Healthy tips for kids and families

Kids Cooking and Cookbook Blog

Kids cooking recipes, cooking activities, and parenting tips for healthy living
Filed under Books, Cooking and kids, Cooking Skills, Food patterns and eating habits, Goals, Healthy food practices, Recommendations

Here is a book for the homeschool curriculum. Attention Homeschool Moms – and Dads::

The book I’ve been showcasing, Cooking Around the Country With Kids by Amy Houts, is not only a cookbook, but a treasure trove of historical facts and food history. It is a recommended book for the homeschool curriculum.

Along with recipes, Houts has included food facts, historical notes, and fun activities. For example, “When was ice cream “invented”? What are hush puppies and how did they get their nameWhat are funnel cakes? Why doesn’t all corn “pop”?”

You can see that this cookbook is a natural extension to many areas of the school curriculum such as math and science. It makes history and geography come to life in the classroom as well. Use it in any of these ways:

  •        Teach children about food history and where our food is produced
  •       Help children learn about the cooking styles of early Americans
  •       Identify food traditions of different regions
  •       Help children learn how food played a part in our country’s history
  •       Involve children in preparing food of diverse cultures

It is a book ideal for homeschooling, school libraries, and homes. Karen G. Heredia, a homeschooling mother states: “As a homeschooling family, we are always on the look-out for great science projects. As with most homeschooling families, we have quite an age range to cover, which makes science an interesting challenge. The ages span from 3 to 10 years. Amy Houts beautifully introduced the relationship between cooking and chemistry then proceeded to lay out an experiment using popcorn. We were able to complete this project together, making age appropriate adjustments with the documentation and reporting. Science is always more fun when, upon completion, you get to eat your project!”

Add this cookbook to your homeschool cooking curriculum. Help kids learn about the food in America.  Get this step-by-step book for kids ages 3 to 14 today while Amazon has it for a special price.

Go now to order your copy of Cooking Around the Country With Kids for home and school at

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Use and enjoy books,

Lee Jackson
Images Unlimited Publishing

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Filed under Books, Cookbooks, Cooking and kids, Cooking Skills, Food patterns and eating habits, Recommendations

Many parents and teachers feel that kids do not always make healthy food choices. They feel that food choices are shaped only by what food and beverage marketers choose to promote. However, there are many ways parents and teachers can help children shape healthy food choices.

This is where cookbooks serve an important part in educating children. They can provide hands-on training in learning about the wide variety of healthy food choices.

In the cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities, Amy Houts takes kids on a cooking adventure throughout the country. Kids learn where their food is grown and can use recipes incorporating that food. The melting pot of people who settled in different regions developed distinctive dishes. From the East Coast to the West, Alaska, and Hawaii, children can celebrate America’s diversity through foods typical of eight different regions of the country.

The cookbook encourages children to engage not only with the different geographical regions of the country, but with the history of the U.S. as well. As one reviewer stated: “This USA-themed recipe book contains a generous helping of hearty recipes sprinkled with historical facts, tasty learning activities, vivid geographic descriptions, and a hint of patriotism.”

Let children know and appreciate real food, prepared by them (or with your help). Often, if children have prepared the food, they are more apt to try it, and sometimes even enjoy it! That is one of the goals of parents – to help children have a good  attitude about food so they can make healthy food choices.

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If you have children ages 6 to 14, don’t miss this one. Buy now to have this children’s cookbook available.

Cooking Around the Country With Kids by Amy Houts for home and school is available from

Use and enjoy books! Let children help you cook!

Lee Jackson
Images Unlimited Publishing

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Filed under Cookbooks, Cooking and kids, Recommendations

Childrens cookbooks help kids learn how people in other cultures live. This expands their global cultural awareness. Food makes up the culture of every part of the world. Many kids have expanded their food knowledge by watching cooking shows and traveling to different parts of the country sampling their food. But not all children have these opportunities.

One way to help children learn about foods from different cultures is through childrens cookbooks. Amy Houts book, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities shows how this country is a unique melting pot. It captures the tastes of different regions of the country.

As immigrants came to America they brought with them their memories and tastes of foods from the far reaches of the world. These reflections of their traditions, history, religion, celebrations, and family were captured in their dishes. These are the recipes found in different parts of the country. Those are the recipes Houts has chosen to include in this childrens cookbook.

The selected recipes are authentic to the region, and/or to the food produced there. Clear directions are given for easy-to-make dishes, or easy versions of more difficult recipes.

