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Happy Father’s Day

Posted on 20 June 2010 by noelskitchen

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Summer Brings Local Farmer’s Markets

Posted on 19 June 2010 by noelskitchen

Summer Brings Local Farmer’s Markets

Every Saturday throughout the summer in Nevada City, you can enjoy a beautiful morning at the local Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market is the community’s source for LOCAL fresh produce and music, educational demonstrations, face painting, and good old fashioned fun for the entire family. Shopping at your local farmer’s market is an enjoyable activity that brings the community together for food and friendship. It is an educational opportunity for many. You can learn directly from farmers and other experts about growing practices, crop seasons, and even cooking tips.

As always, my quick and easy recipes for Busy Moms can be found on my website Noel’s Kitchen

Visit my new Amazon Kitchen Store  for some of my recommeneded appliances, storage and kitchen needs along with some of my favorite cookbooks and aprons to help you with your family meal planning.

Would you like to join our growing Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.  



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Nutrition In The Schools:Is It A Reality Check Or Just Drama?

Posted on 10 April 2010 by noelskitchen

I woke up yesterday morning and read quite an interesting opinion on school nutrition and the reality show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It was titled Opinion: What’s Wrong With School Lunches? .

In reality, do most parents honestly know what kind of nutrition is being given to their children in the school? Do you actually take the time to read the monthly menu brought home by your children? Is it okay for our children to have pizza for breakfast and French fries for lunch everyday no matter what age? Is it okay for children in the first grade to know what a French fry is but not a potato? Or not know simply vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or tomatoes? Does a French fry really count for a vegetable serving?

In the article, the author states that school lunches are healthier than most people realize and that Jamie Oliver is trying to scare parents off from school lunches. If the author had paid any attention to the show, she would see that Jamie Oliver is clearly trying to teach the cafeteria workers, schools and America  how to prepare a simple meal from scratch that is healthy and nutritious. As a parent, I would rather have my children eat a stir-fry with eight vegetables and fresh chicken than greasy French fries and greasy chicken for lunch.

The author also states the lunch ladies from Huntington are portrayed as what they know and are stuck in their ways and inflexible. As a parent, observing how inflexible and rebellious the head cafeteria worker Alice is, I’m appalled. Rather than take the time to come up with a solution, she always walks away. If the school system is going to walk away from finding a solution on helping our children, than something is clearly wrong with the system.

If Huntington, West Virginia is considered a stout city in one of the fastest states in the union, don’t you think you should start where the problems are the worst? This state is just a starting point for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

This is a true Reality TV show that is educating the school system, parents and children all across America. In reality, how many people would watch something like this on the news versus a reality TV show? Kids are more likely to sit down for an hour to watch a reality TV show with their parents than a news cast. If that is how you have to teach people awareness then so be it. The author did not mention anything about being a parent or educated on nutrition. I was completely irritated with the opinion this author had after reading the article. The author mentions school lunch menus are designed by nutritionist and brown bag meals are not.

The author states,” if families watching Oliver decide to pack a lunch because they think school lunches are bad, it’s not clear they’ll be giving their children anything better.” As a parent who makes homemade lunches for my children, I want to ensure my children are provided a healthy lunch everyday including snacks. The way the author describes parents throwing together a “pre-made lunch”  from the store is basically saying without saying parents don’t know how to put together a healthy and nutritious lunch for their children.  I’m smarter than she thinks when it comes to making brown bag lunches for my children. I can pack my children’s lunch while I am making dinner or when I get up in the morning. I think a lot of parents seeing school lunches as an ‘easy out’ rather than packing their kids a nutritious lunch.

USA Today in January 2010 reported that obesity will cost the U.S. healthcare $344 billion a year. Hazards of obesity now rival smoking in the United States. Overall, about 31.7% of kids are obese or overweight, compared to 29% in 1999, also not a statistically significant difference. This analysis is based on the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is considered the gold standard for evaluating the obesity problem in the USA. Obese kids are at a greater risk of weight-related health problems such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes, plus they are at greater risk of becoming obese adults.

I know that people are entitled to their own opinion, however the author did not mention anything about being a parent or educated on nutrition. And just to make it clear, I do understand that there are some parents who are not familiar with what types of healthy foods, count calories, etc. but  Jamie Oliver and his producers are taking the initiative to teach people all across America just that. This show applies to a lot of school districts in this country and how parents chose to feed their children. Schools are supposed to teach children too. Why not about nutrition?

Sign Jamie’s petition simply clicking the badge above to save cooking skills and improve school food.

 I support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. America’s kids need better food at school and better health prospects. We need to keep cooking skills alive.

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12 Days of Sharing:Famous Magic Cookie Bars

Posted on 11 December 2009 by noelskitchen

12 Days of Sharing

It was really exciting to participate as a co-host yesterday in the 12 Days of Sharing.  I enjoyed making the Holiday Eggnog Fudge  and it was a bit hit with the family, my taste testers. This has been an adventurous baking week for me. I’ll soon be posting some of our bake sale recipes for tomorrow’s huge event at the Nevada County Toy and Food Run.  The Nevada County Food & Toy Run benefits many families and children directly during our annual bike run in December.

