The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Cooking Basics”

Starting an Herb Garden


This Week’s Recipe

We may have just had a spring snow, but we have also had a few days now where spring has shown us that it is (hopefully) right around the corner. I love hearing the birds in the morning and seeing the sunshine! I am so ready for this winter to be over and to be doing activities outside! Do you feel the same?

I want to head out to a local nursery and buy plants and seeds and soil. This year I want to try something new; planting an herb garden. I love watching flowers bloom that we have planted and this year I also want to be able to taste what we are growing in our salads, sauces and soups! I am going to be following these simple guidelines:

  1. Picking your herbs- start with picking out your favorite seeds. Some basics include basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
  2. Location- you want a spot with good soil that will receive ample sun light, yet be shielded from wind.
  3. Care for your herbs- water regularly, place mulch around the base, fertilize monthly and prune as needed
  4. Harvest- and ENJOY!

Growing herbs is a great family activity, too. Kids can help throughout the entire process and they will love seeing what they have helped grow in their dinner.


Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

Five Quick Ways to Play with Your Food!


Recipe of the Week

I know, I know, I can hear my mom and yours in the background saying, “DON’T play with your food!” But, if you have picky eaters in your family it might take a bit of creative thinking to get them to eat healthy.

Seeing as the summer is quickly coming to an end, apples will soon be in season. You and I know apples make a great tasting healthy snack, but if your kids are not too keen, a little playtime might help. Below are five examples of quick ways to make a boring old apple into something fun and exciting. My kids and I also used grapes and peanut butter to make these, but you and your family can experiment with your own ingredients!

  1. Smile – two apple section lips, white grape teeth, and a little peanut butter to hold it together
  2. Race Car – an apple section for the car, grape wheels, a grape headed driver, and again the “magic peanut butter glue” as my kids call it
  3. Turtle – a green apple half (with the stem as a tail), grape feet, a grape head, and peanut butter if needed
  4. Butterfly – thinly cut apple section wings on either side of a grape body
  5. UFO (my favorite) – a cross section of an apple with a grape alien in the middle


Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

Tip of the Week: Basic Cooking

I remember trying to help my mom in the kitchen when I was younger, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I was actually able to make things that were edible. This is probably when I finally stopped burning the majority of things I cooked! Fortunately for myself (and my boyfriend) I have learned how to prepare and cook some pretty delicious meals.
A big part of cooking good food starts with basic skills like knowing how to cut fruits and vegetables, and how to cook meats like chicken or pork. Knowing the basics helped me become more confident in the kitchen and save on prep time. (It probably saved me a finger, too!)
There are so many different ways to prepare foods that it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Try following some simple step-by-step tips and recipes (with pictures!) to help even the most confused cooks. Not interested in reading a cookbook? Try YouTube. Find great ideas for quick meals, using just a few steps, such as Cooking Tips for Moms: Fast & Healthy Dinner Ideas for Your Family where she shows how to prepare roasted chicken and vegetables in just a few simple steps. Or, try Steamed Veggies. It is also a great place to look up how to slice or peel different fruits and vegetables, and learn about various cooking techniques.
Trust me, if at first you don’t succeed, try again; cooking is learned from trial and error!

– Britny, McMillen Center Intern

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: