Monday, October 11, 2010

Parent of the Week: Kris

This is Kris. She and her precious adorable daughter Audrey love, love, love to cook together and Kris writes about it at In the Kitchen with Audrey. Kris always has amazing ideas for cooking with kids, so I asked her to compile her Top Ten Terrific Tips for Cooking With Kids! Drumroll please…

My name is Kris and I started cooking with my daughter, Audrey, about a year ago. She was just under two-years-old and always in the way. I noticed while visiting my in-laws that they simply gave her something to do when she got underfoot. Sounded like a good idea to me. I wanted to find a book or website to help me know what fun activities a two-year-old could do in the kitchen but had no luck. That is why I started recording our journey. Along the way I just started posting tips. Here are some of my favorites:

10. Pick a family favorite recipe, one you know how to make very well. This way you can concentrate on the toddler, not the cookbook. Audrey makes a fabulous Oven Baked Chicken recipe that requires little more than chicken, butter, and breadcrumbs.

9. Take your child shopping for ingredients if you can. Audrey loves to choose between two packages of chicken and always wants to put things in the shopping cart. They know us at the grocery store now.

8. Let her help clean up and get ready for cooking. Audrey loves to spray the table and wipe it with a rag. I filled a bottle with 1 part cleaner to 9 parts water. I also give her a dry rag as I know she will spray too much cleaner.

7. Don’t worry about the messes; they clean up. Audrey still gets flour all over the place when we bake or spills sugar as she tries to measure. I will sometimes stop a project to clean up large spills and get the rest after.

6. Keep them busy. Ask her to get a spoon out of the drawer or something unbreakable out of the pantry. This really lets children feel a part of the project and is an easy way to include them.

5. Let her try to do some of the hard stuff. Audrey loves to crack eggs. After working on it for a year she is still pretty bad. She now loves to try to fish out the egg shells. It is a part of the learning process.

4. A great tip from Rachel Ray is to always keep a trash bowl handy. I keep a kitchen towel as well. You never know what your child might try while you step away to throw something in the trash. Audrey always licks things.

3. If you can, buy her a special spatula or Curious Chef knife. Audrey has her own drawer and loves to get her utensils out to cook with. For that matter, so do I. It makes us feel special to have our own tools.

2. Be sure to let everyone know how much of a help she was with the project. Audrey once told me the reason I was enjoying the dinner was because she made it. She has a sense of pride and accomplishment.

1. Have fun! This was a hard lesson for me to learn. For so long Audrey was having a blast and I was worrying about the outcome of the dish. I always keep frozen pizzas in case of disaster. It happens to me more often than to Audrey.

I hope you are able to use some of these tips to help you have more fun with your child(ren) in the kitchen. If you need more ideas please visit In the Kitchen With Audrey to see what we are up to. We cook most days and love to share our adventures.


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