Monthly Archives: November 2011

Lighter

Phew!  After the holiday that started for us on Saturday and the onslaught of food it brought, we needed a bit of a break.  So we took a break from the leftovers and had burgers.  This recipe took less than 15 minutes start to finish and even my husband enjoyed them… as long as I promised that they would never replace the meat.  He declared them filling, which is something that you don’t often get out of my husband regarding meatless foods.  I loved them and they going on that ever-lengthening list of foods for me to eat at lunch!
Black Bean Burgers
  • 1 15 oz can of Black Beans
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic

Peel the carrot, garlic and onion.  Roughly chop and then place in the bowl of a food processor.  Drain the black beans and rinse them.  Add them to the food processor.  Puree.  Add the bread crumbs and the seasonings.  Then, add the flour as needed until the puree is thick and will stick together into patties.   Heat some coconut oil (or another neutral oil) in a skillet and then place each patty in the oil.  Fry until the patty is crispy, about 1 minute.  Turn the patties and finish frying.  Serve on a bun as you would a “normal” burger, garnishing however makes you the happiest!

The day after

I went Black Friday shopping.  Once.  Seven years ago.  I can remember standing in the middle of Best Buy terrified that I was going to get crushed by the mob of people.  I left with a dvd player for my dad and later that day had the discussion that led me to the altar 16 months later. 
For the last 6 years, we’ve chosen to avoid the chaos and the rush to spend by supporting the local businesses and making it a family day.  We go out at some point in the day and get our Christmas tree and then come home to decorate.  I know a lot of people do this, but I’ve made it a point to make sure that we keep after Thanksgiving to ourselves.  And to make sure we are being conscious with our money’s final destination.  
Liam on the wagon ridesus
The town I live in has a group that champions the slogan “Be Focal, Buy Local”.  I for one, am on board.  We’ve continued with our primarily local diet and spend as much of our dollars within the borders of our own county if at all possible.  When looking for our Christmas tree, I found the OurOhio.org site and promptly checked out our county’s offerings.  As a result, we found a wonderful little farm less than 20 minutes from our home that I never knew about.  We brought our tree home and decorated it after supper.  I’m typing in the glow of the lights. 

Regardless of how you’ve planned to spend your Black Friday or where you do your shopping, I’d like to encourage you to take the time to find a local artisan, farmer, or shop and support them instead of the big box stores.  If you’re looking for a place to start, how about with your Christmas tree?  Check out the Christmas Tree Farm Network for a listing of farms by state. 

Stuffed

Oh stuffing.  I grew up vegetarian, so Thanksgiving was one of the those holidays that we had to make some adaptations.  We always had pasta dishes to round out the menu, but those standard side dishes never altered.  So I spent all my Thanksgiving holidays eating mashed potatoes, yams, pasta and stuffing.  Carbs anyone?  When I finally started eating meat a few years ago, I was glad to leave the stuffing off my plate.  
And then, I had a little boy who loved stuffing.  When your baby boy loves something, you learn to make it and then you learn to love it.  For him.  
In my preparation for this dish, I purchased a loaf of French bread.  My aunt, who is in her mid-70s was horrified.  I’m not sure what other people use, but it’s French bread for me.  Stale French bread is the best, but I didn’t have the time to make the bread stale, so I toasted the cubed up bread in the oven.  Tada!  
French Bread Stuffing:
  • 1 large loaf, stale French bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley

Melt the butter in a large skillet.   Add in the onions, celery and garlic.  When the onions are translucent, sprinkle in the flour until it’s thick and bubbly.  Add the seasonings and half of the broth.  Then, add the bread to a buttered 9 by 13 inch casserole dish.  Mix in the onion mixture from the skillet and then pour in the rest of the chicken broth until the bread is covered.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. 

