If I truly like a cookbook, it starts to look like all the others in my collection: oil-splatteredÂ andÂ spine brokenÂ withÂ hundreds of my notes scrawled all across it — both in the margins and also copy editing the book itself. I thought that was true of everyone, but Whitney, who had never thought to write in a cookbook, asked me to photographÂ a few of my many notes from Dinnertime Survival Guide as I shared my family’s feelings.
I first heard of bloggerÂ Sally Kuzemchak from a nutritionist friend who pointed me to a candy corn love letter onÂ www.realmomnutrition.com. How had I never heard of this site before? I am a real mom who is obsessed with nutrition!
I dove into Sally’s blog and found a kindred spirit of a busy mom wanting to feed her children the best foods… but also living in reality where some toddlers follow the all-beige diet. I poked around a little more and found she had a cookbook, too! Cool.
Since receiving this cookbook in November, it has been in near constant use in my house. If one recipe flops, there are a dozen more I can try. Most meals turn out pretty, tasty, and make at least 3 or 4 of my eaters happy, which is 75% to 100% success rate if you don’t count Sawyer, my impossible-to-please 3-year old.
So far, we have had great success with tilapia tacos, grilled flank steak with soy-mustard sauce,Â shrimp linguine, turkey noodle casserole (ok, only the grownups liked it), chicken with honey-beer sauce, falafel with avocado spread, spring vegetable carbonara, oatmeal pancakes (even Sawyer!), sautÃ©ed apples, cheesy mini meat loaves, beef barley soup, black bean taco salad with lime dressing, crazy good butternut squash soup, zesty lemon snap peas, and turkey burritos. We still have dozens more to cook.
I’m trying curried carrots and lentils on them all this week — wish me well!Â
One family favorite is the shrimp tacos (pictured below). I admit I was nervous to shake up taco night but all the real eatersÂ loved it.
The other thing I appreciate about this cookbook is Sally’s large helping of personality and real mom tips throughout. She has many suggestions that validate my approach with a few more why-didn’t-I-think-of-that gems thrown in (furthering my feelings that we should be greatÂ friends) to get dinner on the table Every Single Night. I am so guilty of breaking the “Top 5 Things to Never Say at Dinner” but we get a 4.5 on the “Top 5 Dinner Table Rules “(below).
Forgive the splatters on the page; I told you this book was well-loved!
The only thing I don’t like is when she has me measuring out 4 quarts of water just to make pasta or when I have to “combine next 7 ingredients in a bowl” but these are minor gripes over a very useful addition to my cooking arsenal.
Bottom line:Â Dinnertime Survival GuideÂ is a fantastic cookbook for parents of young ones with creative recipes, helpful tips, and a sense of humor.
Thanks to SallyÂ Kuzemchak for sending me Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide: Feed Your Family. Save Your Sanity. to share with my own sometimes picky kids. All photographs are of Heather Flett’sÂ dogeared copy of this book.