Archive for the ‘kids cooking’ Category

I’m Back with Redneck Calamari and More

February 7, 2014
Redneck Calamari

Redneck Calamari

Half the reason I’m back to coffeepot cooking is that I love to cook with my Granddaughters; especially totally ridiculous meals like the one shown above. Of course this meal pretty much comes without a recipe but most people will figure it out. For those fathers who never cook and occasionally get stuck making a meal for children, the recipe is below with a little warning. Perhaps I should have left a link to my grandfathers and hotdog post.



Water, Enough

Hotdogs, Enough

Gold Fish Crackers, Enough

Garnish to make it look like seaweed, Optional, I used Cilantro


Cut bottom 2/3 of hotdog into six legs so it looks like a squid.

Hotdogs in Pot

Hotdogs in Pot

Place in coffeepot

Run water throw the coffeemaker.

Let cook on hotplate for an hour.

Arrange on plates and serve.


I used good all beef Hebrew National Hotdogs and “Frankly” they were too dry. If I ever do this again, I will intentionally buy the Brand X greasy cheap hotdogs made from pork and chicken so they have flavor at the end of the cooking process.

The other reason, I am returning to portion controlled coffeepot cooking is because I am becoming a “fat slob”. My daughter and niece were the bearers of the negative assessment this time. I first heard this as a medical assessment in Florida after I suffered a stroke in 2010. I was complaining to the doctor that it didn’t make sense as I had already lost 57 pounds which was morbid obesity at my height.

At the time of the stroke, I was at 210 and still medically classified as obese. Frustrated the doctor explained that he really didn’t care how much I had lost in the past, I was still officially obese and a fat slob.

Over the past 18 months, I have written two books, I never stopped exercising. But as I slid out of my comfort zone of 172 to 178, I never really noticed that there was a dramatic change in my cooking, eating and drinking.

Because  I was researching and writing about history, I stopped my passion for reading and writing about food. I quit cooking in my coffeepot and started grilling double portions on the grill and eating it all or cooking the food in my cute small crockpot which is still bigger than my coffeepot. When I am researching and writing about anything other than food and dieting, I sort of pace around the house and mindlessly eat. At night, I have a few extra glasses of wine so I can kill my brain activity and go to sleep.

Big Belly Man

Big Belly Man

So in 2014 just 2 pounds short of where I had my stroke, I have come to accept that I must split my time between doing what I want and doing what I need to do. I will start becoming food and diet focused again spending some time finding recipes and preparing meals based on quality not quantity. The next time I post a picture, I am sure it will be better than the one above or I must begin to accept that their may not be a next time if I don’t take care of myself.

Hibiscus Punch – A Beautiful Natural Pink Limeade.

January 3, 2011

Hibiscus Punch – A Beautiful Natural Pink Limeade.

When my granddaughters, family and friends visit, we swim or walk in the morning, take a mid day break, referred to as quiet time, where everybody can read or join me in the kitchen and back to the beach in the afternoon. My granddaughters go on food fads where one trip they will drink gallons of juice and not enough milk products, the next trip it’s all milk. Last trip is was no juice at all. However, I try to balance this by what we cook together and since they help make the healthy item, they alter their consumption to eat what they cooked.

When I suggested we make Hibiscus punch to increase their juice consumption, everybody, except my son-in-law came to play. Let’s get the ingredients out of the way and then we can explain the method by showing everybody’s participation.


6 Hibiscus flowers in full bloom

5 Ripe Limes (about 4 ounces of juice)

water as needed to make a half gallon

½ cup sugar

½ tsp ginger

Helping Mom Make Juice

In this picture Ms. Ana is helping her mother extract the fruit from passion fruit for juice which we made at the same time but that’s a story for another day.

Flowers for Hibiscus Punch

The starting point is 6 beautiful red hibiscus flowers which really don’t add much taste but they certainly contribute to a wonderful pink lemonade.

Putting the Petals into the Pot

The petals are removed from the flowers and placed in a pot to be covered with water and heated to extract the color. In our case when we are playing and cooking with kids, it is just more fun way to use the coffeepot although my daughter who is a lover of passion fruit juice used a real pot to make hers.

The Cooked Flowers Turn The Water Purple

Water is run through the coffeemaker on to the petals in the pot and you get that wonderfully rich purple color from red flowers. (about 10 -11 cups)

Rolling the Limes

Now to squeeze, limes by hand, you first roll them under pressure and you can use either your hands or feet. I demonstrated how to do one with my foot and then rinsed it off but Todd and Cayla opted to use their hands. Yes the yellow fruit is actually limes that are tree ripened outside my front door.

Turn Inside Out to Free Juice

Once the pulp is broken down, you cut the limes in half and turn them inside out over a cup, the juice is freely extracted from the pulp.

Pour Lime Juice into Pot

The juice is added to the pot after the flowers have been removed being careful to keep the seeds out.

Stir in Sugar and Powered Ginger

After that, the sugar and the ginger is added to the final jug it is to be stored in and any adjustments to sweetness, ginger or sugar is made at this time.

A good time was had by all and no local juices were wasted. The kids and I drank the Hibiscus Punch for breakfast, the other adults seemed to prefer Cruzan Rum and Passion fruit juice later in the day.

Coffeepot Hotdogs for Novice Cooks and Grandparents

December 18, 2010

Hotdog and Beans

It is easy to forget as you develop as a cook that there are novices out there who know very little about cooking and grandchildren who love to do anything special with their grandparents. In my case, I have grandchildren who believe that “baked beans” and “mac and cheese” are gourmet delights so I am constantly reminded of the epicurean limits for young people.

As a proof of concept for coffeepot cooking and to have fun with my grandchildren on rainy days, nothing is easier than hotdogs and beans. Most people love the combination and if you check the labels carefully, you will find that some of the Turkey hotdogs have half the fat content of traditional meat hotdogs and I can’t tell the difference in taste and neither can my grandchildren who actually prefer Kielbasa.


2 hotdogs or as many as needed

1 long hotdog type roll

1 can pink beans

½ -1 tsp mustard

1-3 tsp Ketchup

1 T. Brown Sugar



  1. Blanch the hot dogs by placing them in the coffeepot and putting 6-8 cups of water through the coffeemaker. Cook for ½ hour if defrosted about 15 minutes longer if frozen. Gather all the ingredients while cooking the hotdogs.
  2. Drain the hotdogs and set aside
  3. Put the can of beans and the rest of the ingredients in the coffeepot and mix. Be careful with the amount of mustard. It is a strong flavor and can make the beans taste like vinegar so start with the smaller amount.

    Add the other ingredients to the beans

  4. Put the dogs back into the pot and cover with beans.
  5. Cook for 1-2 hours on the warmer.
  6. Serve on a roll with beans and any other side dish you desire.

I have a lot of fun cooking with kids and they begin to learn the rules of safe cooking. In this recipe I kept everything frozen until needed. I cooked the food long enough to get up to safe temperatures and I used the right piece of equipment.

This could also be safely done on the stove with a lot more attention to both the food and the children around the very hot stove. A crockpot won’t work well unless it’s at least half full or has the heating element on the bottom to quickly bring the food up to the proper temperature. So be careful when using a crockpot to cook meals for one or two people. I hate leftovers, especially hotdogs and beans, so I would never fill a crockpot half full.

Hello World 2.0

December 3, 2010

Lemon Grass Three Months Old

Time flies when your having fun but nothing shows how long it’s been since I have written about food like the growth in my Lemon Grass bed which was photographed as newly replanted in my last post. I had visits to my home by my granddaughters alone for two weeks where we hiked, swam and cooked every day and they played with all the challenges at my house. Then my daughter Dagny, her husband Carson and another friend came to the house along with my niece Cait and we cooked, hiked and swam. One of my favorite hikes was to Annely Bay which is from the top of the mountain and drops 1100 feet to the Bay over a 2 ½ mile trail and then back up. Going down is always easy.

