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Your kid will only eat mac & cheese? Your little ones or grandchildren refuse to cook with you in the kitchen? With a growing obesity epidemic threatening our children’s safety and nationwide concerns over the unhealthy foods served in school cafeterias, it’s more important than ever for children to understand the difference between healthy and fatty foods.
genConnect recently caught up with celebrity chef Cricket Azima, an expert in cooking with children. Cricket is the author of Everybody Eats Lunch, founder of The Creative Kitchen, and she launched the Kids Food Festival, held in New York City every year to help fight childhood obesity. This year’s event’s was held in Bryant Park last in January. In this interview, Cricket divulges the benefits of getting kids to cook, tricks to get them to eat healthy, and the one kitchen utensil you need today to get them cooking with you in the kitchen…
genConnect: Please tell me a bit more about your cooking philosophy and the benefits of cooking with children.
Cricket: There is so much to learn from cooking beyond just the traditional perspective of nutrition. You can use cooking to supplement so many disciplines, like math, science, social studies, foreign language, art, geography. I have a four-year old son who has special needs and we do a lot of cooking at his school and I have developed a special needs cooking pre-school program because there is so much in cooking that helps with motor-skills development, following directions, socialization.
Tristin & Tyler joined us at the 1st annual Kids Food Festival to learn about making healthy food choices! They also got to cook with me, Cricket Azima, they met Chef Joe Johnson and hung with Reed Alexander from iCarly! SUPER FUN!!
To see what Tristin and Tyler are up to next, click here.
Classes at the Downtown Community Center on Cooking For — And By — Children
The Creative Kitchen’s “Feeding Baby” and “Fun Foods for Toddlers” will begin their first sessions next week. In “Feeding Baby,” Ms. Azima and her team will help new parents make a freezable stockpile of baby food, and learn efficient food preparation strategies, timing for feeding certain foods, and cooking methods with a baby in arms. The first session is on Thursday, February 2 (10 to 11am). The program will run for four weeks at a cost of $150 for members, and $250 for non-members. Two more sessions will run in March, and mid-April to mid-May.
“Fun Foods for Toddlers” is designed to bring age-appropriate recipes to toddlers and their families, with a special focus on themes, colors, numbers and shapes. Parents will learn techniques for getting toddlers to help-out in the kitchen and incorporating new and/or healthy foods into the family’s diet. The first session is Thursday, February 2 (11am to noon). The program runs eight weeks at $180 per session for members, and $295 for non-members. There is also a discount for registering for Session I and Session II together.
A third program, “Everybody Can Cook,” aims to teach special-needs children how to cook while learning independence and developmental skills, as well as creating flavorful food. The class will run from noon to 1:30pm on February 12, March 25, April 22 and May 20, at a cost of $140 for members and $220 for non-members.
For more information about all three programs (or for registration materials), e-mail Morgan Geyer at email@example.com. The Creative Kitchen plans to keep class sizes small, from 10 to 12 children, or a size dictated by the needs of the children enrolled. For more information visit manhattanyouth.org.
top photo by Robert Simko
Tristin and Tyler are twin brothers who love to find ways to save the earth in their series “Tristin and Tyler’s Tales from the City!” They are so excited about the show because they get a chance to share all of their fun adventures with the kids who watch!
Tristin and Tyler joined Cricket Azima at The Creative Kitchen to learn how to make Strawberry Salsa! You can cook with Tristin, Tyler and Cricket at the Kids Food Festival on January 21st at 3:00. Click here to get your tickets now! For more information visit www.kidsfoodfestival.com.
For more information and to see what Tristin and Tyler are up to next, visit www.tristinandtyler.com.
To compile our list of the best budget-friendly cooking tools we combed through the classics, the brand new, and the new-and-improved. If you don’t already have these kitchen essentials, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them!
Some kitchen gadgets remain state-of-the-art for decades—there’s no improving on the rice cooker, for instance. Yet others are continually updated with smaller proportions, and so many bells and whistles that they’ll do everything but the dishes. To compile our list of the best budget-friendly cooking tools we combed through the classics, the brand new, and the new-and-improved. If you don’t already have these kitchen essentials, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them!
What better way to ring in the new year than with the NYSE!? Kids Food Festival is proud to announce the launch of the Kids Food Festival, LLC and the first annual Kids Food Festival taking place on January 21st - 22nd at Citi PondSM at Bryant Park. The Kids Food Festival helps in the fight against childhood obesity through fun and flavorful activities about balanced food & lifestyle choices.
With musical performances from Kimmy Schwimmy and Joanie Leeds and food demonstrations and hands-on cooking classes from top-chefs such as Reed Alexander, Sam Talbot and Grayson Schmitz, we are sure the whole family will have a great time! Spaces are limited, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance.
Tired of feeling like you’re force-feeding your child fruits and vegetables? Here are 10 sure-fire tips to get your family eating and enjoying a produce-packed plate.
