Now that I’ve had three kids, I’m a big believer in only spending money on baby gear that’s really worth it. That spendy bottle warmer you’ll use for oh, 3 months? Skip it. But a highchair that will literally last until your kids are in elementary school (or older) — that’s totally worth the investment to me. So, we’ve taken a look back at some of the very best highchairs we’ve had a chance to review over the years to find our favorites that will grow with your kids. In other words, you know you’re getting your money’s worth even after you’ve quit...Read More
With family picnics and outdoor parties on the horizon, I’m loving Jaq Jaq Bird’s Chalk Board Table Runner that gives kids — and adults, if we’re being honest — a creative canvas on which to doodle while they (cough) patiently wait for their food. It’s a much better way to keep kids occupied and in their seats than playing with their utensils. At 6-feet long, this portable table runner offers ample space for an entire group of kids to draw side-by-side. Or, hang it on a wall for some space-saving art opportunities. I even love that this table runner can be used to deliver...Read More
I’ve always been a big advocate of keeping my kids’ games and videos put away at the dinner table. Especially in restaurants, which is why I have a special place in my heart for those that provide crayons to kids — in particular the smaller, more wiggly ones. So I think plenty of other parents will also be thrilled to discover the new OMY color-your-own placemats that we spotted at Toy Fair, from the same clever company that invented the artistic giant coloring posters our kids adore. I absolutely love these for dining out, dinner at the grandparents’ place, birthday parties, road trips, or just a way to make dinner a...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
The next big fashion trend is here, and it’s food. Considering my kids’ favorite shows are Master Chef and The Great British Bake Off, it only makes sense that they’d take their love of cooking to their…leggings? Yep, we’re seeing food prints all over our kids legs these days (holding the jokes about donuts going right to our thighs), and whether your girls are fans of ice cream, sushi, or croissants — sorry, no cronut leggings yet — we’ve found some awesome food printed leggings that we bet they’ll love. That said, if you can’t find the exact perfect foodie fashion for your child’s tastes,...Read More
As soon as spring hits, I immediately try to switch food gears by ditching all that stick-to-your-ribs winter fare in favor of super light meals instead. It’s a good impulse, but sudden changes like these rarely last more than a week for me. Know what I mean? After that, I find myself feeling hungry for more. So I’ve looked for some great skinny comfort food recipes that will help me lighten up my menu for spring and summer, while satisfying my cravings for the hearty foods I’ve been feasting the last few months. They’re the perfect way to ease into new,...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
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
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
Parents of picky eaters, rejoice! The solution to your dinnertime drama might be as simple as a personalized plate… and a cookie cutter. Little Me personalized plates and dress-up cutters for kids are designed to inspire creativity with food, but I’ve found them to be extremely helpful in getting my son to simply eat his dinner. Turns out chicken nuggets are infinitely more exciting when served next to an illustration resembling your child, and that my son’s spinach cakes actually get eaten when they’re cut into the shape of pants and a shirt. Well, mostly. We still haven’t had a dinner that doesn’t end with me begging...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
This is that time of the year that I’m still totally dedicated to super healthy eating (seriously!), but also craving hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals because, well, winter is in full swing. Every year, my answer to this conundrum is the same: baked sweet potatoes. Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, sweet potatoes can be topped—no, stuffed—with nearly anything to make a delicious meal. If you don’t believe me, check out these 8 stuffed sweet potato recipes—and just try to resist stuffing your face with them. What happens when you make a simple black bean taco using a baked sweet potato in place of...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
We’re always looking for ways to save time and money grocery shopping, especially during the holiday season when we’re all feeling stretched thinner than usual in every way. We’re spending more on holiday gifts and family travel, and even on household groceries for all those relatives coming to visit. Some longer than others. (Just kidding, we love you relatives! All of you.) Because every minute and every penny counts for us these days, we’re really happy to be working with our newest sponsor hiku, a very cool new gadget and app combo designed to streamline your grocery shopping list and save you tons of time. Let’s just...Read More
The best Thanksgiving wines for $20 or less, plus tips for picking your own holiday wine (no snobbery included).
You’ve planned and prepped for your Thanksgiving meal and then suddenly you remember: wine! (Or is that just me?) I generally drink wines I like, no matter what’s on the table–I’m easy that way. The Thanksgiving challenge is that there’s so much on the table, with so many bold, rich flavors, it’s hard to figure out how to pair wines with Thanksgiving dinner. However putting a little bit of thought into your Thanksgiving wines can help keep you from serving ones that clash with the many flavors of the day. Nothing too fancy, though; all of my Thanksgiving wine picks are $20...Read More
We all know that apples shine in sweet recipes for tasty apple snacks and delectable apple desserts, but this versatile fruit also rocks the dinner table. And not just in salads, I’ll have you know. There are lots of ways to use apples in all three meals of the day. Here are 8 of my favorite apple recipes for dinner. In salads, apples are often paired with blue cheese, walnuts, fennel, or kale, which is why I love this unexpected Spicy Thai Mango Apple Salad at The Pickled Plum. It’s refreshing in concept and taste, and can be turned into a...Read More
An awesome new meal planning website that personalizes your meal plans. It’s like doing it yourself, without having to do it yourself.
How many times have you heard “Just meal plan!” when you groan about the never-ending responsibility of feeding your family night after night? But time constraints, logistics, or the fact that organizing ahead isn’t everyone’s strong suit mean meal planning just doesn’t work for all of us. Now, thanks to new awesome meal planning website gatheredtable, someone else can do it for you. Don’t miss a big update below Does any of these statistics resonate with you? You’re not alone, which is why so many meal planning sites and apps have popped up lately. I’ve looked into many of them and haven’t found one that I...Read More
Summer is whizzing by and before you know it, the peaches, tomatoes and corn will be gone. Before summer produce makes its sad exit, you’ll want to be sure to get in all the great summer cooking you can. The good news is that summer cooking is all about a light touch. It doesn’t get all that intense, except maybe when making homemade pie dough. (Though pssst, every single one of these summer pie recipes can be made with store bought dough). The even better news is that I’ve got five awesome cookbooks for summer that aren’t your typical summer cookbooks–no grilling books,...Read More