Friday, April 30, 2010

Tip of the Day April 30

Here is a recap of all the books reviewed this month. I have placed them in rough order of like. The ones I enjoy more are near the top; toward the bottom are books I would not recommend purchasing. There were a few days I reviewed websites so not all will be books.

  1. Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids
  2. Williams Sonoma Kids Baking
  3. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid)
  4. New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking)
  5. 30 Healthy Things to Cook and Eat (Cooking Cards)
  6. A Year of Slow Cooking
  7. The Healthy Baby Meal Planner: Mom-Tested, Child-Approved Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler
  8. Cool Sweets & Treats to Eat: Easy Recipes for Kids to Cook (Cool Cooking)
  9. Cooking Light Cook's Essential Recipe Collection: Slow Cooker: 57 essential recipes to eat smart, be fit, live well (the Cooking Light.cook's ESSENTIAL RECIPE COLLECTION)
  10. Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up
  11. Healthy Cooking for Kids: Building Blocks for a Lifetime of Good Nutrition
  12. Everyday With Rachael Ray
  13. Allrecipes.com
  14. The New Moosewood Cookbook (Mollie Katzen's Classic Cooking)
  15. Sesame Street Yummy Cookies: Baking with Kids
  16. Starting Cooking (First Skills)
  17. Whole Foods for the Whole Family Cookbook
  18. Kids Can Cook: Vegetarian Recipes
  19. Hey Kids! You're Cookin' Now! A Global Awareness Cooking Adventure
  20. The Complete Tightwad Gazette
  21. Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food
  22. The Complete Bread Machine Bakery Book
  23. The Healthy Body Cookbook: Over 50 Fun Activities and Delicious Recipes for Kids
  24. The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Children's Cookbook
  25. Food Processor Bread Cookbook (Fireside Books (Holiday House))
  26. Breakfast Blast (Kid Power)
  27. Kids' First Cookbook
  28. Kids Cookbook
  29. Kitchen Playdates: Easy Ideas for Entertaining That Includes the Kids ** 70 Delicious Recipes
They all have something you can use but some are better to borrow or check out of the library. After I finished this month of tips a friend lent us some other really great books. It seems there is an endless supply of cookbooks for children. We are going to keep after it and find  a collection of good recipes to use.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tip of the Day April 29

The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Children's Cookbook is a wonderful source of basic, family-friendly recipes. We borrowed this from the library as well and will definitely have to have a copy. It has a nice rating of difficulty and how long the recipe will take. Audrey used our local, grass-fed chicken to make Oven-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables.
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 medium-size carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 medium-size red potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 roasting chicken, 6 to 6 1/4 lbs
Spray the roasting pan with the nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside. Put the thyme, basil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper into cup. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skins. With the paring knife, cut off the ends. Discard the skins and ends. Cut each carrot crosswise into 3 pieces. Put the pieces in the roasting pan. Place the onion on the cutting board. With the paring knife, cut off the ends. With the paring knife or your fingers, peel off the skin. Discard the ends and skin. Cut the onion lengthwise in half. Place each half, flat side down, on the cutting board. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 pieces. Put the pieces in the roasting pan. Using a vegetable brush, scrub the potatoes while rinsing them under running cold water. Pat them dry. Place the potatoes on the cutting board. With the paring knife, cut each one lengthwise in half. Place each half, flat side down, on the cutting board. Cut each half lengthwise in half again. Put the potato quarters in the roasting pan. Sprinkle the vegetables with the olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir the vegetables until they are evenly coated with the olive oil and seasonings. Rinse the lemon with running cold water. Pat it dry. Place the lemon on the cutting board. With the paring knife, cut it crosswise in half. Set the halves aside. Using the wooden spoon, push the vegetables to the sides of the roasting pan to make room for the roasting rack. Place the rack in the center of the pan. Remove the package that contains the giblets and neck from inside the chicken. This package can be wrapped and refrigerated and used to make soup another day. Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the towels. Place the chicken on the rack in the roasting pan. Rub the chicken all over with the cut sides of the lemon while gently squeezing the lemon to release some juice. Place the lemon halves inside the chicken. Using your fingers, rub the chicken with the thyme mixture. Place the roasting pan in the oven on the middle rack. Turn the oven control to 350°F. Set the timer and roast the chicken and vegetables for 2 hours. When the timer goes off, begin testing for doneness. It is fully roasted when the temperature on the meat thermometer registers 175° to 180°or the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the paring knife or fork. When the chicken is fully roasted, turn off the oven. Using the pot holders, place the roasting pan on a trivet. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil. Place the foil the chicken and vegetables. Set the timer and let the chicken and vegetables stand for 5 minutes. This will make cutting the chicken easier.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help slice (tear into pieces) the vegetables
  2. Place vegetables in the roasting pan
  3. Put spices on vegetables and chicken
  4. Place chicken in roasting pan
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Help slice vegetables
  3. Coat vegetables in oil
  4. Place roasting pan in oven
We did not follow each step because we did not have a lemon. This was a great meal. We added brown rice and made it a full meal. The instructions look rather long because they are written for children who need each step explained thoroughly. It was rather easy prep and then we sat back and played (cleaned) while the meal cooked.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tip of the Day April 28

