Kids in the Kitchen: Cake Mix Cookies II

cake cookies

Shown: Funfetti mix with extra sprinkles, and Devils Food mix with mini chocolate chips!

If the kiddos in your life are asking to bake something, and you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, Cake Mix Cookies are a perfect 15 minute treat. That’s right – it will only take the kids 5 minutes to Continue reading

Salem Seafood Chowder

Soup1Chowder, or Chowda as the locals say, is popular in Salem. Many diners and pubs feature clam chowder high on their menu as either an appetizer or a complete meal with fresh bread. Two establishments, Tavern on the Green in the Hawthorne Hotel and also the wildly popular Red’s Sandwich Shop, offered amazingly delicious seafood chowder. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’ve done our best to recreate authentic seafood chowder, loosely based upon Continue reading

Kids in the Kitchen: Build a Gingerbread Train!

So, the kiddos are home from school on Christmas vacation, and you are smiling as you assure the world that everyone is having a jolly good time. I get it. But you aren’t fooling me. The little darlings are starting to argue with each other, aren’t they? And your nerves are beginning to fray, aren’t they? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt! Continue reading

Tokyo Food Tour! Part I: Airplane Snacks

airplane snacksOur bags are packed, our flat has been rented, and our airline tickets have been printed. Crowded Earth Kitchen is off on a Tokyo Food Tour! We promise to bring you lots of amazing photos and delicious foods to recreate… but first, there’s that little detail about needing to travel halfway around the world. Spending over 12 hours on an airplane with children – after hours spent driving to Chicago and flying to Toronto to catch the flight to Tokyo – is not for the faint of heart. That said, it’s not impossible, either. Here is the two -part method to our madness:

  1. Pack really light. Don’t be that goofy American in an international airport, trying to drag 100 pounds of nonsense behind you to the train station. Seriously, reconsider every item you pack! Nobody needs 3 pairs of shoes on vacation. Most people in the world don’t even own 3 pairs of shoes. People will notice your accent… they won’t be looking at your feet.
  2. Pack your own travel snacks. While all of those shoes are silly, travel snacks are smart. Just try a 12 hour flight without snacks for children… that’s taking your life in your hands, my friend! Snacks in airports are outrageously, sinfully expensive. Bring a carry-on with healthy food items to get you through your travels and hold you over for a first meal of two (if needed) in a foreign country. Use the carry-on to bring foreign foods back home!

granola barsHere’s what we pack:

Homemade granola bars (dense and satisfying, these pack well)

Cereal bars (these are a great way to use up open cereal boxes before you travel)

Vegetable chips (provides crunch without making you feel icky on an airplane)

Fruit pockets (ever popular with kids)

Whatever you decide to pack in your carry-on, make sure it can stand up to a bit of jostling and squashing. Also, avoid foods that are too fragrant – the people seated around you may not appreciate your love of curry or aged cheese! Finally, make sure not to pack foods that can be considered liquid (applesauce, gelatin, etc.) – these will be confiscated by airport security.

The world is your oyster. Enjoy your trip!

Medley of Fudge

WIN_20150515_190501We’re back! Crowded Earth Kitchen celebrated the end of Exam Week by taking a hiatus. We loaded Half Pint, Pickle in the Middle, and Half Grown into the kidmobile and headed “up North” to the land of waterslides, miniature golf courses, restaurants with paper moose antler hats (seriously), ice cream parlors, and fudge shops. The kids arrived back home sleep deprived, over sugared, and smelling faintly of chlorine. In other words, they had a great time.

But about the fudge… what is it about family tourist destinations and fudge shops? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered one without the other. It’s not like fudge is ever on my grocery list, but on kid-centered vacations, stopping for fudge is an absolute must.

Clockwise from the top in the photo above, we sampled root beer fudge, Heath bar fudge, classic chocolate fudge, and milk chocolate vanilla swirl fudge. Which of these treats would you like to see recreated at Crowded Earth Kitchen? Post a comment with your favorite and I’ll work on a recipe for you!