Sunday, March 11, 2012

State-by-State Baking :: Connecticut's Red Robin Hamburgers

It has been a long time since the girls have made any recipes to go along with their United States Geography Study this year.   We got off to a great start in the fall, making Delaware Peach CrumblePennsylvania Hershey's Chocolate Breakfast Cake, and a New Jersey and Georgia inspired lunch, but then I hit my third trimester and due to a number of extra pregnancy challenges the first things to go were the weekly State-by-State Baking with the girls and all the fun Little Saints Pre-school Activities for Snuggles.  The girls continued studying the various States (in the order they joined the Union) and I promised them that after the baby was a couple months old we would go back and review each state and catch up on their baking.

Well, our little Bud will be 3 months old next week (on the feast of St. Joseph), everyone is starting to recover from the flu, and summer will be here in no time.  Sooo, if we hope to finish at least half the States this year, we had better get busy.   The girls agreed, and were more than excited!  :)

We started with a recipe for Connecticut today, along with a couple for Massachusetts (I'll post about those next), and hope to make quite a few more this coming week, before their Daddy leaves for training next weekend.  I guess we will see how it goes!

Anyhow, the 5th state to join the Union was the state of Connecticut.  The girls studied this state with the help of N is for Nutmeg: A Connecticut Alphabet and then completed their Notebook Pages. 

Connecticut Notebooking Pages

Inspired by The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States the girls decided to make Hamburgers:

"The hamburger was probably first made and sold in New Haven in 1900.  The owner of Louis' Lunch made hamburgers from the trimmings of steak used in steak sandwiches.  He served the hamburgers on a plate with onions and home fries.   When a customer was in a rush, he asked the owner to put the hamburger between two pieces of bread so he could get going.  Even in 1900 there was a need for fast food!"

"A is for American Robin, 
a lovely little fellow.
He sings a pretty tune, 
musical and mellow."

And with the state bird being the American Robin... we had to go with a "Red Robin" inspired burger, right?!?   We used the following recipe for Teriyaki Burgers from Bless Us O Lord. (Thank you Barbara!)  Everyone LOVED the burgers and we will definitely be making them again!

Connecticut's Red Robin Hamburgers


8 - 1/3 pound frozen hamburger patties

1-3/4 c. water
1 c. soy sauce
1 c. light brown sugar
1/2 t. onion powder (we substituted 1/2 tbs. onion flakes)
1/2 t. garlic powder

8 canned pineapple slices
8 slices cheddar cheese
8 sesame seed hamburger buns
8 tomato slices
8 iceberg lettuce leaves


Begin by preparing the marinade and defrosting the hamburger patties.

Combine all marinade ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Place burgers in a baking dish or a large storage container. Baste with marinade; flip and baste the other side (be sure to reserve some marinade for the pineapple slices). Cover container and refrigerate 4-12 hours. Place pineapple slices in a separate container with the remaining marinade, cover and chill.

(Ask  Daddy to...) Preheat grill to medium heat. Cook hamburgers 3 to 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. When you flip the burgers, add the pineapple to grill and cook until the grill marks show, turning once. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty to melt.

Thank you Daddy! 

Spread mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each bun.

Place hamburger patty on bottom bun and top with a tomato slice and a grilled pineapple slice on each. Cover with a lettuce leaf and place top bun on sandwich.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

We also picked up some "Circus" animal crackers, to go along with our burgers, for Mr. Phineas T. Barnum, of Barnum & Bailey fame, a leading citizen in his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut:

"B is for Mister Barnum, 
and his animals and clowns.
He started a traveling circus, 
for kids in all the towns."

Resources we used for this State Study:

N is for Nutmeg Teacher's Guide (pdf)
Other Posts of Interest: 

State-by-State Scrapbook
State-by-State Scrapbook :: Connecticut


  1. Thanks for sharing! How long do you spend studying each state?

    1. Originally I had planned to do a quick overview this year, learning the capitals and some fun facts about each state, and complete one-two states per week. That didn't happen! I suppose if I hadn't made so many elaborate plans for American History we'd have a little more time to focus on Geography. :) Anyhow, at this point my girls are up to the 14th state, Vermont. We are 24 weeks into school, so I guess we are averaging just over 1 every 2 weeks. I have given them any weeks that contained holidays (even if just one day) off from Geography, and a few weeks they were sick, or I was recovering from delivery... With 12 weeks left of the school year, I figure if we spend this week reviewing, we can then do 11 more states - one per week - for the rest of the year and finish 25 of the states this year, continuing with the remaining 25 next year.

  2. Hi Jessica, I love your blog and check it everyday. I live in NH, but am 20 min from the MA border. (Here in New England we can get to any of the states within 1-2 hours with it being so small.) I am actually from CT originally. If you would like me to send you any postcards from NH or MA while you are doing this Unit I'd be happy to. I have 3 married daughters (and 2 unmarried!) so we are always talking about what "Shower of Roses" posted! Thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas! Cindy

    1. BTW: My email is: (Cindy)

    2. Thank you for your offer! I actually need to check and see if the kids have received post cards from those states yet or not. I posted a request for State Postcards on Facebook awhile back and they have been getting so many. It has been so much fun!

    3. do you have one from Louisiana? there are other states we can pick up en routeo to DC too...oh and we have CO...

    4. Wonderful! Thank you!! I will try and go through all of the postcards with the kids sometime in the next week and make a chart of the ones we still need. I also have a huge stack for them to mail out as well from our state. :)

  3. Your burgers look wonderful! If you need a recipe from OH let me know!

    I was planning to do States next year with Faith but you make it look so fun we may start sooner. :-)

    1. That would be so much fun for you and Faith!!! You should! We have plans to make another of your recipes this week.... Crab Cakes for Maryland. Everyone is looking forward to them!

      Another online friend in Ohio has already sent the kids some Cincinnati Chili Mix and I think we are going to have to make some Buckeyes as well. :) What do you think?

    2. Cincinnati Chili would be great -- as long as you know you have to eat it over spaghetti with cheese on top! That's a Cincinnati three-way. Add onions or beans for a four way. A five way is all five!

      Buckeyes would be a great addition! Have fun. :-)

    3. My kids love eating pasta noodles mixed with chili and cheese, but we've never had chili over spaghetti. That sounds pretty good! I'm not sure that they would go for the onions, but the beans might be okay. I just noticed the "serving suggestions" on the back of the seasoning packet and sure enough it gives the directions for a 2 Way, 3 Way, 4 Way, 5 Way, and a Cheese Coney.

  4. What a fun idea to bake with the states. We are just starting a State study this week. Andrew would love to do some hands on kitchen fun. :)

  5. I love this! I don't homeschool, but I am always looking for fun ways to keep the learning alive in the summer! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Jessica, you are amazing! Your children would never get this kind of exposure to the states if they were in a public school. They are blessed to have you as their teacher. Will you be my teacher?? :)

  7. I live in Connecticut, and I just saw a robin in our yard for the first time yesterday! Spring has sprung!


  8. I love this idea to cook your way across the USA. We are going to be doing the 50 states next year and I am definitly going to steal, ahh...I mean graciously borrow, your notebooking and cooking ideas. You are such a font of ideas and inspiration! God bless you and your beautiful family.


You can find my Comment Policy and Guidelines here. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from my visitors here at Shower of Roses! May God bless you all!

Note: All comments are moderated.