Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Recipe for Christmas Joy!

Merry Christmas and God Bless you every one! 

Here's a special little recipe for stirring up some Christmas Joy... Let's remember the "Reason for the Season" as we have fun here at KidsCooking411 with some wonderful recipes coming your way.

To set the Christmas spirit in motion, here's a Recipe for Christmas Joy (please feel free to add any of your own special ingredients :-)...

1/2 cup Hugs
4 teaspoons Kisses
2 cups Smiles
4 cups Love
1 cup Special Holiday Cheer
1/2 cup Peace on Earth
3 teaspoons Christmas Spirit
2 cups Goodwill Toward Man
1 Sprig of Mistletoe
1 medium-size bag of Christmas Snowflakes (the regular kind won't do!)

Mix Hugs, Kisses, Smiles and Love until consistent. Blend in Holiday Cheer, Peace on Earth, Christmas Spirit and the Good Will toward Men. Use the mixture to fill a large, warm heart, where it can be stored for a lifetime... the shelf life is FOREVER :-)

Serve as desired under mistletoe, by the Christmas tree... or just when the mood strikes! Be sure to sprinkle liberally with special Christmas Snowflakes of Love.

It is especially good when accompanied by Christmas Carols, family get togethers, connecting with old and new friends... and even sprinkled amongst unsuspecting strangers!

Serve cheerfully to one and all.

May you have the Merriest Christmas Ever! 'Tis the Season and I'll have some really fun recipes for cooking with the kids beginning this weekend so please stop back by!
'Tis the Season to get kids cooking,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Frosty Pumpkin Pies!

Talk about Thanksgiving FUN! The kids are gonna love making this pie and will be SO proud when it comes time for serving family and friends.

So get the kids in the kitchen and grab your aprons and your spatulas!

Here's what you'll need:
Pre-made graham cracker pie crust (or let the kids make it from scratch... your choice)
1 cup plain canned pumpkin (this is the real pumpkin not filling)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 quart of vanilla ice cream
Whipped cream for garnish (optional)

Note: While the kids are getting prepared and getting their aprons on you might want to set the ice cream out on the countertop so it can begin to soften.

All righty... here we go... man your mixing stations!

Using a large bowl (or dividing between a couple of bowls... depending on the number of kids cooking)... soften the ice cream... Do this with a large spoon or large spatula... yes, the size of the spoon or spatula is "relative" to the size of the child's hand! Set the ice cream aside (we don't want soup... just "softened").

Combine the pumpkin, sugar and spices together. You have a choice here... you can use an electric mixer and closely supervise it's use or you can let the kids stir it up! Kids would rather stir it up!

Make sure the ice cream is well mixed and softened. Then add the pumpkin mixture to the ice cream... yep, just dump that pumpkin stuff in there! Now, stir, stir, stir until very well blended... you'll be able to tell because it will all be the same color! As the "adult helper" if you need to give the mixture a few shots with the electric mixer when the kids have stirred their little hearts out... just do it!

Now let the kids spoon the mixture into the pie crust. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Pop the pie into the freezer for several hours until it is firm.

When it's serving time, remove the pie from the freezer and let it thaw for a few minutes. Let the kids add a dollop of whipped cream on top of each piece and have the kids serve the pie to the guests... they will be so proud... and so will you!

Happy Thanksgiving Cooking with Kids!

Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tasty Pilgrim Hats...

These tasty Pilgrim Hats are easy breezy and 
really fun to make! 

While the kids are gathering the ingredients and making the treats why not take turns telling stories about the Pilgrims. It doesn’t matter if the little ones don’t get the history just perfect… it’s their perceptions of what Pilgrims and Thanksgiving means to them that’s important and precious!

Have some fun with these…

Ingredients you’ll need:
Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Oreo cookies
Candy corn or yellow jelly bean
Yellow or orange fruit roll-up
Chocolate frosting (a store bought can will work just dandy)

Decide how many Pilgrim Hats you want to make and then have the kids take the foil off of the peanut butter cups and set aside.

Separate the two halves of the Oreo cookies… you’ll need only the half without the icing so you can be gobbling up the other halves while you work! Or, set them aside and read the PS for a later project.

Take a small spoon of frosting and place it in the center of the plain chocolate cookie half.

