Cooking With Grandma

Last Thursday Shea had his knee surgery so my mom has been here helping out.

She always comes with a trick up her grandma sleeve and this week, she made her famous taco salad.

A warning for my Mexican friends: Gringa. And very loose use of the word “taco”. Proceed with caution.

She cooks up a pound of ground beef and heats a mixture of refried beans and pinto beans. Then she layers Fritos—FRITOS—beans, meat, lettuce with chunky fresh tomatoes and cheese.

Top that all off with…Catalina dressing. TRUST ME. It’s delicious.

Her last morning, I made a breakfast my grandmother used to make when we were little (but not, my mom pointed out, for her and my uncle when they were little, but there’s the power of grandkids).

Hawaiian Bread French Toast.


It’s an easy substitution—sweet and fluffy Hawaiian bread for regular. Cinnamon, vanilla, butter and syrup, with a dusting of powdered sugar over the top.

There’s not really a recipe. I just whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl. Then I dip the bread on both sides and cook it up on my pancake griddle until a crispy golden brown.

And—this is God’s truth—I have never looked at the nutritional information on a loaf of King’s Hawaiian Bread so I have no idea what the calorie damage is on this meal. But there’s a part of me that truly believes that if I don’t look, they aren’t real anyway.

Happy Friday!

Gummy Bear Stew

George is a legitimate Oregon outdoorsman.

He fishes. He crabs. He hikes. He hunts.

And he is the inventor of Gummy Bear Stew, which like all good ideas, was born from a mix of necessity and ingenuity.

Last summer, George took his son Jack and his nephew Hayden on a weekend camping trip. They unpacked the tent, the clothes, the sleeping bags and the camp stove. Then they unpacked the beer and the gummy bears and rested.

They are male, after all.

When George went back to unpack the food for dinner, he realized that somehow his keys had gotten locked in his truck.

He could have called his wife Angie, but it was getting dark.

So first, he built a fire. Then he drank some more beer. Then he cut the tops off the cans and turned them upside down.

He melted the gummy bears in the bottoms of the cans, stuck a spoon it in and called it dinner.

If you’re thinking Ewwwwww, I’m with you.

But the children must be fed.

We camped with George and Angie this weekend, and you better know Gummy Bear Stew was on the menu. Any kind of candy is fair game. Our stew had Gummy Bears, Sour Patch Kids, Rolos and marshmallows.

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This is not haute cuisine. And it tastes about how you imagine—like a melted Halloween candy bowl. If you don’t eat it fast enough, it hardens into a Gummy Bear Stew lollipop. One taste and my teeth almost fell out.

But camping moms know that the food rules are a wee bit different in the woods. And not 20 minutes earlier I was the mom who yelled “Don’t give me that natural bug spray crap! The baby needs DEET!!! NOW!!!”

The kids ate that stuff up. And then bounced off into the woods with flashlights to search for windigos and stump trolls, too amped up on liquid sugar to be scared.