Creative cooking with Mina

March 3, 2010

Mina in the kitchen

As everyone knows, Mina and I love to cook. Lately, that has sparked some interesting requests. A few weeks ago, Mina asked me to make Angelina Ballerina’s mother’s Cheddar Cheese Pie for dinner. Hmmm… .I googled Mrs. Mouseling’s Cheddar Cheese Pie. Hey, who knows? Maybe somewhere someone posted the recipe! No, it was not going to be that easy. I spent the weekend looking up recipes to find something that would work. Then I bought a big hunk of Cheddar at Costco. I was ready! Mina took one bite of the finished pie and informed me that she was not a mouse and could not eat the rest…sigh…Tolga and I were eating Cheddar Cheese Pie for many days after that.

Did I learn my lesson? No, no, I did not. The following week, Mina revisited her latest Skippyjon Jones book, Lost In Spice. While Skippyjon Jones is exploring Mars, his sisters are helping Mama June Bug Jones make Tuna Noodle Casserole in the kitchen. Coincidentally, I received a Bon Appetit magazine in the mail which contained—you guessed it—a recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole with Leeks. I made the mistake of mentioning it to Mina and she was all over trying THAT recipe. OK, here we go again. Maybe, I am thinking, she will like THIS one. Ha! She took her one bite and spit it out. After eating a good portion of the casserole myself, I brought the leftovers down to The King’s English for them to enjoy the Skippyjon Jones Tuna Noodle Casserole. And I had enough of book-inspired dinners!

From now on, we will just pretend. I reorganized my cookbook shelf and placed all her children’s cookbooks on the bottom shelf for easy access. Sure enough, within minutes, she is whipping up “ice cream” from her new cookbook, The Silver Spoon for Children. It is a great book that I just HAD to buy at the last big sale at King’s English. The pictures are wonderful and easy for her to understand.

And we have actually made quite a few recipes from the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls. Mom had gotten it for Mina last Christmas. I have Moms original up in my Cookbook section for safe keeping. The Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes were quite popular at our Valentine’s Day Workshop. Mom made me the Whiz Cinnamon Rolls for every holiday, with icing of course! Myself, I am in love with Eggs in a frame recipe. I took a cookie cutter and cut out a shape from a slice of bread, buttered one side, placed it in a pan, and then cracked an egg into it. YUM!

We have quite a few more cookbooks that I have yet to crack open, but couldn’t resist buying: Pretend Soup and Salad People. Again, the pictures inside sold me right away. They are so fun and inviting! Personally, I think the book titles would make a great name for a children’s cafe! Hmmmm…..perhaps a future business for Mina?

Mommy’s Quiet Time | Cooking

February 24, 2009

I love to cook and to do as much as I can by scratch, and I thought it would just naturally extend into baby food and baby cookbooks, etc. Yeah, whatever. I spent all this money of containers for baby food, baby food cookbooks, baby food cooking flashcards of recipes, blenders, freezable trays. I went ALL out! I was going to cook for this baby and she would love it and we would have a grand old time.

Then reality set in. Mina barely ate any solid food, predominantly nursed and when she wanted food, it had to be store bought. I tried so hard to replicate Earth’s Best sweet potatoes! Mina would have none of it. I think the best advice to a new mom when considering baby food books is this: go to the library, check out ALL the books you can find, try them and then when the baby likes more than ONE recipe from a book, go and order it at TKE ( it will come in faster than Amazon!) and be satisfied that you didn’t waste a ton of money.

Now that Mina is a toddler, we cook together and she LOVES to cook and make up her own recipes. Just the other day, we made cookies and she decided on what to put in and which spice to choose. “Mama, I need to SMELL them! Mama, I need to TASTE them!” I look at toddler cookbooks with an eye of caution. Right now we read my cookbooks together and we make up our own recipes without cookbooks.

Fortunately or unfortunately, some of our lastest food creations have been influenced by Elmo or Pooh. We now put lots of honey in our cookies in honor of Pooh and spiral pasta is now called “Tigger tails.” I guess, if it helps to get her to EAT something, I will buy more “Tigger tails”. Sesame Street also introduces new food to Mina, through books, not TV. I got a coloring book last month and she would rather “read” it than color it. In it, Ernie, Bert, Zoe and Grover are around a campfire cooking hot dogs. Mina sees the picture and asks “What are they cooking?” To that I reply, “Hot dogs.” Of course, the next comment is an immediate, “I want a hot dog.” I tell her that we can get them at the market when we go, and end up wishing that you could buy just one hotdog instead of a pack of whatever it is. She ate her one hotdog and I spent the next week eating chicken hot dogs until I couldn’t look at them anymore! We were at a bookstore the other week and they had the Big Block Party which contained about 6 recipe cards. Yes, I bought it; I figured it was worth a shot. We went home and made Zoe’s Pink Tutu smoothies with bananas and strawberries. She ate some of it. Was it a waste of money? Not really, we still read the story out of it and we talk about the recipes. I think for right now, we will just cook together and bake together. When she begins to eat more and more consistantly, then I will probaly go with a backpack to TKE and buy out the whole shelf of children’s cookbooks! ~ Elif