Archive for ‘Cookbook’

September 5, 2013

Hosting a Super Sleepover (Of course there are books involved!)

by Angela Verges

Angela Verges

Angela Verges

The kids are back in school and will make friends and soon invite them over for play dates and sleepovers. I remember my boys being invited to a friends’ house for a sleepover, so we didn’t have to host many ourselves. When the boys returned home I would hear stories about their escapades.

“We had a pillow fight, played games and stayed up all night.”

Now when I ask my teen boys about their first sleepover, they claim memory loss. I asked questions such as, “Did you tell scary stories, what kind of games did you play?”

The response I received was, “That was six years ago Ma, I don’t remember.”

Since I was planning a sleepover for my nieces, I thought it was also a good idea for the boys to read a book related to sleepovers. Maybe this would help them remember their days of sleepovers and help me with the planning.

jigsawjonessleepoverThe book my son read with me was A Jigsaw Jones Mystery – The Case of the Spooky Sleepover by James Preller. The first page of this chapter book begins with a description or Ralphie Jordan, a popular kid and a “world-champion smiler.”

Title: A Jigsaw Jones Mystery: The Case of the Spooky Sleepover
Author: James Preller
Genre: Early Reader, Mystery
Age:  Elementary

Ralphie wasn’t smiling when he talked to Jigsaw about his problem. Sitting in Jigsaw’s treehouse and backyard office, Ralphie explained that he heard ghost sounds at his house. And so the idea of a sleepover at Ralphie’s house was formed.

The Jigsaw Jones series has a recommended age of 7-10 years. The language was age appropriate and fun to read. The mystery was solved in a satisfying way that left this reader with a smile, just like Ralphie Jordan.

9780316734189For the younger reader, Olive’s First Sleepover by Roberta Baker does a good job showing escapades that occur during a first sleepover. Olive played with her friend Lizard many times, but had never stayed the night with Lizard.

Title: Olive’s First Sleepover
Author: Roberta Baker
Illustrator: Debbie Tilley
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: whenever they are having their first sleepover!

During the sleepover the girls created a petting zoo with caterpillars and other bugs they collected and charged the neighbors a small fee to visit. For dinner they made pizza with crazy toppings like marshmallows and chocolate chips. When it was time for bed the girls made a blanket tent and used pillows to create a tunnel.

Of course the night didn’t end without Olive becoming homesick. After listening to a ghost story, every sound that Olive heard was magnified. The ticking of the alarm clock was loud as well as the dripping of the rain as it trickled down a gutter. The girls experience more mishaps before finally sleeping soundly.

If you’re planning a sleepover either of the books mentioned in this post would be fun to read. If you’re looking for activities to incorporate into your party check out The Sleepover Book by Margot Griffin. The book included ideas such as flashlight tag, radical relays and a recipe for making glow-in-the-dark body paint.

thesleepoverbook

Title: The Sleepover Book
Author: Margot Griffin
Illustrator: Jane Kurisu
Genre: Parenting, Crafts, Cookbook
Ages: Old enough to host a sleepover

If you want to host a super sleepover, include the kids in the planning. Or at the very least, enjoy a good book about sleepovers.

What has been your experience with sleepovers?

July 10, 2013

A Vegan Mac and Cheese for the Healthy Family

Okay, so I am so excited to introduce one more new writer. I had been following Ophelia’s blog for some time now and have made almost every recipe she has posted. Seriously. Her chocolate-avocado pudding is one of my favorites. And now she is writing for us! Because I’ve always wanted to make sure that the Family That Reads Together is also Eating together. But let her introduce herself:

I am French and vegan (no, it’s true!). The French part, well, I obviously didn’t choose, but the vegan part was a decision I made about 10 seconds after watching a slaughter-house/factory farm video (thank you liberal arts schools!).

Cue 2009, the birth year of my daughter. I realized the moment my daughter was born that not only was I entirely clueless in my new role as a mom, but that my vegan cooking skills were going to be put to the test by the brand new palate of a child! Overwhelmed by the magnitude of this new responsibility, I had to dig deeply for a creativity I didn’t know I had.

And so here is some of that creativity! Welcome Ophelia! Thanks for joining us! (You can find her own blog at lapetitevegan.com.)

A Vegan Mac and Cheese for the Family that Eats Healthy Together!

