Tag Archives: children cooking

Caramelized Banana Loaf

This recipe is so easy to whip together that my toddler could do it. In fact – she did!  Warning: the baking time is long at 2.5hrs – but the deep caramelized flavour is worth it.

Getting  kids in the kitchen is a great way to increase their exposures to foods, learn language skills, practice fine & gross motor skills as well as keeping them busy (and hopefully out of mess creating mischief). Fussy eaters get so many benefits from increased food exposures, including those away from mealtimes – read more here!


8 ways kids can help in the kitchen & learn at the same time:

1) Measuring and tipping ingredients into the bowl helps with motor planning & learning about volume.
2) Mixing ingredients in the bowl is great for learning to control the speed of the spoon.
3) Threading wooden skewers is great for fine motor skills.
4) Mashing softened fruits or vegetables with a fork is great to learn about changing textures.
5) Cracking eggs into a separate bowl for more motor planning experiences.
**hot tip: use other bits of shell to scoop out shell that accidentally goes into your eggs.**
6) Hand over hand grating is great for sensory exposure – let them feel the fruit or vegetable as well as the vibration of the grater safely by controlling and holding their hand in yours away from the blades.
7) Practice counting and numbers by setting timers or helping to use scales.
8) Using cutters to make and learn shapes in dough, bread, fruits, vegetables and pancakes


Caramelized Banana Loaf

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
3 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil (or other oil / butter of your choice)
1 1/3 cups flour (you can use a combination of wholemeal and  plain white flour for this)
1/3 cup natural yoghurt (for dairy free opt for 1/2 cup almond milk instead)

Method (steps that kids can do are put in italics):

  • Line a loaf tin with foil (shiny surface facing inwards)
  • Preheat the oven to 130oC
  • Measure out the following ingredients into little bowls; bicarb soda, flour, natural yoghurt, oil, honey and sugar. You can also crack the eggs into separate bowl, check for shell & lightly whisk. This step is optional depending on your child’s involvement and skill set.
  • Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl with a fork – I like to use a plastic bowl with a non-slip bottom to assist my toddler with her tasks. Having a bowl that slips and slides is frustrating and difficult to process for the little chefs.
  • Add the bicarb soda, sugar and honey to the bananas and mix.
  • Mix in the following ingredients in this order:
         Macadamia Nut Oil
         Natural Yoghurt
  • Pour the batter into the loaf tin
  • Put it in the oven for 2.5 hours or until it is cooked through (ie  a skewer or knife comes out clean)

This recipe is suitable for freezing by wrapping individual slices in cling film.  Take them straight from the freezer and put them into the lunchbox.

Do you have a tip for safely including your kids in the kitchen?

In our Sydney based workshops and classes for toddlers, preschoolers and early primary schoolers, I love to answer parents’ questions about engaging their children in activities with food.  Do you have any questions?  If you want to know when our classes are on – have a look here!

Happy Eating!


Cooking with Kids

Before I started blogging my recipes (this year), I regularly published recipes to my Facebook page & also I write recipes for Mum’s Lounge.  The recipes for Mum’s Lounge are in a “little one & me” format, where I step out what the kids can do and what the adults can do to complete the recipe together.  I really and truly believe cooking with the kids leads to wonderful conversation and food awareness …. but don’t just take my word for it….

Why involve kids in the kitchen?  Children who learn to cook before the age of 8 are 50% more likely to have healthy diets!  Read more here  

Today’s post summarises my “little one & me” recipes for you to have a look at:

"Monster Balls" served with a white bean dip
“Monster Balls” served with a white bean dip

My FAVOURITE “little one & me” recipe is for these Monster Balls.  Why is it my favourite?  Because it is so versatile.  You can use the basics of this recipe (bread crumbs, eggs & cheese) then choose any left-overs / or a clever mix of your child’s tolerated and preferred foods to make these.  See the variations list in the introduction to the recipe and some ideas for dipping sauces at the end.  Giving food clever names will help engage your children to a theme & spike their interest in trying it out.  There is nothing wrong with having a bit of a laugh in the kitchen!

Strawberry and Apple Crumble with the added goodness of Quinoa is a great celebration of springtime flavours when strawberries start hitting the green grocer.

Strawberry & Apple Crumble
Strawberry & Apple Crumble

Healthy Gummy Stars are a good recipe for lolly alternatives.  They are a very firm jelly made with real fruits and no cane sugar.  The little ones can probably only assist when it comes to cutting out the stars (or whatever shapes you have).

Easy & Healthier Snickerdoodles are a great motor planning exercise with the children as they wrap the dough around the filling.  Plus, they taste so good whilst still warm from the oven (note: if you use chocolate buttons / squares they stay piping hot for a while so always taste test them first for correct temperature before letting the kids loose on them – plus this way you ensure to get your share of them before it’s too late!)

Chocolate Button & Banana Filled Snickerdoodles
Chocolate Button & Banana Filled Snickerdoodles

Also, check out the dough that I use for the snickerdoodles because it can be made sweet or savoury, it is super easy AND is egg free!  We use this dough recipe regularly for pizza bases in our house.

Zucchini & Sesame Quackers (Crackers) is a great make ahead recipe for a party or gathering where you are told to bring a plate.  You can enhance the flavour of these crackers with herbs or parmesan cheese, depending on your taste preference & any allergy considerations you have.  The version I have made here is dairy and egg free.

A big hit on the Play with Food Facebook page in 2013 were my sweet vegie muffins and I have to say that they are so nice straight out of the oven.  You can also substitute the golden syrup with honey.  There are some good tips in the comments too for encouraging interaction with the kids during this recipe.

Wishing you all the best for some “little one & me” cooking time!


Simone Emery