Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cookbook Review: Pink Princess Party Cookbook

What do you remember about your childhood birthday parties?

I remember those funny paper party hats that never really stayed on your head properly.  And I recall (somewhat gratefully) that my mom would NEVER break down and get me the latest and greatest cartoon character plates and napkins that I always seemed to want.    

I also remember that one year I got a really cool tea set from Eric, the crazy little boy next door who always threw rotten apples at me over the fence.   Turns out he had a bit of a crush on me… but had a pretty backwards way of showing it.

But, I don’t recall my mom throwing me a party QUITE as cool as anything in the Pink Princess Party Cookbook by Barbara Beery.

Barbara threw her first pink princess party for her four-year-old daughter (now age 28).   There was pink lemonade, pink macaroni & cheese, and a gorgeous Pink Princess birthday cake, complete with a tiara on top.  Beery had always loved to cook.  She also happened to be trained as an elementary school teacher.  So, when the opportunity presented itself to combine her love for both teaching and cooking, she jumped right on board.

In 1990, Barbara started Kids Cook, a retail store and cafĂ© offering hands-on cooking experiences and  kid-friendly, innovative cooking supplies.   She also began writing a series of successfully cookbooks containing tips, tricks, and tools to successfully teach kids to cook.

Now, you might be wondering why I decided to focus on a children’s cookbook over here at Burp!  But, the truth is, we LOVE cooking with our nieces and nephews.   And when we saw Barbara’s latest book, The Pink Princess Party Cookbook, we couldn’t help being intrigued.

First of all, I can’t think of a little girl between the ages of three and seven right now who isn’t completely OBSESSED with princesses. Can you?   All you have to do is roll through the aisles of your local Target store to see the evidence of this latest trend.  

Beery’s book takes the princess theme on – full throttle.  It includes six party concepts, including menu items and activities for imaginative soirees like a Snowflake Princess Party, Garden Fairy Party, and Mermaid Princess Party.  Full color photographs and menu ideas for pairing the best snacks with imaginative crafts make the book appealing to both parent and child. Even better, the well-executed photos provide a treasure trove of variations on creative themes suggested in the book, and allow moms and children to envision the possible look and feel of their unique creations.

Although this cookbook is more about party food than healthy eating (in fact, my biggest criticism might be that the book relies fairly heavily on processed convenience food), it does create a nice segue for parents who want to find a way to engage in the cooking process with their children in a fun and non-threatening way.   Recipes like these Enchanted Sushi Roll-ups (recipe below) come together in a flash, and give little fingers the opportunity to really help out with the kitchen prep – which is the whole point, according to Beery.

“I’ve never met a child who didn’t want to try to create something.  All you have to do is provide opportunities with simple recipes, a few ingredients,” Beery remarks, “The most important thing is, MAKE THE TIME to do it.  Set aside an hour and a half … once a week, once a month .. to spend time with your child in the kitchen.”

My opinion in short?  This book makes creating the picture perfect princess party almost as easy as waving a magic wand.  *poof*

Enchanted Sushi Roll-ups
reprinted with permission
makes 24 sushi sandwiches

6 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup soft-spread cream cheese
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper
Twelve 6-inch-long carrot matchsticks
Twelve 6-inch-long peeled apple matchsticks
3 strawberries, minced

Place a sheet of parchment paper on the countertop. With a rolling pin, lightly roll each bread slice on the paper to flatten it.

Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, mustard, honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread over each bread slice.

Lay 2 carrot matchsticks and 2 apple matchsticks across the bottom of each slice of bread, letting the fruit and veggies hang over the sides. Roll up the bread, pressing gently to seal.  With a serrated-edge knife, cut each roll into 4 equal pieces.

Garnish with the strawberries and serve. May be made ahead up to three hours in advance.

NOTE: All activities in the Pink Princess Party Cookbook are appropriate for children five years and above with some level of parental supervision.  Since quite a number of recipes use a stovetop, oven, and/or knives, supervision would be recommended even for children aged 8+.

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  1. Oh this make me sorry the little girls in my life live all the way in California

  2. Haley has actually declared she wants to be a princess when she grows up. Good luck with that, kid ;-) I keep waiting for this phase to end, but alas I guess I have 3 more years to go. Interestingly enough, when we moved and I asked her what color she wanted her new room, she said yellow! I rejoiced!


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