A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta: Cooking With Kids At Home

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta: Cooking With Kids At Home

Homemade pasta is not only delicious, but it’s a great activity to do with kids. Click for recipe to make pasta in all the colors of the rainbow with your kiddos! Click to skip to the recipe

Jorj Morgan Camp Nana Homemade Pasta


While brainstorming to come up with some activities to do with campers at my recent Camp Nana, one of my first ideas was to offer a class on baking and cake decorating. 

But, here in the mountains of North Carolina, we sit in a bit of a rain forest. 

A humid, wet rain forest. 

This is not the best environment for cake decorating as the frosting has a hard time setting up. Get the pun?

My next thought was to do a cooking class where we eat what we cooked for dinner, doing double duty.

Then I thought about pizza which led me to think about pasta (My mind wanders in strange and mysterious ways…)!

This time, I thank goodness for strange thoughts as this class went down with pasta perfection.

My over-achiever self decided that we would make differently colored pastas instead of plain old noodles. 

Why not? If you are going out on a limb, it might as well be a high one. 

I amassed several pasta machines and decided to make a go of it. 

I took beets and boiled them, spinach leaves and steamed them and carrots and roasted them. Then I pureed each veg into a puree. 

Note to self, boiling root vegetables creates a smoother puree than roasting, although roasting gives a better flavor. The difference in the pasta is that a smoother puree will create a full-colored noodle, where a coarser puree will create little bits or dots in the noodle. How’s that for insider info?

The technique is really simple and a perfect activity for kids of all ages. 

Since we were creating four different types of pasta, I used a smaller amount of ingredients per pasta maker. You can double or triple this basic recipe based on your needs. You dump the flour onto your work surface and use your CLEAN, WASHED hands to bring it together in a circle. 

You then create a well and put the wet ingredients in the center. This is just like you pool gravy in mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. 

Then use a fork to start swirling the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and eventually form everything into a smooth dough. Kids LOVE this!!! 

Next, we cut the dough into pieces and run it through the machine. Through various degrees of thinness, we smooth the dough into thin sheets. The last setting on the machine cuts the dough sheets into the size noodles you prefer.

We let the noodles dry on a rack for a bit and then we boil them quickly in salted water and serve them with a topping of your choice. 

I offered marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, and plain old delicious browned butter with just a hint of sage. 

It was soooooo much FUN!!!

You don’t have to have a group of kids to make pasta. You can make pasta with just one of your favorite kids. 

Or you can gather a few and take turns on the pasta machine. You can store dried pasta for several days in the fridge. 

You can also purchase prepared sauces to go on top of your pasta. It’s all good.

Just as long as the smiles keep coming. Enjoy!

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta

Homemade pasta is not only delicious, but it’s a great activity to do with kids. You can make pasta in all the colors of the rainbow, although some might take a bit of imagination! Gather a kid or two and have some fun!

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones


2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

½ cup spinach puree (substitute with beet, carrot, or your favorite)

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Serves:  4 hungry kids

Time:   60-minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Use a fork to combine the eggs and yolk with the puree in a small bowl. Place the flour onto your work surface. Use your impeccably clean hands to scoop the flour into a circle. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Use a fork to combine the flour into the wet ingredients starting from the center of the well and working your way to the outside. Use your hands to gently knead the dough into a smooth circle.

Cut the dough into four pieces. Flatten with your hand and run through a pasta machine on the thickest setting. Do this twice and then move to the next setting until you get a thin sheet of pasta. Run this sheet through the machine on the final setting that cuts the pasta into the noodle size of your choice.

Dry the pasta for several minutes (or longer) on a rack or swirl the noodles onto a baking sheet lined with a bit of flour. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water for just a few seconds, until the pasta is tender. Drain and top with your favorite sauce.

Overboard Tip:

To make the puree, cook (boil or steam) the vegetable until it is incredibly soft. Drain the vegetable thoroughly in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Place the veggie into the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until it is pureed.

Camp Nana: Famous Camp Greystone Scones Recipe

Camp Nana: Famous Camp Greystone Scones Recipe

Summer camp canceled? Enter CAMP NANA! Create a memorable experience for your troop, starting with these scones. Click to skip to the recipe

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones


There are so many tragedies of COVID 19, serious and heart-breaking tragedies. 

The helplessness of what we can and cannot do to protect ourselves and the ones we love is a full occupation. 

In our hearts, I know we’re all struggling to come up with ideas that make things just a little bit better for those around us. 

My “Nana” moment came when my granddaughter was informed that her beloved camp, Camp Greystone tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, announced that they would be closed this summer.

She and all her fellow campers (and their parents) were devastated.  

In so many ways, summer camps are a rite of passage; The child leaves her family nest and flies to what will become her flock of friends, counselors, and influencers. Growing through this process allows the girls to make independent choices in activities, faith and meditation, what they wish to eat, and most especially the selection of summer friends who are destined to be friends throughout their lives.

Out of this disappointment, Camp Nana was born! 

Just a few of her closest friends were invited to our camp. Our activities included hiking, a ropes course, a thoroughly harrowing tubing trip down a river in a lightning storm (email me for details on that one!), and a fully active haunted house. 

The crafts were candle making, bath bombs creating, jewelry designing, making fresh pasta, and learning to grill pizza. 

After all….It was MY camp! It was an action-packed adventure.

In trying to fit the traditions of Camp Greystone into Nana Camp, I replicated their recipe for Opening Day Scones and offered them to the campers upon their arrival. 

These simple biscuits are light and airy and can be filled with either chocolate chips, berries, or oats.

They are delish and I kept them coming all through camp. 

Perhaps inviting teens for a camp adventure is not on your agenda this summer. 

But, if you dig deep and put on your thinking cap, perhaps you can come up with something special to do for a friend or family member that needs a smile. 

Can you?

Camp Nana 2020

Camp Nana: Famous Camp Greystone Scones Recipe

This is the recipe for the famous Camp Greystone opening day scones. The campers are greeted with these on the first day of camp. The parents are given some to take on the trip home and then hustled out the door. It’s a camp tradition that has met with success for generations.



Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones


1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon baking powder

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup sour cream

½ cups mini chocolate chips

Yields:  Makes about a dozen 3-inch round scones

Time:   20-minute cuisine (10)

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the cream and sour cream until the dough just comes together. It will be a sticky mess!

Transfer the dough to your floured work surface. Press the dough into a 2-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the dough. Fold the dough over the chips to combine. Press the dough out to a 1-inch rectangle. Use a three-inch round biscuit cutter to form the scones. Transfer these to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

Bake the scones until they are just beginning to turn golden on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Brownie Bars for Kiddos and Grandparents

Brownie Bars for Kiddos and Grandparents

Grandparents Day was just last weekend, and it got me thinking…what’s better than baking an ooey gooey cookie dough brownie bar? Answer: Cooking an ooey gooey cookie dough bar with your grandchildren! Not only is it fun to say, but the aroma, texture and taste speak for themselves. This is a good recipe for kids age 1 to 92! It’s a super easy dessert that you can make as a family, and because it’s got caramel, it helps you get into autumn mode.

Just look at the prep work in the photo above – it makes you want a candied apple, doesn’t it? Don’t worry…these brownie bars leave you want for nothing. It’ll make your house smell like a Kilwins ice cream and candy emporium, and we all know how much our grandkids love that!

Gather the kiddos for an afternoon of fun and make a batch of these bars to send home for their lunchboxes next week.



You can tell from this photo how easy it is to get this dessert rolling toward a mouthwatering finished product.

The delicious end result is the byproduct of the real fun – licking brownie bowls, chomping on cookie dough, and sticking sticky fingers into caramelly toffee.


Nana’s Caramel Toffee Cookie Dough Brownie Bars

makes about 24 bars

45 minutes of fun time

For caramel filling:

1 (11-ounce bag) caramels, unwrapped

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

4 tablespoons butter

For cookie dough:

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup butter, 2 sticks

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup caramel chips

For brownies:

1 (18.9 ounce) box brownie mix (let’s make this easy!)

Egg and oil for fudge-like brownies

Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a 10 x 15-inch shallow baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Lay a sheet of parchment paper into the dish, allowing the edges to overlap. Spray the parchment paper. (For mile high bars, use a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.

Place the caramels, 4 tablespoons butter and sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Use an electric mixer to combine 1 cup butter with the sugars until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats and chips.

Prepare the brownie batter according to the fudge-like directions on the package.

Spread the cookie dough batter over the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the melted caramel mixture over the dough. Pour the brownie batter over the caramel. Bake until the brownies begin to set, about 20 to 25 minutes. If you are using a glass baking dish, check the bars after 25 minutes. You may need 5 to 10 minutes additional baking time. Cool and cut into bars.


The Nana Network Gives Back: We Loved Helping Vance High’s New Golf Team!

The Nana Network Gives Back: We Loved Helping Vance High’s New Golf Team!

Most of us contribute to charities, school fundraisers, community projects and our churches on a regular basis. “Giving back” is part of our culture; but, every once in a while, an opportunity for “hands on help” presents itself.

Me, Jorj (second from the right) with Coach Smith and trio of new Vance High School Golfers!

Last week, while infusing my early morning coffee, I watched a story on Vance High School’s coach trying to start up a girls’ golf team—the first all-girl golf team this Charlotte, North Carolina school has ever known! The girls (five of them) were present and willing, but the budget was sorely lacking. The coach made an appeal for used golf equipment, “clubs, bags, balls tees, shoes… anything.”

Ding, ding, ding! If there is one thing a mountain top golf community has it is extra clubs – but how to get the word out? It takes a village they say. Well, I say it takes a Network, a “Nana Network” to be exact. I knew I could find dozens of fellow grandparents on my Ladies Golf Association email list that would be happy to help these young ladies. The LGA list is normally used to communicate upcoming tournaments and results, but within a few minutes, the call went out for donations, and—just as I knew it would—help came pouring in!

Within 24 hours I had a garage full of equipment for the girls. Within 48 hours we had met their needs and more. Within 72 hours the cash started rolling in, and by day four I was packing up my car and driving to meet the coach.

Bound for Vance High School!

Bound for Vance High School!

It is heartwarming to know how much everyone wanted to help. It is about golf, a sport that teaches patience and etiquette, as well as team camaraderie.  But, it is also about helping a girl have a chance to learn a sport that may open a door for her later on in life.  One of the team members that I met told me that she had never swung a golf club, but she has watched a lot of golf on TV.

Now she has a chance to experience in life what she could only watch others perform.

If you are moved like I was to pay it forward and help get this cool new golf team off the ground, it is not too late!! The high school is selling T-shirts now through September 1, 2014. For $20 you can get a T that says “Vance Golf” on the front and features a list of generous sponsors (like you!) on the back. Make your check payable to “Vance Athletic Booster Club (Golf)” and address the envelope as follows:

c/o Jerry Smith / Golf Coach
Vance High School
7600 IBM Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

As for me and my loyal band of gal pals, who like golfing almost as much as we like gnoshing, we will continue to follow the Vance High School Girls’ Golf Team and maybe, just maybe by the end of the season, they can visit our Nana Network, and give us a golf tip or two!