Mashed

I am sucker for mashed potatoes.  I try them everytime they come with meals and spend 364 days a year dreaming about Thanksgiving so that I can have huge servings of my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law’s mashed potatoes.  I’ve heard a few reasons why hers are the best: brown butter, cream cheese, the Bosch mixer, but no matter what I do, I’ve never been able to recreate them.  However, this recipe is so close it’s almost a clone.  I had posted on Facebook Friday night that it was going to take all my willpower to not serve them in the morning with big spoonfuls taken out and I wasn’t kidding.  Yesterday as I scraped out the last bits of the leftovers, I wondered if I had made a good decision in only making 2 and a half pounds.
The 2 1/2 pound measurement is taken after the potatoes are peeled and washed.  Then, those potatoes are tossed into a pot of salted, boiling water.  It is very important to salt your potatoes while they cook.  Not only does the salt flavor them from the start, but I feel that they are less water laden when you go to mash them.  After you’ve drained the potatoes, return them to the pan and put them on the warm stove.  If you like to use a potato masher, go for it.  I use an immersion blender.  I have to stop and clean out the blade a few times if the cream cheese gets packed in there, but I like it better than the traditional wire beaters on a hand mixer.
Because you’re keeping the potatoes warm, they don’t cool as quickly as they would in a mixing bowl therefore become that strange “mealy” texture.  I get the mashing process started before I add in the butter, cream cheese and milk.  A little salt and pepper to taste and then my favorite: horseradish.  Add as much or as little as you like, but I promise you, it brings a whole new dimension of flavor to the potatoes.  It wins over even the most skeptical of dinner guests.
Mashed Potatoes:
  • 2.5 lbs. Idaho potatoes, washed, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. horseradish
Boil a large pot of salted water and add the potatoes.  Cook until they are fork tender.  Drain the potatoes and then return to the pan.  Place over a warm burner and mash using the tool of your choice.  Mix in the butter and cream cheese, streaming in the milk to help mix.  Add the salt, pepper and horseradish to taste… in my opinion, the more horseradish, the better!

**I made these the night before and put them in a baking dish instead of a serving bowl and then covered them and refrigerated them for the night.  The next day, while the turkey was resting and then being sliced, I put a few pats of butter on top and then put them back in the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.**

Thankful

Oh he’s thankful, alright… for PIE!!
Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my in-laws.  This story is proof positive that you can throw a dinner party 18 hours after confirming the date/time and still get a decent night’s rest.  I loved that part… the whole in-bed-before-1030 part.  I was tired.  I was still tired the next day, so there are photos missing from our adventure that which bothers me, but I guess I’ll survive.  I’m going to give you a little run down of how I did our day, our menu and then share the recipes throughout the week.  I realized that I don’t cook turkey’s nearly often enough so at some point I’ll do another so I can have a cooked bird photo for you!
Swoon… I just love my turkey: bacon, rum and Ohio maple syrup… it doesn’t get much better!
  Menu:
Maple-Rum Glazed Turkey (recipe below)
Stuffing
Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Brussel sprouts
Roasted sweet potato slices (made for Sylvia so she could participate)
Mashed Potatoes
Pumpkin Pie
Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie (Recipe from here.  Go there right now and make it.  You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.  I promise.)
I purchased our turkey on Thursday night.  I knew I wasn’t scheduled to entertain this week, but I really, really wanted to cook a turkey because people like the Pioneer Woman were posting these recipes for the turkey leftovers that motivated me enough to go to the store at 830 at night to find a turkey.  It was the smallest of the turkeys that didn’t have anything extra (preservatives, colorants, etc.) and it still weighed 17.33 pounds.  And it was frozen solid.  
The pretty brine, pre-turkey
Friday afternoon, we confirmed our lunch date for noon on Saturday.  I had the turkey in the fridge, but didn’t get a chance to actually start thawing it until around 5.  I followed instructions I found online to “emergency” thawing a turkey.  Every time I changed the water over the next 5 hours, I reminded myself that this is why I like to plan ahead: so I’m not wrestling a giant, half-frozen bird to drain the sink and washing my hands up to my elbows 27 times.  Once the turkey was almost completely thawed, we put it in for a last soak in the sink and I set up the brine.  I’ve made 3 turkeys and brined all 3.  I will probably never do one without one.  My brine consists of: 1 cup coarse salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. ginger, 2 tsp. whole peppercorns, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 gallon chicken stock and water.  We have a small cooler that is the perfect size to put a turkey on it’s side and fill with the brine.  First, I put in the chicken broth and then the bird.  Then, I sprinkle in the salt, sugar and spices.  Finally, I put in enough water to cover the whole bird, shifting it around so that the whole cavity is filled with the mixture.  We put the lid on and then stored it in the garage.  It was below freezing out over night, but since everything was in the cooler, I wasn’t worried.  Alton Brown did an episode on brining and just left his on the “back porch”.  I don’t.  There are too many wild animals around here to risk something like that the night before we have company.  I should also note that I made the pumpkin pie and the mashed potatoes the night before while I was waiting for the turkey to thaw and had a tart pan prepped with crust for the Maple Cream pie.  And I was in bed at 1015.
The pretty brine, with turkey
The next morning, I got up and made the Cream Pie and prepped the turkey while the pie was cooking.  My turkey is a little different that other people’s in that I swaddle it in bacon.   I know.  I’m all about the healthy foods and then I go and do something like that?!  Just stay with me for a minute.  I put the bacon slices on the body of the bird and then also on the legs.  I then throw some onions, parsley, salt, pepper and any extra bacon I feel like into the cavity of the bird.  The next step is to heave a roaster with the bacon covered turkey into the oven and cook it at 500 degrees for 45 minutes.  Then, I take it out (rather, Matt takes it out), cover it in foil and lower the heat to 350.  I put the bird in the oven at about 945, lowered the temperature around 1030 and went to take a shower.
The bacon swaddle
Around 11, I returned to the kitchen, showered, relaxed, hair and makeup done.  I got the mashed potatoes out of the fridge and diced up a loaf of French bread for my stuffing.  Once the bread was diced, I spread it on a baking sheet and popped it into the oven on the rack below the turkey.  I spent the next 15 minutes, getting the rest of my stuffing ready (recipe tomorrow), cleaning up what I could, setting the table and prepping the glaze for the turkey.  We took the turkey out of the oven at 1130 (temperature reading 168 degrees).  I removed the foil and the bacon.  The bacon gets set aside for the dogs… they should get to celebrate too!  The turkey is almost fully cooked, but has no color.  To remedy this, I spread on my glaze which consists of equal parts dark rum and maple syrup.  I usually start with 1/3 a cup of each and see where that gets me.  I covered the turkey with the glaze and then popped it back in the oven for 10 minutes.  I glazed it again and returned it for another 10 minutes.  By then the temperature was 175 degrees and considering that the internal temperature would continue to rise, I skipped the 3rd glazing in favor of not having a dry bird and took it out to rest.  It was about 1150, so I put the stuffing, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese in the oven.  
My little half pint post mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes and stuffing.  We’re big into the tactile experiences in this kitchen.
I fed Sylvia and was ready to carve the turkey by the time my in-laws got to the house.  We served lunch officially around 1, but only because it took forever to carve the giant bird and get the kids set up.  The turkey was amazing.  The bacon and tin foil serve to keep the meat moist while flavoring it.  The turkey wasn’t as dark as it has been in the past, but only because it cooked a little faster than I had anticipated.  We all ate until we were stuffed and yet I wasn’t tired enough of the turkey a few hours later when I made myself a turkey sandwich on some leftover French bread.  We had a wonderful day and was able to relax and enjoy the time with our children and my in-laws.  Of course, my kitchen still looks like a bomb went off in it, but it was well worth the mess.  After, it is our family and these moments we are most grateful for, isn’t it?

