Simple Tips for Baking with Kids (Recipe: Giant Oatmeal Cookies)

Written by Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn.

As a parent, one of my goals for my children is that they should be able to take care of themselves after they’ve left the nest. I know a young woman who called home from her first month away at college, asking how to boil water. She had never had any kind of experience in the kitchen and was starting at ground level as an 18 year old.

How much better it is if we can start our kids at an early age, letting them get comfortable in the kitchen. I have two kids out of the nest and I love them telling me that they can still hear my voice in their heads teaching them how to hold the knife when cutting vegetables. We practiced cooking and baking together and today they are able to thrive in the kitchen.

I also have two children still at home, so there are many more teaching and baking opportunities ahead for us.

Switching Gears for Baking with Kids

For me, baking with kids requires a different mindset than my everyday baking. When I’m on my own I like to put on my headphones and listen to a book or dance to tunes while I create, my hands working almost independently, they’ve had so much practice. But when my children want to help, I need to take a breath and shift gears, going from fast, efficient mode to slower, teaching mode.

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Baking with Kids: Baked Apple Gingerbread Pancake

Last week was particularly stormy, even for us Northerners. Huge dumps of snow caused my husband to be stranded for an extra day in Toronto and gave two snow days to my kindergartner, Noah. My list of priorities quickly changed at that turn of events.

Of course, the boys and I spent the better part of both days baking up a storm of our own; our time in the kitchen was interspersed with bursts of play in the snowdrifts and lengthy story times. We may have had a few non-suppers as well. Why, with the man of the house away, what better excuse not to cook a real dinner? [Read more…]

5 Tips for Surviving with a Selective Eater

Today I’m guest posting over at Food for My Family. When Shaina announced her new series on “Breaking a Picky Eater” I was jumping up and down to have my say. It’s been a long, uphill battle for us, but over the years, we’ve seen much improvement.

In my post, I share a bit of our story, and give a handful of tips that helped us stay sane and kept the kids nourished. From the post:

“It has now been five years since that first spoonful of solids was obstinately pushed out of my firstborn’s mouth. Things are better. Much better. My eldest now eats meat, green vegetables, and many fruits. Yes, cheese is still limited to one variety (marble cheddar, SVP), berries are disdained, and orange vegetables are pushed aside, but he eats a myriad of ingredients most kids his age won’t touch. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are all popular, served up in burritos, soups and curries. Fish disappears faster than the home fries, and cooked cereals are gobbled up every morning.

As I look back on the headway we have made over the years, I’m happy to report that as slow as it was, progress was made. Perhaps that is the encouragement you need to hear today.”

Head over to Food for My Family to keep reading the post and note my five tips for surviving a picky eater. I’ll see you in the comments!

5 Simple Ways to Feed Baby While Feeding Yourself

The following is a guest post by Stacie of One Hungry Mama. Welcome, Stacie!

Hi. I’m Stacie and I’m one hungry mama. I’m also a recipe developer and family food writer who comes via years as a child development expert in children’s television and, more recently, an organic baby food entrepreneur.

It’s a long story.

Though I’ll spare you the details, let’s just say that the winding road that led me here was lined with a ton of writing, hands-on parenting and more research than you can imagine. Also, it was traveled with other child development experts, nutritionists, pediatricians and even a nutritional anthropologist.

Though I’m still on the move (and expect more twists and turns), I’ve learned one of the best ways to help your children develop healthy eating habits: Forget dumbed-down “kids” food and share healthy, delicious “grown-up” meals with your children.

It’s that easy. No, wait. It’s not always easy. Far from it. But it is that simple. And important.

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Knife Skills for Toddlers

My kids have been in the kitchen with me from the moment they were old enough to stand, unsupported, on a chair. By nature toddlers want to be where there parents are, so if Mama is in the kitchen, the kids usually are as well.

We only baked together at first. I walked through our steps, having them help tip things into the bowl or even stir. And yes, I let them have some chocolate chips.

Soon enough, though, they wanted to be with me while I ran the race of getting dinner on the table. It wasn’t always easy, and I’ll admit, there were times when Tony Hawk videos on You Tube or that horrible purple dinosaur were brought into play just so I could get the meat cut without fear of little hands getting into everything.

Generally, though, I would rather take longer to get dinner on the table if it means having time with my girls, especially since I’m in the office all day. So instead of waiting until I had a six or seven year old – an age many other moms told me were appropriate for cooking – I set out to teach my toddler some kitchen safety and a few kitchen basics beyond dump and stir.

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