Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cooking With Little Ones and Corn Pudding

One of my goals with the girls is to introduce them to the world of cooking. I want them to experience the satisfaction of completing a task, to feel the joy of making something special for loved ones, and to understand the scientific intricacies of baking and cooking. By the time they have their own kitchens, I hope they have had many adventures....flops and triumphs...and no fear in tackling a recipe.

I love these pictures of Holland. She helped me bake bread one day and enjoyed herself immensely. Check it out:

My charming little chef--

And here I am trying to teach Holland that kneading is not necessarily slapping the bread. But the little doll was having so much fun kneading/slapping the bread anyway.

She liked the kneading part--A LOT.

And this picture was taken because...well, I just love little hands. And especially 3-year old little hands.

Our sweet friend Elicia used to work at Young Chef's Academy. She gave us passes to attend one of their cooking classes. Since Brian and I like to cook, we wanted to try the preschool class where parents are welcome to join in the fun. The theme for May was Fairy Tales and we tried the Red Riding Hood class. We started out by making zucchini muffins. The kids got to help level and measure and mix and crack eggs, etc. Then, while the muffins were cooking, they listened to the story Red Riding Hood and then played a fun game called "What Time is it Mr. Wolf?". Afterwards, the kids helped prepare Granny's Get Well Chicken Soup. Finally, we got to sample it all. It was all very well organized and fun! The girls had a blast. They offer classes for all ages, including adults, and even offer birthday party services. We definitely hope to try it again soon!

Here we are at Young Chef's Academy:

Holland picks a piece of thyme to put in the soup:

The girls have always been my helpers in the kitchen, but now that they are older, I want to make cooking a more personal thing for them. My intentions are not entirely pure, however. Selfishly, I look forward to a night or two off of dinner duty in the future. :o)

I wanted to teach them in a way that encouraged, rather than discouraged or overwhelmed them. I decided to start simple by teaching Liv just one recipe she wanted to make from her own cookbook. She got this amazing Paula Dean kids cookbook from her "Aunt" Stumpy and goes right to it when she wants to try something new. After she becomes fluent in the recipe, she gets to move on to another. So I have coined these mastered recipes as her "Signature Dishes".

Her Signature Dishes include:

Monkey Bread
Pigs in a Blanket
Bull's Eye (which is a scrumptious slice of toast with a circle cut from the middle, grilled in a frying pan with an over-medium egg cooked in the middle)
Magic Rice

Magic Rice is her favorite and is the sole reason for her recent love of mushrooms. I'll post that recipe later next week.

Currently, she is being versed in creating sushi rolls with Daddy.

Because of this experience, Liv has also gained an appreciation for foods she normally wouldn't try and now she is our healthy eater, willing to give any meal a go.

Holland, on the other hand, is our pickiest eater ever. She would live on the solace of comfort foods every day if she could, and would be happiest if veggies never showed their faces on her plate. To try to combat her dislike for corn, I introduced Holland to a new recipe, which was to become her first signature dish. It's called Corn Pudding. Okay, so it's not the healthiest thing out there, but it IS amazingly delicious, and because of her love of comfort foods, I figured it was worth trying. Holland loved it, and even though she tried to eat around the corn, she finally gave up and also ate the corn. She still claims that she and corn are at odds with each other, but I am suspecting that the pudding might change her mind yet!

Here is Holland, preparing her recipe.

Corn pudding is an excellent first dish to teach your toddler to make. It involves very little ingredients, no chopping, and the main activity is stirring.

The idea of giving the girls ownership over their own unique recipes has been so much fun, and has given the girls such confidence in the kitchen. They each want to make their signature dishes for company or gatherings we attend. Holland tells everyone that she is the only one who knows how to make corn pudding. Eventually, I hope she gets excited to eat corn without all that pudding. :o)

Holland's Signature Dish:

Jiffy Corn Pudding Recipe

1 can creamed corn
1 can kernel corn (drained)
1 stick butter (melted)
1/2 C. sour cream
2 beaten eggs
1 pkg. Jiffy corn mix

Mix both cans corn, 1 package corn mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Add beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly using wooden spoon. Grease bottom of 8 x 8 pan. Pour in pan or glass dish (Pyrex). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when placed in center of pudding.

Happy Cooking!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Jen, you create such a fun environment in your home! Every time I read your blog, it makes me want to hang out at your house and join in all the fun. You are such an incredible mom!!


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