brand of plastic-free, 100 percent latex gloves lined with cotton.

Opt for more natural cleaners

7. Vinegar or vodka diluted with water

My daughter likes to combine one part vodka to one part water to clean counters, tables and appliances. I also use diluted homemade scrap vinegar to clean. Use a one-to-one ratio for that also, depending on what you need to clean.

8. Baking soda

I use baking soda to wash pots and pans and to scour my sink. It cuts through grease much better than dish soap and rinses off more easily. You can also use it in combination with vinegar to creating an effective paste cleaner.

Read more: How to use bicarb soda for just about anything around the house

9. Homemade dish soap

My kids dislike my homemade dish soap. Accustomed to the super soapy dyed and scented commercial stuff—I didn’t go plastic-free until they were 10 and 16—they claim my homemade stuff doesn’t suds up. As evidence that my homemade soap does indeed create some lather, I submit the photo below. You can find the recipe for homemade dish soap here.

10. Bulk dish soap

Sometimes, however, you must compromise with your loved ones. Yes, when you buy dish soap in bulk, you do contribute to the plastic problem as the giant bulk container you drew your dish soap from will eventually hit landfill. But by buying bulk dish soap rather than all those small plastic bottles of the stuff, you do reduce your plastic footprint greatly.

Read more: Why you should make the switch to castile soap

11. Homemade dishwasher detergent

I don’t have a dishwasher, so I cannot vouch for the efficacy of these recipes but they look good. This one contains controversial boraxThis one does not.

12. Lemon and salt for copper pots

Copper shines beautifully, cooks wonderfully but tarnishes quickly. To clean my copper pot, I sprinkle the outside with salt and then rub it with half a lemon. It removes tarnish almost instantaneously. Rinse the copper very well after cleaning to avoid corrosion.

Look for alternatives before buying consumer products packaged in–or made of—plastic

13. Window cleaner

Use a rag to clean your windows with vinegar and water and dry with crumpled newspaper. Works better than Windex and you won’t inhale nasty chemicals while you clean.

Read more: DIY glass cleaner with natural ingredients

14. Garbage disposal freshener

You can shell out your hard-earned cash for plastic-wrapped garbage disposal cleaning pods filled with God-knows-what or you can simply toss a couple of lemon quarters in the garbage disposal and run it.

Read more: How to make cleaning spray from citrus peels

15. Air freshener

Like many soft plastics, most commercial air fresheners contain phthalates, “hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems.” The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 86 percent of the common commercial air fresheners it tested contain phthalates. I find that a slow cooker filled with water and a few tablespoons of baking soda works well to freshen the air. A few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle filled with water also does the trick. You can burn incense too. Or open a window…

Read more: How to make natural air freshener

16. Garbage bags

Certain people I live with—and do not wish to mortify—demand a trash can in the bathroom. I can control my teen and adult child only so much (okay, very little), as I mention in the post “7 Tactics to Counter Zero-Waste Sabotage in Your Home.” But rather than lining the bathroom trash can with a plastic bag, I line it with the tissue paper wrapping from our toilet paper rolls. Newspaper also works. If you compost, you can pretty easily keep your kitchen garbage dry and thus eliminate the need for a plastic trash bag.

Read more: Do biodegradable rubbish bags work?

Bonus tip: Don’t be so picky about cleanliness

I’m not advocating for filth here. However, our war on bacteria has contributed to the mass extinction that our gut microbiota now face. “So what?” you may say, “Germs must die.” Well, it turns out that your gut plays a huge roll in your health, your weight, even your mood. You can find out why in The Good Gut(Read my review of the book here.)

Many household cleaners like bleach kill not only bad bacteria but good bacteria as well. As a result, our guts come into contact with fewer good microbes. The authors of The Good Gut, pioneers into research on the microbiome, advise us to clean our homes with less toxic ingredients, such as vinegar, castile soap and lemon juice.

Find out what essentials you need to create a zero-waste shopping kit!

Read this next: How to get rid of mould the natural way

Anne Marie Bonneau writes the blog The Zero-Waste Chef. She runs her kitchen following three simple rules: no packaging; nothing processed; no waste. Anne Marie lives in Northern California, where she teaches fermentation workshops, speaks on zero-waste and plastic-free living and hosts webinars on these topics. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @ZeroWasteChef.

Your Kid’s Jaws, Teeth and Health..

Last evening’s program that I had the pleasure to chair at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco was truly eye-opening. Very brief summary: breastfeeding is more work for a baby than feeding from a bottle, so if at all possible nurse your baby as it strengthens his or her jaws which leads to aligned teeth, and a more open air passage—kids should never snore. When your baby starts to eat food, don’t have them suck it out of a package for ease. Again, make them work for it a little. When they start to eat real food sitting up at a table, have them chew well and take their time. There is so much more, but please do purchase and read the fascinating book and listen to the Podcast when it’s live—-link below.

Some basics on the program, the book authors and the book, Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic. (by the way, all proceeds go to charity)

Here is the link to the program. Check back end of the week as the podcast should be live by then.


There is a serious hidden epidemic just now being discovered by the public health community. It’s most obvious symptom is the growing frequency of children with crooked teeth wearing braces, but it includes children snoring, keeping their jaws hanging open, frequently afflicted with stuffy noses, children and adults with disturbed sleeping at night (sleep apnea) often unrecognized, attention and behavioral problems, and a general decline of physical appearance. Those symptoms indicate a building medical emergency that lies in the collection of serious diseases connected mouth breathing and disturbed sleep — a collection that includes heart disease, cancer, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, suicide, asthma and perhaps Alzheimer’s disease. Disturbed sleep is an extremely serious stressor of the human mind and body; among other things, it tends to depress the immune system, making an individual much more vulnerable to a wide variety of diseases, and modifications of the brain that are manifest in many ways only partially understood. Add to this the large contributions of sleep deprivation to highway accidents, medical mistakes and poor performance at work and in school, and it’s easy to see how important this unrecognized public health emergency is. Come learn what causes this problem and many solutions. ‘Forwardontics’ will be discussed with clear explanations.

Sandra Kahn, D.D.S., M.S.D., is a graduate from the University of Mexico and the University of the Pacific. She has 25 years of clinical experience in orthodontics and is part of craniofacial anomalies teams at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University.

Paul R. Ehrlich, Ph.D., has been a household name since the publication of his 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb. He is Bing Professor of Population Studies Emeritus and President of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. Ehrlich is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the Crafoord Prize, the Blue Planet Prize, and numerous other international honors. He investigates a wide range of topics in population biology, ecology, evolution, human ecology, and environmental science.

Explaining Global Warming to Little Kids

Here is some basic information that might help when children ask what global warming is and what to do to help.

Weather vs. Climate

Weather includes lots of things that should be familiar – temperature, rain, snow, wind speeds, or wind direction. Climate refers to the average weather conditions in a certain place over many years. For example, the climate in Minnesota is cold and snowy in the winter, and the climate in Hawaii is warm and humid all year long. The climate in one area, like the Midwest or Hawaii, is called a regional climate. The average climate around the world is called global climate.

The Earth is wrapped in a blanket of air called the ‘atmosphere’, which is made up of several layers of gases, such as carbon dioxide. The sun is much hotter than the Earth and it gives off rays of heat (radiation) that travel through the atmosphere and reach the Earth. The rays of the sun warm the Earth, and heat from the Earth then travels back into the atmosphere. The gases in the atmosphere stop some of the heat from escaping into space. These gases are called greenhouse gases and the natural process between the sun, the atmosphere and the Earth is called the ‘Greenhouse Effect’, because it works the same way as a greenhouse. The windows of a greenhouse play the same role as the gases in the atmosphere, keeping some of the heat inside the greenhouse.

The Natural Greenhouse Effect

The atmosphere has a number of gases, often in tiny amounts, which trap the heat given out by the Earth. To make sure that the Earth’s temperature remains constant, the balance of these gases in the atmosphere must not be upset.

The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

Some of the activities of humans also produce greenhouse gases. These gases keep increasing in the atmosphere. The balance of the greenhouse gases changes and this has effects on the whole of the planet.

Burning fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cutting down and burning trees also produces a lot of carbon dioxide. Cows flatulence -ask your parent what that means -produce methane which is linked to global warming.

Because there are more and more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, more heat is trapped which makes the Earth warmer. This is known as GLOBAL WARMING.

A lot of scientists agree that humans activities are making the natural greenhouse effect stronger. If we carry on polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, it will have very dangerous effects on the Earth.

The Effects

With more heat trapped on Earth, the planet will become warmer, which means the weather all over Earth will change. For example, summers will get hotter, and winters too. This may seem a good idea, but the conditions we are living in are perfect for life, and a large rise in temperature could be terrible for us and for any other living thing on Earth.

All over the world, these weather changes will affect the kind of crop that can be grown and even the nutrients in that crop. Plants, animals and even people may find it difficult to survive in different conditions.
Sea Levels

Higher temperatures will make the water of the seas and oceans expand. Ice melting in the Antarctic and Greenland will flow into the sea.

Higher sea levels will threaten the low-lying coastal areas of the world, such as the Netherlands and Bangladesh, and closer to home, New York City, Florida and parts of California. Throughout the world, millions of people and areas of land will be at danger from flooding.


The changes in the weather will affect the types of crops grown in different parts of the world. Some crops, such as wheat and rice grow better in higher temperatures, but other plants, such as corn and sugarcane do not. Changes in the amount of rainfall will also affect how many plants grow.

