Tag Archives: kids 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!

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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

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Caramelized Banana Loaf

Ingredients:
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:
         Eggs
         Macadamia Nut Oil
         Flour
         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!

Simone

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I hope it is not goodbye

Today, I was enjoying a fantastic lunch that my 2 year old created.  We went to the pantry and fridge and she selected all the ingredients she wanted.  I thought that this activity would be great for my facebook page!  And then it hit me, it’s not only great for my facebook page BUT it is also great for my daughter.

I stood back and video’d her as she devoured her whole (but peeled) cucumber accompanied by dinosaur shaped pasta mixed with cheese, salmon & carrot.  She considered throwing in honey too but I’m glad she changed her mind.  She was an image of pure joy making her dinosaur sounds and laughing at how fun it was to make up her own recipe.

After lunch she asked to go outside to watch the clouds.  My heart melted.  Of course!  My girls are at a beautiful age that I want to enjoy.  So, I’ve decided to take my marketing / business information services away from facebook for a while.

I have loved maintaining my facebook page and delight in providing lots of information to my followers.  I put in lots of time and effort bringing original content and looking for amazing content from respected writers and bloggers across the world to share.

However, I want to look at the clouds too!  I will still be running classes & workshops and enjoy meeting all the wonderful kids who come along to them.  I’m just not going to be giving away so much of my precious time to social media.

How to keep in contact??

1) Subscribe to the newsletter either via the link on the facebook page or by sending me an email and I’ll put you on the list (simone@playwithfood.com.au) – I endeavour to send out a newsletter every 2 months.

2) Sign-up to the blog!  Go to http://www.playwithfood.com.au and enter your email address into the sign-up field in the left hand column.

3) Email or call me 🙂

It’s not a decision that I take lightly, however, I think those of you with kids will understand what I mean when I want to spend more time looking at the clouds with my daughter!

You will still see an occasional PWF fb post – just so the page doesn’t collapse completely.  I will just set up an automated post of links to my blog when new articles are written.  However, as I don’t own facebook or the algorithm it runs off – I know this won’t guarantee than many (if any) of my followers will get to see these posts.

I can't talk or pose right now, I'm having too much fun!
My reason to stop &look at the clouds! xxx

I hope this isn’t goodbye to some of my followers but maybe a new “hello” to newsletter & blog subscribers!

Happy Eating!

 

 

Illustrate Your Food Memories

I saw a lovely facebook post illustrated by the Blair Athol North School and shared by Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation.  The children illustrated their own recipe.  I looked online for a good template but didn’t find an ideal one …. So at the bottom of this post is one I’ve created for you to print up and have your budding chef/artists record their food memories on.

This is my completed version of the template.  Remember it’s not nice to laugh at other people’s drawings 😉

Illustrate your Food Memories by Play with Food

Food is such a powerful and emotional part of our lives.  We have great memories and painful memories all tied up in food.  Illustrating your own recipes is a good way to put down some favourite recipes and tease out what the memories mean to you and your kids.  It’s a language building opportunity and a great discovery tool for deeper engagement.

I made the blood orange and chocolate cup cakes to eat during last night’s episode of Master Chef.   It came from the top of my head & based on available flavours.  I wasn’t about to watch a dessert challenge & sit pining for something unhealthy for a whole hour.  This was a sweet treat without the guilt.  On the show last night, the contestants on Master Chef had to recreate an amazing dessert based on their perceptions from a  written description alone.  It’s amazing what one written description resulted in from the 4 contestants.  They weren’t given a picture, recipe or a taste of the food.  This is where their memory and their own experiences played a part in determining what they would plate up.

Food memories start VERY early on.  Children that have painful food memories will often exhibit fussiness or issues with eating.  Remember those memories (even fears) are real to them.  Never belittle or dismiss a child’s memories or beliefs, it’s something that you should address correctly.

One way to assist with food memories is to build a library of “safe” recipes.  Review this repertoire with your child and work on adding in some new shapes / colours / flavours and textures.  Use our template to build up your recipe collection!  We cover lots of different ways to enhance positive eating memories in our classes / workshops.  Have a look at our class schedule to learn more about what is available.

Blood Orange & Chocolate Cup Cakes by Play with Food

Blood Orange and Chocolate Cup Cakes

Stir all ingredients together & baked in a moderate oven for 25 min.  Makes 6 cup cakes.

  • Juice of 2 home grown (ie small) blood oranges
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 3/4 cup SR flour
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp macadamia oil
  • 1 egg

Here is the Recipe Template for your children to illustrate & enjoy with you.

Happy Eating!

Simone

Lady Marmalade

It’s a funny feeling when you accomplish something that a few years ago, I would have laughed out loud at it’s mere suggestion. Even more surreal to be blogging about it. We grew our own food & turned it into something beautiful. I feel like a total domestic goddess – that’s the bit that makes me laugh!

We have a substantial amount of blood oranges & lemons on our trees this year. So, I decided to try my hand at marmalade. I am chuffed with the results & how easy it actually was. Note: it does need overnight preparation.

Blood Orange & Lemon Marmalade

Ingredients:
3 blood oranges
1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar

Method:
Trim the top & bottoms of the blood oranges & lemons. Cut into quarters & remove the pithy cores & seeds. Finely slice each part of the citrus fruits & put in a bowl. Fill the bowl with water to make it up to 2 cups in volume. Leave to soak overnight.
In a saucepan, add the citrus water mix & sugar. Allow to boil with regular stirring. Simmer until the sauce thickens. It will thicken more after you remove it from the heat.

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Serving suggestion for this marmalade is with scones. Even better if the scones have been made with love!

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Happy eating!

June is Artichoke Month

Another Month = Another Challenge!

This month I took on artichoke.  This one was a real curve ball for me as the only time I have ever really used them was from a jar!  A 100g serve of Artichokes from a jar contains 320mg of sodium whereas steaming them fresh (without salt) gives 60mg of sodium. Depending on your total diet though this may not be a significant issue – it’s unlikely we are going to be adding a significant number of artichokes to our diet!  However, if you consider that the National Health and Medical Research Centre suggests we limit salt to 4g/day (1600mg sodium) and the Heart Foundation says 6g/day (2300mg sodium) and the average Australian consumes 8 or 9 times this amount, I think we should be mindful of what salt we add to our diet by using processed foods vs naturally occurring salt.

Now, I’ll jump off my nutritional science podium and chat to you about the main things I learnt during my challenge.

1) Preparing an artichoke is a bit perplexing but you can find awesome infographics on pinterest to help you!

Source of Image:  http://illustratedbites.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/prickly-treat/

How to Prepare and Artichoke

2) Talking about artichokes was a wonderful language building exercise for my toddler.  We looked at pictures of them on the internet and talked about what they may feel like before we went to the shops to choose some to cook.  My daughter was quite the sight walking around the green grocers with her “choke fwowers”. I figured that they did look like flowers and some multi-syllable words are still a bit tricky.  (The artichoke is actually the flower bud harvested before the flower blooms).  The preparatory talks about artichokes, built some excitement about going to the shops.  As you may have seen in my previous post about vegetable exposures away from mealtimes,  I did creatively use going to get the artichokes as a “bribe” to get her off the Peppa Pig coin operated ride and into the green grocer.

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3) I made an Artichoke, Lemon & Tomato cob loaf with my steamed artichoke hearts that was really yummy and simple. Lemon is in season now & so very fragrant in this bread. I loved it served with some good quality butter, fresh ham & a side salad. The loaf is big enough for a light lunch for 2 adults & 2 kids.
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Artichoke, Lemon & Tomato Cob Loaf

Ingredients:
1 Artichoke Heart
1 Tomato, Roughly Chopped
Zest from 1/2 Lemon
1/4 cup Parmesan, Finely Grated
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup Self Raising Flour
1 Egg
Ground Black Pepper, To Taste

To prepare the artichokes, I trimmed it as per the above infographic.  Instead of putting them in the pot with salted water, I used a bamboo steamer and no salt – this worked well and in 20mins I had lovely steamed artichokes.  I tried one with a lemon & pepper yoghurt dipping sauce, which was OK.  I didn’t actually try to get my daughter to try the artichoke like this.  Scraping the flesh away from the leaves with your teeth is interesting but a bit of work for the limited fleshy artichoke that you get.