Sloppy

Recently, I started to crave the dishes my parents made as I grew up.  The more I think about it, the main ingredient in most of those dishes is lentils.   So down the road I headed to our new bulk foods store and bought a pound.  I have been doing so reading up on how to cook lentils and other legumes and it would seem that not everyone feels you need to soak them overnight before cooking them, but I like coming in the kitchen in the morning for my coffee and seeing the bowl of soaking lentils on my stovetop.  Now, all I need are those pans with the wonky handles I hated scrubbing cooked rice off of and I’d be 15 again.  This recipe is an adaptation of my dad’s sloppy joe sauce, but it still tastes like home.
With this meal, I also celebrated the end of the processed ketchup in our home.  I had bought two HUGE bottles for making sloppy joes for Liam’s birthday party last summer.  I gave away one, but have been slowly chipping away at the other bottle.  Really, for as much I’ve been wanting to get rid of the processed things in our home, I hate to waste.  And even though the only time we use that ketchup is when we have cookouts, I just couldn’t waste it.  I may have danced a little on the way to the recycling bin. 
As far as the family reviews on this meal, Matt ate it without complaint and said that he didn’t notice a difference in taste, but the texture got his attention.  He also said he didn’t want to take it for lunch at work.  No one in his office is vegetarian.  I get it.  Liam spit his out and declared it “yucky”.  He’s 2, I ignored him.  Sylvia didn’t get anything but a bit of the bun and the roasted sweet potatoes.  Currently, she’s my best eater in the house.  I loved it and I will be making it again to freeze for my own lunches.
Sloppy Lentils

  • 1 c. lentils, soaked over night and cooked until tender
  • 1 Tbsp. olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown sugar

Heat the oil in a saute pan and add the onions, peppers and garlic.  Stir in the lentils and mix thoroughly.  Then, add in all the ingredients for the sauce and bring to a boil.  Then, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.   Serve on buns.  Makes 8 sandwiches.

My favorite

I’m glad I got back into making my own yogurt again.  Now, I have a fresh quart of plain yogurt whenever I need it to do neat things like marinate chicken.  For months, I’ve had to make a note and a specific trip to the store if I wanted to make a lot of the dishes I’m dying to try.  Sunday afternoon, while the Pear butter was simmering, I grabbed some chicken out of the fridge and coated it in a thick bath of yogurt and spices, fully intending to grill it up for supper.  But then, we got company and company that doesn’t like Indian food.  Well, company that hasn’t ever had Indian food and I’d love to challenge their opinion of it.  I let it marinate overnight and we had this on Monday night and my goodness, I didn’t make enough of this to share.  As it was, I wept a tiny tear when I gave up the leftovers so Matt could take them to work this morning. 
Chicken Tikka Masala one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes.  I always order it when we go to an Indian restaurant and whenever I see the sauce jarred in the grocery, I buy it to try.  I haven’t had any since about a week before I had Sylvia so I was just dying to savor every bite.  And this dish did not disappoint.  Creamy and with just a hint of spice this is a dish that even the 7 month old licked her fingers over.

Chicken Tikka Masala
  • 1 c. yogurt
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro or coriander
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. chicken
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced  (this makes a fairly mild sauce, feel free to add more if you desire)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. pureed tomatoes
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Naan
 Mix the yogurt, cilantro, ginger, garlic, garam masala, and red pepper flakes.  Cover the chicken in the marinade.  Allow to set for at least 4 hours, but preferably over night. 
In a large saute pan, melt some ghee and saute the onion, garlic and jalapeno until tender.  Sprinkle the cumin, paprika and salt.  Saute until fragrant.  Pour in the tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes.  Add the milk and cook over low until the sauce thickens.  In the meantime, grill the chicken until cooked through.  Cut the chicken up into small pieces and add to the sauce.  Serve over brown or basmati rice and with warm naan.  

