Sunday, October 7, 2018




For beginners and green-thumbed foodies, this all-inclusive garden-to-kitchen cookbook is part lesson in gardening and part collection of healthy, delicious, kid-friendly recipes.

With photo-illustrations and clearly organized sections, discover how to plant seeds in patio containers, window boxes, or on an allotment; harvest fruits and vegetables; determine which plant parts are edible; spot pests in the garden; and use home-grown crops to cook everything from bean and bacon spaghetti to polenta chips to tomato, feta, and basil pizza.


The farm-to-fork movement is sweeping across our nation, and this book targeting middle-grade students is the perfect example of why!

As a gardener and cook, I am interested in learning about natural ways of growing and preparing healthier foods in my kitchen. This book is a great resource for families who wish to teach their children earth-friendly growing and healthy eating habits.

The Introduction encourages readers to get involved in planting their own gardens even if they don't have room for a large garden. The authors suggest hanging baskets, window boxes, fences, and window ledges as great spaces for growing vegetables.

A section on the 'science' of plants and seeds covers a wide range of topics. Readers will learn what parts of a plant we eat, what happens when we plant a seed, and what plants need to grow. This section has some excellent photographs which support the text visually.

The soil and compost section was informative. A detailed 'recipe' for making valuable compost from kitchen and household leftovers is provided. I found the entire process of creating compost fascinating, so I know middle-graders would love this activity, too.

A discussion of preparing the soil, planning a vegetable patch, sowing seeds indoors, sowing and planting outdoors, and weeding is accompanied by photographs or young gardeners in action. This is the perfect lead-in for the section on healthy eating.

The food groups are discussed in detail and readers are encouraged to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables each day. Produce in a variety of colors and textures is recommended. This section leads in to the cooking section of the book. Health and safety tips are presented for cooks along with a list of cooking equipment along with tips about asking an adult for assistance when using the oven and stove top.

The second half of the book is entitled, 'Let's Get Started!' I really liked the way the authors formatted this half of the book because they went through each vegetable methodically taking readers from 'Growing ______' to a recipe using that particular vegetable. For instance:  'Growing Carrots' to 'Carrot Scramble'. 

I felt some of the more unique vegetables were included in this cookbook, making it appealing to adults and children. Vegetables I don't usually see in cookbooks included cranberry beans, spinach, garlic, Swiss chard, eggplant, and beets. This is a great way to expose children and their families to new-to-them vegetables.

I noticed that most of the recipes are vegetarian in content, and I felt the quality of the recipes presented was excellent. Some of my personal favorites which I plan to try in my own kitchen were:  Lettuce & Tuna Scoops, Onion Soup with Baguette Slices, Bean and Bacon Spaghetti {but without the bacon for me, please}, Tomato/Feta/Basil Pizza, and the Spinach Omelette. There is even a Chocolate Beet Cake recipe for dessert. Yum! 

The back matter of the book includes 'Growing Varieties', a detailed 'Glossary', and an 'Index'. The cover of the edition I read was a sturdy hardover with an old-style woven cloth cover filled with a vintage-style jumble of vegetables and kitchen tools.
***Highly-recommended for families, teachers, youth group/scouting group/4-H group leaders, gardeners, and individuals such as myself who love to try out new, healthy recipes!***

I borrowed this book from the children's section of the local public library.

Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.


I am celebrating the five-year anniversary of the release of my first book, 'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom'. This is an inspirational holiday novella including a dash of romance and was the winner of the 2013 'Holiday Tale Contest' for Cedar Fort Publishing.

To learn more about my first book and to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy, please visit my post at: 

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  1. Congrats on your anniversary! And thanks for your great feature on the children's cookbook. I cook with kids whenever the opportunity presents itself and using produce from the garden only makes it better.

    1. Thanks for the congrats, Greg. I'm glad you liked the cookbook post today. I appreciate your stopping by 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic' each week for MMGM.

  2. So many congratulations on your anniversary, and thank you for spotlighting this book! It sounds like a fabulous resource for kids and adults alike--I'll be on the lookout for it!

    1. Thank you for your kind congratulations, Suzanne. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Take care.

  3. Congratulations on your anniversary. I love that there are excellent cook books for young people. Many of the MG novels I've reviewed in the past few years include cooking themes and baking contests.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Patricia. I'll have to look for some of those MG novels you're talking about where the story includes cooking and baking activities. Sounds like fun!

  4. Congrats! I love books like this. So glad to know about it.

    1. Thank you for stopping by to offer your congratulations, Rosi. I really appreciate hearing from you. I hope you get a chance to read this cookbook soon.



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