Turn the peanut butter cup upside down and stick it in the center of the cookie in the dab of frosting. Then, frost over the entire cookie and the peanut butter cup so chocolate frosting covers all and is smooth.

Slice a thin strip of the fruit roll-up and wrap it around the base of the peanut butter cup, forming a band around the Pilgrim Hat. I think it’s more likely that you have some candy corn around rather than yellow jelly beans… so slice off the yellow part of the candy corn and dip it into the frosting. Stick the yellow slice onto the band of the hat, forming the buckle.

These are so cute displayed on a platter for a special Thanksgiving treat for the kids with some hot chocolate.
Having fun in the kitchen with kids,

Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Old English "Sallet"... History & Cooking!

This recipe comes from a very old book that was read by the Pilgrims. It's a recipe for a great "sallet" or salad as we call it today.

It's fun for the kids to learn just a little bit of history along with the fun of cooking!
Here's the list of ingredients:
1 cucumber
Raw spinach
1 red onion
1 Tablespoon mint  (chopped)
1 teaspoon sage (chopped)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup raspberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Measuring cup and measuring spoons
Cutting board and knife
Salad Bowl
Salad tossing fork and spoon

Do some of the ingredients look a bit strange for a salad today? Let the kids know that there were nuts and fruits available in the wild as well as fresh sage and mint.

Okay, let's make this "Sallet!"

Have the kids peel off enough leaves of spinach, lettuce and cabbage to fill about half of the large salad bowl of choice. Wash and drain the leaves well in the colander.

Put the greens in the big salad bowl and toss together with the salad fork and spoon.

Now it's time to ask for your adult sous chef's help. Ask your grown-up helper to please chop the onion, cucumber, wanuts and almonds.

Add the freshly chopped ingredients to the salad greens. Toss again.

In a smal bowl, mix the sugar, oil and vinegar mixing well. Pour mixture over salad, toss and serve.

Wasn't it fun learning about something the Pilgrims ate while actually making it yourself? 

More Thanksgiving recipes are coming soon so stop back by!
Happy Thanksgiving Cooking,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkins are On Sale!

It's Fall Fun!

All righty... Halloween is over but the pumpkin patches are still bursting with pumpkins. It doesn't matter why... the main thing is that fresh pumpkins are ON SALE!

Note: If you don't have a pumpkin patch near you... the grocery will work!

Okay... you have picked out a pumpkin and the kids are going to learn some old-fashioned "punkin' stuff!" A lot of kids these days think that pumpkins are just for carving... not! Let's get started... we're going to make homemade Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

You'll need:
  • a cookie sheet
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • the cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds
First of all, cut that pumpkin open and clean out all of the seeds. Yep, let the kids use their hands. Cut the pumpkin itself into slices and pop them in a zippy bag (or two or three, depending on the size of your pumpkin!). Put the pumpkin in the fridge for "more with pumpkin" coming later...

Stop and preheat the oven at 250 degrees so it will be ready when the seeds are!

Using a colander (or two) let the kids go to the sink and wash the seeds really good. Then have them pat the seeds dry with paper towels (if it were me, I'd let them use old terry kitchen towels as they work much faster and aren't as messy!).

Let the kids put a light coat of vegetable oil on a cookie sheet. An easy way to do this is to have them measure out a small amount of oil in a small (as in very small) bowl. Show them how to dip a folded paper towel into the oil and smear it all over the pan. Is that fun or what? And it doesn't make a mess!

Now it's time to spread the pumpkin seeds evenly over the cookie sheet. Make sure that there aren't big clumps of seeds... hey, keep your hands off the cookie sheet... let the kids do it! (Yep, this is the hard part :-D... )!

If they want salted seeds, then have them measure out the salt and sprinkle the seeds with salt. Otherwise, they can put the seeds in a paper bag after they are roasted, add the salt and shake it up!

Bake the pumpkin seeds for about 15 minutes. As the "adult helper" you get to stir the seeds so they don't burn and put them back in the oven. Watch them closely... the kids will be prompting you... for another 10-15 minutes until the seeds are golden brown. They're done!

Cool the seeds for a great, fun and very healthy snack. The kids are going to want to share them with their little friends and you can be sure they'll be saying, "look what I did!" The pride in preparing healthy food will become addictive for your child... could there be a better addiction?

Happy Cooking,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach