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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2012
I'm the proud owner of a ton of cookbooks, and my shelf is pretty crowded with titles that I like to read but that I don't actually cook from that often.

Since I bought it, I haven't bothered to fit The Naptime Chef's book on my shelf, because it's found a better place: on my kitchen counter. In use. Kelsey's recipes are delicious looking and sounding, and they're also a creative call to action to get in the kitchen, no matter how busy or complicated our days may be.

There are a bunch of moments in our lives when routines change--after we graduate from college or start a family. Kelsey Banfield's cookbook identifies the latter as a time when a foodie home cook's priorities have to change. But she also shows with her recipes, introduction, and helpful sidebars that just because life's gotten busier doesn't mean food lovers have to abandon great cooking, or revert to cake mixes or take out.

I don't have a kid yet, but I'm in school and engaged, so I always need great, straightforward recipes for two that I can make ahead of time or whip up quickly when I get home from a super long day. That's why Kelsey's book has been invaluable to me.

Here's what I love most about it:

-Kelsey's tips for planning ahead. In all her recipes, she tells you exactly what needs to be done to get this appetizer/main dish/dessert on the table. It's great to learn what can be frozen easily and how long different parts of a recipe keep in the fridge, and it really helps with planning.
-The little boxes that separate prep time from cook time so you know the start-to-finish time but also how many precious minutes you'll have while the food is cooking unattended to wash dishes/clean the apartment/talk on the phone.
-The recipes all have creative little extras or combine ingredients in surprising and inventive ways. They take a go-to comforting family dinner and give it a welcome gourmet twist.

The first recipe I made was the Chicken Sausage and Tortellini soup on page 92. I had pretty much everything in my pantry already, but I wouldn't have thought to combine sausage, pasta, tomatoes, and spinach in soup. Topped with parmesan cheese, the dish was hearty and rich--enough for a Sunday night dinner and a few days of lunch during the week. Best of all, my kitchen was hardly a mess afterwards.

Other recipes I'm exited about are the Sticky Orange Drumsticks, the Pesto Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Baked Gnocchi with Roasted Eggplant and Mozzarella, Crispy Parmesan Potato Wedges, Green Beans with Toasted Almonds, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt, and Everyday Cream Puffs. And a whole lot of others.

I'm so glad to have this book in my collection and would recommend it to busy cooks whether or not they have kids!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2012
I have used many cook books over the years and claims of 30 minute meals often take more like an hour for the amateur chef. This is not the case with The Naptime Chef. The naptime stopwatch for prep and cook times in Kelsey's book are quite accurate and the recipes are simple enough for a beginner chef, yet appealing enough to satisfy the palate of an experienced cook. The make-ahead tips and variation ideas help even the busiest parents make delicious foods the entire family will enjoy. Favorites in our house are the old-fashioned blueberry muffins (which we call scuffins, since they are like a scone-muffin), italian-style meatloaf (delicious even the next day crumbled up with spaghetti sauce!), and the everyday cream puffs (delicious and so easy to make!).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
In our deluge of new cookbook, Banfield pulled off a new one by thinking outside of the box. The title The Naptime Chef may mislead you. It's not the chef, unfortunately, who can take a nap. But as a young parent with a new baby, your kitchen time is reduced to snatching minutes here and there to prepare a healthy and proper meal--an awkward way to cook. Banfield designed her cookbook to do kitchen work in the best available time: during baby napping. The recipes are good, though simple enough to fit within the time on hand, while hoping the nap is not over too soon. Fixing basic items like pancakes, french toast, guacamole, ratatouille and teriyaki chicken fit into the napping time. Each recipe comes with prep time and baking time (Naptime Watch) and the very good head notes give tips on both the recipes and ingredients. Most have make-ahead tips and variation ideas. In addition, she provides plenty of suggestions that will speed the work: e.g. your own pancake mix. The layout of recipes is excellent and cook friendly. The index is well cross referenced and very complete. The Pantry Staples chapter is useful. (As reviewed for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2012
I highly suggest you check out the Naptime Chef - being a parent doesn't mean you have to give up the food you love. Kelsey Banfield offers great suggestions for making the most of your "free" moments (when kids are napping or otherwise occupied) to prep food and make delicious low-hassle meals. Her soup with chicken sausage and tortellini will satisfy and freezes great. There is a great mix of food for all occasions, even entertaining. This would be a great gift for new parents or a baby shower.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2012
I just love this cookbook! Although my girls are out of the napping stage, the recipes are so easy and delicious that it still applies. They really are easy enough to prepare during naptimes, too! It makes me wish I knew someone who was having a baby because it would be the perfect gift. The recipes are easy and family-friendly yet sophisticated enough that I always feel like I'm treating myself and my family. The cocktail section is good, too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2013
The recipes I've tried so far have been very tasty but not very healthy. Also, very time consuming. Not so nap friendly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2012
With three young children, I struggled to get healthy meals on the table--not just healthy meals, but ones that appealed to my husband and me, too. Now, with Banfield's book, we all sit down to a gourmet meal (and our children actually eat it--salmon, green beans, etc).
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on March 12, 2012
I am a busy mother of two - and cannot say enough about this book. Why? because you don't need to be a busy mother of any-number-of-kids to enjoy the recipes - you just have to like food. Kelsey Banfield has found a way to walk the very thin line that often gets blurred between the titles of "cooking for kids!" or "cooking for adults!" Everyone can find something delicious and interesting within the pages of this book, and I've yet to find something my girls won't at least try, if not love. She doesn't "dumb-down" or "hide" food because it's for kids - it's like an insider's manual for eating grown up food as a family.

My copy arrived earlier than anticipated to my office, and an unmarried colleague picked it up and starting leafing through it. She couldn't put it down, and wrote out two recipes to try that night for she and her boyfriend...and then went online to order the book herself.

The best thing I can say about this book is that it is SO adaptable to your life - I'm a big fan of Barefoot Contessa, and I look at this book as similar (only it has a stopwatch for each recipe, which I find ingenious). If you enjoy cooking, and are trying to figure out how to fit it all in, try this. You won't be disappointed.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2012
My general cookbook policy is to not continue using a cookbook if the first 3 recipes are disappointing. From this book I made Pastitsio, Crunchy Mac & Cheese, and Teryiaki Chicken. The first two recipes were severely under estimated in the prep time and resulted in an enormous pile of pots and prepware to clean. I can hardly credit the author with the later accurate prep time as it is essentially, "dump marinade on chicken." All the opinions were "meh" based on the amount of effort in prep, the taste of the result, and the effort in clean-up.

Perhaps I was expecting too much magic in this book. I wanted a book that would allow me to prep a meal over one or two naptimes, and then finish it off in time for a punctual dinner. I wanted a book that would produce tasty if not delicious, affordable recipes. I wanted a book that would leave me more relaxed after a meal is accomplished rather than stressed by time-pressed cooking and a dirty kitchen. Sadly, this was not the book for this naptime cook.
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on March 19, 2012
One does not have to have kids to find this cookbook absolutely fabulous! I do not have my own little ones to run after, but like many people I do not have a lot of time or desire to be in the kitchen every day. It is a dilemma because my husband and I prefer to stay home and enjoy tasty food after a long day, yet I often feel as though I need to be more "creative" and I get bored with the staples that I know are easy to make. Thank you Kelsey for solving my dilemma! I do have a ton of cookbooks, most of which are collecting dust as they decorate my shelves. But Kelsey's collection is different. I can PLAN accordingly with how long it will take me to prepare, which for me is a total relief, there are personal touches and tips that are extremely helpful for someone like me who relies heavily on direction when it comes to cooking, and there is such a great range of the types of recipes that it's impossible to feel bored with cooking. For me, this is a recipe of genius! Way to go Naptime Chef!
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