Katie was over on Sunday to help me try out some recipes for SuperFoods for Babies & Children by Annabel Karmel. I mentioned last month that I was hoping that my niece would come over with her friend who is way more adventurous...she's six and eats sushi (and everything else, I hear) while my angel sticks to her favorites - grilled cheese sandwiches and occasionally spaghetti (which means noodles and a little margarine). I was hoping that if she did the choosing and cooking, she'd try something new.
We went through the book a few days before she arrived, so that I could be prepared, we chose some recipes over the phone. Here were her choices: traffic light ice pops (we couldn't do them because a) not enough time for them to freeze and b) not enough room in my freezer - but they do look yummy; brownies (which we did make) and 2 or 3 other dessert choices (all of which her mom and I rejected, saying she needed to have one "real food" - a main dish).
(Blurry picture - but you try getting a shot of brownies before a munchkin gets to taste them!)
I suggested meat balls which looked awesome, spaghetti bolognese, orzo risotto and some salads that sounded cool - she rejected them all but did settle on chicken dippers - which, frankly my Honey and I are very glad she did - they're awesome and a dish we big kids will have again!
But let me back up a bit because I believe (having had the joy of cooking with 2 curious young chefs and their friends over the years) that in order for it to be fun, you really have to be prepared before you let them into a kitchen. Little kids are extremely eager to get involved. They're also often, little dynamos with little hands moving a mile a second, never mind a minute, so having things measured and cut before they get busy will cut down on the frenzy. Also remember that little ones have very short attention spans, so if you spend too much time getting the ingredients out, measuring and chopping, etc., they probably will get bored before the fun starts.
By the time Katie arrived (unfortunately her friend couldn't make it) I had all the ingredients prepared and ready to go...pan greased and oven preheated for the brownies, separate measuring cups and bowls filled with appropriate ingredients for each dish. Naturally we started with the brownies. Here's Katie whipping up the batter....
Then we started in on the chicken fingers
and by the time they were ready to be fried (I did that step quickly on my own and baked them so they wouldn't be greasy) my little chef had had enough of the kitchen. Of course that was when I realized that I had forgotten to add the chocolate chips to the brownies-not a problem, they just became icing and that the brownies were a little too well done for my taste. I love mine melty in the middle and these came out more like cake. The chocolate chips would have made a difference. What can I say Katie liked them anyway.
So before I leave you with the recipes, I must say a few words about the book - Superfoods for Babies and Children is a great gift, especially for a new mom (even if you have to buy it yourself). Annabel Karmel takes you through the different stages from six months through to three years and up. She explains not only the nutritional value and when to introduce them into a child's diet, but also which foods are good for your baby/child and which to avoid. I love her tips like, "did you know that cosmetics companies are investigating tomatoes as sunscreens?" , and how to get creative with lunch boxes. I really do wish I had this one when my kids were young. I guess I'll just have to hang on to it until there are some grandchildren around.
Related links: Food and Drink recipes kids food