** For the Cheflets:  Liam ate this just fine, but I’ll admit he was more interested in the naan.  I gave Sylvia the rice with a small amount of sauce on it.  She got the flavor, but none of the zing.**

Chai and Pears

A few months after Matt and I got married, the pear tree in our back yard bloomed and we were amazed by the sweet smell that drifted into our windows.  We waited anxiously for the pears that we were sure would overload the tree.  In the 4 springs we had in that home, I’d say we got a total of 10 pears that were worth using.  Most of those pears came the year I tried making pear butter.  I swore I’d make it every year thereafter.  That was in 2008.  I have not made a single spoonful since.  Even the following year when Liam was starting solids and I was freezing everything in sight.
Anyway, I saw a recipe on Pinterest and started to drool.  I had planned to follow the recipe posted, but I noticed a box of chai in my cupboard this morning and decided to tweak the recipe a tad.  Here’s the thing: I LOVE spices and flavors and depth.  For this, I essentially took the spices for my traditional Chai recipe and added it to the pears.  I was surprised how juicy my pears were, so I had to let them cook down for quite a while.  While they were cooking, we went outside and started hanging the Christmas lights.  Even though it’s November in Ohio, the weather is quite nice and this was the perfect weekend to get the decorating underway!  When we came back in the house smelled heavenly and I’m just so excited to add these little jars to my Christmas gifts this year.
Vanilla Chai Spice Pear Butter
  • 7 lbs. Pears
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 C. Orange juice
  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Wash and roughly chop the pears.  Place them in a stock pot with the water and cook until tender.  Run the pears through a food mill to remove the skins and seeds and puree the pears.  Return the pear puree to the stock pot and add in the remaining ingredients.  Turn the heat to a low setting and let the pear mixture simmer until it has reduced in volume and water no longer separates out.  When the pear butter is thick and fragrant, pour into sterilized half pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Cap the jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 

**Note:  The word Chai in Hindi actually means tea.  So… it’s not Chai tea, it’s just plain old Chai.  Trust me.  I drank plenty of it in June in Calcutta.  Just plain Chai. **

Freezer ready Friday night

Tonight while I was diving home from the butcher shop, I heard an ad on the radio about not “losing money” to fast food restaraunts during the hectic holiday season.  Excited, I turned it up.  I was thinking it would be a nice ad for a local business or a healthy tip.  Nope.  It was instead an ad for brand specific products at Walmart.  I was a bit disasppointed. 
However, in my freezer at home, I have my own versions of the meals suggested by the announcer.  My favorite is Sweet and Sour Chicken.  The recipe below is for a double recipe.  I generally freeze both meals, but you could make one and freeze one.  Whatever suits your schedule!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Freezer Packs
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 6 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 lbs. chicken
  • 5-6 cups vegetables
  • 2 cup brown rice
Thinly slice the chicken.  Place it uncooked in a quart-sized freezer bag.  In another freezer bag, place the vegetables.  Using a large mixing cup, heat the chicken broth in the microwave until it’s almost boiling.  Carefully whisk in the rest of the sauce ingredients.  Divide the sauce in half.  (I used a tall measuring cup to hold the freezer bag upright while I added in the sauce.)  Put all 3 bags in a large, gallon sized freezer bag.  I also add in 1 cup of uncooked rice per bag, but it’s not necessary.

 When you are ready to cook, put the rice in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and 1 tsp. butter.  Bring the rice to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute.  Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, covered until the water is absorbed; about half an hour.  In the meantime, add some oil to a large skillet and cook the chicken.  Add in the vegetables (Note: I used an assortment of frozen “Asian vegetables”) and stir.  While it is easy to cook this with the meat and vegetables frozen, the sauce needs to be thawed out before it is added.  I thawed mine in the microwaved while the chicken was cooking.  Then, pour it into the pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are warmed through.  (I know that there will be some gripe about the cornstarch, but I’ve tried this recipe with various flours in an attempt to thicken the sauce and while they did thicken it, they altered the flavor.  So, cornstarch won.)  

Who want to eat rice cereal when Mama lets you eat off her plate?!

When the sauce has thickened and the chicken and vegetables are cooked, serve over the cooked rice.  And with a side of homemade eggrolls!

Kitchen Kids

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


There are 2 children in my kitchen.  One of them begs to bake every chance he gets and the other has recently learned to love solid food.  Both of them are complete messes frequently.  I love to watch Liam as he tells Sylvia that she’ll “wuv” her applesauce.  And I love to watch Sylvia as she drools over whatever Liam is eating.  I love to watch her try as hard as she can to hold a spoon like he does and fit it into her mouth regardless of what’s on it.
My kitchen is a place that we all love.  My toddler lives to help me stir, fill and eat.  My infant loves to watch and drool.  And someday, there will be 3 of us having dance parties while we wait for the muffins to bake.