For one of our last reviews I found a great book called The Healthy Body Cookbook. It is full of interesting facts about the body and great ways to incorporate exercise with healthy eating. I found a recipe similar to something Audrey already enjoys and was pretty certain she would eat it.
Wake-Me-Up Sunshine Salad

  • 1 orange
  • 1 8-ounce can of pineapple rings, in juice
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 maraschino cherries
Using a knife, make a small X on the top of the orange. Peel and section the orange. Open the can of pineapple rings. Drain the liquid. Place two washed lettuce leaves on each plate. Place two pineapple rings on top of the lettuce on each plate. Place 1 scoop of cottage cheese on top of the pineapple rings. Place the orange segments around the cottage cheese on each plate to make the sun's rays. Decorate the top of each salad with a cherry.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Place lettuce on plate
  2. Place pineapple on plate
  3. Place cottage cheese on plate
  4. Place oranges on plate
  5. Place cherries on plate
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Wash lettuce
We love this book and the recipe. Audrey made us lunch and then we both ate it all. I even consumed the lettuce because I thought it would be good to get a little extra veggie. We did not have a fresh orange or maraschino cherries so I subbed mandarin oranges and fruit cocktail; all packed in juice. Audrey did not feel like making pretty designs so she just put the fruit on the plate. Rarely does she ever eat anything for lunch other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so I was pleased.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

French Toast of the Town

Whisking the banana mixture.
I found another great book at the library. Just by the title I knew it would be good. Healthy Cooking for Kids is very descriptive and lives up to its name. The first recipe we tried was for Audrey's daddy's birthday breakfast. We thought it best to make him something fun.
French Toast of the Town

  • 1 cup well-mashed ripe banana
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 slices whole-grain bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick and with each slice cut into 4 pieces
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the banana, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. whisk together until well blended. Dip the bread in the banana mixture, turning to coat both sides. Heat griddle or large cast-iron frying pan over moderate to high heat, and brush lightly with oil. Place dipped bread-about 4 pieces-into the prepared pan, and cook over moderate to low heat until the underside is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Using a metal pancake turner, flip the French toast over, and cook on the other side an additional 2-3 minutes or until golden. Continue until the remaining 28 pieces of toast are made (you may need to re-oil the griddle between batches). 

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Mash banana
  2. Mix ingredients
  3. Coat bread
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Grill bread
Another yummy breakfast. Audrey ate 5 pieces. Be sure to put oil in the pan as these little guys like to stick. Now I know why they said to use a metal spatula. This was a last-minute decision to allow Audrey to make something good for her daddy's birthday. Happy birthday!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Tiny Grape Upside-Down Cakes

Adding the grapes.
Today is another review of a different cooking recipe source. Anyone who has followed this blog knows how much we love Rachel Ray in this house. So much so that I ordered a subscription to Everyday with Rachel Ray when I found a deal (thanks Jenn!) I love the diversity of the magazine and all of the wonderful recipes. I thought of Audrey when I came across this recipe:
Tiny Grape Upside-Down Cakes

  • 1/2 cup apple jelly
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan and place 2 tsp apple jelly and a layer of grape halves at the bottom of each cup. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt; stir in the walnuts. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, butter and egg. Stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack for about 2 minutes, then invert onto the rack to cool completely. Dust with the confectioners' sugar before serving. 
Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Place the jelly and grapes in the muffin cups
  2. Crack the egg
  3. Add ingredients and whisk
  4. Place in muffin cups
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Slice grapes
  3. Help add ingredients
  4. Place in oven
This was so easy. I prepped the grapes ahead of time so it was as simple as a quick mix and pop them in the oven. These would be so easy to make in the morning and let them bake while you get ready. Gather the ingredients the night before.


