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First Meals & More: Your Questions Answered

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Written by Heather Jones   
Thursday, 18 June 2009

ImageI often find myself walking through the children's section of different stores amazed at the new products that have hit the shelves in the one year since I had my youngest daughter, not to mention how much things have changed since my oldest was born.  And when I go to my local bookstore it's the same thing, it seems like virtually every subject new and old is being written about and when I see something of interest I find myself saying "Where was this book three years ago"?

That was the exact reaction I had when I first looked at Bestselling Author Annabel Karmel's latest book First Meals & More.  This book has a very interesting premise that's a nice change of pace from all the other books out there aimed at teaching you about feeding your kids. Annabel has taken over 300 questions on children's eating habits, many sent in to her by fans of her books, and answered them.  Everything from the more common "Is it a good idea to put baby cereal in my baby's bottle?" to the more unusual "Could my toddler's diet be affecting her concentration?".

Many of the questions featured in this book are ones I had myself when I was just starting out as a parent and would often forget to ask the pediatrician about during routine visits.  Reading this book was almost like having a conversation with that really good friend who seems to always have the right answer.  Along with detailed answers to almost every kid food question imaginable, Annabel also gives us 50 more of her signature "recipes to the rescue" - dishes that are sure to please your pickiest eater.

ImageMy 3 year old loved the Apple-Bran muffins (see recipe below). They were so moist and naturally sweet; a nice change of pace from the daily dose of scrambled eggs and toast she'd been demanding lately.   The Blueberry-Lime Cheesecakes (see recipe below) were not only super easy to make, but also quite tasty. The first time I made them was for my daughter, but the second was strictly for me! I am glad to have this book by my side as I begin the toddler years with my youngest as this is a perfect gift for any expectant or new mother. 

Blueberry-Lime Cheesecakes

From First Meals and More: Your Questions Answered by Annabel Karmel and Karen Sullivan, DK Publishing 2009

  • 3 oz. graham crackers, or 1 cup unpacked crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup thick (Greek-style) plain yogurt
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


For serving

  • 1/2 - 1 cup blueberries
  • Powdered sugar


1. Put the graham crackers in a heavy-duty plastic bag and crush to fine crumbs with a rolling pin. Stir the crumbs into the melted butter. Divide among four 3 inch-diameter loose-bottomed tart molds. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom.

2. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and beat to soften slightly. Add the yogurt, lime zest and juice, and sugar and beat to combine. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it makes soft peaks, then fold into the cream cheese mixture.

3. Spoon the filling into the mold over the crumb bases. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight, to set. Or freeze the cheesecakes; when needed, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

4. Remove the side from each mold, then use a metal spatula to carefully lift the cheesecake from the bottom of the mold and place on a plate. Top each cheesecake with blueberries and dust with sifted powdered sugar before serving.

Apple-Bran Muffins

From First Meals and More: Your Questions Answered by Annabel Karmel and Karen Sullivan, DK Publishing 2009

  • 3 cups wheat bran flakes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup applesauce (homemade or from a jar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 7 Tbsp sunflower or olive oil
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp demerara or turbinado sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a small 12-cup muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Crush the bran flakes into a large bowl. Add the milk and applesauce, stir well, and let soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and oil.

3. Add the egg mixture to the bran mixture and stir together. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp of the cinnamon, and the salt, if using, adding any residue from the sifter. Fold in, along with the raisins. Divide the mixture among the paper cases (an ice cream scoop is good for this). The cases will be almost full.

4. Mix together the demerara sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle over the muffins. Bake until risen and firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Store in an airtight container for 2 days. Or, freeze in a freezer bag or container; thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours before needed.

About First Meals and More: Your Questions Answered

ImageThis book gives parents all the tools they need to get their babies and toddlers started on healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. A great collection of quick, easy, and delicious recipes is partnered with a Q&A and loads of handy hints and tips on what younger kids will and won't eat, what's good for them and what isn't, some surprising exotic foods that are actually highly beneficial, and plenty of advice on how to awaken your child's interest in a variety of foods. Expert advice helps parents address the key issues likely to affect each of the five age groups in the book, with more than 400 helpful Questions and Answers from bestselling author Annabel Karmel, a leader in the field of children's food and nutrition today. Fifty tempting, nutritious 'recipes-to-the-rescue' will appeal to the fussiest eaters that children will love and want to eat over and over again.

Available from Amazon.com

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 June 2009 )
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