Half Pint Pumpkin Muffins
1/2 cup vegetable oil


1 1/2 cups sugar


1/3 cups water


1 cups pumpkin purée


2 eggs


1 ½ cups flour plus 2 Tbsp. flour


1 tsp baking soda


1/2 tsp nutmeg


1/2 tsp cinnamon



Mix all of the ingredients together and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a mini muffin tin and spoon in the batter.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen muffins.  You can add a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar to the top of the muffins before you bake.  Bake for 22 minutes.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process.
  • Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter’s suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through.
  • Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives.
  • “Mommy, Can I Help?” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos help out with cooking, despite her {sometimes} lack of patience!
  • Solids the Second Time Around — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts her experiences introducing solids to her second child.
  • The Adventure of Toddler TastebudsThe Accidental Natural Mama shares a few things that helped her daughter develop an adventurous palate.
  • A Tradition of Love — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy looks forward to sharing the kitchen traditions passed on from her mom and has already found several ways to involve baby in the kitchen.
  • The Very Best Classroom — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts reveals how her kitchen is more than a place to make food – it’s a classroom!
  • Raising Little Chefs — Chef Mike guest posts on Natural Parents Network about how he went from a guy who couldn’t cook to a chef who wanted to teach his boys to know how the food we love is made.
  • In the Kitchen with my kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares a delicious soup recipe that her kids love.
  • Papa, the Pancake Artist — Papa’s making an incredible breakfast over at Our Mindful Life.
  • Kids won’t eat salad? Try this one! — Tat at Mum in Search is sharing her children’s favourite salad recipe.
  • Recipe For a Great Relationship — Cooking with kids is about feeding hearts as well as bellies, writes Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • The Ritual of Mealtimes — Syenna at Gently Parenting Twins writes about the significance of mealtimes in her family’s daily rhythm.
  • Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. — Alburnet at What’s Next? panicks about passing on her food “issues” to her offspring.
  • Growing Up in the Kitchen — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how her son is growing up in the kitchen.
  • Harvesting Corn and History — From Kenna at School Garden Year: The kids in the school garden harvest their corn and learn how much history grows in their food.
  • My Guiding Principles for Teaching my Child about Food — Tree at Mom Grooves uses these guiding principles to give her daughter a love of good food and an understanding of nutrition as well as to empower her to make the best choices for her body.
  • Kitchen Control — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her struggles to relinquish control in the kitchen to her children.
  • Food — Emma at Your Fonder Heart lets her seven month old teach her how to feed a baby.
  • Kitchen Fun? — Adrienne at Mommying My Way questions how much fun she can have in a non-functional kitchen, while trying to remain positive about the blessings of cooking for her family.
  • Kitchen Adventures — Erica at ChildOrganics shares fun ways to connect with your kids in the kitchen.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Finding the Right Tools — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares some of her favorite child-sized kitchen gadgets and where to find them.
  • The Kitchen Classroom — Laura at Authentic Parenting knows that everything your kids want to learn is at the end of the ladle.
  • Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.
  • Our Kitchen is an Unschooling Classroom. — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle explores the many ways her kitchen has become a rich environment for learning.
  • Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares lots of resources for using Montessori food preparation activities for young children in the kitchen.
  • My Little Healthy Eater — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her research on what is the best first food for babies, and includes a healthy and yummy breakfast recipe.
  • Two Boys and Papa in the Kitchen: Recipe for Disaster?MudpieMama shares all about her fears, joys and discoveries when the boys and handsome hubby took over the kitchen.
  • Food choices, Food treats — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea shares her family’s relationship with food.
  • learning to eat — Catherine at learner mummy reflects on little M’s first adventures with food.
