Author Archives: Don R

About Don R

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Retired teacher. Multiple successful business endeavors including screen printing / sporting goods business, executive director of a Boys & Girls Club, commercial fishing, and co-founding an alternative high school. Interests include family, hiking, cooking, Parkinson's research and developing an educational cooking program.

The Family Cook-In Part 3: Food.

Freshly steamed veggies and chilled fruit are favorites with most children.

Freshly steamed veggies and chilled fruit are children favorites.

by donR February 29, 2016

Okay, you’ve set goals and the agenda for your “Family Cook-In, aka Family Meal Series.” Now it’s decision time as you plan the food menu, a fun game, and age-appropriate conversation starters. Let’s start with a simple food menu and save games and conversation for another day. Choosing the right food for a Cook-In can be difficult but here are a few tips to make meal planing easier. Continue reading

The Family Cook-In Part 2: Planning

Our plan allowed time for children to decorate the tables.

Our plan allowed time for children to decorate the tables.

by donR, February 15, 2016

Everyone appreciates a well-planned event. Volunteers can focus on their responsibilities and guests will be thoroughly engaged throughout the event. The plan also needs to lead toward achieving your goal as described in part one: The Goal.

Here is a general plan you may find useful regardless of the type of event. Continue reading

The Family Dinner Table: Fill It With Love

Bring "Love" to the dinner table every day.

Bring “Love” to the dinner table every day.

by donR  February 15, 2016

Valentine’s Day is over. Well, it’s over for Hallmark as they prepare their shelves for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. But that doesn’t mean the “Spirit of Loving” cannot be expressed every day as we go on with our lives. Wouldn’t it be easy to reflect upon the goodness and love that each member brings to a family meal? Here are some possible rituals that could be incorporated into your family meal, game or conversation. Continue reading

Family Cook-In: Kick-Off Preschool Luncheon

Pre-schoolers made stuffed baked apples while Don & Nicole shared ideas with parents.

Preschoolers decorated tables & made stuffed baked apples while Don & Nicole shared ideas with parents.

by donR  February 14, 2016

Six families from the Loving Tree School gathered for “Food Fun and Meaningful Conversation” around the UCF dinner tables in Ferndale Washington.  This event was our first “Community Dinner” (aka locally as “Family Cook-Ins”) and was designed using  The Family Dinner Project  core ideas. Over the next five days we will share how the FDP Organizers Toolkit helped us plan the “Family Cook-In” and make it such a fun-filled experience for everyone.

Part one: The Goal: Continue reading

Our Family Cook-in Series Kicks-Off

by donR  February 10, 2016

Our first Family Meal sequence will begin on February 12th 2016. Stay tuned for more workshops and presentations.

Our first Family Cook-In Series will begin on February 12th 2016. Stay tuned for more workshops and presentations.

The Family Meals Project team of volunteers will gather at United church of Ferndale to introduce the idea of having food fun and conversation during meals . The Loving Tree Preschool Children and their parents  will be treated to a sit-down meal, play games and engage in meaningful conversation.

The idea of having food fun and conversation during sit-down dinners is not a new idea. Most children of the post-depression era ate with family around the dinner table; at least everyone I ran around with.. However the Whatcom County health Department reported a decline in the number of children sitting around the table for dinner in a 2008 study. (But I’d guess that the decline started when tv dinners, drive-in restaurants and cell phones were popularized.) Continue reading

“4 Weeks To Better Family Dinners”: 5 Reasons To Try It

Children Involved in planning, cooking and sitting down with family to eat, have fun, and engage in meaningful conversation, become better students and citizens.

Children Involved in planning, cooking and sitting down with family to eat, have fun, and engage in meaningful conversation, become better students and citizens.

by donR  January 23, 2016

The “4 Weeks To Better Dinners Program” encourages families to call “time-out” and step away from the daily pressures of living in our fast-paced World. Families that choose to “step into” the kitchen to plan and prepare a meal together, play and eat while sitting at the table and share ideas during friendly conversion will discover the many benefits of adopting this routine in their lives. Here are 5 ways your family can benefit by accepting the 4 week challenge. Continue reading

Kids Holiday Gift: 8-Page Mini-Cookbook From 1 Sheet of Paper

A 6-page mini-cookbook is a great kids gift project.

An 8-page mini-cookbook is a great kids gift project.

by  donR

Holiday gifts made by children are always fun to receive, especially when we see how proud they are about their creation.

In keeping with the holiday spirit of  giving, I am posting 5 days of gifts children can make for the kitchen. The good news is they keep on giving because they will be used again and again. Our first gift is the 8-page mini- cookbook: Continue reading

Let’s Talk Turkey: Parts 1-5 Revisited

by donR November 23, 2015

5 Tips & Tricks for better turkeys

5 Tips & Tricks for better turkeys

Two years ago we wrote a series of articles about choosing, preparing, and serving a turkey for budge-friendly holiday meals. We went on  to suggest safe  ways to use turkey and side dishes for several planned-over meals. Since that time we’ve picked up 5 more tips and tricks we want to share with you as well as review the 5-part series Continue reading

Cooking 101: 3 Simple Winter Squash Recipes

Acorn squash can be baked (as shown), steamed, slow cooked, boiled. Read more about this nutritious food.

Acorn squash can be baked (as shown), steamed, slow cooked, boiled. Read more about this nutritious food.

by donR  November 17, 2015

If you search for winter squash recipes you can find plenty of suggestions on the web. In our last post we interviewed a master gardener to get  few tricks for preparing nutritious squash. I was satisfied with that until I met Richard and Nancy while picking apples for a Cook-In. It was there that I heard another way to prepare winter squash.  They own Apple Creek Orchards in Ferndale, Washington, recognized by redtri.com  as one of the best apple orchards for families near Seattle. Continue reading

Wonderful Winter Squash: Tips and Tricks From A Master Gardener

Winter squash is easy to prepare and a good source of vitamins A and K

Winter squash is easy to prepare and a good source of vitamins A and K

by donR November 6, 2015

Winter squash comes in different sizes, shapes, and colors and they all contain important micro-nutrients.  When I told Gloria Perez that “Winter Squash” was my topic for a presentation at the Senior Center, she said “Wonderful.” She is the master gardener for the Ferndale Friendship Community Garden in Ferndale, Washington and she then began to tell how easy and important it is to include squash in a family meal plan. Here are five of the many ‘tips and tricks’ she shared: Continue reading