Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cooking With Kids

I spent the day with two of my grandchildren yesterday while their parents were at work.  Iris, the youngest at 8 months, requires constant supervision when she is awake since she is trying hard to master walking (already!).  She is also a lightning fast crawler and is fascinated with all the things she isn't supposed to get into, especially her big brother's toys.

Her big brother, Augustine, (3 years old) looks forward to our special one-on-one time when Iris goes down for her morning nap, and yesterday we made toddler muffins.  These muffins are a great way to up your family's consumption of veggies, since you can add a large array of whatever you might have on hand into a delicious and portable treat.  (Pureed baby food works great.)  We used butternut squash, grated carrots, an over-ripe banana and raisins to the basic mix including whole wheat flour and oatmeal.  I intended to add some diced apple, but forgot it until the muffins were already in the oven. Augustine helped beat the eggs, add the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, then mixed in the dry ingredients.

The next chore was greasing the muffin pan with coconut oil, and he really got into that (I followed behind him to soak up the puddles of coconut oil with a paper towel). After the pan was ready, he carefully plopped a spoonful of batter into each cup of the muffin pan.  Some of the muffins ended up bigger than others, but he was in charge!

Once the muffins were in the oven, we played with his matchbox cars until the timer went off, and then the hard part was waiting until the muffins were cool enough to eat.  It was almost lunch time, so while the muffins were cooling, I assembled some cheese, sliced an apple, and scooped out a spoonful of peanut butter to complete a somewhat balanced lunch.  He ate two of the muffins and wanted a third one, but I insisted he finish off what was on his plate if he was still hungry and reserve the rest of the muffins for after nap time.

He was very proud of his muffins, and the first thing that both his Daddy and Mommy heard when they came home was about his muffins.  He had just gotten up from his nap when his Daddy got home, so Daddy was fortunate enough to be offered a muffin still on the cooling rack.  Mommy wasn't as fortunate, being offered a well-handled muffin as soon as she came in the door.

This was a win-win for both of us. Augustine is notorious for being picky about what he eats (as are most kids his age), so this got him excited about eating a generous portion of fruits and veggies (he was on his third muffin when I left, and I have no idea how many more he ate before the day was over).  We also had a great time doing a project together, and talked about measuring ingredients in cups and teaspoons.  A bit messy, but well worth it!

I am thinking that since I watch the kids once a week, I might have to line up a cooking project for each week.  We did roasted sweet potato rounds last week, and maybe we will do oatmeal cookies next week. The hardest part for me is resisting sampling too many of the of the end results.

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