My Adventures Making Twinkie Pie

March 20th, 2016 by

twinkie-pie-compareIt’s hard to believe, but next weekend is already Easter. Regardless of whether you honor it as a religious holiday, I think we can all get on board with the delectable delights that come along with the occasion: yummy chocolate bunnies, jelly beans nestled in plastic grass, gooey Cadbury Creme Eggs, etc.

If you’re looking for a pretty, pastel-colored dessert for your Easter dinner (or just to celebrate spring), look no further than Mama’s Famous Twinkie Pie, as made famous in The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh.

A while back, I posted a video of how to make the pie — featuring the author herself. Well, the video inspired me to try my hand at making Twinkie Pie. (In the book, the recipe is passed down to the protagonist from her mother, so it’s pretty fitting that I made this pie in my parents’ kitchen, with some help from my mom!)

I got the recipe from this guide from the book publisher (on page 3).

Click on my photos to see my step-by-step Twinkie Pie creation:

Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to a springform pan when I made this pie. But hey, I think it turned out pretty well anyway! How do you think it compares to the image on the book cover?

— Karen

Karen has nothing against Twinkies, but she’s more a fan of Hostess Cupcakes, to be honest.

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Bliss (Bliss Bakery Trilogy #1): Book Review

August 1st, 2013 by

Bliss_Kathryn-LittlewoodIn case you haven’t noticed, we (Karen and Nancy) at Kidsmomo have two great loves: reading* and eating.

Evidence for reading: This website and the hours we spend curled up with a book.

Evidence for eating: Our tummies and the many posts mentioning food.

To my delight, I discovered the book Bliss, which is Book One of the Bliss Bakery Trilogy by Kathryn Littlewood — starring Rosemary Bliss, whose family runs a local bakery and makes magical treats for the little town of Calamity Falls. The magical treats include muffins that inspire love, snickerdoodles that cure sleepwalking, fluffy white macaroons that make you float, and lots more.

The Bliss family is an odd bunch:

  • Rose, our heroine, loves to bake and longs to become a magical baker like her parents. Full name: Rosemary Bliss.
  • Ty is her older brother, and everyone thinks is very handsome and a great athlete. He is. He’s also rather vain and self absorbed. Full name: Thyme Bliss.
  • Sage, her nine-year-old younger brother, is a well-meaning blabbermouth. Full name: Sage Bliss.
  • Leigh, her three-year-old baby sister, is a walking hurricane of energy and loves to take Polaroid pictures. Full name: Parsley Bliss.
  • Albert and Purdy Bliss, her parents, are wonderfully kind — but they don’t trust Rose to bake magic treats (yet).
  • Aunt Lily, her very distantly related aunt, is beautiful, charming, and glamorous — everything Rose thinks she isn’t. Aunt Lily mysteriously appears right when Albert and Purdy have to leave town.

And then there’s also the centuries-old Bliss Cookery Booke that holds the family’s history and the magical recipes, which include baffling ingredients like “the first wind of Autumn” and an “egg of the Masked Lovebird.” Rose and Ty can’t help but whip up a recipe (or two or three), and they discover the price of magic — such as a throng of screaming girls chasing madly after Ty, or all the townsfolk walking and talking backwards.

At first, I was a little annoyed by everyone in the book. For instance, why is Rose so down on herself? She doesn’t need to be pretty, she can make MAGIC PASTRIES! And augh, Ty is so stuck-up! And why can’t Sage and Leigh just behave?! But then I realized — all the characters in the book are just like the people you and I know and love, and that was a big reason why I really loved the book. All the characters are deliciously relatable in one way or another!

I also became addicted to solving the puzzle of Aunt Lily. What is she up to? Is she the villain, or am I being paranoid? Am I supposed to love or hate her? A mini-spoiler alert: Even after finishing Book One, I’m still not convinced one way or another. (Let us know what you think in the comments below!) So now, I’m off to read Book Two of the series: A Dash of Magic!


icon_nancyNancy helped make cookies last night, and the cinnamon-sugar dusted on top looked just like fairy dust!

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*DisclaimerHarry Potter and all other book-related things fall under “reading.” Family falls under unconditional love, so I didn’t bother to include it — except it is pretty relevant for this review, because family plays a big role in this book!

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins: Book Review

July 11th, 2013 by

nanny-piggins_ra-sprattA few warnings for The Adventures of Nanny Piggins, written by R.A. Spratt and illustrated by Dan Santat:

  1. This book will make you hungry.
  2. This book will confuse you.
  3. This book will make you laugh!

In order to avoid his three children, Mr. Green, a stingy workaholic lawyer, decides to hire a nanny — but he doesn’t want to pay for one. So when Nanny Piggins shows up at his door and says her rate is 10 cents an hour, she’s hired on the spot! And so begins the adventures of Nanny Piggins and her three charges: Derrick, Samantha, and Michael.

