Cooking and Baking

Kids Nutritious Valentine Chocolate Treats – Yummy and Sensory

When it comes to treats, chocolate often tops the list. Would these kids nutritious valentine chocolate treats appeal to anyone at your house?

Girl Enjoying Chocolate Milk

Food appeals to kids for more than taste. They also like the way food feels and we’ve all seen little ones get hands-on and in with what they are eating. A smoothie not only goes down smooth, hands get to make it that way. **Before peeling a banana, let your little one roll and squeeze it. They can’t do it too hard or the banana will split open, but they should be able to start making the banana mushy. Open it into a big measuring cup and continue smooshing. We added a bit of chocolate milk and some yogurt and stirred that in too. A quick whip with the hand blender made it creamy and smooth. This is easy to adapt if your child has any food sensitivity issues. The banana adds the sweetness and smoothness to practically any liquid.

kids nutritious chocolate treat

As well as to the senses of taste and touch, food includes the sense of sight. Kids respond to the colors and shapes of food. Let kids pick out three or four, or even more, of their favorite fruits. Besides bananas, strawberries, apples, oranges, and grapes go with chocolate. Kids can help with the preparation. Wash the fruits and slice into pieces. With a plastic picnic knife, kids can slice the bananas and grapes. Bigger hands might need to do the apples and grapes. Use some chocolate milk or melted chocolate with some yogurt to make a dip. With fingers or forks kids dip the fruit pieces into the chocolate ‘mud’. Despite the name, it’s yummy.

kids valentine chocolate treat

Kids like to help and involving them in the kitchen encourages a healthy relationship to food. They are also very sensory and hands-on. These kids nutritious valentine chocolate treats definitely include the senses and hands. What treats do you and your child make for Valentine’s Day?


Halloween Carrots Hummus Snack – Nutritious, Colorful, and Fun

Carrots + Dip = Pumpkin Patch

Halloween has wonderful treats, but they can still be nutritious like this Halloween carrots hummus snack. As a trick, the good kind, this one is also fun.

Halloween carrots hummus snack

Finger foods and dips are popular with kids. It’s like combining eating and playing with food. Kids also like to help in the kitchen. They feel like part of the team and get a sense of accomplishment. Involving them in cooking also creates a positive attitude towards food and encourages them to make good food choices.

This dip is easy and uses readily available ingredients. We started with a can of chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans. Maybe they have a split personality, but they will certainly have a mashed one. Drain them first and then empty the can into a flat bowl. It’s easier for kids to mash the chick peas in a shallow or flat bowl. At our house, the kids don’t like it with too much lemon so after rolling a lemon around on the counter to make it soft and juicing it, we only stir in 1 or 2 spoons of juice.

When we have tahini or sesame seed paste we add it. When we don’t, we use some other nut butter. Fortunately there are no peanut allergies so we are okay with that. To make it nice and smooth, mix in a spoon or so of olive oil. A sprinkle of cumin adds a bit more flavor to the mild taste. Many people like garlic but that sometimes makes ‘monster breath’ so we omit this.

Instead of a Halloween carrots hummus snack, you can use black bean dip. (see our carrots in the garden from the spring) This dip is even easier and makes for a darker dirt.

carrot black bean dip snack

While little hands are mixing, big hands can cut a carrot into circles. These are the pumpkins. For color, stick a toothpick through something green, like parsley, celery leaves, or small pieces of lettuce. Carefully stick the toothpick into the edge of the carrot circle. Don’t these look like pumpkins?

Spoon the hummus into a bowl to be the dirt. Set the pumpkins upright like they are growing in the pumpkin patch. Sprinkle on bits of lettuce, cilantro, parsley, or celery leaves for the leaves and vines. What fun to dip and munch. Do you know any kid-monsters that can eat a whole pumpkin patch?

Space Activities #22: Space Snack Fun – Cooking with Kids

These couple of nutritious and playful ideas for some space snack fun do not need a lot of space in your kitchen, just some imagination and creativity.

Nut Butter Planet Wraps:

space snack fun

To make these planet wraps, you can use either pita bread, tortillas, or another kind of wrap. Put a spoonful of peanut or other nut butter in the middle. Kids can spread this all around getting close to the edges. Peel a banana and place it across the circle. Roll up the edges and cut off any parts of the banana that stick out. It looks like a banana hotdog. If the flatbread is thin enough, kids may be able to cut the roll into small circles. These circles are the planet with a ring around it. (This part might need imagination as the circles aren’t exactly round.)

Cream Cheese Moons:

space snack fun

During the full moon, we can see the round moon shape and white color with darker patches. An old joke is the moon is made of green (unripened) cheese. Pita bread, tortillas, wraps, or rice cakes are round too. Big hands can put a spoon of cream cheese in the middle and little hands spread it all over, getting as close to the edges as possible. To make the dark patches on the moon, try blueberries or blackberries. The cream cheese is a little sticky but the berries may need to be tapped down so they don’t roll away. Sure doesn’t taste like green cheese.

This space snack fun is tasty and nutritious. The planet wraps don’t have to be rolled up and cut, they can be flat, especially with mini pitas. Try different toppings and spreads, like humus and cucumber or mashed avocado and cherry tomato slices. Kids may have their own suggestions for combinations.

Cooking with kids helps them be more aware of what they are eating and how food tastes. They learn how to make things themselves instead of just opening something already prepared. Best of all, isn’t it fun?

Transportation Activities#18: Traffic Light Smoothie

Sensory play is very important for kids including taste and smell as well as seeing, hearing, and touching which they can do with a Traffic Light Smoothie. Safety is important too, so parents and caregivers tell kids about red lights and stop signs. They are pretty familiar with traffic lights. Traffic lights are red, yellow, … Continue reading Transportation Activities#18: Traffic Light Smoothie

Cooking with Kids – Bubble Cake aka Puddle Cake

Playing, having fun, and learning can all happen at the same time. 1 2 3. This bubble cake combines more than ingredients. It’s easy for cooking with kids. There’s hardly anything to wash up since you mix it and cook it in the same pan. Sometimes, this Bubble Cake is known by another name, Puddle … Continue reading Cooking with Kids – Bubble Cake aka Puddle Cake

Star Wars Tortilla Planets – Breakfast Or Dessert

There are dozens and dozens of ideas for Star Wars foods, but this is one of the tastiest, Star Wars Tortilla Planets, so nutritious they can be breakfast and so good they can be dessert. Thanks to Heather Tallman, at Basilmomma for these. Don’t they look delicious? Place two tortillas on a cookie sheet, (lined … Continue reading Star Wars Tortilla Planets – Breakfast Or Dessert

Christmas Cooking with Kids

Tech support will delete your cookies and so will kids. For a play-of-the-day, tie on an apron for Christmas cooking with kids. At this time of year, many families are making holiday favorites. While some make cookies, others are kneading the dough for cinnamon buns, rolling out pyrogies, decorating Yule logs, wrapping up tamales, cutting … Continue reading Christmas Cooking with Kids

October Alphabet: K is for Kitchen Fun with Kids

Not just October, but anytime of the year is great for some kitchen fun with kids. And learning too. We can easily cook up both. Involving kids in the kitchen has  some immediate as well as long-term benefits. Sometimes, as a child, it seems like adults get to have all the fun. We might think … Continue reading October Alphabet: K is for Kitchen Fun with Kids