I also went to Marbel Head and visited my other granddaughter Pippa and her parents, Andrew and Lauren. We had a great time and I was fascinated that a 3 year old could completely use and control her parents iPad actually mostly her Mothers

I also published two Children’s books for Kindle. Pippa and her iPad is about my 3 year old Granddaughter and her computer literacy the other is Mother Goose, A picture Book for Kindle. The purpose of these books is to develop picture books for young readers so they can accept that the kindle is actually a book and get used to the device. It’s amazing but most Kindle Books that claim to be illustrated are not.

I love my Kindle and it’s easy for my old eyes to read without strain even by candlelight. Writing the books taught me how to control graphics in a Kindle format so I can proceed with a cookbook. The Kindle is perfect size to uses as a cookbook on a counter while cooking and it never runs out of power and is very light. It also stays open to the proper page without breaking the binding as happens with a physical cookbook.

I had another family visit from my sister, her daughter, son-in-law and grandson. It was fantastic and of course I cooked with Zack, and went hiking and sailing and swimming. It was a great visit.

Coffee Pot Cooking

It’s only about 11 months since I started cooking in my coffeepot and reading and writing about food and I have to admit I have become a little compulsive about what I eat and how I am cooking it. The good news is that I am now 60 pounds lighter than I was last Thanksgiving.

Also, I have also been researching two food related projects which I will discuss in the future, but for now, I am going to be catching up on surfing for recipes and publishing on meals for one, coffeepot cooking and everything that’s been going on for the past three months.

Lamb Curry or Curried Lamb?

August 20, 2010

Curried Lamb or Lamb Currry?

When it comes to curry, the choices and combinations are infinite. Do we serve it with rice or in a shell like roti? Should you use chicken, lamb, shrimp, beef or pork or vegetarian with pinto beans or garbanzos? Should potatoes be included or not? Then there is question of bones in or boneless meat. Do we use difficult to find Indian spices or just use the West Indian spice blends called curry powder.

Now I pretty much make curry from either chicken or lamb and include garbanzos and potatoes. My normal spice blend is West Indian Chief’s brand which I find superior to big name American Spice blends and with chicken I will do ether bones or boneless but with lamb I leave the bones out. The only problem I have left is to decide whether to call it Lamb Curry or Curried Lamb.

Clean the Lamb

The only major precautions I make are to keep my curry in the refrigerator so it stays as fresh as possible and to try to cut the fat from the meat. I saved all the bones with meat on it separately so I can make Lamb Buco.

Lamb Curry or Curried Lamb


1 potato cubed and blanched

½ stick butter

1 clove garlic minced

½ onion chunked

1 thin slice scotch bonnet pepper

6 oz lamb cooked or leftover

1 Tablespoon Curry Powder

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon thyme

2 oz rum.

1 can garbanzo beans with liquid.

Gather the Ingredients

The potatoes were blanched and all the ingredients gathered together. Everything was added to the pot except the can of beans and was sauteed covered with occasional stirring until the onion was glazed and the lamb was browned. The can of garbanzo beans and the liquid was then added to the pot. The aluminum foil was removed and cooked uncovered.

I am sensitive to the flavors in curry and a bad blend makes for a bad meal. I intent to try some real Indian Style Curry with Indian spices so I an pick out the flavor which offends me – if any and eliminate it. Meanwhile I’ll stick with the brand that I know I enjoy.

BTW Google says it’s Curried Lamb about 4 to 3 over Lamb Curry.

Zhou’s Tea Eggs-Coffee Pot Style

July 16, 2010

A Pretty Tea Egg

Ok, Dagny Wins. I am weird. I get up at 4 am and check the international addition of CNN on the Internet which happens to be Now that is usually a non event which allows me to check the global stock markets and then focus on my prayer beads for the new stock picksof the day. Yesterday was different as I met a story on Tea Eggs and an irresistible challenge to make DIY (Do It Yourself) Zhou’s Tea Eggs which I immediately accepted to mean DIY Zhou’s Tea Eggs Coffeepot Style.

