Archive for September, 2010

In even the most organized house the kitchen can be a dangerous spot for kids to play. Sharp objects, hot stoves, boiling water, and slippery floors are but a few of the hazards your little ones may encounter. But instead of limiting your children to the play room or their bedrooms while you cook, they can easily be included if you follow some simple and easy to follow guidelines.

Sharp Objects:

Be sure that all knives, sharp scissors, food processor blades and grating equipment is kept out of reach of little hands. Remember that just because it is on a counter does not mean that your child can’t pull it down. A wooden knife display not only keeps your kitchen clean and functional, but allows you to keep your little ones safe and injury free. Make sure that when carrying a knife from one counter to another you are aware of the blade and where your little one may be.


Cooking requires heat. Since the days of the cave men that has been a well known fact. But by turning pot handles away from the end of the stove, using oven mitts when handling hot trays, and boiling water on the back burners only can save both you and your little one from serious harm. Splattering grease or frying oil can be dangerous too, make sure that your deep fryer is well away from the edge of the counter, as kids are at eye level with it. Make sure that little ones who are just learning to walk are kept away form the oven door, as the door, unit and handle could be very hot, and when you’re youngest starts to fall they could reach out and grab it or lean up against it. If they can’t let go it could result in a very nasty burn.

Pull Down:

Kids are naturally curious. It is their job to touch, try and taste everything. Unfortunately, that includes items that are out of their reach. If you have an appliance that is being used on the kitchen counter be sure to tuck the cords out of reach of little hands. Try not to use table cloths or place mats that dangle within reach, because before you know it your whole dinner and all of the place settings will be all over your child and the floor. Keep harmful or possibly irritating substances like lye, baking soda, and harsh chemicals stored either up high or in a locked cabinet. Baby proofing your kitchen cabinets is very easy to do and has become very inexpensive. If you can not do any of these things a baby gate at the entrance to your kitchen is a welcome addition when thinking of your child’s safety.
n Example:
Teach your children the dangers of a hot stove, a sharp knife, and a heavy mixer. Always require proper protective clothing and gear when in the kitchen, such as a mesh glove for slicing, oven mitts for hot cookie sheets, and a heavy duty apron for splattering sauces. Use a cooking thermometer to properly gauge the temperature of meats and baked goods, and show your child just how hot your oven can get. Explain to them the dangers of burns and lacerations, and keep a first aid kit fully stocked close to your kitchen.

Caution Hot!

Set A

Using these simple steps can keep you and your kids safe and make the kitchen a creative and enjoyable environment for everyone, from your baby beating your pots and pans on the floor with a wooden spoon to teaching your oldest how to make his first souffle.

Happy Cooking!

One of the defining moments of any toddlers life is eating with the family. But a lot of times this happy occasion can become a battle of wills between chef and patron. Young children look to express their own individuality, push the boundary limits, and develop different tastes all at the same time. This “perfect storm” of developmental trademarks can be difficult to bear, especially for a working Mom or Dad who has limited time to be standing at the stove. Here are a collection of tips and tricks to help your child eat more with less coaxing, bribing, crying, and tantrums.

1: Know your kid, and respect his/her unique tastes and moods. Not all toddlers eat the same things, even kids in the same families will have widely varied opinions on what tastes good. Your five year old might not have had a problem with cheese sticks, but your 2 year old thinks they are the grossest thing in the fridge. Realize that your child may not be hungry, may not feel up to trying a new food, or might just simply be a “stick in the mud” about the item you are presenting, for reasons you may never understand.

2: Keep it scheduled. It helps if you eat at the same time every day, in the same spot. Try to limit meal time to the dining room table, to create a good habit, and don’t let your kid snack for an hour or so before the meal. A child that is hungry will be much more willing to try new and different foods than a kid who is full of chips or juice and just pushing the food all over his or her plate.

3: Be patient. Remember that pickiness is usually short term,  is not going to harm your kid unless they refuse to eat absolutely anything, and that nine times out of ten they will not starve if they live on just chicken nuggets for a week. If your child complains of pain or anything unusual after eating a food consult your pediatrician, as it could be a sign of a food allergy.

4: Enjoy the meal and make it fun. Make dinner time fun for your kid. Use their own nifty plates or toy cups, or give them a strange looking fork to eat with, or have a “fingers only” night.. Use bite size pieces to encourage nibbling, and consider giving your child his or her own mini table and chair to eat at. Kids who sit with their feet on the floor are more likely to focus on the meal than be distracted.

5: Channel his/her inner chef. Let your child help your prepare the meals. Nothing helps you out with picky eating like letting your kids have a hand in creating the meal. Even if it is just stirring a small bowl of mashed potatoes with a big rubber spatula after they’ve been cooked, your kid will develop a sense of pride over having achieved something and taking part in a “grown up activity”, therefore being more willing to continue on that path with trying the food that they’ve made.

6: Be a role model. Kids will be more open to new things if they see you enjoying them.  Use a wide range of colors and textures in your meal plans, and comment on how you experience them, not just focusing n whether or not they are yummy. And remember that some studies have proven pickiness to be genetic, so if you don’t like peas, there’s a good chance Jr. won’t either.

