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Food TPiB: Mug It Edition

Yesterday I talked about cooking with a waffle iron, today were using a mug and a microwave. My source of inspiration: Mug It by Pam McElroy from Zest Books. I can also do this kind of cooking, and it’s a great teen activity. If I can do it, a teen can. And The Teen, The Bestie and I tested it out for you.

mugit3All you need to make this work is a mug (and in some cases a mason jar), ingredients and a microwave. It’s quick and easy. Some of the recipes are even healthy. In fact, Mug It! have a lot of salads in a jar. I liked this because I want to balance healthy eating habits with fun things like waffle cooking. The pictures from inside the book below come directly from the Zest Books website.

mugit4 mugit6

We tried out a variety of the recipes. We began with a cake in a mug, because of course that’s where you would begin. Cake!


This was yummy. In fact, I lost my cake to Thing 2 who was only going to take a bite and then she ate the entire thing.

We next tried macaroni and cheese in a mug. The Teen and I are very fond of mac & cheese and I was excited to learn you could cook it in a mug.


For our version we used gluten free pasta and once we figured out how to cook the noodles correctly it worked really well.

Cooking in a mug is actually really popular. I frequently see posts on Buzzfeed and in my FB feed. Having a recipe book was nice. And I liked this one because it has color pictures, which is a must in my cookbook requirements. If you don’t have pictures of the recipes and they aren’t in full color that is a deal breaker for me.

In addition to doing a fun Iron Chef/Chopped type program with mug cooking, adapting the post from yesterday, this book would also make a great gift. Let’s be real, a lot of teens spend some time in the home alone and they have to cook for themselves. And I would have loved to have had this when I was a college student living in the dorms. If you are going to do a series of food programs, I would do something like this:

What days would you add? A post-apocalyptic survival cooking camp would also be fun. Remember, it can be a long running series or it could be a weeklong event – which would be fun for Spring Break. Teens come every day, learn about nutrition and cooking, and they get to eat! I may not be a fan of cooking, but I do love to eat!

Additional Resources

Cooking Programs for Teens

Food Based TPiBs

Take 5: “Quirk”-y Cookbooks (Quirk Books Week)

This week is Quirk Books Week so we are all about Quirk Books.  This week all came about actually because I was browsing their website one day while starving and they have all these cool cookbooks. I sat there drooling on my keyboard.  Seriously, the L key now sticks.  So when the books came in the mail, my 2 girls were ecstatic.  They have looked through them several times and marked tons of things they want us to try.  So these Quirk cookbooks all get a multi-generational thumbs up.  They also all have the one thing I really care a lot about in cookbooks: colored pictures, not for every recipe necessarily, but they are all attractive and colorful.  That is important to me, I’m shallow that way.  Today I am going to give you an overview of the books and then the next 4 days I will outline some programming and party ideas for 4 of the books.

Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever

Here’s what I knew to do with marshmallows before this book: 1) put them in hot cocoa, 2) use them in S’mores, and 3) use them in Rice Krispie treats.  Here’s some things I learned after reading this book: 1) you can make your own marshmallows, 2) you can make them in a lot of fun shapes, and 3) you can make them in a lot of fun flavors.  You can even make chocolate filled marshmallows! And cocktail themed marshmallows! Also, if you make me the S’mores cupcakes that are in the book we can be best friends forever.  

On a Stick: 80 Party-Perfect Recipes by Matt Armendariz

Corn dogs and skewers and fair food . . . oh my! And by oh my, I mean oh my yum! This book is exactly what you think it is: a bunch of food recipes that involve putting food on a stick.  But it is more than corn dogs (which, by the way, I adore) . . . There are sweet potato wedges,cake pops, candy apples, popcorn balls and more.  Sometimes the stick is food itself, such as the chocolate-tipped peppermint sticks, but most of the time the stick is just a vehicle for getting the food from the plate to your mouth – and I’m okay with that.  I was amazed by the creative recipes they put together.

Pops: Icy Treats for Everyone by Krystina Castella

When we were kids, my brother and I used to like to pour Kool Aid into ice cube trays with some tooth picks. Voila! We had our own ice pops.  We thought we were pretty cool like that.  This book proves we were totally amateurs.  There are recipes for healthy energy pops, fruit juice pops, soda fountain pops, coffee and tea pops, cream and pudding pops and – yes – cocktail pops.  Some of them are all layered and stripy looking, so take that Martha Stewart.

Sprinkles: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts by Jackie Alpers

I am not exaggerating when I share that last year for Christmas we got the girls this small suitcase thing of sprinkles for Christmas.  So I needed this book, needed it I tell you! Because all I could figure out to do with them was to make cookies.  The first thing you need to know is that this is not just a book about sprinkles.  For example, it had a doughnut recipe in it so that you can make your own doughnuts – with sprinkles, of course.  Really, it’s a book of recipes for foods that are made more fun and festive with sprinkles.  The recipes include things like Gingersnap Cookie Butter, Rainbow Layer Cake and French Toast.  But it *does* also have some fun things you can do with sprinkles, like making party spoons that you can dip into a warm drink and stir or making festive rimmed glasses.  The Tween says this is her favorite of the 5 books.