For those of you who know us you might be wondering to yourself...where is Maurene during all of this cooking? I finally decided to take a picture of her and show you. It used to be a lot tougher to cook while Maurene was awake. That is why we made a lot of dinners in the beginning. It is a whole lot easier now that she can do a few things for herself.

Enjoying her food.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet Potato Surprise

I love the way Mollie Katzen talks about cooking with children. If you ever have the chance to pick up any of her children's cookbooks, do! Even if you do not use the recipes her ideas are wonderful. She really sees the power in working with children and how capable they are. We made a great Sweet Potato recipe from Salad People to accompany Turkey Sliders and Cole Slaw. Audrey is starting to really enjoy cutting with her Curious Chef knives so I thought this would be a great recipe.

Sweet Potato Surprise
  • 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 lb apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
  • 6 shakes salt
  • Nonstick spray for honey spoon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Cut the unpeeled sweet potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Cook the sweet potatoes in a steamer over simmering water until very tender and easily pierced with a fork (about 20 minutes). Cool the potatoes until comfortable to handle, then peel by hand or with a paring knife. Transfer the peeled sweet potatoes to a large bowl, and mash. Add the butter to a heated skillet over medium heat, and let the kids watch it melt. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and then add the apples. Stir and cook until the apples are very soft. Scrape them into the sweet potatoes. Add the salt, honey, and lemon juice, and mash again. You can keep working it until very smooth, or leave some texture - it's fine either way.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Mash the sweet potatoes
  2. Cut the apples
  3. Add cinnamon, honey, and lemon
  4. Stir the apples while they cook
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Peel the apples
  3. Cook and peel the sweet potato
  4. Help stir and mash
Audrey loved this. She got to pound sweet potatoes, cut apples, and stir. I caught her trying the sweet potatoes before we added the apples, honey, or lemon and she was not impressed. We will have this again and hope she eventually tries it. I enjoyed it very much. Our batch was a little chunky and the texture was very nice that way. I recommend not mashing them smooth as the apples give the potatoes great depth.
Once Audrey starts eating vegetables a little more we will have more options of what to cook from this book. I know it is a phase and we must continue to offer vegetables. I would like for her to eventually learn to like some of the wonderful recipes she is cooking.

Chopping apples.

Mollie Katzen Videos

She has videos! I had no idea until I found her fan page on Facebook.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Breakfast Pudding

She is having so much fun.
While at the library I found a book called Breakfast Blast. I thought it would be a great book to get ideas for new foods for Audrey and I to have for breakfast. Mostly it is full of the usual suspects. Each recipe includes pictures of teens cooking that meal so I get the impression that the the age group the book was written for. Not a great resource for us but I did find this good recipe:

Breakfast Pudding

  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread
  • 1 slice of ham or pre-cooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup of one or 1/4 cup of two of the following fruits, vegetables, or herbs: green pepper, mushroom, onion, tomato, zucchini, apple, and parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • a sprinkle of nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a small baking dish. Tear the bread into pieces and put the pieces into the dish. Put the bacon or ham pieces on top of the bread. Chop the fruits, vegetables, or herbs into bite-sized pieces and layer them on top of the ham, If you are using onion, mushroom, pepper, or zucchini pieces, saute them first in a teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the vegetables. Whisk together the egg, milk, and salt. Pour the mixture over the other ingredients. Sprinkle with a little nutmeg. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the pudding is puffed up and golden. Do a toothpick test to make sure it is done in the center. The toothpick should come out clean. Serve the pudding with tomato or pepper slices and lettuce greens.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Tear the bread and put it in the dish
  2. Slice the ham and red pepper
  3. Crumble the cheese and add
  4. Crack the egg and mix with milk
  5. Add to dish
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Place in oven
Audrey got to do a great deal of this meal. She always loves to cook with eggs.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Bread, "Kids Can Cook"