7: Camouflage. When all else fails, try sneaking in a new veggie into a favorite food. Mac’n’cheese hides plenty of different things with its bright orange sauce, and small bits of broccoli in things like spaghetti or chicken stir fry will be better received to your child instead of alone in all its green glory on their plate. Fish can be breaded and deep fried to look like “chicken nuggets”, and spaghetti squash can be easily mistaken for.. well… spaghetti!

8: Keep them focused. Food that has to fight for your child’s attention is going to go to waste. Turn off the TV at mealtimes and limit toys and games to their playroom during dinner. Make the meal a family event, and be firm on this one, because it will help with more than just picky eating on a long term basis.

9: Dessert is not a reward. Fight the age old saying, “If you finish that you can have this.” Kids who are already happy eating sweets and are resisting blander items such as veggies or proteins are not going to be helped by encouraging ice cream or cake as a reward for swallowing a single bite of broccoli. If you must use this technique try different items like yogurt or fresh fruit. Starting them on healthy eating patterns at a young age helps fight the national epidemic of obesity.

10: Resist the urge to make a separate meal for your child. A lot of times kids look at this as a form of attention, and catering to their needs might help you short term with eating, but when you need to carve out an extra twenty minutes every night for a single meal, you will easily and quickly tire of it. Families that eat as a unit are statistically proven to be stronger, and have a closer knit bond.

11: Smoothies. If you are seriously worried about your child lacking in nutrition, putting together a wide range of ingredients into a tasty smoothie is a good solution. Of course avoid anything that could be contaminated, like raw egg, and after your child is done, remind them of what you put in the smoothie for them. Broccoli mixed with strawberry banana yogurt and milk doesn’t taste too bad!

12: Crazy shapes and colors. This goes along with making dinner fun. Use cookie cutters to cut those cucumber slices into neat little shapes, or buy pasta in funky wheels, wiggles or swirls. Use food coloring to make bright pink mashed potatoes for your princess, or green eggs and ham for your Dr. Suess lover.

13: Make veggies a central focus in your home. Plant a garden. Encourage your kids to watch the steps of the growing process, from seed to produce. Try making different things at home, like butter shaken from whole milk, or try making cheese.

14: Use others as an example. Bring over older kids or cousins that are more than happy to show your picky eater what eating like a big kid means. Your child will be much more likely to want to prove themself instead of fighting you.

15: Dont take it personally. Food is going to be a battleground if you accept the blame. Realize that this is a temporary phase, and that eventually your kid will grow out of it. Take the time to learn more about your child, and bond over the stove.

These tips and tricks can help you get through mealtimes and make them more enjoyable for everyone.

For more information and insight on picky eaters please visit:

The Mayo Clinic

Ask Dr. Sears

For great little plates, cups and dishes to use for your kids please click here:

Constructive Eating

Food Face

Fall Recipes For Kids

        


  The crisp chill of autumn is in the air, the Harvest Moon has shown its face, and the beautiful season that is Fall is upon us, with all of the craziness that comes with it. Fall is a busy time for any family, especially ones with kids, thanks to the start of the new school year, Halloween costumes and parties, Thanksgiving dinner,  family visiting, decorating for the season, and holiday shopping.    

  Cooking and baking for this time of year is in full swing, and there are thousands of recipes all over the ‘Net that work just perfectly for Mom to squeeze into her busy life. With the school routine pretty well established by now, moms also have to start thinking about school functions and parties that recognize some of the holidays that occur this time of year.    

Kids have a great eye for color and style, and with a few seasonal touches these recipes can become the highlight of any classroom party or family dinner. They can all be easily doubled or tripled for more guests, and your kids will have a great time making and decorating these treats.    

Here are a few recipes that you and your kids can quickly and easily put together to make your season more memorable.    

   

Corny Cookies
These cute little treats are as simple as sugar cookies to make, and the easy decorating is great for little fingers. They are also non holiday specific, so they are great for classroom treats where you might be uncomfortable serving something more orthodox. If you find green candy leather hard to come by you can use Green Fruit Rollup, or, for the more advanced Mommy/Chef, green colored fondant.
  
Spider Cupcakes
If youre looking for an adorable snack that will impress every kid in the class, these cute little Spider cupcakes will definitely do the trick. Easily customizable and perfect for a batch of store bought cupcakes, you can whip these up in no time and still make it to soccer practice the night before the party. Try different types of candy and frosting for different effects, let your kids be as creative as they want, and serve them up with pride.     

Dirt Cake
This messy and fun-to-eat cake is perfect for a smaller get together, like a Halloween party or family picnic, and I’ve never seen a kid turn down the opportunity to eat a little dirt. This recipe can also be served in individual dishes, like foil cupcake wrappers, for classrooms or take home snacks. Go wild with this one, turn it into a spooky cemetery with gray frosted vanilla wafers, or load up on gummy worms, candied grasshoppers, and chocolate sprinkle ants to please the little insect lover in your life. You can even use yellow cake mix, Golden Oreos, and buttercream frosting to give it a “beachy” theme for those end of the summer celebrations.    

