Cooking with the kids is one of those things we can so easily romanticize… and also eternally put off doing.
Because let’s be honest: It’s messy and time-consuming.
But Austin-based internet chef Hilah Johnson has a message about cooking with kids: It should be fun, simple and imperfect, y’all.
Those three traits are what’s made legions of DIY chefs — this Tastemaker Mom included — love Hilah’s weekly internet show, ‘Hilah Cooking,’ for the last 3.5 years. The web series led to Hilah becoming the YouTube Next Chef Competition champ and — even better (for our purposes, anyway) — winning the hearts of the fine folks at ulive.com, who produced a special kid-focused series called ‘Hilah Cooking with Kids.’
Here’s what you should know about Hilah:
- She’s real. And so is her kitchen — there’s nothing glammed up about it. You can totally see the mic on her lapel, and she uses mismatched utensils that probably didn’t all come from Wiliams-Sonoma.
- She’s not perfect, but her recipes are pretty darn close. The ones we’ve tried (like Fried Brussels Sprouts or Puffy Tacos or Lemon Pound Cake) are simple, with ingredients you can easily find in a standard grocery store or farmer’s market.
- She’ll sometimes realize a small mistake halfway through and roll with it (often with a four-letter word — so watch the show for your own enjoyment — and inspiration for future kitchen time with the kiddos).
For each ep of the ‘Cooking With Kids‘ series, Hilah pairs up with a young cohort — making for two elements of say-what’s-on-your-mind unpredictability. Here are a couple of our favorite recipes, in 5-minutes-or-less video form:
- No-Cook Peanut Butter Balls (total ingredients: peanut butter, honey, powdered milk, coconut)
- Pizzadillas (total ingredients: flour tortillas, shredded cheese, pepperoni — or anything else you’d like to add)
What are your favorite cookbooks or shows for cooking with kids? We’re curious — please share in the comments below!
A lot of hotels tout the “family-friendly” label with little more than a ho-hum water slide and a kiddie menu to back it up.
But who says family-friendly shouldn’t also be fabulous? To us, “family-friendly” means we’re offered a litany of ways to have fun WITH our kids — and at least a couple solid options for kids and parents having fun separately (and safely) as well.
Enter the Terranea, a beach resort in Palos Verdes (technically in L.A., but feels like a world away). Consider it if you’re passing through town with kiddos in tow — and definitely consider it if you live in L.A.
Here’s how the Terranea is stepping up what it means to be family-friendly:
- Kids can spend the day at the Tide Pool Kids Club — and it’s actually fun and cool. We’re talking basic stuff like learning about marine life from cooky characters like “Suzy Blue” and scavenger hunts, as well as more elaborate challenges — like scripting and staging a talent show, building a city of forts, or inventing a superhero (and becoming him/her) and facing off against another newly born superhero. There’s a whole area of the hotel devoted to the kids’ camp with bright colors and tiny furniture; it’s not an afterthought.
- Kids having fun at camp frees you up to enjoy golf, spa treatments, live music, great food, etc. You don’t have to be an overnight guest, but you must be on property if you’re leaving your kids at camp. No dropping them off on your way to work or a day of shopping. The idea is more “organized fun” than “high-end daycare.”
- The water slide is 140 feet long. And there’s a splash pad and pools with TVs and stuff. But the water slide is 140 feet long.
- Yes, there’s also an adults-only pool. And plenty of other kid-free areas as well. The resort is big with plenty of private-feeling pockets — it doesn’t feel like it’s playland everywhere.
- If you can’t get your kids into golf (yet), you’re bound to have better luck with croquet or bocce ball — the court is competition-grade, and they’ve got glow-in-the-dark bocce balls for after sundown.
- If you can get your kids into golf (yay!), the course is a good one for families — 9 holes, par 3. The instructors are used to working with kids, and the views are amazing if you’re into unobstructed, pristine ocean views.
- If you’re into family time, they have great organized family fun nights with hermit crab races or beach blanket bingo. Or you can grab a board game from their sizable collection and take it right up to your room.
- There’s an outdoor fire pit every night — great for roasting marshmallows with or without the kids. (Marshmallow-roasting is probably the real reason man invented fire.)
- If your kids are too old for scavenger hunts and too cool for talent shows, they’ve got an array or activities to appeal to the teen scene as well — surf lessons at Redondo, horseback trail riding, SUP boarding, ocean kayak tours. These can be booked as a family, or just for your teenager while you hit up a yoga class.
- Some of those last activities we mentioned are weather-permitting, but pretty much everything is available year-round. Nice.
As you can tell, we’re big fans of the Terranea. So, Tastemakers. We started the conversation, and now we’re curious… what hotels have you found ’round the globe that are great for families?