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Wow, can you believe it’s already November?

This year has flown, and it’s been full of challenges and new situations that we could have never expected! (Homeschooling for high school, anyone?) With only two months left of this year, I’m thinking about all the exciting things that come with the holidays. And of course, the first one up is Thanksgiving!

Every year for Thanksgiving, we cook delicious food, spend time with our family and friends, and share what we’re grateful for. And this year, I wanted to celebrate a little early! So first up, you’ll find a list of delicious middle-grade books based around food. Then, I’m sharing one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, a chocolate chip pecan pie, so you can bake it for your own Thanksgiving festivities! Want even more great, easy recipes? Follow my “Kids Cook!” board on Pinterest.

P.S. – Are we Instagram friends? This month on Instagram, I’m giving away two cookbooks, Good Housekeeping’s “Kids Bake” and “Kids Cook”. Want to win? Be sure to follow me right here so you don’t miss out!

20 Delicious Middle-Grade Books (And a great recipe!)

A Dash of Dragon – Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski

A thirteen-year-old chef has a lot to prove as she tries to run a five-star restaurant, repay a greedy loan shark, and outsmart the Elven mafia in this entertaining novel that combines all the best ingredients—fantasy, humor, adventure, action, cute boys, and a feisty heroine!

Buy on Amazon

The Candymakers (2 book series) – Wendy Mass

Four children have been chosen to compete in a national competition to find the tastiest confection in the country. Who will invent a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew? This story, told from each contestant’s perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.

Buy on Amazon

Neil Flambe’ and the Marco Polo Murders (6 book series) – Kevin Sylvester

Neil Flambé may be fourteen years old, but he’s also a world-renowned chef. Patrons pay top dollar and wait months for reservations at his tiny boutique restaurant. But Neil is more than a fantastic cook—he solves crime too. This book is a delicious blend of mystery, history, and top-notch cuisine.

Buy on Amazon

Bliss (3 book series) – Kathryn Littlewood

Rosemary Bliss’s family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Singing Gingersnaps. Rosemary and her siblings end up experimenting with a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke. A few Love Muffins and Cookies of Truth couldn’t cause too much trouble . . . could they?

Buy on Amazon

Undercover Chefs – Erin Fry

Three unlikely friends join forces to win a baking competition and save their school’s culinary classroom. Can they figure out a way to salvage their cupcakes, save the culinary classroom from being demolished, and protect their secrets before the judges cast their final votes?

Buy on Amazon

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart – Stephanie Burgis

Aventurine is a brave young dragon ready to explore the world outside of her family’s mountain cave . . . if only they’d let her leave it. Her family thinks she’s too young to fly on her own, but she’s determined to prove them wrong by capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human.

Buy on Amazon

Midsummer’s Mayhem – Rajani LaRocca

Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad’s a renowned food writer, Mom’s a successful businesswoman, and her siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It’s easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi’s dream of proving she’s not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it’ll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef.

But when Mimi’s dad returns from a business trip, he’s mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.

Buy on Amazon

Roll With It – Jamie Sumner

“Ellie has big dreams: She might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going to be a professional baker. If she’s not writing fan letters to her favorite celebrity chefs, she’s practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother. This big-hearted middle-grade debut tells the story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.”

Buy on Amazon

A Tangle of Knots – Lisa Graff

“Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born.” 

Buy on Amazon

Next Best Junior Chef (3 book series) – Charise Mericle Harper

“It’s “lights, camera, cook!” for four tween contestants—energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver—who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition.

What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on and off camera? Which junior chef will have the grit—and maybe the grits—to make it through each elimination challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?”

Buy on Amazon

Baker’s Magic – Diane Zahler

“Bee is an orphan, alone in a poor, crumbling kingdom. In desperation, she steals a bun from a bakery. To Bee’s surprise, the baker offers her a place at his shop. As she learns to bake, Bee discovers that she has a magical power. When a new friend desperately needs her help against an evil mage, Bee wonders what a small orphan girl with only a small bit of magic can do. Bee’s journey to help her friend becomes a journey to save the kingdom, and a discovery of the meaning of family.”

Buy on Amazon

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners – Natalie Rompella

“Most kids would dread the start of middle school and the year-long Explorations project that comes with it, but Ana knows that her + her best friend Lily + their plan to write and sell their own cookbook is a recipe for success. But Ana and Lily’s plan for edible entrepreneurship turns into one big baking disaster when they’re assigned to different partners for their projects.”

This book also features a main character who struggles with anxiety, if that’s something you deal with too!

Buy on Amazon

Confectionately Yours (4 book series) – Lisa Papademetriou

“Hayley’s world is far from perfect: Her parents have divorced, her mom has lost her job, and she and her sister Chloe are stuck sharing a bedroom in their grandmother’s apartment. Luckily, Hayley has a knack for baking cupcakes — and cupcakes always make life just a little sweeter! But when she and her best friend Artie start drifting apart, she realizes that it’s going to take more than sugar and spice to make things nice.”

Buy on Amazon

Stef Soto Taco Queen – Jennifer Torres

“Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. But when her family’s livelihood is threatened, and it looks like her wish will finally come true, Stef surprises everyone (including herself) by becoming the truck’s unlikely champion. In this fun and heartfelt novel, Stef will discover what matters most and ultimately embrace an identity that even includes old Tia Perla.”

Buy on Amazon

All Four Stars – Tara Dairman

“Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but is soon mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world. But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret!”

Buy on Amazon

Close to Famous – Joan Bauer

“When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don’t know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody’s business. Soon Foster – who dreams of having her own cooking show one day – lands herself a gig baking for the local coffee shop, and gets herself some much-needed help in overcoming her biggest challenge – learning to read.”

Buy on Amazon

Love, Sugar, Magic (3 book series) – Anna Meriano

“Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. One day she discovers her mother, aunt, and sisters have been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.”

Buy on Amazon

The Saturday Cooking Club: Kitchen Chaos – Deborah A. Levine

“Can their friendships take the heat? A trio of mothers and daughters will find out when they sign up for a cooking class from a famous chef in the first book of the Saturday Cooking Club series—it’s mother-daughter bonding and so much more!”

Buy on Amazon

The Power of Poppy Pendle – Natasha Lowe

Poppy has magical powers, but she would rather be a baker. Can she find a way to follow her own path? Part magic, part adventure, and wholly delicious, this spirited story includes more than a dozen recipes you can try at home.

Buy on Amazon

The Thing About Leftovers – C.C. Payne

“Fizzy is a good Southern girl who just wants to be perfect. And win the Southern Living cook-offThe being perfect part is hard though, since her parents’ divorced and everything in her life has changed. Fortunately, the Southern Living cook-off gives her a welcome distraction, as do her new friends Miyoko and Zach, who have parent issues of their own.”

Buy on Amazon

This pie is an easy and delicious holiday favorite.

If you’re a chocolate lover like I am, you’re going to want to try it out!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

An easy and delicious holiday favorite!
Cook Time45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 unbaked deep dish pie sheel

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugar, butter, corn syrup, eggs and salt at medium speed until well mixed.
  • Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into pie shell.
  • Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover, and bake 10-15 additional minutes or until filling is set. Cool.

Notes

This pie is delicious with whipped cream, ice cream, or plain! Enjoy!