Just a little taste.
I loved the title of the cookbook for today! Kids Can Cook is such an empowering way to motivate. It is geared to older children but I found a number of great recipes. Audrey and I made peanut butter bread (sorry Leah!) and boy is it good. Peanut butter is a favorite in this household so I gravitated to this recipe immediately. The book is vegetarian but many of the recipes could be converted to add meat if desired.
Peanut Butter Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey or sugar
  • 1 cup milk
Oil a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure into a bowl the flour and Baking powder and set aside. Stir the peanut butter and sugar well to mix. When it is well mixed, stir in the flour. Work it all together with a slotted spoon until no flour shows. Stir in milk. Stir until the milk is well mixed in. Then spoon the batter into the oiled loaf pan. Set the timer for 45 to 50 minutes, and bake in the hot oven. The loaf will be lightly browned on top and pulling away from the sides of the pan when it is done.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Measure and add ingredients
  2. Stir!
  3. Help pour batter into pan
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Help pour batter into pan
  3. Bake
Yum! This was just the first recipe I came across that looked good. There are a great many in this book. The best part about this book is that most of the recipes are for foods I can see both children and adults enjoying. We borrowed this from the library but it is going on our Amazon wishlist.

Stirring.

Taking On Recipes One Magazine at a Time: Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting from Bon Appetit, April 2010

Taking On Recipes One Magazine at a Time: Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting from Bon Appetit, April 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

Audrey made the family salad last night. I gave her the greens to tear and the strawberries to cut up. It kept her busy and gave her such a sense of accomplishment.

Tip of the Day April 22

Audrey made Monkey Bread for our weekly playdate with a recipe from Kids' First Cookbook. The recipe was easy and we both had fun making it. There are quite a few good tips in this book but the recipes are so basic you would not need it after gleaning the tips. I recommend borrowing this book or checking it out of the library. We are going to make several other recipes using this book very soon. Look for cookie cutter 'meatballs.'
Easy Monkey Bread

  • 1 tube of quick biscuits
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
  • cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat pan with cooking spray. Cut each biscuit into four pieces. Roll each piece of biscuit into a ball. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture until covered. Drop pieces in pan. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the biscuits are done and brown on top. Flip the bread out of the pan and pull apart to serve.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Cut biscuits
  2. Roll biscuits into ball
  3. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar mixture
  4. Place in pan
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Place pan in oven
We loved this project. Audrey kept asking for more 'rolly things' to eat. I recommend keeping a tube of biscuits in the fridge and making these anytime you want a fun project. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tip of the Day April 21

Cool Sweets & Treats to Eat is a great little book with a lot of introduction to cooking and baking. Nearly half of the small book is devoted to teaching skills and safety. Of the recipes included, I would like to make about half of them with Audrey. The first recipe was not a hit but that is because we have a better one already. Audrey made her daddy's favorite, Apple Crisp:

  • 5 or 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into 8 pieces
Preheat oven to 375°F. Put the sliced apples in a 8 inch baking pan. They might be higher than the top of the pan. Don't worry, they will shrink as they bake. Strain lemon juice and mix it with the water. Pour the mixture evenly over the apples. Put the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use your clean hands to rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the apples but don't mix the two together. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and put it in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove the foil. Bake for another 35 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help slice the apples
  2. Pour the lemon juice over apples
  3. Cut the butter
  4. Help add ingredients to mixing bowl
  5. Help cut in butter
  6. Pour crisp on top of apples
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Peel apples
  3. Help slice apples
  4. Help add ingredients to bowl
  5. Help cut in butter
  6. Place crisp in oven
Very good just not as good as the family recipe. This one does not call for rolled oats so that should have been my first clue. We ate it anyway. Audrey loved helping to cut in the butter. You are crazy if you think I am going to have her rubbing it in with her fingers. I gave her a pastry cutter and I used a butter knife. We switched after a bit because she wanted the knife.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tip of the Day April 20

