Tuna Pie in Mariano Castro Elementary School

We have started our series of lessons in the Castro Mariano Valley Elementary School! This week the kids prepared a delicious and healthy Mexican recipe contributed by one of our team members. Check out the recipes and the photos of the interactive class!

elemetray tuna

Country we are exploring: Mexico (Population: 122 million)

Capital: Mexico City

Continent: America

Official Language(s): Spanish

English Recipe Name: Tuna Pie

Name of dish in native country: Pastel de atún

Type of dish: Appetizer

Recommended season or holiday: The following recipe is very popular at children’s parties in Mexico, specially in the Mazatlán  region. And one of our team members from Mexico mentions is traditional for her family holidays!

Serving Size: for 6 people


When it comes to health, Tuna fish has it all. It is rich in protein, low in fat, and is an excellent source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which make your brain smarter!

Ingredient spotlight: Tuna

Fish are vertebrate animals that live in the water. Vertebrate means they have a spinal cord surrounded by bone or cartilage.

When it comes to health, Tuna fish has it all. It is rich in protein, low in fat, and is an excellent source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which make your brain smarter!

Tools (optional): knife, blender, glass vessel, spoon


  • 1 package of white bread
  • 1/4 of cream
  • 6 slices of cheddar cheese
  • 1 tin medium of bell pepper
  • 2 cans of tuna in water or oil
  • 1 can of vegetables for salad
  • mayonnaise to taste

Little Chef Duties: Measure all of the ingredients

Big Chef Duties: Mix all the ingredients in a blender

Little Chef Duties: Cut the edges of the bread and mix the ingredients for the salad

Learn while you wait:

Science: we discussed today the difference of mixtures that are homogeneous and heterogeneous, and asked the kids whether they know which mixture our food mixture became.

Heterogeneous and homogeneous refer to mixtures of materials in chemistry. The difference between heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures is the degree at which the materials are mixed together and the uniformity of their composition.

A homogeneous mixture is a mixture where the components that make up the mixture are uniformly distributed throughout the mixture. The composition of the mixture is the same throughout. There is only one phase of matter observed in a homogeneous mixture.

You can’t pick out components of a homogeneous mixture or use a simple mechanical means to separate them

(Our tuna and cream mixture)

A heterogeneous mixture is a mixture where the components of the mixture are not uniform or have localized regions with different properties. Different samples from the mixture are not identical to each other.

Math: Can you cut your sandwiches in different shapes, (rectangles, triangles), circles?

Also if this recipe asks for 6, and we need to make food for 12, how much more of each material do we need?


Enjoy a sandwich with your favorite cup of soup or beans

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the language of this recipe: disfrute de su comida

Did you know?

One of the biggest issues affecting kids in Mexico is the increase in child abduction.

Conversation Igniters:

Do you know what abduction means?  What are some ways you can help help find missing children?

Take Action:

Read about some ways you can help with the problem of child abduction, and come to class next week prepared to talk about what you can personally do:


Here some photos of the fun day we had at the Castro Elementary School!



YMCA discovers Quince Tarte with Chef Koochooloo

All right, we admit it– we have an obsession for all things Argentine.

Last Thursday, Chef Koochooloo was invited to bring the magic of Argentina to 30 delightful children at the Castro after school YMCA program.

The owner of Baharestan school, (http://www.baharestankids.com) was kind enough to let me pick fresh quinces from her back-yard.  I prepared the paste prior to our lesson, but took a few fresh ones to show the YMCA students and staff, who were surprised to discover this delightful fruit.

What made this lesson truly special was that we had Miss Claudia Auxilir, a Buenos Aires native, join us and conduct the lesson in both Spanish and English. Furthermore, the kids had a chance to sell their beautiful creations at the Castro silent auction the next day, we made over $200 for the school PTA!


Enjoy making this delicious and healthy dessert Quince Tarte with your little special chefs:

Country We Are Exploring:  Argentina

Continent:  South America

Official Language: Spanish

English Recipe Name: Quince Paste Tarte

Spanish Name:  Pasta Frola de Dulce de Membrillo

Fun Fact:

Did you know that the oldest known dinosaur species has been traced back to Argentina and Brazil? Some species go as far back as 230 million years ago, and well-preserved displays of their remains are in the Argentine National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires.

