Cooking and Baking

Colors of Childhood: Fruit Snack of Colors

Today I saw a wonderful photo with the caption Nature Has The Best Crayons. Nature also has the best colors especially in a fruit snack of colors.

fruit snack of colorsSome sort of cooking activity with kids is often what happens at our house on the weekends. There’s more time available so that the kids can ‘help’ in the kitchen. Sometimes during the week, it’s too rushed for many families and everyone is too hungry. When possible, including kids in food preparation has lots of benefits.

Thankfully, there are still lots of summer fruits available, so we started by washing some berries and slicing some bananas. There were a couple of peaches left and an orange for the juice. We added some purple (red) grapes and green apple. Nature  paints fruit in such a variety of colors. A raspberry and a strawberry are both red, but they are a little different. A banana and a peach are both yellow, but they aren’t the same either. Making a fruit salad was an ideal time for noticing some of nature’s colors.

nature's colorsNature also paints other foods in wonderful colors. Although peppers are fruits they are not sweet. It’s confusing, but the part of a plant that contains seeds is the fruit. At this time of year, besides the red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, there are also purple peppers. With many local farmers’ markets, there are even more colors. The corn and squash seem to have captured the yellow of the sun. Soon there will be bright orange pumpkins at the markets contrasting with the deep greens.

Colors are one way to stimulate the senses and children are definitely very sensory. In the fall, nature’s colors seem so bright and vibrant. For a play-of-the-day, can you and your child spend some time with the colors of nature?

What to do with Leftover Easter Chocolate

Ideas for Cooking with Leftover Easter Treats

Did the Easter Bunny leave lots of treats and now you are wondering what to do with the leftover Easter chocolate? You can cook and bake with it!

cookies leftover Easter chocolateChocolate bunnies and eggs can very easily be a special ingredient in a batch of cookies. For chocolate chip cookies use bits of leftover Easter treats instead of regular chocolate chips. Oatmeal cookies are another good choice, especially for lunches and snacks, because they are packable and nutritious.

banana yogurt chocolate smoothiePour melted chocolate over crunchy, non-sugar cereal, press into a square pan, cool, and cut into bars. You can even make s’mores in the oven in a pan with graham cracker, thin pieces of chocolate, marshmallow peeps, and another graham cracker on top. Do you ever add just a few chocolate chips to pancakes for breakfast? Try bits of Easter treats. A banana, yogurt, and spoon or two of chopped chocolate makes a delicious smoothie.

coooking with kidsMany of us, and not just kids but grownups too, have a sweet tooth and enjoy Easter chocolate and treats. Too much sugar isn’t good for any of us so using the basket of goodies in cooking and baking is a good strategy. Kids can help crush the chocolate, measure and stir ingredients, and mix up cookie dough.

After too many Easter treats, we may have to do a lot of egg-xercise, so making cookies is one way of spreading out the chocolate and candy. Children may have become quite attached to all their candy so they need to be included in the process. Adults worked hard to hide it all in the first place and we don’t want kids to hide it from us. (Were you able to find everything at your house or is some of it still missing?) Would you agree that these ideas are a hoppy ending for leftover Easter chocolate and treats?

Part Two: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

Spending Time Cooking with Kids

Spending time with a child requires a certain amount of confidence. As parents and caregivers do you worry if you are good enough? Be assured, you do not need to be a pro at what you do to spend time with kids. As the saying goes, kids spell love T I M E. Here is another story of ordinary families spending time together. Hopefully, it will encourage you.

cooking with kidsK is not a professional chef. She has no extra training when it comes to cooking. With her particular hours, sometimes at their house it’s more convenient for dad to start dinner. But both of them involve the kids as they cook. Their two kids, age 3 and 6, help wash the veggies and the fruit, stir and mix. They are learning the names of the different tools and what they do. When possible, the kids help with measuring, getting ingredients, and baking. A highlight, of course, is licking the beaters and scooping out the bowl. Do you remember doing this as a child? I bet it happens all over the world.

cooking with kidsTime can be spent with kids in big chunks or in little bits over and over. While each day, parents may only spend a few minutes cooking with the kids, over the course of months and years it adds up to an astonishing amount of time. Like a layer cake that just keeps getting taller and taller, even a slice can be a lot. Not only is the time important, but also the feeling of being important and significant to others.

Besides sharing about cooking, you can tell jokes like: Q. What’s the best thing to put in a pie? A. Your teeth. What recipe do you have for cooking up some love and time with your kids? Share in the comments and we’ll take a bite…

Dinosaur and Turkey Fruit Snacks for Kids

Giving kids something to do in the kitchen while adults are preparing a meal helps them feel included and can keep them safely occupied. If you are busy today, here is an idea for a nutritious fruit snack that can be either a dinosaur or a turkey, or you can make one of each. After all, … Continue reading Dinosaur and Turkey Fruit Snacks for Kids

Cooking with Kids Using Leftover Halloween Candy

After Halloween, talking about healthy food choices is tricky, but there is a way to add some nutrition to Halloween treats and have a fun play-of-the-day with kids at the same time: cooking with Halloween candy. For this activity, we opened a few packages of Smarties and added to them a batch of oatmeal cookies, … Continue reading Cooking with Kids Using Leftover Halloween Candy

Fall Sensory Play #5 – Sense of Taste

Eating is, without a doubt, a sensory experience for children and adults, and in addition to the sense of taste, also appeals to sight, smell, touch, and sometimes sound, too. For children, the texture and the color can be just as important, or even more important, than the flavor or taste. Preschool kids can be … Continue reading Fall Sensory Play #5 – Sense of Taste

Applesauce Cookies: Tasty Treat for Eating and Learning

There are as many reasons for cooking with kids as there are cookies in a batch, and fortunately, the benefits will last longer than the cookies. These applesauce cookies were so yummy that we cooked up some more– a sort of double treat for eating and learning. They are called Applesauce Oatie Cookies. **The recipe … Continue reading Applesauce Cookies: Tasty Treat for Eating and Learning

Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #2

This cooking-with-kids activity is fun enough to do twice in one week. Remember the question from Pizza #1 about what other fruit we could use? Well, here it is: Watermelon Pizza #2 in red, white, and blue. For such simple ingredients, it looks bright and colorful, and can be used for holiday celebrating or any … Continue reading Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #2

Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #1

Cooking with kids is an awesome–and tasty–way to combine fun, learning, and family time, plus encourage healthy eating. This watermelon pizza is a great way to celebrate the start of summer! According to the calendar, Summer starts June 21st if you live in the top half of the planet, but in North America the first … Continue reading Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #1