By Deborah Eisenhut


Our road adventure in the coach has been busy and exciting to say the least.  As a “renewed” grandmother, I have learned some new tricks when cooking with young children.  One special thing is including Grandpa in the cooking experience.  My sister tells me that at her great-grand daughter’s schoo,l Dads are recruited to volunteer in the classroom because it has been proven that male presence encourages a better study and learning experience.  I can remember growing up with the primary importance of feeding the men in the family, especially on the farm, but often wondered why none of them did any food prep or cooking.   Of course snack food and eating out is of the prime importance with kids these days and as always, it is difficult with busy lifestyles and schedules to make time for quality eating enjoyment and good nutrition.  Being on the go can be a wonderful excuse for eating out a lot, but sometimes it is just awesome to stay home and fix “kid favorites”.

Recently, Howard and I went camping with our grandkids from Louisville, Ky., Lily (7) and Konner (13,) and then went on to Brentwood, Tn., to spend a week with more wonderful grandkids, Jessica, Tyler, Taylor and Zach (9).  Taylor is a budding chef for sure as cooking comes easy to her.  She is almost 15 and very aware of her appearance and well being.  She knows basic cooking rules and practices from cooking with her Dad over the years and really knows her way around the kitchen.

Howard has a special recipe called “Grandpa’s Hamburger Gravy” that every grandchild and their parents like and enjoy. He has been making this “secret delight” for over 20 years.   It is a rule he has to make it whenever he visits family.   During our recent trip Taylor was given the opportunity to help Grandpa with his secret recipe and she rose to the occasion.  It turned out delicious!  While we were camping, Lily also had fun cooking with Grandpa.  They made deviled eggs and s’mores over the open campfire.  Sometimes sacrificing quality nutrition for quality family-time memories is priceless.  Zachary wanted cinnamon rolls one morning and he had a great time frosting the hot rolls with Grandpa.  He learned how fast rolls disappear when hungry on a cool morning, especially when hot chocolate is included!

Not everyone is fortunate to have had the influence and companionship of grandparents but for those of us who were, the blessing it was and benefit in our lives it became, was salient.  Try spending quality time with your grandkids or mentor some “substitute” children, revolving around cooking.  The rewards are an investment in the future we need to promote and support in this country….preparing our children in positive ways.

Try the following easy recipes with your “elves” and we wish everyone a happy family holiday season!


                                          Tutti Fruiti Crispy Candy

1 (24 oz.) package vanilla candy coating, broken up

2 ½ cups sweetened fruit flavored multigrain cereal

1 cup thin pretzel sticks, coarsely broken

½ cup Craisins (optional)

Line a 15X10 jelly roll pan with wax paper or parchment. Melt candy coating in large microwave bowl according to package directions.  Gently stir in cereal and pretzels (and Craisins) Spread candy onto wax paper.  Let stand one hour until firm (do not refrigerate). Break candy into pieces and store in airtight container.


                                          Santa’s Football Cider

½ teaspoon whole cloves

½ teaspoon whole allspice

1 stick cinnamon

½ cup water

1 ½ cup 100% cranberry or 100% apple juice

1 quart apple cider

In a 2 quart microwave bowl, combine all ingredients; cover; microwave 5-8 minutes until hot; strain and serve.  Let kids decorate orange slices with whole cloves to put in cups. Very good served with plain cake donuts.


                                           Yummy Veggie Holiday Dip

3 hard cooked eggs mashed

2 tablespoons mayo

2 teaspoons honey mustard

1 cup plain yogurt

1 cup cottage cheese

¼ cup parmesan cheese

Blend together and chill.  Serve with different kinds of veggies such as carrot and celery strips, snow peas, cherry tomatoes and broccoli florets.


                                    ********   Grown Up Santa Sangria

1.5 ltr good sweet red wine like Christian Brothers

¾ cup brandy

¾ cup triple sec

16 oz. good ginger ale

Sliced fruit like limes, lemons, oranges, kiwi and berries can be added (optional).

Mix together and chill.  Serve over crushed ice.