Sarah Michelle Gel­lar is hav­ing fun with food

Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer star trades her stake for a spat­ula to get kids into the kitchen


Nos­tal­gia is one hel­luva drug, whether we’re talk­ing about a Full House re­boot, a Fresh Prince reunion or the 20th an­niver­sary of Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer. Since Buffy ended, the butt-kick­ing Sarah Michelle Gel­lar had a few star­ring roles (such as the can­celled sit­com The Crazy Ones with the late Robin Wil­liams) and in 2014, she along with the book’s coau­thor, Gia Russo, founded Food­stirs, an on­line food com­pany that sells or­ganic bak­ing kits and mixes for chil­dren. Think of it as the food ver­sion of the Hon­est Com­pany, the baby-ori­ented house­hold goods com­pany co-founded by fel­low TV ac­tion star Jessica Alba . Gel­lar and Russo’s new of­fer­ing is Stir­ring up Fun with Food ($36.50, Grand Cen­tral Life & Style), a kid-ori­ented cook­book fo­cus­ing on healthy snacks and tyke-sized meals.

The book: Buffy fans will be dis­ap­pointed that there are no nods to any of her mem­o­rable roles in the 115 or so recipes di­vided up by months and hol­i­days (is it too much to ask for stake-shaped bread sticks?)

Gel­lar writes in the in­tro that the book is more “food craft­ing” than cook­ing, mean­ing dishes are pre­sented in a cutesy, kid-ap­peal­ing man­ner. Think mac and cheese in cup­cake tins, waf­fles served on and scram­bled eggs eaten out of.

Most bak­ing recipes rec­om­mend boxed mixes (which are con­ve­niently sold on the au­thors’ Food­stirs site), seem­ingly try­ing to ap­peal to par­ents with lim­ited time and kitchen ex­pe­ri­ence.

Her hus­band and fel­low ’90s teenage dream, Fred­die Prinze Jr., also re­leased a fam­ily-ori­ented cook­book last year. His recipes seem geared to cook­ing for the kids while Gel­lar’s book is for cook­ing with the kids.

The quote: “Mak­ing fun food with my kids was about more than just get­ting them to eat. Mea­sur­ing in­gre­di­ents, pulling to­gether pots, pans, and bowls; stir­ring, whisk­ing, dump­ing, rolling, skew­er­ing — and wait­ing — are skills that helped them de­velop self-con­fi­dence, ex­pand their vo­cab­u­lary and cre­ative think­ing, and sharpen math con­cepts as well as their fine and gross mo­tor skills.”

The tester: Clearly I am not the in­tended au­di­ence for this book (be­ing a child­less avid home cook who stopped watch­ing Buffy af­ter Sea­son 2). But I also can see how par­ents would be drawn to this book as a way to get their kids in­volved with cook­ing, or for ideas for throw­ing a chil­dren’s party.

Recipes I’d be dy­ing to make (if I had a kid): Chewie Cook­ies (ginger­bread men dec­o­rated like Chew­bacca), Co­conut Chicken Fin­gers (served on a stick), the clas­sic Mummy Dogs (store-bought dough wrapped around hot­dogs) and the de­light­fully mor­bid Shark Bite Cup­cakes (vanilla cup­cakes with straw­berry pre­serve fill­ing to sim­u­late blood).

Bite-Size Pan­cake Muffins

Star Tested I have to hand it to Gel­lar and Russo for these cute lit­tle break­fast treats, which are es­sen­tially pan­cakes baked in mini muf­fin tins. They’re por­ta­ble, adapt­able and good for peo­ple who suck at flip­ping pan­cakes. Plus you can make dozens at a time and they even taste good cold.

I scaled down the recipe, us­ing two cups of pan­cake mix rather than the whole 905g box (that would have yielded more than 150 mini pan­cake muffins). This ver­sion yields 36 mini pan­cake muffins or 12 reg­u­lar-sized pan­cake muffins (I pre­fer the mini size as there’s a greater crispy-crustto-fluffy-pan­cake ra­tio).

I omit­ted the blue­ber­ries the recipe called for since it’s not blue­berry sea­son and I refuse to pay $5 for a half pint.

2 cups (500 mL) dry pan­cake mix Non-stick cook­ing spray 1 ba­nana, thinly sliced cross­wise 1/3 cup (80 mL) choco­late chips Maple syrup, for dip­ping

Pre­heat oven to 375 F (190 C).

In a medium-sized bowl, pre­pare pan­cake bat­ter ac­cord­ing to pack­age in­struc­tions. Spray a mini muf­fin tray with non-stick spray. La­dle 1 tbsp (15 mL) of bat­ter into each mould and top with choco­late chips and a ba­nana slice.

If us­ing a reg­u­lar-sized muf­fin tin, fill each cup two-thirds with bat­ter, about 1/4 cup (60 mL).

Bake for 15 min­utes, or un­til golden brown. Re­move from oven and rest for 5 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing muf- fins from tray and serv­ing with maple syrup for dip­ping. Makes 36 mini pan­cake muffins or 12 reg­u­lar-sized pan­cake muffins. karon­liu@thes­


Bak­ing pan­cakes in mini muf­fin tins is a cute on-the-go break­fast idea for the lit­tle ones.

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