I was recently sent The Kitchen Classroom: 32 Visual GFCF Recipes to Boost Developmental Skills by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer and wanted to share how much my son and I love it!
Having tried unsuccessfully a few times to go 100% Gluten Free/Casein Free at home, this book offers refreshing solutions and delicious, fun recipes to help make this an achievable goal for us. One of the biggest problems I encounter is purchasing gluten free versions of Justin’s favorite foods: they are twice the price and after one bite he declares that he hates it. Boom – out $7.00 for a box of Lemur Puffs.
We excitedly welcomed the opportunity to make our own dishes that wouldn’t be compared to the handful of processed staples I’ve been gradually shedding from the household.
Not just a cookbook.
The Kitchen Classroom is divided into three convenient parts to help you prepare for the experience of cooking with your child. I love the breakdown of the social skills benefits from creating a shared experience between child and parent. The introductory chapters go on to offer extremely helpful and realistic tips on framing your child’s success during shopping, preparing and cooking. Specific activities are spelled out to help develop fine and gross motor skills, assist with cognitive abilities, speech and language, and address sensory input issues.
I especially enjoyed Ms. Kaplan-Meyer’s “Two Cents” chapter, where she discusses the importance of dropping the expectation to “cure” your child and focus on being present and keep growing and connecting your relationship through the challenges.
Our favorite recipes:
Funny Face Toast – who doesn’t love to play with their food? Your child gets to use fruit to make faces on GFCF bread spread with nut butter.
Mickey Pancakes – a little more challenging to create but offers a great source of essential amino acids and extra protein.
Almond Butter Muffins – these delicious, rich muffins make a great breakfast, after school snack or dessert!
Better Than PB&J – an exciting twist to your traditional, boring lunch fare. Very gooey!
Mama’s Meatballs – my son doesn’t like getting his hands messy at all, but with medical gloves this recipe became a fun sensory experience! We did this one for restaurant night and it was a hit!
Nut Butter Noodles – a quick, delicious dinner with a sweet taste. Noodles have always been a favorite, and with the pungent flavor of the sauce he doesn’t even notice that they are gluten free!
Carrot Coins – cooked carrots mixed with honey, cinnamon and a bit of sea salt… need I say more?
Favorite French Fries – I have very fond memories of my own mother’s homemade fries deep-fried to perfection. It’s wonderful to have a healthy substitute without sacrificing the flavor.
Lemonade – what a pocketbook saver! Bye-bye endless boxes of Capri Sun and other sugary, dyed juices.
Crispy Rice Squares – a GF version of classic Rice Krispie Treats from my childhood! Yes!
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread – this recipe completely rid my previous perception of GFCF foods tasting “odd”, “boring”, or just plain icky. This is a very decadent dessert bread that doesn’t sit heavily on your stomach afterward. Delightful.
Overall, the simplicity, easy to follow visuals, categories, delicious recipes, and bonus CD-ROM make this book a winner in our house! You can order Gabrielle’s book here. Let me know what recipes are YOUR favorite by commenting below or posting them on the Spirit of Autism Facebook page – I’d love to hear your opinions!