Melissa Rauch is sharing her passion for healthy eating with kids everywhere.
In an exclusive chat with PEOPLE, The Big Bang Theory star opened up about her new book The Tales of Tofu, which she wrote in conjunction with House Foods America, and how the project was extra special to her as a mom to daughter Sadie, whose birth she announced in December 2017.
“It’s a really sweet, fun little story about a cube of tofu who has been hiding in the background and then gains confidence and makes friends by being the star of its school play, and along the way shares really fun recipes for families,” Rauch, 38, tells PEOPLE of the book, which is available for free on House Foods’ website.
“I love reading it to my daughter,” reveals the actress, sharing that she and Sadie “read the book and then we cooked the recipes together” — a technique they have leveraged in other areas of day-to-day life, too, as her little girl grows up.
“I find that whenever you’re trying to introduce your kid to anything, books are such a great way to do that,” Rauch says. “When I was teaching my daughter about brushing her teeth, we had a book on brushing your teeth, and once she sees it in the pages she’s excited then to implement it into her life.”
“And the same thing with this cookbook, it’s great — you follow Tofu along this journey and it’s sharing these recipes and then once we read the book, then it’s exciting to see how we can have it in our real lives,” she adds.
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Sadie is still “on the younger side” so she isn’t exactly whipping up meals from scratch yet, but she’s “very interested” in seeing how dishes come together as the mother-daughter duo try the different tofu-based recipes in the book — recipes Rauch says make it easy to “hide” tofu in other foods.
“If I’m holding [Sadie] on my hip and we’re putting things in the blender, she’s very, very interested in that,” she tells PEOPLE. “It’s exciting even from just a young age having [kids] get involved in the process, and then they feel excited to try what they made. It’s fun to have them be little sous chefs from early on.”
From chocolate pudding to tacos and more, Sadie has been her mom’s “little taste-tester,” shares The Bronze star — and every Tales of Tofu recipe has passed her strict toddler inspection. (Her favorite? The macaroni and cheese.)
“A lot of times, [babies are] not totally into chomping down on something when their teeth are coming in, so the smoothie’s really great for when they’re teething,” Rauch adds of another favorite recipe. “You can even pour it into little ice molds and they can suck on them when they’re going through the teething phase.”
Rauch calls parenthood a “constant heart explosion” since she and husband Winston welcomed their baby girl in late 2017, telling PEOPLE her favorite part of being a mom is “getting to see the world through [Sadie’s] fresh eyes and watching [her] discover everything.”
“It’s just a wonderful perspective shift,” she explains. “When they say it’s like your heart walking outside of you, I was like, ‘Is that really true? Is that a cliché?’ But it’s absolutely true. It’s just pure joy watching her experience the world.”
Sadie is currently “very much a toddler going on 16 years old,” Rauch jokes, and her “little right-hand girl” on set of The Big Bang Theory, where she’s “a major source of joy and light to everyone” while her mom shines onscreen as microbiologist and mom of two Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz.
And at home, Rauch makes sure to live in the present: “Whenever we are together, doing things like reading is huge — which is another reason I was so excited to partner with House Foods on [this book],” she says. “It’s very important [to] me that, with my daughter, phones [are] away and it’s just about our special time together.”
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The actress previously opened up in a touching essay for Glamour.com about a miscarriage she suffered before she became pregnant with her daughter. And looking back, Rauch couldn’t be more grateful for where she is now and what the experience, though harrowing, gave her in terms of how she has approached motherhood.
“I [wrote] about that I hope when the time comes when I finally do become a mom that the heartache will maybe make those sleepless nights or any of those rockier times as a new mom easier … that was my hope, that it would be one bit of silver lining from that difficult time, and I can absolutely say that is 100 percent true,” she tells PEOPLE.
“I haven’t taken one moment for granted, and I’m just eternally grateful for every moment — which I know every parent is — but I definitely think that struggle to get there really has just made me super present,” Rauch adds of parenthood. “I don’t take a second for granted.”
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And does she see any siblings in Sadie’s future? “Potentially, yeah, I would love that,” Rauch reveals. “Who knows what the future will hold, but I definitely love being a mom and I would absolutely love to add more to my family.”
Rauch has a few writing projects currently in the works, and will appear in this summer’s Ode to Joy alongside Martin Freeman after The Big Bang Theory wraps its 12th and final season in May.
The Tales of Tofu is available for (free!) download now on house-foods.com.
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