Childrens Cookbook Takes Kids Through the Seasons of the Year

You already know the importance of cooking with children – how much worthwhile information they gain from working in the kitchen. And why they need to be exposed to this skill at an early age.

Amy Houts, who has been a preschool teacher, now has a cookbook on cooking with children through the four seasons. Best of all, this hardcover childrens cookbook is incredibly priced. There is a special this week only for $16.95 when purchased through our website. This is a reduction from the regular price of $24.95 for this quality hardcover book. Amy said she wants every child to be able to cook with the seasons and sense the different rhythms of life.

http://ImagesUnlimitedPub.com

Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun helps children enjoy the unique feeling and taste of each season. Now with the spring season knocking on our door, you will find many recipes for lighter and more colorful foods.

In the “Spring” section, there are recipes for foods using fresh strawberries, cool fruit parfaits, St. Patrick‘s Soda Bread, Spinach Power, Spring Flower Cake, Mexican fiesta food and other. There are over 200 kid-friendly recipes, many with a focus on different holidays and celebrations, but appropriate for any day of the year.

http://ImagesUnlimitedPub.com

Take a look and see if this is what you need to encourage your child to work in the kitchen and learn new skills.

To your health and that of your family’s,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate

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Veggie Recipe for Kids

English: A pack of organic cherry tomatoes, fr...

Image via Wikipedia

Vegetables have received a bad rap when it comes to being accepted by kids. But what other food is as colorful and as varied in taste and texture as vegetables? As parents we need to get across to kids that vegetables are really a most interesting and colorful food.

The way vegetables are presented and talked about in the family makes a real difference. If big brother or sister says that some food is yucky, then chances are, that is what the younger child believes. It’s amazing what lasting effect words can have on children. Then there are the positive words you can use as well: It will make you grow big and strong. It will make your hair shine. It will give you rosy cheeks. What a difference words can make!

Here is a recipe from the childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun by Amy Houts, that shows kids just how good and juicy and fun vegetables can be – if you believe tomatoes are a vegetable, otherwise, go with the fruit definition. Botanically, a tomato is a fruit; however, it has a much lower sugar content than other fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. It is considered a vegetable for most culinary purposes.

Cherry Tomatoes with Dip

Cherry tomatoes

Dip:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Combine all ingredients for dip in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When ready to eat, wash tomatoes and cut in half. Stick a toothpick into the tomato. Give each child a small container of dip.

You can also use carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower or broccoli, or other vegetable with this dip. If children are very young, you will need to cook the vegetable a short time to soften them slightly.

Let’s keep them healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author
http://www.healthykidseatingtips.com

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Book Special Ends in Nine Days

Last few days for the January Special on the book Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. You know, this is the book that helps your kids with their “what should I cook?” episodes, all year long. This hardcover book usually sells for $24.95 but now through the end of January you can get it for $16.95 plus free shipping.

Yes, it is a real book, something you can hold in your hand. Personally, I still like that concept.

The author of the book, Amy Houts, has lots of suggestions for this time of year, including Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and many more. Just go here for your January Special. Save yourself money by getting it now – and help get your kids excited about cooking again.

Lee Jackson
Food and Family Living

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5 Holiday Food and Fun Ideas for Children

Help create happy memories for children by involving them in holiday activities.

Here are 5 ideas from Amy Houts’ book, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun, that can be the start of fun family traditions.

1. Memories and baking cookies are a big part of the holiday season. Get friends together and have a cookie baking or exchange party.

2. Children can help create simple holiday gifts from the kitchen, such as Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar, Holiday Spice Mix, and Hearty Soup Mix.

3. As a way to recall the many blessings received during the year, place five or more kernels of candy corn in a zip lock bag and give to each child. Decide together what blessing each kernel symbolizes.

4. Check out a cookbook from the library with recipes typical of those used by your ancestors. Make a traditional cookie or bread recipe from that country.

5. Take time to remember the birds. A gift for them, or to a bird lover, could be a pinecone bird feeder you and your child create. Don’t forget to give the birds water, too.

Journalists, newsletter publishers, bloggers and others: You may reprint this blog or any of the blogs as long as you include the website: http://www.cookingandkids.com/blog.