Now the biggest problem I had was finding haujiao peppers which simply don’t exist in St. Croix. I immediately searched the Internet to find out the flavor of these peppers is so unique that there is no credible substitute. No problem, I was looking at a method of making them more than the exact flavor so I checked all of the hot Chinese style sauces available locally and found that they were made from dried chili peppers which I had in stock plus I planned on adding my local scotch bonnet peppers which could bring it up a notch.

Half Hour Coffeepot Egg

I put the eggs in my coffeepot and ran the water through the coffeemaker to get it up to temperature right away and let the eggs sit on the warmer for 30 minutes which gave me the equivalent look and taste to a 4 minute egg. The eggs were cooled and the shells were cracked with the back of a spoon against the counter top. Do not crack the ends as the ends may be hollow, I followed the recipe as best I could except that I used a scotch bonnet pepper and a dried chili in lieu of the haujiao pepper and had to adjust the cooking times.


1 cup soy sauce

1 dried chili

1 dried scotch bonnet

4 Tea Bags Black tea

2 Teaspoons sugar

1.5 Tablespoon five spice blend

Saved water from cooking eggs to fill pot

All in the Pot

I put all ingredients in the pot and stirred until most dissolved leaving space for the eggs.

White Egg After Four Hours

After 4 hours on the hot plate of the coffeemaker, the egg shells have taken on the rich mahogany color described in the article.

After 7.5 hours the beautiful patterns developed from the cracking process (see top picture).

I refrigerated the eggs overnight and allowed the full flavor to develop.

In the process of making Tea Eggs, I developed a lot of respect for Zhou as making the eggs is more an art form that actually cooking Chinese food. As photographed, I had some pretty eggs but only half which would not be a satisfactory percentage for a Tea Egg vendor. The two problems are that not all eggs pealed properly and not all of my cracks generated perfect patterns. The other issue was flavor. My recipe lacked the bite of the real product and pretty much had only the flavor of tea, sugar, and spice and no pepper taste at all.

If you can get the ingredients, this would be a fun project for cooking with kids. I just might use the process to make a patterned egg with my granddaughters but would probably use a red beet die as it’s more traditionally American and I can get all the ingredients.

Adventures great and small.

March 29, 2010

I have had no great epiphanies over the past week or even new discoveries except that adventurers can be great and small. We cooked tortilla pizza and everybody had a good time eating them prior to a birthday movie. Then there was the the workout with three devil woman who wore me out. (Don’t let their appearances fool you as all are devil women who can tire me out and beat me.)

Of course they are all young and thank God healthy so I am lucky to be able to engage in and keep up with their idea of fun. The adventuresome Miss Ana making the pizza above was also one of the devil woman who ran me into the ground. I brought new jogging shoes and my son in law helped choose an appropriate winter jogging outfit that warmed both my body and soul. Yes shopping with him was a real adventure and I even purchased a hat that I would not  have selected without his help.

Of course no birthday would be complete without a shopping spree at Toys R Us. In January, the little one could have all she could carry and this time, the larger one would get a total of 42 dollars which was related to a very poor math grade so she graciously accepted less than she would have gotten with better grades.

Of course, Cait came along to supervise, guide and to teach her cousins to engage in deviant behavior at every opportunity. She reminds them constantly in a joking way to stop acting like children and stop having fun but all they do is giggle and laugh at her. By the way Cait is a 22 year old Chemical Engineer enjoying family fun.

Earlier in the day, we all went to a farmers market and skipped through the area. It was funny. On one side of the market, we got a round of applause from the merchants and on the other, we were told to stop fooling around and grow up. I suppose all of the merchants thought that there responses were appropriate on both sides of the market. We actually brought a bunch of stuff and didn’t bump into anything or anybody while skipping. I believe we purchased everything on the side where we were appreciated.

