More stories

  • in

    Holiday Traditions and Special Recipes

    by Sheryl Pidgeon

    Since my kids were little, we’ve taken to the kitchen each Chanukah to create marshmallow dreidels. Turns out the tradition has continued even now that my kids are young adults. Not only are they fun to make and delicious to eat, but they also make a great dessert display at our annual Chanukah party! 

    Marshmallow Driedels from The Pidgeon Family

    Marshmallows form the dreidels’ bodies, chocolate kisses serve as the tips, and pretzel sticks act as the knobs. A quick dip in melted white or milk chocolate provides a surface for colorful sprinkles.


    One bag of marshmallows

    One bag of thin pretzel sticks

    One bag of Hershey’s Kisses

    One package white chocolate chips

    One package milk, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

    Assorted Sprinkles


    Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.

    Using a separate microwave-safe bowl for each type, melt the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

    Spear each marshmallow with a pretzel stick, making sure it goes about 3/4 of the way into the marshmallow. Using the pretzel stick as a handle, dip one of your treats into the chocolate so that it is completely coated.  Adhere a Hershey’s Kiss to the other end of the marshmallow.  Place on lined baking sheet and decorate with sprinkles.

    Put the marshmallow dreidels in the fridge for 10 minutes before serving.

    Enjoy! More

  • in

    Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

    This is the perfect breakfast casserole to prepare for an early brunch gathering because it rests overnight! Simply put it in the oven to bake the next morning and voila! You have a delicious casserole hot and ready to enjoy. Serve with maple syrup, berries, sprinkles of confectioner’s sugar, or all of the above! 

    Time: 55 minutes

    Yield: 10 servings


    Casserole:• 1 pound loaf sourdough or french bread • 8 large eggs • 2 cups of 2% or whole milk • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream • 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Topping: • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar • 2 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces 


    Step 1

    Lightly grease your casserole dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

    Step 2

    Slice your bread into 1-2 inch cubes and distribute along the bottom of the dish. 

    Step 3

    In a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine eggs with milk, cream, sugars, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the casserole dish. It is important that all of the bread is wet. 

    Step 4

    Cover the casserole dish and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours or, ideally, overnight. 

    Step 5

    You may make the topping right before baking, or it can be made ahead and stored overnight. To make the topping, combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter until a crumble begins to form. This should resemble a streusel. 

    Step 6

    Once you are ready to bake your casserole, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

    Step 7

    Evenly distribute streusel topping over the casserole. 

    Step 8

    If you desire a moist consistency, bake for 45 minutes. If you desire a firm casserole with less moisture, bake for 1 hour. Remove the casserole from the oven and serve warm. More

  • in

    Why You Should Give Your Kids an Allowance

    By Tanni Haas, Ph.D. | Contributor

    Experts agree that an allowance can teach kids important money management skills, like how to save for things they want, how to budget their money, and how to choose between competing spending goals. Personal finance expert Brad Munson says an allowance “is a great way to teach kids about the real value of money, how to be organized and responsible, and how to plan for the future.” Financial counselor Ray Martin, who’s the author of several books on money management, adds that an allowance is a great opportunity for kids to experiment with money and to learn from their mistakes. “It’s a way for them to learn big lessons with small amounts of money at an early age.”

    It’s important that you talk to your kids about the value of money, and it’s best to do so in the context of an actual allowance. Certified financial planner Marty Allenbaugh says that talking to your kids about money without giving them an allowance is like trying to teach them how to play the piano without ever letting them sit at the keys.

    Research shows that giving kids a regular allowance while discussing with them the importance of money makes them more financially responsible as adults. They become, as personal finance expert Evonne Lack succinctly puts it, “less likely to arrive on your doorstep years from now with a duffel bag full of dirty laundry and a mountain of credit card debt.”

    If an allowance is such a great tool for teaching kids money management, at what age should you start giving them one?

    Many parents start at age 8, but experts agree, as Mr. Martin puts it, that it’s the kid’s “aptitude not the age that really matters.” So how do you know if your kids are ready to receive and learn from an allowance? Research shows that they are ready to benefit from an allowance once they have reached certain developmental milestones, like 1) understanding that money can be exchanged for things they want, and 2) they can confidently add and subtract.