The book is illustrated by Dan Santat, whose illustrations are just completely awesome:

So, back to my original warnings…

1. This book will make you hungry.

Explanation: Nanny Piggins is, after all, a pig. She has an insatiable urge to eat chocolate (along with pies, cakes, and other deliciously unhealthy treats), and the book mentions this a lot — which made me feel pretty hungry when I read it too. The only thing I wasn’t really hungry for was bacon, because Nanny Piggins makes you feel a little guilty about eating bacon.

2. This book will confuse you.

Explanation: Nanny Piggins is a wonderful, sweet, caring, but sometimes TERRIBLE nanny. She’s not fond of the kids attending school or doing their homework.

A rare moment of responsibility: Nanny Piggins decides not to throw a heavy object on a rival nanny.

A rare moment of responsibility: Nanny Piggins decides not to throw a heavy object on a rival nanny.

And as I alluded to above, it’s really not healthy to eat roomfuls of chocolate! Literally. Roomfuls of chocolate. Even the author has a disclaimer at the beginning of the book:

“Unless you are a pig, do not copy Nanny Piggin’s diet IN ANY WAY. You see, pigs and humans have very different bodies. Pigs are a different shape, for a start (mainly because they eat so much). Plus, Nanny Piggins is an elite athlete so she has a freakishly fast metabolism that can burn a lot of calories.”

The rest of the disclaimer is also quite amusing, which leads me to…

3. This book will make you laugh!

Explanation: Even though she dresses impeccably, Nanny Piggins is still a pig. So even though she can bake delicious pies… she also can’t help but eat ALL of them. She has an adopted brother, an eight-foot-tall Russian ballet dancing bear. She manages to reform a burglar by assigning him household chores… and much more!

Think of this book as a combination of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Mary Poppins, and The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events): So if you like any of those books, you’ll love The Adventures of Nanny Piggins!

Here’s Nanny Piggins herself, telling you a little more about “her” book.

So, what do you think? Are you going to join Nanny Piggins on her adventures? Let us know in the comments!


icon_nancyOne of Nancy’s nicknames growing up was Nanny. She was not a fan.

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Kidlit Picnic Time!

May 24th, 2012 by

picnic-basketThe official first day of summer may be a month away, but the bright sun, blue skies, and warm temperatures sure indicate otherwise! So why wait until June for a picnic?

We here at Kidsmomo are strong believers in seizing the day and taking the plunge — er, actually, not really. But we DO believe in seizing the danish and taking the punch… and putting it in a basket and eating it outdoors!

If you’re looking for menu-planning inspiration, search no further than your favorite books! For yummy outdoor fare, I always think of the massive number of sandwiches that Mary Anne and Logan pack for their picnic date (in The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin), plus the seemingly endless and magical basket that always dispenses just the right treats to Kirby and Betsy (in The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink).

But when talking about the ultimate kidlit picnic, one tale comes to mind right away:

wind-in-the-willowsFrom The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame…

‘What’s inside it?’ asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity.

‘There’s cold chicken inside it,’ replied the Rat briefly; ‘coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeef
pickledgherkinssaladfrenchrolls cresssandwidgespottedmeatginger

‘O stop, stop,’ cried Mole in ecstasies: ‘This is too much!’

(Btw, that’s: cold chicken, cold tongue, cold ham, cold beef, pickled gherkins, salad, french rolls, cress sandwidges, potted meat, ginger beer, lemonade, soda water.)

I’m sorry, Mole, but can there ever be too much picnic food? No, I do not think so. Mole, you are very very wrong.

However, I think a true kidlit picnic requires a very special menu, so I’ve come up with some goodies inspired by books we all know and love:

  • Clifford bars and Clementine oranges (for the hike out there)
  • Lost Hero sandwiches
  • Magic Pickles
  • Ivy and Bean salad
  • Unfinished Angelhair pasta salad
  • Cheese plate: Geronimo Stilton, Ricky Ricotta, and Touch Blue
  • To drink: SugarKane Chronicles juice
  • For dessert: Ginger Pye and Superfudge

Nom nom nom!

— Karen

Karen’s best picnic contribution was a batch of red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and blue star sprinkles — for a Fourth of July picnic, of course!

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Picnic basket photo from Flickr user uberculture

Summer Picnic Time!

July 9th, 2011 by

It’s summer!

Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. It’s SUM-MMMMMEERRRRR!!! (Ya gotta say it in a singsongy voice like me.)

Now is the perfect time to grab your books, a blanket, and some snacks — and have a picnic outside! Here are my suggestions for what to accompany each of my Summer Grab Bag Recommendations:

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows
Miri, a lonely middle kid between two sets of twins, finally finds her other half — who lives in the past!