Quince is our delicious ingredient spotlight for the recipe!

Quince is our delicious ingredient spotlight for the recipe!

Ingredient spotlight: Dulce de Membrillo

Quince Paste originates from Quince (Membrillo), a low calorie fruit that contains several vital antioxidants that keep the body young and healthy. The fruit is also full of minerals.

Like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 butter bars
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 cups of quince paste (dulce de membrillo)
  • ½ cup of pineapple preserves (this is an optional ingredient)
  • ½ cup of raspberry jam (optional too)

Little Chef Duties:

  • Mix the ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and sugar) in a bowl using a whisk (Make sure mix is not too wet or too crumbly, you can add an extra spoon of flour or milk to get it right)
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and mix into ingredients until well blended
  • Add milk, egg and egg yolk to the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar mix
  • Wrap dough in plastic and chill for about 30 minutes
  • Butter a 9 inch pie dish
  • Roll about ¾ of the dough on a floured surface and make it a circle big enough to cover all of the pie dish
  • Spread the filling prepared by Big Chef into the covered pie dish
  • Make a lattice pattern on top of the tart

Big Chef Duties:

  • Add dulce de membrillo, pineapple and raspberry jam to a small pot with 1 or 2 spoons of water, stir frequently at low heat
  • Remove pot from heat and let it cool
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Help the little chefs add the filling into the pie dish
  • Roll the remaining dough into a circle and cut thin strips of dough
  • Make a lattice pattern over the top of the tart
  • Cook in the oven until golden brown (about 30 minutes)

Learn while you wait: When a pie or cake bakes, the whole protein network in the mix hardens due to the heat in the oven. The color of the dough changes as the protein hardens and that is what gives pie dough or cake dough a darker color.

More about Argentina! Did you know that in Argentina, teachers have the right to spank children who don’t listen to them in class?

Discussion ideas to ask your Little Chef: When kids don’t listen to your teacher at your school, what is the consequence?


  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm!

As they say in Argentina:

Buen Provecho!


Argentinian-Style Grilled Eggplants

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants


Course Type: Appetizer

Country we are exploring: Argentina

Continent: South America

Official Languages: Spanish


Fun Fact your little ones will adore:
The oldest known dinosaur species have been traced back to Argentina and Brazil, some go as far back as 230million years ago, and well-preserved displays of their remains can be found in the Argentine National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires.

Did you know? (Bring to light a social issue that is affecting kids in Argentina)
Did you know that in Argentina, Children who don’t obey their teachers can be spanked?

Conversation Igniters:
When kids don’t listen to the teacher at your school, what is the consequence?

Learn More: http://www.humanium.org/en/argentina/

Now that we have learned a little bit more about Argentina, let’s cook.

English Recipe Name: Argentinian-Style Grilled Eggplant Recipe
Name of dish in Spanish: Berenjena Asada
Serving Size: 4

Ingredient spotlight: Garlic
Garlic has been used widely as a flavoring in cooking and used as medicine throughout ancient and modern history to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.
Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about five thousand years ago in Egypt. The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic to improve their performance in the Games.
Eating garlic boosts your immune system, which means that it helps you fight the cold-weather colds and flu. Another reason to eat garlic is that it helps your heart work well.
Every year, a big garlic festival is organized in Gilroy, California where visitors have the chance to taste delicious garlicky meals. The best garlicky treat is of course the Garlic ice-cream!

• 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 “- 1-inch cubes
• 3 Small Italian Eggplants (4-6 ounces each)
• 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
• 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
• 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
• 1 teaspoon Sweet or Hot Paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon Hot Pepper Flakes (optional)
• to taste Salt
• to taste Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants

Big Chef Duties:
• Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  (In my case, I substituted a Panini Maker instead of a grill, and the eggplants came out beautifully)

• Cut eggplants in half length-wise, leaving stem ends intact.

• Lightly brush cut sides of eggplants with garlic-oil mixture and grill, cut side down, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

• Lightly brush skin sides with oil mixture.