On my remaining artichoke, I cut away the hard leaves & was left with the heart.  I roughly chopped up the heart & yielded about 1/4 cup of chopped pieces. To the bowl I added the remaining ingredients. My toddler did some stirring & kneading of the bread with me. We put it on a dusted baking tray in the preheated (180oC) oven for about 30mins (until it sounds hollow when you tap on the bottom of the loaf).

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Do you have a favorite artichoke recipe?
Happy Eating!

Dinosaur Cakes

So, I felt bad that my princess cakes may have excluded the boys. Today I asked my daughter what kind of cake would be green & she roared back at me “saurus cake”,  (ie. Dinosaur cake in Ellie speak).

We set about a little ingredient experiment to change up our princess cake recipe to make them green instead of orange.  We exchanged the finely grated carrot with a cup of loosely packed baby spinach and omitted the cinnamon.

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Pouring the batter from the blender into the waiting mini-muffin & patty cake tins is a great job for toddlers. You can also do some counting practice at the same time & we had some fun roaring like dinosaurs as we worked. The result is a moist & dense coconut flavoured mini cake that is egg free, gluten free, low in fat and packing some great vegie nutrients.

We decorated ours with a thin spread of nutella (like dino mud) and some shredded coconut. Have your child use a toddler knife to spread the nutella for motor planning practice. They will feel a great sense of achievement with their decorating.

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We used our the busy mums store plate as a work surface for the decorating. The plate provides learning opportunities from colour recognition (toddler), number recognition (preschooler) to equation practice (primary schoolers). The plates are great quality & likely to last us that long! They are designed & sold by a local mum. Supporting local business is important to me- hence the little plug here! :p

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Dinosaur Cakes

3/4 cup rice flour
1tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 2tbsp cold water for at least 10min
1 cup of loosely packed baby spinach
1/3 cup cooked sweet potato
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1tbsp butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180oC and grease your patty cake tin (or you can use mini cup cake holders). I used spray on coconut oil.

Put all ingredients into the blender. Whizz until all ingredients are well combined.

Pour batter into cake tin & bake for about 20mins (until cooked through). Tip: the mixture does not rise so fill the tins to the brim. Gently shake to level out the batter in the tin. This mix should make approx 24 mini-cakes.

To decorate these cakes we used nutella & shredded coconut.

All toddler cooking should be supervised.

Happy Eating!

Dinosaur Cakes

So, I felt bad that my princess cakes may have excluded the boys. Today I asked my daughter what kind of cake would be green & she roared back at me “saurus cake”,  (ie. Dinosaur cake in Ellie speak).

We set about a little ingredient experiment to change up our princess cake recipe to make them green instead of orange.  We exchanged the finely grated carrot with a cup of loosely packed baby spinach and omitted the cinnamon.

image

Pouring the batter from the blender into the waiting mini-muffin & patty cake tins is a great job for toddlers. You can also do some counting practice at the same time & we had some fun roaring like dinosaurs as we worked. The result is a moist & dense coconut flavoured mini cake that is egg free, gluten free, low in fat and packing some great vegie nutrients.

We decorated ours with a thin spread of nutella (like dino mud) and some shredded coconut. Have your child use a toddler knife to spread the nutella for motor planning practice. They will feel a great sense of achievement with their decorating.

image

We used our the busy mums store plate as a work surface for the decorating. The plate provides learning opportunities from colour recognition (toddler), number recognition (preschooler) to equation practice (primary schoolers). The plates are great quality & likely to last us that long! They are designed & sold by a local mum. Supporting local business is important to me- hence the little plug here! :p

image

Dinosaur Cakes

3/4 cup rice flour
1tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 2tbsp cold water for at least 10min
1 cup of loosely packed baby spinach
1/3 cup cooked sweet potato
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1tbsp butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180oC and grease your patty cake tin (or you can use mini cup cake holders). I used spray on coconut oil.

Put all ingredients into the blender. Whizz until all ingredients are well combined.

Pour batter into cake tin & bake for about 20mins (until cooked through). Tip: the mixture does not rise so fill the tins to the brim. Gently shake to level out the batter in the tin. This mix should make approx 24 mini-cakes.

To decorate these cakes we used nutella & shredded coconut.

All toddler cooking should be supervised.

Happy Eating!