94: Cookbooks for Younger Kids

Whether this is a gift idea for a kid who loves to be in the kitchen or if you plan to incorporate your junior chefs in the holiday baking and cooking, here is a selection of top cookbooks to delight the kid chef in your life!

Twist It Up: More Than 60 Delicious Recipes from an Inspiring Young Chef

cookInspiration resides in the kitchen for eleven-year-old Jack Witherspoon. And for good reason. When Jack was going through incredibly tough times battling leukemia for the second time he sought solace in the Food Network and decided his dream was to become a chef. Before long, Jack was creating his own recipes, cooking for cancer fundraisers, and even coining his own culinary catchphrase ( Twist it up! ) to characterize his individual spin on comfort food favorites like French toast, pesto pizza, shepherd’s pie, meat loaf, cupcakes, and more. Clear, step-by-step instructions and sumptuous photographs will encourage cooks of all ages to whip up delicious recipes and make mouthwatering memories in the kitchen.

Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cook Book

kidscookbhgWritten and designed to appeal to kids ages 5 to 12, this all-new edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Junior CookBook features 65 brand-new recipes that are simple to make and a blast to eat. Each recipe includes a photo of the dish and unique and lively illustrations of characters that tell a story to complement the dish.

All the recipes here are easy-to-follow and packed with helpful hints and fun ways for kids to put their own spin on them. With lots of easy-to-understand nutrition information, it’s a great way to teach kids about healthy eating while getting them interested in cooking.

  • 65 recipes include hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners as well as healthy snacks and treats
  • Fun, engaging, full-color illustrations bring each recipe to life and grab kids’ attention
  • Special features cover cooking basics, kitchen safety, menu planning, basic nutrition information, and guidance on reading and understanding food labels

Teach your kids how to eat right and help out in the kitchen with the Better Homes and Gardens New Junior CookBook. It’s the perfect way to make it rewarding for the whole family.

The Cookbook for Kids (Williams-Sonoma): Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook

kidscookws

Packed with more than 60 yummy recipes for easy-to-make treats, from crepes and cookies to fish tacos and nachos, Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Kids makes cooking loads of fun! This book features gorgeous photography and colorful illustrations in a fun, uncomplicated book that kids and parents are sure to love. Kids will love dishes like cinnamon-swirl French toast for breakfast, or granola bars for after-school snacks. Lots of colorful illustrations and fun facts ensure they will have a blast whipping up their own creations in the kitchen. Delicious and simple, the recipes inspire creativity while teaching the basics of healthy eating and giving kids skills they can use throughout their lives.

Curious Chef 3-Piece Nylon Knife Set

knivesEvery chef needs a knife!

  • Our Curious Chef 3-Piece Nylon Knife Set is a superb collection of flawless kitchen knives for young ones to engage beginning cooking
  • Set includes 1 small, 1 medium, and 1 large nylon knife all with serrated cutting edges, blunt tips; ergonomic handles; and soft touch button grips
  • Appropriate for young gastronomic apprentices ages 5 and up | Dishwasher safe
  • Rigorously tested and conformed to protection requirements of ASTM F963 and CPSIA lead and phthalate limits – and is also BPA free. YAY!
  • Curious Chef is the first complete line of actual cooking tools designed specifically for kids to encourage culinary learning, bonding, and confidence
  • Set includes 1 small, 1 medium and 1 large nylon knife
  • Knives feature serrated cutting edge with blunt tip; ergonomic handle for small hands; soft touch button grips
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Appropriate for children ages 5+
  • Conforms to safety requirements of ASTM F963 and CPSIA lead and phthalate limits; BPA free

13: Bracelets for Opera and Ballet Lovers

If you are a personal friend of mine, you know that I love opera! I know this is all about Christmas with Kids, but let’s face it, many of us are looking for the perfect gift for our parent, spouse, sibling, or grown child here!

This first gift is a great way to commemorate your daughter’s first opera experience!

Check out this wonderful spiral chart from Cindy Battisti about Donizetti’s opera “The Elixir of Love.”

The Elixir of Love bracelet spiral chart

What girl wouldn’t want a beautiful Queen of the Night bracelet in a box with a pair of tickets to see The Magic Flute? I know that I’d love this! Check out all of these lovely bracelets!

This jewelry artist specializes in bracelets that the tell the story of an opera or ballet through symbolic beads and charms. They are very clever and beautiful. I really like that they can help you remember plot details. and it’s a great way to recall and celebrate favorite performances and events.

Did your daughter just sing her first operatic role at college this semester? Celebrate that with an opera bracelet!

Did your young ballerina dance in The Nutcracker this Christmas? There’s a Nutcracker bracelet for that! If she’s too young, get one for yourself to commemorate the event!

Please visit Cindy’s Facebook Page and her website for more information!

If you are a fan of The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD Series, join my Facebook group! That’s where I met Cindy!

 

 

32: Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Everyone loves sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top, especially kids! This Thanksgiving, whip up a batch and get in the spirit of the holidays! Here are a few recipes and tips to get you started!

IMPORTANT: Do not have any distractions while the marshmallows are toasting under the broiler! Pay attention to the browning process. If they burn, just scrape them off and try again! We’ve all done it!

Yummy photo courtesy of Kathryn Rotondo. Thanks!

34: Food Allergy Awareness

Any kind of holiday or occasion involving food is a high alert time for food allergies. Near and dear to my heart is the issue of food allergies. Our daughter and my brother have life-threatening food allergies that require planning, research, and prevention. The key to success in not having an emergency room visit, or worse, is to plan your food. Pack snacks, safe desserts, and other food options if you are uncertain about the ingredients or preparation conditions of food you will encounter.

