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Back to Basics

Oops! Littlest one is about to learn a lesson about standing on chairs.

Oops! Littlest one is about to learn a lesson about standing on chairs.

Since I’ve been gone from the blogging world for awhile, and in the meantime added a new cook to my team, I figured a back to basics post was in order.

But first…Congratulations to Angie, the winner of the Borax giveaway! I’ll send out your prize this weekend!

Every age can cook. I have two five year olds, a three year old, and a 18 month old and every one of them helps me in the kitchen. We have a system that works well for us, but we’ve been making the kids cook for us for awhile! If you are new to cooking with your kids I have a few places for you to begin.

Charlotte, the 18 month old, is best at helping load or unload the dishwasher. She excels at eating the leftover pieces of fruit, vegetable, or sandwich when I am creating fun bento school lunches. I’ve started giving her more to do like setting the (kid sized) table, mixing casserole ingredients, and picking which vegetable to serve with the meal. I’m reminded with her that it takes a long time to learn the skill of stirring. Making sure to thoroughly clean the surface she’s using beforehand saves a lot of time and food. Scooping the majority of the spills back into the dish is something I’ve done and will do again. We are having fun and she is learning.

Ted is three and can do most everything in the kitchen that doesn’t involve a sharp knife or the oven/stove. He prefers the easy tasks like scrubbing potatoes and dumping pre-measured ingredients. I push him a little by making him fill measuring cups correctly and selecting the correct item out of the refrigerator. He can peel root veggies, make sandwiches, and fill cupcake tins with liners.

The twins are by far the most fun in the kitchen these days! Doing all that Ted does, but with a little more ease. They are learning fractions in my dinner prepartions, and usually find the correct measuring cup. Being able to make a full meal on their own has amped up their excitement to be in the kitchen. The twins read recipes, correctly fill and dump measuring cups, stir, peel, and more! Our Keurig allows them to make me coffee (win!!) and oatmeal for themselves and the little kids. The microwave has mostly been mastered, Lily has had two lessons on stove top safety, and Pierce has had one on the proper way to wash knives.

Knives and heat are a big deal for me. I want to instill in them a love to help their mom cook, but at the same time they need to respect the things that can hurt them or others.

Three things the kids learned recently:

  1. How to soak and cook dried beans
  2. Making rice in the microwave (thanks mom for the rice cooker!!)
  3. Sweet potatoes need to be peeled twice over, or mom gives them back

What are your kids doing in the kitchen? What age will they (or did they) be allowed to use the stove? Knives?

 

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Other people’s kids cook for me too

My twins cook for me.

We’ve established this.

Pierce’s favorite kitchen activity is peeling vegetables. Lily prefers mixing and stirring. Ted still is in the ‘make a big mess and giggle’ stage, which is super fun and cute when time isn’t a factor.

What does your child like to do best? Crack eggs, get the ingredients out of the refrigerator/garden/pantry, drop the biscuits, measure the vanilla? It’s easy to find out, just put them to work!

My husband’s niece loves to add the measured ingredients into a bowl. My niece rocks at stirring. My friend’s son likes putting aluminum foil on cookie sheets. There are a lot of small jobs that kids will find amusing.

All of these kids came to visit. All of them were put to work. All of them loved it.

I think.

They didn’t tell me otherwise!

This weekend my brother visited. He went salmon fishing with my Husband. (lucky bums. They didn’t catch anything…but I’m still jealous, salmon fishing in the fall in northern Michigan is so relaxing and fun) His wife held Charlotte and pushed the kids on the swings. His daughter? She made us chicken and rice for dinner.

Everyone has a go-to chicken and rice recipe. This one is my mom’s, it’s fabulous and it’s easy enough for a two year old to help with most of it. Measuring and adding rice, buttering the pan, pointing to where each piece of chicken should go.

Done.

Chicken and Rice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Butter a 9×9 pan
Combine two cans of cream of chicken soup and one cup instant rice, spread in an even layer in the pan.
Top with skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake one hour.

I had some nice bonding time with her, and she made me a fabulous meal. This cooking with kids thing has enriched my life, and my relationships. Maybe one of them will realize I’m awesome and buy me a house when they become a world famous chef. Or at least think it was cool enough to do with their children in turn.

I’d to hear how you cook with kids. Was the mess epic? Did you giggle over spilled milk? Are you still waiting to have kids to cook with? Please note: mine are always available for rent

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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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