Some of my favorite childhood memories are of being in the kitchen with my mother. She always encouraged me to “help” her cook and even had a set of tiny cake tins so I could make my own cakes while she baked hers. Author Lola Karns is here this week to share her tips for how to successfully include your kids in family meal-making. She’s included a fun Cream Cheese Mint Recipe that your kids will love. Make sure to scroll down and check out her foodie romance, Bad Traveler, while you are here and don’t forget to enter for your chance at at $25 Amazon gift card!
Thank you for the invitation to join your food fest. Good food factors heavily in my writing. My characters enjoy dessert, salad, steak, cookies, coffee, potato chips or whatever I happen to be craving at the moment. In my home and my stories, people often cook together. My husband (who cooks – I’m lucky) and I try to include the kids whenever possible. Here are some ways to let kids help under close supervision, of course.
- Measure ingredients – ages 3 and up. If you are making cookies, you probably don’t want to let them measure the baking powder or vanilla, but they can measure chocolate chips and oatmeal.
- Crack eggs – Some kids love the mess, some hate it.
- Arrange food to be served – let them sort out the cheese and crackers or divvy up a veggie tray how they would like. They can sprinkle garnishes on cooked food too.
- Invest in ceramic and/or child sized knives. We recently bought one with a built in finger guard. The 11 year old chops onions and peppers with more precision than I can muster. The 7 year old slices softer ingredients like butter and bananas.
- Use a step stool. If they can’t see what they are doing, they will make a mess. Get them taller and they can pour in ingredients and stir. For some reason my kids love to stir and try and “hide” the bay leaf in the soup.
Wait, you say, isn’t cooking with kids messy? Yes. Yes it is. How do I contain the mess? Rimmed cookie sheets, parchment paper and disposable table cloths. The bigger the potential mess, the more area I cover.
Thinking of mess – here’s a table-cloth worthy but so delicious recipe. My kids invent excuses to make these Cream Cheese Mints.
CREAM CHEESE MINT RECIPE
3 oz cream cheese softened
3 c. sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp flavoring. Peppermint is traditional, but orange is good too.
Food coloring (if desired)
With hands, mix cream cheese and flavoring until blended. Knead in powdered sugar until it forms a smooth, firm ball. (Don’t be surprised if this takes a while). Add food coloring if desired – I use gel rather than liquid. Shape as desired and roll in granulated sugar. Lay on paper towels and dry overnight in fridge or freezer. Store in airtight container for up to six weeks. My 7 yr old made the pink, my 11 yr old sculpted the cat head. Enjoy!
If your eReader is hungry, I have a recipe for that too.
Take single mother Gwen Jones, her infant daughter and a business plan for a small town bakery. Combine with an eventful cross-country flight, chance encounter with Kyle Collins, her college crush turned basketball coach, and a dash of motion sickness. Stir in a few nuts, or family members, and large quantities of chocolate. Will this recipe be a delicious keeper or an oven oops?
“Ms. Karns is an elegant writer…. My biggest complaint was that the descriptions of the baked goods sounded so yummy I wanted a cookie when I took breaks from reading.” – Amazon Community review.
Where to Buy Bad Traveler:
About Lola Karns
Having worked as a bartender, shipping clerk, secretary, concierge, technical translator, doctoral candidate (in history) and more as she moved through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Georgia, and Virginia, Lola decided she needed a portable career. Writing fit the bill. Lola currently resides in Minnesota with her husband, two children, two hairless cats and a fluffy former stray cat. When not writing, or even while she is, Lola enjoys a good cup of coffee and a decadent dessert.