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So last night (yes, I procrastinated), I had a completely different post in mind. It was a great post…don’t get me wrong. But it can come at a later date. Our night ended up getting too busy and I did what any good procrastinator would do and went to sleep…no post to be seen. So I woke up this morning, exhausted and kind of blah, for lack of a better word. Got the older kids off to school, fed myself an incredibly unhealthy breakfast, put the baby down for a nap and sat down at the computer to make my post. Only a few short minutes later, Hudson came up and told me “Mom, we should make some cookies for my brothers when they get home from school!”. I felt very strongly (and not even from a place of procrastination) to walk away from the computer and make cookies with my sweet son. So I did. We put on our aprons, got out our ingredients and made cookies. It was so much fun! I put Hudson in charge of measuring out our flour and oats. I must say he did a perfect job!
While he did that, I was able to get all the wet ingredients measured and ready to go. Hudson was SO excited and proud of helping. He honestly did most of the work! I loved getting to share this time with him. Talking about baking and just getting to make a memory. It was exactly what I needed. I needed to be reminded that this is where my happiness comes from. When I feel like I’m getting to busy for the little things that bring me joy, everything seems to weigh me down. After baking cookies with Hudson, I felt so refreshed and had a much more positive outlook for my day. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything! One of my favorite things was when Hudson was helping clean up afterwards. He kept saying “Now where does this live?” and would put away the ingredients where they belonged. It was awesome!
Here are a few tips for baking or cooking with kids!
~Know that the process is going to take longer and be messier than if you were doing it yourself. But that is part of the fun!
~Make sure you are giving your child a task they will succeed in. With younger kids, give them a spoon and have them measure out flour, sugar, oats, etc. Older kids can probably handle cracking eggs, measure liquids, and packed ingredients.
~If it’s not a recipe the kids can help prepare, have them help gather ingredients, peel vegetables, set the table, make juice, etc. Lots of times they just want to be in the kitchen with you!
~Be patient. Kids ask lots of questions! Sometimes they spill. Sometimes they get bored with a task and want to stop helping. Remember that any help they give is better than no help at all!
~Use this time to talk about safety in the kitchen. When we started the mixer, I stressed the importance of keeping our hands, fingers, tongues out of the mixer. We also talked about how hot an oven is, how pans get hot in the oven, and how he needed to have an adult helping him AT ALL TIMES in the kitchen.
~Teach them about cleaning up afterwards. I always DREAD doing dishes after making a dish or meal that is super involved. Teaching kids now about cleaning up right after will get them in the great habit of making short work of the cooking mess!
~HAVE FUN!!!! If you expect perfection, it’s going to be no fun for anyone. Roll with the punches and enjoy the moment. The oblong pancakes might not look as beautiful as your nice, round ones…but they will taste all the better because of the cute, little hands that helped make them!
Now don’t worry! I’m not going to end this without sharing the delicious recipe that we made!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe and photos by Paula from The REAL Housewives of Riverton)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 3/4 cups quick oats
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 cup milk
1 3/4 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all your dry ingredients except quick oats together and set aside. In stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix at medium speed until well combined. Add vanilla, milk, and egg. Mix until combined. Slowly add flour mixture, scraping down sides as needed. On low speed add quick oats and chocolate chips, mix until just combined.
Drop onto cookie sheet, I used a 2 oz scoop but you can also use a mounded tablespoon. Bake at 350°F for 11-15 minutes. Don’t over bake or they will be hard.
Now get in the kitchen and make something delicious with your kids!