Yes, everyone needs a good vegan mac and cheese recipe. Let me rephrase that: everyone needs at LEAST one good mac and cheese recipe. If you search around, you will find that there are many out there and most of them will be satisfying (you know, the whole point of this dish). BUT, what many lack is a bit of originality (yes!) and a wise ratio of good nutrients. Just a roundabout way of saying that many require WAY too much margarine for my taste and (boringly) rely on flour to thicken the sauce. Cue this recipe.

Title: Vegan Fusion World Cuisine
Author: Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi and the chefs at Blossoming Lotus
Genre: Cookbook

This recipe comes straight out of the Blossoming Lotus cookbook. I love it because it covers my two most basic mottos: it’s easy (I mean, all you need is a blender!), and delicious. This one comes with an added bonus: it’s also original. Its originality comes from the main ingredient: tahini. Tahini is just another word for sesame butter (as in, ground up sesames). Most of us unknowingly consume tahini in hummus or perhaps even in the occasional “tahini dressing” (recipe to come!). Regardless, let’s be clear about this butter: it’s high in calcium, iron, good fats and protein. Win!

Ok, so gathering the ingredients is what will take you the most time, though they can all be easily found in your local health food store. This recipe also calls for raw garlic, which many little ones might find too strong/spicy in flavor. I recommend trying it anyway at first and if you notice a reluctance, perhaps blend it with less or even without garlic, take a batch out for your child and then go to town with the garlic for yourself.

If you want to make this entirely gluten free, simply replace the oats with ground up flaxseeds (same ratio), and use quinoa pasta instead. And you know, it doesn’t HAVE to be poured over pasta. Clearly you can use it as a dip, pour it over veggies, rice, quinoa or even eat it with a spoon (yeah, I said it). Enjoy!

Mac and Cheese (or “Cheez” if that makes you more comfortable!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1 1/2 cup soy, rice or almond milk (unsweetened preferrably)

2 TBSP rolled oats

2 TBSP tahini

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 tsp soy sauce (or tamari or bragg’s)

3/4 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tsp turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

Place all these ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.

Pour over pasta

and stir.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Top with sauteed or raw veggies

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So what do you think? Are you in for vegan mac and cheese? And if you try this recipe out, let us know how it worked for you and your family! Happy eating!

July 8, 2013

Need some science with your watermelon?

I have never tired to make my love for science a secret. Except in high school, and then I actually hated it so there was no secret, just a catastrophic misunderstanding that was luckily remedied by some more creative teachers in college. But that’s another story for another time. Right now, I want to talk about how you can get your kids to love science, too, because, really there is nothing NOT to love. And while most parents know to keep up on reading over the summer, and many also do some math or writing, not everyone thinks about science.

So today I’m linking to an article I wrote for ParentMap magazine in Seattle. It talks about how to bring science to your kid, whether that kid is scientifically, artistically, linguistically, or anything other-istically inclined. So go ahead and click on the link below.

Turn Cooking and Collecting Into Summer Science Fun!

And then, depending on which part you (and your child) likes best, head to the kitchen or the backyard or the library. And let the science learning begin!

Some of the books mentioned in that article can also be found on this blog. LIke Swirl by Swirl, Forest Has A Song, and Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different.

March 9, 2012

Ridiculously easy and so very yummy chickpea burgers

Welcome to another installment of The Family That Eats Together Fridays! These chickpea burgers are the best thing to come out of my recent (nonvoluntary) experiment in (pseudo)-veganism. When Gyroscope’s instestinal tract decided it was going to temporarily refuse to handle dairy, I had to eliminate from my diet. One easy way to do this was to eat a lot of vegan meals.

I was so excited to get out an incredibly awesome cookbook called Veganomicon, which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to spice up their family cooking with some more vegetables and healthy flavors. Even if you aren’t vegan or anything close to it, you are guaranteed to love these meals.

One of my favorites (and my husband’s who is a true meat-eater), are the chickpea burgers. They are ridiculously easy, which is also a plus. We had them recently with some purple sweet potato fries. Yum! The Wizard of Why is still not sure what he thinks of these, but we can’t usually get him to eat regular burgers, either, so he might not be the best test…

Here’s the recipe from Veganomicon, with my notes in italics:

Chickpea Cutlets (Makes 4, take 10 minutes)

And they are serious about the time. These are ridiculously easy!

Ingredients:

Make sure to soak the dried chickpeas over night before cooking to make it go faster. The recipe calls for cooked, so you need to cook before starting. Roast the extras in a hot oven with salt and spices for an awesome snack.

