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Archive for the ‘Cooking for Kids’ Category

 

It almost never snows in Columbia, South Carolina, but last night was the exception! According to the National Weather Service, our official snow total was 8.6 inches – certainly deep enough to provide ample clean show for a batch of delicious Snowflake Ice Cream!  

It was the 5th highest snowfall in Columbia’s history and the first major snow in 7 years. The snow is beautiful this morning but beginning to fall from the trees in big snow drifts and melt. The weather is freezing – and probably the last thing on most people’s minds is eating ice cream!  But this is a special treat you shouldn’t miss, especially since our bountiful snowfall has provided the essential ingredient for this rare winter treat. 

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Kids love to play with their food so capture their attention and transform a few of the basic foods into whimsical creatures or flowers. A big part of kid’s enthusiasm for food occurs if you can get them involved in the cooking process.

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O-bento (bento) foods are artfully arranged in unique compartmentalized containers. Half of the meal usually consists of cooked white rice and the remainder is made up of okazu or side dishes of fish, meat, cooked eggs, vegetables and pieces of fruit. The variety of okazu is endless, arranged in infinite ways within the lunch box. The variety and creativity of bento foods rests with the bento maker, usually the (female) homemaker.

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One of my favorite aspects of the O-bento (portable lunch) in Japan, is the creative, delicious cuisine created especially for kids. Bento lunches packed by Japanese mamas differ vastly from brown bag lunches in America. Even the lunch boxes are cute and original. Childen’s bento boxes are difficult to find in many areas of the United States, except where Japanese populations exist. Recently, I discovered a unique school lunch box by Obentec that was inspired by the Japanese bento.

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I have a friend who is a political wife in the Washington D.C. area. She is a fabulous cook and puts together an informative cookbook every few years as her husband campaigns for re-election. As I was reading her current work before publication, I was struck by the bounty of easy-to-prepare, tasty vegetable recipes. They were designed to bring out the natural flavor and sweetness of each vegetable. I couldn’t wait to try the one for roasted carrots that you cut like French fries. I wasn’t disappointed. Such a simple idea with such great taste!

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