We’re big fans of pulling kids into the kitchen early and often. But that also means setting kitchen safety rules for kids — and for you. Not just because it keeps them safe (though that’s obviously the most important thing), but because it’s the essential foundation of learning vital cooking skills that they can use for a lifetime. And hey, it also lets them help us out around the kitchen too. The way we see it, there’s no reason why kids as young as 5 years old can’t help make their own school lunch or even help cook breakfast on busy weekday mornings....Read More
Tag: cooking for kids
We are always thrilled to find new cookbooks that make life easier for parents, especially because meal planning (and cooking and serving and cleaning and cajoling the kids to eat any of it in the first place) can be…well, not our favorite part of the day. But we’re doubly thrilled when that new cookbook is from our very own Cool Mom Eats editor Stacie Billis. Whoo! The smart, encouraging, and beautifully presented Make it Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch–with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them is the right cookbook for busy parents at the right time. As in, I...Read More
Need some last-minute help planning a deliciously sweet Valentine’s Day menu? We’ve put together all our favorite easy Valentine’s Day recipes that we’ve been sharing on Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Eats — from breakfast to dessert — in one place. This way, you can scan them quickly to save more time for, well, whatever you want. Plus you’ll find some terrific DIY tricks here that turn store-bought treats into something special for the big day. Because, hey, we’re all about easy on Valentine’s Day. And that’s not a double entendre. Okay, it is. Top photos: Heart-Shaped Pretzels by My Name is Snickerdoodle; Valentine’s Day Brownies by Pink...Read More
7 family-friendly asparagus recipes. For families who aren’t typically big on asparagus, but want to be.
There aren’t many vegetables that I don’t like, but asparagus is among my least favorite. When my kids bellyache about the green stalks (and, yes, how their pee will smell afterwards), I get it. I pretend like I enjoy asparagus more than I do but, really, I serve it on principle, and to save us from yet another night of string beans and broccoli. This spring, though, I’m on a mission to turn our attitudes about asparagus around. April is peak season and the perfect time to ditch the steamer for these super tasty, kid-friendly asparagus recipes. Or hey,...Read More
Reducing meat is one of the hardest shifts I’ve ever made in my family’s eating. Even though I’d been a vegetarian through college, I had no idea at the time how to go meatless healthfully. (My youthful diet of pizza, pasta, and more pizza wouldn’t quite cut it for my family.) After some practice, though, I figured out how to make meals like these eight high-protein, vegetarian recipes that taste delicious and provide my kids with exactly what they need to stay healthy and energetic. You know, so that they can grow up and subsist on pizza, pasta, and more pizza when...Read More
Anyone who’s dealt with a picky kid (and who hasn’t?) knows that feeding a picky eater is the opposite of fun. And I’ve found two new parenting resources—one a book, the other a game—which aim to change that. Both were developed by moms to use children’s natural affinity for games, competition, and high scores, all with the aim of ending mealtime drama. No matter which you choose, I think the whole family can win big. Now I must say that I find that turning mealtime into a game takes more work than I’m personally willing to give. However many parents find...Read More
Great one-pot recipes are a family dinner lifesaver — so long as they are truly a one-pot meal. As in, no cheats. These recipes are, and they are amazingly delicious, too. If you ask me, every parent should keep a list of recipes like these on hand at all times. You should know that I’m picky about what counts as a one-pot meal. For me, the word meal implies that the recipe comes complete with protein, veggies, and some kind of carb or carb-y vegetable. If I have to pull out another pot to make rice separately or cook side veggies, well then it’s...Read More
The cronut, a dessert made by frying croissant dough like a donut, set off a nationwide phenomenon in 2013, when Time magazine also named Dominique Ansel‘s creation one of the best inventions of the year. Having had one, I can tell you that the cronut is worthy of the hype and also totally impossible to recreate at home. These five dessert recipe mashups, on the other hand, are equally epic. And you can actually make them. (Yes, you!) All you need is a sweet tooth, some baking gumption, and a lot of sugar. Butter, too. Related: 8 easy homemade donut recipes Strawberry...Read More
It may not be frigid everywhere, but I think it’s safe to say that plenty of us are winter weary and as done with cooking as we are with gloves with scarves. This last stretch of the cold weather (and the exhausting lack of daylight) is a perfect time to let your crock pot do the work of making these easy slow cooker dinner recipes. With hardly any effort on your part, you can cozy up with a book while dinner cooks. Or, you know, take care of one of the other million things on your to-do list. Now if only there...Read More
Easy dumpling recipes for Chinese New Year that kids can help make. We predict a very tasty Year of the Sheep.
What better way to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year than with a crafty project that you can easily do with kids? And, yields dumplings! If you hit the kitchen with the kids to make one of these six easy dumpling recipes for Chinese New Year, the results of your labor will not only be delicious, but dinner will be done too. Now that’s a fortuitous start to the new year. Oh, and none of them are lamb dumplings. We want to honor the sheep here, not necessarily eat one. Of course all of the recipes here can be made with...Read More
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about sugary sweets, of course. Though kids do clamor for those conversation hearts and pink jelly beans, they may get enough of them elsewhere this week. So I’ve put together ideas for non-candy Valentine’s Day treats that make a sweet surprise for your little ones without the sugar of candy—and hopefully without a major letdown. I think they’re all deliciously cute. In other words, your kids will definitely feel the love, just not the massive sugar rush. Serve up the color of the day with this naturally pink Strawberry Applesauce spied on Lemon Tree...Read More
3 ideas for family-friendly Valentine’s Day dinners: How to adapt them from kid-friendly to adult-friendly later on.