In 1991 four motorcyclists thought about what they could do to help families in need during the upcoming holiday season. They came up with an interesting idea and within a few weeks created an event. The event drew 90 bikers and a responsive cord was struck in merchants, law-enforcement personnel, and the residents in the small sierra-foothill communities of Nevada City and Grass Valley. The event was the birth of the Nevada County Food & Toy Run, a “non-profit charitable” organization sponsoring fundraiser’s to help families in need.

The holiday season is upon us, and you can feel the magic in the air. While you are out and about shopping, consider sharing that magic with children across America.  By clicking on the bage below, your donation will help a hungry child. Over the course of the year, nearly 17 million children are at risk of hunger in America. That’s a pretty large number. With your donation, Share Our Strength is able to provide support to more than 1,000 non-profit organizations across America, help low-income families learn how to eat better for less through their programs and reach the goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015.



Have a favorite cookie recipe? Consider adding a recipe to the 12 Days of Sharing virtual cookie jar. The cookie swap will run until December 18th, so there’s still time to participate:

  • Simply make a donate to Share Our Strength by clicking on the above 12 Days of Sharing Badge. By donating you will be entered in a giveaway to win some fantastic prizes inluding a new Cuisinart Mixer, Gift Certificates and More! Every little bit makes a difference, so no donation is too small.
  • Submit your favorite cookie recipe to the Virtual Cookie Jar. Share with your fellow readers on Twitter, Facebook, My Space and encourage them to join in as well. (How to participate details)
  • Visit In Jennie’s Kitchen often and the Virtual Cookie Jar for featured recipes, more from bloggers hosting, and recipes from the virtual cookie jar.

Here’s a common traditional cookie that we’ll be selling at our bake sale tomorrow and they are really easy to make. I usually make them with butterscotch flavored chips, but for the bake sale, I’m using semisweet chocolate morsels.  This will be my contribution to the virtual cookie jar today.

Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie Bars


 1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, butterscotch flavored morsels or peanut butter morsels

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped nuts


 Heat oven to 350 degrees F. I like to use my large bar pan for making these because it evenly conducts heat and these cookies comes out great! If you don’t have a large bar pan, you can coat a 13×9 baking pan with no stick cooking spray.

Combine the gragham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture. Layer evenly with the chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press firmly with finger tips or a fork.

Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamond shapes.  Store at room temperatures.

These are absolutely fabulous! Enjoy!

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12 Days of Sharing:Holiday Eggnog Fudge~Noel’s Kitchen Tips

Posted on 10 December 2009 by noelskitchen

Our Backyard on the Ranch

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. With the temperatures dropping, snowflakes falling, the fireplace lit and the holiday decorations are all through the house. To me, the holidays are so much fun when the whole family can get involved, especially the kids. One of the best ways to make wonderful holiday memories with kids is to bake holiday cookies and treats. Homemade baked goods are extremely popular during the holidays. The memories that creating Christmas baked goods provide is by far the most important thing.

This holiday season, I wanted to try some new Christmas recipes to share with family, friends and add to our team’s  Nevada County Bakers  family cookbook.


Today I’m sharing one of those new recipes with you as part of the 12 Days of Sharing, being hosted by In Jennie’s Kitchen.  This year I’ve enjoyed being active in my community and excited about being able to take part in the Share Our Strength campaign during this past year and dedicating myself to help in the fight against childhood hunger. Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.

By posting and sharing your favorite holiday cookie, candy or treat along with a favorite holiday memory, you can contribute to the Share Our Strength Campaign by raising awareness in your community and across America. In the year ahead, nearly 17 million children in America will face hunger. That’s nearly one in four children. This holiday season, you can help. Join us in the fight to End Childhood Hunger.


 The cookie swap will run until December 18th, so there’s still time to participate:

  • Simply make a donate to Share Our Strength  by clicking on the above 12 Days of Sharing Badge. By donating you will be entered in a giveaway to win some fantastic prizes  inluding a new Cuisinart Mixer, Gift Certificates and More! Every little bit makes a difference, so no donation is too small.
  • Submit your favorite cookie recipe to the Virtual Cookie Jar. Share with your fellow readers on Twitter, Facebook, My Space and  encourage them to join in as well.  (How to participate details)
  • Visit In Jennie’s Kitchen often and the Virtual Cookie Jar for featured recipes, more from bloggers hosting, and recipes from the virtual cookie jar.

This recipe looks, smells and tastes great!  Fudge is always a perfect sweet gift during the holidays.

Holiday Eggnog Fudge1

Holiday Eggnog Fudge


1/4 cup butter, chilled

2 cups sugar

1 cup eggnog

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

2 cups mini-marshmallows

1 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Line a 9×12-inch pan with aluminum foil and set aside. Rub the sides of a large saucepan with a little butter.

Add the eggnog and sugar, and bring to a rolling boil over medium to medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes.

Eggnog Sugar

Fold in the marshmallows, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring back to a light boil for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Eggnog Marshmellow

Remove from heat and add the butter, white chocolate.

Stir until thoroughly mixed or until the mixture starts to lose its glossy appearance.

Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with pecans. Cool at room temperature. Remove from pan, remove foil, cut into 1-inch squares.

Eggnog Fudge Setting

 It’s great fun to make holiday cookies and treats with kids during the Christmas season. Holiday baking is something that can be shared with family members of all ages. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Eggnog Fudge

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