The effect of a change in the weather on plant growth may lead to some countries not having enough food. Brazil, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and China will be affected the most and many people could suffer from hunger.


Everywhere in the world, there is a big demand for water and in many regions, such as the Sahara in Africa; there is not enough water for the people. Changes in the weather will bring more rain in some countries, but others will have less rain.

In Danger!

Plants & Animals

It has taken million of years for life to become used to the conditions on Earth. As weather and temperature changes, the homes of plants and animals will be affected all over the world. For example, polar bears and seals will have to find new land for hunting and living, if the ice in the Arctic melts.

What can you do?

Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair: Remember your four R’s!

Reducethe most important. If you don’t buy so much stuff in the first place, then you don’t need to reuse or recycle it.

Reuse whatever you can (like plastic supermarket bags). If you can’t reuse something,

Recycle it! means that something is used again by converting it into something else. Broken class can be made into new glass!

Repair it! Do you know how to sew on a new button?- as just one example.

If you can’t do any of those things, the waste you generate ends up in huge landfills. Much of what you find in these stinking dumps is plastic waste.

Make your own climate… in your home or your room!

Turn off things that use electricity when nobody’s using them

Leaving lights, heating, air conditioning, computers, TVs and other electronics on when you don’t need them wastes a lot of energy.

If it’s warm in one room and cold in another, close the door. The door helps keep heat in.

Leaving things on standby (like TVs, computers and stuff) also uses a surprising amount of energy. Newer models mostly use much less standby power but if you’re away for a few days, it still makes sense to turn stuff off.

Make your own climate… around you!

When it’s hot, dress cool

When it’s cold, dress warm

Every little thing helps! You can make a difference.

Pine Ridge Reservation Kids

Some Native American Reservations are wealthy present day because they offer gaming and if they’re lucky they also have fertile land on which to grow crops. Others, like the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, have neither of the aforementioned.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days on the reservation and to interview kids there as the basis for DirectionFive. I had been in Harlem and  in South Chicago–places that are familiar to most as areas of poverty and crime. Pine Ridge was worse and left me mentally and physically ill.

At this time of year, they’re preparing for a brutal winter and often parents need to decide between the electric bill and food.

If anyone could help, please do so. It’s a shameful part of our history, which you and I can’t change, but today we can try to make a difference. Please give what you can.

From the Friends of Pine Ride reservation website:

Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation

Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe with an estimated population of close to 40,000. The reservation is large, and its needs immense, commensurate with grinding poverty.


The Importance of Snacks

According to one study of 31,337 children and adolescents, snacking can contribute up to 600 calories per day, mostly from high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar foods. Three snacks per day are common and more than 27 percent of children’s daily caloric intake is coming from snacks. These snack habits are eroding mealtime where healthier food is generally served. My guess is that adults aren’t too far behind in these statistics.

Snacks can be a healthy part of food intake, but should be eaten only when hungry, not as habit or from boredom.  Here are some healthy snack tips:

  • Choose snacks for variety and select foods from different food groups.
  • Snack only when you are hungry.
  • Eat snack size portions.
  • Plan ahead and bring snacks with you.
  • Read labels for serving sizes and portion control.
  • Drink water.  At least 8 eight-ounce glasses are recommended each day, unless you have kidney problems.
  • When you are snacking be sure you are only eating.  Snacking while studying or watching TV usually means you will eat more than you intended!
  • Plan snacks as a part of the day’s food plan.
  • When shopping, let children help pick out fruits, vegetables and cheeses, they will be more interested in eating them.
  • Set aside a “snack spot” in the refrigerator and cupboard; keep it stocked with nutritious ready-to-eat snacks.  Teach kids to only eat when hungry.
  • Offer snacks at regular times, such as midmorning and mid afternoon. Don’t let children nibble constantly during the day.
  • Avoid high sugar, fatty (the ‘wrong’ kind of fats like potato chips which have been fried in who-know-what kinds of unhealthy fat) and salty snacks, such as candy and soda pop.
  • Snacks are a good way to introduce new foods. Include a game or activity to learn about the new food; let the child help fix it.
  • Never offer food as a reward for good behavior.

Here are a few healthy snacking ideas:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables provides a feeling of fullness and only a small amount of calories. They also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.
  • Ants on a log — Spread peanut or almond butter on celery sticks and top with raisins.
  • Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein and healthy fats, which helps keep you feeling fuller longer. Nuts and seeds are high in calories, however; so don’t eat them in large quantities. Buy and eat raw nuts and seeds.
  • Pita and hummus — Cut whole-grain pita bread, non-gluten if desired)  into triangles and bake in the oven until crispy. Serve with carrot and celery sticks and dip in hummus. At our non-profit DirectionFive-a culinary and nutrition program for kids-this recipes is a favorite of the kids we teach. Try it!


Serves 6

Yield: 2 cups

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans or 1-15 ounce can*

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons tahini

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Rinse and drain garbanzos and place them in a food processor. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, tahini, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Turn on the processor and slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Place in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Variation: Sometimes we add a handful of spinach and some fresh parsley to this. It’s delicious and adds more nutrients.

It’s Zucchini Pizza Season!

Zucchini everywhere! Try this delicious pizza recipe–it’s always a favorite!

Zucchini Pizza

Serves 6

4 cups zucchini, grated

2 cups brown rice, cooked

1 1/2 cups Monterey jack cheese, or mozzarella, grated

2 eggs, beaten


1 pound ground turkey, optional

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

1 teaspoon oregano, or 3 tablespoons fresh, washed and chopped

1 teaspoon basil, or 3 tablespoons fresh, washed and chopped

1 ½-2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

Combine the grated zucchini, brown rice, jack cheese and the eggs. Press into a greased 15X11X1″ jelly roll pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

In medium skillet, brown ground turkey with onion and herbs. Set aside.

Pour marinara over crust, sprinkle with turkey mixture and top with cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Note: If you have leftover pizza, try it for breakfast with a poached egg on top. Yum!

Recipe by:

Patty James

Garden Cake–A Favorite!

Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s still cake and you need to watch your portion size and limit how often you make this. That said, it’s chock-full of veggies and is moist and absolutely delicious!

Garden Cake

This delicious cake is full of vegetables.

Serves 12

1/2 cup walnut oil

1/2 cup applesauce

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup raw grated carrots

1 cup raw grated zucchini

1/2 cup raw grated beets

1 cup chocolate chips, optional

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13″ pan.

In a large bowl mix the oil, eggs and sugar, beating well with a hand mixer or whisk for 3-4 minutes.

Wash the vegetables well, but there is no need to peel any of them. Grate all the vegetables and set aside. Place the beets in a separate bowl so the other veggies don’t turn pink.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into wet ingredients.

Add shredded carrots, zucchini, beets, chocolate chips and walnuts. Stir until blended and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


How About a Fruit Salad Contest?

Doesn’t this beautiful photograph of fruit make you want a fruit salad…right now? When it’s a hot day, and you don’t want to heat up the kitchen in the morning, place a lot of fruit on the kitchen counter, and let your kids have at it! Wash the fruit, cut up when necessary, and then the fun part, of making a bowl gorgeous! Perhaps offer a prize for the prettiest? Consider too saving some fruit and later in the day, place in a mason jar and cover with mineral water.


Day 2 Summer Camp for 6-9 Year Olds

Let us know how Day 1 went if you used our class outline. Here is Day 2 for you. Please note that we don’t go over everything in the culinary terms. Just pick and choose what you’ll be using on a daily basis. Please read through before you begin. There are notes with teaching tips.

Day 2

Smoothies for Breakfast/Lunch! We’ll use fruit and veggies and spread our creative wings!

We will use many of these terms.

 Cooking Techniques and Terms

You need to understand some kitchen lingo or terminology. If a recipe says to sauté and you braise, you will have an entirely different finished product.

Kitchen Terminology


Acidulated water: This is when water has lemon juice or vinegar in it that prevents certain foods from becoming brown such as apples, artichokes, celery root, Jerusalem artichokes, etc.

Al dente: Cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture. It Italian it means, ‘To the tooth.’

A La Carte: French meaning – “According to the menu,” off the card.

A La Mode: Pie with ice cream on it.

Au Beurre: This means that the vegetables, fish, meats or whatever it may be, has been cooked in butter, or glazed with butter.

Au Gratin: To cover a prepared dish with breadcrumbs or cheese (or both) and brown to a golden color in the oven or under the broiler.

Au Jus: (French) Served with natural juices


Bain-Marie: A dish containing ingredients is placed in another of warm water in the oven, so the food is kept moist and does not become dry or overheated. Make sure oven temperature is correct and that the outer dish does not contain too much water, otherwise, it will bubble over into your ingredients.

Bake: To cook or dry heat in an oven and this applies to all ovens cooked foods except meats which when baked, are usually known as roasts.

Barbecue: To roast slowly on a spit or rack over heat, usually basting with a highly seasoned sauce or marinade.

Bard: To wrap meat with bacon or salt pork.

Baste: To moisten meat or other food while cooking, in order to add flavor and prevent drying of the surface. Melted fat, meat drippings, lard, fat, water or sauces, can be used for basting.

Beat or Beating: To lift a mixture rapidly up and over with a fork, spoon, wire whisk, rotary or electric beater, for the purpose of introducing air or making the mixture smooth, stiff in the case of egg whites, or fluid in an omelet mix.

Binding: Adding liquid, egg or melted fat to a dry mixture to hold it together.

Blanch: To dip in boiling water for a few minutes to loosen skins, or whiten foods, or to partly cook in hot oil or fat; e.g. blanching potato skins before frying. When blanching items in boiling water leave for only a few minutes, then remove and refresh under cold water for maximum crispness of color.

Blending: Means beating OR combine ingredients with a fork, spoon or spatula.

Boil: To cook in water or other liquid, in which the bubbles are breaking rapidly on the surface and steam is given off. (The boiling point of water is 212ºF or 100°C)

Bouquet Garni: A bunch of herbs consisting of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and celery tied together or inserted into a cheesecloth, or paper- bag.

Braise: To cook by shallow frying followed by baking or stewing. The food is first browned in hot fat or oil, then slowly baked or simmered in a covered pan or baking dish, sometimes with a small amount of fluid added.

Broil: To cook by direct heat. This may be done by placing the food under or over an open flame or heating unit.

Browning: Searing the outer surface of meat to seal in the juices.

Bruise: Release the flavor of foods, especially herbs and spices, by crushing them.

Brush With: To lightly apply melted fat, cream, etc., with a pastry brush on food.


Caramelize: To melt sugar slowly over a very low heat, until sugar is liquid and brown for the purpose of flavoring and coloring other food. Or to caramelize onions, meaning to brown slowly.

Chevre: This is the term given to French goat’s cheeses.

Chop: To cut into small pieces with a sharp knife or a chopper.

Clarify: To make clear or transparent and free from impurities. Clarified butter, as an example.

Coat: To cover the surface of one food evenly with another.

Coddle: To cook or simmer an item just below the boiling point for a short period of time. Eggs are frequently coddled.

Cream: To soften or beat one or more foods until soft and creamy. This term is usually applied to the mixing of butter and sugar.

Crepe: (French) Thin pancakes

Croquettes: Finely chopped foods usually combined with potatoes or a thick sauce and molded into cylinder shapes, coated with egg and milk and fried in oil till golden in color.

Croutons: Usually small cubes of bread fried in oil and/or butter, or baked, until a golden color. Served in salads and as a garnish for soups.

Cube: To cut any food item into square pieces of many sizes.

Cut-in: To combine a solid fat with dry ingredients, by a horizontal motion with knives or pastry blender.


Deglaze: A process of adding liquid to a hot pan in order to collect the bits of food, which stick to the pan during cooking. This is most common with sautéed and roasted foods. Wine, stock, and vinegar are common deglazing liquids.

Dice: To cut into small square pieces. There are four sizes of dice.

Dock: To pierce pastry dough before baking to allow steam to escape and prevent blistering of the dough.

Dot: To scatter small pieces of fat, such as butter, on top of foods to be cooked. Pies are commonly dotted with butter before the top crust is put on.

Drain: Remove extra fat or liquid from cooked food or raw vegetables.

Dredge: To sprinkle or coat a food evenly, with a thin coating of dry ingredients such as flour, so that it is completely covered.

Drawn butter: Melted butter.

Dust: To sprinkle with flour or powdered sugar.


Emulsify: To completely blend together oil with an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice. This term is usually used while making salad dressings.


Fillet: A boneless, lean piece of fish or meat.

Flake: To break or pull apart gently into natural segments, e.g., to flake cooked fish.

Fold: To add ingredients, such as whipped cream, beaten egg whites or sugar, with a gentle cutting or folding motion (rather than beating), to preserve air bubbles.

Fricassee: Pieces of poultry or meat stewed in a liquid and served in a sauce made from the same liquid.

Fry: To cook in hot fat or oil
(a) To sauté or pan fry, food is cooked in a small amount of fat or oil on top of a stove.
(b) To deep fry, food is partially or totally immersed in fat or oil.


Garnish: To decorate a dish with an item that will improve its appearance and quite often, add to its flavor too.

Glaze: A shiny coating, consisting of a mixture of water or sugar and fat, egg white etc., applied to certain foods such as pastry, fruit, bread, rolls and baked ham.

Grate: To rub on a grater (a utensil with a rough surface) and produce fine particles.

Juice exuded by roasted meat or poultry, made into a roux, then liquid added slowly to it.
Grease: To rub with butter, oil, etc.

Griddle: Flat metal plate used to bake breads and pancakes on the top of the stove.

Grilling: Cooking directly under a flame in an oven or on a grate over hot coals.

Grinding: Grinding meats or other foods into smaller pieces to use in sausages and for other uses.


Hor d’oeuvre: Petite appetizers or relishes.


Julienne: To cut into matchstick shapes about 1/8 inch across by 2 inches long.


Knead: To fold and press dough firmly with the heel of the hand, turning between folding. Usually done to bread and yeast dough’s.

Kosher (meat): Meat sold within 48 hours after being butchered in accordance to Hebrew religious laws. The style of Jewish dietary cooking.


Larding: Salt pork strips inserted into meat with a special needle. Used to add flavor and moisture to meat.

Leek: Small onion like plant, used as an aromatic seasoning or vegetable.

Legumes: (French) Dried beans, peas, lentils and such.

Lentil: A brown or yellow flat seed resembling a pea used for soups, garnishes, and as a vegetable.

Lukewarm: A mild, tepid temperature of approximately 95 degree F.


Make a Well: While kneading the dough make a heap of the dry ingredients by creating hollow space in the center to pour the liquid. Work it in a round motion, taking in the flour, little by little, till all of it is blended.

Mash: Pound the food and crush it into pulp.

Melting: Heat the ingredients till they are changed from solid to liquid.

Marinate: To soak a food in a liquid, usually an oil or acid mixture containing spices, seasonings, vegetables and aromatic herbs, for a certain length of time to enhance the flavor and act as a tenderizer
Mince: To cut very finely, to obtain smaller pieces than those produced by chopping.

Mise en Place: A French term meaning, ‘everything in its place’ or ‘putting in place’.

Moisten: To add or sprinkle with liquid in order to dampen.


Omelet or Omelette: Seasoned eggs those are beaten and sautéed. The eggs will puff up at which time they are rolled or folded over. Often times, cheese and other ingredients are inside the omelette.


Pan-broil: To cook uncovered in a hot frying pan. The fat is removed as it accumulates. Liquid is never added.

Pan Fry: Fry with very little fat in the pan.

Paste: This is the term used by most cheese makers to describe the inside part of the cheese.

Par-boil: To partially cook a food by boiling, the cooking being completed by another method. Potatoes par-boiled before frying or roasting makes for fluffy light inner and crisp outer.

Pare: Removing the outside skin or peels of vegetables or fruits.

Pat (as in: pat of butter): Portion of ingredient shaped into a small, flat, usually square shape. Approximately 1 Tablespoon.

Peel: To strip off the outer covering, as with oranges or bananas.

Pickling: Is where vegetables like cucumbers are “pickled” in sugar, vinegar and spices for a day or two before eating.

Pinch: Just that–the tiny amount of seasoning that can be held between your thumb and forefinger; an immeasurably small amount.

Pitted / Seed: To remove seeds from fruit or vegetable.

Poach: To cook foods such as eggs or fish just below boiling point in water, milk or stock, similar to simmering but usually for a short time only.

Puree: This is when you puree your ingredient, usually vegetables or beans. Often soups are pureed or you can puree beans to use as a thickener of a soup or sauce. You can use a food processor, food mill, immersion blender, or potato masher to puree.


Quiche: A pie made of custard and cheese.

Reducing: This procedure is used to intensify a flavor. As an example, you can place carrot juice in a pan and simmer it, uncovered, so the liquid evaporates and the flavor intensifies. I will give you examples throughout the book of reductions.
Reduce: To thicken and intensify the flavor of a liquid by evaporating it through boiling.

Render: Cook fatty meats, such as bacon, until the fat melts.

Rest: A term mostly used for dough or batters that need fermentation. That means when the dough needs to be set it is kept aside for a certain period of time.

Roasting: To cook food uncovered in a hot oven. It is often done in large ovens over a high temperature. This method is more commonly used in restaurants rather than regular households.

Roux: Equal parts of flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken fluids when preparing sauces, soups and gravies. The measurement is 2oz fat, 2oz flour to 1 pint of liquid.

Rub: in Add fat to flour and rub them together to mix.


Sauté: To cook in a small amount of fat or oil on top of a stove.

Scald: To heat a liquid, usually milk, to a point just below boiling, about 185 degrees. Minute bubbles appear around the edge of the vessel.

Scallop: To bake food, usually cut into slices in a liquid or sauce, such as scalloped potatoes. The food is usually covered by a liquid, sliced onion when baking potatoes, a little oil or butter and seasoning.

Score: To make lengthwise and crosswise cuts across the surface with a sharp knife.

Sear: Cook at very high heat for a little while. Scorch.

Season: To add salt, pepper, herbs, spices etc. to improve the flavor of a dish.

Seasonings: Dry herbs and spices used to enhance the taste and appearance of food.

Shred: To cut or tear into thin strips or pieces.

Sift: To put dry ingredients through a sifter or sieve.

Simmer: To cook in a liquid, in which bubbles form slowly and break just below the surface. The temperature usually ranges from 110ºF-130ºF (55° to 60°C).
Skewer: Metal or wooden pin used to hold meat, poultry or fish in shape during cooking.

Skin: As in tomatoes; to peel the tomato skin by immersing them for two minutes in boiled water.

Smoking: Glowing charcoal is placed in a small katori, or bowl, cooked meats are placed around this. Dry spices and ghee are poured on top of the coals and a lid is quickly placed over the meat. This smoking adds a delicate flavor to the prepared meats.

Soak: This means to put food in liquid.

Soften: Allow cold butter to remain at room temperature until soft and easily blended.

Squeezing: Drain out the liquid from the food by crushing.

Steam: To cook over or surrounded by steam.

Steep: Soak in a liquid at a temperature just under the boiling point to soften or extract a flavor

Stew: To simmer in a small amount of liquid with or without a lid.

Stir-frying: This is quick cooking over high heat in a small amount of oil, tossing and turning the food during the cooking. With this method, meats stay juicy and tender and vegetables come out slightly crisp with all their vitamins intact.

Straining: Separating liquids from solids by passing them through a sieve or through muslin.

Syrup: A thick sweet liquid made by boiling sugar with water or fruit juice.


Tempura: A form of deep frying from Japan, to lightly coat food items with an egg, flour and ice-water batter, then deep fry and serve with dipping sauce.

Tear: Break into pieces, using your fingers.

Tenderize: Lay meat out on level surface and continuously pound with flat, spiked utensil.

Toast: Lightly brown food in oven or toaster.

Toss: Tumble ingredients lightly with two utensils using a lifting, fluffing motion.

Torte: A rich sponge cake, often multi-layered and filled with whipped cream, jam, chocolate or fruit.


Vegan: A person who does not eat meat or any animal products, including bacon, cream, eggs, milk and honey.

Vegetarian: A person who does not eat meat or poultry and fish but may eat cheese, milk and eggs in their diet.


Water Bath: One bowl of ingredients placed inside a baking dish filled with hot water in order to cook food with gentle heat.

Whipping: Beating an ingredient until frothy and thick.

Whisking: Means to incorporate air, usually in eggs.


Zest: The colored outer rind of citrus fruits.


We’ll make this Marinara Sauce next and let it simmer while we make our Sandwiches and Brownies!

 Marinara Sauce

Just toss with cooked spaghetti or fettuccini noodles and a salad and you’re set. Always a favorite!

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup carrots, grated

1/4 cup celery, sliced

1/3 cup zucchini, sliced

3 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes, 1 28-ounce can

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

3 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon pepper


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and zucchini. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, bring to a boll, then turn the heat down and simmer covered, for about 10 minutes. Add the herbs, fresh tomatoes and salt and pepper. Simmer for another 5 minutes.


You may add some red wine to the sauce if you like, about 1/3 cup, when you add the canned tomatoes.

Variations for eating seasonally:

Spring: Peas, asparagus, green garlic

Summer; All fresh tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers, corn,

Autumn: All fresh tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes,

Winter: Cubed winter squash, parsnips, turnips


Here are some wonderful ideas to make creative sandwiches. We’ll have lots of great ingredients for you to create a healthy and delicious sandwich!


Sometimes the spread can really perk up your sandwich. Try the Chipotle Dressing on the Mexican Wrap, Garlic Herb Aioli on the Peasant Loaf, or spread your High Tea sandwich with Maitre d’ Butter. Sometimes it’s all about inspiration.

Peasant Loaf

Cut crusty French or Italian bread in half lengthwise, brush with olive oil or butter, fill with thin slices of Gruyere cheese, fresh thyme leaves, mixed salad greens, thinly sliced tomatoes and red onions, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.

High Tea Sandwiches: Have a tea party!

Use thinly sliced bread of your choosing, spread with butter or mayonnaise (regular or vegan-type) and fill with thinly sliced radishes, thinly sliced English cucumber, chopped scallions, watercress, and fresh or dried dill.

Tuscan Grill

Fill wholegrain bread, rolls or pizza dough with leftover grilled vegetables–bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini or summer squash, tomatoes, onions. Use season-appropriate vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh herbs. Ratatouille will work if you have leftovers.

Asian Inspired

Sauté onion, celery, garlic, ginger, and Asian greens (Chinese cabbage, bok choy, etc) in a little sesame oil and soy sauce until tender. Spread a piece of pita bread or a wrap lightly with peanut butter and stuff or roll with veggie mixture.


Spread one half of a chapati or other soft bread, flatbread, or pita with egg salad made with diced green or red onions, radishes and curry powder to taste. Add lettuce or spinach and fold in half to serve.

Middle Eastern

Spread halved whole-grain bagels with cream cheese and hummus or baba ganoush, thinly sliced cucumbers, chopped lettuce and tomato, and toasted sesame seeds.