Every time we parents make dinner, family cooks work to strike a balance between what the kids are willing to eat and what the grown ups actually want to eat. Sometimes holidays make this balancing act even harder. Ever make a heart-shaped pizza and call it dinner on Valentine’s Day? Yeah, me too. This year, if you’re staying home for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a better idea. With the help of Ashley Rodriguez, a favorite family cookbook author and a top food blogger to follow in 2015, we’re offering up 3 great ideas for Valentine’s Day dinners that will make all of your loved ones happy, even if you...Read More
Recently, there was a whole lot of controversy about marketing Nutella as a healthy breakfast food. Apparently, someone thought that the kids of the world need help eating toast by slathering it in a chocolate-hazelnut spread. But on World Nutella Day, I’m giving everyone a pass. I’m happy to limit my daily dose of Nutella to snack-time the other 364 days of the year, but I think this weekend, we may celebrate with one of these Nutella recipes for breakfast. Or hey, maybe hold the ideas for Valentine’s Day. It does fall on a weekend this year after all, which leaves plenty of time...Read More
I’m not much of a football fan, but I am a sucker for game day eats. Nachos, chips and dips, wings–you name it, I’ll eat it. This can be a problem since I’m also trying to maintain a healthy diet, so instead of giving up on my favorite tailgating foods, this year I looked for lighter versions that are big on flavor and lower in fat and calories. Healthy game day food for the win! This Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip from Gimme Some Oven brings all of the flavor of hot wings without all of the calories. I’m not...Read More
I recently tried to figure out how many food blogs populate the internet. The answer: A lot. I couldn’t find an exact number—not a recent one, at least—but it’s big enough to demonstrate that yes, there can be too much of a good thing. With so many food blogs to follow out there, it’s hard to know which you can count on for great writing and reliable recipes, especially for families. To help, I’ve combed all my favorious resources, and put together a list of some of my favorite food blogs to follow in 2015, with a particular focus on...Read More
’Tis the season for chicken soup, a magical elixir said to be good for the soul and known to boost your immune system. You can never go wrong with a classic chicken soup recipe, especially when you’re feeling under the weather (the chicken noodle soup we spied on Smitten Kitchen is my idea of a perfect cold and flu remedy), but it can get boring over the course of a long winter. When you need a big bowl of soup to warm your bones and excite your palate, go for one of these fresh and flavorful chicken soup recipe...Read More
Another year, another pile of cookbooks. I’ve added some amazing titles to my cookbook collection this year, but eight in particular are in heavy rotation in my family kitchen, which I think makes them among the best cookbooks for families–indispensable resources especially for parents. Because hey, we aren’t just home cooks; we’re time-crunched, picky-busting, budget-watching home cooks who are constantly trying to feed multiple tastes. There are many fabulous cookbooks from this year, but it takes special cookbooks like these eight that I’ve narrowed down, to provide parents just what we need to get the family cooking job done right. In no particular order,...Read More
4 easy, semi-homemade pasta dinners that taste great, save time, and don’t have a single artificial ingredient.
As someone who develops recipes professionally, you’d think that I’d always have a plan for feeding my family dinner. Just like everybody else, though, the busier I get, the harder it is to get dinner on the table. Thanks to natural brands like Three Bridges (who is our newest, awesome sponsor — yay, welcome Three Bridges!) being time crunched doesn’t have to mean relying on take-out or heavily processed foods loaded up with preservatives. Their natural and organic pastas (including gluten-free raviolis!) plus ready-made pasta sauces make it possible to throw together fresh, simple meals like these easy pasta dinners. These four meals...Read More
Whether we like it or not, all of us parents become the family cook at some point, and even those of you who hate to cook know that it doesn’t get us out of it. (Darn kids and their need to eat.) These fab kitchen gadget gifts are some of my very favorites. They make the job a little bit easier, or at least more fun. And I imagine that every family cook—from the passionate to the uh…reluctant—will love having a cool new kitchen gadget like these. Some products may contain affiliate links from Amazon or reward style Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper ($19.99 at Bed,...Read More
The Big Last Minute Thanksgiving Help Guide: Recipes, printables, hotlines and more recipes. We’re here for you!
You need last minute Thanksgiving help? We’ve got it for you. We’ve put out so many amazing features from the best Thanksgiving recipes of all kinds to fun printables to keep the kids busy, that we wanted to put them all in one place for you. Happy prepping, cooking, serving, and then? Sleeping. You can do it! How to cook a turkey: 5 easy Thanksgiving turkey recipes If you’re still deciding how to make it, these should help. How to cook your first Thanksgiving turkey Right down to carving tips. So helpful! Thanksgiving 911: 4 cooking helplines to save your Thanksgiving Put them on speed dial; they’re not just for turkey. 13 Make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes to make cooking easier Ready to put that slow cooker to work? 8 seriously amazing mashed potato recipes for Thanksgiving Stuffing or mashed potatoes? We vote both. 7 cranberry sauce recipes for every taste From sweet to savory to spicy, we’ve got you covered. Best ever Thanksgiving stuffing recipes We can’t pick just one, and often don’t. 6 cute Thanksgiving treats for kids On the chance that some of yours won’t eat that turkey you slaved over. Like ours. Sigh. How to make homemade pie perfectly: 8 easy tips And some of our favorite classic recipes too. The best Thanksgiving mail order pies It’s not too late to have someone do it...Read More