Cook Up A Story for the Holidays

Cook Up A Story - craft fair

I enjoyed participating in a few holiday craft sales this year, showing off my book Cook Up A Story. I met many wonderful people who bought up most of my stock and all of my aprons and chef hats.

I only have a few copies left. In Canadian dollars I can offer a better price than that at the Blurb Book store, which quotes American dollars. Because of the current exchange rate,  Canadian prices are lower than those quoted on Blurb Bookstore on-line. And conversely prices are 33% lower yet if you are paying in US dollars. As of Dec 17, I’m down to my last three copies: More

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Holiday Open House, Sun Nov 27, 1-4pm

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‘Tis the season, whether we like it or not. I personally love it! So much fun getting together with old friends, sharing some sparkly, sampling baking made at special times of the year, remembering happy days from years past… and meeting new neighbors! I even love the whole shopping thing, searching out little baubles to put under the tree and surprising the people I love.

That’s why I happily agreed to help my daughter Kristina host an open house at her place this year to launch the holiday season. More

War-time treats from Redwall Abbey

Redwall_abbey

Redwall Abbey – A child’s delight

To honor the people who gave their all in the Great Wars, I’m reposting some recipes I first brought to you in 2012. These traditional recipes were in vogue during the scarce years of the Second World War… but many probably go back much farther than that, handed down by mothers and mother’s mothers in Britain ever since they began to grow potatoes and cabbages… and gooseberries! More

A hogbake from Redwall Abbey… and a little kale magic

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Crispy egg ‘N onion hogbake

This recipe, inspired by the Redwall Cookbook for kids, has nothing to do with pigs. For the life of me, I can’t come up with a reason that explains why they named it a hogbake. Perhaps it’s a typo, and they meant to call it a henbake.

Regardless, I loved its simple healthy ingredients. More

Chocolate-and-pear tart for Marie-Laure

Saint Malo

Saint Malo

A blind orphan threads her way through the streets of Saint Malo at the end of the World War II, with a fresh-baked loaf under her arm. Her name is Marie-Laure and dry bread is all she will have to eat for several days… .

Hidden in the loaf are coordinates destined for the Allied Forces, pin-pointing where the Nazis are headquartered in the town, where their supplies are stored, where their ammunition is kept. Marie-Laure’s uncle radios this vital information across the airwaves on a powerful set hidden in their attic. More

Flash sale today, on-line at Blurb Books!

Healthy eating as a question of balance

Healthy eating is all about balance

If you have ever been tempted to buy a copy of Sharon Rudnitski’s book Cook Up A Story: Good Food Sets the Mood… now is the time.

For the next 3 days (until April 13), you can get it on-line for 35% off… the largest discount I’ve ever seen. Use the promo code APRILFLASH35 at checkout.

More

Readers Earl Grey teabag cookies

earl grey tea(bag) cookies

Event…

Our book club was meeting at my house this month. What to serve? Looking in my tea box, I discovered a couple of packets of loose-leaf tea labelled Readers Earl Grey Tea. What could be more perfect for this special group of readers, I thought. More

Cherry clafouti solves one omnivore’s dilemma

Omnivore's dilemma - Pollan

What’s for dinner?

Once upon a time some friends formed a neighborhood reading salon. One night they slogged through the snow to sit by a fire together and discuss a book Michael Pollan wrote nearly 10 years ago — The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Pollan’s story lifts the blinders to show where our food comes from, just as deftly as if he wrote it, well, yesterday.

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Vinny celebrates an anniversary with a Christmas market

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Yesterday marked four years to the day since Vinny launched himself into the cybersphere. The time has flashed by. It’s been so much fun watching Vinny and the kids experiment with new foods. And I have had just as much fun figuring out how to tell you about our adventures into healthy eating, with stories and recipes that get your juices flowing. But the most fun comes from reading your comments, especially when you tell me about your own journey to the land of good health. More

Popcorn magic at the Night Circus

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The night circus has a brain and heart… almost human. How eerie!

Last week I raved about a novel by Erin Morgenstern, called The Night Circus. This story asks us to consider the untold power life holds!

One way the author looks at the nature of life is by imagining the opposite.

Morgenstern  thinks of death not as an end, but a change. If you break a bottle of ink in the ocean, the ink disperses because it has lost its container. The ink is still there… just diluted, its parts no longer connected.

When one of the wizards mysteriously vanishes in The Night Circus, his daughter tells everyone he’s died. But in fact he is in this state of dilution… not exactly dead, he’s just not here in one piece.

While you’re reading The Night Circus, I propose a tasty bowlful of black-and-white popcorn to help you hold yourself together. More

The Night Circus: Black-and-white torte with raspberries at centre ring

The clock chimes 4a.m. at the Night Circus and bonfire is burning strong, fed by Marco's book of charms.

The clock chimes 4 a.m. at the Night Circus. Her bonfire burns strong, fed by Marco’s book of charms.

“What’s black and white with red in the middle?” Vinny asks.  “Give up? It’s the cake I made for my book club, when Erin Morgenstern’s novel “The Night Circus” was up for discussion.

On the surface, Morgenstern gives us an enchanting love story about magic. The circus, open only at night, shimmers in black and white. It is the venue for a desperate competition, as two wizards older than time pit themselves against one another through their best students. The light and the dark signify their two opposing ways of manipulating reality. Which will win out, Vinny wonders. More

Melting moments – A Christmas story tied up in bows

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Pinecone cake – a labor of love

“I don’t care about Christmas.” Eddy kicks the kitchen stool. “It won’t be the same, without Gramma.” Eddy’s heart feels frozen—it’s been that way ever since Gramma died.

Darren sighs. “Yeah, it’s been tough, buddy.”  He kneels beside his brother so he can see right into Eddy’s eyes. “Remember Gramma’s Christmas cookies?” Darren asks. “Let’s make some Melting moments.”

Eddy thinks of Gramma’s laugh when he got flour on his nose. “OK… I guess,” he says and reaches for Gramma’s recipe box. More

Mood Foods

Christmas bread

Christmas bread smells like good times

Study Guide for Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 6

This is the last in my series on study guides for the print version of Cook Up A Story. Chapter 6 is about how our moods affect our food choices. We’re wired that way. The part of the brain that stores memory and feelings detects smells, too.

Our last story, Melting Moments, shows how cheery memories are braided together with smells, sounds and tastes. That’s why when we’re blue, we crave foods that remind us of good times. When a small boy finds himself missing his grandmother at Christmas, he takes comfort in his family and its holiday traditions.

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Don’t be shy… Milk’s got it!

Joe is quite the artist - More milk please

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 5

The many faces of milk is what Chapter 5 of the print version of Cook Up A Story is all about. The story, More Milk Please, offers a time-honored recipe for getting along with people—especially people of the opposite gender. Izzi’s best friend Jill and a jug of milk is all it takes to help her overcome her awkward shyness. More

Friendly fiber… When things go wrong, move on

Make magic with prunes

Make magic with prunes

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 4

Chapter 4 of the print version of Cook Up A Story  is all about fiber… a subject that can sometimes veer sadly toward the gross. The story, Prune Puff,  doesn’t disappoint. It’s all about how ridiculously wrong things can go in the kitchen. It starts when Clark tries to come up with a good science project. But you can do better than Clark. Follow Vinny’s simple recipe and concoct a delicious light luscious delectable cake… full of healthy fiber. Then, test your food science know-how. Take a quiz on fiber and do an experiment on the ingredient that puffs cakes up – baking powder.

The story underlines how important it is to label foods carefully. And not just in your own kitchen. All processed foods we buy have to be labeled. Vinny shows us how to understand the information on food labels.  Everybody can take a minute to refresh their know-how in this area – so important! More

Remembering old soldiers with Clementine’s oxtail stew

Dad in the kitchenLest we forget…

In honor of Remembrance Day, on what would have been my dad’s 94rd birthday, I’m re-posting a feature that touches on times during the Second World War. More

Hey, Toronto!

Vinny-p03Please pass the word to your friends 🙂

Howdie! If any of my faithful readers are in downtown Toronto on Saturday, November 9, why don’t you drop by for a visit?

Sharon and I are in town for a child-development conference sponsored by Sick Kids, Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, talking about our book Cook Up A Story. We’re at the Novotel Toronto Centre, 46 The Esplanade, second floor, from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Come by for a chat. It will be so nice to meet you! More

Meal time is family time

Holiday  turkey

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 3

Chapter 3 of the print version of Cook Up A Story  offers kids a family ghost to scare them silly. Little Miss Ellie and the princess’s pie makes for a tasty Halloween treat. Then bake two delicious dishes from Ellie’s past. Ellie’s mixed French and Native background helps us learn to appreciate foods from other cultures. Sit down for a cozy chat with your folks and unmask recipes that conjure up your own family’s skeletons. Vinny uses Ellie’s Native roots to discuss food labels we see at the store: natural, organic, local, large-scale producers… We soon see that no one size fits all. There’s a lot to learn and the choice is up to us. More

Pump it! Fuel up with good food

barbecuing

The outdoors and exercise go hand-in-hand

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 2

In Chapter 2 of the print version of Cook Up A Story,  read Birthday bumps. It’s a hair-raising adventure about boys on the river, frogs, and wishes gone bad. Then make two delicious campfire treats: wings on a stick and birthday cupcakes baked in orange skins. Use a campfire, a barbecue, or your oven. Flip and Tigger introduce the idea of food as fuel. Vinny targets carbohydrates and suggests ways to gear up for active lives. Exercise is the chapter’s theme. More