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Baking with Kids – Fun Cookie Recipe

Candy Cane Cookies

Image by janielianne via Flickr

Cooking with kids can be fun and create memories for years to come. Remember when the kids kept snatching cookie dough from the refrigerator? You finally had to put a toothpick in the dough with a note that said to not even think about eating it.

Here is a cookie recipe that will be tempting, either in the dough form (which they shouldn’t eat) and in the baked form (which will be hard to resist).

This recipe lists red food coloring as an ingredient. You may want to avoid using artificial food coloring by using natural products. You can  purée or juice a beet to get a very effective red dye. Mix a drop of this juice into the dough to make it pink or add a little more for red. Just keep your fingers protected unless you want red fingers for the next few days. You can also use a little pomegranate juice.

This cookie recipe comes from the childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun by Amy Houts.

Holiday Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1/4 crushed peppermint candy
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Children can help measure butter, shortening, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and crack egg into large mixing bowl. Children can mix with large wooden spoon or adult can beat with electric mixer until well mixed.

Note: there is no baking powder in this recipe.
Stir in flour and salt. Divide dough in half. Add red food coloring (or alternative)  to one half of dough. Pinch off about a teaspoon of red dough. Children can shape into about a 4-inch rope by rolling back and forth on lightly floured board or cloth. Repeat with plain dough. Set side-by-side and twist together. Place on ungreased baking sheet, curving one end down to form handle of cane.

Repeat process, placing candy canes about 2-inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, until very light brown. Meanwhile, mix peppermint candy and sugar. Sprinkle on cookies right when they come out of the oven. Then remove to cooling rack.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

Happy baking!

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Get Kids in the Kitchen This Holiday

Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies

Image by Sifu Renka via Flickr

Are you saying, “but it takes too long to work with my kids in the kitchen”, or “it’s too messy when they help me”? In her book, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun, Amy Houts says that with a little planning and imagination, you can make holiday baking stress-free and enjoyable. The part children will remember is that they were able to “help” you in the kitchen.

Some points to remember when working with children:

  • Read through the recipe completely from top to bottom. Talk about the recipe. Explain what you will do and what the child will do. Know what needs to be done first, second, and so on.
  • Emphasize hand washing. Be a role model for your child. Practice food safety.
  • Collect all of the ingredients and tools that you need before you begin.
  • Measure everything carefully.
  • Clean up as you go.

Using this strategy, will help make cookie baking or any food work much more pleasant and enjoyable.

To your cooking enjoyment,

Lee Jackson, food writer

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Crock Pot Roast Beef & French Dip


With the busy holidays upon us, oven space may be at a premium. That is another good reason to use a crock pot. But best of all, I like to use the crock pot for meals that you can begin and forget.

Here is a wonderful recipe made by my good friend, author, and chef, Amy Houts. We had this for lunch recently when her mother from New York was visiting. She served it with relishes and chips and had apple cake for dessert –  another one of my favorites!

You can find this in Amy’s new cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids – USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities on p. 206.

French Dip for Roast Beef Sandwiches

3 pounds beef chuck or arm roast
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
Dash pepper

12 hard rolls

Place roast in a crock pot. Children can help measure and add water, soy sauce, and spiceds to crock pot. Cook 5-6 hours on low heat setting or 3 hours on highs. Remove bay leaf from pot. Slice or shred beef and cool in refrigerator. Remove fat that has hardened on the surface of the dip. Heat again over stove or back in crock until hot. Place on hard rolls. Pour broth into individual serving dishes, about 1/4 cup per person. Dip sandwich into broth and enjoy!

Serves 10-12

Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

The crisp Fall air brings with it the wonderful smell and taste of fresh picked apples.

Here are some tips for picking and storing apples:

  • Twist or turn the apple from the branch. If you pull it, the buds next to it will break off and not bear fruit next year.
  • Don’t rely on redness as a guide to flavor.  Apples come in all shades of reds, yellows and greens. Choose clear colored apples. Often those with an intense green undercast or undertone are not completely ripe. Those with a dull yellowish-green undercast may be too ripe.
  • Choose apples that are free from bruises, blemishes and skin breaks. They should be firm with no soft spots or bruises.
  • When apples are thumped lightly with the knuckle, they should sound hollow, but not dull. Their smell should be flowery and aromatic.
  • For crisp, juicy apples, store in their plastic bag in the crisper part of the refrigerator, at 30 to 32 degrees. The freezing point of apples, which is damaging to the fruit, is about 28 or 29 degrees. Wash just before using, as their protective coating helps keep them from becoming dehydrated and bruised.

