Let Them Make Messes

O.K. so easy for me to say.  My kids are no longer babies and I no longer clean up puree from he floor, the table, my shirt and the kids’ hair.  But babies and toddlers need to feed themselves and play with their food.  Honestly this is part of their development. 

Aren’t there always messes being a parent?  For me there’s now more non-food clean up such as mud (including occassional dog poop on shoes), dirt, paint, glitter, glue, etc.  Although we still make messes with colored sugars (making cookies), cherry pits (remember my pitting experiences) and spills (usually milk).  However looking back I’d take the first food messes any day. In fact some times I would strip my kids down to a diaper to eat something messy (my daughter and soup), so they could have fun and do it themselves.  Then it was bath or hose down time after, of course.

I have friends who think nothing of letting their children draw and paint at the  kitchen or even dining room table, but will not give their toddler a spoon and let them feed themself.  Why?  Isn’t this what hardwood and laminate floors are for?  Or how about a splat mat?  I’m not saying there shouldn’t be rules with food and drink.  I always like “Food stays in the kitchen or dining area and you eat it in a high or other safe chair”.  I didn’t grow up running all over the house with food and cups (sippy or otherwise).  Choose what works for you, but I’m asking you to try to indulge your child.  Why?  Because they… 

1. want control

2. are testing cause and effect

3. need to develop

4. are learning independence 

5. want you to react

6. are testing boundaries

7. think it’s fun

8. won’t get a date (or into preschool) with you hand feeding them

9. will gain positive eating eating habits

10. need help to gain confidence

Here’s a few of my messy faced babes back in the day.  When I was looking for photos I remembered it really was my daughter who liked mess with food (and anything).  My son was never big on getting messy.  Some kids don’t like the feeling of stuff (be it food, sand, whatever) on their hands.  He had his moments.  I remember with oatmeal (but can’t find the pic).  But here’s a few of my gal.

Wow! So this is puree.
My nose can eat it too!
look no sippy cup!
first b-day

Green My Lunch Box

I want to share a wonderful campaign to raise awareness of using green food packaging products sponsored and supported by many of my favorite local companies, such as Fabkins, KidsKonserve, Wrap-n-Mat and EarthLust.
If 15,000 people join the campaign & pledge to pack a waste-free lunch, we can eliminate 1 million lbs of waste!

Simply log on to Facebook and join the campaign! Enter to WIN A WASTE-FREE LUNCH PRODUCT: Share with others how you’re greening your life to enter to win. One winner every day!

Save 10% off all orders from Green My Lunch Box participating company websites when using the coupon code “Greenit” when checking out.  Click here to learn more and start shopping.


SheKnows Award Nomination – Please Vote!

I am excited to learn The Petit Appetit Cookbook has been nominated for Best Cookbook for the SheKnows 2010 Parent’s Choice Awards. The SheKnows award recognizes outstanding products and services in the parenting and pregnancy industry, based on functionality, quality, convenience and best bang for the consumer’s buck. Winners will be announced Oct. 10, 2010 on SheKnows.com.

SheKnows (www.sheknows.com), a destination for women with the latest news on parenting, health, entertainment and more, decided to create an award program with an organic approach to recognizing various brands and services within the parenting industry. The awards spread across 100 different categories covering everything from parent’s gadgets and kids’ books, all the way to baby feeding and toys.  The goal of the award is to give readers all the information they need to make the best informed decisions in their everyday lives. You’ll recognize many of your favorite products you use every day. I know many of my favorites are there, including LifeFactory bottles, KidsKonserve lunchboxes, Melissa and Doug puzzles, Flip video cameras and Kiwi Magazine.

Please cast your votes for The Petit Appetit Cookbook ,as well as your other favorite products, to help spread the word to the SheKnow community of moms like you.  To vote, go to SheKnows Parent’s Choice Awards and sign in.  Find the category, (to vote for my book, choose “Food”).  Scroll to find the subcategory, such as “favorite baby food cookbooks”.  Click on “The Petit Appetit Cookbook” to highlight and scroll to the orange “submit your vote” button at the bottom of the page.  That’s it.  You can do it once, every day (o.k. only if you’re my mom).


The Resident Chef at Kids Konserve

Kids Konserve has a great new blog from chefs that use their waste free food and drink containers.  Being one of them I was happy to share recipes that work well with their mini stainless steel containers. Perfect for packing snacks and dips, they are easy to pack into a lunch bag, backpack or even a purse.  Check out my recipes on the resident chef page for curry curry chickpeas, cherry almond granola and no-nuts trail mix, as well as other resident chef’s ideas and recipes.  Just in time for back-to-school, be sure to get 15% off your next purchase (valid thru August) with the code “minichef” at checkout.


Happy Birthday to Me (with Mint Chip Ice Cream)

After becoming a parent your own birthdays are not as meaningful or exciting to you, but they are for your kids.  Even if the gifts they see you open aren’t toys like they’d hope for, they still look forward to the cake.  What’s a birthday without cake?  The cake was never as important to me, even as a kid, as the ice cream.  I do appreciate a good layer cake, and I must admit the Ghostly Good Cake was a tasty one.  However we have so many birthdays and desserts the month of July, I’m ready to make something different.  

Of course my husband always brings a cake home.  It’s usually a petit one (so we don’t have left-overs) for the candle and singing ritual from the local bakery or grocer, which is usually fine and tasty.  But I insist on making mint chip ice cream.  The kids protested when I said I was making ice cream and said “It’s your birthday, you can’t make it yourself”.  To which I replied “It’s my birthday and I want MY mint ice cream. Not one you buy in a store.” 

This is my favorite recipe for mint chip ice cream.  Note: it is more mint than chocolate and thus not chocoalte mint.  It’s not a crazy color green and doesn’t have mint extract, but the real mint from the garden.  It makes it like no one else’s.  Even the kids agree, once they’re reminded by the taste.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe

(from Simply Recipes.com)



  • 3 cups of fresh mint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, keep in the freezer until used


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1 Put the mint leaves in a heavy saucepan with the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until just steaming (do not let boil), remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 15 more minutes.

cooling cream in ice bath
2 While the mint is infusing in step 1, prepare the remaining cream over an ice bath. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.

3 Strain the milk cream mixture into a separate bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in the sieve to get the most liquid out of them. Return the milk cream mixture to the saucepan. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. Heat until just steaming again, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

4 Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

5 Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

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The custard base does not coat the back of the spoon, it is not ready.

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The custard base coats the back of the spoon. You can run your finger across the coating and have it not run. It is ready and should be removed from heat immediately, and poured through the sieve over the ice bath to stop the cooking.

6 Pour the custard through the strainer (from step 2) and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking.

7 Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in the bowl placed over the ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so). Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

8 Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

Makes 1 quart.