09/05/2012 02:20 EDT | Updated 11/05/2012 05:12 EST

Cookbook encourages kids to get into the kitchen and cook with confidence

When cookbook author Jennifer Low was developing recipes for her latest book, she relied on her two children, Lee and Livy Southerst, now 15 and 12, for inspiration because they have been cooking with her since they were toddlers.

“They give me feedback such as ‘there isn't enough chocolate in a recipe or the mac and cheese should be cheesier,'” says the author of “Everyday Kitchen for Kids” (Whitecap Books, paperback, $29.95).

It follows the publication of the award-winning international bestseller “Kitchen for Kids.” Both books encourage parents to get their children into the kitchen and learn this invaluable life skill without using sharp knives, motorized appliances or stove-top cooking.

To encourage input from families in both Canada and the U.S., Low sent out questionnaires to testers who had agreed to participate with their children in trying out two recipes from the book.

“Several families enjoyed the safety-first cooking methods and the food so much they tested multiple recipes,” she says.

Her mission with this second book on cooking with kids is not only to educate them in basic culinary skills, but also to boost their confidence in the kitchen, Low says.

“If you learn how to cook when you are young you will just carry that skill over into adulthood,” she says.

The 100 recipes, including some gluten-free, in the book are illustrated by food photographer Ryan Szulc. They come with catchy, cool titles like Hocus Pocus Pizza and Coconut-Curry Kookoo Chicken.

Low has a chapter on organizing the kitchen, a glossary of methods and ingredients to help to encourage kid power in the kitchen.

Low lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of the Niagara wine-growing region in Ontario.

To learn more about the new book, visit Low’s website

Here from the book to start the day just right is Low’s kid-friendly recipe for oatmeal with cocoa and bananas.

Cocoa-Kissed Banana Oatmeal


1.5-l (1 1/2-quart) glass or ceramic baking dish, baking spatula or wooden spoon, measuring cups, measuring spoons, dinner knife, oven mitts.


250 ml (1 cup) rolled oats (traditional or quick-cooking but not instant)

15 ml (1 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) warm tap water

0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) vanilla

1 banana

Brown sugar or maple syrup and milk, to serve

Heat oven to 200 C (400 F). In a baking dish and using a baking spatula or wooden spoon, stir together rolled oats, cocoa powder and salt. Mix in water and vanilla. Don't worry if the cocoa powder doesn't mix in completely at this point.

Peel banana. Use a dinner knife to cut half of the banana into slices. Stir slices into oatmeal mixture. Save the other half of the banana for topping the oatmeal later.

Bake on middle rack of the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes, just until water is absorbed into oats.

Get help taking the dish out of the oven. Let cool for a few minutes until just warm, then get help or wear oven mitts to spoon oatmeal into serving bowls and serve sprinkled with brown sugar or drizzled with maple syrup, a splash of milk and slices from the remaining half banana.

Makes 500 ml (2 cups).