I have been sitting on my hands for several weeks, keeping a fun little secret from you all.
For the next several weeks, there will be a new little Mini Series here on Make It and Love It. Each week, you will see one new post from a duo food blogging team, Kate and Sara, from………Our Best Bites, found here.
You may already know them, and even better, may have already tested out their tried and true delicious recipes and kitchen tips. And if you have, you probably already adore the duo bloggers, Kate and Sara, who have been making their readers drool for almost 3 years now.
Kate and Sara are such a lovely pair of friends who live in different states, but create a perfectly cohesive site to visit and fall in love with. They are both mom’s with busy schedules so they understand that all creators in the kitchen need more quick and easy recipes, that are also delicious for those little mouths. And more than that, their writing style is comforting and relatable…….so you may want to figure out where they live and move in next door to either one. (And then hope they always invite you over for Thanksgiving!)
My favorite thing about their site is that they share recipes you actually want to try……and then take fabulous step-by-step pictures to show you exactly how to re-create it.
In fact, we are eating their Creamy Chicken Taquitos tonight for dinner. Yum.
Anyway, they have both sweetly agreed to hop on over to Make It and Love It for the next several weeks, to post once a week about a topic useful for many of us: Getting Kids into the Kitchen.
Even if you don’t have kids yourself, I’m sure you have young nieces/nephews/grandkids/cousins/friends who have come over to your house…….and you know they adore helping out in the kitchen. So Kate and Sara are going to share some tips on how to make that a fun and less hectic experience.
So thanks Sara and Kate……..can’t wait to see what you have stored up to share.
I’m sure we’ll all love it!
Hi, guys! This is Kate from Our Best Bites. My blogging partner Sara and I are beyond thrilled that Ashley has invited us to do a series about kids in the kitchen over the next few weeks here on Make It and Love it. We’re both kind of in love with her blog, so we’re honored to be here!
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be doing a series on how to get kids more involved in the kitchen,
but first, I want to introduce ourselves to you. I grew up in Logan, Utah and then went away to college after I graduated from high school. While I was in school, I met this weird guy who ended up being hilarious and we kind of got married. Right after I graduated from college, I discovered I was pregnant on a Disney vacation (most magical place on Earth, right?) and was told I was having a 7-pound girl who ended up being a 9 1/2-pound boy we named Clark. A couple of years later, we decided he couldn’t have all the fun, so we gave him a little sister named Meredith. Right now, Clark is 6 and Meredith is 3.
My husband, the kids, and I live in a little town in the middle of Louisiana with our crazy cat who thinks she’s a tiger.
Sara grew up in the Seattle area and, it turns out, she dated some weird guy’s little brother. Yep, that’s right, if the stars had been aligned differently, Sara might have wound up as my sister-in-law (but it’s okay that she didn’t because I like my sister-in-law Lacey a lot). We both went to the same university and after my husband and I got married, I heard a lot about her, but we had only met in passing a few times when we kind of accidentally became friends on a new mommy message board. We were good friends for a couple of years when we decided that since we kind of already shared a cooking brain, we should take our relationship to the next level and start a cooking blog for our friends and families. In the spring of 2008, we started our little blog and have been sharing our recipes, tips, crafts, and some kitchen disasters ever since. Sara lives in Boise with her husband and her three sons Tyler (5), Owen (2), and Jack (7 months).
For our first post in this series, we want to talk about ways to get kids into the kitchen (and eating what comes out of it, right?!). It sounds all cute and cozy Norman Rockwall-ish to have your kids peacefully and happily decorating cookies or patiently waiting for you to hand them the beaters you used to whip the frosting, and maybe that’s how things are at other peoples’ houses, but it doesn’t happen at mine! Take, for instance, this:
And, see, I’m not a person who loves chaos. I hate putting up Christmas decorations because I know I’m going to have to take them down again. So it can be hard to let my kids help me sometimes, but that brings me to my first point:
It might get messy. But it won’t be as messy if you give your kids a job instead of letting them discover your pots of gel food coloring on their own.
I’ve found that I have to mentally prepare myself, then be sure to keep my kids busy and involved, and then really, the clean-up isn’t so bad. So what are some things your kids can do to help you out? Obviously, it’s going to be age-appropriate (i.e. please refrain from letting your 3-year-old wield a knife; we’re not keen on lawsuits) and you can decide best what your kids might be interested in. But here are some tricks Sara and I use to keep our kids busy with us in the kitchen:
* Counting. They can count berries, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc. Older kids can use a scale to measure pasta or cheese.
* Washing. My kids love to play in the water, so I let them wash the fruits or vegetables we’ll use in preparing the meal.
* Making. Let them whisk eggs, measure ingredients, or add measured ingredients to the recipe. You can also show them how things cook–I remember my dad scrambling eggs with me every morning when I was little and showing me how to know when to add the eggs, when to scrape the pan, and how to avoid overcooking things. Likewise, I remember my mom showing me that when the bubbles pop on a pancake and leave a hole, it’s time to flip them.
* Let Them Be a Part of It. Sometimes, I’ll get sidetracked with the things I have to do that my kids want to be a part of and I don’t include them. And then I’m wracked with motherly guilt. So when, say, I need to make 2 dozen sugar cookies (which happen to be my kids’ favorite treat and favorite kitchen-related activity) for a bake sale or a work party, I’ve started making half a batch extra. That way, I’m not stressed when they want to decorate the cookies I need to be “perfect” and I also get to hang out with them while they decorate their own cookies.
* Let Them Help Clean Up. I’m sure my kids will outgrow this phase, but they love it when I give them a rag and some vinegar water and let them spray and wipe whatever they want to in the kitchen. After you’re done cooking, let your kids help you unload the dishwasher, wash bowls, pans, and beaters, and show them that while cooking is fun, clean-up is important (and can be fun), too. [Insert visions of piles of dirty bowls and baking sheets after my teenage chocolate chip cookie-making adventures and someone quietly cleaning up after me. Sorry, parents!]
* Make Up Jobs. Some kids are too little to help and some recipes aren’t kid-appropriate (“Hey, Clark, could you turn on that crème brûlée torch for me?”). So give your kids a piece of dough and a rolling pin and let them play with it, or let your kids use some measuring cups to transfer rice, beans, or flour from one bowl to another. Give them a pile of macaroni to thread or let them make shapes and letters with it. Give your kiddos some muffin tins and different types of dries beans, peas, and lentils and ask them to sort the beans for you. Fill a sink with sudsy water and add a few plastic dishes for them to “wash.”
*Sometimes You’ve Just Gotta Distract Them. Whether you’re stressed or dinner is dangerous or you’re in a hurry, sometimes you just can’t have them in the kitchen with you and we fully advocate utilizing the powers of How to Train Your Dragon and a bowl of popcorn or apple slices.
We’ll be back next Thursday with some great, kid-friendly (and, let’s face it, grown-up-friendly) snacks. Until then, please feel free to check out our cooking adventures at http://www.ourbestbites.com/!