Book Special Ends in Nine Days

PinExt Book Special Ends in Nine Days

09306431432 227x300 Book Special Ends in Nine DaysLast 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

 Book Special Ends in Nine Days
PinExt Book Special Ends in Nine Days

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

PinExt Enjoy the 4th of July with a Refreshing Treat Kids Can Make
5061049945 3a185fc6ea m Enjoy the 4th of July with a Refreshing Treat Kids Can Make

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:

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

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

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

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

Vegetable Salad You and Your Kids Will Enjoy Making and Eating

PinExt Vegetable Salad You and Your Kids Will Enjoy Making and Eating
300px Romaine Vegetable Salad You and Your Kids Will Enjoy Making and Eating

Image via Wikipedia

The importance of vegetables in our diets has been spotlighted in my previous post. Today I want to give you a recipe using vegetables in a crisp and delicious way. This salad is a wonderful lunch-time or anytime meal or meal-addition. It is a recipe from Amy Houts’s children’s cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun, p. 11. You and your children will enjoy making and eating this salad.

Garden Salad

1 head Romaine lettuce, torn in small pieces
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 red pepper, cut in strips
1 small bunch broccoli, cut up

1 package Ramen noodles
1 cup English walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Prepare lettuce, onions, pepper, and broccoli. Children can mix all vegetables in a bowl. Place in refrigerator.

Children can slightly crush Ramen noodles by placing them in a plastic bag and lightly rolling over them with a rolling pin. Saute English walnuts in butter. Add noodles. Set aside.

In jar, place dressing ingredients and shake well to dissolve.

Drizzle dressing over lettuce and vegetable mixture just before serving. Gently mix. Then add the walnut-noodle mix. Serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

You will find this and other recipes for children in Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun.  Make cooking with kids a priority at your house – your children will thank you, especially when they are in college or out on their own.  Go here for more book information:

Time well spent – cooking with children,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
To get you started, sign up for the Free Report at the right

 Vegetable Salad You and Your Kids Will Enjoy Making and Eating
PinExt Vegetable Salad You and Your Kids Will Enjoy Making and Eating

What are Mealtime Goals?

PinExt What are Mealtime Goals?

Children vary in their food needs and eating habits. Some children are very picky eaters, others go on various same-food binges. Then there are others who like and eat a little of everything. Everybody is different. That’s a good thing!

Parents often get overwhelmed, though, by the so-called problem eaters. This is a difficult time to get through. However, if they can learn to adjust to the individual differences without making an issue of eating, mealtimes will be much happier.

Here are a number of fundamental mealtime goals most parents want their children to meet.

First, they want them to eat a well-balanced meal. It is up to parents to see that their children have foods available from the different food groups – protein foods such as meat, fish, chicken, or eggs; fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals; milk and milk products for strong teeth and bones; and breads and cereals for energy to run, play, and learn.

To taste a little of everything and eat only from their plate. All the food may not be to their liking, but encourage them to taste a little of everything. By tasting a little and eating other foods they like, they should be well-nourished. Some children like to eat what’s on their parents or other children’s plate, or to dip into the serving bowls. Nibbling on someone else’s food should be discouraged. If they want another serving of the food, they can ask for it.

To enjoy mealtime. Hopefully this is a time when the family can eat together. Many studies show how valuable this is to all members of the family. It should be a time of sharing and “catching up” with the activities of each. If there are unpleasant topics, disagreements or criticisms to discuss, they need to be left for another time.

To stay at the table and use good table manners. This isn’t the time to jump up and down from their chair but to remain seated until excused. Having good table manners makes mealtime much more pleasant for everyone.

Mealtime is a good time to sit together, learn about the foods to eat, about table manners, and how to talk to one another. Mealtimes can be the highlight of the day but everyone needs to work on making this time enjoyable.

Enjoy your mealtimes,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Check out our children’s cookbooks here

 What are Mealtime Goals?
PinExt What are Mealtime Goals?

Allergy Reduction

PinExt Allergy Reduction

Allergies plague many children today. Food allergies are commonly triggered by certain nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, milk, eggs, wheat, and soybeans.

Symptoms can appear within minutes, or up to several hours after the person has eaten the food to which they are allergic. These can include rashes, swelling of the lips, tongue, face and throat, difficulty in breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and others.

The best test for identifying the substance suspected of causing an allergy is to eliminate it  (whether it is a food, or a pollen, or a chemical compound). Then note whether the symptoms disappear and health is improved.

When you make food from “scratch” you know exactly what’s in it. When you bake bread or create your own soup, you know what is in the food. You know if it contains any products that could cause an allergic reaction to you or any member of your family.

In the cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities, the author,  Amy Houts, believes it is important for children to become familiar with ingredients used in different dishes. They need to know this for their own health awareness, but also to gain a greater enjoyment of food. She particularly emphasizes the many different choices of foods from various regions of the country.

Preparing and cooking  food helps children feel empowered in their decision making. They can even feel a sense of responsibility for their own health, especially if they have allergies.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS

 Allergy Reduction

PinExt Allergy Reduction

Junk Foods – the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories

PinExt Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories
300px Eq it na pizza margherita sep2005 sml Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories

Image via Wikipedia

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that nearly 40% of calories consumed by children ages 2 to 18 are empty calories. These are foods that do not contribute much, if any, to its nutritional value.

Their study indicates that these calories come from just six foods:

  • Soda
  • Sugary fruit drinks
  • Grain desserts, such as cake, cookies, donuts
  • Dairy desserts such as ice cream
  • Pizza
  • Whole milk, which contains high fat content

With the national attention focused on providing children with healthier alternatives, there is now more awareness of the kinds of foods children eat. There are many yet who don’t know the nutritional value of foods or how much food constitutes a healthy diet. Nutrition education is a subject that should begin in preschool and move on through the entire education system.

