Tag Archives: Toddler Cafe

2014 Cool Stuff for People

6 Dec

I realized recently that I know a lot of amazing people who create things like books and products and experiences. I want to share of the amazing things they have created with you. When I put the call out for my colleagues and friends to remind me what they have been doing I was flooded with ideas for my Local-ish Holiday Gift Guide but I couldn’t add every item so if you have an amazing friend who makes cool food related stuff please add them in the comments below. I believe in sharing the love!  Of course a few of these goodies come from me and my husband and our crazy projects!
I have no shame!

Be on the look out for my Gingerbread House Cookbook Kit in 2016~

Happy holidays to you!

ox, Jennifer
Pretty Little Baking Kit Jennifer Carden Author / Matthew Carden Photography – My latest project this adorable kit of petite cakes to make and give.

The Toddler Cafe Jennifer Carden Author / Matthew Carden Photography – An oldie but a goodie, getting your kids to eat more foods the fun way

These books below are all projects from Matthew Carden Photography/Jennifer Carden Food Styling / Author Lara Starr
Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies Comes with Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2-D2–shaped cookie cutters to create 30 sweet and savory treats!

Ice Sabers 30 Chilled Treats Using the Force of Your Freezer


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Chef Olivia Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit






The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cookie Cutter Cookbook



Featuring Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar™, this cookbook contains 25 delicious recipes as well as 3 shaped cookie cutters: the beloved caterpillar, a circle for the caterpillar to crawl through, and the beautiful butterfly. Recipes range from breakfast and snacks to beverages and sweets. Perfect for everyday fun as well as book-themed parties, very hungry kids will rejoice in cooking and eating as well as immersing themselves in the world of their favorite characters.




Giving Thanks Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving illuminated with the exquisite illustrations of cut-paper artist Pamela Dalton, this picture book offers a stunningly beautiful photos by Matthew Carden 
World of Doughnuts by Stephanie Rosenbaum Who doesn’t love a doughnut? With 50 mouth-wateringly delicious recipes from around the globe, these sweet treats are universally loved no matter where you go. 
Whoopie Pies Amy Treadwell s it a cake? Is it a cookie? With such deliciously soft and sweet cream-filled snacks, does it matter? The Internet is abuzz with recipes and stories of whoopie pie folklore, while customers everywhere are descending on bakeries in droves demanding these delectable treats.
Sodium Girl Cookbook Jessica Goldman Foung – Hilariously funny gal who can teach you how to eliminate salt from your diet.

How about a subscription to…

Edible Marin Wine Country Contributors Jennifer Carden and Matthew Carden

or a gift certificate for a local culinary tour with

West Marin Food and Farm Tours with Elizabeth Anne Hill see what is amazing right around the corner.

Or a very local visit to

Super Fresh Gallery ART ART ART Food art is where it’s at and we carry photography, painting and much more including all the cookbooks mentioned above by Matthew and Jennifer (that’s us) purchase online 

Heidrun Meadery in Point Reyes for a glass of Mead!

Teeny Cake Seriously the best cupcakes around Marin.

Trek Winery began as a family owned and operated winery in 2007 after years experience in the wine business and amateur winemaking. Opening its first public tasting room in September 2012 in Downtown Novato, Trek Winery has become a premier venue for live entertainment including professional stand up comedy and live music, as well as a venue for private gatherings, weddings, and other large events. As Trek continues to serve the greater Marin community by making excellent wine at an affordable price, we invite you to take the first step and experience the adventure that is Trek Wine!

 Orion’s Kitchen A caterer for your next party, Orion’s Kitchen offers a wide range of personalized culinary services including event catering, one-on-one or group instruction, and an on-demand market place.











Fantastic Food Jewelery by Carrie Tilly at our Square shop!
The Warm Kitchen Cookbook Amy Benigno Fothergill Amy’s book is a fantastic guide for Gluten free goodies of all kinds!

Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings Michele Anna Jordan  Radio host, writer, chef  
In Jennies Kitchen fab culinary shop and recipes too to make cooking simple

Cooking for Isaiah Sylvana Nardone New Gluten free flour blends born out of the need to cook for her son
Erika Lenkert Just came out with a beautiful, very cool quarterly magazine, GFF (Gluten Free Forever)
Trick Dog Treats  Liz Smith -Wholesome tasty treats for your dog

The Foobler Dog treat dispenser for when you have to leave your pet alone

Natures Habit Granola Matthew Carden and Jennifer Carden produced the labels and recipes for this yummy snack.
Hive Napa Julia Scanell Hive Napa is a passionate creative/culinary resource to the food and wine industry, offering savvy, appropriate packaging design; honest, down-to-earth recipe development; and inspired cookbook design solutions.
Barn Raiser Eileen Gorden – From healthy and artisanal foods to community kitchens and organic farms, when we put our collective support behind these innovators, we create a healthy food future for us all. Crowd funding for the food world!
Rancho Gordo Steve Sando features glorious heirloom bean varieties, corn, rice and herbs and spices

Melt the Art of Macaroni and Cheese Melt isn’t your average mac and cheese cookbook. I’m cooking withreal cheeses here, combining nostalgia of the old-school dish with high-quality ingredients to produce recipes that are both classic and chic. In Melt, you’ll find dishes that comfort and intrigue.