• Invert eggplants and brush tops with remaining oil.
• Continue cooking eggplants, cute side up until very tender, 6-8 minutes, or as needed.
• Set a large pot of salted water (approx. 5 liters) to boil.

Little Chef Duties:
• Mix garlic and olive oil in a small bowl.
• Combine oregano, basil, thyme, paprika and pepper flakes in separate bowl and stir to mix.
• Sprinkle tops with dried herb mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
• Add onions to the pan and fry them until golden brown.

Learn while you wait:

Do you know that there are “primary colors” and secondary colors?
With the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) we can make more colors, and those are called secondary colors!!!! Try it when you mix the red ketchup and the yellow mayonnaise, you’ll end up with an orange salsa, which the Argentinians refer to as “Salsa Golf”, just like the game Golf!

Garnish with basil and serve.

As they say in Argentina:
Buen Provecho!

Green Gram Sprouts Salad (Ankurit Moong Salad)

This week we have a very special recipe that celebrates another milestone as we team up with Cheeni For Tots to teach adorable five year olds at Genentech about India culture and cuisine.

Here is the recipe and lesson plan we have prepared for them with. Let us know what you think, and if you wish for us to visit your school with this lesson plan. As they say in India: Svādiṣṭa! (Delicious!)

Country we are exploring: India

Continent: Asia


Official Languages:  Hindi & English

India has hundreds of spoken languages in different parts of the country.  There are 22 official languages, and over 2000 dialects. English and Hindi are widely spoken by the majority of Indians.

Fun Kid relevant Fact about India:

India’s jungles were the inspiration behind Disney’s animated feature, The Jungle Book. The story was originally written by Rudyard Kipling for his six year old daughter, Josephine. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him into leaving the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives!

Did you know?

19% of Kids in India do not know how to read or write by the time they reach the age 15.  The main reasons being that they don’t have a school or education facility near by, or their parents don’t have the means to support them.

Conversation Igniters:

  • How would you feel if you could not go to school?

  • What do you think will happen to kids who don’t have a chance to go to school and get educated?

Links to a resource where kids can learn more about this issue or take action: http://www.ashanet.org/ or http://smallstepsfoundation.org/

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English Recipe Name: Green Gram Sprouts Salad

Name of dish in Hindi: Ankurit Moong Salad

Serving Size: 20 people


Ingredient spotlight: Sprouted Green Gram (or Moong Bean) Sprouts have high nutritional value because they contain fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. They are also called miracle food! Fiber will help you digest better. Protein will make you strong. Minerals & vitamins will add more energy in you!


• 4 cups of sprouted moong beans
• 2 small or medium sized onions, finely chopped
• 4 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 1 bunch coriander leaves and lemon slices for garnishing
• Rock salt or black salt as desired

Optional Ingredients:

• 1⁄2 or 1 tsp chaat masala
• 3 boiled potatoes

Big Chef Duties:

• Sprout the Green Gram/Moong
• Cover and soak the beans with three inches of water overnight
• After the beans have soaked overnight or for 8 hours, strain them in a large colander and rinse under cold running water
• Cover the colander with a kitchen towel and set aside for another day
• Every 8-10 hours rinse the legumes and let the water run out, then cover again with the kitchen towel and reset. Once you see tiny little white shoots developing, allow for them to sit another day, continuing to rinse and drain, until the shoots are bigger
• Preparation once the sprouts are ready to prepare the salad
• Chop the onions in small pieces
• Boil the potatoes

Little Chef Duties:

• Peel and chop the potatoes in small pieces
• Chop the tomatoes and coriander in small pieces
• Mix all the chopped ingredients with the sprouts in a bowl
• Season it with salt
• Add a few drops of lemon juice

Learn while you wait activity:

Color a Rangoli (a folk art from India in which patterns are created on the floor) or Diwali Diya (i.e. a lamp) – Print and distribute writing worksheets and coloring sheets from Cheeni For Tots for

Sprouts: http://www.cheenifortots.com/blog/sprouts


1. Garnish it with chopped coriander, and lemon slices
2. Serve the sprouts salad fresh for the best taste!

Bon Appetit in Hindi:

Delicious:– Svādiṣṭa!

Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers from Greece

We embarked on our culinary trip to Greece with the help of our Little Chefs from the Montessori School of Los Altos at Greanmeadow. Our thanks go to the School, their amazing teachers, the Little Chefs and their parents for their participation and support.

Country we are exploring: Greece
Continent: Europe
National Language: Greek

Fun fact about the country: There are several islands in Greece where all the houses are small with white and blue windows and rooftops.

Did you know ?


A special type of sea turtle, the caretta caretta lives in the Greek waters. This turtle can be as long as 83 inches and as big as 300 lbs! Unfortunately caretta-caretta’s life is not easy! She has to come out to the shore to make a nest in the sand for its eggs. The trip to the shore is dangerous because boats might injure them, fishermen might catch them and other bigger fish and sharks might eat them.


Action ideas: What can you do to help caretta caretta lay its eggs safely?


Link to a resource for the kids to learn more about this topic or how they can help:


Spotlight ingredient: Tomato


Tomatoes are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.  Specifically, tomatoes contain lycopene which helps defend against different types of cancer. Fresh tomatoes are also very rich in potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure caused by sodium (salt). Tomatoes originated in the South American Andes and were first used in food by the Aztecs in Southern Mexico.
As of 2013, the heaviest tomato according to Guinness World Record weighed 7 lb 12 oz and was grown in Oklahoma, USA.
English Recipe Name: Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers
Greek Recipe Name: Ghemista

Serving Size: 3

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 1⁄2 cup rice
  • 2 medium sized yellow onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1⁄2 bunch parsley
  • 2 tbsp dill
  • 2/3 cup olive oil and some for sprinkling at the end
  • 14.5 oz tomato sauce
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 potato (optional)
Big Chef Duties:


  • Slice off the top of the tomatoes
  • Use a spoon remove the flesh of the tomatoes and keep it in a bowl. Try to leave the vegetables as thin as possible, leaving just a little of the flesh, but be careful not to poke through their skin.
  • Arrange the hollowed peppers and tomatoes in a baking dish that fits them about right with the hollowed sides facing upward.
  • If there is too much space left in the baking dish cut a potato and add it to keep the vegetables from falling sideways
  • Add the tomato flesh to a food processor and puree.
  • Add the onions to a food processor and puree.
  • While the Little Chef is filling the vegetables, preheat the oven at 360 F.
  • After all vegetables are filled and in case any filling mix is left add it to the baking dish.
  • Pour 2 cups water in the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp olive oil over the vegetables.
  • Bake the stuffed vegetables for 45 min.
Little Chef Duties:
  • Wash the tomatoes, the peppers and the zucchini thoroughly
  • Wash the parsley and the dill thoroughly.
  • Cut the top of the bell peppers while the Big Chef cuts the top of the tomatoes.
  • Remove the seeds and membranes of the bell peppers and discard. Chop the zucchini in small cubes.
  • Chop finely the parsley and the dill.
  • Chop finely the garlic cloves.
  • After the Big Chef has pureed the tomato flesh and the onions, add them in a bowl along with the chopped zucchini, the chopped parsley, the chopped dill and the tomato sauce and the olive oil.
  • Add the rice to the mix.
  • Add salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Use a spoon to fill the tomatoes and the peppers with the mix.

Learn while you wait:

Why does pop corn pop?

Salted, Buttered, Plain? We all love popcorn. But do you know why it pops? The trick is in the kernel. Each kernel of popcorn contains little water stored inside a circle of soft starch. Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop. The soft starch is surrounded by the kernel’s hard outer surface. As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand. Around 212 degrees the water turns into steam and changes the starch inside each kernel into a super hot gel. The kernel continues to heat to about 347 degrees and the pressure increase until the kernel finally bursts. As it explodes, steam inside the kernel is released. The soft starch inside the popcorn becomes inflated and spills out. A kernel will swell 40-50 times its original size!

As they say in Greece: Kalí óreksi! (Bon Apetit)

Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

French Saffron Toast with Salmon Roe

French Saffron Toast with Salmon Roe

French Saffron Toast with Salmon Roe

Country we are exploring: France            

Continent: Europe

National Language: French

Fun Kid relevant Fact about France:

The French eat snails, frog’s legs and horsemeat!

 Did you know? 

