Friday, June 29, 2012

Flyin' 4th of July!

A recipe for great fun on the 4th!

Stop by one of the big drug stores or a dollar store and pick up some frisbee flying discs for your 4th of July picnic. Turn them upside down and use them first as your paper plate holders. It will add a splash of great color to your picnic table and when the meal is over the kids will have a blast sailing them all over the place!

Fold in some jump ropes and water pistols and you'll create some great memories for the kids and a lot of laughs...

It's a flyin' 4th of July!
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great Stars!

Stars and Stripes forever and Rice Krispie treats too! 

We all love Rice Krispie treats and here's a really fun and yummy 4th of July version... These treats are simple and quick and the kids will love decorating them with red, white and blue spangles and sugar glitter!

Let's get started...

Here's what you'll need:

3 tablespoons butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows (make sure they are fresh, fresh!)
6 cups Rice Krispies®
Canned frosting or decorating gel
Assorted candies and red, white and blue sprinkles
White glitter sugar

Let the kids measure out the marshmallows and the Rice Krispies. Have them dump them in separate bowls. Have them prepare a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with cooking spray.

Let the kids measure the butter and plop it in the pan. The adult helper can then melt the butter over low heat.

The adult helper will do the actual "cooking" and stirring as this stuff gets really hot and if the kids get it on their skin it can burn very badly... This is a perfect opportunity to make the kids aware of how important "stove safety" is... how important it is to "pay attention" when you're stirring something very hot... let them get up on their stools as you stir but make sure they are a bit of a distance from the stove and burners... it's truly safety first in the kitchen at the stove!

All righty then... after the butter is melted, add the marshmallows stirring constantly until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and add the Rice Krispies. Stir until the cereal is well coated. Turn mixture into prepared pan and spread with a buttered spatula. Lay waxed paper on top and let the kids pat down the mixture until even and smooth.

Cool slightly. Use star cookie cutter s coated with cooking spray and cut into star shapes. Now for the fun! Decorate with frosting of choice and sprinkle on the red, white and blue!

What a yummy and patriotic 4th of July treat!
Happy Red, White and Blue,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids

Monday, June 25, 2012

Having a Red, White & Blue Time!

The 4th of July is quickly approaching. It's a time for history sharing, picnics, fireworks and fun food...

Let's make that food red, white and blue!

Let's kick it off with a celebration of red, white and blue frozen yogurt on a stick. These frosty delights are healthy and patriotic!

If you already have molds, that's great... I've discovered that they make all kinds from the popular "rocket mold" to 3-tiered "sand castle-style"... and of course, there's the old standby of the old-fashioned flat molds. If you need help in finding some of these more elaborate molds, just leave me a post and I'll be glad to share some resources with you.

What no molds in your cupboards? You can still make this recipe! All you need is paper cups and Popsicle sticks! Let's get the kids in the kitchen and get these yummies in the freezer... the kids will love making them as it's kinda like coloring Easter eggs! Here we go...

Patriotic Pops!

3 cups vanilla yogurt

Red food coloring

Blue food coloring

6 wooden sticks

Note: This recipe will make 6 Patriotic Pops... if you want or need to make more, simply double the recipe.

Divide yogurt into three small bowls and tint as follows:

Tint 1/2 cup of the yogurt with red food coloring

Tint 1 1/2 cups with blue food coloring

Leave the remaining 1 cup of yogurt plain.

Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon red yogurt, followed by 2 tablespoons white yogurt, then 3 tablespoons blue yogurt. Insert a wooden stick and freeze the pops until firm.
Note: Let the pops freeze at least 4 hours before devouring! Have a "cool" red, white and blue!

Getting kids in the kitchen,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A serious moment about "recession obesity"...

All righty... we love to have a ton of fun in the kitchen... that's what being a "kid foodie" is all about... that's what being an adult foodie is all about too!

I feel a responsibility to all of my little foodies "everywhere" as well as to moms, grand-moms, aunts and whoever is cooking with kids today to share this serious note of the times...

I'm not sure if y'all know exactly how KidsCooking411 came about... it's been a combination of events... the list is kinda long but just to mention a few... I've authored several books on diet and nutrition...
Healthy Carb Cookbook for Dummies (Wiley) being my all time pride of ownership and The Everything Lactose Free Cookbook (Adams Media) in the Everything Book Series being a huge help to those lactose intolerant folks... plus a couple of self-published low-carb cookbooks... then about 40 other self-published books...

