DooF-a-Palooza:Unique Family Food Fest

May 21, 2011 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 

Doof-A-Palooza sounded like a storybook character to me when I first heard about it. It’s actually a kid-friendly family event that’s fun for the entire family. It’s a totally free celebration of healthy and sustainable food. My good friend Michelle Stern from What’s Cooking With Kids will be there cooking on stage. The event this year is tomorrow (Sunday, May 22, 2011) from 10 AM – 5 PM at Jack London Square in Oakland.  Here are some details on the event:

The 3rd annual DooF-a-Palooza, is a free admission food and family festival for children of all ages and adults. Like the wildly successful prior two festivals at Google Headquarters, DooF-a-Palooza, a food-backwards, table-to-source, food educational experience, includes contests, games, entertainment and fun hands-on activities with growers, chefs, purveyors, businesses, and cookbook authors all filmed and streamed live online.

Check out DooF-A-Palooza’s  website HERE for more detailed information.

Stay tuned for our family’s adventures there and photos. It’s our first year going and I can’t wait!

A Quick Note From Noel: Just a quick announcement to let you all know that I am having my site designer Christa Jensen from Affordable Web Designs  make some improvements to my site to allow my readers a more pleasurable experience when visiting the kitchen. If you happen to stop by and can’t find something on the site– not to worry it will be back to normal soon!

Stay tuned..

In the meantime, you can still follow me:

  • Subscribe to my RSS feed
  • Follow me on twitter: @noelskitchen
  • Like my fan page on Facebook: Family Meals Matter Cooking Club

Jamie Oliver’s Food Resolution Wakes Up Los Angeles Schools

April 13, 2011 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 

Last April, I shared with you a post called Nutrition In The Schools:Is It A Reality Check Or Just Drama? I discussed an interesting article I read after Food Network Chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution  aired where Jamie tackled Huntington, West Virginia in his first attempt to bring awareness to the US on nutrition in the schools and childhood obesity. Jamie Oliver is back and he’s bringing his game on to tackle Los Angeles Schools In case you missed the episode last night, you can watch it HERE. Grab everyone in your family and watch it together.  Then talk about it. This is a great family topic of discussion to have with your kids. There is great value in educating yourself and your children to have a healthier lifestyle.

This is one show I think everyone in your household should watch. You may say it’s just another reality show, and you’re right! It is just that! Childhood obesity and poor nutrition is a reality all across the US. Whether you choose to act upon it or not is your choice but the fact is, our children are our future. Don’t you want to see them healthy and live a long fullfilling life? It’s disturbing to me that the concern is more on the fact that the Board Members in this show don’t even want to give Jamie Oliver the chance to teach the schools a better way to provide nutrition to our kids.

I’m personally excited Jamie’s back!! This time he brought his wife and four beautiful children with him. Jamie Oliver has this absolutely great visual way of questioning parents and viewers do you know where your food comes from? When he was in the kitchen showing those parents how beef gets processed, I had absolutely no idea about the pink slime.  Totally grossed me out!  I had no idea this is where they take the inedible parts of beef that are typically sold for dog food, process it so the meat and fat separate, wash it in ammonia and then grind it.  It is then used as filler in ground beef. 

How often do we visit a meat processing  wherehouse? It’s not something we think about. But now I certainly will!  Up to 15% can be added, oh and did I mention it doesn’t  even have to be mentioned or labeled.  The USDA says it’s safe and that the ammonia is part of a process, not an ingredient so you don’t need to know about that either.  That’s very disturbing! I am questioning the fact if I wanted to continue feeding my children hamburgers for dinner. Do you know what’s in your ground beef?  I hope you ask the next time you buy or eat ground beef.

Jamie also attempted to gather a bunch of parents together to show them how much sugar is in all that flavored milk. To give the parents a simple understanding of how much sugar is found in our flavored milk, Jamie gives parents gathering a visual in the amount of sugar found every week in schools was a simple number of 57 tons. The bus overfills with sugar as you can see from the picture below.

If you watch the show, Jamie also attempts to get a local fast food owner to change just a few things on his menu and the owner just doesn’t want to budge.  He believes his customers wouldn’t purchase a healthier choice of food from his menu. This just goes to show you, the value of eating a meal with your family at home versus going to a fast food place. Only as parents, can we make a difference in the lives of our children. Our voices need to be heard. We are responsible for educating our children to make the right decisions and guiding them along the way. If Board Members who are paid to have the responsibility in our school systems won’t do it, then it’s up to us as parents!

It’s amazing what a difference one person can make by making changes.  Jamie is trying to do just that. He has inspired me to share and educate those in my community and bring awareness on childhood obesity and better nutrition.  Have you signed the petition to get good food in our country’s schools?  If no go do it now. Click here.


A Weekend Of Frugal Family Fun!

January 8, 2011 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 


We try to set aside some time each weekend for “family time.” Here are a few more family fun ideas including an idea for nature hiking, cooking and crafting together.

Here are some other ideas you can do as a family:

  • Plant a flower and/or vegetable garden. Gardening is a fun, healthy, and educational activity for you and your family. Children learn responsibility, and your family saves money on fresh and healthy produce. 
  • Walk, jog, or run as a family. We live close by to the kid’s school track and that is great for this activity. It’s a great workout for me in trying to keep up with them.
  • Surprise the family. Go on a mystery scenic drive. Only you know the destination. Have something special waiting at the end of the drive. Stop at scenic overlooks. (With the price of gas so high, you may not want to drive too far.)
  • Have a scavenger hunt either inside or outside. Children will have fund finding the items listed.
  •  Read a book together as a family. Even older children can enjoy a younger child’s book, and you may be surprised at how much younger children comprehend reading materials beyond their reading level.
  • Make an indoor tents with blankets draped over tables and/or chairs. I had fun making my own little forts as a child. Set up an outdoor tent with blankets.
  • Have a barbecue or picnic at a park.

Make a game of trying something new every weekend, with no repeats! Eat new foods, learn something new as a family or go places you’ve never been before.

I hope this helps you make some wonderful family memories!


BBQ Battle For A Cause

August 26, 2010 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 


Cooking for a cause is always enjoyable for me.  In our local events section, I read that tonight, The United Way of Nevada County’s 4th Annual BBQ Battle is happening. It’s being held at 5pm in downtown Grass Valley at the Gold Miner Inn. They will be raffling some great raffle prizes; including a Hawaiian vacation getaway, and live music performed by SOLS. Spectators can Cool off under a tent of misting hoses while they enjoy the music and great food.

Proceeds from this event will be going to United Way of Nevada County Community Investment Fund.

We’ll be stopping by and checking out the event and tasting some wonderful BBQ. Hope to see you all there.


Babes For Boobs:Making Strides Breakfast Kick Off

August 13, 2010 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 


Making Strides Breakfast Kickoff

It won’t be long before our team joins thousands of breast cancer survivors, supporters and volunteers for the annual Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk on October 17th. This will be my first year in the walk. Joining me in the walk will be my oldest daughter who is turning Sweet 16 the same day as the walk. It will definitely be a day of celebrating!

Yesterday, one of my teammates and I attended the kick off breakfast in Roseville, CA.  At the breakfast, there were approximately 100 people representing corporate sponsors, team leaders, individual fund raisers and cancer survivors.  Each speaker told their story of triumph over the disease or why they chose to get involved.

Bonnie, one of my fellow teammates

Once we signed in, we were able to visit a few of the resource tables for information, pamphlets, enter a raffle and the Discovery shop table where they were selling purses as part of the Power of the Purse Cancer Research Funding campaign.

Babes For Boobs

We are proud to be a part of a successful kick-off and are looking forward to walking in October.

I am also pleased to announce that $2 from every A Busy Mom’s Guide To Family Meal Planning E-Cookbook  purchased will be donated leading up to the event.  But most of all we would love your participation in the walk.  Join our team, Babes For Boobs on the day of the walk and have some fun while helping a great cause!

Click on the link HERE for the location nearest you or you can simply donate in support of my participation, by visiting my personal page. Together, we can save lives from breast cancer! We’ve raised $295 to reach our team goal of $1000! Visit our page often to view our team status.

Together, we can make a difference!


Making Strides Against Breast Cancer:A Family Meal Planning Cookbook For A Cause!

July 31, 2010 · Posted in Cookbooks, Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 

I’m joining in to create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays!

Why am I walking?

Today, there is more hope than ever for people facing breast cancer. However, there is much work to be done. Every day, the American Cancer Society is helping people stay well by taking steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer or find it early, when it is most treatable; helping people get well with information, day-to-day help, and emotional support to guide them through every step of a breast cancer experience; by finding cures and promising new treatments through funding and conducting research; and by fighting back by working with lawmakers to help all women get access to screenings and care.

I believe that one day, breast cancer will never steal another year from anyone?s life ? and we will live in a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. That?s why I’m walking in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. Not only is this my opportunity to join my community to fight back against breast cancer, it is a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease and save more lives.

And you can be a part of it, too.

I have signed up to walk on Sunday, October 17, 2010 in Sacramento, CA.  and I hope you will join me in my effort by signing up to join my team, Babes For Boobs or making a donation in support of my participation, by visiting my personal page. Together, we can save lives from breast cancer! We’ve raised $270 to reach our team goal of $1000! Visit our page often to view our team status.


As part of my committment to the cause, I have decided to donate $2.00 for every A Busy Mom’s Guide To Family Meal Planning  E-Cookbook  sold. I am leading by example and I hope you’ll follow my lead!


Read What Reader’s Are Saying About A Busy Mom’s Guide To Family Meal Planning:

I am really impressed with the information that Noel is providing in the "Busy Mom's Guide To Family Meal Planning".  As a nutritional educator and culinary chef, I can tell that she knows her stuff.  In the hectic 21st century the book is an extensive collection of recipes, tips and valuable information that will bring families together at the dinner table.  Well done, Noel!


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Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2010 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 


Independence Day, our great national holiday, always seems to be a turning point of summer, an extra excursion day with family and friends.  My plans for today, are real simple. I am going to watch the parade with the family in Nevada City which highlights the great festivities that will be going on today. We are going to grill out by the pool, swim and have fun. Later on, we will watch the enormous fireworks display. So today’s post will be postponed until Monday as I am out having a wonderful time with my family and enjoying such a beautiful day!

But before I go, I wanted  to let you know my latest newsletter that went out yesterday was all about sharing quality time during the summer with your family, how to eat healthy while on  your family vacation, highlights from the blog last week and the featured recipe of the week-Adobe-Glazed Barbecue Chicken. Perfect summer meal for outdoor entertaining with family and friends.  If you missed it, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

Enjoy your family!



Happy Father’s Day

June 20, 2010 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 


Summer Brings Local Farmer’s Markets

June 19, 2010 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 

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.  




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

April 10, 2010 · Posted in Helping Others Community Service · View Comments 

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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