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, Recipes

CookCalenderCooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun is the newly revised and updated childrens’ cookbook just back from the printers! This book helps children celebrate the changing seasons with great tasting food and fun activities.

For this season of spring, the author Amy Houts has included food for April Foods, EasterMay Day, Mothers Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Fathers Day.

Here is a recipe for May Day taken from the book:

Strawberry Parfait
1 pint fresh strawberries
1/4 cup granola
ONE of the following:
2 cups vanilla pudding
1 pint vanilla ice cream
12 ounces cottage cheese
16 ounces yogurt

These look prettiest in parfait glasses, which are tall, clear glass dessert dishes. Then the layers of red and white are clearly visible.

Children can pull or trim the stems from the strawberries. Rinse, and then slice in half with a butter knife.

Children can place a layer of strawberries in the dessert dish. Top with pudding, ice cream, cottage cheese, or yogurt. Repeat until you reach the top of the parfait glass or until you have a single serving. Each dessert is layered in a separate glass or bowl.

Top with a sprinkling of granola. Serve or chill until serving time.

Makes 4-6 parfaits

Kids and grown ups will enjoy these delightful, attractive, and healthy parfaits – for May Day or any spring day.

Go to and order your copy today.

Best to you and your family,

Lee Jackson
Food and Nutrition Educator

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Filed under listening skills, Publishing, Recommendations
Learning to Listen with Significant Others by Bob Bohlken, Ph.D.

Learning to Listen with Significant Others by Bob Bohlken, Ph.D.

Bob Bohlken, Ph.D. author of Learning to Listen with Significant Others says that effective listening helps build a foundation for healthy relationships.

This is a book important for business communicators, counselors, and individuals.  Go now to order Learning to Listen to Significant Others released in trade paper (ISBN: 978-0-93043-23-2, 65 pages, $14.95) at and

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Filed under Books, listening skills, Recommendations

I’m excited about our new book just published, Learning to Listen with Significant Others – A Conversational Approach by Bob Bohlken, Ph.D.  This is a new category for us – in Interpersonal Relationships/Education/Communication.  Useful for counselors, marriage prep directors, and training materials for companies with their employees.

View our most recent press release at

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Filed under Food Safety, GMO, Health, Healthy food practices, Organic foods

fotolia_7717219-1boy dandelionscropOrganic farmers suffer somewhat the same consequences as do those with second-hand smoke problems. Their crops can be contaminated by others growing GMO crops.

Yet the USDA wants the public to think GMO and organic crops can coexist.

To read more about this, go to:

As said in the Food and Water Watch literature: “Because of some really unfortunate laws, right now, if one of Monsanto‘s genetically engineered crops contaminates an organic farmer, the organic farmer is at fault. The farmer can lose the significant investment that they put into growing organic crops if the crop tests positive for contamination. Not to mention that in the past, Monsanto has been very aggressive going after farmers who find contamination, suing them for “using” their crops illegally”.

Pollen flies – winds blow. Nature is meant to reproduce.

Lee Jackson
Concerned about food safety








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Filed under Cooking and kids, Empowered Mom news, Free Offer, Goals, Recommendations

Our goal at Cooking and Kids is to help parents like you become empowered in your job of raising healthy kids.

One of the most powerful ways to do this is to get kids involved in food and cooking. With that in mind, I’m excited to announce my FREE eCourse, Kids-Cooking-is-Fun-classes.

This 5 session cooking classes for kids will provide you with hands-on activities for kids in your home, school, church, or organizational setting. Each of the 5 sessions is packed with interactive experiences to teach children skills needed when working with food.

If you are ready to make food experiences with children more meaningful, then I invite you to sign up now, here to the right beside the big red arrow.  You will get a series of 5 free sessions filled with ideas on how easily you can get kids excited about food and cooking.

I hope you can join me for these Kids-Cooking-is-Fun step-by-step classes.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, M.Ed
Food and Family Living Educator

P.S. Pick up this free eCourse on food activities for children and let them explore the world of food.

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Filed under Cooking and kids, Healthy food practices

Here’s an interesting collection of food entries by young cooks in a contest.

Check it out. Ask your kids which one is their favorite and vote if you want.

It’s  good to see kids choosing healthy foods.

Best to you,

Healthy cooking for healthy kids






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Filed under Cooking and kids, Cooking Skills, Recipes, Teenagers cooking

iStock_000004855269_SmallDo your children help in the kitchen? Young children are often excited about mixing and stirring. Older children perhaps not so much. But have you asked them and encouraged them?

Most children love to “help” in the kitchen. Their help may not always be appreciated but their enthusiasm should be encouraged. Being excited about working in the kitchen is a good trait for any child.

Here are three good ways to get kids to show up and contribute.

1. The #1 way to get kids cooking is to encourage and involve them in the work of the kitchen.  Give them simple chores to do, depending on the age of the child. Setting the table, mixing ingredients, and washing food, such as lettuce in a colander are jobs even preschoolers can do. It may take a little more time and patience sharing your kitchen with young ones, but the smiles on their faces will more than compensate for a little flour on the floor or other spills.

2. Give children choices. The #2 way of getting kids in the kitchen is to give them choices in what they can do. For example, “Do you want to grease the pan or measure the sugar?  Or you can ask “Would you like to put the napkins on the table or the silverware?” Eventually you may get them interested in doing both chores. Just make it sound interesting! Let them know this is a special job just for them. You may say: “You’re the only one in this family who knows where the knives, forks, and spoons go.”

3. Prepare simple foods with them and let them sample when it’s ready. Children feel good about the food they prepare and want to taste it. This is a good time to give them a little more information about the food. You can tell them where it is grown and some of the processes it went through to get to the stage it is now. Let them feel the food and talk about the color and the shape. What else do they know that is that color or that shape? How does it smell?  Is it hot or is it cold? When they taste it, is it salty? Is it sweet? Have them describe how it looks and tastes.

By following these suggestions you will have excited and willing help in the kitchen  -  perhaps even promising young chefs. Many great cooks attribute their skill and interest in cooking to their earlier years when they were encouraged to help their parents or other adults prepare food.

For help in selecting recipes to prepare with children, check out the children’s cookbookCooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities by Amy Houts. This cookbook helps parents and children work together in celebrating America’s cultural diversity through foods from different regions of the country and shows where food is grown or harvested.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, author and child health advocate

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Filed under Empowered Mom news, Goals, Time management

It is now well into January and many have almost forgotten their resolutions. Mine often follow the same pattern every year  – eat healthy, exercise more, make time for family and friends, and continue working to make our books important resources for parents and educators. This year I decided to focus on priorities to reach goals faster.

In forming priorities, there is a hierarchy. Some priorities are more important than others. One has to decide which jobs or activities must be done before others.

I like to use the quote by Dallin H. Oaks to outline this further: Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.”

Going on with this format, I have to determine what my desires are, both personal and professional or business. Personal can include living a healthy lifestyle, connecting better with my spiritual life,  spending more quality time with family and friends, having more free time, being better organized, and the list goes on. Since I am in the business of helping families improve lives through books and information, reaching out to others is always high on the list for professional or business desires.

Establishing clear priorities is the first step in reaching goals for the year. There are many methods in determining this. Stephen Covey describes a high level prioritizing method in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Through his system, certain tasks are categorized into four areas or quadrants:

QI – Important and Urgent
QII – Important but Not Urgent
QIII – Not Important but Urgent
QIV – Not Important and Not Urgent

Another method of prioritizing tasks is the one used by Microsoft Outlook: High, Normal, Low.

The Franklin planner ranks tasks into a different set of categories:.
A = vital
B = important
C = nice

Whatever method is used, we need to see the big picture and determine the action needed to reach the goals. Sometimes the tasks’ importance shifts and other areas come higher up on the list. Being flexible is necessary. However, we need to ensure our priorities are consistent with our personal and professional or business values and goals.

I find that making a list of my personal and business priorities and setting up a calendar of important tasks during each month helps to see the whole picture more clearly. What are some ways you go about setting your priorities?

Lee Jackson, author
New book: Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar
Apple Recipes for Kids




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Filed under Apple recipes, Apples, Books, Cookbooks, Cooking and kids, Publishing, Recipes

Another year has slipped away and we take stock of what we have accomplished. There are always things we wish we had done during the year. But in looking back, I see two things I did this 2013 that make me most proud. Now I can say, “Wow! You really did get that done”!

I have been planning to write a children’s cookbook for quite some time In fact I started one about five years ago but I ran out of time to test the recipes and do all the work involved and life got in the way. I knew my next book project would be another apple cookbook and that I would use some of the research material I had used for my two previous cookbooks. And I really wanted the cookbook to be healthy. So many apple recipes use lots of sugar and flour. Some of my orchard customers said that many apples really don’t need much sweetening. They were ready for a new apple cookbook for their customers, they told me. I took it from there.

What helped me reach this goal was a firm determination to get it done this year. This meant I had to set aside time each day, week, and month for work on this project. I set goals each week and worked toward meeting them.

When you’re a writer you have friends and family always asking what you are working on now. You can’t just say, “Oh, another book.” They want to know more because a writer’s life is supposed to be exciting, right? They don’t want to know that you have tried three different apple recipes and threw them out because you weren’t happy with any of them. You have to come up with successes, such as “I’ve just finished the first chapter on using apples in salads and here is a wonderful apple macaroni salad I want you to try.”

I used guidelines for the recipes. The recipe had to be low sugar/no sugar. They couldn’t have more than 1/2 cup sugar, max. In the section on “Healthy Food Practices” I stress cutting out refined sugars. I’ve used three natural sweeteners instead of the refined sugars. Most of the recipes have little or no sugar, but two cake recipes use up to 1/2 cup sugar, depending upon the sweetness of the apples. (No artificial sugars are used). That’s the fun of working with apples, as the flavor of different varieties means there is some leeway in the amount of sweetening to use.

Since I’ve published a number of books for myself as well as other authors, I knew I needed editors, proof readers, designers, and printers. For this I leaned on some individuals I’ve used before and was familiar with their work. For others, I took a chance on them to help me with the title and book cover design. I love a suggestion a reviewer gave me after the fact – she commented that I should have titled it Healthy to the Core! Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes Kids Love. She said some of the recipes need adult help, which I realized and noted that working in the kitchen requires adult supervision. Maybe for the second printing that is what I’ll name it. I also like the title Apples – Naturally. So many different ways of giving “it” a name, but when it comes down to it, only one title goes on the book and it is Healthy to the Core! Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids.  

All spring and summer I worked and tested recipes. Finally, the recipes were written down, the additional comments made, and the last draft completed. I sent it off to the book designer, back for another re-read,  and from there it went to the printer. From the printer it went out into the world. I had some pre-publication information out so I began sending out books ordered. In September, right at the start of apple season, the books were out and ready for more distribution. Mission accomplished.

But, we writers and publishers always say, writing the book is the easy part. Now the work begins – it needs to get exposure and be noticed. Needs to make it’s mark on the health of children. And it needs to accomplish it’s goal of helping children have fun using apples in many different ways.

My second accomplishment I’m most proud of this year is selling my Mercedes by myself, through Craigslist. Have owned this great car since 1998 but it was time to sell. This was done in the parking lot of Walmart (with friends near-by) with the paper work done at Burger King. Not recommended for everyone, but it worked for me.

I hope all of you have something you are very proud of accomplishing this year. Would love to hear your story.

Wishing you a prosperous and fulfilling 2014!

Lee Jackson
New book: Healthy to the Core! Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids

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Filed under Food patterns and eating habits, Good thoughts, Recommendations

Here are summaries from three of my posts that received the most notice this past year:

Use Mindful Eating vs. Mindless Eating

Is this one of those days when you have so much to do you eat whatever is available? Without thinking and not even knowing what you are eating? Is it just “time to eat” and you sit down, grab your food, a book or the paper, watch TV or check your messages, and go through the motions?

It takes effort to be fully present to plan and choose healthy food. One needs to pause and take a few deep breaths to connect body and mind and become more aware of what is going on.

Mindless eating can lead toward food binges, sugar cravings, and overeating. Being more mindful of what we are eating while avoiding mindless eating is a worthy goal.

Response to “Use Mindful Eating vs. Mindless Eating”
“I’ve been attending meditation sessions every week, where mindfulness is an important aspect of the lesson. The teachers have often suggested exactly the points you bring out in your article: “to be more present at mealtime. To eat slowly and be mindful of the taste…” Also to eat without the distraction of the TV or the newspaper. Thank you for reminding me about the importance of mindful eating.”

You’re Fine Just the Way You Are

One of the greatest gifts of all is to hear: “You’re fine just the way you are.” There is so much comparing body features to super models and being unhappy with looks, hair, whatever. It’s so good to hear this – especially from your Mom or those close to you. Those may be just the most wonderful words imaginable: “You’re fine just the way you are.”
Read more about this here:
Then read the whole story about a different sort of bullying – one that is just as hurtful as being pushed, or other aggressive forms of bullying here:

To make the day for children and others, just use these these magic words: “You’re fine just the way you are.”.  The family really does play a crucial role when it comes to raising emotionally healthy and confident children.

New Ebook: Kids Cooking and Learning Through Food Activities

Thanks to all who downloaded a FREE copy of  Amy Houts’ ebook, Kids Cooking and Learning Through Food Activities.

With over 3400 FREE Kindle Amazon downloads during the 3 day promotion, we thank you for getting the word out.  May this little ebook inspire you to encourage your child in meaningful kitchen “experiments”, activities, and food preparation jobs.

At one point the book ranked #1 in the FREE book in Kindle Store.

The promotion is over but the ebook continues to be available on Amazon for only $2.99, considered a real bargain. You can place it on your reader, including your Cloud reader and have it instantly at your service.

To happy and healthy cooking and eating in 2014,

Lee Jackson, writer and entrepreneur

P.S. Sign up for my free report, Kids Cooking Activities Using the Five Senses, at
P.S.S. See my online catalog of books at

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