[review + recipe] The Little Big Cookbook for Moms by Alice Wong and Natasha Tabori Fried

You know the old saying, “Good things come in small packages?”

Check out The Little Big Cookbook for Moms (Welcome Books, 2012)! This chunky, 6-1/2″x 6-1/2″ charmer is chock full of good ideas for busy young moms wishing to make delicious, healthy meals for their kids with the least amount of fuss. In addition to 250 nutritious recipes (Breakfast, Soups and Sandwiches, Snacks and Small Bites, Dinners, Veggies and Sides, Desserts), there’s oodles of practical advice and dozens of cool vintage illustrations, making this a perfect baby shower or new mom gift.

The 20+ page introduction sets the stage for the delectable cooking adventures to come. There’s advice about general nutrition, choosing whole and organic foods, stocking the pantry, food safety and storage, herbs and spices, making homemade baby food, food allergies, and the Top 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Eat Better. 

The authors have included their own family favorites as well as kid-friendly classics (Broiled Salmon, Chicken with Garlic and Shallots, Vegetable Lasagna, Sloppy Joes, Southwestern Chicken Tacos, Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Fingers). As busy moms themselves, they appreciate one-pot meals and the accommodating slow cooker, and like to think in terms of making ahead and freezing on the weekends, as well as creatively using up leftovers. They know that a well-stocked pantry is a godsend for those days when they need to get something quick and nutritious on the table without giving it a second thought.

I was happy to see a lot of veggie recipes and an emphasis on trying to expose kids to a wider variety of foods. If they are given the opportunity to taste things like baba ganoush, vegetarian brown rice sushi, shrimp curry, quinoa with fennel and pine nuts, or Chinese greens with oyster sauce, they will grow up to become more adventurous eaters — even moreso if when old enough they are encouraged to help Mom in the kitchen.

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royalTEA: mr. cornelius meets the Queen (with Darren McGrady’s chocolate biscuit cake!)

“I have to be seen to be believed.” ~ Queen Elizabeth II

Roll out the red carpet and practice your curtsies. Polish your tiara if you like.

A very special guest is joining us for tea today!

Mr. Cornelius has been a fan of Her Majesty the Queen for a long time. He likes that she loves animals and chocolate, lives in several beautiful royal residences, always wears the best hats, and has reigned for an amazing 60 years!

A tea lover from the start: Princess Elizabeth with her parents Queen Elizabeth and King George VI.

Needless to say, he was beside himself when she accepted our invitation. We spiffed up the dining room, stocked up on Earl Grey and Darjeeling (reputedly her favorite), and made finger sandwiches and cake.

She’s so photogenic!

We were a little nervous but she immediately put us at ease. Imagine our great surprise when she brought Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry with her! They were such a jolly group and didn’t seem to mind dipping in hot water. 🙂

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rainbow pasta from allergies, away!

Recently, Mr. Cornelius and I finally made one of the recipes from the Park Sisters’ new cookbook, Allergies, Away!: Creative Eats and Mouthwatering Treats for Kids Allergic to Nuts, Dairy, and Eggs (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013).

We wanted to whet your appetite for their upcoming visit next month and share a few details about their mouthwatering, kid-friendly collection of 70+ recipes — dishes your entire family can enjoy making and eating, whether they have food allergies or not.

Credit: Teddy Wolff/WP Express</em

If you remember when Frances and Ginger stopped by to tell us about their beautifully written, heartfelt memoir (Chocolate Chocolate: The True Story of Two Sisters, Tons of Treats, and the Little Shop That Could, 2011), you know that they own Washington, D.C.’s, premier chocolate boutique. Imagine how disheartening it must have been when they discovered that Ginger’s one-year-old son, Justin, had severe food allergies, making it too risky for him to even visit their shop!

When Ginger was pregnant, everyone assumed her child would be the proverbial “kid in a candy store.” Though Justin had to stay far away from chocolate covered peanuts, he did grow up eating a nice variety of tasty, nutritious meals and snacks, thanks to the conscientious, resourceful efforts of his mother and aunt.

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♥ love me some latkes, part one ♥

Oy! It’s Hanukkah already and though I’ve been waiting patiently for a nice Jewish grandmother to adopt me, she hasn’t come forward yet. Cornelius suggested we should just go ahead and make our own latkes while we’re waiting.

Mmmm, latkes — the mere thought of crisp, golden potato pancakes with dabs of sour cream and applesauce makes my mouth water. I can picture mothers and grandmothers busy in the kitchen preparing their special recipes for loved ones, happy families gathered around the table eager to try the latkes first despite all the other delicious dishes being served. And why not? Latkes are irresistible and so comforting, a perfect ode to oil for the Festival of Lights!

Since I really wanted to impress any grandmotherly prospects, I decided to forego the classic white potatoes recipe in favor of something a little different. Actually, I got a special request from poet friend Gail Gerwin to share the Sweet Potato-Apple Latkes recipe from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook which I reviewed recently. I was only too happy to oblige, despite the fact that Gail is too young to be my grandmother (she’s a terrific cook, though, if you remember the delicious Stuffed Cabbage she made for Passover Seder this past April).

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happy 70th birthday, paul!

Paul with daughters Stella and Mary (photo © 2011 Mary McCartney)

Back in the Dark Ages, when I was a dreamy 12-year-old listening to the radio in my bedroom with the pink curtains and wall-to-wall Beatles pictures, it was inconceivable that any of the Fab Four would ever age.

Well, it seems Sir Paul has decided to turn 70 today and I can’t think of any other classic rocker who’s managed to age quite so well. Still has his boyish good looks and charm, still writes, records, performs and tours, still the idol of millions all over the world. Whenever I see him, I still feel like that innocent middle schooler watching the Ed Sullivan Show, so lucky to have witnessed that watershed moment in history when popular music changed forever.

You probably know Paul is a longtime vegetarian, who, with his daughters Stella and Mary, launched the Meatfree Monday campaign in London back in 2009. Last fall they published The Meat Free Monday Cookbook (Kyle Books, 2011).  I just purchased the American edition (released March 2012), and decided to make one of the recipes to celebrate Paul’s birthday.

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