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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Children's books as wall art

Have you ever thought of displaying children’s books as wall art?

With their bright colors and whimsical drawings, children’s books make a fun (and I hope engaging) decoration in a child’s room when they are displayed outward on shelves. So, on a small wall between two windows, white shelves filled with books have become a focal point in our baby’s room. We like the idea so much, we may hang shelves in our living room to show off the covers of our adult books.

(A big thanks to Kenny and my mom for hanging the shelves. They were using power tools and, because I am not at all handy, I also wasn’t at all helpful with this project.)

Right now we’re displaying the few children’s books that we own. But we’ll order more today. In addition to Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day – my absolute favorite book as a child – we have some children’s food books on the list, at least two of which include recipes that you can make with your kids.

Continue Reading “Children’s books as wall art; Children’s books about food”

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The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn “I want to try to understand what could motivate people to cook more often,” writer Kathleen Flinn tells her husband in her memoir, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. “I want to give people different cooking lessons and see which of the things they learn might stick with them.”

Flinn does just that after finding a group of 9 women, all of varying ages and from a range of economic backgrounds, who want to learn more about cooking. The students lack confidence in the kitchen, but Flinn thinks that a few basic hands-on cooking lessons could change their eating habits, save them money and time, and help them feel more comfortable – and even have fun – making food.

The cooking lessons in The Kitchen Counter Cooking School are basic – cutting up a whole chicken, baking bread, scrambling eggs – but I still enjoyed being reminded of what I already know (I really could make my own salad dressing more…) and learning new skills too (So that’s how you cook without a recipe…).

Here are four lessons I took from Flinn’s book that could help you gain more confidence in the kitchen too.

Continue Reading “4 ways to gain confidence in the kitchen from Kathleen Flinn’s The Kitchen Counter Cooking School”

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At Home on the Range, presented by Elizabeth Gilbert (cookbook) “When so many recipes are available on the internet, recipes alone don’t make a cookbook,” wrote Holly Hughes, editor of the Best American Food Writing series, explaining that she’s looking for other material that sets a cookbook apart. “I’m focused on the words, not the photos, beautiful as they may be, and the quality of the prose, not the authenticity or originality of the recipes.”

Hughes’ quote comes from a handout provided by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) at their annual conference last week. (As an aside, I highly recommend this conference to both build skills and network with other writers.)

I didn’t attend “A Dash of Cookbook Writing,” the panel in which Hughes spoke, but this handout got me thinking about the role of voice in cookbooks, and – to take it one step further – what actually makes us buy cookbooks today.

Continue Reading “The role of voice in cookbook writing (and what makes you want to buy a cookbook?)”

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Bringing up baby book jacket I flew through Pamela Druckerman’s book Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. As an American living in Paris with a British husband and three young children, Druckerman studies the way the French view their role as parents. Above all, this seems to center on the idea that children are capable of independent thought and, thus, have the ability to learn important lessons about manners, for example, while still being curious and energetic, even from a young age.    

It’s fascinating to read about how French parents get their children to “do their nights” (i.e. sleep through the night) often by the time they are three months old and how much importance parents place on teaching their kids how to say not just please and thank you, but hello and goodbye too.

But I’m most interested in how French children eat, particularly from the time they are toddlers in the local crèche – if they can get in, that is.

Continue Reading “French toddlers eat better than me”

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Congratulations to Heather, who random.org chose as the winner of a copy of Debbie Koenig’s Parents Need to Eat Too cookbook giveaway. Thanks so everyone who played along!

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Galactic Granola, Parents Need to Eat Too

I received my copy of Parents Need to Eat Too by Debbie Koenig less than three weeks ago. Since then, I have made her Galactic Granola Bars five times.

No variation has been the same, of course. Following Debbie’s recipe, I always use oats, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds. But sometimes I use whole almonds, which don’t brown quite as much in the oven; other times I use sliced almonds. And I always throw in whatever dried fruit I have lying around, often dried cherries or raisins.  

“Galactic Granola Squares, Parents Need to Eat Too”

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Cheater's Chana Masala, Parents Need to Eat Too by Debbie Koenig

Nearly every time we go to Akbar, our favorite Indian restaurant in Baltimore, Kenny and I always order the same two dishes. One is bindhi masala made with okra that is lovely and charred and cooked with tomatoes and onions. The other is chana masala, chickpeas cooked with tomatoes.

In searching for the history of chana masala, I came across a Madhur Jaffrey recipe on the Smitten Kitchen. This version is made with seven spices: coriander, cumin, cayenne, tumeric, cumin seeds, paprika, garam masala, and amchoor powder, which is dried unripe mango powder. This is in addition to the garlic, onion, ginger, and hot green chili pepper that are browned in oil at the beginning of the recipe.

It’s a simple dish, but it requires many ingredients.

Parents Need to Eat Too by Debbie Koenig has a much easier version that tastes an awful like Akbar’s chana masala. 

Continue Reading “Cheater’s Chana Masala from Parents Need to Eat Too”

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