  • Olive oil for panfrying
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (You could probably use canned, but I fell in love with chickpeas when I started using dry ones. They are so delicious you will never buy a can of anything again.)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (This sounds weird, but makes the whole burger and it’s texture. And you will use the whole box because you will be making these again and again, I swear.)
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I have used almost everything with this recipe; white panko, whole wheat panko, regular crumbs and seasoned ones. Use what you have–just make sure if you use seasoned ones they go with the flavors you are adding.)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce (For reasons I won’t go into, I can’t eat soy right now, but 2 Tablespoons of molasses does just fine by this recipe!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (I always use more; I am from the school of “there’s never enough thyme in any recipe”.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (This may be the best, but I’m sure any paprika would work. I put in extra of this, too.)

    Vital wheat gluten and panko bread crumbs

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage 

I’m going to paraphrase the recipe, but it’s really easy:

1. Mash chickpeas until no whole ones are left (this is an awesome task for eager little hands!), then add in all the other ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed. (Make sure you put in chickpeas first; don’t NOT work in reverse!)

2. Preheat heavy skillet; make four cutlets and need together and then flatten into a 4×6 in shape. (Kids will enjoy making their own!)

3. Add thin layer of olive oil to the pan and cook for 6 – 7 minutes on each side. Recipe says you can also bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, of you brush them with olive oil first. Flip and bake again for 8 – 10 minutes on other side.


January 21, 2012

I’m talking to you, queen of buttery goodness, spokeswoman for denial

Paula Deen. When she gets on TV with that big smile even bigger hair, her hearty laugh and even heartier eyelashes, her Southern twang and her creamy foods, I swoon a little. I love her humility She doesn’t seem like the a bazillionaire when she’s telling you how to make cheesy grits with about four times as much cheese as grits. I love her family: she’s like a teenager in love when her husband comes on the show. I love her boys: when I think of the two boys I’m now raising myself, I often think, if I could just do as good of a job as Paula Deen did, then I’ll be happy.

But right now, Paula’s making a lot of people angry. Here’s my take on what I’ve read so far:

——————-

Anthony Bourdain slammed Paula Deen by tweeting “I’m thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business so I can sell crutches later. Really Bourdain? He’s not the only one to criticize Paula for making America less healthy. Do the people making these arguments really think that Americans would be slimmer if Paula didn’t have a TV show? That Paula Deen’s recipes, and not a history of fattening food and fast-food restaurants are causing the obesity epidemic?

——————-

In an unbelievable opinion article on Fox News entitled “Gods, Guns, and Grease” (I couldn’t make that up if I tried) that could have been written in 1865 when the carbetbaggers were arriving in the wartorn South, James Richardson argues that the Paula backlash is Northern prejudice and elitism, and tells Yankees that they don’t understand good Southern family values and cooking on a budget–that’s my favorite part, as if cooking with more butter is somehow cheaper.

——————-

In her add for her new drug company, Paula says that she wasn’t about to change her life with her diagnosis, but she is “cutting back on  one of my favorite things: sweet tea” which “for a Southern girl [is a] big deal.”

I’m sorry, Paula. I still love you, but that’s total crap. People look up to you. Don’t feed them this b.s. that they can drink less sweet tea and live the easy life with diabetes. That’s playing right into the American ideal that we can do whatever we want with our lives and a bunch of little pills (or injections in this case) are going to save us. Obviously, that’s what the company you are sponsoring is counting on. But being healthy takes hard work. You pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, Paula. I know you are no stranger to hard work, and that’s why I find this disappointing.

——————

The only article I thought was reasonable, actually, was from food blogger Marion Nestle who had this to say:

According to the Times’ account, Mrs. Dean says that it is elitist to criticize her food:

You know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills. Really?  Does Mrs. Deen think those families can afford to pay the $500 a month drug companies charge for Victoza?

——————

In her big coming out on the Today Show, Paula was asked about her diet and the fattening foods she teaches people how to cook. She had the nerve to say “I’ve always encouraged moderation. … I tell people in moderation, in moderation.” I’ve seen your shows, Paula, and that is a lie. Lying, as I tell my three-year-old, makes me sad.

Here’s what I’d like you to say: Yes, I’ve overindulged. It was fun while it lasted. I hope people can learn from my experience. Make my recipes at the occasional family gathering or party. But we all need to change the way we eat. And then do what you do best, Paula: show us how to do that.

Would it kill you to say that, Paula? Because here’s my concern: It might kill a lot of more people if you don’t.

Be a spokesperson for drugs. Be a spokesperson for doughnuts and butter. But don’t be a spokesperson for denial.