    And, here, kids differ widely. While some kids reach these milestones at age 4 or 5, others get there by age 8 or 9. “So if your child tends to shrug at money, losing it before it can find its way to his dusty piggy bank, hold off until you see signs that he enjoys saving it or thinking about how he might use it,” says Mrs. Lack.

    Finally, but not least importantly, what amount should you give your kids?

    Experts agree that, as a rule of thumb, you should give them $1 per year of age on a weekly basis: for example, a six-year-old would receive $6 a week and a ten-year-old $10 a week. The advantage of this approach is that kids get an automatic raise every birthday, eliminating the question of when their allowances will be increased. If you are really lucky, it may even reduce sibling arguments, because the younger kid will understand why the older siblings get more.

    Parents should feel free to deviate from this rule of thumb depending on whether they live in an expensive or inexpensive area, their particular financial situation, how many kids they have, and which regular expenses they or the kids are expected to pay for. As Susan Borowski, the author of “Money Crashers,” puts it, “If a straight $5 or $10 per week (or even per month) makes more sense to you than paying a dollar per year of age, then pay what works for you.”

    If your kids are very mature, you can discuss this issue with them and reach a mutual agreement on a reasonable amount. It’s useful to go through such a process with your kids, says Mr. Martin, because it “helps to develop budgeting skills, teaches responsibility, and prepares them for the realities of personal money management.”

    The allowance shouldn’t be too high. If you give kids too much, they won’t learn how to budget and allocate money because they never get a chance to prioritize among competing spending goals.

    However, the allowance shouldn’t be too high. If you give kids too much, they won’t learn how to budget and allocate money because they never get a chance to prioritize among competing spending goals. Ron Liebler, the author of “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money,” says to “give your kids just enough so that they can get some of what they want but not so much that they don’t have to make a lot of difficult trade-offs. Let them own those, so they know what it’s like to make financial decisions that resemble grown-up ones.”

    Whatever amount you ultimately decide on, make sure to follow a consistent schedule and stick with it – whether weekly or monthly. As child psychologist Dr. Mary Kelly Blakeslee says, “random payments will be frustrating and confusing, and will reduce the opportunity for learning.”

    Editor’s Note: Click Here for insights on how you can help your kids maximize their money management skills.


    Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences & Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College. More

  • in

    Honeydew Jalapeño Margarita

    If you’re rounding up the sassiest – and most delicious – spins on the margarita for upcoming Cinco de Mayo festivities, check out this El Pepino from La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Created by the historic hotel’s F & B Director John Cuviello and Beverage Manager Sara Davis, this refreshing cocktail has just the right balance of sweetness and spice. 

    La Fonda on the Plaza’s El Pepino

    Serving Size: 1 Drink


    3 jalapeño slices, muddled1.5 oz. blanco tequila.75 oz. orange liqueur1 oz honeydew jalapeño shrub1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juiceTajin seasoning and lime wedge for rimAdditional lime wedge for garnish


    Run a lime wedge around the rim of a cocktail glass and dip it into Tajin seasoning. Fill glass with ice.Combine tequila, orange liqueur, honeydew jalapeño shrub, and fresh-squeezed lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake and strain into prepared glass. Garnish with lime wedge and enjoy.

    Recipe courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Created by the historic hotel’s F & B Director John Cuviello and Beverage Manager Sara Davis.  More

  • in

    That’s a Good Question! Podcast Episode 8: How dangerous is it to use steroids?

    Donald Hooton, Jr.

    The course of your life can change directions in an instant. In July 2003 and in his senior year of college, Donald Hooton, Jr. was preparing to start a career with his business degree. That’s when he got the call from his sister that their 17-year-old brother Taylor had passed away. What shocked their family the most was that Taylor had committed suicide. All of the family had just one question. Why?

    It was the detectives who found the steroids in his room. At that time, the Hooton family didn’t see the connection, but they’ve learned. They’ve learned about steroid use and its psychological effects, and the link to suicide. And they learned the use of steroids is likely far more pervasive than you ever imagined.

    In the midst of their grief, his family could never have predicted how, through their tragedy, they could impact the lives of so many others for the better. Now Donald works every day to honor his brother’s legacy at the helm of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, the nonprofit started by his dad, Don.

    In this important podcast, you’ll hear directly from Donald, Jr., and learn about how he is helping turn his family’s tragedy into triumph for families across the U.S. and abroad.