Here are some potentially deadly items for peanut- and nut-allergic people:

  • pies (a pumpkin pie might seem okay, but it might use pecan flour in the crust!)
  • anything prepared in a kitchen containing nuts or peanuts (past and present)
  • processed baked goods
  • all bakery items
  • anything on a buffet where a nut item is also located (cross-contamination)

At parties with lots of holiday foods, make sure you only drink from your glass. Again, cross-contamination is possible and occurs in drinks. Eat using only your utensils from your plate. If it is possible to go first in a buffet situation, do that and try not to make a second pass. Cross-contamination covers a picked-over buffet.

Remember to make sure your Epi-Pens are current. If you need a refill, take care of it. While you’re doing that, review all of your labeling and contact information on emergency medicines and update it. We keep our Epi-Pens in a red, insulated bag that has been clearly labeled with Sharpie with our contact information and medical information. Inside that bag, we also keep Benadryl Strips and an Albuterol inhaler. The Epi-Pens are also in their own plastic duo-case that is also labeled very clearly.

If you are hosting an children’s event, please have your food clearly labeled and any nut items out of reach of small children, in particular. Children under 3 years of age should not have any peanut or nut items at all, so keep that in mind, too.

In the past, I think of Christmas with nut goodies of all kinds playing major roles, but now it’s a little different. Making safe desserts to give and take has become a tradition in its own right.

Have a safe Christmas this year!

41: Michelle’s Christmas Memories

My friend Michelle sent me a note with her favorite Christmas memory filled with traditions:

“Absolutely, hands down….
Family dinner, followed by the opening of one gift, then Midnight service at church, ending with ‘Silent Night’ by candlelight and coming home and making ‘reindeer food’ with my nieces and nephews. ¬†They’re grown now and we all are in different places, but it warms my heart to think about it!”

What a great evening! There are several elements to this evening that make it special: food, gifts, worship, tradition, and fellowship. Any great memorable tradition combines many of these elements. When all five senses are engaged, the experience is etched in your memory very strongly.

Beautiful photo courtesy of Miriam.

50: Day Fifty Checkup

Today, let’s take some time to check our progress. How are you doing with the first 50 days of preparation for Christmas? Do you know where you’re spending Christmas this year, or are you playing host/ess? Menu? Guests?

Have you scheduled a family portrait sitting and selected/ordered Christmas cards?

Are you handmaking gifts this year? Knitting projects? Soap? Exploding cards?

Have you tried at least one new cookie recipe? Please say that you have! Everyone loves cookies!

Make your lists and check them twice! Put them all in one place: a notebook/planner or PDA/smartphone. Stay on top of it this year and don’t be caught by surprise a month from now.

Photo courtesy of Adam Smith

52: Fabric Gift Bags

I love fabric gift bags! Simple ones are very easy to make, even for a beginning crafter. Check out this simple pattern and instructions here.

Anytime is a good time to start collecting fabric remnants and scraps, as well as sale fabric. You also want to stockpile sewing notions, trim, and other decorations (like beads, and silk rope.) Get your patterns made, cut out your pieces, pin, and just stack them up in a big pile for one big sewing blitz!

Making your own fabric gift bags is a recycling, reusable, and environmentally friendly project to do. The bags can be reused in your household, or your recipients can use the bags again! Wouldn’t it be great to have a Christmas without spending a fortune on giftwrap, or having a Hefty bag full of paper trash at the end of the day? Fabric gift bags make sense. They can also be very luxurious with brocades and silk rope with tassels, or they can be simple and fun for kids with whimsical prints and fun ties.

This is also another great way to express yourself of your Christmas theme. You could also customize bags for the recipients or even make special large Santa bags to take gifts to the grandparents or other families.

Get out your sewing machine and give this one a try. You’ll be hooked!

Photo courtesy of Karen at Le Petit Poulailler

55: Experiment with Fondant

Fondant is a wonderful thing. A versatile confection used in everything from cake decorating to homemade candies, you can make fondant at home and experiment with using it for your special occasion sweets. I’ve made fondant mints that used peppermint extract and pressed them into candy molds. They were a big hit!

You can shape fondant just as you would marzipan. It makes great edible decorations for any dessert tablescape! You are only limited by your imagination. If your kids can make things out of playdoh, they can have fun with fondant! Tell us about your own experiments in the comments section! Have fun!

Brilliant cake and photo courtesy of Karen Armstrong and Manassas Cakery

56: Personalized Gifts for Kids

Every kid loves to see their name on various items: books, mugs, placemats, signs, or just about anything else! What could be better than a Christmas Story featuring your child? Our daughter received one of these as a gift a few years ago, and it is still one of her favorite books! Personalized gifts are fun!

Personalized items at Walter Drake

Personalized Christmas Story about your child for just 1 cent!

Oriental Trading Company, Inc.

Great photo courtesy of Megan Soh.

57: Get Creative with Knitting Hats

I’ve been trying to find the perfect hat to knit to convince other people to knit for fun, and I think I’ve found it! Who can resist this baby hat? For the experienced knitter, this could be an afternoon project. In fact, most knitted hat projects can be made in a day or two. They make wonderful gifts and kids love them.

If you get totally hooked on knitting hats, you can knit a few for charity. Here’s a list to get you started:

Knitting for Charity

Head Huggerspattern list

Free knitting hat patterns

I’ve knit several hats for cancer patients in my life, and it’s been the single most rewarding thing about knitting. The care, love, and prayers that fill each hat you knit is special for the recipient and the giver. A hand-knit hat is a treasure! Get out those needles and get knitting!

Fabulous knitting and photo courtesy of Robin Zebrowski.