Lotsa Matzah!

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A Sweet Passover by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by David Slonim ($16.95, Abrams Book for Young Readers, ages 4 and up) is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.

I adore all things Passover and all things matzah, the unleavened bread we eat for eight days during this Jewish holiday. The book, upbeat and educational, will help children learn in a deliciously untraditional approach to this very traditional celebration. The artwork, while not elaborate, conveys all the necessary emotions needed to supplement such a colorful story in a delightful way.

Miriam, the main character, loves being with her parents, and relatives for the Seder, or feast. These Seders take place two nights, and an important ritual is to read aloud from the Haggadah, the book that tells the story of Passover. We relive history about the Jews’ exodus from Pharaoh’s rule to always remember how Moses led his people to freedom. When the Israelites, or Jews fled to cross the Red Sea, their departure was in such haste there was no time for the bread dough to rise! This year, Miriam eats just a bit too much matzah and can only be coaxed to try more when her Grandpa introduces her to a unique type of French toast known as matzah brei they will make together. There’s a terrific recipe included (see below), an author’s note and a glossary of Yiddish terms used.

The Best Matzah Brei in the World (as told to the author by her father)

This is a fun meal to make with the help of an adult. Always make sure an adult helps you when you are cutting items and using the stove or other hot surface.

This recipe makes one large matzah brei.


7 pieces of matzah

warm water

3 eggs

¼ cup milk

pinch of salt (optional)

2 tbsp butter

toppings such as applesauce, sugar and cinnamon, maple syrup, sour cream, and salt and pepper


Large mixing bowl

Small mixing bowl

2 large plates

fork or whisk

measuring cup

mixing spoon

frying pan



Break up seven pieces of matzah into small pieces and soak in warm water in the large bowl for one minute. Then drain by covering the bowl with a large plate and tipping it to let the excess water run out.

Using the fork or whisk, beat three eggs together in the small bowl with the milk and a pinch of salt (optional), and then add this mixture to the crumbled, drained matzah. Mix together well.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter.

Pour the matzah brei mixture into the frying pan. Spread it out evenly so that it resembles a large pancake. Cover and cook over a very low heat for about ten minutes, until crisp and brown on one side (raise the edge of the matzah brie with a spatula to check if it’s crisp and brown).

When the matzah brei is cooked on one side, turn it over by placing the other large plate over the pan and then flipping the whole thing over. While the matzah brei is on the plate, add more butter to the frying pan, if necessary. Then slide the matzah brei from the plate back into the pan to cook the other side. Again, cover and cook over very low heat for about ten minutes.

When the second side of the matzah brei is crisp and brown, it is done. Cut into wedges and serve with applesauce, sugar and cinnamon, maple syrup, sour cream, or salt and pepper. Essen In gezunt!

The Princess Party Cookbook

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kendallweb_9565-21Today’s guest reviewer, is Lisa Vasquez, mother of three (one prince and two princesses) from El Segundo, California. She’s thrilled to have sampled  Princess Party Cookbook by Annabel Karmel.

I absolutely love this book! I live in sunny, southern California and just threw a fabulous princess party for my daughter thanks to Princess Party Cookbook. I found the most delicious recipes and easy tips to make my daughter’s day fit for royalty.

61zhlffzx-l_sl500_aa300_From invitations to table decor … even different party themes, Karmel has covered everything. So many details and fun ideas are packed into this invaluable book. In fact, I am even using some ideas I’ve picked up and incorporating them into parties I throw with friends. A real treat for holidays or any time of year, this book will bring out your creative side. While Karmel did not toss in the white knight in shining armor, with Princess Party Cookbook, she has certainly concocted a truly great guide to making a magical and majestic party!

Someone’s in the kitchen and cooking!

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51rrzm19w1l_sl500_aa240_I have been using Molly Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook since I got married, some 21 years ago. Naturally I was delighted to be able to review her latest cookbook, Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook now in paperback. What a great name for a cookbook for kids, huh? And the cover is darling! Molly does her own cheerful illustrations, and I love them! She starts her book with two special messages: one to kids and one to the parents and then gets into basic cooking techniques and safety issues.How does a Giant Baked Pancake Puff sound for breakfast? Or a Grilled Cheese and Broccoli Sandwich for lunch? All the recipes you’ll find in here are vegetarian and are nutritious and delicious. Mysterious Dipping Sauce for Vegetables and Tofu caught my attention, as did Peanut Butter Do Dads and Purple Passion Power Shakes. Yum!

What makes this 178-page book perfect for kids to use is the fact that the author simplifies the cooking/baking process by breaking each recipe down into steps with basic illustrations. Before the recipes are listed, she also writes a beautiful introduction to the dish, explaining what the food is and why it tastes so good. Honest Pretzels is a beautiful cookbook that teaches kids the basics of cooking healthy vegetarian dishes and how to have fun while doing it. What a great gift for the child in your life.

Ready for more mouthwatering recipes?

51jmp7xycl_sl500_aa240_The Junior League has published over 200 popular cookbooks since 1940. Their latest, In the Kitchen with Kids: Every Day Recipes & Activities for Healthy Living, is an essential cookbook that was published to not only get children interested in cooking, but to teach them all about healthy eating. I love the fact that, although cooking or baking these recipes requires adult assistance, this book was written for children.

Beautiful illustrations, easy to follow recipes and complete nutritional information ensure that this cookbook will not just sit on the shelf. The recipes look delicious, and are essentially foods that children love, prepared in creative, healthy and appealing ways. How do Never-Fail Banana Muffins or a Make-a-Meal Sunrise Smoothie sound for breakfast? What about a Bunny Salad or Gobble-Up Turkey Burgers for a power lunch? And Porcupine Meatballs or Meat Loaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato and Carrot Icing for Supper? There are some beautiful desserts too, like Strawberry Yogurt Pops and Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon-Sugar Crisps.

In the back of the book you’ll find a food pyramid and nutritional guidelines that teach children about healthy eating in a most easy to understand way. If kids can learn to cook their own delicious food from an early age, they’ll be more likely to make healthy choices for life. In the Kitchen with Kids is a perfect way to get them started.

Debbie Glade is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.

Chinese Cooking With Kids

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What: Join TOTZ Only in celebrating the launch of the third cookbook in the Handstand Kids Cookbook series. The Chinese Cookbook is packaged in a large takeout box with chopsticks!  Kids, aged 3 to 10, will make yummy, organic treats including spring rolls and Chinese noodle clusters!
Where: Totz Only, 3009 W Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 91505
When: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009, 3:30 pm- 5:00 pm
Cost: FREE! AND receive 10% off ALL Handstand Kids purchases that day.
Sign Up: Handstand Kids – (818) 917-7200 to make reservations or for more information email info@handstandkids.com. Space is limited so hurry!