Whole Spice Company kosher artesian freshly ground in house spices certified Kosher

The Veggie Queen  Author, Chef Jill Nussinow is a cookbook author and Pressure cooker expert!

Parini’s Chocolate Cakes These gluten-free cakes are truly flourless and loved by all, even those who are free to eat gluten.
They are made from four locally sourced, organic ingredients (chocolate, butter, eggs and cream) and contain no added sugar.
Flavors: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Chocolate Espresso, Chocolate Peppermint and White Chocolate Peppermint.
Sizes: 9-inch ($45), 6-inch ($25) and Minis (sold by the dozen for $30).
Can be picked up in San Rafael. Contact information: Christine at 415.306.4796 or christineparini@me.com


Using Up Your Buns

22 Aug

French toast from leftover buns

For some reason I am a terrible recycler, I mean I am great at recycling food, a master perhaps? When it comes to knowing what goes in the blue bin, I’m not a star. I am surrounded by the world’s best recyclers, composters  and general waste-not-ers. I know my daughter watches me, for instance, should I rinse out the dog food can more thoroughly before I toss it in the bin? Does the milk carton go in the garbage or the recycle?  She knows what to recycle and how to do it and often corrects me.  It’s questions like these that don’t keep me awake at night. But what does keep me thinking is what am I to do with all the bread I have in the fridge or those fading apples?  I hate wasting food and most chefs feel the same way, that’s why we use corn cobs to make flavorful stock for polenta or scraps of veggies to enhance a dull broth.

Bread is a real sore spot for me, I am almost all gluten free but my family is not. I find myself buying bread that the two of them can’t finish. The bun situation is the worst, there are always too many buns to burger ratio or you have to buy an extra bag of buns because you are one or two short. Then what, it sits in the back of the fridge alone getting stale? Or you make a great attempt at freezing the abandoned but by the time you resurrect them they are freezer burned and even more tasteless than when they were fresh. Remember a two posts ago I wrote about the At Home Burger, the bun issue happened  for real, so I’m sharing the issue with you because I know you have the same problem, darn buns!

So, use them up for breakfast the next day. Make a regular French toast egg mixture and soak those buns in it. They cook up just right, problem solved! Now after that burger and French Toast we better get to the gym and get those kids outside to run around!

Basic French Toast

Mix the egg up the night before, cover and chill to make the AM easy.

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 burger or hotdog buns


Maple sugar, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar 

Fresh fruit and vanilla yogurt


Beat eggs in a shallow container ( I prefer square )

Add milk, and vanilla, beat until frothy and light in color.

Separate the buns, poke holes in the top and bottom, soak each in the egg mixture, first on one side, then the other.

Heat a skillet on medium, add butter or butter substitute

Cook both sides until golden about 5-7 minutes.

Serve on warm plates.

Pink and Green Ravioli Made Easy

3 Feb

With Valentine’s Day approaching I thought you could use just one more pink recipe *wink, wink*  yes, I know your thinking  “Pink pasta again??” My answer is’ “Yes people, more pink pasta…can you really have too much pink?” My last post on Pink Pasta was a bit more complicated, this one is easy!

This is a really easy way to wow your family.  Are the kids asking for pasta AGAIN? OK, so give it to them but shock them this time. These are very easy ravioli made from Wonton skins and filling of your choice.We love spinach and what could be easier than frozen spinach and tofu try this on for size. If your kids are not very adventurous then just use a pinch of the lemon zest instead of a whole teaspoon.

Pink and Green Ravioli 

We like to add a little soy sauce or just some good olive oil and grated Parmesan on top.  If you have extra filling save it and add it to your scramble in the morning or drop it in some chicken broth for a good healthy egg drop spinach soup.


1/2 pound soft silken tofu
10 oz  frozen organic spinach, thawed and drained
1 large egg
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 package Wonton skins
1 beet, peeled and diced into one inch cubes
In a large pot bring about 6 cups of water and chopped beet to a boil, let simmer for 15 minutes. The water will be nice and pink.
Assemble wontons following directions below.
  • In a bowl mash all ingredients except wonton skins and beets with a fork.
  • Put about 1 tablespoon of the filling near the corner of the wonton wrapper.
  • Wet the edges of the wonton wrapper with water or beaten egg.  Pull the other corner over the filling, creating a triangle press and seal the edges together.
  • Set finished wontons on an oiled baking sheet or plate.
  • Assemble the rest until you run out of filling or wontons.  You can either cook them immediately or put them in the fridge until later in the day. Make sure that they are well covered so that they don’t dry out.
    To Cook
  • Bring water back up to a boil, add  1-2 teaspoons kosher salt . Add about 10 wontons, stir very gently and let the water come to a boil again. Cook about 4 minutes until the ravioli look droopy.
  • Lift the cooked ravioli from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and add another batch.
    Place them on a plate or shallow bowl and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Keep cooking until you have cooked all the wontons. Serve at once with desired sauce.

