How to Bake With A 3-Year-Old

My daughter O loves this Fisher-Price app called the Little People Learning Market. One really cute part asks you what type of treat you would like to bake: an apple pie, cookies or cupcakes, and then has you 1. add items from your shopping list (matching) 2. prepare the treat (drag, tap, tip to pour, etc) and finally 3. put it in the oven to bake. Ever since she started playing this game, she regularly runs into our kitchen, announces it’s “time to bake!”, and grabs the flour and a mixing bowl. It’s adorable and it got me thinking – she’s already doing it in a game, why not in real life?

I decided to turn a simple recipe of ours for banana bread from my hand-written index card into an image-loaded, kid-friendly version. Here’s how:

I went to Google Docs and opened a new Drawing. Google Docs has this handy tool where you can search Google images right from the drawing document page and easily add them. So I just went through my recipe and found a picture of each ingredient. I added large text in a text box for the exact amounts needed of each and put the steps in order. Then, I used the shape option to group the wet and dry ingredients together visually in their own boxes. Last, I just printed it and O was ready to help me bake “all by herself” in less than 5 minutes. Here it is (a downloadable PDF is also at the bottom of this post):

banana bread for kids image

O was so happy to have her own recipe. She took her job of reading me the ingredients very seriously and was pretty good at filling up the cups (using a second cup to fill the first is easiest). Just make sure you’re ready to intercept when your preschooler runs to the fridge and tries to carry out the eggs to you (lesson learned!!).  O can identify numbers but is not getting fractions yet so I’m still trying to think up a way to help her be able to identify and use the correct measuring cup or spoon all on her own. I could just add a picture of the correct measuring device on there next time so then it’ll be more matching. Or maybe color code the measuring cups with a piece of colored tape on the bottom (while still putting the measurement on there so she can see both and still learn it). Let me know if you have any ideas and enjoy!

Banana Bread recipe for kids PDF download

banana bread

So good we couldn’t even wait for the picture to be taken before eating it. We made ours with cinnamon chips.

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St. Patrick’s Day Food and Fun

I used to wear green socks for St. Patrick’s Day – and that’s it. But now that I have kids, holidays have become a lot more important: they break up the day to day monotony, give us something to look forward to, give us a reason to be creative and they’re just plain fun. My husband looked at the 3 bags of spinach on my grocery list and warily asked what exactly I was planning. Cue evil laugh.

First up, green clothes. So easy. Until… I realized that O didn’t have a single green shirt! (Not even sure how that’s possible). In all my super planning, the most obvious thing completely slipped my mind until the morning of. Luckily, Daddy saw my panicked face and swooped in with one of his shirts, tied 80’s style into a knot on her side. Classic. Later on I drew shamrocks on our cheeks with my green eyeliner and painted our nails with Piggy Polish in their sub lime color (non-toxic, odor-less, kid-friendly).

st-patricks-clothes-collage
The second part of my awesome St. Patrick’s Day plan was fancy green food and, to up the ante, I forbid myself from using any food coloring. Easy? Me? Never! So, we all started the morning with spinach cheddar chive scones from this recipe by Weelicious (I didn’t tamper with the coffee under penalty of death). Lunch was spinach salads with mandarin orange slices. And for dinner, we had green cheese-filled tortellini with pesto sauce (in green bowls, of course) and a side of peas. O was not pleased with “too much pepper” on her pasta so we had to make it “clean” before she’d touch it. After we washed the tortellini off though (and wasted all that yummy pesto, as Grandma Mimi moaned), she ate it happily. Our Little Frog had some delicious spinach baby food (how does he manage to get it everywhere?! We require an outfit change after every meal; the bib is worthless).

Finally, the Pièce de résistance, a Turkish lemon spinach cake with cream cheese frosting. I know what you’re thinking. As the blog I found the recipe on hilariously wrote: “Congratulations if you are still reading this blog. You saw the words “lemon” and “spinach” in the same title and kept going.” But although it has 8 cups (!) of spinach in it (which makes for a fantastic green color), the cake honestly doesn’t taste like spinach at all. As far as anyone in your family needs to know (so long as they don’t see you preparing it) it’s just a nice, moist lemon cake in a funky color.

stpatricksfoodkids
Oh and we were going to listen to some Irish music (Mimi has Riverdance) until Daddy mentioned we should listen to Green Day. Ha, totally!

I need to start planning now if I’m going to top this next year – we’ll definitely need some crafts.

Hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day too!

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