France is the country that hosts the highest number of refugees in Europe. Do you know what refugees are?

Action ideas: How would you help a refugee that might move into your neighborhood?

English Recipe Name: Saffron-French toast with salmon roe               

Name of dish in French: Pain perdu au saumon fume et saffron

Serving Size: 4-6 people

Ingredient spotlight:  Saffron

Saffron has been known since Antiquity as a remedy for all pains, In the East it is also known to bring cheerfulness and wisdom. In certain countries saffron is used to relieve toothache when babies get their first teeth.


  • 12 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 40ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) crème fraiche
  • 100g smoked salmon
  • Salmon roe, to serve (see Notes)

Big Chef Duties:

  • Preheat oven to 140°C (248 Farenheit)

Let the Little Chef Perform their duties before proceeding with the following:

  • Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat
  •  Fry for 1-2 minutes each side until golden
  • Keep the toast warm in the oven until ready to serve

Little Chef Duties:

  • Use a Mickey Mouse cutter to cut out Micky Mouse shapes from each slice of bread
  • Place the eggs and milk in a bowl and whisk to combine
  • Add saffron and set aside for 45 minutes

Learn while you wait activity:

Color the map of France and point out the Saffron Museum in Boynes, France.

After 45 minutes

  • Dip the bread in the mixture or brush them, and give them to Big Chef
  • After Big Chef fries them, spoon some crème fraiche, smoked salmon and salmon roe on each toast and enjoy!

*Our Chef Koochooloo likes making Saffron French Toast using Micky Mouse Icon Sandwich Cutter


Garnish with parsley and slices of tomatoes in olive oil, with a little salt and pepper

As they say in France, Bon Appétit

Leek Tart from Belgium

Today, July 21, is the National Day of Belgium. On July 21, 1831, Leopold I was declared the first king of the Belgians. This anniversary is celebrated throughout the country with parades and concerts. Since my husband is from Belgium I wanted to prepare a festive dinner with Belgian food. I want my daughter to learn more about her father’s country of origin and culture. We started this morning with a Belgian Leek Tart and I want to share this recipe and video with you.

When my daughter and I make this recipe for our family, I always use a dairy free cheese because my daughter is lactose intolerant. I have to admit that it is not easy to find a non-dairy alternative that tastes as good as the dairy cheese. After many trials, I found the best tasting Dairy free cheddar cheese and I would like to share my discovery with you. It is called Daiya and is has all the attributes of traditional Cheddar. I find it at Fresh and Easy. Below is the recipe:

Leek Tart

Leek Tart

Continent: Europe

Languages spoken: 3 official languages: Dutch, French, German (including many non-official languages such as: Flemish and Walloon!)

English Recipe Name: Leek Tarte

Belgian Name: Flamiche aux Poireaux

Did you know? 

Like many European countries, Belgium is composed of a large number of immigrants. Immigrants are people that move from one country into another. Imagine abandoning your language, culture, and way of life! That’s why many kids can have a hard time adjusting to these new countries.

Action ideas: take a look at a map and think about all of the places you and your friends come from! Then look up recipes from those countries on Chef K and get a taste of their background!

Link to a resource where kids can learn more about this issue or take action:  http://www.knowyourcountry.com/belgium1111.html

Ingredient spotlight:  Leeks

Did you know Leeks are…?

Leeks belong in the same family of vegetables as garlics and onions.

The roman emperor Nero ate leeks to make his voice stronger, but this isn’t necessarily true.  However, scientists today agree that leeks are good for your heart.

Serving Size: 8



  • 4 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Leek Confit

Big Chef Duties:

  1. In a blender mix flour and salt and add butter in small pieces.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough to 12-inch round.
  3. Press dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.
  4. Put baking beads were the tart filling would go and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove baking beads and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool.
  7. Pour whisked mixture into the crust.
  8. Transfer back to the oven for another 35 to 40 minutes.
  9. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool.

Little Chef Duties:

  1. Add all ice water and cider vinegar in bowl.
  2. Gently apply water-vinegar mixture to form smooth mixture.
  3. Flatten dough into circular disk (about 6-8 inches in diameter). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for two hours.
  4. Fold the excess dough inwards making sure that the tart walls are about 1.5 inches high.
    Whisk together milk, cream, egg, egg yolk, and salt.
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over bottom of crust; spread leek confit over cheese and sprinkle remaining cheese on top of leek confit.