The Herbal Power House

Place the following on a whole-grain roll — mayonnaise, sliced Monterey Jack cheese, alfalfa sprouts, sliced tomato, grated carrots, and a sprinkling of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano.

Mexican Wrap

Mix leftover cooked beans, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack, chopped jalapeno chilies, chopped fresh tomatoes, grated jicama, salsa, sour cream, and chopped fresh cilantro in a wrap.

Portobello Sandwich

Slice leftover grilled or pan-fried Portobello caps, toss with barbecue sauce, aioli or pesto mixed with a little mayonnaise, and add to your favorite bread (focaccia cut horizontally is nice) with as many seasonal veggies as you can!

Egg Sandwich

Butter each side of two slices of bread-any type you like, including an English muffin. Place in a cast iron pan or other skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Flip and do the same on the other side. If you like, place some cheese to melt on this side of the bread. Remove from pan. Fry a large egg in a little butter and when you flip it, sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper. You may also fry a small slice of ham with the egg for your sandwich if you like. Not a sandwich to be eaten often!

The importance of pan sizes:

You just made your favorite brownie recipe, which calls for a 9” X 9” pan. If you cook brownies that call for a 9” X 9” pan in a 9” X 13” pan, the batter will be thinly spread across the pan and the brownies will end up more like a cookie. You’ll be disappointed in the results. Pan size is a very important part of baking and cooking.

As an example of how to alter some-not all- recipes; if you are making a cake and it calls for a 11 X 4 1/2 X 2 ¾” pan, which by the below chart is 50 square inches, and you don’t have such a pan, then you can use the 8 X 1 ½ “ round pan as it is the same square inches. Cooking time might have to be adjusted, as a greater surface area would take less time to cook. Pans are measured across the top of the pan between the inside edges.

Square and rectangular pans

7 ¾ X 3 5/8 X 2 ¼”…….28 sq. inches

8 X 8 X 1 ½” ……64 sq. inches

9 X 5 X 2 ¾” ……45 square inches

9 X 9 X 1 ½” …..81 sq. inches

11 X 4 ½ X 2 ¾” …….50 sq. inches

11 X 7 X 1 ½” …..77 sq. inches

13 X 9 X 2” ….117 square inches

15 X 10 X 2”….150 sq. inches

15 ½ X 10 ½ X 1”……163 sq. inches

16 X 5 X 4 “ …..80 sq. inches

Round pans

8 X 1 ½”…….50 sq. inches

9 X 1 ½”……..64 square inches

10 X 1 ½”…….79 square inches

Another note regarding cake pans is that the type of pan it is has an effect on the end result. A glass or enamel pan or pans of a dark color will hold more heat and make for a browner crust. If you have these pans, but do not want the darker crust, you can reduce the heat by 25 degrees, but use the same baking time. If you have shiny metal pans, your crust will be thinner and less brown.

Oven temperatures:

Remember to always pre-heat your oven at least 10 minutes before baking to allow it to come up to temperature. High temperature recipes can take 20 minutes for the oven to reach the required temperature.

Very slow …250 degrees or below

Slow …300 degrees

Moderately slow….325 degrees

Moderate ….350 degrees

Moderately hot…375 degrees

Hot….400 degrees

Very hot…425 degrees or higher

Lastly, you need to know how to measure dry and liquid ingredients.

Dry ingredients:

With dry ingredients, you scoop up the flour (or whatever) and level the top of the measuring cup with a knife. Do not press ingredients down before leveling.

3 teaspoons=1 tablespoon=1/2 ounce

2 tablespoons=1/8 cup=1 ounce

4 tablespoons=1/4 cup=2 ounce

5 1/3 tablespoons=1/3 cup=2.6 ounce

8 tablespoons=1/2 cup=4 ounces

12 tablespoons=3/4 cup=6 ounces

16 tablespoons=1 cup=8 ounces

32 tablespoons=2 cups=16 ounce

Liquid Ingredients:

Place the measuring cup on a flat service to make sure the liquid is at the proper line on the measuring cup.

2 tablespoons=1 fluid ounce

¼ cup=2 fl.oz.

½ cup=4 fl.oz.

1 cup=8 fl.oz.

1 ½ cups=12 fl.oz.

2 cups or 1 pint=16 fl.oz.

4 cups or 1 quart=32 fl.oz.

1 gallon=128 fl.oz


Patty’s Brownies

No, it’s not healthy, but we don’t have them often and when we do we use organic ingredients. We’ll double this recipe and use a 9X13” pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

½ cup walnut oil or melted butter, cooled slightly

1 cup unrefined sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

½ cup whole-wheat pastry or all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa

¼ teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Blend oil or butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat well.

Combine flour cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired.

Grease a 9X9” glass pan and spread in the brownie mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies start to pull away from the pan or a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan. Makes 16 brownies