Cooking that's child's play, fun



Mom and Me Cookbook

By Annabel Karmel

DK Publishing Inc. / 2005 / $10.99

This book features 21 kid-friendly recipes accompanied by the kind of detailed photographs and illustrations DK Publishing is known for.

More than half of the recipes are for desserts such as cookies, cupcakes and ice cream sundaes. The others are those well-known kid dishes -- spaghetti, pizza, dips and chicken. The most sophisticated dish of the bunch is a fruit-filled crepe. Instructions are simple and rarely include more than six steps. But the kids in the book look like they're having so much fun, yours will probably want to join in.

Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cook Book, 1955 Classic Edition

Meredith Publishing Co. / 1955 / $16.95

Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cook Book, 7th Edition

Meredith Publishing Co. / 2004 / $16.95

See how times have changed with the reissuance of Better Homes and Gardens 1955 Junior Cook Book and the New Junior Cook Book. The original contains more than 100 recipes with 300 illustrations.

The new book contains 65 recipes with bold graphics.

The recipes have changed quite a bit as well. Main dishes in the original included tuna casserole, meatloaf, soup and barbecue. The new book has recipes for fajitas, chicken stir-fry and pizza.

These books are geared toward the older child who can read.

Pillsbury Kids Cookbook: Food Fun for Boys and Girls

Wiley, John & Sons Inc. / 2005 / $19.95

This is a compilation of 65 recipes arranged mostly by occasion -- Halloween party, tea party, slumber party, breakfast and noon. There are also chapters called Tidbits & Bites, Come & Get It and Worth the Wait.

Each recipe includes the tools needed and the time it will take so kids won't start making ghost candies only to find out they have to be in soccer practice in a half-hour.

Recipes are a mixture of traditional, such as cold-cut subs and pizza, to the more adventuresome strawberry-kiwi parfait and ice cream tacos.

Salad People and More Real Recipes

By Mollie Katzen

Tricycle Press / 2005 / $17.95

The author of the acclaimed Moosewood Cookbook presents 20 recipes for children ages 3 and up. Each comes with written instructions for the grown-ups and step-by-step illustrations for the kids. Charming commentary is provided by the group of recipe testers, ages 3 to 6.

While the collection isn't extensive and the instructions are simple, Katzen doesn't rely on old standbys like mac and cheese. She is confident that small children will just as readily like cold cucumber soup, miso-almond dipping sauce, broccoli-cheese quiche and crunch fruity granola.

Counting Soup lets kids count the vegetables they put in their bowls, although some kids, like mine, may turn their noses up at the tofu.

A more popular choice may be the Chewy Energy Circles that gives kids permission to get their hands messy and creates a soft cookie-like treat that isn't too sweet.

Chewy Energy Circles

About 24 small circles

nonstick spray for the pan

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup soy protein powder (or 3/4 cup additional flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 24 standard-sized muffin cups with nonstick spray. Combine flour, protein powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the oats, cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins and mix with clean hands. Measure the yogurt into a 2-cup measure. Add the oil and use a fork or small whisk to combine them directly in the cup. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix with hands until completely combined. Place approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter into each muffin cup and pat or poke into place. Bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until brown around the edges. Transfer to a rack and cool for at least 10 minutes.

Per serving: 123 calories; 5 grams protein; 3 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 19 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber; 1 milligram cholesterol; 96 milligrams sodium

Recipe from "Salad People and More Real Recipes"

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