Kids in the Kitchen: Part One

The following is by contributor Jaimie of Two Chicks and a Hen.

When I talked about surviving the witching hour with small children last March, one of the suggestions I gave was including your children in the cooking.   Next week I’ll have lots of tips for how you can accomplish this in a way that keeps everyone happy and sane, but first I’d like to talk about why you should consider making this a regular part of your routine. 

Some of us cook with our kids all the time, and it’s no big deal, but some of us cringe at the thought of flour all over the floor, more clothes to clean, messy hands, ruined meals, etc.   Although there is some validity to those fears, you can eliminate most of them and successfully cook with kids by being intentional about the way you do it.  A little planning goes a long way in the kitchen.

Why You Should Consider Cooking With Your Kids

If you have yet to invite your kids to cook but would like to, consider the following:

Time Together

Our time is limited.  Most of us, even those who aim for simpler lives, find ourselves busier than we’d like, and this can sometimes mean that we wish we had more time to bond with our kids.  When we think of cooking as something that needs to be done without the kids, we squander a perfect opportunity for bonding and togetherness.   Cooking with our children gives us time together that we might not otherwise have. 

Even if dinner means walking in the door, throwing together a salad, and putting a frozen pizza in the oven, doing these things together is a great way to be with our kids and reconnect, especially if we’ve been away from each other for the day.

Some of us prep all of our food on Sunday for the week because the evenings are too busy.  Again—this is a great time to spend with our children instead of shuttling them off to the next room to watch a movie while we get “work” done.

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5 Techniques to Inspire Healthy Food Choices in Your Child’s Diet

The following post is by Christen Babb and originally appeared February 2010. Also, don’t forget about Nicole of Simple Organic’s From Pinterest to Real Life link up.  Have a great weekend, everyone!
Many parents struggle to teach their children healthy eating habits, especially in today’s world laden with overly processed, heavily sweetened foods.

It used to be so easy.
As a baby,  junior gobbled up his vegetables to his little heart’s content. You were certain he would happily snack on organic carrot sticks while his preschool buddies scarf down snack cakes. However, as he’s establishing greater independence, he’s beginning to turn his nose to healthy choices.

So, what’s a mom to do?  First of all, take heart knowing you are not alone. Establishing healthy eating habits takes a lifetime. It’s a continuous journey involving creativity, gentle persistence, and encouragement.  Listed below are some ways to successfully implement healthy food habits that carry into adulthood.

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Family Traditions: Create a Signature Family Recipe (plus our secret Purple Flurple Smoothie recipe)

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

In 2012 one of the things I want to do with this space is to share more of my family’s traditions with you.  I thought I would start with a very simple, but fun tradition:  creating signature family recipes.

My whole family loves to play with our food! We spend quite a bit of time together in the kitchen, creating recipes, cooking together, and enjoying eating our experiments. From a young age, we involve our kids in the food preparation for the family, and we do our best to made it a fun experience.

We’ve developed a family tradition over the years of putting a signature spin on certain dishes, really making them our own according to our personal tastes and preferences.

Because you are so special to me, dear readers, and I’ve come to think of you like family, I am going to share with you our family’s top secret Purple Flurple recipeWhat in the world is a Purple Flurple, you ask?  A taste sensation!

Read on and see …

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Kid Friendly Meal Using Pumpkin 3-Ways

The following is by contributor Christen Babb.

 

Pumpkins inspire me. They are truly one of nature’s blank canvasses.

Pumpkins are best known for their ability to be carved into a myriad of artistic masterpieces, decorating the doorsteps of homes across America. However, this ever-versatile gourd can also play the starring role in both savory and sweet foods – from soups and raviolis to pies and even ice-cream!

Since I grew up not celebrating Halloween, I tend to associate pumpkins with the latter: food.  Not only are they extremely versatile in recipes, their nutritional value is often underestimated. Known as a “superfood“, pumpkins pack a punch of  B-vitamins alongside their  mellow,  inviting,  and quintessentially American  flavor.

Using pumpkin as my inspiration , I’m bringing you a nutritious and delicious pumpkin-packed meal:  Healthy Chicken Bites (with Pumpkin!) + Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta Fries + Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars

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Let’s Talk: What’s for Lunch?

We’re all feeling a little under the weather at the Fleck house, so I thought I would give myself a blogging break and open up the comments for discussion today. – Kara

Last week, I mentioned my family’s goals for the new year, including our goal of breaking out of our food rut and trying new ingredients and recipes.

Lunchtime Blues

In the comments to that post, a few readers admitted that they seem to have fallen into a food rut as well, singling out lunchtime specifically as a meal that can be difficult to bring new inspirations and fresh tastes to the table.

Peanut butter and jelly, anyone?

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