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4th of July Ice Pops

4th of July Popsicles

4th of July Popsicles

Rose from Light for Life just had a great blog post about popsicles.  (See Lemon Lime Pops for a Hot Summer Day.)  I too, recently treated myself to a popsicle mold set.

This summer my goal is to have “Never Have to Ask” popsicles in the freezer at all times.  That means, there will be healthy treats at the ready that my kids can eat whenever they want.

Here’s what I’m freezing for Fourth of July:

  • blueberries, and a tiny bit of maple syrup on the bottom
  • a little bit of whole milk
  • strawberry and coconut water puree on top


Angela Kay Designs

My daughter Jenna’s birthday is coming up so I purchased this super cute apron and headband from my friend Angela’s Etsy Shop, Angela Kay Designs. The only problem was, it’s so cute I couldn’t wait for Jenna’s birthday!

Jenna had previously been cooking in her brother Bruce’s apron, also made by Angela. I’m not sure if Angela  still sells this design, but she made it in Bruce’s favorite colors: brown and orange.

Now Jenna has lots of options when it is time to help Mommy cook!

Deliciously G-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Chocolate Chip cookies on page 215 of her book Deliciously G-Free, are really good but they are a pain in the butt to make. They require 14 different ingredients (not counting cooking spray), and four different types of flour. I’ve made them twice now, and the first time turned out to be a disaster because my two year old daughter Jenna was helping me. But the second batch when I could really concentrate? Yum, yum! Even my husband really liked them, and he is a chocolate chip cookie purist.

Still, I like to bake with my kids all the time, and 14 different ingredients and a two year old just don’t mix well. Plus, one of the ingredients in this recipe is potato flour which is a really fine particle that floats up into the air, redounds everywhere, and coats everything in sight. Talk about messy!

In the Power Flour section of her book, Elisabeth suggests mixing up the four flours ahead of time, but that still leaves you with ten more ingredients left to measure out with significant preschool “help”. So I decided to make my own chocolate chip cookie mixes today using all of the ingredients except for the liquids; eggs, butter and vanilla, and the chocolate chips themselves. Once again, I had a lot of “help” from Jenna, so I hope the mixes turned out okay.

Half way through this twenty minute process Jenna lost interest in helping and started ripping tissues out of the Kleenex box.

As crazy as it sounds, that really was helpful because it let me finish things up, and get out the vacuum. Hopefully I’ve traded one morning of total kitchen disaster for five days of peaceful and easy chocolate chip cookie baking in the future. Now that ten of the ingredients are premeasured, I think my six year old son Bruce and Jenna could probably make these cookies by themselves, with me handling the oven part.

Snow Ice Cream

I borrowed this idea for making snow ice cream from the Duggar family on “19 Kids and Counting”, but Jenna and I made up our own recipe using ingredients we had on hand:

  • 6 cups snow
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c brown sugar

It was really yummy!

GF/CF Chocolate Chip Cookies, My Two Year Old, and Some Fine Motor Fun

Today Jenna(2.5) and I made some chocolate chip cookies. It started out as your ordinary cooking-with-your-two-year-old experience. There was some extra hand washing, a few near misses with the mixing bowl, and a lot of warnings not to eat butter. Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix only required three added ingredients: 1 egg, butter, and water. That kept things pretty easy for cooking with a little one.

But half way through I felt like the chocolate chip cookie ratio provided in the mix was pretty slim. In a failed attempt to make thumbprint cookies by adding some Enjoy Life chocolate chips, I inadvertently fell upon the best fine motor skill activity ever!

(Sorry for the ugly picture of my yucky looking baking sheet.)

I pressed thumbprint marks into each cookie, and Jenna slowly and carefully filled each center with chocolate chips. It took her about ten minutes, and about 400 calories of chocolate chip consumption, but she got a big fine motor skill work out. This activity strengthens the same muscles that will one day help her hold a pencil correctly.

So the next time you are making chocolate chip cookies with your kids, give it a try! Here’s hoping you are making nice, normal, gluten filled cookies that don’t have a weird garbanzo bean aftertaste.

GF/CF Cakes that 2 Year Olds Can Bake

Jenna(2.5) and I had fun today baking this yummy orange marmalade cake from Michael Cox’s book Gluten Free, More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Your Family Will Love.

Cooking is a fabulous learning activity to do with children. This was a really good recipe to try with a two year old, because it only called for four different ingredients: eggs, oranges, sugar, and almonds (plus marmalade for the top). I simplified the instructions a bit by using my Vitamix, which meant that it took less than ten minutes to prepare even with Jenna’s help.

The math skills we worked on were: counting, adding, and following directions.

I’ve checked out a bunch of gluten free cookbooks from the library and Gluten Free is the first one I’ve found that doesn’t use a lot of “freaky” ingredients. The author developed most of the recipes for his bed and breakfast in Spain, where he didn’t have access to Xanthan Gum and other unusual items I’m finding in most GF products.

Michael Cox’s recipes use whole foods that you would find at any grocery store.

Last night I made the chocolate walnut cake, and added a raspberry strawberry sauce on top. It was so delicious that my kids were licking the plates, and my husband had three servings! Again, I used my Vitamix, which meant that I could just dump in eggs, cocoa powder, sugar and whole walnuts, and…Voila! GF/CF cake batter in under five minutes. My only problem was that I got a bit, er..um… “distracted” during the baking process and ended up burning the edges. Otherwise my Marianne pan would have made a really pretty well for the raspberry sauce. I had to cut away the burnt sides, but the inside was still delicious.


I emailed Michael Cox and he said to go ahead and share the recipes!  He also said that he has a third book ready to go, but is in the process of looking for a publisher.  I hope he finds one.

Chocolate Walnut Cake:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup superfine sugar (I just used regular sugar)
  • 2 1/2 cups ground walnuts (I used whole walnuts)

I put everything in my Vitamix, but you might be able to do this in a food processor, or just buy ground walnut flour if you can find it.  You pour it into a greased cake pan and bake at 3:75 for an hour.  But I would check it after 25 minutes.

For the raspberry sauce I just microwaved frozen raspberries and strawberries for two minutes, and then blended them in my Vitamix.  Again, a blender or food processor might work too.

Orange and Almond Cake

(The real recipe calls for boiling two oranges for two hours.  With my Vitamix, I could just use one raw whole orange instead. So here’s my version:)

  • 1 peeled orange
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup almond flour (I used whole almonds)

Same instructions as before, except for this time he had you bake it at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  I watched the oven really carefully this time, and at the 40 minute mark it was ready to come out.