A muffin tin deep dish pizza recipe for kids

One mom who sees it that way is Ashley Hansen, who was among parents who shared with me tales of cooking with kids.

Hansen, who owns Hansen’s Sno-Bliz snowball stand in New Orleans, admits she is a bit of a Pollyanna when it comes to cooking with her daughter Avery, 8, and son Gordon, 10.

“I always seem to go for this Mary Poppins aspect,” she said. “Let’s make this fun.”

And, snap, the job’s a game – literally.

“We have cooking contests with smoothies, small salads, grilled cheese, cookies. Everyone is encouraged to add a ‘secret ingredient,’” Hansen said, explaining that the idea for the game grew out of family members having their own ideas of how a cookie or smoothie should taste.

“So, I was like, let’s all put in our own special ingredient. They loved the idea of a secret ingredient that would not be revealed until the end.”

Hansen doesn’t leave everything to chance. Some contest ideas are born out of what she finds in her refrigerator or if she over-buys a fruit or vegetable.

“It’s important to lead them. I try to plant seeds and see who picks up what. Look, I have this Tupperware of roasted nuts. Look, I have bananas.”

The family loves crepes. Avery filled one with shredded cheddar and fresh dill. “She won that round,” Hansen said.

Gordon took home the trophy one day with his yogurt smoothie blended with rosemary and blood orange. “Avery and I looked at each other and said, ‘Gordy, this is so good.’”

A salad contest one night ended in another victory for Gordon – and for his mother. The boy made the winning combination of kale and watermelon.

“Ever since then he’s been eating all of his salads,” Hansen said. “He loves salads now.”

“It is a curiosity that kids have about how foods taste together, experimenting with things,” she said. “It’s also about making magic happen, like Harry Potter coming up with potions.”

Parents are remarkably clever sometimes. One dad told me he signed up for one of those meal-in-a-box delivery services, and now his son waits for the package like it’s a present and can’t wait to get into the kitchen to make whatever is inside.

After listening to lots of parents, I saw a few recurring themes:

Let kids do it their way. As one father told me: “For the cupcakes, she likes to split them and frost between the halves. ‘It’s less messy, Dad. The frosting doesn’t get on your fingers.’ I mean the frosting and crumbs do get everywhere to accomplish this, but the eating part? Okay, it is less messy.”

Pull out the gadgets. “My 4-year-old loves using the tools — stand mixer [cake and frosting], plastic knife [cutting boiled eggs and raw mushrooms], rolling pin [pizza dough], tongs [heating tortillas on gas stove], blender [making smoothies] and immersion blender [mayonnaise],” said one mom.

Go hands-on. Think shaping meatballs, cutting out cookies, “smashing” potatoes or rolling up wraps. “My

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Incoming House speaker warns of ‘deep budget cuts’ coming to Florida government programs

Florida’s incoming House speaker warned members of the South Florida Business Council this week that in order to weather the “massive financial hit” the state sustained from the pandemic, there will need to be “significant cuts to the budget.”

Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican who is in line to become the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives for two years in November, hinted that the budget austerity needed to recover from the coronavirus-induced recession would take “three to four years to get back to where we are,” but he was optimistic Florida would be in better shape than other states.

“We’ve had an obviously massive financial hit to the state, not unlike the businesses we’ve seen interrupted or closed during this period of time in COVID, which is going to create a significant challenge for us,’’ Sprowls told the virtual webinar of about 250 members of the council, which includes members of the chambers of commerce in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

“The only way to kind of weather that storm and get the state back on its feet is going to mean significant cuts to the budget,’’ he said.“ There’s going to be businesses and restaurants that unfortunately never open their doors again here in Florida, and that’s going to take a toll on the economy.”

A survey of the group’s members before the event found that 64% said that COVID-19 is the top issue facing Florida.

But, in keeping with Florida’s Republican governor and incoming Senate president, all of whom are Trump supporters devoted to helping the incumbent president win re-election, Sprowls refrained from discussing some of the darker details related to the COVID-induced troubles in the state’s budget.

For example, Florida economists say the state faces faces a $5.4 billion budget deficit over the next two years that will necessitate the budget cuts. The governor has suspended COVID-related evictions and mortgage foreclosures five times, the latest expiring on Oct. 1 and the decision has left a housing industry in limbo with no promise for what could happen to the hundreds of thousands of families who don’t have the money to pay their owed back rent.

Sprowls also avoided any mention of the state’s unemployment rolls, a number that shows signs of improving in August but which remains at 7.4% compared to the pre-COVID record lows. And he said nothing about the fate of the state’s unemployment fund, which by Election Day could run out of cash to pay benefits to jobless workers.

Legislators on the sideline

As the coronanvirus barreled into Florida, shuttering businesses in the peak of the summer tourist season and infecting nearly 700,000 residents, Sprowls and other Republican legislative leaders have left the spotlight to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

This month, Sprowls and incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson penned an op-ed addressing another issue not often touched by Republicans: a call for better floodplain management in the face of sea level rise.

Democrats have tried and failed to call for

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Bung goes deep into the interior to shore up support for BN

BN election chief Bung Moktar Radin (left) given a rousing welcome in Kemabong in the interior of Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Barisan Nasional election chief Bung Moktar Radin made a whistle-stop tour to four state constituencies deep in the interior yesterday to drum up support for the coalition.

With seats on the Sabah west coast anybody’s game, and many areas on the east coast seen as Warisan Plus strongholds, Bung was trying to cover as many areas as he could by visiting Bongawan, Kemabong, Sook and Tulid.

The Kinabatangan MP, who will be contesting the new Lamag state seat in his parliamentary constituency, travelled by helicopter to the remote locations, beginning at 8.30am in Bongawan, which BN is trying to wrest back from Warisan.

Bung ensured his speeches were brief, impactful and to the point before rushing over to his waiting chopper to fly to the next location.

A dash from the helicopter, a brief speech, and off to the next stop.

He rallied supporters to vote for the BN candidates in their areas and deny Warisan Plus the chance to be returned as the state government, before completing his itinerary at about 7pm.

Several selected media representatives accompanied Bung as he criss-crossed the far-flung locations spread over three parliamentary constituencies.

In Bongawan, former district officer Awg Syairin Awg Bakar is attempting to reclaim the seat for BN against Warisan’s Daud Yusof, who won in the 14th general election after beating Mohamad Alamin, the Kimanis MP, among others.

The Kemabong seat, which lies within the Tenom parliamentary constituency, was won by BN through Jamawi Jaafar, who had defected to Warisan but switched allegiance back to BN just before the dissolution of the state assembly on July 30.

A view of the interior from the air.

Sabah Umno information chief and former Tenom MP Raime Unggi is contesting in Kemabong, which sits in the Murut heartland, after being dropped in the last general election.

He is standing against five others, including Lucas Umbul of Upko, which is part of Warisan Plus, and former Umno assemblyman Rubin Balang, who is an influential figure despite contesting as an independent.

While BN’s competition in Bongawan and Kemabong is directly against Warisan and others, the same cannot be said for Tulid and Sook, where the coalition will face their own allies such as PBS and STAR of Perikatan Nasional.

In Sook, which lies within the Pensiangan parliamentary area, BN’s Bonepes Been is locked in a five-way fight, including against incumbent Ellron Angin of STAR, while party colleague Matusin Bowie will face off against PBS’ Suman Yasambun and STAR’s Flovia Ng, apart from Warisan’s Mudi Dubing, in a seven-sided battle in Tulid.

Ellron had won the seat under PBRS, which is a BN component, in GE14. He joined STAR in December 2018.

Kemabong resident Juanis Tingkalu wants BN to win back all the seats.

Meanwhile, Kemabong resident Juanis Tingkalu, 36, said he wanted BN to take back all the seats.

“Jamawi shifted allegiance to Warisan last

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Frozen food company Deep Indian Kitchen opening 1st N.J. restaurant

New Jersey-based frozen food company Deep Indian Kitchen will open its first restaurant in the Garden State, a company spokeswoman told NJ Advance Media.

It will be located at 1080 Springfield Rd. in Union, near company headquarters. An official opening date has not yet been announced.

Deep Indian Kitchen has five other locations, all of which are in New York but temporarily closed, the spokeswoman said.

The menu for the New Jersey restaurant has not yet been finalized. At Deep Indian Kitchen’s other locations, there are traditional dishes like Tikka Masala, Lamb Kofta, Biryani, Samosas and Kati Rolls.

The company’s frozen meals, breads and appetizers can be found in major supermarkets, including ShopRite, Wegmans and Whole Foods, according to its website.


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Chicago cannot lose the Palmer House, now boarded up and in deep financial trouble

The great Chicago Tribune critic Claudia Cassidy lived at the Drake Hotel. Touring Broadway celebrities would dine with Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet at the Pump Room at the Ambassador East. And at the Palmer House’s famed Empire Room, a 250-seat cabaret venue with an elegance like no other, Phyllis Diller told jokes and early-career stars like Liberace, Maurice Chevalier, Carol Channing and Tony Bennett were launched.

a sign on the side of a building: Owner of the Palmer House Hilton has been sued for $338 million in missed loan payments, in the largest Chicago foreclosure case to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

© E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Owner of the Palmer House Hilton has been sued for $338 million in missed loan payments, in the largest Chicago foreclosure case to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

a close up of a train station: The entrance of the Palmer House Hilton stands empty on Monroe Street on Sept. 8.

© E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
The entrance of the Palmer House Hilton stands empty on Monroe Street on Sept. 8.

All of that is to say that Chicago’s historic hotels are joined at the hip with our historic and spectacular tradition of live entertainment.

All of that is to say further that, for this writer, seeing boards over the entrance to the Palmer House Hotel, officially the Palmer House Hilton, is every bit as painful as seeing them over the Art Institute of Chicago, or the Picasso statue or Buckingham Fountain.

To lose this hotel would be a loss of unfathomable proportions. And there is a real danger of the unthinkable happening.

As the Tribune’s Ryan Ori reported Aug. 31, the owner of the Palmer House, Thor Equities, has been hit with a foreclosure suit alleging unpaid mortgage payments totaling nearly $338 million. Worse, the hotel is now, in real estate parlance, underwater, being as its current valuation is only $305 million, down from $560 million as recently as 2018.

For a stunning example of how much Chicago’s Loop is losing to the absence of tourists and conventioneers, just consider the size and speed of that drop in valuation.

It’s breathtaking.

That word that could also be used to describe the lobby of the Palmer House, a grand riot of columns, murals, candelabras and a sense of Saturday night urban grandeur that once was the headquarters for the election campaign of Grover Cleveland and, over the years, has hosted enough weddings and conventions to keep half the Loop in business.

The Palmer House long employed a resident historian, Ken Price, who led hundreds of tours to the backstage areas of the Empire Room, where a lucky guests could see stagebills and headshots of the greats who performed there, all lovingly preserved. Price’s tour was about the most fun I ever had in the Loop. And lots of out-of-towners, especially show-business types, felt the same way.

Michael Riedel, the New York radio personality and longtime Broadway columnist, told me this week of his excitement of staying in “the biggest suite I had ever seen” while covering an out-of-town tryout. And, of course, he took Price’s tour. Chris Baum, a longtime concierge at the Langham Chicago Hotel, told me he sent many a guest to experience the history of the Empire Room.


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