Audrey and I went to the library. There we found a nice book called Hey Kids! You're Cookin' Now! It is subtitled 'A Global Awareness Cooking Adventure,' so I was a little off put by all the extra material in the book. I just want the cooking stuff. However, it has a great number of fun, easy recipes. Here is one:
Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps

  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 6-inch tortillas
  • 1 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 375°F. Measure cinnamon and sugar into shaker to blend. Lay tortillas on cutting board. Use pastry brush to lightly brush tortillas with water. Sprinkle each one with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Stack tortillas on top of each other. With pizza cutter, cut stack into 8 wedges, like a pie. Place tortilla wedges in a single layer on cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until crisp. Remove from oven with mitts and let cool before serving.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Brush tortillas with water
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over tortillas
  3. Help cut tortillas with her Curious Chef pizza cutter
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Help Audrey cut tortillas
  3. Places crisps in oven
These were such a big hit, even Maurene liked them. The recipe calls for them to be served with fruit salsa. Next time we will include that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tip of the Day April 19

The book review for today is The Healthy Baby Meal Planner. I use it a lot and have cooked with Audrey on a few occasions. I reviewed it early on in my first attempts to cook with a toddler so I had a few problems. The book is great and I have learned a lot of tips on how to include Audrey more. We made Shepard's Pie and it was wonderful. This book is great because it has so many tips for feeding babies just starting solids to picky toddlers who will not eat much. I highly recommend it. The cover touts over 200 quick, easy, and wholesome recipes. It is an English cookbook, however, so there are a few recipes for things I have never heard of. Maybe we will try one soon!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Custardy Popovers

Pouring the batter into the tins.
The cookbook review for today is one I have had on my shelf since I was in my early 20s. The Moosewood Cookbook is a great staple for making tasty meals with no meat. This is great if you are cutting back on meat for health or economy. I would not recommend going out to buy one just for cooking with toddlers but if you have one, it has a number of great recipes to use. Audrey and I love to bake, mainly because the heat source is not a concern and also because the results are usually tasty. We made Custardy Popovers and they were wonderful. This is an easy project for young cooks with great results.

  • 2 to 3 tbsp melted butter for the pan 
  • 2-4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the insides of 12 muffin cups with melted butter. Beat together the eggs and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Add the flour and salt. and beat with a whisk until reasonably well blended. It's fine if the batter has a few lumps. Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake 25 minutes if using 2 eggs, 30 minutes for 3 eggs, and 35 minutes for 4 eggs. Try to refrain from opening the oven during baking. Remove the popovers from the pan immediately, and prick each with a fork to let the steam escape. (This helps them hold their shape.) Serve as soon as possible, either plain or with butter and jam. 

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Crack the eggs (she went a little nuts today and almost lost this privilege)
  2. Pour the ingredients in the bowl
  3. Whisk the batter
  4. Pour the batter into the muffin cups
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Help pour ingredients into bowl
  3. Place popovers in the oven
  4. Prick each to release steam
This was a fun and easy project. I recommend you keep these ingredients at hand and put them together first thing in the morning. You can get ready for your day while they bake and you will then have a tasty, warm breakfast.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tip of the Day April 17

Some of my cookbooks sit on my shelf for months or even years before I really get the chance to go through them. Whole Food for the Whole Family is one of those. After spending time looking at the recipes I decided we needed to start cooking with it because they are all so healthy and delicious. There is also a large section in the middle for cooking with your children. Some recipes are very easy and others take some skill. Audrey and I made a Wacky Carob Cake using cocoa powder since we did not have carob. It was a little messy but fun. For some reason I cannot find the pictures. I will keep looking and post when they are found. Here is the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (pastry flour preferred)
  • 1/3 cup honey or 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup carob powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine dry ingredients in ungreased  8 inch square baking pan. Add vanilla, vinegar, oil, honey and water. Blend well with fork, scraping sides to be sure that all the flour is mixed in. Stir in raisins and nuts, if you like. Put in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center come out clean. Remove from oven using potholders or oven mitts, to cooling rack. Let it cool before you cut it.
Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help measure and add ingredients to pan
  2. Stir
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Help measure, add and stir
  3. Place cake in oven
A very simple recipe. We like that it is made all in one pan.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Onion Soup Bread