As Amy was doing the research for this cookbook, she said she was awestruck by the wonderful country where she lives. The fruitful plains, the fertile valleys, and the fresh and salt waters all provide an abundance of food. Because of the varying regions of the country and the soil compositions, regional areas of the United States developed distinctive dishes.

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Cooking Around the Country With Kids is for children ages 6 to 14. Order now for home and school from

Use and enjoy books – get kids excited about cooking and real food!

Lee Jackson
Images Unlimited Publishing


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Filed under Books, Gifts, Holidays

What a nice after-Christmas surprise when I opened my email this morning and read what one reviewer said about my book for children, The Littlest Kitten, the story of the Holy Night and the cat family.

(REVIEW) This is a book that children will want to read again and again. I liked this book so much that I will be checking out more books by this author. The cat family was so adorable. Mom cat loved her family. Just like Mary and Joseph loved their new son, Jesus.
More at:

The book is available on Amazon at

Hoping all your after-Christmas wishes come true.

Lee Jackson
Books for children, families, and parenting professionals

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Filed under Books, Character building, Cookbooks, Cooking and kids, Gifts, Party ideas, Recommendations

009Looking for children’s holiday gift ideas? Browse our editors’ picks for a wide assortment of children’s books – from story books to cookbooks. That’s me with our books at our last event.  See brief summaries of these books below, with more info at

The Littlest Christmas Kitten  – This is a story of how the lost is found in the midst of a miracle on that Holy Night. It helps children gain a close-up, richer understanding of the Nativity. Plus, all cat lovers and those who enjoy animals will enjoy this book with its big and bold art work by noted artist, Kelly Dupre, adding dimension to the story.

Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun – Get kids involved this holiday through this seasonal cookbook loaded with lots of recipes and activities to keep children interested. Includes party ideas and holiday information all year long. Kids learn life skills while having fun in the kitchen. Makes a great gift, especially when bundled with the next book:

Cooking Around the Country with Kids – USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities – Celebrate America’s diversity with over 250 pages of kid-friendly recipes, learning activities and food history. This cookbook encourages children to engage with the history of the U.S. through different foods of various regions of the country. Children learn where their food is grown and how to prepare it.

Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids – Here is a kids and teens entry into the world of cooking with less sugar but great taste. Since apples are one of their favorite foods, share ideas on how to prepare apple dishes in hundreds of different ways. It’s also a guide to healthy tips in everyday eating – kids, too, are interested in eating healthy.

Listening to the Mukies and Their Character Building Adventures – This outer-world tribe of optimistic Mukies is confronted with many of the same problems found in current school-age society, namely bullying, name-calling, jealousy, racism, war-waging. Find out how the Mukies handle these situations. The eight short chapters allow for lots of room for discussion and interaction.

Ciderella and the Little Glass Sipper - This wonderful adaption of the well-known fairy tale takes children on a magical adventure through the land of royal apple orchards and farm country. Ciderella, the chief cider maker, needs help from the fairy godmother to make her dreams come true.

Beauty and the Bees - Beauty’s simple wish for a pretty flower leads to a budding relationship with the beekeeper. She learns about the important role bees play in producing honey. Magical gifts and broken spells await her.

I seriously recommend you go to our website and order these books for the children on your list. Order early because supplies are limited.

May you have a happy “getting ready for the holidays” season!

Lee Jackson
My mission is to teach busy parents and teachers how to help children and families develop healthy food habits to fuel their creativity, productivity, and overall effectiveness.



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Filed under Apple recipes, Apples, Cookbooks, Cooking and kids, Cooking Skills, Recipes


It’s apple season and I want to share two delicious recipes with you from my new apple cookbook that are tailor-made for cooking with kids.

Sauteed apples are good to serve with ham, sausage, or pork. They are really easy to make and are good on their own as well. Any of these apples will work well: Rome, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Pippin Gold, Braeburn, Northern Spy, Gravenstein, Rhode Island Greening, York Imperial, and Cortland.

Sauteed Apples

2 teaspoons butter
2 firm, tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Pinch of cinnamon, if desired

1. In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add apples.
2. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender (about 5-7 minutes).

Appaloosa Delight

No, this is not horse related. Appaloosa horses are known for their beauty and
performance. This apple drink is known for adding sparkle and joy to your life.

1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 ice cubes

1. Mix all in blender on high until ice is melted.
2. Pour into glasses and serve immediately

Enjoy apple season with your kids!

Lee Jackson, M.Ed., is the author of Healthy to the Core! Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids and two other award-winning apple cookbooks. Her mission is to teach busy parents and teachers how to help children and families develop healthy food habits to fuel their creativity, productivity, and overall effectiveness.
















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Filed under Apple recipes, Apples, Cookbooks, Cooking and kids

English: Drawing of Jonathan Chapman, aka John...

With Labor Day gone, apple season has officially arrived. And with it we can almost taste the crisp, juicy apples. Let’s go back in time for a bit to see what influenced apple production in America. Remember Johnny Appleseed?

Was there really such a man as Johnny Appleseed? He has become immortalized in song and story as a dedicated tree planter. It was said he traveled on foot through the hills and valleys of the eastern part of our country planting apple seeds.

John Chapman, who later became the well-known Johnny Appleseed, was born in 1774  in Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. He had an early love of nature and would often escape from the household of ten children to the quiet of the woods.

He set out as soon as he could to explore the vast wilderness to the west. He befriended the early settlers and the Indians, as well as the squirrels and bears and all sorts of animals. He always carried in his pocket a pouch of apple seeds.

Here is a recipe that uses apples which may have come from the early work of this man who is a beloved American figure.

Baked Apple Halves

2 cooking apples
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or 4 custard cups.
2. Cut apples in half lengthwise (core to stem) and remove core but do not peel.
3. Lay the apples skin side down (cavity up) on baking pan or custard cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Spoon raisins into center of each. Pour orange juice over apples and water around apples.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until apples are tender but still hold their shape.

Recipe is from my new children’s apple cookbook:
Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids

Apple season is officially here!

Best to you and your family,

Lee Jackson, author








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Filed under Apples, Cookbooks, Cooking and kids, Gifts, Healthy food practices

What better way to tempt kids to eat right than to start with one of their favorite foodsAPPLES.Picture -Healthy to the Core 4-1

Wanting to bring this home in a hands-on way, my new cookbook: Healthy to the Core! All-Natural Low Sugar, No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids works toward this goal.

It’s a great year for apples in most sections of the apple growing country. There are bushels and bushels of apples to be picked. Kids will soon be going out to orchards on field trips. (One of my most favorite times of the year!) Families will be enjoying the apple experience at orchards.

When you bring home apples, what can you and your children do with them? This cookbook will help you decide what to make with it’s more than 70 recipes using apples. Kids learn to make snacks such as apple chips and apple roll-ups. They can munch on apple leather, and sample apples in breads and salads. They learn how to make applesauce, cakes and pies with low sugar/no sugar, all without artificial sweeteners. Suggestions on working toward healthier food practices are explained.

Apples have a long history in our country. Throughout the book, kids can read about different ways apples have impacted the lives of millions of people. They can read short vignettes of the adventures of Johnny Appleseed and Isaac Newton.

Actually, this book is not only for young cooks. Others have told me I should have called it Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Recipes Kids and Families Love.

You can buy this book at Amazon and/or on my website:

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson

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Filed under Cookbooks, Cooking and kids, Cooking Skills, Recipes

country-smaller-size1Cooking Around the Country with Kids
By Amy Houts
Images Unlimited Publishing

This review of the book, Cooking Around the Country with Kids – USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities was written by Joan Leotta, journalist, in the Myrtle Beach Sun News

I think I might have enjoyed United States geography more if I had been able to eat my way around the country. Experiencing the tastes of regional foods promotes understanding and interest into the differences among the various regions of our vast country. I grew up in the Middle Atlantic States. We traveled a bit and I sampled the pecans of the south and lobster rolls of New England.  You don’t have to leave your home state, with Houts’ book in your kitchen. Not only does she do a wonderful job of providing recipes for healthy foods in various meal categories, she peppers the book with little hints and bits about the food culture of each region and particular, signature foods. She offers information on colonial cooking and eating in the section on the New England States, She devotes a page to telling her readers how hot dogs became a signature American dish and devotes another page to the South Carolina nut of choice, the pecan!

A part of the purpose of the book is to help children make connections between food and where its grown, to help children learn about the cooking styles of early America, help children learn how to relate to food tradition of different regions and show how food played a part in our country’s history. Food activities and recipes make it exciting to explore other cultures. Of course, the recipes also take the child cook into science and math, combining and measuring.

Houts tackles history and geography with a passion that is delicious as well as delightful. The “test” questions include: “When was ice cream invented? What are hush puppies and how did they get their name? What are funnel cakes?  Why doesn’t all corn “pop”?

Her deft pen when dealing with children is no surprise. She is a former librarian and preschool teacher. She never talks down to children. The recipes and short commentaries introduce the concept of cultural diversity as well as promote healthy eating. Her impressive resume and list of writing awards are provided at the back of the book.

If you home school your child, this book will be an invaluable aid in teaching science, math, geography, and history. If your children attend traditional public or private schools, the book is a great way to reinforce lessons taught at school. For both audiences, the book offers a great platform to launch fun family projects and would be wonderful to pull out on a bad weather day to work together in the kitchen.

Even though this book is about more than recipes, simply as a cookbook, the volume excels. The book offers beginning cooks with a mini-primer in cooking with everything from technique to a dictionary of cooking terms. The recipes offered provide not only a tour through our nation’s culinary heritage and diversity, but also offer busy families, easy-to-fix healthy and very tasty meal options. Options that are child friendly. Of course, if your child helps with the meal, he or she will be more likely to want to try anything new that is served.

Shaker Rice and Nut Burgers
(Middle Atlantic States, Shaker culture)
Recipe given with permission from Cooking Around the Country with Kids by Amy Houts
Serves four as a main dish, eight as a side
Calls for chestnuts or almonds, but author says pecans or cashews can substitute

1 cup chestnuts or slivered almonds
2 cups brown or white rice
½ cup dry bread crumbs
3 eggs
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons oil

If using chestnuts prick the shells and place in cold water, Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, turn down heat, and simmer for fifteen minutes. Cool and chop.

Mix the nuts, rice, bread crumbs, 2 of the eggs, parsley and cream. Adults can heat butter and oil in a large skillet.
Beat remaining egg.
Spoon a little flour onto wax paper. Children can help shape and pat the main mixture into 8 “burgers”
Dip each burger into beaten egg and then into flour.
Fry about five minutes on each side until brown,
Serve hot.

Bread Pudding
(Southwest United States)
Recipe given with permission from Cooking Around the Country with Kids by Amy Houts
Serves 6-8
Two and ½ cups milk
1/3  cup raisins (optional)
4 slices bread
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Children can butter a 1 ½ quart casserole dish
Sprinkle raisins in  dish
Fill a 9 x13x2 inch pan with approximately an inch of water and place in oven while preheating to heat the water. Scald milk by heating it almost to boiling, remove from heat and set aside
Toast bread on light.
Children can spread the bread with butter.
Sprinkle two of the slices with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Place remaining two slices on top like a sandwich, Cut into fourths. Place in casserole dish on top of the raisins in a single layer.
Children can help beat eggs,. Stir tie sugar, vanilla and salt into the beaten eggs
Adult can gradually add the scalded milk. Pour everything over the bread. Place casserole dish into the pan of water that is already in the oven. Bake about 65 minutes or until the pudding is set. Remove the casserole form the water. Serve warm or cold. Store in refrigerator.

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Filed under Apple recipes, Apples, Cookbooks, Cooking and kids

Apple tree in full blossom, North Ayrshire, Sc...

Apple blossom festivals are appearing all over the U.S.A. There is good evidence this will be another great apple season.

Your fresh apple supply is probably near the end, but you may still have some apple foods available – such as applesauce, dried apples, and apple cider.

Quick story on my apple cider morning fiasco -I had some apple cider in the refrigerator and wanted to have it for breakfast. I went to heat it up, but unfortunately, I forgot it on the stove. When I realized what I had done, the cider was all cooked down into a thick syrup. It was past the point of redemption, however, and now the pan is soaking in the sink. This is a poor way to start the morning and a quick reminder to tend to the job at hand!

Anyway, if you still have any applesauce and dried apples left form last fall, here is a recipe from my latest cookbook, Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids. It’s not only for kids, though, but for the whole family, and easy enough for kids. But everyone needs to stay alert when using the stove, I remind myself and others.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookie

1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal (regular or quick)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water or apple juice or cider
1/3 cup dried apples
1/3 cup raisins
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped nuts, optional

1. Grease cookie sheet or use parchment paper on pan.
2. In a medium bowl measure flour, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In small pan, add water or apple juice or cider and dried apples and raisins. Heat for a few minutes to plump dried fruit. Turn off heat and let cool.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and add oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir together. Add dry ingredients and combine.
5. Add dried fruit mixture from saucepan. Mix to blend well. Add nuts (if using) and mix thoroughly.
6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

This is the time to use up foods from last season. What else besides applesauce do you need to use up before the new crop comes in?

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
author and food writer


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