This was a no-brainer: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to represent Miri and Molly (her “other half.”)

This is a recent photo of me eating lobster. Yes, I was THAT happy.

Sea City, Here We Come by Ann M. Martin
A great summer read! All of the BSC Super Specials are fun and I, a West Coaster, especially liked this one because it was set in summer on the East Coast.

A book set in Sea City definitely deserves to be in the company of delicious lobster and clam chowder!

The Cay by Theodore Taylor
Just because I read this for class doesn’t mean it wasn’t mesmerizing!

You won’t be able to put this down, so drink a banana and coconut juice smoothie to stay hydrated!

See More…

Chocolate Books for National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

June 4th, 2011 by

Did you know that this coming Tuesday, June 7th, is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day? I didn’t! Even though the holiday might have been invented by ice cream manufacturers, that only bothers me a teensy bit… because chocolate ice cream is awesome!!!.

Even though we covered our Food Theme a while back, I thought I’d round up some delicious chocolate-related books that might pique your interest:

Chocolate Dreams: Poems by Arnold Adoff, illustrated by Turi MacCombie

I usually prefer prose over verse, but this poem I can definitely relate to! Check out this excerpt from the poem “Let the Biter Beware”:

In the center of each
c h o c o l a t e lump
there is a hard nut
waiting to bump your
front tooth into the
d e n t i s t’s chair.

In the center of each
c h o c o l a t e hunk
there is a car a mel
chunk just waiting to
your teeth to geth er
for ev er.


Chocolate by Hershey: A Story about Milton S. Hershey by Betty Burford, illustrated by Loren Chantland

When someone says the word “Hershey,” you think immediately of deliciousness in a bar or kiss shape. But before he became synonymous with sweets, Milton Hershey worked really hard to hit it big — and when he became successful, he also gave back to his community.

Chocolate: Riches from the Rainforest by Robert Burleigh

Chocolate in the United States not enough? How about tracing it all the way back to the Aztecs? This nonfiction title includes mouth-watering full-color photographs and an investigative journalist’s point of view on chocolate.


Chocolate-covered Ants by Stephen Manes
Adam gets an ant colony for his birthday… minus the ants. As the ants are en route (hopefully not walking to his house themselves, that might take a looooong time), his older brother Max tells him that some people eat chocolate-covered ants. Gross!


The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Forget chocolate-covered ants. What happens when everything you touch becomes chocolate?


Chocolate Ants, Maggot Cheese, and More by Alvin Silverstein, Virginia Silverstein, Laura Silverstein Nunn
Okay, back to chocolate ants. Perhaps I can battle my phobia of maggots/slugs/slimy things by eating them… Okay, maybe not.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

How could I possibly leave out young Charlie, his spirited grandfather, Willy Wonka (the zany proprietor of the best chocolate factory ever), an indoor river made of chocolate, nut-cracking squirrels, Oompa Loompas, a girl who swells up to look giant blueberry, a boy who is shrunk down to the size of a Jolly Rancher, and… okay, I’ll stop there. These are only eight of the THOUSANDS of amazing things going on in this book, and if you haven’t read it by now, GO!

Still not convinced? This “commercial” might do the trick…

— Nancy

Nancy made chocolate truffles for a picnic last week (at Karen’s request). Idea: We should have frozen them and cut them into chunks in ice cream!

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Kidsmomo Snack Bar Menu

July 15th, 2010 by

OMG, I'm so hungry!

Over the weekend, Nancy posted about ice cream flavors inspired by children’s books. Well, as you guys must know by now, I love food more than life itself (NOT an exaggeration!), so of course I wanted to get in on the action — but I didn’t want to be a copycat.

So instead, I’ve come up with some savory dishes based on kids’ books. Bon appetit!

Snack Menu

Baby-Sitters Club Sandwich
Double decker of Stoneybrook turkey, honey-glazed bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo between slices of fluffy white bread.

Percy Jackson’s Sea of Muenster
Spicy cheese fondue, with strips of Greek flatbread for dipping. (Titan Special: Served with a side of mutton.)

Melting Maggie Beans
Soy cheese, melted over a bed of black beans, lean chicken, and veggies in a baked tostada shell.

8th Grade Super Hero Sandwich
Salami, bologna, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and seasoning on a 12-inch roll. (Available as a 6-inch, for those who get queasy when they eat too much.)

The Grapes of Wrap
Mixed greens tossed with red grapes, pears, walnuts, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and a sherry shallot vinaigrette and rolled in a spinach wrap. (All produce and cheese sourced from California.)

And if you want a beverage to wash any of this down, try some Freckle Juice. (If you’re with a parent, they can have a glass of The Invention of Hugo Cabernet.)

Just don’t forget to save room for dessert!

— Karen

Karen really wanted to include Mysterious Eggs Benedict on this menu, but it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the dishes. Oh, great, now Karen’s craving some soft scrambled eggs…

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Club sandwich photo courtesy of WordRidden on Flickr, Creative Commons License

Kidsmomo Ice Cream Emporium Menu

July 11th, 2010 by


Ah, summer. I am pretty sure my ice cream consumption has gone up 275% since the warm weather arrived. I partly blame Karen, because last summer I was forced to concede to her that more people like ice cream than popsicles. The results still bum me out, so to cheer myself up, I just eat more ice cream and popsicles.

Ice cream isn’t just on my mind, apparently — over at the “On Our Minds” Scholastic blog, they came up with these cool suggestions for book-inspired ice cream flavors, and I’ve decided to add my own delicious Willy-Wonka-esque descriptions to them:

Dessert Menu

The Invention of Hugo Sorbet
The scoop of sorbet you receive is HUGE and every bite is a new flavor. Served by an automaton.

A Sprinkle in Time
The ratio of sprinkles to ice cream has been reversed: a tiny scoop of plain vanilla ice cream, with A LOT of sprinkles. But you’ll have to eat it fast, because the sprinkles rapidly disappear into thin air!

The Berrysitter’s Club: Crunchy’s Grape Idea
Low-fat raspberry ice cream with granola flakes and chopped bits of frozen grapes. (Healthy Option)

Oreo and Juliet
Oreo-flavored ice cream with crushed Oreo bits sprinkled on top. Served with a little plastic dagger instead of a spoon.

Pralines & Prejudice
Simple, creamy praline ice cream. After finishing a scoop, you’ll speak in a British accent for an hour.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Three scoops of ice cream, with either 1 scoop of strawberry and 2 scoops of blueberry, or 2 scoops of strawberry and 1 scoop of blueberry. Served with Swedish Fish.

Peppermint Longstocking
Peppermint ice cream served in a (clean) striped stocking. No spoons allowed.

Thanks to the brilliant brains who came up with these flavors for the “On Our Minds” blog! What book-inspired ice cream flavors would you concoct in your kitchen?

— Nancy

For inspiration, Nancy ate some root beer ice cream while writing this post.

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Ice cream photo courtesy of Swamibu on Flickr, Creative Commons License

Gives a Whole New Meaning to “BookPLATES”

May 1st, 2010 by

Here on Kidsmomo, even though we’re all about books, you may have noticed that we talk about food once in awhile. Well, actually, a lot.

Well, we’re not the only ones to combine books and food! Every year in Seattle, Washington the Edible Book Festival celebrates books + food with a contest. Here are their basic guidelines:

“Create and bring a piece of edible art related to books: it can pun on a title, refer to a scene or character, look like a book (or paper, scroll etc), or just have something to do with books. Whatever the inspiration – it must be edible.”

Unfortunately, I don’t live anywhere close to Seattle, so I wasn’t able to get a bite of these books. Hm, maybe I can get a Northeast chapter of this started up… yes… and then the edible books will come to me… and then there will be nom-ing! Lots of nom-ing! *drool*

The festival accepts books of all genres and levels, but my favorite this year was the entry that won the ‘Most Pun-derful’ silver award:

"Little Hows on the Pear E"

It’s a pear cut into the shape of the letter “E,” and someone wrote “How” a bunch of times in little letters all over it! Get it?! Obviously, I love this one because it has puns, it’s made of fruit, and is based on one of my favorite book series!

I’d like to point out that there are probably some books that don’t sound very tasty, despite being awesome reads:

  • The Maze of Bones (unless it started off as chicken)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (souls, gross!)
  • Holes (eating air :()

Check out the rest of the winners on The Edible Book Festival’s blog. What’s a book that you’d want to gobble up?

— Nancy

Yesterday Nancy ate a tangerine, and then remembered that she’s been meaning to read Tangerine by Edward Bloor for a while now.

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Kidsmomo Podcast #20: “Get In My Belly”

March 2nd, 2010 by

Drinks that let you fly. Applesauce that melts snow. Sushi made of candy. And foreign wax apples. Believe it or not, only two out of these four tasty treats are from books featured in our latest podcast, all about books involving food! Yes, that means the other two are for real! Which ones are which? You’ll just have to listen to find out:

    Download the MP3 (6.1 MB)

  • Oompa loompa doopity doo, we’ve got a mystery book for you!
  • Take a bite outta our Food book picks (The Chocolate Touch and Blue Moose)
  • A delicious review from YOU (This Book Is Not Good For You)
  • A kid-submitted story of a food fail

And don’t forget: our next theme is in honor of Women’s History Month! So check out these Girl Power books or send in a review of favorite super-girl read!

— Nancy and Karen

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