Learn while you wait:

  • How is cheddar cheese made? Enzymes called rennet are added to milk which separates the milk into curds and whey. The curd is heated, pressed, and combined with salt. The curd is then left to mature as it turns to cheese.
  • The Manneken Pis is a funny statue on a public fountain. It is also the headquarters of the European Union and NATO.
  • Early records of the leek as food go as far back as the ancient Egyptians 4000 years ago!
  • The leek is a national emblem of Wales, whose soldiers historically wore the vegetable in their helmets.


  • Present whole and cut servings as required

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the languages spoken in Belgium:

Dutch: Eet smakelijk!

French: Bon Appétit!

German: Guten Appetit! 

Dresses and Charity

Sometimes. Well, maybe its more like occasionally. Ok, ok it seems like hardly ever that us busy moms get a chance to put the kids down early and get the sitter to stay late so we can dress up, go out, and be the us we used to know. You remember her right? The version of you that knew the trendy restaurants, the coolest bars, and all the corners dark enough to hide the best sort of trouble?

02know that for a lot of us, when it is time to go out, our biggest trouble these days is finding something to wear. Since I launched Chef Koochooloo, my own start-up, it seems that I can hardly find the time for me. This is true for most of us, working moms, who have to balance career, motherhood. Well, thanks to a chance meeting at an event for My Runway, I met and have gotten to know Jia Wertz, the founder and creative director of Studio 15. As a fellow woman entrepreneur, I was interested in Jia’s story and can’t wait to share it with you! Jia launched a women’s dress boutique featuring pieces designed to get you into or out of whatever the night brings you.

The dresses at Studio 15 (www.shopstudio15.com) reflect the choices of someone who still has a crush on clothes and fashion and feeling like you’re on a date or a girl’s night out. Jia has curated the dresses collection to carry high quality dresses at a price that won’t make you feel guilty.



Best of all is that Jia has created a partnership with Kleos Microfinance Group, a nonprofit that works to support women entrepreneurs in Uganda start their own businesses. A portion of the proceeds of every dress sold is donated to Kleos. There, is that enough to make you not feel guilty and maybe, just maybe feel a little bit good about treating yourself?

You can check out Jia’s blog at www.catwalk-chic.com where she is currently GIVING AWAY a Rebecca Minkoff bag (you can enter to win here) or visit www.shopstudio15.com to get more ideas about style and current trends.


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Persian Cutlets

photo 3 (1)

Today my little Chef Koochooloo and I were thinking of Madar, my grandmother
who used to make the most delicious Cutlets I ever tasted. The only other person
I knew whose Cutlets were as mouth watering was my aunt Azadeh, who has also
passed away. What better way to share their memory with my daughter than
cooking some Cutletsof our own? I was skeptical whether I could ever reach
the same level of success when it comes to taste, but I figured I could put
the recipe in the Chef Koochooloo template, and add our own flare to it. (Using Mickey Mouse Sandwich Cutters). Here is our recipe, hope you have as much fun as we did in making some delicious Kotlets.

Country we are exploring: Iran

Continent: Asia

National Language: Farsi

Fun Kid relevant Fact about Iran:

On the last Tuesday of each year, children in Iran celebrate the New Year by participating in the Festival of Fire (Chahar-Shanbeh Soori) and jumping over fire!

Bonfires are made in the streets and yards, representing Good thoughts, Good words, and Good deeds. Iranians believe that by jumping over fire, they will have enlightenment, good health and happiness throughout the coming year.

Did you know? 

Girls in Iran don’t always enjoy the same opportunities as boys, for instance, girls are not allowed to play soccer.
Action ideas: How would you feel if you had to live in a country where girls and boys did not have the same opportunities?

English Recipe Name: Persian Cutlets   

Name of dish in Farsi:  Kotlet

Serving Size: 4-6 people 

Ingredient spotlight:  Parsley  


Parsley is a relative to celery and derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery”. Parsley helps protect you against Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Can you guess what is the most popular herb in the world?