  • The Night My 7-Year-Old Made Dinner — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares how her 7-year-old daughter surprised everyone by turning what started as an idea to play restaurant into pulling off making supper for her family.
  • Cooking With a High-Needs Toddler — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how Montessori-inspired activities and a bit of acceptance have helped her overcome hurdles in cooking while caring for a “high-needs” child.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – teaching healthy food choices — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her belief in the importance of getting kids into the kitchen using her favorite cookbook for kids to develop healthy food choices now and hopefully into the future.
  • Make Milk, Not War — Tamara at Tea for Three remembers the daily food fights as she struggled to feed a picky eater.
  • teaching baby birds about good food. — Sarah at Small Bird on Fire writes about the ways in which her family chooses to gently teach their son how to make wise food decisions.
  • 5 Ways to Enhance Your Baby or Young Toddler’s Relationship with Food — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares simple ways to give your child a healthy beginning to her lifelong relationship with food.
  • Toddler at the Table: 10 Creative Solutions — Moorea at Mamalady shares tips for preventing meal-time power struggles.
  • How My Child Takes Responsibility During His Mealtime… — Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy shares how she teaches and encourages her 32 months old son on adopting good manners and responsibilities during his mealtimes…
  • megan — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares six tips for overcoming some of the the difficulties of cooking with multiple young sous chefs, and a recipe they all can agree on!
  • How BLW has made me a better parent — Zoe at Mummykins shares how baby-led weaning has changed her approach to parenting.
  • My Budding Chef — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom is no cook but is happy that her daughter has shown an inclination and manages to whip up yummy goodies for their family.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: An Activity for Every Age — Gaby from Tmuffin describes how she keeps her kids busy in the kitchen, whether they are one week old or two years old.
  • The Phantastically Mutlipurposed Phyllo — Ana at Pandamoly shares how Phyllo is used to create enticing dishes at home! Anything can be made into a Struedel!
  • Kitchen Kids — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen shares her children’s most favorite recipe to make, experience and eat.
  • Independence vs. Connection in the Kitchen: won’t you please get yourself your own snack already? — Lisa at Organic Baby Atlanta wishes her daughter would just go make a mess in the kitchen. But her daughter only wants to do it together.
  • Grandma Rose’s Kitchen — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter reminisces about her childhood and dreams of filling her kitchen with people, love, noise, and messes.
  • Healthy Food Choices for Kids — Jorje offers one way to encourage children to make their own healthy food choices at MommaJorje.com.
  • Cooking food to thrive rather than survive — Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales is trying to foster a lifetime of good food habits by teaching her children about the importance of avoiding junk, cooking healthy meals, and learning about the whole food process.
  • Evolution of a self-led eater — Sheila at A Gift Universe shares the story of how her son grew from nursing around the clock to eating everything in sight, without her having to push.
  • 10 Ways Tiny Helps In The Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explores the ways in which her toddler actively participates in kitchen-related activities.
  • The Complexity of Feeding a Child — Feeding children a healthy diet is no straight-forward task, but Lisa at My World Edenwild shares some general guidelines to help your child thrive.
  • Lactation CookiesThat Mama Gretchen shares a fun recipe that will benefit both mamas and babies!
  • The Best Books and Websites to Inspire Kids in the Kitchen — Need inspiration to get your kids in the kitchen? Dionna at Code Name: Mama rounds up some of the best books and websites that can serve as a source for ideas, recipes, and cooking with littles fun.
  • A 4-year-old’s smoothie recipe — Jen at Grow With Graces and her son set out to make a smoothie without the usual ingredients. She let him improvise. See how it turned out.
  • Independent Food Preparation (My Toddler Can Do That?) — Megan at Montessori Moments shares simple ways for children to prepare their own healthy snacks.
  • Follow Your Gut — Amy at Anktangle shares her philosophy about intuitive eating, and how she’s trying to foster her son’s trust in his own inner wisdom when he feels hungry.
  • A TODDLER-STYLE LUNCH + RECIPEManic Mrs. Stone photographs how to have messy fun during lunchtime with a helpful toddler.