So, reader, what do you think? Do you agree with any of the articles?

December 8, 2011

cook-it-up-and-eat-it-up

If the holidays aren’t a time for cooking, I don’t know what they are for! And my 3-year-old seems to have sensed the vibe, because he’s been spending an average of 30 minutes a day in his play kitchen recently.

He loves to cook, and I love cooking in my own kitchen while he putters away in his mini-version right next to me. As I simmer away the tomatoes and onions, he chops his velcro and wood fruit, mixes them in his mini pans and sticks them in the oven. Then he brings it over to me for a taste or insists that I sit down for a more formal meal.

And it’s even more fun when he gets up on his “learning tower” to cook along with me. So when we got this cookbook to review from OwlKids, we were both really excited. My son was very proud to show his dad that he has his very own cookbook, and it’s provided us with fun, great times together, and some really good food.

Title: Eat it Up!
Author: Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook
Age: 3 and up!

What to do with the kids:

These are simple, easy, and yummy recipes. Let your kid pick one out: the pictures will allow even kids who are too young to read to choose for themselves. Then take them to the store (or a farmer’s market if it’s summertime!) and let them help buy the ingredients.

The first recipe my son chose, much to my surprise, was the meat pie. I don’t eat red meat, and I don’t usually cook with it at home, so we used Field Roast Apple Sage sausages (which are meat-free, soy-free, and dairy-free and absolutely great). It was delicious! It was even better smothered with some Apple Butter. Hey, it’s the holidays, right?

May 20, 2011

A book you’ll read in the kitchen: TANGERINE AND KIWI VISIT THE BREAD BAKER

If I could choose to pass only one thing down to my child, it would be good food.  After all, we are what we eat. Our bodies are our temples, and so on and so forth.  Modern science is finally catching on to what ancient traditions have always known—most of our problems will go away (or never appear!) if we eat well.

Eating with my 3-year-old has been a constant source of concern for me.  When he eats his veggies, I am so excited I have a hard time not showing it.  Same thing when he doesn’t–I work hard not to show my disappointment.  Like in a lot of areas of parenting, I spend a lot of internal energy making sure that my exterior is as cool as a cucumber.  Based on what I read on the parenting websites and in the magazines, I try not to make meal time a power struggle or emotional fight.  I don’t want to tell my kid he HAS to eat something because I don’t want him to refuse just to spite me.  I don’t want to tell him he will get dessert if he eats something because I don’t want sugar to become the reward and vitamins the hard work you have to do to get the reward.  Really, I just want to put the food in front of him and have him magically eat it up.

Well, that happens sometimes.  But there are also the times when he doesn’t eat it and I smile anyway and take his plate away.  Or the times when I can’t help myself and I do tell him he has to have three more bites.  Or the times when I persuade, argue and coerce him to try just one more thing.  Or the times when I hold dessert out as the carrot, irony intended.  So through a combination of tactics that parenting experts would both applaud and deride, I continue, as we all continue, as a mother of necessity.

When I saw this book in the Owl Kids book catalog, I was really excited and requested it immediately.  They sent me a review copy and I’m excited to spread the word.  Yes, this book is about bread, and I’m sure you could debate the health factors of bread.  But to me, this book touches on something much more important, something we have lost complete touch with: where our food comes from and how we make it.  Because at the end of the day, if you are eating something you made with your own hands, instead of something out of a plastic package, then you’re a step ahead.

And with childhood obesity hitting our country like an epidemic, it’s high time we all took those small steps with all of our children.

Title: Tangerine and Kiwi Visit the Bread Baker
Author: Laïla Héloua
Illustrator: Nathalie Lapierre
Translator: Sarah Cummins
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

Tangerine and Kiwi stay at their grandparents house and learn to make bread.  They learn about the flour and water, the yeast and the salt.  They hear stories about their Mom wh used to help make bread in the family bakery.  They do the work themselves, bake the bread over a wood fire, and, best of all, eat it up.  The illustrations are done in warm oranges and browns, which helps you visualize and almost smell the aroma of a warm loaf of bread.  There is a recipe at the end of the book.

The story is simple but the message is powerful.  The more children understand what food is and where it comes from, they more they will be able to make their own healthy choices as they grow up.

Follow-up with the kids:

There’s only one thing to do: bake bread!  The book even includes a recipe and directions.

This is an activity that kids will love!  Lots of mixing, kneading, and hands-on gooeyness.  They will be really excited to see the dough after it’s risen—I can remember being so excited myself when my mom made her special rolls for Thanksgiving.  And to this day, I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing that swollen mound in the bowl, just waiting for me to bake it and eat it.

Thank you, Owl Kids, for the review copy!  I really enjoyed the book!

And if you like this one, here are some others I can’t wait to read to my son:

January 31, 2011

Grab a spoon, some avocados, and some love

The first year after my son was born was complete chaos at my house.  Wonderful, loving, ecstatic chaos, but chaos nonetheless.  My husband and I were both working full-time, him as a Urology resident, me as a Middle School Principal, neither of which are jobs that let you slack a little here and there.  (Actually, do jobs even exist now that let you slack a little here and there?)  Sleeping was not something my son was really ever into, and for that first whole year, and maybe more, he never slept in past four in the morning.  So the early wake-ups, combined with the middle-of-the-night feedings and cryings, combined with stress from work, well, we let some things slide.

In fact, I think we let everything slide…I remember a co-worker talking about opening the curtains in her house each morning and closing them every night.  I suddenly got this tremendous urge to do the same, as if that would be some sort of sign that I was in control of my life, my house.  But on the priority list, that would come after a lot of things we already weren’t doing–making our own dinners (take-out was the norm), making our bed, cleaning up toys, even getting the basics done at work–everything was hanging by a thin thread.

But there was one thing I did that year, one thing that I had control over and one thing I was really proud of–and that was making food for my baby.  Every Sunday I would cook up delicious concoctions on the stove, put them in the blender, and then transfer to ice cube trays for freezing.  I loved knowing that I was providing him with good, healthy food.  And the money we were wasting on the unhealthy take-out for ourselves was being saved by not having to buy jar after jar of baby food.

This is a new cookbook I found recently at an upscale baby store.  My eyes always gravitate toward a beautiful cookbook with beautiful pictures.  I picked it up, even though I doubted it would add all that much to the ones I already had.  I think it was seeing the “banana-avocado guacamole” recipe that did it.  How good does that sound?

Title: Love in Spoonfuls
Author: Editors of Parenting Magazine (Recipes by Sarah Putman Clegg)
Genre: Parenting, Cookbook

Summary and Review:

Like most baby cookbooks, the recipes are simple, but I wouldn’t have thought of them myself, so that’s why I buy them.  The book is divided into stages of development from birth to 18 months, but of course many of the toddler recipes would be great for older toddlers and preschoolers as well.  It also has a lot of great tips about introducing foods (even ways to introduce by parenting style!), allergies, and other health information.

January 5, 2011

Yumminess!

My son likes to cook with me.  At least, if I have to cook, which is not necessarily what he’d prefer to something such as playing baseball, he wants to be right by my side.  He stands in his little “present”, which is what we still call his Learning Tower, an absolutely ingenious invention by someone whose kid must have liked cooking as much as mine and must have fallen off of kitchen chairs as much as mine.  If you are interested, you can look at them here.  They are expensive, but sturdy, and without a doubt the best thing we’ve ever bought for my son.  The easel has taken quite a beating, as he kicks it often or leans on it or climbs on it, but it’s still ticking.  And the tower itself looks like the day we bought it–and trust me, it’s been through a LOT.

But I digress.  Back to cooking with mom.  He loves it.  When I let him, which is too often judging my the amount of time I’ve spent cleaning up the consequent messes (but really, that’s what it’s about, right?) he participates with me–stirs the bowls (not too messy), pours the flour (really messy), or breaks the eggs (not as messy as you’d think).

And my husband LOVES rice pudding.  So those are the reasons I bought this book.  Oh, and I saw it mentioned on the Kirkus Reviews Best of 2010 book list.

Title: Arroz con leche or Rice Pudding
Author: Jose Argueta
Illustrator:
Fernando Vilela
Genre
: Picture Book, Poem
Age: 0 – Infinity

Summary and Review:

This book is so much fun to read.  You can almost smell the rice pudding as it dances and jumps off the pages.  It really is a poem, but within the poem is a recipe itself.  It’s beautiful and fun and the pictures are wonderful and unique.

I read some online reviews before I bought the book, and my favorite was a woman who said that it would be nice if there was a recipe in the back of the book.  Ha!  I almost fell off my chair laughing when I thought about that after having read the book.  It IS a recipe!  It even has measurements within the poem!  Are we modern Americans really so far removed from our own food that we can’t recognize a recipe for yumminess when we read it from start to finish?  And THAT, I believe, is another reason to buy that book.  So your child doesn’t say the same thing.

