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Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Chicken Curry Recipe Your Kids Can Help Make — from A Little Yumminess

girls cooking little yumminess
Kids cooking at A Little Yumminess summer camp

Here’s a new recipe from Stacie Dong and Simran Singh of A Little Yumminess that will get you cooking with kids and getting them trying new flavors.

Chicken curry may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “kid food”, but this simple chicken curry will convert even the pickiest of eaters. Plus, the younger you start introducing kids to spices and unfamiliar foods, the easier it is to integrate new flavors, textures and tastes into your family eating repertoire.

If you’re not a curry maker, this is a great “curry starter” as it requires minimal spices, preparation, and cooking skill. It’s also a great recipe for kids to make. You can serve it with rice or store-bought naan bread. Add a dollop of yogurt to further “cool” the dish.

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Chicken Curry Recipe

(Serves 4)

  • 1 pound chicken thighs or breast cut into 1-inch cubes (save time by asking the butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 inch piece ginger, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup Greek or other plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (see recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch of chili flakes or powder (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (you can also use ghee or a combination of oil and ghee)
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • ½ cup water or chicken stock
  1. Marinate chicken in yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, coriander powder, salt and chilli (if using). Marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, or until onion is golden and softened.
  3. Add the chicken with the marinade along with the water or chicken stock. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 20-25 minutes till the sauce is thickened and the chicken is fork tender.

Simple Garam Masala Recipe

Many grocery stores these days carry spice blends, including garam masala. Pop into a local Indian market if you have one nearby as the spices are usually fresh and inexpensive.

If not, it’s easy to make your own garam masala for this and other Indian recipes by blending spices you may already have in your pantry. Whenever possible, grinding whole spices will yield the most flavorful, vibrant results. With fresh, fragrant garam masala on hand you can experiment by using it to season roast chicken, vegetables or even popcorn! Spice mixes also make wonderful teacher gifts, so consider making extra!

(Serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

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You can also follow @alittleyum on Instagram for more fast and furious recipes!

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Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Recipe Spotlight: Bliss Belly Kitchen

Neelam Patil’s Bliss Belly Kitchen takes a whole new approach to culinary skills. They not only offer eco-conscious and soul conscious cooking classes using farm fresh ingredients, but they also take the time out to use yoga and mindfulness to give children the best possible connection to themselves and to the land — the source of where their food comes from. At Bliss Belly Kitchen, a happy mind starts with a healthy belly.

bliss belly cooking camp
Culinary campers enjoying the summer @ Bliss Belly Kitchen

Here, Chef Neelam shares a simple, fresh salad to add to your warm summer days that is perfect for outdoor parties or indoor family dinners.

See camps & classes from Bliss Belly Kitchen >>

Yummy Strawberry Kale Salad

bliss belly kale salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup French Lentils
  • 1 bunch of Curly Green Leaf Kale
  • 1 cup Strawberries (or one Apple if fall, winter, or spring)
  • 2 Carrots
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Organic Coconut Sugar
  • Salt, Black Pepper, & Oregano to taste

Recipe:

  1. Soak Lentils in water overnight
  2. Drain water from Lentils
  3. Boil Lentils in water; add Black Pepper and Oregano to taste
  4. Tear Kale into bite size pieces
  5. Shred Carrots with a grater
  6. Cut Strawberries into bite size pieces
  7. Pour Olive Oil and Lemon Juice onto the Kale
  8. Massage Kale until it is as soft as lettuce
  9. Add Cocount Sugar, Lentils, Strawberries, and Carrots to Kale
  10. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

See camps & classes from Bliss Belly Kitchen >>

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Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Recipe Spotlight: The Culinary Dude

Fun with food @ Culinary Dude Summer Camp
Fun with food @ Culinary Dude Summer Camp

The Culinary Dude‘s goal is simple and meaningful: Empower students with the culinary skills to become self-sufficient, and to make healthy choices for themselves, their families, and their future. Here, owner and chef, Scott Davis, shares with us a fresh and simple recipe to try along with your kids – the perfect summer salad for the pool or on the beach!

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Black Bean & Corn Salad

(Makes 8-12 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 2 carrots, small diced
  • 3 ribs celery, small diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, fine minced
  • 4 green onion, small chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

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Camps Cooking Creative Arts Super Activities for Super Kids

Recipe Spotlight: A Little Yumminess

From ‘MasterChef Junior’ to ‘Chopped Teens’, more kids than ever are learning to navigate their way around the kitchen. Cooking with kids not only teaches them a valuable life skill, but encourages them to use math and critical thinking skills, gets them trying new foods, and provides plenty of opportunities to talk about making healthy food choices.

A Little Yumminess cooking with kids
Kids enjoying summer camp @ A Little Yumminess

Here’s a recipe from Stacie Dong and Simran Singh of A Little Yumminess that will get you cooking with kids and getting them to try a few new flavors.

By varying the basic theme of “rice with toppings,” you can take your family on a world tour: from New Orleans-style red beans and rice to Japanese donburi, Puerto Rican arroz con gandules (pigeon peas), Hawaiian loco moco, to Korean bibimbap.

Korean bibimbap, which means ‘mixed rice’, is one of our favorite global rice bowl variations. It’s a feast for the eyes, as well as the taste buds. Traditionally, it combines a variety of fresh and cooked seasoned vegetables, as well as small portions of marinated meat, egg, or tofu (sometimes all three). You can keep things simple by choosing just a few toppings, or go all out with six or seven. In any case, it’s always fun to use bibimbap as an opportunity to try out a new ingredient or flavor alongside more familiar ones.

Another reason we love bibimbap is because it’s a great example of the vivid flavor and color combinations you’ll find throughout Korean cuisine. In fact, a guiding principle of Korean cooking is to bring together five colors (red, yellow, white, green and black) and five flavors (sweet, spicy, salty, sour and bitter). Kids will love the chance to go on a culinary scavenger hunt, looking for these colors and flavors in their own unique bowls.

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Bibimbap Basics

  • Hot, cooked, short grain rice (or rice of your choice)

Suggested toppings:

  • Bulgogi (Marinated beef – see recipe below. This can be pan-fried as well, if you do not want to use the oven)
  • Cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • Mung bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water for several minutes until they begin to wilt, then seasoned with salt and a few drops of sesame oil
  • Sautéed spinach, dressed with soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and sesame seeds
  • Sliced mushrooms, sautéed with soy sauce and a pinch of sugar
  • Zucchini, grated and squeezed to remove excess liquid, then quickly stir-fried and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Nori (sheets of seaweed used for sushi), cut into thin strips
  • Seasonal vegetables, stir-fried with minced garlic and red pepper flakes
  • Fried egg (We like to make the yolk runny and then mix it in with the rice and other toppings)
  • Extra firm tofu, dried well, then pan-fried until golden, cut into cubes and drizzled with soy sauce
  • Gochujang (Korean chili paste), mixed with soy sauce.

Bulgogi Recipe

(Serves 2 adults and 2 kids as part of a bibimbap bowl)

  • ½ pound beef (rib eye or top sirloin)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup grated Asian pear (or substitute pear puree)
  • 1 chopped scallion (white and light green parts only)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients except for beef, stirring well to dissolve sugar.
  2. Slice the beef thinly, against the grain, then toss with marinate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with vegetable oil. Drain excess marinade from beef and lay slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Broil for 5 minutes or until cooked through.

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Camps Cooking Parenting Resources

Spring Cooking with Kids






focus shot of kids in cooking class

Looking to put some “spring” into your home cooking routine? We asked the head chef at a kids’ cooking school to share handy tips and a delicious recipe.

By Wendy Chou

Cooking for kids can feel like a thankless task. When kids reject new foods and haven’t got a clue how much effort went into prepping a meal, it’s easy to get frustrated. Now consider cooking with kids. Having your kid help in the kitchen can break down some of their prejudices and teach them to appreciate where real food comes from. ActivityHero talked with Chef Cindy Roberts of the popular Bay Area-based “La Toque De Cindy” cooking school to hear how an expert helps kids learn to cook. 

Cooking is Fun… and Practical

Each of Roberts’ weekly summer camps showcases a different type of cooking: chocolate, world cuisine, and handmade pizzas and pastas are just some of the tempting offerings this year. She likes to emphasize the joy and creativity inherent in cooking. Cindy Roberts started cooking at the age of 3 and believes cooking can inspire as well as educate. “I focus on the “fun” aspect of cooking,” Roberts points out, “but it’s my sneaky way to teach them the health, cost and taste benefits of home cooking.” 