Eerie Eyeballs
So you’re a little nervous for your kids’ teacher, because everyone is sending their kids to school with a big plate of sugary stuff…  and you know all too well the chaos induced by a binge of cookies, cupcakes, and candy. These neat little snacks are perfect for the healthier side of dessert, made of yummy dried fruit, and you can frost them with a tasty cream-cheese spread if you’d like. You get an A+ and eternal gratitude from the teacher for this nifty snack.    

Caramel Apples
Its not fall without this classic treat, and the kid-friendly experts at NickJr give you an easy and fun recipe that you and even your littlest helper can make. Just be sure to watch out when using hot caramel, and cover your working surfaces with wax paper to prevent a huge mess. Enjoy, and don’t forget to lick the spoon!     

Microwave Apple Crisp
Even the most experienced mom can have a tough morning, and when the chill is in the air you need something quick and tasty to warm you up before a big day. Problem is, kids quickly get tired of the same old instant oatmeal or grits. This apple crisp is wholesome, filling, and so easy to make, you don’t even need your oven!    

Turkey Rollups
So you’ve made a practice Turkey to get ready for the big day… now what to do with all of those leftovers? You can easily send them to school in your kids lunchboxes with this finger food favorite. Crunchy sesame sticks and tasty turkey sliced very thin are perfect for little hands, and you can throw in a packet or two of honey mustard or mayonnaise to dip in. This is a healthy and nutritious snack that will please any picky eater.    

 

  


Mommy & Me  Halloween 1986   

 

 
Here are some tips and tricks that you and your kids will love.   
   

Funny Face Decorating Book
Learn all about the art of cake and cupcake decoration, and let your creativity guide you by experimenting with different and unique types of candies. Cooking.com offers this great book that will enhance any baker’s kitchen, and the big pictures and fun subject matter will be so much fun for your kids.   

 Cooking for Kids
Was your child’s first word, “Bam!” ? Do you find that instead of Nickelodeon they would rather watch the Food Network? Does every morning begin with a pancake battle of the mini-Iron Chefs? You might have a little chef on your hands, and what better way to cultivate that talent than with kid friendly recipes from William Sonoma. This collection of snacks, treats, and even full meals is perfect for younger kids as they learn there way around a kitchen. Just remember to always supervise when cutting with a scissors or sharp knife, or using a hot stove or oven. You could have your own Food Network Star in no time!    

Make the most out of your Fall season, and let the blessings of close friends and family bring you together in the warmth of your home.    

        

Thanks to:
AllRecipes.com   Cooking.com        NickJr.       Williams Sonoma       EatingWell.com    

   

  

 

Moms with younger kids find it hard to get anything done during the day, especially getting out of the house unexpectedly. So when you are in the middle of the recipe and you find you don’t have enough of an ingredient what can you do? The baby’s asleep and teething, there’s no WAY you’re gonna wake her up to go to the grocery store, and your neighbors eat out, they don’t cook. This is where substitutions can save you. Here is a list of basic ingredient substitutions that you can use in baking to save that next batch of school party cupcakes.

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1 tsp Baking Powder = 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cornstarch + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar.

1 cup Dark Corn Syrup = 3/4 cup light corn syrup + 1/4 cup molasses

1 cup Light Corn Syrup = 1 cup white sugar, and add 1/4 cup more of whatever liquid you are using in the recipe.

1 tbsp Corn Starch = 2 tbsp all purpose flour or instant tapioca

1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar = 1/2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice

1 cup Heavy Cream (not for whipping) = 2/3 cup whole milk + 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter

1 cup Sour Cream = 1 tbsp lemon juice + enough milk on top to fill 1 cup. Let stand for 5 min before adding to recipe.

1 tsp Vanilla Extract = 1/2 of one vanilla bean

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter = 1/2 cup of shortening or lard

1 cup All Purpose Flour = 1 cup self rising flour, and omit baking powder and salt from your recipe
     or                                                                                                    
            1/2 cup white cake flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour = 7/8 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp wheat germ

1 cup Honey = 3/4 cup maple syrup + 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup Maple Syrup = 3/4 cup corn syrup + 1/4 cup butter + 1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)

8 Marshmallows = 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

1 cup Ricotta Cheese = 1 cup dry cottage cheese

Caster sugar is easily made by processing regular white granulated sugar in a food processor until it is very fine.
Kosher salt, table salt and sea salt are interchangeable, but you may recognize the difference in taste.
You can substitute vinegar for lemon juice in almost any recipe, EXCEPT those requiring the lemon juice for flavoring. You don’t want a lemon cream pie to be a vinegar cream pie. A good rule is to never substitute when there is more than a tablespoon or two required.

For more information and even more substitutions you can go to The Joy Of Baking.

If you want to perfect your cooking and baking techniques, HERE is a great book from Williams Sonoma that can help you with the ins and outs of your kitchen and the best ways to make your favorite dishes.