Vinny’s first give-away garners bouquets from Singapore

package

Happiness often slips in through a door you never knew you left open. That’s my calendar’s message this morning, and it’s proving true in many ways. Here’s one example. Vinny’s pleased to announce that his first attempt at a give-away is all tidied up. His prize, a copy of his book, goes global! More

Body Basics – Chapter 1 of my book “Cook Up A Story”

Wauna's ice krispies

Wauna’s ice krispies

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 1 – BODY BASICS

In the print version of Vinny’s book Cook Up A Story, read Vinny’s original fairy tale, Wauna’s Song. Then cook up some  Ice Krispies, mentioned in Wauna’s joke to the evil Snow-Woman. Wauna makes it easy to learn about your body, how it works, and how we need balanced  meals to make it run smoothly. More

Study Guide – Turning a New Page

A family's guide to healthy eating

Making nutrition fun through stories

I’m helping Vinny set up a new page in his main menu, called Study Guide.

The plan is to present a guide to healthy eating at home and school, for parents and teachers, based on Cook Up A Story.

Cook Up A Story started out as a way to introduce kids and their families to healthy eating ideas. I hoped to make nutrition fun through stories.

I began with a print book of six adventures for kids, where food is a part of the plot. The stories make bridges to nonfiction articles on the basics of nutrition the whole family can enjoy. The book also features recipes with healthy ingredients, so families can cook up the dishes that star in the tales. More

Wheat and the Glycemic Index… Loaded question!

Wheat

The glycemic load might be a better guide to healthy eating than the glycemic index

What should we believe? The Internet bombards us with so many facts, ideas, opinions and outright lies, it’s hard to make out the signal from the noise.

Dr. Davis in his book Wheat Belly makes a lot of noise about wheat. He calls it a blight and a poison and says no-one should eat it, not just the 6% of us who are gluten intolerant. But many of his statements are misleading. More

Give Away – shhhh don’t tell

Vinny cart p17

Oh, go ahead. Tell everybody. Vinny is doing his very first give away! More

Hungry enough to eat an ox?

Most times we settled for a turkey… but not always!

I owe my on-line existence to a mining engineer. Without Bill’s passion for food as well as rare minerals, I wouldn’t be blogging today. It was Bill who took his daughter Sharon, my alter-ego,  under his formidable wing and taught her to cook.

Sundays would see Bill in his tiny, lemon-hued 1950s kitchen pouring over one of his many fish-splattered and chocolate-speckled cook books. Sharon was there, too, in her pleated skirt with her blouse hanging out, helping him find the canned pineapple bits, the dented More

The 17-day diet, starring Dr. Mike Morano

17-day diet

A doctor’s plan for rapid weight loss
Sharon talks to Vinny about her adventures with the 17-day diet

Vinny: How fast can you lose weight on this diet plan?

Sharon: Ok. Right off the bat my radar goes up. Anybody knows you can’t expect to lose weight fast… and keep it off. But Mike says, yes you can! He promises results that last. It’s right there on the front cover.

When I crack the book open, his first words to me are, “Just give me 17 days.”

Vinny: How is this plan any different from all the other pitches out there? More

Mini Chefs Dish up Maxi Nutrition

This spring Cook Up A Story caught the imagination of a public school teacher in Burlington, Ontario. John Highley, who teaches at Mohawk Gardens Public School, said, “If we can  get the word out to schools, this thing might take right off. I see teachers using Cook Up a Story as a resource in their classrooms for nutrition/health units from grades 1 to 6, as well as the grade 5 chemistry unit.” More

Cook up a treat from Redwall Abbey

Cooking up stories from Redwall Abbey

These traditional recipes were born during the scarce years of the Second World War… but many probably go back much farther than that, handed down by mothers and mother’s mothers in Britain ever since they began to grow potatoes and cabbages. More

Win a free copy of “Cook Up A Story!”

Win your own copy!

Yes, it’s true! All you have to do is publish a review for Vinny’s book Cook Up A Story, somewhere on the web. Include a link to Vinny’s book details.

Then on Vinny’s Feedback page,  let me know where you’ve posted your review. More

“Eat more leaves,” says Pollan

Reviewing “In Defense of Food”

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Thank you, Michael Pollan, for this simple advice. You’ve researched the heck out of the Western diet to show us it’s this easy to eat for better health. We just need to stop eating packaged food… especially those with packages boasting health benefits. And although you want us to eat more plants, you don’t make us give up on meat completely. Thank goodness! More

Tell us what you think about Vinny’s book

How did you like the soup?

Vinny wants to create a place on his blog where you can post comments about his book. This is that space! More

Blow some hot air… it’s an essential ingredient

Watch your baking soar!

I hate to admit this, but baking can be a bit iffy. Sometimes pie crusts turn out flaky. But other times, they end up as hard to chew as a bathtub mat. More

The latke who couldn’t stop screaming – a Christmas story

Let’s make a latke!

I dare you to read The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming without immediately jumping up to make a Latke. More

Curioddities… how curious!

An exercise in thinking

Vinny’s got a few new snippets for you about keeping our bodies in tip-top shape, from Ripley’s Curioddities. More

Get the Best Price: Save with promo codes

Buying on line? Vinny’s books are available at one dollar over cost, plus shipping. Profits support children’s programs.

Codes have  expiry dates… They are also sometimes dependent on the currency you are using or the total cost of your transaction.  If one doesn’t work, try another one. A maximum saving sometimes applies.

More

Sharon and Vinny meet up with kids at Ottawa Farmers Market

Reading at the Farmers Market

Sharon bundled me up the last two sunny Sundays and carted me off to the Ottawa Farmers Market, at Lansdowne Park. She also took along our book, Cook Up A Story, and some other props. We hoped to meet with some kids who would like to listen to stories where good food sets the mood. And we met lots!

More

Cornstarch, A.K.A. OObleck, is good for more than cooking

Dr. Seuss invents OObleck

Cornstarch is a pretty boring food. This silky  powder has no taste, no smell and no color. But it has one  special thing going for it. It  gets  sticky when it’s wet. More

Cook Up A Story (the book) is here!

book cover

A family’s guide to healthy eating. Click pic to order.

Vinny is excited about offering you a chance to read his book! Go ahead and preview a few pages on-line. Just click on the pic! Or log on to www.blurb.com/bookstore and enter “Cook Up A Story” in the search box. More

Gonna try with a little help from my friends

Vinny and friends

Cook Up A Story  is ready! This morning the first copy came out of the oven and is sitting on my kitchen counter. Once it’s cool, we’ll let you sample it. Hope you’ll like the flavor! More

Yoda soda

Copyright Tim Ketzer

What a lovely limey shade!—Yoda image from Tim Ketzer, as used in “Star Wars”

Soda might taste good but the science cannot be ignored.  It’s bad for your innards. Drink water, instead.

For those good times when you want something special, though, here’s a recipe you might like. It’s perfect for the hot weather (should it ever arrive…). Or mix up a big bowlful for Christmas… Yoda Soda is as lovely a shade of Yule-tide green as Yoda’s complexion!

More

The Prune Song… Tra lalalala

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgVlRvl2DI0

Sing along with Frank Crumit!

The words for the Prune Song appear in Vinny’s book Cook Up A Story, so Vinny thought you might like to hear the tune, here. Granny learned The Prune Song at camp when she was a girl. She would sing it whenever we washed a load of dishes together. I loved it (and Granny, too!). More

Passover foods

http://www.eichlers.com/Product/Holiday_Store/Pesach_-_Passover_Store/Haggadahs/English_Haggadahs/All_Haggadahs/The-Animated-Haggadah-For-Children-_JD0264.html

What do a roasted bone, a hard-boiled egg, and some horseradish root have in common? They all find themselves on top of a biscuit called  Matzah during the Jewish Passover. More

The number 1 secret for feeding a healthy family…Bacon!

http://media.photobucket.com/image/bacon/aweranon/IMG_7771.jpg?o=11

Lego bacon!

Here’s a great read that gives you the goods on any food question your family may have. Secrets of feeding a healthy family puts you right on track for smart eating.

Take bacon, for instance.  Yummy! But you feel a twinge of guilt. Isn’t it too fatty for a healthy heart? Aren’t there  chemicals in it that may be a cancer threat?

Author Ellyn Satter says relax… we can enjoy it! More

Awesome cookbook for beginning chefs of all ages

Tasty protein!

Check out DK Children’s Cookbook , Canadian Edition. This thoughtfully planned, brilliantly photographed, and clearly written guide to healthy eating makes a good investment for any household. Click on Read more for a full review.

Story time… Fast-food fight!

http://thefourvalentinesandmore.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/guangzhou/

Mary-Kate and Ashley’s favorite Chinese restaurant is being put out of business. Once people eat across the street at Quick Food, they can’t help going back there for more. But why? More

From the super to the just plain silly

Just finished thumbing through two recent books from the library. Both are on cooking for children. Thumbs up on one, and as for the other, I’m still shaking my head. More

Foods with lots of ewww factor

Yes… but what the heck IS it?

Have you ever imagined sitting in a far-away land and tasting some really weird stuff? Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain does more than imagine… he’s eats whatever is put in front of his nose. More

Santa deserves a tasty snack

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLrFfQ8U1aw

Cookies usually make kids feel better. But maybe the cookies see things differently? Check out the video, brought to my attention by Nina. With Cook Up A Story, you can make some healthy cookies that scream to be eaten!    🙂

Thanks, You-Tube

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