The Scramblog

Making Healthy Family Dinners Happen with Less Time, Money and Stress.

  Jul 19, 2016   brunch, cocktails, peach, Recipes

Peach-Mango Bellinis

Peach-Mango Bellinis

Makes 8 - 10 bellinis

When we celebrated my dear friend Rachel Lostombo’s birthday, we organized a gourmet Italian picnic which we enjoyed at Wolf Trap park in Virginia, while listening to Melissa Etheridge and Pat Benatar.

When Rachel’s friends arrived at my house before we carpooled to the concert, I greeted them with these peach-mango bellinis and Caprese bites on colorful toothpicks with balsamic-olive oil and crushed red pepper dipping sauce.  At the Italian picnic we also enjoyed prosciutto and cantaloupe bites, Italian salami and cheeses, orzo and arugula salads, olives, artichokes and other traditional Italian antipasto, and Rachel's favorite, Stella D'oro cookies for dessert.

These bellinis are fruity and bubbly and go down oh-so-smoothly. They would also be an elegant addition to a Sunday brunch. The peach-mango syrup would also be divine drizzled over vanilla ice cream or turned into grown-up ice pops.  It's also delicious mixed with...

7 Basic Cooking Skills Kids Need Before They Leave Home

  Cooking Skills Kids Need Before They Leave Home

Some of my friends worry that their kids don’t have even the most basic cooking skills they might need in their next phase of life. So what cooking skills do kids need? Last year I wrote about the 6 things every kid should know how to make before they leave home. Now in the Washington Post I share basic techniques kids may want to master this summer.

Summertime, when the pace of life may be just a little slower, is the ideal time to get your teen cooking — especially if they are leaving the nest soon. Making one of their favorite things to eat — whether it’s burgers, salad, pasta, corn on the cob or omelets — is a great place to get them started on picking up basic cooking skills. Many families find it works well to have each family member take on a meal each week. They might even like to make a checklist of dishes they’d like to master before they leave home.

Let your teen decide...

  Jul 5, 2016   healthy dessert

How to use cacao nibs

How to Use Cacao Nibs

Have you ever wondered how to use cacao nibs and why people might eat them instead of chocolate?

Last year I got involved with an anti-sugar film called Fed Up! and in the process I learned a lot about how we’re eating too much added sugar, which is causing obesity and diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and possibly cancer.

I’ve always had a problem with sugar, especially sugar cravings, and even a mild to sometimes severe sugar addiction.  I didn’t like the cravings and wanted to eat a healthier diet, so I decided to get most of the added sugar out of my diet.  I even created a Facebook group of 1,000+ people who want to reduce or eliminate added sugar in their diet.

But I love chocolate, and I didn’t want to completely lose it from my diet.  Happily, I discovered an ingredient called cacao nibs.

Cacao nibs are made from chocolate or cacao beans and they have no added sugar.  They are very chocolaty, but they are a little bitter if you...

  Jul 5, 2016   Time Saving Kitchen Tips

Make Your Kitchen Smell Sweet: How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Refrigerator, Sink and Kitchen Trash Can

Make Your Kitchen Smell Sweet: How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Refrigerator, Sink and Kitchen Trash Can I know, it’s not the most appetizing topic. But do you know what is really unappetizing? When you can’t get rid of bad smells in your kitchen! It’s not too appealing to create delicious food when your refrigerator smells like old fish or your sink smells like rotten vegetables. Recently we had a fishy smell in our fridge.  I cleaned the shelves, emptied any vegetable scraps that were past their prime, and gave the refrigerator a once over to see if there was anything rotting, but I couldn’t find a thing! So I did a little research and discovered that putting coffee grounds in an open container in the fridge can eliminate bad odors. Sure enough, a day or two later, the refrigerator was back to its sweet smelling self. I decided I would turn to my clever friends, including some Six O’Clock Scramble members, to see what other home remedies they...

Best No-Cook Summer Recipes

Best No-Cook Summer Recipes

When the thermometer tops 90, the last thing we want to do is turn on the oven or stove, or even the grill! So The Scramble team put together a list of our most popular and best no-cook summer recipes. These are also perfect to bring to a picnic or potluck, an outdoor concert, baseball game, or just enjoy on a shady porch, cooled by a fan, on a hot summer night.

How do you enjoy your meals during the warm weather? As long as I’m out of the direct sun, I can’t get enough of the outdoors, even in steamy weather. My family eats dinner almost every night during the summer on our screened porch. Sometimes we linger out there, sitting on the wrought iron furniture that used to be Andrew’s grandmother’s, long enough to watch the bats swoop down to eat the pesky mosquitos.  Ah, summer living!

I hope you and your family get outside this summer and enjoy some of our best no-cook summer recipes: Mediterranean...

Will You Help Me Decide What Cooking Videos to Make Next?

Will You Help Me Decide What Cooking Videos to Make Next? Have you subscribed to The Scramble’s new YouTube channel yet? I’m sharing inspiring weekly recipes, tips and helpful cooking videos to make your meals and snacks easier, healthier and more delicious. If you subscribe to the channel, you wont get bombarded with emails, but you will get notified when there’s a new video so you won't miss it.  My goal is to share short and inspiring videos each week that will make your life easier, healthier and more delicious. Please let me know what recipes or tips you’d like me to share next. Current top contenders are: A. What to pack for kids’ summer camp lunches B. How to make peanut butter, banana and chocolate overnight oatmeal (no sugar added!) C. How to make banana whip...

Lime Grilled Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Your family will love this simple marinade for grilled chicken breasts.  The avocado salsa would also be great on top of a firm, white fish, such as halibut, and of course it's fabulous for dipping chips or veggie sticks.  If you don’t want to grill the breasts, you can cook them on the stovetop over medium-high heat with a little olive oil in a skillet instead.  Click here for  grilling tips to make grilled chicken and other delicious meals over the fire. Watch the cooking video on YouTube and get the recipe below: Lime Grilled Chicken with Avocado Salsa Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes Makes six servings. 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or use boneless thighs 1/2 - 1 lime, juice only, 2 Tbsp. 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. kosher salt 2 avocados, diced or mashed, or use 3/4 cup guacamole 1 tomato, diced 1/4 red onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup) 1/4 tsp. salt 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional) Place the chicken...

Teens aren’t Terrifying! How to Bond with Teens in the Kitchen

Bond With Teens in The Kitchen When my kids were young, I used to worry about what it might be like to have teenagers and how I would bond with teens, let alone parent them.  The words that came to mind were moodiness, conflict, attitude, eye-rolling and curfews. Fast forward 10 plus years and I am now the mom of two teenagers, 19-year-old Solomon and 17-year-old Celia.  As with most things, I now realize that worrying about the future was a waste of energy. Parenting teens, and spending time with them and their friends, is more fun than I could have ever imagined. Also, because I love to cook and have taught my kids to be comfortable in the kitchen, I find that now, many of our best times happen while we’re cooking or dining together. How do you bond with your kids in the kitchen? I’d love you to read and share your thoughts on my latest article (plus a video!) for The Washington Post.

Vegetarian and Gluten Free Meal Plans Available

Vegetarian and GlutenFree Meal Plans In addition to our weekly meal planner, did you know we have meal plans for specific diets, too? Get our 4-week gluten-free meal plan here or our 6-week vegetarian meal plan here. What specific meal plan would you like us to create next? Sugar-free? Nut-free? Vegan? Meals in 20 minutes or less? Please send your feedback to aviva@thescramble.com.

Overnight Baked Blueberry French Toast

Overnight Baked Blueberry French Toast is an easy yet delicious make-ahead meal.  The beauty of this make-ahead baked French toast is that you can get it all ready the night before, so you just need to bake it in the morning.  I got this recipe many years ago from a parent at my son's school, and while I have revised it since then, I wish I knew the original author so I could thank her personally for all the successful brunches where this dish has taken center stage. Watch the video on YouTube Overnight Baked Blueberry French Toast Prep: 20 minutes    Cook: 60 minutes  Marinate Time: 8 - 12 hours 8 servings 1 small loaf day old challah or French bread (about 8 1-inch slices) 3 eggs 2 1/4 cups milk, any variety 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup flour 6 Tbsp. brown sugar 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 cup butter 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut the bread into 1-inch thick slices...