Getting Kids to Try New Things

Roberts knows one way parents can broaden the palette of picky eaters: give them a say. “Have them taste test something… and suggest improvements,” advises Roberts. In her cooking classes, asking the kids to experiment directly with ingredients “gets even the most finicky eaters trying out what we made and giving it a second chance.” In other words, the more they know about how a dish is put together, the more they can keep an open mind, even about foods they weren’t keen on at the outset.

> > Find cooking camps and classes near me   

Amazed by Their Own Potential

When asked what the kids in her classes find most surprising about cooking, Roberts says that young chefs are completely “surprised at how easy it is to make some of the products they buy packaged at the grocery store,” including basics like chicken stock and mayonnaise. The homemade versions wind up being fresher and better-tasting. Empowerment and self-confidence: these two ingredients are welcome on any family menu.

Try It at Home

Here’s a savory spring-inspired recipe for you to try at home with your kids. The kid chefs at La Toque loved it (and ate their vegetables)!  

Photo by Flickr user Lollyknit

Leek and Olive Tart

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Serves 6-8
  • Adapted by Cindy Roberts from Field of Greens cookbook

Ingredients

TART DOUGH 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons cold water

FILLING

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium sized leeks, white part only, cut in half then thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 small whole olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 or 4 eggs (use fewer if using jumbo eggs)
  • 1 ½ cup half and half
  • ½ teaspoon minced lemon zest (optional)
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, about 2/3 cup

Instructions

  1. MAKE THE SHELL: Mix flour, salt, butter and shortening until mixture has the appearance of small peas.
  2. Add water a little at a time until dough holds together.  Press into greased quiche pan (or pie pan).
  3. MAKE THE FILLING: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Saute the leeks for a few minutes until starting to wilt with ½ teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper.  Add the garlic, cover and sweat for about 7 minutes. Remove the lid and sauté 2 minutes more.
  4. Mix leeks in a bowl with olives, thyme and parsley.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Beat the eggs with the half and half.  Add ½ teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper and optional lemon zest.
  7. Spread the cheese over the bottom of the tart dough, followed by the leek mixture.  Pour the cream mixture over. Bake for 40 minutes until set.

Chef Cindy’s Tip:

The amount of participation is easy to modify depending on age. “Kids as young as 4 could assemble. At age 8, kids could make the crust themselves. By age 10 they could make it all on their own!”  

Ready to explore more cooking? Find cooking camps and classes near you by visiting ActivityHero.com.  

 

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Parenting Resources

Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas






Want a special way to celebrate Mother’s Day with your family? Get the kids in the kitchen to help cook these homemade brunches mom will love.

by Reesa Lewandowski

After many years of spending one too many Mother’s Days in crowded, overpriced restaurants, I realized what I loved the most was spending the day with those I loved, in the comfort of my own home. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together this quick list of make-at-home brunch ideas that any mom would love to wake up to.

These recipes are kid-friendly, so be sure to enlist the help of your little ones. Put on a pot of coffee and get cooking! Here are eight easy ideas to inspire you:

Berry Bruschetta

Slice up strawberries and cook 8-10 minutes in a pan to warm them up.  Let the natural flavors and juices release. Spread cream cheese on top of sliced french bread and top with the berries. Younger kids can help with the cream cheese spreading; older kids will enjoy strawberry slicing, too.

Granola Parfaits

Layer Vanilla Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh berries to make a delicious parfait. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Kids of all ages can help with all the steps on this one!

Mini Quiches

Create these mini quiches by Jennifer Pallian of Foodess in about 30 minutes — right in a muffin pan. The recipe includes details about which tasks the kids can do, including egg stirring (younger kids) and cheese grating (older kids).

Breakfast Kabobs

Slice your favorite french toast or pancake recipe into bite sized pieces and skewer onto wooden sticks with berries and bananas. Serve with warm maple syrup on the side. Kids of all ages will love the skewering! Older kids can help measure ingredients and help with cooking, too.

Egg in the Hole

This protein-packed brunch favorite is so easy and delicious. For an extra-special treat, use heart-shaped cookie cutters to create the hole for the egg! Crack an egg in the center and cook until the bread is crispy and the egg is set. Kids will enjoy cutting out the hole and cracking the black pepper.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Create a light salad with spinach, walnuts, strawberries, and a vinaigrette of salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Kids can help shake the vinaigrette and toss the salad.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Here’s a great way to add a touch of flare to a plate of bacon and eggs. Quarter red bliss potatoes and coat them in olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Older kids can help cut the potatoes; younger kids can help toss the potatoes in the oil mixture.

