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  • Chef Lisa

Crystal the Kitchen Muse & Travels With Marco Polo

For the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday classes at Royle, Holmes and Tokeneke, Pies, Cakes,Cookies and More was inspired by Crystal the Kitchen Muse.

Crystal is the youngest member of her family. Because of her age and size, no one ever took her seriously. It was winter, but no longer Christmas, and her family of muses were all frozen solid. They just sat around the fire and talked about how creative they are going to be when the snow melts and the flowers grow again. Crystal tried to convince them that winter is beautiful and inspiring too. They just patted her on the head, told her how cute she was and smiled.

On her own, little tiny Crystal Muse turned a delicious chocolate cake into a wintery feast for the eyes. When she presented her confection to her family, she warmed their hearts and melted their artistic-blocks. Although Crystal may be small, the figments of her imagination are powerful. This week's class was all about allowing Crystal the kitchen muse to be our inspirations.

Everyone in Pies, Cakes, Cookies and More decorated their own apron and cover for their cookbook, to be kept at home. Then they got a chocolate cake to create a Crystal-inspired winter scene to warm their family's hearts and inspire creativity.

Chef Lisa encourages all her SproutChefs to get on the Sprout Chef website each week to print favorite recipes. This cookbook is meant to inspire a lifelong love for cooking.

For Thursday and Friday at Tokeneke and Royle, Chef Lisa and Marco Polo took the SproutChefs back in time to Italy and traveled down the silk road to China.

The SproutChefs decorated their cookbooks and aprons and learned about Chinese noodles. They made a noodle bowl, selecting and cutting up their own vegetables and meats. For next week's class they will take their noodle recipe back to Italy to create their own Italian pasta.

Ramen noodle bowls are a wonderful way to introduce children to cooking.

For this class Chef Lisa used the common Maruchan 3 oz. packages of ramen noodles, although Whole Foods or Patel Brothers have different versions of the same thing. The flavor packet for the soup base provided was not used, because it is filled with sugar, salt and all sorts of things we should not be eating. Instead chicken broth was heated in the wok and noodles added. Chicken broth is best, because it's usually the children's favorite. Veggie and beef broths work well too.

After cooking the noodles, the children selected ingredients to make their own version of a Chinese noodle bowl combining noodles, stock, veggies, protein and spices. They had to chose at least one protein, and two veggies. Spices were optional. After they ate the soup, we talked about different ways to make different kinds of noodle bowls and how they could improve what they made.

Their selections are listed below, although almost anything can go in a noodle bowl. This is a great way to fix a fast meal and clean out a refrigerator of leftovers.

1 Protein: Hard boiled eggs, Chicken, Beef, Tofu

2 Veggies: Spinach, Carrots, Corn, Scallions, Peas

Optional Spices: Garlic, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Ginger

The best part was eating the soup out of Chinese bowls using chop sticks and Chinese spoons.

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