Easy Tips for Quality Family Time on Valentine’s Day

I hope you are planning to spend time on Valentine’s Day with your family. Here are some easy tips for quality family time to help you express your love to others in a fun way.

  • Set out paper place mats and decorate them with a Valentines Day theme.
  • Write an “I love you” note with soap on your bathroom mirror.
  • Listen to your children with your eyes and heart as well as your ears.
  • Plan a treasure hunt by leaving little notes around the house expressing your appreciation for something others did. End with a riddle or clue to the next hiding place where they will find a candy or special memento. Have something special at the last hiding place such as a toy or treat.
  • Show your love and appreciation to others. Affirming statements such as “I love you just the way you are; I’m so glad you’re my (son, daughter, mother, father, friend)” need to be given often, not only on Valentines Day.

There are lots more suggestions for this and other special days  in Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids — Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. This is a fun book you can read and use all year long.

Lee Jackson
Family and Parenting Studies

 

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Gift Children a Cookbook for Valentine’s Day

Instead of  giving candy for Valentine’s Day, gift your children a cookbook that will keep them cooking and enjoying food all year around. Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun has a section of easy recipes for Valentine’s Day.

Help children celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Tea Party complete with party games. Have them invite their friends and have a game of A-Tisket-A-Basket. Serve red and white food such as Apple Arrows. Slice red apples into wedges. Dip into lemon juice to prevent turning brown and arrange on plate.

A gift of a book will make a special remembrance for a special child. Get it here at Amazon.

How to Make Cooking Safe and Fun

Now that school is over, or almost over, children will be home for longer periods. Make those days productive and fun. Working with them in the kitchen can be a fun, educational and a safe activity, providing certain rules are followed.

Following directions
In all aspects of life, there are certain rules that must be followed. Working in the kitchen requires certain rules and directions as well. Depending on the age of the child, you may need to repeat directions on how to do different jobs.

Tell and then show the child what needs to be done. Show how to “cut-in” butter into a flour-sugar mixture, for example, using two table knives or a pastry blender. Explain what “folding-in” means and use the spatula to show how you gently bring the spatula over and over to “fold-in” the ingredient. This often refers to folding-in beaten egg whites into the remainder of the ingredients.

Some children can remember a list of more than one jobs. For example, for some you can say: please get out the big bowl, the mixing spoon and the measuring cups. For others, asking the child to do one or two jobs at a time may be appropriate.

Read the recipe out loud to help everyone know what you will be doing. Pictures help, too.

Offer praise and thanks

Make sure you praise the child for offering to help and the work  done. You can also offer such statements as: “We really make a good team here in the kitchen.” “You are doing such a good job of following directions”. “Thank you for helping today.” Won’t our family be surprised when they taste what we made today?”

Following safety rules
There are certain safety rules that must be followed when working with children in the kitchen, such as:

Always wash your hands before working in the kitchen.
Young children should not use sharp knives.
Small appliances are not play toys.
Potholders and not towels are for handling hot dishes. Towels could catch fire from the stove.
Handles of pots and pans should be turned inward.
Always use a separate spoon when tasting food.

Do you have stories about working with children in the kitchen?

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Simple Rhubarb Recipe Kids Will Love to Make

Rhubarb stalks
Image by net_efekt via Flickr

Here is an easy dessert kids will love to make for their Mothers this week-end. The only difficult part is having the rhubarb. Hope you have a plant or two in your backyard. If not, stores should have it for sale. Then it is a quick job to put together, bake, and enjoy. It’s colorful, too.

Rhubarb Dessert

4 cups rhubarb, chopped in 1/2 to 1- inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1 package strawberry Jello
1 yellow Jiffy cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 stick butter, cut in small pieces

Grease a 9 x 9-inch pan (NOT 9 x 13-inch). Place chopped rhubarb in bottom of pan.

Sprinkle sugar over the top of rhubarb.

Sprinkle 1 package strawberry gelatin over top.

Sprinkle cake mix over top.

Dribble water over top.

Place dobs of butter on top.

Bake 30 – 40 minutes in 350 degree oven

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Holiday Cookbook

I had a note from a reader of Amy Houts’ new book, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: USA countrycomp75Regional Recipes and Fun Activities that said: “This book is an excellent way to introduce children to new tastes and new cultures.” It’s always good to hear from satisfied customers!

Amy is doing a book signing at Maryville Public Library on Saturday, December 19 from 1 -3 p.m. Refreshments from her book will be served.

There is still time to order her new book at www.ImagesUnlimitedPub.com

Lee Jackson, publisher
Books for children, families, and parenting professionals

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From Kitchen to Classroom to Book Writing

Greetings to all!

Hi! I’m Lee Jackson jumping in here after Chef Crombie left. I hope I don’t disappoint! He has some big shoes that I want to fill but it won’t be easy.

I just wanted to tell you a little of my background. I was a family and consumer sciences (home economics) teacher in the middle school and high school for over 20 years. I taught subjects such as foods and nutrition, clothing and design, child development, housing and environment – all subjects that still interest me and ones I continue to find fulfilling.

Way back before I started teaching, I enjoyed recipe clipping, trying new dishes, and in general, trying to find myself in the kitchen. This is stuff, I see now, I’m still trying to do and still like to do.

Somewhere along the way, growing apples, eating apples, finding recipes for apples, and anything “apple” really appealed to me. So much so that I wrote my first cookbook, “From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers“, which is one of our most popular books.