There are a number of obstacles to changing children’s eating habits. Perhaps the most important is their lack of physical activity. Lives have become much too sedentary.Everybody needs to move more.

Parents play a role in this, too, as children tend to eat what their parents eat. The teen culture also contributes. Teens eat what other teens eat. And they would rather spend money on things they enjoy, such as clothes and the latest tech equipment, than on food.

Food companies are being asked to do their share in the promotion of healthy foods, as well. They have been highly criticized for their role in making less healthy foods look very attractive in their advertisements and commercials.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions says the obesity epidemic is a “winnable battle.” For parents and their children, it is a matter of making the right choice -  that of a healthy lifestyle.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Specialist in Family and Consumer Studies

 Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories
PinExt Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories

Corn Bread Baking Time

PinExt Corn Bread Baking Time
38121127 8ea9f765a5 m Corn Bread Baking Time

Image by @jozjozjoz via Flickr

On an icy, wind-swept New Year‘s eve, what could warm your heart and stomach more than some hot crusty corn bread? The following recipe is a perfect accompaniment to the black-eyed peas we started yesterday.

Crusty Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup white corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch pan.

Children can measure flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl.

Make a well in the center and add milk, oil and egg. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened, about 50 strokes.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Cut into 9 slices or square. Best served warm with a dab of butter.

Yield:  9 servings

Hope you enjoy the hot bread. You can refer to this and other seasonal recipes in Amy Hout’s  childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun.

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, filled with many blessings. See you in 2011!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Family Life Issues Coach

 Corn Bread Baking Time
PinExt Corn Bread Baking Time

Good-Luck Black-Eyed Peas

PinExt Good Luck Black Eyed Peas
3171075691 e129082b15 m Good Luck Black Eyed Peas

Image by jodigreen via Flickr

In the American South, people serve black-eyed peas and corn bread to bring good luck. Here is a recipe from the children’s cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun by Amy Houts that will get your New Year started right.

Amy suggests you soak the peas the night before.

Black-Eyed Peas

1 pound package dried black-eyed peas
1 ham hock

Children can place peas in a 4-quart pot; cover peas with water. Let set overnight. Drain water and cover with fresh water. Add the ham hock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let simmer, covered, for two to three hours, until peas are tender. Check occasionally and add additional water if necessary.

Adult will need to remove ham hock from pot. Separate the ham from the bones and fat. Put the ham back in the pot and discard the bones and fat. Serve in soup on the side.

Yield: 8 servings

Tomorrow I’ll send you Amy’s best Crusty Corn Bread.

Best to you,

Lee Jackson

P.S. For more information about Amy’s children’s book, go to

 Good Luck Black Eyed Peas
PinExt Good Luck Black Eyed Peas

New Video on YouTube

PinExt New Video on YouTube

Our book, The Littlest Christmas Kitten, just went up on YouTube at - just in time for the season. It’s a children’s story for ages 2 to 12.

This book, illustrated by Kelly Dupre, a talented young artist from Minnesota, captures the excitement of the animals as they sense something important is happening on this Holy Night. Two strangers enter the place where the animals are kept, while a mother cat searches frantically for her little lost kitten. Before the night is over, there is the singing of angels, and animals greeting the newborn child. It is a night to be remembered down through the ages of the cat kingdom.

I invite you to view this 40 second video. Always appreciate “like” comments! Books can be ordered at

Cats, kittens, and Baby Jesus have inspired many stories for children. They are stories that have stood the test of time and beg to be re-read night after night, year after year. See this 40 second video here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Lee Jackson

 New Video on YouTube
PinExt New Video on YouTube

NEW Learning Through Cooking Activities E-Book (Early Childhood Fundamentals)

PinExt NEW Learning Through Cooking Activities E Book (Early Childhood Fundamentals)

New Learning Through Cooking Activities e-book by Amy Houts is now available on Amazon. This guide helps parents and others who work with children use food to teach children important concepts. The activities in the book are organized so that early childhood teachers can use them as part of their curriculum.

There are many concepts that can be taught through cooking activities. These include math and science principles, cooperation and sharing, using all 5 senses to enjoy food experience, classifying colors, identifying shapes, teaching good nutrition concepts, and so much more.

Children love to cook and help in the kitchen. As parents, grandparents, and caregivers, we can make this time fun as well as a learning experience.

In this e-book, each cooking experience lists what the children are to learn, the ingredients and/or equipment needed, what preparation to do, discussion questions to involve children, and additional projects or related activities.

For example, if the object is to learn to observe and classify primary and secondary colors, children can use food to enhance this study and their sense of taste. You will need foods of different colors. (Suggested foods are given). Each day foods from a different color can be discussed and prepared. A related activity could be sorting colorful cereals or dry pasta of different colors.

For lessons on shapes and encouraging fine motor skills, foods with different shapes can be used. Children can use cookie cutters to cut shapes from cheese slices and bread, then match the cheese to the same shape of bread. Foods can be chosen for circles, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and orange slices; squares, such as crackers and cheese slices; foods that look like triangles such as pizza slices and pie wedges. After discussion, the food can be eaten at snack time.

To order this e-book, click here It will make a valuable resource for home and school.

Lee Jackson
Family and Lifestyle Coach

 NEW Learning Through Cooking Activities E Book (Early Childhood Fundamentals)
PinExt NEW Learning Through Cooking Activities E Book (Early Childhood Fundamentals)