Tiny Food Party: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park

Everything about this title is epic: Tiny. Food. Party.  How can you not want to do this? If you don’t, you have a coldness in your heart that can only be rivaled by the pre-Christmas singing in Whoville Grinch; you know, when his heart was 3 sizes to small.  So this is obviously a bunch of tiny food recipes and ideas.  There are tiny Pop Tarts people! You can make your own tiny Pop Tarts.  Miniature meat loaves. L’il Hostess Cupcakes.  And they have outlined some great party themes for you and put the recipes into fun menu categories for: a Tiny Picnic, a Tiny Vegetarian Food Party, a Tiny Comfort Food Party (great for taking over to a newly dumped friend’s house), and a Tiny Fiesta Food Party (great for multicultural days).  Basically, this is the best recipe book ever.

As part of Quirk Books Week, Quirk Books has generously donated a prize package for one lucky winner that will include 2 of the above cookbooks, a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, the first book of the Lovecraft Middle School series, and a copy of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. I’ve tried to give you as many ways as possible to enter so pick the one (or ones) that work best for you and do the Rafflecopter thingy below.  The giveaway closes on Saturday, December 14th and is open to U.S. Residents.  The books will be sent to you from Quirk Books and they are worth it.

TPIB: Kitchen Road Trippin’ – Eat (and Read) Around the Globe

If you have ever read my bio here at TLT, you know that I hate to cook. Loathe and detest it.  But – I have kids.  They insist on eating.  Several times a day actually.  They will in fact ask if they can have a snack WHILE they are eating dinner.  So, I got my hands on some cookbooks.  They seem to be easy to find where I work (wink wink).  I was particularly interested in a copy of The Mother Daughter Cookbook: Recipes to Nourish Relationships by Lynette Rohrer Shirk (Zest Books) because it said Mother & Daughter right there in the title.  So it had to be for me – right?  Well, I have yet to actually cook anything out of the book.  Or anything from another book.  But . . .

There is a section in The Mother Daughter Cookbook called Kitchen Road Trippin that is just screaming to be a TPIB.  This section calls for recipes from all over including: Hawaiian Pineapple-Ham Kabobs, Tex-Mex Corn Canoes, Georgia Pecan Peaches, Coast to Coast Pizza, and Baked Alaska Brownies.  They sound mouth watering delicious.  Especially the brownies, yum.

Pair that with this amazing Unites States of YA map put together at Epic Reads, and you have a fantastic Reading Road Trip.

Screen grab of The United State of YA, copyright of Epic Reads
Thank you Epic Reads for putting this together 
You should visit Epic Reads often

In fact, it would make an “epic” (see what I did there?) book discussion group theme.  Spend the year reading through the US and sharing foods from the various states you are reading about.  Have a little trivia contest prepared about the state in question at each meeting.  And think of some of the fun regional things you can do: make leis on the day you talk about Hawaii (Under the Blood Red Sun) and have Hawaiian Kabobs, read Divergent and have some Chicago deep dish pizza, discuss a little Julie of the Wolves while you have some baked Alaskan brownies and make sugar cube igloos.

World Reads, World Eats 
I have always wanted to do a community taste test around the world.  Get your local food places to donate food and set up an event: you would have Italian food, Chinese food, Thai food, etc.  Then everyone can come in and taste food from local businesses while you get a flare for food around the world.  And the possible tie-ins are astounding: you can have multicultural performers, crafts from around the world. 

I have read about libraries having pizza taste tests where teens come and sample pizza from local pizza places and then vote on their favorite.

I have done a version of Iron Chef at my library (documented here) and really recommend it.

As for the reading part, put together a reading booklist road trip – with a road map of course! – and turn your traditional book club to a read across the US or across the World.  You can use your good friend Google to find crafts that go along with each location (or recipes if you so choose).  

You can use the recipes in The Mother Daughter Cookbook for this reading road map:

Hawaii: Return to Me by Justina Chen with Hawaiian Pineapple Ham Kabobs

Texas: In Honor by Jessi Kirby with Tex Mex Corn Canoes (bonus, this book is actually about a road trip)

Georgia:  Hex Hall and Georgia Pecan Peaches

Alaska: Touching Spirit Bear and Baked Alaska Brownies

General Craft Note: If you don’t want to do specific crafts for each location, you can have your participants make postcards of either the location you are reading about or the journey as a whole with your book club.  You could also make scrapbooks (or mini-scrapbooks) and passports.  While doing the reading club put a large map on the wall and pin each location you “visit” with your books.

PS, for those of you who are worried about my children.  The Mr. does the cooking.  I did recently make chili in the crockpot.  They are being fed.

Coming soon: 5 multicultural crafts and a book to pair them with for an International Reading Road Trip.