Apples are best when at their freshest. Orchards and roadside stands are overflowing with their best products of the season.  This is the ideal time to  visit apple orchards, stands, and produce centers, and savor the delectable fruits of the harvest.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for cookies, from my apple cookbook, From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers:

Apple Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
l teaspoon baking powder
l teaspoon baking soda
l/2 teaspoon salt
l/4  teaspoon cinnamon
l/4  teaspoon nutmeg
l/2 cup (l  stick) butter or margarine
l cup brown sugar
l egg
l/4 cup milk
2 cups apples, peeled and grated
l/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg. Stir in dry ingredients with milk, apples, and nuts. Mix well. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Glaze cookies with the following while still warm:

l  cup confectioners’ sugar
l tablespoon soft butter or margarine
l-2 tablespoons milk
l/2 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Enjoy visiting apple orchards and savoring the fruit of their bounty!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Apple cookbook author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers,
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards

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Enjoy the 4th of July with a Refreshing Treat Kids Can Make

US Flag

Image by jnn1776 via Flickr

Here is a page from Amy Houts’s childrens cookbook: Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. For this and many other food and family fun ideas buy this cookbook and enjoy cooking with kids throughout the year.You can find this cookbook by Amy and other cookbooks at  Images Unlimited Publishing website: http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com.

Amy writes: “Families all across America gather on July fourth to celebrate freedom. Bands march and drums beat. It’s a time for picnics and fireworks. For an Independence Day celebration, plan to serve a refreshing frozen treat. This will help you and your child cool down and supply extra water the body needs in hot weather.

Here is her “right-for-summer” treat:

Ruby Fruit Cups

Try this sugar-free, frozen treat this Fourth of July

1 quart fresh strawberries or
1 (16-oz) package individually frozen strawberries
1 fresh pineapple or
1 (20 oz.) can unsweetened, crushed pineapple
2 bananas
1 lemon
1 (6-oz.) can frozen, unsweetened
orange juice concentrate
1 cup cranapple juice
1 cup water

First, children can help prepare fruit. Rinse, stem and place
strawberries in a large bowl. For frozen strawberries, do not
thaw.

If you are using fresh pineapple, adults need to slice off
tough, outer skin and crown. Then cut the pineapple in half,
lengthwise. Remove the core and discard. Dice pineapple into
1/2 inch cubes. For canned pineapple, add to the bowl; do not
drain. Children can peel and slice the bananas. Add to the
bowl.

Half the lemon. Stick a fork in one half of the lemon, and
hold it over a separate, smaller bowl. Move the fork up and
down while squeezing the lemon to release the juice or use a
juice squeezer. Repeat this method with the other half of the
lemon. Remove the seeds from the lemon juice, and add to
the larger bowl of fruit.

Children can help add the orange juice concentrate, cranapple
juice, and water to the fruit bowl.

Ladle into 4-oz dessert cups or paper/plastic cups. Place
on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight. Let thaw about
1/2 to 1 hour, depending on room temperature, before
eating so the consistency will be like a slush.

Yield: 12 fruit cups

Enjoy this refreshing treat and have a
Happy 4th of July week-end!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Images Unlimited Publishing

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Apple Recipes by the Hundreds

Various apples

Image via Wikipedia

Whether you have a bushel or a peck or only a pound, you will find over a hundred ways to use apples in this apple cookbook, From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers. Others have said: “Good to the Core“. The Mountain Airy News. “I purchased this book while in Georgia as a Thank You gift for a neighbor who took care of our plants while we were away. I should have purchased two, as it was hard for me to give it away after have read it, almost cover to cover. Where can I buy another?”  E.C., California.

You can get your autographed copy now when you order at http://www.ImagesUnlimitedPub.com.

Lee Jackson,CFCS
Author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards

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