Not everyone has a bread machine in the home but I thought I would include this book for those who do. Audrey loves to use the bread machine as it is simple and she gets to pour all of the ingredients in. Like cooking with a crock pot, the bread machine allows the toddler to be involved in most aspects of food preparation. My favorite bread machine cookbook is The Complete Bread Machine Bakery Book, for obvious reasons. It really is an all encompassing book. Here are some pictures of Audrey's first attempts at using the Bread Machine. We have come such a long way since then. Here is a recipe we like for Onion Soup Bread:
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp unsulphured molasses
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter or canola oil
  • 1 pkg dehydrated onion soup
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cormeal
  • dash of salt (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Pour the buttermilk into the baking pan of your bread machine and add the molasses, butter or canola oil, onion soup  mix, flour, cornmeal, and salt if desired. Distribute the yeast according to the instructions given for the particular bread machine you have. Bake on a quick cycle.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Pour all ingredients into the bread machine
  2. Push the button to start the baking cycle
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Assist Audrey in putting ingredients into bread machine
This is a simple one but very fragrant. We like it with butter or as a side with noddles.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Deceptively Delicious Pink Pancakes

Here is a picture of Audrey stirring with her Curious Chef whisk!
Deceptively Delicious is the book review today. Say what you will about hiding good foods in something children like, it is not that different than putting additives in your smoothie. You know they are there but you want the extra nutrients. It is the same with this book. As long as the child knows what you are adding there are no problems. Audrey could care less what makes her pancakes pink; she just knows she likes them. Here is the recipe for Pink Pancakes:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup beet puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1/4 cup grated apple
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • pure maple syrup or fruit for serving
In a blender or food processor, combine the water, ricotta cheese, beet puree, vanilla, and cinnamon and blend. Dump the mixture into a medium bowl, add the pancake mix and apple, and stir until just combined. Do not overmix - the batter will be a little lumpy. Coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil. Spoon the batter onto the griddle or skillet, using about 1/4 cap batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on top and batter is set, 1 to 2 minutes. Then flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm, with syrup or fruit.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Pour ingredients into food processor
  2. Crack egg
  3. Stir batter
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Heat skillet
  3. Cook pancakes
Always a winner in this house. Audrey has a thing for pink. I have had these with her and I can't taste the beet. Our post for today is a little later because Audrey made these for lunch and I am cooking (burning) them as I type.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tip of the Day April 14

I love so many of the books I have purchased from Usborne and the cookbook for today is no exception. It is called Starting Cooking and it is a great basic skills book. It is made for children old enough to do some stove top and cutting work; probably around 8-10. It is laid out to teach a few basic skills and has recipes designed for each  skill. I like how simple it is yet it includes recipes that anyone (read parents and children) would enjoy. So many cookbooks for children have recipes I would not even consider eating. Another bonus with this book is that there are Internet links associated with it. I have yet to use them, strangely enough, but they promise more recipes. Audrey and I made Oatmeal Bars. This is something I have wanted to make for a while but have never gotten around to it. I had to keep a close eye on her as it involved the stove top but she did fine.
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp flour
Heat the oven to  375°F. Grease a cookie sheet with some margarine on paper towels, or cooking spray. Turn on a burner to low heat. Put sugar and margarine into a large saucepan. Melt the mixture gently, stirring with a wooden spoon. When melted, take the pan off the heat. Stir in the oats, egg and flour. Spoon the mixture onto the cookie sheet. Flatten it with the back of a spoon. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes. The oatmeal bars should be golden brown when cooked. Cut into squares with a rounded knife. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, then take them out of the pan.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Stir the sugar and margarine
  2. Crack the egg
  3. Pour all ingredients into pan
  4. Stir and pour onto cookie sheet
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Help stir
  3. Put pan in the oven
  4. Cut the bars
All in all a good recipe. We made them too late to be able to taste so we will save the verdict on how they turned out to another time. I also completely missed getting a picture of Audrey making these. If they taste as good as they look we will be making them weekly and I will post a picture then.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: Food Processor Bread Book

This tip is for a book you may not be able to find easily. I found ours on a swap site called Paperback Swap. You sign up and trade books with other people for the cost of shipping. It is great if you have too many cookbooks you do not use and would like to pick up some you can use.

