Posts tagged ‘cookbook’

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?

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.