Saturday, July 23, 2016

Leader Enterprise - July 2016 - Kids in the Kitchen


I always looked forward to having my kids at home for the summer. Those few weeks provide time to teach family values and life skills they will need as they grow.
So when I saw these ideas at The Thriving Home blog (www.thrivinghomeblog.com) I wanted to share some of their ideas with you. 

"One of the best ways to have fun together is simply cooking in the kitchen with your kids. Think of all the benefits when we take a little extra time to include them in the kitchen. We can teach them:
  • math skills (measuring, doubling or cutting recipes in half, etc)
  • team work with other family members
  • science by watching reactions occur in baking, talking about germs, etc.
  • health and nutrition
  • creativity as we invent recipes or decorate desserts
  • life skills necessary for independence as an adult
  • to think of others by giving away food to a person in need
  • to experience new ingredients and recipes
One of the best ways to get your kids to “buy in” to eating healthy, homemade food around the table together is to let them help you plan the meals and help you prep the foods. They'll be more likely to enjoy trying new foods if they've been able to help in those decisions." 

Prepare healthy snacks with your children to stock your fridge. Here are a few ideas:
  • chop veggie carrot and celery sticks (portion out ranch dressing in individual containers for them)
  • slice hard cheese for crackers or keep string cheese handy
  • make fruit kabobs with strawberries, pineapple chunks, and grapes 
  • create yogurt parfaits by portioning out yogurt and frozen blueberries in individual storage containers
  • popsicles made out of 100% fruit juice
  • Simply slice up some banana slices, slab a little peanut butter on one side, top it off with one or two (dark) chocolate chips and sandwich it together.
  • Make Ants on a Log – You remember this old school snack, right? Spread some nut butter on a celery stick and then add raisins on top. You can make a whole plate full and keep them in the refrigerator for several days, so they can grab one or two at a time on the go."
Cooking with your children can be a wonderful experience for both you and them. They will learn a life long skill that will continue to grow with them as the age.

This is a simple dish even young teens can prepare. 

SWEET 'N SOUR CHICKEN 

1/4 c. (scant) brown sugar 
1 Tb. cornstarch
2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
3 Tb. ketchup
2 Tb. soy sauce
1 (8 ozs) can crushed pineapple
1 (12 ozs) pkg. frozen breaded chicken fillets or nuggets
Hot cooked rice, if desired

In medium microwavable bowl, mix together brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and juice from pineapple. 

Microwave mixture on high, uncovered, for 3 - 4 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens, stirring twice.  Stir in pineapple; set aside. Arrange chicken in single layer on microwavable plate. Cover with paper towel; microwave according to package directions. Spoon sauce onto the chicken. 

Microwave on high for 1 - 2 minutes until heated through. Serve with rice if desired. Yield: 4 servings 

These simple treats can be kept in the fridge for over a week...if they last that long. 

NO BAKE ENERGY BITES 

1 c. dry whole old-fashioned oats
1 c. (toasted) coconut flakes
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. (natural) peanut butter
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1/3 c. agave or honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl (or food processor for a smoother texture) and chill for 30 minutes. Roll into balls.  Enjoy.  Dip in dark chocolate for a special treat. 

Lady Bird Johnson once said  “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.