One good thing leads to another, and I asked orchards and apple cider houses to send me their best recipes and a little information about their apple business. This resulted in another cookbook: “Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards”.

There was a textbook sprinkled in amongst teaching and some of this. It is “Careers in Focus: Family and Consumer Sciences. High schools, Junior colleges, and, I understand, some colleges use this in their curriculums. I took a year’s leave of absence to do this, but by the end of the year I had a good start on an outline. It was a long work in progress, but now, I’m very proud of it.

This blogging is rather new to me, but all media is changing so I figured I needed to keep up with the times.

I have some exciting news about another new children’s cookbook that is coming off the press very soon. But I will leave that for another time. Enough about me, I want to hear from you and about you and about other stuff that we all like to think about – food!

I hope you will come back…

Best to you,

Lee Jackson    flatstan19

(my young friend and I)          

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Make Your Own Stuff

Healthy New Year!
Image by flickrich via Flickr

Did you know it really feels good to make your own stuff? Whether the “stuff” is making a drawing or picture, making a model airplane, or getting food ready to eat. When you make your own stuff for meals you can really feel creative and empowered.

And what would be a good dish to make for a meal, you ask? My favorite go-to meal consists of roasted vegetables and a protein food.

Roast Vegetables

You just scrub well and cut up any vegetables you have on hand. This might be foods such as potatoes (white or sweet), carrots, onion, garlic, green pepper, celery, mushrooms, squash, broccoli and others.

Then you dribble a little virgin olive oil over them, stir well to distribute the oil, splash a little balsamic vinegar over them and that’s it. Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or other large flat pan. Roast in 425 degree oven about 30 minutes.

Using a long handled spatula, periodically stir them to prevent them from sticking to the bottom.

They will come out with a nice dark color, maybe a little too brown in spots, but crispy and oh, so good. You start out with a large amount and end up with a much small smaller portion when they are through roasting. The flavor is delicious.

For your protein, add any cooked chicken, hamburger, or roast beef. Or you can just sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese over the vegetables and have a one dish meal.

To your health,

Chef Crombie

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National Nutrition Month Suggestions

MIAMI - AUGUST 06:  Meaghan Cooligan bites int...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

As we are winding down the month of March, National Nutrition Month, I wanted to summarize six “good health” ideas that can get powerful results. For your well-being, these are suggestions for everyday living that can boost health and energy.

1. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of fruit. Try to include 2 a day. Berries and citrus fruits are especially good choices.

2. Vary your veggies. Eat more yellow and dark green vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and dark leafy vegetables. Tomatoes, onions, pepper, celery, mushrooms, cabbage and cauliflower are other good selections.

3. Eat whole grains in moderation. This could include whole grain breads, cereals, crackers, rice and pasta.

4. Choose lean meats and use healthy cooking methods like baking, braising and broiling. Proteins are the building blocks of growth. Protein foods include beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Salmon and fish, as long as they are shown to be safe from mercury and other toxins, are also good protein sources.

5. Young children need whole milk or 2 percent for calcium. Yogurt and cheese are also rich in calcium.

6. Choose foods low in saturated fats and no transfats. Healthy fats and oils include butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts.

7. Spare the sugar. Sugar is not an essential nutrient. Our taste buds have become acclimated to the sweet taste. However, we can live very easily, and sometimes, better, without sugar.

This is the guide the Chef uses to maintain vigor and good health.

Best to you,

Crombie

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Fresh Pineapple Gives Your Health a Boost

Manoj.TV This plant is extremely tall.Image via Wikipedia

Pineapples grow in warm climates and are native to South America. In their natural form, they have rough, prickly exteriors.  Early tribal natives called this “anan” or “excellent fruit”. Later it was called “pineapple” for its resemblance to a pine cone. It is known for its intense sweetness. juiciness, and excellent flavor.

Historians tell us Christopher Columbus discovered pineapple on one of his journeys to new lands and brought it back to Europe. Here the people were largely without any common sweet foods. Most of the sweets came from fruits grown, but each had a limited growing season. Sugar refined from cane was imported from the Middle East and the Orient but this, too, was very expensive.

Later pineapple was introduced to the New World. It was still very rare and high priced. Only the upper class could afford to have this adorn their tables. The whole pineapple was as exquisite as was the inside ripe, yellow, juicy pulp.

Now we continue to prize this fruit for its excellent flavor and nutritional value, largely vitamin C and potassium. Many grocery stores have the pineapples cut up, although this can be done at home by an adult. The outside is very hard and rough but the flavor on the inside is well worth the trouble of cutting and slicing.

The pineapple can be cut into wedges or chunks. Then insert a toothpick into each. Now you are ready for an instant treat in the manner of the early nobility.

To your good health,

Chef Crombie

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How to Have an Instant Breakfast

Dried fruit and nuts on a platter, traditional...Image via Wikipedia

Here is another breakfast hint – have a Breakfast Drawer for an instant meal.

In this Breakfast Drawer you can have foods that are easy and fast to prepare. That way you don’t have to think, or worry, what you will eat for breakfast.

This list of quick foods will take you through the morning with a smile!

Single serving cereal boxes
Instant oatmeal packets
Cereal bars
Whole grain crackers
Dried fruit
Nuts
Vegetable and tomatoe canned juices
Fruit juices in small cans
Small cans of fruit

This is a quick and easy solution to the morning rush.

Yours for better breakfasts,
Chef Crombie

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