Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Brooke, the Chef


Thanks to Jill for all the photos!

We aren't sending Brooke to the Culinary Institute of America - at least, not quite yet. But a monthly cooking box for kids is helping her develop culinary skills beyond chocolate chip cookies.

For the girls' birthdays the past several years, we've purchased monthly subscription boxes. Rather than add another stuffed animal to a menagerie that already threatens to push the girl out of bed or another toy that ends up neglected on a playroom shelf, they get "experiences" every month. Great Grandma and Grandpa Moore kick in what they would have spent on a gift, and Randy and I fund the rest.

This year, we tried a new subscription, Yummy Crate, for Brooke, a 7-year-old first grader. For the past several years, we'd ordered Little Passports for her. And while she liked them, she was ready for a change. 

Kinley has been receiving Kiwi Crates from the same company.  A couple of years ago, we switched her to Doodle Crates, also from KiwiCo,, which provides an art project each month. Kinley has loved them and has made some fun crafts. So, when a brand new alternative launched from the company, we decided to go with Yummy Crates for Brooke. So far, so good!

As a first-year member of the Auburn 4-H Club, Brooke chose foods and nutrition as one of her 4-H projects. The monthly crate will offer just one more excuse to get in the kitchen and get cookin'!


Here's what she gets each month in the kit, which arrives by mail:

  • A porfolio of recipe cards: three family-friendly recipes that teach kitchen skills and explore the science of cooking;
  • STEAM activities: Experiment with a specialty cooking tool (the bibimbap kit included a colander), plus 2 hands-on projects for more creative fun and learning in (and out) of the kitchen;
  • Yummy Zine magazine: Kid-friendly science, comics, history, and fun facts about food; &
  • Shopping List: A grownup's guide to customize the grocery list for the family’s preferences

With one of the boxes, she made Bibimbap, a Korean dish, a bowl of warm white rice with toppings. It was a hit at their house among all four diners.

The crate comes with illustrated instructions. Here's just an example from that kit.

Child nutrition experts always say that involving children in food preparation makes them more willing to try new things. With a mom who's a dietitian, our girls are already pretty good about that, but any extra boost is good.

Photo from https://www.kiwico.com/yummy

If you want to try it for yourself, here's the recipe for
Korean Bibimbap:

Photo of Brooke's finished masterpiece!

Korean Bibimbap
From Yummy Crates
11/2 cups uncooked rice, rinsed
3/4 lb. ground or thinly sliced beef
1 medium cucumber, washed
2 cups shredded carrots
4 eggs
3/8 cup (90 ml) soy sauce, divided
3 tbsp. white sugar, divided
About 3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tbsp. gochujang (Korean chili paste)
Additional toppings
Follow your package directions to cook rice in a pot or use a rice cooker.
In medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon garlic powder for marinade. Add beef; set aside for 30 minutes.

On a cutting board, cut cucumber in half long ways, with a sharp knife. Chop into thin slices. In a clean bowl, use a fork to mix together marinade of vinegar, water, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Add sliced cucumbers. Set aside while you cook the rest of your toppings.

Cook your toppings. Spread 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil around a frying pan. Heat the pan on stovetop on medium heat, about 2 to 4 minutes. Cook shredded carrots in pan for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Move the cooked carrots to a small bowl when they're done. 

Cook the beef mixture in the same pan for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until it's browned. Move cooked meat to a small bowl.

Crack 4 eggs into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes or until the whites are firm. Flip the eggs over with a spatula. Cook for another 3 minutes or until the yolk is set. 

Build the rice bowls: 
Mix Sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 tablespoon gochujang (optional). 

Scoop 1/2 cup cooked rice into each serving bowl. Slide an egg on top of each scoop. 

Pour the cucumber mixture into a colander, draining off the liquid over a bowl or the sink.

Pile the toppings around each egg and drizzle some sauce. As you eat, mix everything together to get different flavor combos in each bite. 
Other suggested toppings:  Red cabbage, sauteed spinach, sauteed bean sprouts, sauteed zucchini, sauteed mushrooms, toasted sesame seeds.

All done? Tidy up the kitchen! (I'm sure the parents like that step!)


  1. What a fantastic birthday gift. One that I will keep in mind for the future.

    1. The girls have enjoyed their subscription boxes. Fair warning: They aren't inexpensive. Theoretically, I was going to limit the extras at holidays like Easter, Valentine's Day, etc. However, I am not successful in that "thought." LOL!