    Donald thinks about his brother every day. “I hope he’s proud of the work we’re doing and what his legacy has become and how many lives have been saved,” he says. “I hope every time his story is shared it’s making a difference.”

    The Taylor Hooton Foundation is the leader in education on appearance and performance enhancing drugs. To learn more or to schedule an ALL ME® Assembly Program at your child’s school, visit or More

  • in

    Seafood Paella

    By Bobbie Ames

    Ingredients:Yields 4 to 6 servings

    Non-stick vegetable cooking spray1 cup short-grain rice (such as Arborio)1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or use vegetable broth and/or white wine if serving vegetarians)1 bay leaf1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika1/8 teaspoon saffron1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided1 shallot, thinly sliced1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact1/2 pound langoustines or scallops1 pound mussels1 pound cherrystone clams3/4 cup canned chopped tomatoes1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers1/4 cup green olives (such as Cerignola or Castelvetrano), pitted, sliced1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley1 preserved Meyer lemon, chopped or grilled slices from one lemon


    Arrange rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat rimmed baking sheet or *cazuela with cooking spray. Spread rice on the bottom and put into oven to toast for 5 minutes.Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring broth, bay leaf, pepper, paprika, saffron, and 1 tsp. salt to a low boil over medium heat.Remove rice from oven and stir. Arrange shallots evenly over rice and pour broth mixture carefully over. Cover baking sheet or cazuela with foil and bake 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil, stir rice mixture, and continue to bake uncovered, 5 minutes more.Combine shrimp with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Remove baking sheet from oven, discard bay leaf, and stir rice mixture again. Scatter shrimp, mussels, langoustines or scallops, tomatoes, red peppers, and olives over rice. Continue baking until rice is tender, shrimp is opaque and pink, and mussels have opened, about 8 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and toss with parsley and preserved Meyer lemon.

    *Cazuela: a Spanish dish that can be used to serve and cook food in the oven or on top of the stove. More

  • in

    That’s a Good Question! Podcast: Episode 7

    In this episode, we visit with Dr. Shanna Garza the Clinic Director of Girls to Women and Young Men’s Health and Wellness, an Adolescent Medicine practice in McKinney, Texas.

    Dr. Garza received her B.S. in Biology from Emory University and attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. Following her medical education, she completed a Family Medicine residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. She is a board-certified Family Medicine physician with over 13 years of experience working with children, teens and young adults.
    Eating disorders are a health issue Dr. Garza’s clinics contend with on a regular basis.  There are a lot of societal issues impacting the way young people, especially girls, see themselves and judge themselves. Preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape may signal an eating disorder.
    What is the risk of dieting to young people? Is there a difference between an eating disorder and disordered eating? How does social media, diet talk and body shaming lead to eating disorders? 
    Dr. Garza shares important advice for parents to help our kids navigate this very dangerous and even deadly health issue.  More

  • in

    Midnight Meatballs

    By Chef Kenny Bowers
    Ingredients:Yields 6 to 10 servings
    12 ounces (3/4 of a loaf) white bread
    3 cups whole milk
    salt, iodized, to taste
    black pepper, table grind, to taste
    1 cup parmesan cheese
    1 ounce basil, fresh, chopped 3/8” no stem
    2 1/2 pounds ground beef
    1 1/2 pounds ground pork
    Tear bread into small pieces approximately 1”.  In a large bowl, combine milk and bread.  MIX TOGETHER BY HAND, making sure bread is completely dissolved in milk to form a soupy paste-like consistency. Add salt, pepper, cheese, basil and mix.  REFRIGERATE FOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR BEFORE NEXT STEP.
    Gently mix in meat making sure everything is evenly mixed.
    With slightly wet hands form 4 oz. wt. balls (approximately 20).
    Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes until medium brown and an internal temperature of 160.
    Place meatballs in oven-proof dish, top with favorite marinara sauce, cover with mozzarella cheese, and bake until cheese is brown & bubbly.  Approx. 3 minutes at 450 degrees.
    Kenny Bowers is owner and executive chef of Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill (Dallas), Kenny’s Burger Joint (Plano and Frisco), Kenny’s Italian Kitchen (Dallas) and Kenny’s Authentic East Coast Pizza (Plano). More