Coming up with creative holiday gifts for kids can be a real challenge, but to my surprise, several kids I know have been asking their parents for cooking equipment this year. Why not? Half of the tools in my kitchen are better than toys in some respects. Just this morning my son turned my trussing string into rope for his crane to lift my favorite whisk.
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box idea that will keep kids excited about and engaged in cooking, here are a few things I’ll be giving this year:
- Let your nut-free child walk around feelin’ cool with these kickin’ tattoos.
Read more »
Since Derby Day traditionally happens in the beginning of May, I always associate it with the beginning of summer. Is it because the horse race is affectionately referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports?” No, it’s because I love so many of the traditions that come with it. I love that the winner is presented with a “blanket” of 554 roses. I love fiddling with a version of “burgoo,” a beef and pork stew traditionally served on this day. Burgoo is one of those recipes that can be left open to interpretation. It is traditionally made with whatever meats (beef or pork) and vegetables (lima beans, corn or okra) are available. My best results came from braising some cubed-up brisket and stirring in some corn, fava beans and peas to give it that touch of spring. With all this cooking, a cooling drink seems only fitting. The mint julep happens to be one of my favorites. It reminds me of a snow cone, the fruity, icy cone I used to get from ice cream trucks as a kid. This provides a fun drink for kids instead of a more traditional Shirley Temple.
Get the recipe
I love the ritual behind a big meal, but some nights I want to make dinner fun and less structured. A well-balanced meal doesn’t always mean serving an entrée, vegetable and a side dish. On those nights when I want something in between yet filling, I go with small bites like tapas or crostini. It’s a great option for picky eaters, as you can make a few of everyone’s favorite. By making a variety, you can also get a good amount of protein, vegetables and even fruit into your kids’ diets, too.
Make it interactive and set the toppings out family-style: Serve them with a basket of toasted bread for a build-your-own crostini bar. Put a Mexican twist on the theme and create a taco bar spread, swapping in mini tortilla chips for the toasted bread. To make your own homemade tortilla chips, cut flour tortillas into triangles or use a cookie cutter to form them into fun shapes. Place the shapes onto an ungreased, rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Read more »
Once three o’clock strikes, time seems to go to warp speed. Some days I feel like I’m on autopilot, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the monotony of motherhood — it’s okay to admit we don’t love every part, like homework and that whole work-life balance.
For this very reason, I make a conscious effort to not over-schedule my daughters with afterschool activities. I’m a firm believer in letting them have some time to wind down and enjoy the simple pleasure of playing at home. Still, I find myself exhausted come dinnertime these days. I may not be zipping from dance class to soccer every day, but suddenly thrown into single motherhood means I need to find new ways to ensure dinner doesn’t become boring — for me to cook, and for the girls to eat.
Get Jennie’s recipe picks fit for a crowd »
I wrote a post with this very title for my own blog eight months ago. Not surprisingly, it was pretty popular. Every parent wants to know the secret weapon that’ll get his or her kids to eat a well-balanced meal. I’m not here to share some infinite wisdom, but I do have a story that I think will provide other parents some comfort.
There was once a little girl who rolled her eyes at the thought of eating meat. In fact, she went so far as to hide it in the opening under the table where the leaves were supposed to be tucked away. She also had an issue with any type of sauce on her pasta. She survived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for all of elementary school, and well into middle school.
Read Jennie’s important takeaway »
As the season of giving (thanks and otherwise) approaches, it feels like a good time to revisit an important Food Network friend and ally.
Share Our Strength, FN’s official charity partner, tackles a vitally critical, yet simple mission. They work to ensure that no child in America grows up hungry.
Chef Duff (Ace of Cakes) and Sandra Lee (Semi-Homemade) did their part at The Great American Bake Sale earlier this year. Want to do your part? Get your notification for the 2009 Great American Bake Sale.
Read more about Share Our Strength and their partnership with Food Network or watch a quick video. It’s just another way the entire Food Network family gets involved behind the scenes.