I owned a country bed and breakfast in Branson, MO, for several years and did all of the cooking and penned my very first cookbook there! And then there are my grandchildren... what fun it is when we get togehter and they ask if I'll cook their favorite recipe with them (which always happens to be one of my old recipes)... Talk about FUN!

Well, ya' say... "that's nice"... LOL... why, yes, it is!

Being involved and on the trail of health, nutrition and preventive medicine through healthy lifestyles for many years, I've become a passionate advocate in the prevention of childhood obesity.

It's my heart's desire to help adults get children into the kitchen and cook! I truly believe in my heart that with the natural curiosity that kids have about food coupled with teaching them about fresh ingredients and given the opportunity to 'stir things up' on their own can change their lives.

Research has already proven that kids that cook at an early age develop much healthier attitudes about food that result in living healthier lifestyles for life!
So what's the serious moment of this post? Joining in the fight against childhood obesity and recession obesity...

It's about TODAY... the fact that times are tough and money is tight for almost everyone. You can still make healthy, yet not expensive, choices for meals! Please don't try to save a few dollars in the fresh ingredient department and put your child's health at risk... we already have enough forces out there doing that!

Cheap, fast food is sooooooo tempting these days. Not only is it easy and provides immediate gratification... it's cheap!

I encourage you to hang out with me at KidsCooking411... I'm trying to get a free e-book together to help you get started cooking with your kids... we're all stressed... and, I know, you're thinking, "Getting the kids in the kitchen is going to stress me out even more!" No, it won't if you take it in "small bites"... you can do this and you will be so personally rewarded and glad that you did!Just think, you can help "prevent" your child from the perils of obesity... start now, while they're little... get them in the kitchen cooking!

A serious "call to action" to all American Moms... we need to get our families back around the table and into the kitchen... the kitchen (or the dining room) table was once the gathering spot of the family... that safe haven from everything... it can be again!

Getting Kids Cooking,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tire Gardens!

Even if you have room for a real garden at your house, the kids will love a special spot to call their own. You can accomplish this by picking up a couple old car tires that can be "all theirs!"

The idea with this project is for kids to learn where their food comes from and to be able to actually plant little seeds and watch them grow. Kids are fascinated with the entire process!

To make this project even more fun, pick up an old tire (one for each child, if you have the room). The tires can be spray painted colors like bright yellow and then the kids can personalize them with paint pens or acrylic paints. Let the tire dry overnight before planting.

Note: These tires are stacked just so you have an idea of what we’re doing… double tires are not necessary for planting :-)

I suggest that you take the kids to pick out their seeds. Just make sure that it makes good sense and if it they want to grow watermelons, keep in mind that is all the tire will hold! Grins... 

You might want to consider letting the kids pick out one type of plant that is already growing as well as some seeds. They can plant the seeds on one side of the tire and plant the seedlings on the other side. Another fun suggestion is for them to plop a whirly gig in with their plants, making it look like a real garden!

By the way, you can get almost everything at one of the dollar stores for this project!

Here's what you're going to need for this project:
Old car tire(s)
Various paints for decorating and personalizing the tire
Potting soil
Seeds and seedlings
Little plastic water can
Garden gloves (optional)

All righty... here we go... place the tire in a spot that gets plenty of sunshine. Fill the tire with soil all the way to the top. Pack the soil firmly... let them get their hands in the dirt! Explain that the soil can't be packed down really hard as their won't be any air in there. Also, you want the soil to be loose to cover the seeds.

Read the seed packet instructions together as how deep to plant the seeds and how far apart... I wouldn't worry about the "how far apart" part of it... just let them plant the seeds! Let them use their finger and draw a line in the soil for a "row" to plant their seeds... no, it doesn't matter if the row isn't straight! Let the kids do this, k? Make sure they don't plant the seeds too deep. 

Now let them cover the seeds and gently pat the top... keyword is gently! Have them use their hands to dig little holes to plant the seeds and seedlings. Then they can use their little plastic watering can. Make sure they don’t drown the seeds :-)

Don’t be surprised is they check their tire garden every hour for a couple of days… 

Let me know how your tire garden grows!

Happy Gardening with Kids,
Jan McCracken, Culinary & Gardening Coach for Kids