Joking aide at 245 pounds which is where I started loosing weight, I could not have done much this weekend other than be a couch potato and beg one of the healthier family members to run and get me a beer.  I’m still overweight and wear a heart beat monitor and consulted my doctor before I started working out.  He is an excellent role model, my age better shape and good control of his health who loves the great outdoors.  When I said this all at a family gathering, my sister asked about the heart rate monitor. Her daughter was explaining about optimum performance levels at various heart rates. I said it was far simpler.

Put the thing on and work really hard until it hits 150 beats per minute and then you are allowed to quit.  The only problem with my method is that every time you work out, you have to exercise a little longer and harder before it hits 150 and you get to quit.

I have decided to split my blog in two parts with different goals.  In, I will stick with recipes and methods in making meals for one.  In Too Young to be Old, I will report on family adventures both great and small.

Green Eggs and Ham!

March 17, 2010

Well Andrew, Lauren and Pippa are visiting this week.  Andrew is my Son and Pippa is my granddaughter so of course Lauren is my daughter in law. I’m having a great time enjoying all of their company.  I kind of knew that it would be rough because my son is a foodie who enjoys three meals a day and I am a true social eater.

I set my hoped for weight gain  at no more than 5 pounds which I should be able to loose in the week before I go up for Cayla’s birthday and to see my Mom where I’ll probably gain another  5 pounds. I knew it was going to be a rough week when Andrew showed up with an over abundance of cookies from his co-worker Yvonne who baked some luscious moist thick chocolate chip cookies which are now all gone because of my great expertise at binge eating.

One of the great joys of having children around is to use them as an excuse to do weird things and one of the things to do was make green eggs and ham in tribute to Dr. Spock.

The recipe should be obvious. Use a cookie cutter in the shape of a train  to punch a whole in a slice of bread,  butter the pan and slowly fry the bread until it is toasted.  Fill the hole in the center with spooned in scrambled eggs.  My son chose yellow as his favorite color and of course Pippa wanted green eggs and ham.  Green egg coloring turned the trick.  Of course she wandered off and skipped breakfast but I ate it and it was fine.  Tasted just like scrambled eggs and toast.

Green Eggs and Ham.  Gourmet cooking at it’s best.

Black Bean and Brown Rice chili – Coffee Pot Style.

February 9, 2010

There are two ways to look at a new recipe. First, if it looks perfect and you have all the ingredients, there is really no sense in changing unless you try it. Second, recipes can be a very good starting point to take you where you really want to be with a few modifications. Now in the case of Italian Vegetable soup I stuck pretty close to the recipe because I rarely cook vegetarian meals and fault most vegetarian meals served to me as not appealing because of a lack of flavor, texture or appearance. This meal was a winner and I’m glad I stuck to the recipe.

In the case of The Black Bean Brown Rice Chili from jenfongeats both necessity and habit forced some changes. First I liked the ingredients and presentation of the meal, but I rarely cook ham because of the size you have to purchase. Now as discussed elsewhere, I have Spam in my hurricane supplies and out of necessity, I’ll eat most anything if I’m hungry enough. So the first change was to substitute the Spam for the ham and I used 1/3 can or 4 oz and froze the rest in 4 oz. packages.

I really wasn’t sure about cumin until I read the ingredients on a prepared chili powder label and found that commercial chili powder is a blend of chili peppers, cumin and garlic. The recipe called for garlic so that was no problem and I threw a small portion of scotch bonnet in the pot.

The final change is something that simply isn’t logical. I taste tested it and it was great but it wasn’t red enough. I had won prizes in chili cook offs for vegetarian chili and the one thing I learned is if it ain’t dark red it can’t win. Since paprika is not a bold flavor, I added ½ tsp to the pot to get a redder color.


1/2 onion chopped                                                            $0.15

4 oz Spam                                                                               $1.30

10 oz can of  Black beans drained and washed         $0.90

1/2 of a15 0z can of crushed tomatoes                         $0.50

1 chicken bullion cube in 12 oz water                            $0.20

1/4 cup brown rice                                                                $0.20

1/2 tsp crushed garlic

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp oregano

thin slice scotch bonnet pepper

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp paprika

This is simply an all in the pot recipe and stir before serving or whenever you feel like tasting it. The cost and calories weren’t too bad particularly when you consider there was more than enough for two meals. Total cost was under $3.50 and total calories about 800 with an incredible 560 from fat.  However, that’s for two meals.

Well it was fantastic, even the Spam tasted good and I’m sure that by using vegetable broth and getting rid of the Spam this would win as a vegetarian chili in a cooking contest. I might not make this again because the fat calories in Spam are deadly, but come the revolution or another hurricane, I’ll have a tasty meal to share as a case of all the ingredients was already in my pantry.

I might point out, I survived for two weeks without a grocery store and almost six weeks without electricity so a good knowledge of revolution foods is a necessity in the Caribbean. This is a small price for me to pay while all my friends and family continue to have fun in the snow which I will never miss.

Coffee Pot – Pot Roasted Chicken!!

February 5, 2010

Simply Fantastic!!!!

I can’t wait to do this with my Granddaughters. I was so excited about this recipe that I called my son-in-law and bragged about the success.

Who would dream you could cook a chicken in a coffee pot?

Naturally, he asked when it would be published and now I’m paranoid enough to believe that he will hijack the recipe and cook it with his daughters before I return.

Oh well, truth be told, I hijacked the recipe from JenFongEats and when I read it I burst out laughing while imagining stuffing a chicken in a coffee pot with my granddaughters helping. I mean I am used to pot roasted chicken and turkey and love the retained moisture of the meat. But our family always used the oven and a covered roasting pan.

I just had to try this recipe with a few small modifications. My mother-in-law always used celery in her pot roasted chicken and my wife always cooked with celery, so naturally, I am used to the taste of celery in most meals. Another modification was to use a Cornish hen and also, I included potatoes in the meal. As Jennifer says in her post on slow cooker chicken “Adapt these [ingredients] to what you have on hand.” I might add; adapt them to the flavors you like.


1 potato

1 whole Cornish Hen wash inside and out with lime juice

1 celery stalk diced

1 small onion coarse chopped

1 garlic clove minced

salt and pepper to taste

1 carrot cut to length that will fit in pot and quartered long ways

1 bay leaf

1 thin slice of  fresh scotch bonnet hot pepper

Method; As usual, the potato was cubed and placed in the coffeepot with a teaspoon of salt.  Fresh water was put in the normal place and the coffee maker turned on to blanch and precook the potato.

Meanwhile the Cornish Hen  was washed inside and out with lime.  Seems it’s a cultural thing in St. Croix from the old days when refrigeration was a rarity and fresh meant uncooked.  It does add a nice subtle flavor and except in pot roasting it helps make the skin golden and crisp so you are always tempted to eat the unhealthy part of the bird and not let it go to waste.

Next chop up the celery, onion and and garlic mix in a bowl and stuff the cavity of the bird. Cover with salt and pepper or if you like it, seasoned salt. I used Adobo a Puerto Rican spice blend.

Drain the potatoes and put them in the bowl with the excess celery  mixture. Then stuff the bird into the empty Coffee pot. Cover the bird with the carrot pieces and dump the potatoes and excess celery mix in the pot.

I then added a couple of ounces of Cruzan rum just in case the cooking temperature was too low, I didn’t want the bird to spoil.  What the heck, it tenderizes beef and adds a nice flavor.

The pot was covered with foil to hold in the heat and placed on the hotplate of the coffee maker.

As you can see the cooking temperature was much hotter than expected and I don’t know what generated all that liquid in the pot because my rum level was way below the metal band.

Well after 6 hours of cooking the Cornish hen was breaking up and everything was cooked.

I only ate two wings, one leg and the potatoes and carrots.  After dinner I de-boned the bird and turned the leftover into chicken soup but that’s another story.

Wel JenFongEats makes my Recipe Hall of fame for this recipe alone but she has other great recipes involving ham, black beans and brown rice that I’m just waiting to try so I’m sure I’ll be writing more about her recipes as a starting point for mine.