Oh, and it’s bilingual.  So you can read it in English, Spanish, or both.  Way cool.

Follow-up with kids:

Make some rice pudding!  You can experiment with different flavors, too.  The one in the book is flavored with cinnamon, but you could add some nutmeg, too.  Or do coconut.  Or whatever the kids can think of!

You can also do some foreign language practice, as the book is bilingual.  Merely reading it will introduce your kids to the sounds of Spanish, but you can do exercises where you pick a word in English and try to find its Spanish counterpart.  Or look through the Spanish text for words that you can recognize–or that look similar to the English words.

October 20, 2010

We turned his nose orange. By accident, I swear.

It was total strangers who noticed it first.  They would comment on how cute he was (as if perhaps to soften the blow) and then, as if they just noticed, ask how he got such a bright orange nose!  Family members started noticing it when the photos were emailed around and we had to admit they were right.  But the thing was, he LOVED orange foods!  Mostly pureed butternut squash, sweet potato, and carrot.  Also some mango.

Mmmmm, who wouldn’t?  Two years later, he still loves mango, but we’re working back up to the squash and carrot.  Somehow, he isn’t convinced when we tell him that he once loved those vegetables so much it turned his nose orange.  Either he doesn’t believe us, doesn’t care, or doesn’t want his nose to change colors, all of which seem fairly legitimate to me.

But his love of all kinds of foods started with this book.  The book is dogeared and stained as any good, well-loved and well-used cookbook should be.  I used it to fill our freezer up with ice-cube sized frozen meals of peas, lentils with apples, tofu with bananas and pears (tofu is still a favorite today), and lots of other yummy concoctions.

Title: Easy Gourmet Baby Food
Author: Chef Jordan Wagman and Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, RNCP
Genre
: Parenting, Cookbook
Age: Anyone who likes to cook!

Summary and Review:

This is a great cookbook.  If you only buy one cookbook for your baby, this is the one to get.  Your baby will get lots of yummy and healthy food and you will save so much by not buying those really expensive jars of baby food!  The book comes with a thorough introduction about nutrition and eating tips and each recipe comes with a nutritional analysis. The book also gives you ideas about

Don't be afraid to go for the spice rack! It's good for you and the baby and will wake up those taste buds!

when it’s appropriate to introduce different kinds of foods, which was super-helpful.

With few exceptions (although I might argue there should be more), each recipe also comes with a “not just for babies” section that tells you how the whole family might enjoy the recipe, for example, folding a green bean/basil puree into mashed potatoes or using an apricot/squash puree to top a pork chop.  The ideas for using the recipes with adults is great if you are making them in small quantities for baby to eat NOW, which is not really something I did the first time around when I was working full time.  Instead, I would spend a weekend afternoon making gigantic batches of something and freezing it, so I didn’t really need to use it for my husband and I.  Although there was one puree–onions, broccoli, potatoes, peas, and maybe something else–that my husband and I loved to eat hot as soup.  Yumminess…although I couldn’t find the recipe in this or my other baby cookbooks, so maybe I improvised it off of something else.

The book continues past baby recipes into “real” recipes a toddler and whole family will love, and I’ve tried these less, as I know find myself making the usual foods I like to make and sharing them with my son.  However, it is nice to have new ideas of healthy ways to introduce foods to my son.

As a baby, my son didn’t love all the recipes in the book (wouldn’t touch zucchini/basil puree with a ten-foot pole, for example, but I credit this book and the others I used with helping him to grow up to be a healthy eater!  I plan on using it for his little brother and hope that we will have the same luck!  Of course, we’ll try to reign in on the amount of squash, but it will be hard–he’ll be at pureed food age in the fall, just like his older brother.

I did have a couple of other baby cookbooks as well: DK’s Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Vann and the petit appetit cookbook by Lisa Barnes.  The first is gorgeous, with plenty of full-color photos and some good tips.  But I’m always turned off by people who use the term “organic” so loosely.  After all, any cookbook is organic if you use organic ingredients, and this one is not if you don’t.  The petit appetit also has some good feeding ideas, but neither of these books really got my full attention.  The recipes either seemed too simplistic (one ingredient steamed which hardly begs for a recipe) or just didn’t appeal to me.  But they are both well-written books and everyone has different taste, so they might be worth checking out to see if these recipes are more up your alley.  Both include symbols to easy identify vegetarian and other recipes specific to certain eating habits.