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Author, The Fairies Cookbook (Gibbs Smith, 2007)
Founder of Batter Up Kids Culinary Center in Austin, Texas
2006 Official Kids Spokesperson for Sun-Maid Raisins
Featured in FamilyFun Magazine, Southern Living Magazine, Rachel Ray Magazine
Appeared on The Today Show, CNN Money, The Food Network's Good Eats
Active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP)
B.S. in Elementary Education, University of Texas
Married to Bob for 26 years, and has 3 children Kaley (20), Cliff (21), and Kyndall (24)
CBN.com Growing up in Austin, Texas, Barbara learned early on she had two great passions: cooking and working with children.
In 1991, she combined those two talents and developed Batter Up Kids Culinary Center, a premier culinary school for children of all ages. She started the business to earn extra money while she was teaching preschool so that she did not have to teach full time in the public school system and put her three children in daycare.
Barbara’s goal in developing the cooking center was to teach cooking and nutrition skills to children and families. She believes it is important to teach kids to have a balanced diet. Barbara’s cooking classes stress the importance of moderation and portion control.
She started out offering 2-3 culinary classes a week. Today, she and her staff offer 2-3 classes a day or teach approximately 400 children a month. Due to the ongoing success of the culinary center Barbara is now expanding the business across the country by offering franchise opportunities.
Barbara says learning how to cook is great for kids. It is “non competitive and self gratifying.”
Parents can help encourage lifelong good eating habits by:
(1) Getting their child in the kitchen;
(2) Involving them in the process of selecting healthy snacks and treats as well as preparing fun and clever recipes that feature fresh fruits and vegetables; and
(3) Bringing their child along to the grocery store to help pick out ingredients.
Cooking with your children is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Barbara encourages kids to “try everything…you don’t HAVE to like it.” She says parents can help get veggies into their child’s diet by giving them foods they love and disguising those foods that they do not like to eat. For example, parents can integrate bits of broccoli into their child’s cheese dip and cheese pizza or mix cooked veggies into rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes.
Barbara believes when you make cooking an adventure you can teach kids that healthy food can taste great and be fun to make. She encourages children to express their creativity and be hands-on in the kitchen. As the official 2006 Kids Spokesperson for SunMaid Raisins, Barbara provided the following tips for making children's cooking adventures a success:
All Hands on Deck — Teaching children to cook is all about a "hands-on" method of activity. Measuring, rolling, shaping and sprinkling flour on the table are all great opportunities for your child to get involved in the cooking process.
Think Small — Utilize small mixing bowls and bring out muffin tins, paper cups, small spatulas and small wooden spoons to allow the child to have better hand to eye coordination.
Get Prepped — Parents need to do some prep work in advance of the cooking activity so there is no "down-time." A great way to prep ingredients is to set-up a "bar" type preparation area so the children can "dump" ingredients directly into their own mixing bowl.
Safety is Key — Children need supervision in the kitchen which is why an "adult helper" should always be present. Talk to your kids about which tasks are appropriate for grown-ups and which are safe for children.
Make a Mess — Kids are not going to be tidy and neat in the kitchen so relax, be patient and have fun with your child. If some ingredients don’t make it into the bowl, that’s OK, you can clean up later.
Then Clean it Up — Clean-up is part of cooking so make it part of the event. Give every small child a sponge/dishcloth of their very own to encourage clean-up in their work area.
8 6-inch wooden skewers
8 ounces cheese tortellini, cooked and drained
16 cherry or grape tomatoes
16 pitted kalamata or green olives (or combination of both)
2-3 sticks of string mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ -inch chunks
Drizzle of olive oil, Grated Parmesan cheese, or
Chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley or fresh basil
Let’s Get Cooking!
1. On each wooden skewer, thread the cooked tortellini (put each one on sideways, not through its hole), tomatoes, olives, and chunks of string cheese.
2. Serve immediately, or store covered in refrigerator for up to 1 day. When ready to use, garnish and serve.
Makes 8 servings
Serve with a fresh green salad.
Calories 113, cholesterol 11 mg, sodium 229 mg, dietary fiber 1 g, iron 1 mg, calcium 143 mg, Vitamin A 42RE, Vitamin C 4 mg, protein 7 g, total fat 5 g, saturated fat 2 g
1 cup blueberries or blackberries
1 cup strawberries or raspberries
1 cup nectarine or peach slices
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon honey
Let’s Get Cooking!
1. Spray a saute’ pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Place fruit in pan and turn heat
2. Stir the fruit with a wooden spoon for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fruit is slightly softened and completely heated through.
3. Remove pan from heat and pour cooked fruit into serving bowl.
4. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey. Stir to blend flavors.
5. Serve immediately at room temperature or chill and serve later.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
This makes a perfect dip for Wackey Wonton Crisps (recipe on page 36 of Fairies Cookbook). It also can be used as a topping for yogurt, frozen yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles.
Per 3/4 cup serving:
Calories 68, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 3 mg, dietary fiber 3 g, iron 0.5 mg, calcium 12 mg, Vitamin A 30 RE, Vitamin C 30 mg, protein 1 g, carbohydrates 17 g, total fat 0 g, saturated fat 0 g
Assorted fruits such as: melons, pineapple, apples, grapes, strawberries, and star fruit
8 (6 inch) wooden skewers
Let’s Get Cooking!
1. Slice melons, pineapple, apples, and star fruit. The grapes and strawberries are already bite-sized.
2. Thread fruits onto wooden skewers to make kabobs.
Makes 8 fruit kabobs
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