The Whole Family Cookbook from What's Cooking's Michelle Stern

April 13, 2011

The Whole Family CookbookMarin Mommies contributor, cooking teacher, and award-winning blogger Michelle Stern has just released her first cookbook, titled The Whole Family Cookbook: Celebrate the Goodness of Locally Grown Foods (182 pages, Adams Media, 2011; $17.95). If you and your kids love to cook together, then this is the book you've been waiting for! The Whole Family Cookbook contains over 75 family-friendly, kid-approved recipes, illustrated with beautiful color photos, that are easy to make, delicious, and healthy. Recipes are clear and concise, with color-coded instructions for kids of all ages. The book is also filled with Michelle's practical advice and tips on cooking with kids, culinary techniques, finding the best local and natural foods, green living, and more.

Chapters are divided into different cooking concepts: breakfasts, including crunchy granola, sweet potato biscuits, and an breakfast burritos; dinner fare like chicken pot pie with biscuit topping, miso-glazed salmon, and pumpkin ravioli; side dishes including oven-fried zucchini sticks, Mediterranean quinoa salad, and kale chips, mom-approved treats and desserts like lemon buttermilk sherbet, peaches and cream cobbler, and chocolate chip pumpkin bread; and finally, a collection of recipes for making your own pantry and refrigerator staples such as pancake mix, hummus, hot chocolate, and pesto.

Here's an exceprt from the book featuring recipe that's a breakfast hit in our house, Baked Apple Puff. (You'll have to get the book to see the color-coded instructions indicated the age-appropriateness of each of the steps in this recipe—one of the things that makes the recipes in Michelle's book unique.)

Baked Apple Puff

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 small crisp apples, organic if possible (go for Fuji if you prefer a slightly sweet apple, or Granny Smith if you enjoy a tart flavor)

Preheat oven to 450º

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or a saucepan.

In a medium-sized bowl, crack the eggs.

Beat the eggs lightly and then add the melted butter.

Measure milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, salt and flour, and add them to the eggs.

Mix all of the ingredients until the batter is well blended.

If you have one, use an apple peeler/corer/slicer to peel, core and slice your apples. If not use a vegetable peeler to peel the apples.

Cut out the cores and slice the apples thinly.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet. Add the sliced apples and cook until they are golden brown, 5–10 minutes. (If you'd like, you can add a dash or two of ground cinnamon.)

Put on oven mitts and take the skillet off the heat. Pour the batter over the apples.

Measure 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir them together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the batter.

Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 15–25 minutes until gently browned and puffed. (Do not open the oven during the first 15 minutes of the cooking process, or the puff will deflate.)

Put on oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, and immediately place an oven mitt over the handle, so that you won't accidentally burn your hand.

Cut the puff into wedges and serve immediately.

We love this cookbook! It's beautifully designed and laid out, and the recipes all sound so good. We'll definitely be trying out more of them with the kids. We also love the fact that the recipes and tips included in the book are focused on healthy eating and sustainability, both things that I think we can all agree are really important to instill in your children.

The Whole Family Cookbook is now available at local bookstores and online retailers, including Amazon.com. For more information and a free sample, visit Michelle's website, www.whatscookingwithkids.com or her Facebook page. Also, check out the preview video for The Whole Family Cookbook below, as well as links to some of Michelle's contributions to Marin Mommies: