Rolling flour tortillas

Kitchen Tasks for Kids Ages 6 to 8

So you’ve survived cooking with pre-schoolers. Congratulations! I have good news for you: the next stage is really, really fun.

From rolling meatballs to chopping apples, watching the Yorkshire pudding rise or turning fruit into sauce, the kitchen is now a science lab, the heart of the home, and the best restaurant in town.

Around age six and continuing through seven, children graduate from play cooking to serious cooking and they are eager to make a good impression. They can plan a simple menu and pull together an entire meal, if given the chance. Now, more than ever, it’s important to give them space to be creative. Guide them, give instructions, but don’t hover. And heap on the praise.

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Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups | Simple Bites

Eat Seasonal: Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups

There’s a sunny spot on my bedroom dresser on the second floor of my house and I’m growing two flats of seedlings in its warmth. If it wasn’t for the perky tomato shoots and the sprouting chives growing there, it would be hard to find a single sign of spring anywhere around for miles.

We woke up to more snow and plummeting temperatures on Easter weekend. I wore fuzzy leg warmers under my flowered-print dress and the children ran their easter egg hunt in full snowsuits. There wasn’t a crocus to be seen all holiday long, although the cold didn’t stop us from having a string of lovely gatherings.

During this confused weather, my cooking has featured a melding of the seasons: the requisite hearty cold weather comfort foods enhanced by a few spring delicacies. Today’s Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups are a good example of such a marriage. A sturdy black bean and quinoa salad topped off with a crunchy mix of cucumber, mango, jalepeno, radish and avocado; good enough to forget all about the snow – for a few minutes.

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Kitchen tasks kids can do ages 3-5 | Simple Bites

Kitchen Tasks for Kids Ages 3-5

The subject of children’s kitchen tasks came up quite a bit during my recent round of interviews for cookbook promo, which got me thinking.

Over the years (we’ve had five good ones here) I’ve never really shared a guide to kid’s cooking skills by age. I’ve got children of my own in three distinct categories, so note-taking on this subject is easy. Noah, Mateo and Clara remind me daily of what they are capable of and are always surprising me with new accomplishments.

So this is the first post in a little blog series covering kitchen tasks for kids. We’ll look at ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9-11. After that they will be off and away on their own! Or at least that is the plan.

It’s important to remember that skills vary greatly at this age (and every age, really) so take this list with a grain of salt. Don’t worry if your pre-schooler isn’t making sandwiches or peeling eggs just yet.

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Bagel bar

Simple Entertaining: Build a Bagel Bar

These days, you only have to tap into Twitter for about eight seconds before at least three people offer up a (delicious! decadent! do-ahead!) suggestion for your Easter brunch.

I’m just as guilty as any of them, recently recommending you add this citrus salad with honey-cinnamon syrup to your menu. Sure it’s simple, but it’s one more thing to plan and execute, when perhaps you’re already exhausted at the thought of entertaining for Easter.

So today, I have another idea – a plan for those of you who seriously have. no. time. but will be receiving hungry nephews, uncles, neighbours and friends regardless. It’s simply this: build a bagel bar. You can delegate people to contribute toppings or shop for them yourself, and everything is assembled the morning of your brunch. Let’s look at the breakdown and a few suggestions for a creative buffet.

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Kids in the kitchen: applesauce

Kids in the Kitchen: Canning Applesauce {video}

What happens when you let three young siblings loose in the kitchen to collaborate on a winter canning project? A boatload of cuteness, a few laughs and delicious applesauce for all.

Today I’ve got a sweet video to share with you; a rare live glimpse into my kitchen and the three little monkeys that share it with me. It’s ever so fun and maybe, just maybe, demonstrates that kids can indeed help with putting up foods.

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