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Cooking for Kids

What’s Cooking with YOUR Kids – Tips from a busy mom

Michelle asked me to put together a little post about the kids in my kitchen after I commented on her some-time-ago entry regarding what young children can reasonably do in the kitchen. In tossing around the idea, I thought it might be useful to highlight some of the things that helped me start cooking with my twins when they were two.

Although I’m talking up a few specific items here, there’s no paid endorsement involved and your mileage may vary. What you don’t need is to spend a lot of money or redo your kitchen. Obviously, every home and every family will have unique circumstances and needs. These were important for me and my own children.

A kid-size table. It’s really important for children to have a sturdy surface that they can easily reach, bearing in mind that they are often more comfortable standing to work. For us, an IKEA table & chairs similar to this worked really well (it’s in retirement now, but we’ll pull it out again when our new baby is old enough to need it). This surface could also be a Lego or train table with toys removed and flipped to the flat side (cover w/newspaper or a dedicated tablecloth if needed), or the kitchen table or counter if you have a way to get the kids up there. These days my children (first-graders) do a lot of their kitchen work standing next to a counter-height stool, with the bowl or cutting board or whatever on the seat.

Sturdy utensils. You want tools, not toys (though if you can find something that’s scaled down in size without sacrificing quality, it’s worth considering). You don’t want your tools to fall apart, and you definitely don’t want to have to worry about your preschooler breaking something in his/her enthusiasm. Let them use the regular utensils that you use, with appropriate precautions in place.

Aprons or messy shirts. Aprons are cute, and I’m a big fan of the chef’s hat concept, but a largish T-shirt or smock for your child to wear when doing messy work (not limited to cooking) will clear your mind and let your kid focus on the task at hand.

Good resources. We have cooked a zillion times from Mollie Katzen’s Salad Peopleand Pretend Soup cookbooks. They feature a standard copy of each recipe for adults to read and use for prep, and then each recipe is transcribed into a picture format on two pages, so that children who can’t yet read are able to do the cooking themselves. The helpful adult is really the sous chef. We just got Katzen’s Honest Pretzels, which is for older children who are able to read and follow a recipe, and I’m excited to dive in. I also really appreciated Mary Ann Kohl’s First Art, which focuses on toddlers and twos; it helped me focus on process and to understand what my very young children were capable of in terms of motor skills.

Preparation. Have your ingredients, utensils, dishes ready to go. Premeasure, unless your child can handle that and would benefit from it. If you have to scramble around finding things, you will lose your audience. Don’t forget a damp cloth in a bowl, for wiping sticky fingers without having to shift gears too dramatically. When you’re working with more than one child at a time, it’s helpful (though not strictly necessary) to have more than one set of measuring cups and spoons available.

Patience. I have one child who wants to finish the project at all costs, always, and one child who has about three minutes to devote to any given thing before taking off. Let them go when they need to go, and be prepared to finish it yourself if necessary. This is supposed to be fun for them, remember? Understand that most children will probably want to smoosh fingers into the flour and smell the nutmeg and eat the sugar with a spoon. (Use your own judgment on that one.) Cooking with children takes longer than doing it yourself because they are exploring as they go; allow lots of time for the process and for cleanup. I’ve found, too, that preparing the food is not a guarantee that the child will EAT the food. My son loves to make glazed carrots, but he doesn’t really like eating them; for a long time, my kids would happily spin the salad greens and complain mightily when the salad appeared on the dinner table. Have them try it and move on.

We enjoy cooking together, and I’m seeing that my children are more adventurous about food as they grow (they do eat the salads now, for example). I hope this information helps someone else get started, and I’d love to know: What has been useful in your kitchen as you work with your children?

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Cooking for Kids

Some Ideas For Kid’s Party Food

If you are planning a kid’s party then you have to supply kids party food of different kind. Kids love to eat, a lot. They like to run around in a party, play, shout and everything they do with food stuffed in their mouth and a lot of food waiting on their hands. You have to make sure that you provide them not only very tasty but very beautiful kids party food so that they can enjoy. When planning for the food items of kid’s part, make sure that you make different kinds of them so that they are never pot of new item to eat.

Sweets

The very first thing of kids party food is surely the party cake. Every party, particularly the ones for kids, should have a large and beautiful looking cake. Kids love chocolate cake the most. you can buy a large chocolate cake and then decorate it according to your liking and write a message on it if you want. The cupcakes are also important kids party food that you must have. A cake, no matter how big, may not be enough for all the kids in a party. That’s why you must make many small cupcakes with icing and sparkling decorations.

There are many different kinds of sweets that can be great kids party food, including pudding and cream donuts. They are very easy to make or buy. All you have to do is to decorate them with cream and chocolate chips. Cur them in pieces and top them up with strawberries or cherries to make them look cute. The ice cream is very important kids party food item because every kid screams for a cup of ices cream. Buy different flavors of ice cream to offer kids options to choose according to their like. Sometimes, a mixed flavor ice cream is everything that a kid wants.

Snacks

Kids love crunchy kids party food and the snacks are the best ones for them kids love all kinds of snacks and you must arrange potato chips which is their favorite. They are available in market with different flavors. But a lot of them and serve with cake to see the kids enjoy them more than anything else. Spring rolls are great kids party food too as kids love them. There are many kinds of spring rolls that you can make. However, kids love the ones that are stuffed with chicken and cheese. All these can be great starters for them which they will surely appreciate to have while playing with their party friends.