Here is the book: Food Processor Bread Book.

We usually just use the pizza dough recipe (also found in the Tightwad Gazette) but we are going to have Cottage Cheese Pan Rolls this week as well. When we get to them I will post a picture. Audrey loves to use the food processor so I am certain these will be a hit. They need to be rolled into 16 equal pieces but I have a feeling that is unlikely. However the look I am certain they will taste good as Audrey and I will make them with love.

Any book focusing on something Audrey can safely use is a good book in my kitchen. Audrey loves to shove items in the processor and watch as they are chopped up. She likes the sound of the machine and that it can shred cheese.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Yogurt

The tip for today is for another website. Audrey and I love the 365 Days of Crock Pot site. There are recipes there for every meal you could think of. We really love the yogurt recipe. Audrey loves yogurt at any time and I love making it because I know it is high quality. We use milk from our local dairy. 

The last batch I made I had Audrey help me. She loved counting the cups of milk and I loved that she was learning while we had fun. If you have not yet visited this site, please do so. You are certain to find something that looks good.

Look how happy she is!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tip of the Day April 11

After the day is half over I realized there was no tip today. Some times it is tough being a mom. But I would not trade my job for the world.
Today's book is called Kitchen Playdates. I purchased it on sale because the idea sounded great. Let me just say that if I ever get so stuffy, please let me know. This is a cookbook for what my friend Jenn calls Hobby Moms. Once I have unlimited time and money I can have play dates for my children like the ones in this book. Audrey and I cooked the 1-2-3 Cheese Tart:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated aged provolone or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a thin rectangle, 11 by 13 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet or rimmed half sheet pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork to prevent the tart base from bubbling up. In a medium bowl, mix the cheeses, egg, slat, and pepper. Spread over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Brush the edges lightly with water, fold over the sides of the dough, and press them to create an edge, pinching the corners and pulling them to make small points like the tip of a star. (The tart can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before baking. However, you may need to slightly increase the baking time.) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly, and the sides and bottom of the crust are dark golden brown, making sure that they don't burn. Let the tart rest for a minute, the cut into 2-inch squares, sprinkle with fresh herbs, and serve.
Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Prick puff pastry with fork
  2. Add ingredients and stir
  3. Crack egg
  4. Help spread cheese over puff pastry
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Roll out puff pastry
  3. Help Audrey Spread cheese
  4. Fold over edges
  5. Place tart in oven



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Very funny

I *love* this. Audrey would not have been as calm as this little one.

Lunch Meat Wraps

The book today is the Junior version of my favorite cookbook, really. The New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking) is great for cooking with older children. Older than Audrey anyway. The drawings are fun and the recipes good but just not right for a toddler and her mom. I would rather eat grown-up food right now and save the kiddie versions for when she is old enough to read and selecting her own recipes. If you have a reading age child in your home then go out to get this book as soon as you can. Here is the recipe for Top-Secret Wraps:
  • 4 8- or 9-inch flour tortillas
  • 1/3 cup bottled bacon-flavored ranch salad dressing
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced cooked beef or ham from the deli
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small apple, if you like
Place a piece of waxed paper on counter or table. Spread the tortillas out on the waxed paper. Spread dressing over tortillas with table knife. Place a lettuce leaf on each tortilla. Arrange meat on each tortilla near one edge. Top meat with cheese. If using apple, put it on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the apple into 4 pieces. Cut out the core and cut the apple into thin slices. Arrange apple slices on top of the cheese. Roll up tortillas, starting from the edge nearest the filling. Use a serrated knife to cut each tortilla roll in half crosswise.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Spread dressing on tortillas
  2. Place meat and cheese on tortillas
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Roll up wraps and cut in half
These were fun and easy. I tried to let Audrey use a cheese grater to put cheese on her wrap and she insisted that I cut her cheese and give it to her. She promptly ate most of it leaving little for her wrap. I tried to demonstrate proper cheese placement to no avail. After rolling the wraps up I cut them in half and put them on our plates with a few strawberries. Audrey actually ate a little of the wrap all together and then decided opening it up to get the rest of the cheese and meat was a better idea. All in all a good recipe.