This months bookclub is all about Kids in the Kitchen!
For the last couple of months, Ellie has been totally into ‘helping’ me in the kitchen. She pulls over her stool (which in turn, means Parker has to pull over her stool) and then it’s action time. Ellie doesn’t really care what we make and she is completely fine with “mix-a, mix-a, mix-a” flour and water together while I actually make the chocolate chip cookies. Parker is completely happy just hanging out and banging a few random cups around to annoy her sister;)
But it is STRESSFUL having both of the girls at the counter, wanting to help cook but with the attention span of 5 minutes – tops! What kind of recipes can you make in 5 minutes?
Not to mention, the kitchen is wrecked after they dart off to play with the next toy of the minute.
But I want them in the kitchen with me. I want to spend time with them teaching them how to cook and bake. To show them how healthy food is also homemade food.
Obviously, food is an important part of my life, and I want to share that with them.
A little kitchen fun 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 , guess a clean kitchen is not in my cards!!
While cooking is something that I love to do, it is usually me doing it alone and to be honest, I have no idea where to even start with teaching them how to cook (and handing them a sharp knife and an apple probably isn’t the right thing to do).
I needed to find some quick and fun recipes that they could actually help with (and without wrecking my kitchen).
It was time to go shopping!
First stop, cookbooks geared towards kids. Second stop, tools they can use in the kitchen and not chop off their little fingers.
After much reading and testing out different kid tools, here are my top 5 cookbooks for kids and tools to help them cook away the day!
I have put them into 2 different categories – cookbooks for toddlers-preschool age and then cookbooks for older kids, because the skill levels will vary with age.
Cookbooks for Toddlers – Preschoolers
The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids : 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to stay Healthy and Save the Earth – First of all, this book is the cutest book I have ever seen! It is filled with gorgeous photos with cute and kid friendly illustrations on top of them. The directions are all short and fun to read and the ingredient list is usually around 3-5 items long. When it arrived at our doorstep, Ellie and I looked at each and every recipe ‘ooowwwing and awwhhhhing’ over each page. The first recipe the girls and I made together were the Strawberry Mops which is a dip made with almond flour, shredded coconut and agave which you mix and mash together and then mop up with fresh strawberries. It was so fun and easy to make and the girls totally got agave all over our beautiful book and I didn’t even care. This books gets 5 starts in my opinion!
The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes that are Simple to Make – Another beautiful book that is filled with amazing photographs and illustrations from blogger Erin Gleeson (www.theforestfeast.com). This book is kinda a combo of recipes – some for younger kids and some for older kids. We made the Strawberry Salsa, which we had for dinner over black bean tostadas. And we also made the Grape Fizz, which is seltzer water, white grape juice and grapes on a kabob stick. Ellie loved it, Parker could care less about the drink and just wanted to poke everything and everyone with the stick:) This weeks cooking project is Pesto Pepper Pizza and I am going to have Ellie roll the dough out, chop the peppers and assemble her own pizza (I’ll go ahead and make my own for now). I can tell we will get a lot of use out of this book. Erin also has an adult cookbook called The Forest Feast which I am interested in getting next.
Cookbooks for Older Kids
Cooking Class: 57 Recipes Your Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) – The title explains this book well – it’s like a cooking class for your kid with all of the cooking basics they will need. The intro chapter demonstrates all the different techniques of cooking, all with detailed pictures. This book has easy recipes (easy enough for Ellie to help with) but the techniques and instructions are really geared toward the kids making the dishes from start to scratch for themselves. We will use this book for years because of this. I also love how the recipes have pictures of almost all of the steps.
Baking with Kid : Make Breads, Muffins, Cookies, Pies, Pizza Dough, and More! – Such a wonderful cookbook all about baking! It is centered around healthy, whole food recipes like Roasted Strawberry Muffins, Blackberry Scones and Good-for-You Graham Crackers. There are a ton of pictures in the book and I love that there are a ton of Tips dealing with sharing, taking turns and how to have several kids work on a project together (something my girls will need to learn).
Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook – This is cooking 201 for kids. It has amazing recipes that all have an approachable foodie flare to them. This book is definitely geared towards older kids, but it is also great for families looking for kid friendly (but not dumbed-down) family dishes – Banana-Maple Breakfast Quinoa, Grainy Mustard Potato Salad, and Strawberry-Rhubarb Mini Tarts. We made the Herby Pesto Pasta the other night and while I toasted the pine nuts and made the pasta, I let the girls help make the pesto.
Kitchen Tools for your Kiddos
There are a couple of things that I think you have to get in order to have a safe kitchen with your little one cooking with you.
Apron – Having a fun apron always makes cooking (and life) better! This cute one (pictured above). I would stay away from getting a white apron because the chances of it staying white for longer then 5 seconds is not good.
Step Stool – I love these stools – the Growing Step Stool and the Guidecraft High-Rise Step Stool. Currently, the girls use 2 old stools that were left over from my wedding (one white and one black, and yes they fight over who gets what color!). I think a steady, tall and with sides is key elements for a kitchen stool. Our stools were not really meant for toddlers to be standing on them and at least once a week one of the girls will fall off of them, which is super fun and safe! Invest in a good one and it will last you for years.
Curious Chef Kitchen Tools – Curious Chef tools are the best for kids to use in the kitchen. We pretty much have their entire line and we LOVE them! Their knives are sharp enough to cut produce and bread with but not sharp enough to cut anyone with:). The measuring spoons, measuring cups and liquid measuring cup are great for the little ones because they have no idea what 1/2 cup or 1 teaspoon is, so you can just say ‘we need 1 full yellow cup of flour’ or ‘1 blue spoon of cinnamon’ and they get that reference. The tomato cutting board is cute and stays put on the counter when they are cutting. I can’t tell you how much we love all of their products! Plus they are pretty inexpensive, so you don’t freak out when you find your kids using their new cups to measure dirt in the yard.
Sorry there isn’t any books this month for you. I needed to take a little mental break from reading (and life) and have been binge watching oh-so-amazing TV this month. But I am back at it and will have some real winners for you for June (think summer romance!!!).
WHERE TO GET THESE BOOKS –
I have linked all of these books to amazon, because duh.. FREE 2-day shipping with Prime Membership! Also, be sure to check out your local library for these books! Enjoy!
Okay, now it’s your turn – do you have any favorite kids cookbooks? What have you been making in the kitchen with your little one?
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