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Three Family-Friendly Cookbooks for National Baking Month

A ROUNDUP

OF FAMILY-FRIENDLY COOKBOOKS

FOR NATIONAL BAKING MONTH

Baking Free Clipart

 

 

Forget the sourdough bread for now. This scrumptious roundup of family-friendly cookbooks for National Baking Month is meant to tempt you and your children to get cooking together! Start with recipes from Chef Junior, move onto Clean Treats for Everyone and then delight in the deliciousness of Now for Something Sweet.

 

ChefJunior coverCHEF JUNIOR:
100 Super Delicious Recipes by Kids for Kids!
*Anthony Spears, Abigail Langford, Paul Kimball, Katie Dessinger, Will Bartlet
(Sterling Epicure; $19.95, Ages 9-12)   

Five young authors prove that kid’s food doesn’t have to be bland and boring in Chef Junior: 100 Super Delicious Recipes by Kids for Kids! And they cover it all: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and drinks. The creators range in age from twelve to fifteen, however, the cookbook is suitable for middle graders on up—adults, you will learn from this too! The authors’ definition of “real food” is awesome: “An easy rule of thumb is that if something doesn’t have ingredients, but IS an ingredient (one thing), it is generally healthy for you.”

After some “how-to” instruction, tasty recipes follow, thoughtfully flagged with skill level (easy, moderate, advanced). Because chocolate happens in our household, Mug Brownies were our eleven-year-old daughter’s first choice. Dark chocolate, cashew butter, honey, apricot preserves (or more honey), unsweetened cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda come together, producing yummy brownies baked in six oven-safe coffee mugs. Thoughtful ingredients such as the preserves and cashew butter elevate this brownie to something special.

The second recipe tried was Strawberry Cheesecake. Both the crust and filling have only four ingredients each, making this recipe a snap. It received another thumbs-up from the family.

Savory recipes we want to try include Oven Pancake (one-container cooking = less dishes!), Egg-Drop Soup (why have we never made this?), Super-Quick Gravy (because my gravy skills are lacking), and gluten-free Blender Bread. There are also plenty of recipes that use meat, so browse and let your young chef spoil you with a delicious dish.

*The authors are between the age of 12 and 15 and hail from various states in the US (California, Florida, and Michigan), as well as Canada.

 

Clean Treats coverCLEAN TREATS FOR EVERYONE:
Healthy Desserts and Snacks Made with Simple, Real Food Ingredients
by Laura Fuentes
(Quarto/Fair Winds Press; $ 24.99) 

Laura Fuentes’s delicious cookbook, Clean Treats for Everyone, gives parents a way to provide healthy snacks for kids using real-food ingredients. Known for her successful MOMables.com and her Family Kickstart Program, Fuentes is a pro at focusing on whole-food family nutrition. This cookbook contains over-fresh and no-bake treats, plus warm drinks, smoothies, and frozen drinks. Clear coding shows which recipes are vegan and which ones omit gluten, dairy, eggs, or nuts. What’s never omitted is kid-approved deliciousness.

While there were many baked treats I couldn’t wait to try, I wanted a quick fix and dove right into making a Matcha Green Tea Frappuccino because I’m all about frozen drinks, no matter the weather. Creamy coconut milk perfectly balanced the matcha’s vegetal notes.

I also made the Coffee Popsicles using coconut milk, instant espresso powder, dates, vanilla extract, and salt. They tasted like a latte on a stick—only better! For kids, swap in decaf.

A two-ingredient recipe that quickly became a must-have in our household was the Homemade Magic Shell. Dark chocolate chips and coconut oil make this magical because it’s no hassle and you know exactly what’s in it. If you’re a label-reader, you’ll know how I feel about the “why are they in there?” list of ingredients found in many foods. This cookbook demonstrates that simple and clean can’t be beat!

 

NowForSomethingSweet cvrNOW FOR SOMETHING SWEET:
Monday Morning Cooking Club

(HarperCollins; $35.00)

The four fabulous women behind Monday Morning Cooking Club have a delectable new Jewish cookbook out called Now for Something Sweet—a title that called to the sweet tooth in me. If you don’t know these ladies, the sisterhood (formed in 2006) is comprised of Lisa Goldberg, Merelyn Frank Chalmers. Natanya Eskin, and Jacqui Israel. Their mission is “to uncover, to persistently test and tweak, and to preserve the many sweet recipes entrusted” to them over their years of collecting. And the results are awesome!

Though I have a long list of recipes I want to try, the one I started with was Hanna Geller Goldsmith’s Chocolate Meringues. Five simple ingredients—dark chocolate, egg whites, salt, caster (superfine) sugar, and vanilla extract—transform into you-can’t-eat-just-one meringue mounds. Bite through the crisp crust for a fudgy middle. These meringues are a step above and will become a welcome addition to my lineup of recipes. Next on my list? Debbie Levi’s Romanian Malai (Polenta Cheesecake), then, for a savory break Leah Koenig’s Onion Pletzels, described as a cross between an onion roll or bialy and a focaccia

I appreciate the specificity of the recipes, reminding me that much of baking is a science. Technical sections like Kitchen Notes (why they use unsalted butter or how to melt chocolate) are balanced with a lovely information about many of the people who contributed the recipes. At the end, in addition to the alphabetically organized index is one sorted into categories: dairy free, gluten free, and for Passover. This at-a-glance reference is truly a time-saver.

 

Click here for another cookbook review.

 

   • Reviewed by Christine Van Zandt (www.ChristineVanZandt.com), Write for Success (www.Write-for-Success.com), @ChristineVZ and @WFSediting, Christine@Write-for-Success.com

 

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This Mom Makes Mealtime Tempting And Tasty But Not A Task

TheMom100Cookbook cvrThe Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket is reviewed today by Ronna Mandel.

Editor’s Note: I don’t cook, my husband does. He loves it, always has. The kitchen is his domain, but I do enter it daily and must admit I am intrigued by cooking shows and also cookbooks, in fact I have quite a selection. Everything inside each one I’ve amassed is gorgeous and delicious looking, but frankly reading a cookbook is akin to visiting a museum for me. I can admire all I see knowing I will never produce such a fine or delectable work of art. When I received The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman ($16.95, Workman Publishing), Founding Editor in Chief of Cookstr.com, with mouth-watering photographs by Todd Coleman, I was once again tempted to try a recipe, but at the same time scared off by my inexperience.  I did what every cooking-shy woman in my place would do and rang my dear friend, a cooking aficionado, for her input. Her goal after reading the book and trying some recipes, I explained, was to get me psyched to step in front of the stove, not to clean it, but to prepare a meal. Hint: She accepted the challenge so read on!

The best part about Workman’s cookbook is that it’s accessible and written in a friendly tone, almost as though you were in conversation with the author. For more of the novice chefs like me, that’s assuring. I need a cheer squad rah-rahing me on so I appreciate the “I’m here to make it easy for you” and “You can do it!” style which is especially obvious from the way the contents page is arranged. Rather than a typical cookbook breaking down chapters alphabetically or simply by food group, in this case they are cleverly categorized  based on specific needs: Quick and Easy Breakfasts, Lunch to Stay or to Go, A Handful of Snacks, Hearty Comfort Foods, Vegetarian Mains, Potluck, Mixed Company Dinners, Carbs, Best-Shot Vegetables, Weekend Brunches and my fave, Desserts. Thank you, Katie Workman, this is a great and practical idea.

cheesy beef macaroni 240x300 1
One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni Photo Credit Copyright ©Todd Coleman

We begin with a warm, honest and chatty introduction from a real, hands on mom and food writer who has faced real-life cooking dilemmas with her own family and found more than suitable solutions. So much so that she’s even dubbed each recipe Solution #1, Solution #2 etc. Workman provides not only the recipes but additional features that make this cookbook the go-to guide for getting the whole family to the table tempted then leaving it happy and sated. For example, my friend cooked a Hearty Comfort Foods recipe from Chapter 10 – One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni (see picture). Her 9 year-old daughter scarfed it down, a supper time success story. But my friend liked the extras the cookbook added such as notes about the ingredients used (in this case crushed tomatoes), a cooking tip about leftovers and a suggestion about how the kids can pitch in if they are eager to help.

The next recipe my foodie friend tried was in the Vegetarian Mains section which include variations for those who would like to add meat when it works.  Well after making the Black Beans and Rice Solution #3 I’d say my friend is a bonafide www.themom100.com convert. Never again will she cook her tired old Black Beans and Rice recipe. The new flavors of Workman’s dish did it all. Not only was it simple and affordable to prepare but the spices used added a new dimension to what was once a fixture in my friend’s recipe repertoire. And, as Workman writes, it gets “even better one or two days after you first make it, because the flavors have a chance to meld and become one with the universe.” Now this is cooking vernacular I can sink my teeth into. Optional toppings in this recipe include grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges, scallions, cilantro, diced avocado, sour cream, and hot sauce.  Add crumbled bacon to it (as suggested by Workman) to satisfy my pork-loving teen and we’ve definitely got a meal made in heaven. 

Here I must once again interject that while I may be a creative individual and can put together multiple outfits, decoupage a cardboard box like there’s no tomorrow, I am a blank canvas when facing food. How fortunate for me and those like me that Katie Workman is the Monet of Main Courses and the Degas of Desserts. She share tips and recipe variations galore, many which appeal to my sense of humor and Jewish upbringing.  Often in a handwriting-like font she’ll add: “Here it is – the breast centerfold,” where various types of chicken including Greek and Cajun are enticingly displayed or in her Ribs With a Rub recipe she writes, “You might want to rethink that white T-shirt.”  And her Fork in The Road options for picky eaters earns this cookbook extra points for parents of special needs children. My son has sensory processing issues and everything we prepare must be plain so we’ve always felt limited on what we could cook.  The book opens up a bountiful of options to make dinner more enjoyable for the entire family.

In a nutshell or should I say taco, The Mom 100 Cookbook delivers everything it sets out to and then some.  Whether you seek soup, salad, scrambled eggs or Streusel Apple Pie that will satisfy the family, a mom (or dad) needs to look no further than between pages 1 and 366.  There are even ideas for themed menus at the back plus Resources and Conversion Tables. This mom has thought of it all and you the reader, cook and eater will be grateful! Oh husband dear, pass me an apron please.

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