Food and Cooking

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Delicious recipes, family friendly dining news, reviews, and resources for families in Marin and the Bay Area. Sponsored by Whole Foods Market

Kids Eat for Free in Marin

July 17, 2017

kids eat free in marin

Here's our list of Marin restaurants with kids-eat-free offers, broken down by the day of the week. Please note that all information presented here is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of posting, but deals come and deals go, so you should confirm with the restaurant before you go, just in case.

Every Day

Sonoma Taco Shop
210 Northgate One
San Rafael 94903
(415) 479-9066

Sonoma Taco Shop in Northgate One in Terra Linda offers a free item (dine in only) off the kids' menu with the purchase of an adult item seven days a week. www.sonomatacoshop.com

Sundays

Finnegan's Marin
877 Grant Avenue
Novato 94945
(415) 899-1516

Finnegan's Marin in Old Town Novato offers free dining for kids 12 and under on Sundays for both brunch and dinner, from 10 am to 9 pm. Free soda refills, and crayons and coloring sheets are available. www.finnegansmarin.com

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Organic Ice Cream in Marin!

July 8, 2017

Three Twins in San Rafael

With summer almost here, it’s time to think about ice cream! And to make yourself feel a little bit better about eating this rich treat, why not indulge in some locally made organic ice cream? There's nothing quite like freshly made ice cream with local organic ingredients, and we have three favorite spots in Marin where you can satisfy your organic ice cream urge this summer (or at any time of year).

Fairfax Scoop

This small ice cream shop at 63 Broadway in downtown Fairfax offers a rotating selection of innovative organic ice cream flavors like vanilla honey lavender, toasted hazelnut, Mexican chocolate, and controlled burn (cinnamon with crystallized ginger and red chile!), as well old favorites like strawberry and chocolate.

No Campfire? Make S'mores Cookies!

July 3, 2017

s'mores cookies

Summer means cooking outdoors and, of course, s'mores! In case you don't know what a s'more is, it's a treat consisting of a graham cracker topped with square of milk chocolate (Hershey's is traditional), then topped with a warm toasted marshmallow and then another graham cracker. "S'more" is a contraction of "some more," which is what everyone says after they finish their first one.

If you don't have a campfire or fire pit handy today, try making these amazingly delicious s'mores cookies. They incorporate all the ingredients of a s'more in an easy to make and eat cookie form, so you can enjoy the deliciousness of s'mores anytime without having to wait to go on a camping trip. My son said these were the best cookies he ever tasted, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

Fantastic Family-Friendly 4th of July Recipes

July 2, 2017

Tri-tip

The 4th of July is coming up, and what could be more all-American than a summer backyard BBQ? We've put together a selection of our most popular family-friendly grilling recipes, along with a few great summer sides, desserts, and other treats. So fire up the grill and cook a feast for family and friends today!

Fresh and Healthy Summer Garden Chili

June 25, 2017

summer chili

Chili is one of those meals that can be on the hearty, heavy side and not something you necessarily want to serve for a summer dinner—except for this fresh and healthy version. For this summer chili, I lighten things up a bit and take advantage of fresh summer produce like the zucchini growing in our backyard garden and sweet corn cut right off the cob.

Serve this chili with a variety of toppings and add-ons so each diner can customize it to his or her taste. You can make it vegetarian (or vegan) by omitting the ground turkey and doubling the amount of beans, corn, and squash. Either way, it's delicious! And our kids even eat it, too. There's probably no reason you couldn't make this year-round, either, although you'd have to substitute frozen corn for the fresh.

Festive Summer Almond Cake with Strawberries

June 20, 2017

almond strawberry cakeDuring early summer, I'm always on the lookout for recipes that use fresh local strawberries, which my whole family loves, but then who doesn't? I came across this recipe and it sounded fantastic, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's really easy to make, and it's light and delicious.

With its red berries and powdered sugar, it looks amazing, too, and has a certain patriotic flair. I think I'll even make it to take to the annual 4th of July party we go to.

Note that I changed the cooking time from the original recipe to 30 to 35 minutes as the cake was done well before the indicated 45 to 50 minute baking time.

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

Cool Off This Summer with Melon Aguas Frescas

June 19, 2017

Watermelon agua fresca

When the weather warms up, one of the things we often cool off with are aguas frescas, those refreshing traditional Mexican-style drinks made from various kinds of fruit. You don't have to go to your local taqueria to get them, either—they're inexpensive and really easy to make at home. Kids love them, and they're a healthy alternative to sodas and other soft drinks.

We often make aguas frescas with melons like cantaloupe or watermelon; whatever we happen to have on hand. It's a great way to use up all that watermelon that's been sitting in the refrigerator, which is what we made out latest batch out of. You can use other fruits, like strawberries and even pineapple, but melon is an economical choice and a delicious one, too.

Awesome Ice Cream Shops in Marin & Beyond

June 18, 2017

Lala's Creamery Petaluma

Ice cream is one of those foods that's synonymous with summer, although it's pretty wonderful at any time of year! On a hot day, there's not much better than getting a big scoop of your favorite ice cream on a waffle cone. To help you find that summer joy, we've put together this guide to our favorite ice cream scoop shops in Marin County (and we've thrown in a couple of our Sonoma County favorites that are worth the trip, too).

Here they are, arranged from south to north. Many of these shops are family owned and operated, but we've included a few of the popular chains, too.

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

June 4, 2017

Grilled Mediterranean chicken

Summer means it's time to fire up the grill and cook something delicious for dinner. One of the hardest things to cook on the grill is whole chicken. It's too easy to end up with a birds that's charred on the outside and underdone on the inside, but I think this technique is almost foolproof and results in a perfectly cooked chicken every time. It also speeds up the cooking time.

I like to marinate the chicken for a few hours—or overnight, if I'm thinking ahead—in a citrusy, herb-laded mixture that's full of great Mediterranean flavors. I can't say that it's purely Greek or Italian, but it uses flavors common in each cuisine. It helps to have an herb garden just steps from the kitchen door, too!

Feel free to vary this recipe to suit your taste. For example, I sometimes replace the oregano with fresh chopped rosemary for something equally delicious. Whatever variation I decide on, this is one of my go-to dishes for a summer cookout.

Family Friendly Recipes for a Memorial Day Barbeque

May 25, 2017

Tri-tip

Memorial Day Weekend, that traditional kick-off to summer is coming up! Since it's traditional to have a BBQ in the backyard, we've put together a selection of our most popular family-friendly grilling recipes, along with a few great sides and warm weather treats. So fire up the grill, cook up a feast, and enjoy the weekend!

Santa Maria-Style Tri Tip

Cooked slowly over charcoal with plenty of wood smoking chips, this traditional Santa Maria-style tri tip is simple to make and really delicious.