Fresh Orange Juice

Pick up some delicious fresh oranges and have the kids get busy squeezing some juice for their mom. If your little one wants to take charge of this task, be sure to check out these OJ-making tips for preschoolers from Sugar Spice and Glitter.

Finishing Touches

Make your brunch special with fresh flowers arranged by the kiddos. Whether you opt for store-bought blooms or find wildflowers around your home, mom’s heart will be warmed when she sees what the kids have created. Here are tips to help the kids with flower arranging basics from Kids Activities Blog.

And while everything cooks, kids will also enjoy making these handmade mothers day cards from Cute DIY Projects, too.

Celebrate

Now that everything is ready for mom, wake her up with hugs and kisses, flowers, and tasty treats. Even if every dish doesn’t quite come out perfect, the excitement the kids will have from helping to create the meal will make this a day she’ll love!

Categories
Cooking

8 Movies, Books, Shows & Apps for Kids Who Love to Cook






Learning to cook can help picky eaters branch out — and teach all kids some key life skills. Whet your kids’ appetite with these books, apps, and shows.

By the Kids’ Media Experts at SmartFeed

what to watch with a child who loves cookingHave a budding chef in your house? Or maybe you’re a foodie who would love to impart your knowledge of unique cuisines to your kids? Letting kids sample some cooking-themed media will provide them with information on kitchen gadgets and techniques that can prep them for one day donning the chef’s hat (or at least the sous chef’s hat) in your kitchen. Below is a list of kids’ cooking TV shows, apps, movies, and books that are wholesome and delicious.

Find after school cooking programs >>

A Book for Kids Who Love to Cook

bakingkids
Baking with Kids: Make Breads, Muffins, Cookies, Pies, Pizza Dough, and More!
Ages 7+
Step-by-step instructions, photos, and special steps for younger bakers make this cookbook exceptionally kid-friendly.

 

Apps for Kids Who Love to Cook

cookie_doodle
Cookie Doodle
Ages 4+
This popular app combines creativity, fine motor skills, and lots of sugar! Kids mix dough, roll it out, then cut out cookies, and finally, decorate them.

 

drpanda
Dr. Panda Restaurant Asia
Ages 5+
Role playing as chef in their own restaurant is great fun for children using this app. Kids choose their kitchen tools and food. No keeping score; just fun and creativity in the virtual kitchen.

 

Movies for Kids Who Love to Cook

Ratatouille
Ratatouille
Ages 6+
“Friendly rat as high-end French chef” is this Pixar gem in a nutshell. As a bonus, parents and kids alike will enjoy this film.

 

 

 

Pressure_Cooker
Pressure Cooker
Ages 10+
Hard work and a positive attitude are served up in this fascinating documentary about a group of Philadelphia high school students who are challenged all year in a high-end cooking class. The ultimate reward is competing for a culinary scholarship and a chance for a college education.

 

Find after school cooking programs >>

 

TV Shows for Kids Who Love to Cook

GoodEats
Good Eats
Ages 8+
Food-meets-science-meets-humor in this kid-friendly series. A different technique or ingredient is showcased each episode, with food facts, history, and general goofiness in equal parts.

 

MasterChef_Junior
MasterChef Junior
Ages 10+
Creative competition is the focus in this series. Talented kid chefs inspire, create, and ultimately impress.

 

NoKitchenRequired
No Kitchen Required
Ages 10+
World-class chefs compete in foreign locales, featuring native ingredients, traditional recipes, and a tough set of critics … the local residents.

Find after school cooking programs >>

Categories
After-School Activities

Family Friend Mardi Gras






Fat Tuesday can be a fun new tradition for your family to celebrate every year. You don’t need to bring the R-rated wildness into your living room, but you can certainly highlight the culture, music, and food of New Orleans into your home each year. Our family of three have been celebrating Mardi Gras every year since our son was born. We all look forward to it every year, and even though it is on a Tuesday, it is easy to pull a celebration together after a long work day.

Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is the last day to indulge before the beginning of the Christian observance of Lent. Even if you aren’t giving up anything for Lent, or even if you aren’t Christian, consider celebrating Mardi Gras together as as family. Here are a few ideas on how to bring NOLA into your home this year.

The music

You simply cannot have Mardi Gras without music. Stream a Louis Armstrong station to start your jazz and scatting atmosphere. Depending on your child’s age, you can use this opportunity to talk about jazz vocabulary words and instruments (think scat, trumpet, trombone, syncopation, etc.), as well as talk about the instruments that they are hearing. Most importantly – and this is the part that cannot be skipped – dance. Dance around your living room, your kitchen, your bedroom. Play follow the leader and have everyone in your family take turns in leading the dance moves for the rest of the family. Pretend you are playing different instruments, call out the name – trumpet! drums! trombone! – and have everyone do their best interpretation. Teach your kiddos the song “When the Saints Go Marching In”, as this is a Mardi Gras staple.

2015-02-05 15.53.58.jpg

The culture

Mardi Gras, and New Orleans in general, has a fantastic culture. You can recreate the Big Easy right in your home by starting with the music and then adding a few fun details. First, everyone gets beads. Chances are, you already have a pile of beads sitting somewhere in your toy room, left over from birthday party favors or pirate pretend play. Pull those out and be sure everyone wears some. Add feathered masks which you can buy at the Dollar Store or make with paper plates, paint, glue, and a few decorative feathers.

Next, and this is my son’s favorite part, get out the umbrellas. You can certainly spend some time a few days prior decorating an inexpensive umbrella with paint or streamers. Or, you can just pull out the umbrellas you have, open them inside, and twirl them as you walk. My son thinks that his Lightning McQueen umbrella is the ultimate Mardi Gras accessory, even asking if he could pack it when we actually did fly down to NOLA for a friend’s wedding last year. New Orleans is known for its parades and Second Lines, so you simply have to crank up the music, twirl the umbrellas, and have a parade throughout your home and yard. Have everyone take turns leading the parade and sing along to the music.

Dollarphotoclub_39404959.jpgFinally, New Orleans culture is very welcoming to everyone. This year, our family will be taking our parade – Lightning McQueen umbrella and all – to our neighborhood, parading from house to house to drop off bags full of beads and our favorite Mardi Gras treat, the paczki.

The food

Now that we’re talking about paczkis, my stomach is growling for the most delicious part of our Mardi Gras family celebration – the food. Growing up in central Illinois, I never experienced the paczki, a Polish pastry that is like a donut except more spectacular. When I came to live in the Chicagoland suburbs and worked with many Polish nuns, I learned that you simply cannot have Fat Tuesday come and go without eating a paczki. We have already called ahead to our local bakery to order three dozen. We will decorate paper bags that I have already in my kitchen cabinet, toss a few beads and napkins inside, and then add a few paczkis too. Our neighbors are going to love us. Dollarphotoclub_62033821.jpg

While paczkis are more common in Chicago’s Fat Tuesday celebrations, you can’t go wrong with other New Orleans fare. You can order a King Cake from a New Orleans bakery to have shipped to your home, or if you don’t have time to do that, you can make cinnamon rolls (homemade or from the tube – no judgment here) and sprinkle purple, green and yellow sprinkles over the melted icing. I mean, I believe the children are our future, and I believe that we should teach them the way of the King Cake.

Finally, for dinner, you can’t go wrong with gumbo or jambalaya. There are plenty of versions of recipes online, from super simple and fast to more authentic and time consuming. There are even cooking camps that can teach kids’ how to make foods like this, see the Cooking Around the World Camp from A Little Yumminess. Not in the mood for gumbo or jambalaya (that’s crazy, but ok), add cajun seasoning to shrimp or salmon, along with some red beans and rice, and you are set to go. Finally, add to the festive atmosphere with cocktails – hurricanes for the adults. For the kids, add a few different juices and call it something fun like a Mardi Gras Mixer or a Big Easy Sipper.

Start small for your Mardi Gras celebration this year, and watch as it grows a bit bigger every year. Let the good times roll!

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Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

5 Cookie Recipes to Make With Kids

Letting kids help out in the kitchen is the first step toward teaching them to cook on their own. One great thing about kids is that they naturally want to help out, especially when the job seems fun and new. Even the smallest of your kids can find jobs to do in cookie baking: dumping ingredients into bowls, smashing down balls of dough, and other simple tasks. If you’ve got school-age kids, they can be equal partners with you when making these five simple, tasty recipes.

The World’s Biggest Cookie

pancookie.jpg

This tasty version of the classic chocolate chip cookie is baked in a pie pan or skillet, making one very large and thick cookie. Serve it warm with ice cream for dessert, and pack small wedges of leftovers as a treat in their school lunches the next day.

1 cup light brown sugar
¾ cup softened unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg plus one egg yolk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray (butter flavored or plain)
  2. Use a stand mixer or handheld mixer to beat the butter for one minute, then cream in the brown sugar. Mix this on medium speed for one minute.
  3. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix this until it’s all combined.
  4. Mix together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in a separate bowl. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet mixture slowly until completely blended. The dough will be very thick.
  5. Stir the chocolate chips into the dough until it’s evenly mixed.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cookie is golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan.

For extra variety, use milk chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, chopped walnuts, or chopped pecans, substituting them for part of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Super-Easy Nutella Brownie Cookies

nutellacookies.jpg

This recipe makes a small batch, so if you’re watching your kids’ sugar intake, this makes a nice treat without leaving cookies around for days. These soft treats taste like a combination of brownie and cookie, soft and chewy.

1 extra large egg
½ cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Nutella

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all four ingredients together in a large bowl with a sturdy wooden spoon.
  3. Have your kids form balls about the size of a walnut, and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, and allow them to cool completely before eating

Cake Mix Cookies

This simple recipe allows kids to choose their own unique cookie flavors. He loves lemon? Check! She’s a butter pecan fan? You can do that, too. The cookie flavor depends only on their imagination.

2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 15-ounce box cake mix, any flavor

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Measure the oil in a measuring cup and add the eggs on top of it. Stir the mixture with a fork until it’s well blended.
  3. Pour the dry cake mix into a large bowl. Add the egg/oil mixture and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until it’s thoroughly mixed. The batter will be stiff and glossy.
  4. Scoop the dough by tablespoons onto two cookie sheets, placing 12 cookies per sheet
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes until they look puffy. They won’t look done when you pull them out of the oven, but they will flatten and firm up once they begin to cool

Be careful not to leave the cookies in the oven too long, because they dry out and get hard very easily when over-baked.

Filled Cookie Cups

Sometimes you want to bake some cookies with your kids, but you don’t want to measure out a ton of ingredients. These fancy-looking cookies look like they took all afternoon to make, but they’re simple enough for even your smallest kids to help with.

1 package cookie mix
Eggs and oil according to cookie mix package list
Miniature peanut butter cups or chocolate-cover caramel rolls

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix the cookie dough according to the package directions
  3. Spray a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray
  4. Allow your kids to make 1-inch balls of the dough, and drop one into each muffin space
  5. Bake for 10 minutes and remove immediately. The cookies will look puffy and not quite done.
  6. Push one unwrapped candy into the center of each cookie. The center will squish down, forming the cookie into a cup shape that cradles the candy
  7. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the pan

This recipe is also great for getting rid of dozens of tiny candy bars after Halloween.

Classic Cut Out Cookies

No cookie-baking year with kids would be complete without making and decorating cut out cookies. Between the fun of using cookie cutters to the pure artistic creativity of using frosting and candy decorations, no cookie allows your kids more free expression while making a sweet treat. Plus, this cookie is a natural gift for proud grandparents.

2 ounces room temperature cream cheese
1 cup (two sticks) room temperature unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer. Beat them for several minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg, extracts, and lemon zest.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients, then add them to the egg and creamed mixture, one cup at a time, until completely blended. You will be left with a soft dough.
  4. Divide the dough into two balls, and roll each one out ¼ inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper. Stack the layers together with parchment between them and refrigerate them on a cookie sheet for at least one hour
  5. Cut cookies out of chilled rolled dough and place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8-12 minutes until lightly brown. Cool on the pan for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Frost with commercial frosting or your favorite frosting recipe, and let your kids go wild with the candy decorations

Do your kids enjoy cooking and baking? Find cooking camps and classes on ActivityHero that will help them expand their skills.

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After-School Activities Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

Cooking With Kids: Getting Kids Familiar with the Kitchen






The dreaded dinnertime dilemma: You suddenly realize that it’s just after five o’clock and it’s time to make dinner…again! Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else to take over the dinner preparations, or at least lend a hand from time to time? Look no further than your own children. Your toddler might not be able to pull of a three-course meal, but she can certainly help bring things to you and set the table.

Kids are always eager to learn and help, but so often we push them aside–even plopping them in front of the television–so that we can get a meal on the table without having to listen to a “drum” solo on the pots and pans, clean up extra spills because their hand-eye coordination needs more practice, make an impromptu double batch of the casserole because she accidentally put in the whole package of noodles instead of half. By taking time to embrace these teachable moments and minds, it’s possible to get kids familiar with the kitchen and basic skills from an early age.

Just as with reading, piano and soccer, with repeated practice their skills will develop and by the time they’re pre-teens they can easily cook dinner one night a month.

Safety First!

Just because toddlers can’t learn the proper way to handle a knife doesn’t mean that they should. Use common sense, and err on the side of caution, when deciding which skills you’ll teach the kids.

Younger kids can:

  • measure dry ingredients like sugar, flour, beans
  • pour milk, oil, water and broth into pans
  • stir ingredients together
  • break eggs (into a separate bowl to avoid a crunchy calcium boost to your food)
  • unwrap butter, cheese and cream cheese
  • wash fruits and vegetables
  • press granola bars into a pan
  • toast bread and bagels
  • spread jam, butter and peanut butter with a plastic knife
  • mash potatoes, bananas and cooked apples
  • use cookie cutters
  • press garlic

cooking-with-kids

Older kids can:

  • peel vegetables
  • open canned goods
  • cut fruits and vegetables
  • grate cheese
  • slice vegetables
  • use specialty appliances like blenders, waffle makers and panini presses
  • follow written recipes
  • microwave food
  • use the stove and oven

Sanitation Skills

Set a good example by pulling or pinning your hair back, putting on an apron and washing your hands thoroughly as you start each cooking session. Explain each step as you do it, rather than lecture them, and invite them to do it with you. If they choose not to, let them know that the cooking can’t commence until they’ve completed these steps. These reminders will be frequent at first, but over time donning an apron and washing their hands before cooking will become second nature.

Nutritious Nibbles

Make your first foray into cooking with the kids relatively simple and create a snack that they’ll enjoy. Some kid-friendly favorites include:

Apple Slices with Nutty Dip- Wash or peel and apple and cut it into slices. Stir together 1 cup of peanut (or other nut) butter with 8 ounces of softened cream cheese. Either dip apples or spread the dip on top of each slice.

Loaded Bagels- Toast or microwave bagels and spread with cream cheese. For fruity bagels, top with chopped strawberries and bananas, blueberries and shredded coconut. Or try veggies like colored bell pepper pieces, chopped broccoli and shredded carrots.

Berry Green Smoothies- Fill the blender with a generous handful of spinach, a banana, two cups of frozen strawberries or an assorted berry blend. Add enough milk or yogurt to blend to the desired thickness.

Expand Their Knowledge and Their Vocabulary

families-that-cook-together

Experts say that kids who are active in preparing the family’s meals tend to eat healthier. Cooking with the kids is a great time to casually discuss nutrition since you’re not competing with television commercials beckoning your kids to eat sugary-packaged snacks or magazine ads touting the newest corn syrup-laden fruit beverages that will have the kids running on high-speed all night long.

Talk about the importance of eating a balanced diet; fresh fruits rather than fruit snacks; the virtues of a heartily topped baked potato over nutrient-void potato chips.

If your family follows a way of eating that’s not mainstream–vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, Paleo–this is a prime opportunity to educate your kids about your way of eating.

Take the kids grocery shopping and let them choose new-to-them fruits and vegetables. At home hop on Google to find a recipe and prepare it for dinner. Kids who are given choices in meal planning, do they want vegetable soup or chili for dinner, are often more willing to eat the foods since they feel they’ve been given some control.

When cooking use the names of the tools as you use them. Show them the difference between ‘whisk’ and ‘stir’ as you make cookies. First you whisk the eggs with the sugar, then you slowly stir in the flour. They probably won’t remember the words the first time, but heard repeatedly during regular cooking sessions, they’ll internalize the words and start using them when appropriate.

Have Fun

Most of all, don’t stress over these cooking sessions. Enjoy your time cooking with kids! Making memories and teaching them in an inconspicuous way and over time they’ll develop a vast array of skills. What are some ways that you include your kids in cooking? Share your tips in the comments!

If your child enjoys cooking, consider some of these summer camps for your little culinary geniuses!

Cooking Camp for Tweens and Teens – Palo Alto, CA

Health Hands Cooking – Novi, MI

Children’s Culinary Creations – Los Altos Hills, CA