1. Play with colors
From the earth, bright-colored, whole foods are rich in nutrients. For example, mango, beets, bell peppers and kiwi are packed with vitamins and minerals. Ask your child to track the colors of the fruits and vegetables he or she consumes each day. Make a chart to color and post it on the refrigerator to chat about as a family during mealtime.
2. Make friends with food
Children are more likely to eat foods they are familiar with, and they’re less likely to eat foods that are foreign to them. By seeing, handling, cooking with or tasting a food a few times, children become more comfortable with that particular ingredient.
How to foster this friendship? Involve the child as much as possible! If you’re including asparagus in a dish, talk about where it grows, the color and shape, and how it’s cooked. Ask your child to assist in the preparation, such as snapping the asparagus ends or cutting with a plastic knife.
Note: It can take 7 to 10 exposures for a child to even try a new food. Be patient and persistent!
Cucina Fresca offers a sophisticated spin on this children’s favorite. Their line of gourmet Mac and Cheese dishes are handmade with egg-less penne, rBST-free milk and a variety of artisan cheeses. From aged white cheddar to rich and tangy gorgonzola and more, Cucina Fresca’s all natural Mac & Cheese dishes are perfect for the whole family or a romantic dinner for Mom and Dad.
Ian’s Twisty Mac put a healthy twist on the familiar Mac and Cheese your kids love! Made from all-natural, organic ingredients and put into single-serving sizes this quick microwavable snack is perfect for the little ones after school or away at college.
Serve Mom Made Foods Cheesy Mac to be sure your children get their veggies. MMF Cheesy Mac offers organic durum semolina macaroni loaded with creamy butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and fresh green peas with a light cheesy flavor. It will have your child asking for seconds every time!
More Info, (price: $36.40 / 8-pack)
With Annie’s Shells and White Cheddar tasty Mac and Cheese doesn’t have to mean high calories and high fat. Enjoy a sharp but creamy cheesy taste without tons of butter for about 100 calories per serving. Annie’s line of assorted Mac and Cheese varieties offers up countless shapes and cheese combinations, without that out-of-the-box taste, at an affordable price!
More Info, (price: $2.39 / box)
Kraft Organic is the perfect choice if you want to stick with the brand you trust your kids know. Kraft, infamous makers of Mac and Cheese, updates their traditional recipe with organic ingredients for the health conscious parent and child. Sold in their iconic packaging this Mac and Cheese is only slightly milder than the traditional recipe so your kids won’t ever be able to tell the difference!
Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese adds decedent buttery, cheesy flavor to the Hodgson whole grains we’ve all come to love. The duram macaroni, made with 100% whole wheat, is the perfect vehicle for the indulgent flavors of this all-American classic without the overpowering taste of grains that sometimes comes along with whole wheat pasta. High in fiber and flavor, you can feel good about treating the kids!
More Info, (price: $1.85 / box)
The Creative Kitchen team kicked off our holiday celebrations with a full-blown cookie making day. Nine hours, 22 sticks of butter and 40 dozen cookies later, we could now use a little help digging out of all of these calories! Any takers?
One thing is for sure, we would NEVER have pulled this off without our seriously amazing, can’t live without, God-send Kitchen Aid 5-Quart Stand Mixer. Its monster–sized bowl makes making nine dozen cookies at a time a breeze!
So, nine hours of cookie making is not your thing? We TOTALLY understand!! I am not quite sure if I will ever do it again either, but there are other ways you can still get the variety of holiday cookies you want, for example, host a cookie exchange!
Here are some tips for a successful swap:
1. Invite girlfriends, neighbors, families and co-workers, but be sure to give plenty of notice–we all know how busy the holidays can get!
2. Each guest should bring five dozen* homemade cookies** and storage containers for safe handling.
3. As guests arrive arrange the cookies on a designated table or counter.
4. Encourage your guests to share stories of how they found their recipe, why they chose their recipe, how the baking experience went, etc. You will be surprised to hear some of the funny stories of burnt batches or astounded by some of the accidental masterpieces.
5. Line up around your table, counter, etc. with your empty containers in hand. Each person takes 3 or 4 cookies from each tray and returns to the end of the line. Continue the process until all of the cookies are gone.
*You can change this number to your liking.
**Suggest to your guests that they make the cookies three days prior. Fresh cookies may taste WONDERFUL, but they do not travel so well.
Have a taste for takeout but don’t want to spend tons of money or time waiting for the nearest Vietnamese restaurant to deliver? Pacific Soup Starters is the perfect meal option! It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and is so easy that anyone can whip up a delicious Vietnamese meal that even the most discerning palates will enjoy. Just heat the broth, add rice noodles, and toss in your family’s favorite veggies (and meat, if desired) for a hearty dinner or warm lunch on those chilly winter days.
Click here to save with Pacific Natural Food Coupons.