If you are arranging main course kids party food then you have to make something that is not too heavy but also loved by kids. The one thing that suites them the best is pizza. Kids love pizza, no matter if it’s vegetable pizza or have chicken on it. You can make all vegetable topping for the pizza with lots of cheese and the kids will love them for sure. No matter what kids party food you make, supply a lot of juice for them to drink.

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Cooking for Kids

Cooking With YOUR Kids – Clean Eating Kids

I am always so happy to find new bloggers that I enjoy reading. And it makes me even happier when they are eager to share a story about their time in the kitchen with children. Many thanks to Tiffany McCauley from The Gracious Pantry for this week’s awesome article on eating “clean” with children. Good food for thought…

We all want out kids to be healthy. We make sure they get regular Dr. appointments, brush their teeth, and that they get enough rest to handle their day. But many parents don’t fully grasp the concept of how to nurture healthy eating habits in their children.

Perhaps they were never taught healthy eating habits themselves, or maybe life is just so hectic that a quick trip through a local drive-through seems like a light at the end of a long and tiring tunnel. As adults, we get so caught up in our everyday lives, we forget about the vital connections we need to nurture with our children, and in our homes, especially in the kitchen.

Most people have fond memories of baking as a child. Time spent in the kitchen, working with food allows us to bond on a most basic and primal level. Teaching our children how to cook is a life long lesson that will not only serve them well as adults, but also bring the family close together in the process.

If you add to that healthy, wholesome food that nourishes the soul as well as the tummy, you’ve created memories that will last a life time as well as giving your children a healthy and basic understanding of what real food is and what it’s supposed to taste like. A lesson that even many adults could stand to learn.

The faster life gets, the more we rely on processed and packaged foods. Sadly, the only concern these “food” manufacturers have is NOT our good nutrition, but rather, their bottom line. Getting back to basics and cooking with real foods is not a difficult process. If you teach your children (or learn along side them), the art of cooking healthy foods, you are also teaching them how to nurture themselves for a lifetime. You teach them respect, discipline and patience as well as creativity and imagination. The lessons learned in the kitchen go way beyond the food prepared there.

Feeding your kids clean foods from the beginning is, of course, optimal. There’s nothing as simple as putting some broccoli through the blender to feed your baby. But if your kids are older and already accustomed to processed foods, there are small changes you can make to ease their transition from processed to fresh and clean.

  • Let them cook! Kids who are involved in the process are far more likely to eat what is put on their plate and far more likely to serve themselves healthy foods when they are made available.
  • For younger children, make up names for food you want them to eat. Kids are far more likely to eat “dinosaur trees” than they are to eat “broccoli”.
  • If you have a small patch of yard or even a few larger flower pots, help your kids grow a few veggies. Not only do they gain a basic understanding of where their food comes from, but they will actually be excited about eating something they’ve nurtured and waited for for so long.
  • Ease them into healthier eating slowly. Sudden dietary changes, unless medically necessary, are usually not looked upon favorably by the younger folk.
  • Talk to then about why you are making these changes. Talking to your kids about good health is a discussion you should start having as early as possible. It teaches kids to take responsibility for their own health.

No matter what tricks you use, teaching your children about clean, healthy eating is a lesson they will thank you for for the rest of their lives. Take the time to teach and you’ll build memories and connections that can never be broken.

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Cooking for Kids

Amazing Kids Party Food

It is very easy and predictable when it is to decide as well as plan out kids party food. It takes a lot of efforts by someone to go off beam in this field. All it takes most of the times is to occupy the entire menu with sweet, food that tastes rich and would be loved by the kids. But here is certain kind of help for the people who are on a look out of adding something special or something extra in terms of their efforts or the kind of food to be used keeping in mind the thought of making the menu all the more interesting or attractive.

Thoughts for one’s young girl

We all are aware of the fact that the girls are immensely fond of themes of the parties that are of princesses, kingdoms of magic as well as the fairies. And at the same time they are in love with the food that is sweet enough as well as rich at the same time. Therefore just to make the menu of the party special one just needs to add on some of sugar as well as spice filled ingredients to the kids party food. To begin with there can be an option of providing with a fountain of chocolate that has a magical appeal on almost all the tables. If not on each and every table, the fountain of chocolate can be arranged but it can and must be surely there on the very buffet table. It must be the hot spot where all the kids get to dip their own marshmallows in at the same time having a quick as well as an irresistible treat that is definitely very sweet. If there is in case a concern about the young kids gets afflicted with the sugar-rush, in that case the marshmallows must be made to swap with fruits that are chilled as well as diced. Kids party food must not be in any ways all kinds of “bad” sugar.

Fruits like bananas, mangoes, apples as well as water melons go around well with the tinge of chocolate. It can be tried and the wonderful taste can definitely be experienced.

Thoughts for one’s young boy

The very popular theme of parties among boys is that of cowboys else the Indians. One’s young son might cherish as well as love the thought of chomped down as well as the grilled meat along with the barbecue. All this can be followed by the subsequent washing all the stuffs down by the root beer and thus making an ideal kids party food. If one is looking for a measure of balancing the diet of their little boy as well as his friend then the best way is to opt for the veggies and at the same time serving some amount of corn along with butter on top of the cob. Another way that can be refuted is by sneaking in some amount of veggies that are diced on top of the sticks of barbecue. This gives a more appetizing appearance to the kids party food of boys.