COOKING IS CHEMISTRY: BONDING WITH YOUR DAUGHTER
Ladies, summer is coming. Can you feel it yet? In Texas, we’re all prepping, soaking up those last few cool days before the real heat starts. I love summer, until it gets too hot to even send the kids outside to play. Like I tell my friends up north, our heat advisory days are like your snow days – but, instead, we’re barricaded inside with the AC on, hoping for the best. When the kids can’t explore the great outdoors to learn and chase their curiosity, I have to make sure I’m teaching them something great while keeping them inside.
A fun way to do this is through cooking – remember that there is a chemistry lesson in cooking, too! It’s an activity that can elicit help from every member of the family – and the end result is quite tasty if I say so myself. So, I compiled some recipes I loved to make with my daughter on hot summer days when she was a little younger. The rules: no ovens (it’s too hot!); easy to do for a youngster with only a little supervision (no crazy mincing or chopping for the kiddos); and it needed to be healthy … ish. So, in the near future – when getting outside isn’t an option and there isn’t a pool in sight, bring out these recipes or put your Marie Curie hats on and come up with something entirely new.
Ah, these little popsicles are so easy to make and they definitely help keep things cool! If you don’t have popsicle sticks or fancy molds (I don’t), then you can use sturdy straws and Dixie cups! Easy-peasy and delicious. Plus, you can talk about the mysteries of Jell-O and why water expands when frozen.
Besides having the oh-so-fun element of Mason jars, having kids build salads inside an unusual container tends to make them somehow like it more! One of my favorites to do includes having the little one pour a little balsamic vinaigrette, mild cheese crumbles, fresh strawberries, pecans, chicken and lettuce into the jar and shaaaake-shake-shake! She loves the sweetness of the strawberries and the nuts. And, let’s be honest, this overworked mom loves getting a fresh salad, too! The combinations are unlimited, so I’ve also added some other kid-friendly recipes.
With a lot of stirring and a lot of color, these sweet, nutty bars are perfect for kids wanting to explore their culinary side. It’s a perfect recipe to explore with your boy or girl and tailor to your tastes as a family. Basically, you make the mixture to hold it all together (honey and butter... mmmm) and pick your cereal, toppings, nuts – you name it! This recipe makes for a fun experiment.
Ok, ok – I said I’d only give healthy suggestions, but this fudge sauce is so good I use it to top box brownies, dip strawberries or banana slices … basically anything you want covered in chocolate. It requires no oven and no big knives, and a lot of chances to lick the mixing bowl. How could I not include this recipe?
Even if what you make is a total disaster, it’s ok. Honestly, it really comes down to just spending the time together doing something fun. You will both learn, and being in the kitchen can be a great, low-pressure chance to bond with them no matter their age. Good luck, and get cookin’.