Parsley is a relative to celery and derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery”. Parsley helps protect you against Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Disease that can cuase pain in your joints, speically in fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles).


  • 1 pound sirloin ground beef
  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 table spoons finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup of bread crumbs
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon of each saffron, cumin, turmeric

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Big Chef Duties:

  • Cut the potatoes in half and place them in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add some salt, and cook until a fork easily goes through them
  • Place the potatoes in a bowl full of ice
  • Grate onion in a large bowl
  • Chop the parsley in small pieces

Let the Little Chef Perform their duties before proceeding with the following:

    • Put some olive oil on the pan and place the patties on the pan with some distance between each. (little trick here! Take a very small piece of the one of the patties and place on the pan, fry it a bit, then taste it to assess whether you need any more spices etc).
    • Once all kotlets are placed on the pan, fry on low heat. Stay near! Flip them when the kotlets seem crispy/darker a bit.

Little Chef Duties:

        • Peel the potatoes and mash them
        • Add the meat, bread crumbs, eggs and spices, salt, pepper to the bowl
        • Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley
        • Mix with hands (you might want to wear gloves, this gets messy!)
        • Scoop individually with your hands and roll each into a ball, then flatten. (Iranians usually make oval shapes, but you can have fun with various geometric shapes, make squares, triangles, pentagons, etc.

Chef Koochooloo likes making Persian Cutlet using Disney’s Micky Mouse Icon Sandwich Cutter

Learn while you wait: (Introduce a Math, history or science related fact)

What kind of geometric shapes can you make Kotlets in? Try Diamonds, Hexagons, and Circles


Garnish with parsley and some lightly fried tomatoes in olive oil, with a little salt and pepper. Of course Chef Koochooloo had some ideas of her own on how to present her Cutlets!

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photo 2 (2)

As we say in Iran: “Nooshe Jaan!”  (enjoy your meal)

German parsley potato salad

German Parsley Potato Salad

German Parsley Potato Salad

Country we are exploring:  Germany

Continent :Europe

Language spoken: German

English Recipe Name: German parsley potato salad

German Name:   German Petersilienkartoffeln


Did you know?

Like many European countries, Germany is composed of a large number of immigrants. Immigrants are people that move from one country into another. Imagine abandoning your language, culture, and way of life! That’s why many kids can have a hard time adjusting to these new countries.

Action ideas: Do you know what an immigrant means? Do you know someone who is an immigrant? What should you do when you meet a new child who is an immigrant at your school?  Do you think California has the same issue as Germany when it comes to immigrants?

Link to a resource where kids can learn more about this issue or take action

Ingredient spotlight:  Parsley

  • It contains three times as much vitamin C as oranges, and twice as much iron as spinach
  • For a natural breath freshener, try a sprig of parsley
  • Parsley contains vitamin A and is a good source of copper and manganese

Serving Size: 4


750g small potatoes
30g butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 dessert spoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

4 Sausages (optional)

 Big Chef Duties:

  • Boil potatoes with salt
  • Melt the butter in a pan, add the skinned potatoes and then sprinkle over the salt.
  • Boil bratwurst, frankfurters, or knackwurst sausages for five minutes

Little Chef Duties:

  • Peel the potatoes
  • Chop the parsley
  • Combine potatoes with salt, and melted butter
  • Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley, shake the pan to distribute the parsley and serve immediately.
  • Add the sausages

Learn while you wait: (Introduce a Math, history or science related fact)

What causes bubbles to form when boiling water?

  • As the water starts to get hot, a lot of bubbles will form down the walls of your water container. These bubbles are AIR. Normally water has a lot of air dissolved on it. This is what allows breathing to fish and other aquatic beings. The solubility of gases decreases when the temperature is raised, and that is why the dissolved air bubbles out from the water.
  • Dogs are kings in Germany: they can go just about everywhere: first class restaurants, trains and buses, even clothing shops and bookstores. But NOT in a Metzgerei (butchers) and rarely in a Konditorei or a Bakerei. But guess what, they even have their own pools!
  • Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery).


  • Place the potato in the dish and serve with your favorite sausage.

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the language of this recipe:

Guten Appetit! Mahlzeit!