Weekend Links: Cooking for Others Edition

Lately we’ve been talking about cooking for others, as in bringing a home cooked meal to a family in need. One doesn’t have to look very far to find folks struggling, be it a family in mourning or a couple of sleep deprived new parents.

Curious if this random act of kindness was still alive and well, I posted a Q & A recently,  Sympathy Meals: Do You Give & Receive Them? How thrilling it was to see the answers come in and read how so many of you have been blessed by either giving or receiving a meal.

Questions also arose in the Q&A, which I addressed in my next post on the subject: Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals. I surprised myself with how much I had to say on the topic (plus included wisdom from readers that had written) and didn’t have space to include links for meal suggestions.

So, this extended edition of Weekend Links will feature recipes suitable for delivering to others. They are nourishing, travel well, freeze well, and are ready to heat and serve. Here’s hoping this round-up can be a source of inspiration and that more people will choose to reach out with a hot meal to someone in need.

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Weekend Giveaway: Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Cindy, the winner of the Tattler canning lids! Thank you to all who entered.

Today weekend giveaway is for four dozen BPA-free reusable canning lids from Tattler!

Admit it, you’re starting to think about summer canning, aren’ t you? Well, Tattler is a small US company that makes plastic, but BPA-free, reusable canning lids. Whether you are a confident canner or just a beginner, these lids are a highly recommended resource!

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Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals

Our recent Q&A on sympathy meals received a tremendous response. Thank you to all who took the time to share your experiences with either giving or receiving meals. It was very, very interesting to read your comments and I took note of all the questions. I hope to answer them in this follow-up post.

We agreed that there are people in need all around us, and a small gesture like giving a meal can be a blessing both to giver and receiver. In fact, by the sounds of things, lives were very nearly saved just because a meal -or series of meals- was received during a time of need.

It was interesting that many more readers had given a meal than accepted one. Those who had been recipients spoke passionately about how touched they were and how helpful it was to be given a practical gift, in lieu of flowers. And there was another theme – the food that was brought is the best, or very near to the best, food that they had ever eaten. I’d have to agree with that one, too.

Plenty of questions also arose, all of them extremely pertinent. When is the best time to deliver a meal? What about allergies? Should a casserole be pre-baked or not? Hot or cold? Frozen or fresh?

This post will highlight the best tips, helpful suggestions, and friendly advice on bringing meals to others. Hopefully you will be encouraged to look around and reach out to people in your community through a hot meal.

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Simple Tips for Baking with Kids (Recipe: Giant Oatmeal Cookies)

Written by Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn.

As a parent, one of my goals for my children is that they should be able to take care of themselves after they’ve left the nest. I know a young woman who called home from her first month away at college, asking how to boil water. She had never had any kind of experience in the kitchen and was starting at ground level as an 18 year old.

How much better it is if we can start our kids at an early age, letting them get comfortable in the kitchen. I have two kids out of the nest and I love them telling me that they can still hear my voice in their heads teaching them how to hold the knife when cutting vegetables. We practiced cooking and baking together and today they are able to thrive in the kitchen.

I also have two children still at home, so there are many more teaching and baking opportunities ahead for us.

Switching Gears for Baking with Kids

For me, baking with kids requires a different mindset than my everyday baking. When I’m on my own I like to put on my headphones and listen to a book or dance to tunes while I create, my hands working almost independently, they’ve had so much practice. But when my children want to help, I need to take a breath and shift gears, going from fast, efficient mode to slower, teaching mode.

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Baking with Kids: Baked Apple Gingerbread Pancake

Last week was particularly stormy, even for us Northerners. Huge dumps of snow caused my husband to be stranded for an extra day in Toronto and gave two snow days to my kindergartner, Noah. My list of priorities quickly changed at that turn of events.

Of course, the boys and I spent the better part of both days baking up a storm of our own; our time in the kitchen was interspersed with bursts of play in the snowdrifts and lengthy story times. We may have had a few non-suppers as well. Why, with the man of the house away, what better excuse not to cook a real dinner? [Read more...]