Home for the Latkes

24 Dec
Hanukkah for me is like Thanksgiving for most Americans, I think. The smell of frying potatoes takes me right back to my childhood. It evokes a warm happy, safe wintery  feeling. I have a deep need to share this time with our friends, Jewish or not so I can tell you that today my house smells like a greasy spoon, in a good way. Yesterday I fried Latkes all day long and it was well worth it. 
Even though it is not snowing there is a perfect chill in the evening air and frost in the morning. It is good enough for me to re create the winter holiday season I have imprinted from growing up in the East coast. 
So here is my recipe for Latkes, I don’t drain the potatoes like most people do, they will come out fluffy and crispy just the way we like them! You can make these anytime even if you are not Jewish, everyone eats potatoes!
Happy Holidays to you all!

Home Style Latkes
Recipe by: Jennifer Carden * Author of The Toddler Café
We love Latkes; we like them crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. We call the crispy outsides “hair” and the hairier the better in our family!  The small hole grater is what makes these so delish.  My method for making these is a little different than most recipes, just go with it. 
3 Tbs all purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 russet potatoes, peeled
1 small onion
1-2 cups vegetable oil
For serving
Applesauce, sour cream
Whisk the flour, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Grate the potatoes on a fine or very small grating disk in a food processor, alternating with the onion.
Mix the potato onion mixture into the egg mixture with your clean hands.
The mix will be soupy, it is OK, and there is no need to drain it. (The water is what makes the hairy edges.)
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium until a bit of mixture dropped in bubbles sizzles. Be sure not to let the oil start to smoke-you want a shimmer only.
Using tongs or large slotted spoon and gently drop the mix into the hot oil. Fry until edges are brown and crispy. Remove with tongs draining oil over pan.
Drain pancakes on brown paper bags or paper towels. Serve hot with applesauce and sour cream on top.

Taking Chickpeas To The Next Level

29 Nov
Finished roasted chickpeas
I learned to make  Crispy Chickpeas with Garlic & Sage from my friend Michael Chiarello, we eat them all the time. We love the crunch and the chickpeas are a healthy fiber filled snack food for the kids. We love to do a quick version of his recipe by roasting them in the oven with rosemary and salt, they always get eaten up before they get to the table!  My daughter loves to go pick rosemary from the garden wash and cut it up using scissors The kids can season them and stir them, and be proud of their involvement in the dish.
Tiny sorghum popcorn and chickpeas
Chickpeas can be great in rice, eaten cold or warm, with curry, in salad they go great in just about anything. If your kids are like my daughter they may not like humus but they may like chickpeas in a different form. I always try to serve up ingredients in various forms and sometimes it actually works! My child wont touch hummus but loves the crisp texture of baked chick peas!
I was looking for another way to serve up these power packed legumes. I came across a very cute video of two girls making a very yummy version of our favorite. Human Body Detectives  is an adorable series about body function written by Dr. Heather about her kids adventures in the human body.  Her girls also make videos about their favorite healthy recipes that they cook at home. I came across their recipe for a slightly sweeter version of crunchy chickpeas I really like it, I can use organic ingredients, raw honey and control the sweetness too.  You can use other spices, try adding pumpkin pie or nutmeg or some vanilla.
Standard popcorn vs. Sorghum popcorn
One thing we came across recently is Sorghum popcorn, it is tiny tiny popped grains, the cutest thing you ever saw! We tossed it in with the cooked sweet chickpeas for a little texture and saltiness, it was a hit. If you can’t find plain popped Sorghum just use regular popcorn it works just as well.
The winter holidays are on the way like a wave of sugar and glistening sparkles and you want to be armed with snacky food ideas, don’t you?  Skip the chips and dip, instead put bowls of crunchy snacks all around the house. Surprise your kids and guests with these sweet gems, it’s time to break out of the hummus rut.  I suggest making a double recipe….

Removing the tough skins
Butter cinnamon mixture
Roasted Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas
1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs of canola oil or 1 1/2 Tbs of melted butter
1 Tbs of raw honey
1 cup tiny Sorghum or regular popcorn

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Place the beans between two paper towels and pat dry, loosening the outer skin of the
3. Remove the outer skins of the beans, and pat dry to remove any other excess water.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the oil or melted butter and cinnamon. Add the beans and
coat well. Place on a baking sheet.
5. Roast for 40 minutes.
6. Remove the beans from the oven, place in a glass bowl and toss with 1 Tbs of
7. Place back in the oven and roast for an additional 7 minutes. Cool completely add in popcorn and serve!

* Sorghum popcorn  http://www.minipopsinc.com/

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