Holiday baking with kids and a gingerbread house recap

Our weekend plans went awry when little Clara fell quite seriously sick and we were back and forth from the emergency room both Saturday and Sunday.

She is on the mend (we hope) and we are catching up on sleep and life. Maybe I’ll finally get to unpack from London and tackle my email inbox.

Not surprisingly, it was baking together as a family over the weekend that offered a respite from the stress. My mind has a tendency to head to a very dark place when these mysterious medical issues show up (it doesn’t help when not one, but four doctors misdiagnose the case) and I need a diversion. Preferably some thing with cinnamon and spice, cookie cutters and sprinkles.

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42 simple summer lunch ideas kids can make

When I announced to my boys that they would be making their own lunches over the summer, they responded with an enthusiastic “Yaaaaaay!”, followed by an unconvincing “Awwwww”. Since cooking is technically work, they didn’t want to come across as overly excited, but I knew that they were jazzed.

It’s all part of my master plan to keep them busy and out of trouble. I’d given it some thought and realized that lunch was the best meal for them to take over. I’m not awake enough to supervise breakfast prep first thing in the morning (kids don’t sleep in, remember?) and by dinner time they are fading from a day in the sun. No, it had to be lunch.

My children tend to eat a big lunch, then pick at their dinners; I’ve grown used to it. I stuffed their lunch kits with a well-rounded mid-day meal all school-year long and my 6-year-old never failed to return his completely empty. So, we’re putting some attention into lunches this summer, but still keeping things simple enough for them to execute under my supervision.

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How to get kids cracking making Cheese Crackers and Wheat Thins

Homemade edible gifts for my children’s teachers are a sure thing to leave my kitchen come school’s end. I feel like it is the least I can do after the educators have poured their energy into my children all year.

The goodies are our way of expressing our thanks and vary from year to year from chai spiced granola to honey whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Now before you read on, please understand that I am playing to my strengths here. I’m not trying to make myself out to be some kind of perfectly pinteresting supermom. Making and assembling edible gifts is easy and fun for me, so I run with it whenever the opportunity arises. I couldn’t be crafty like my friend Amy if I tried and I don’t enjoy shopping, so I head to the kitchen and dream up something delicious.

It’s important to me to have the boys get involved in making the gifts to teach them to give back and to show appreciation in a tangible way. This year I had thought about canning something, perhaps strawberry rhubarb jam or strawberry caramel sauce, but I tend to do most of my canning on my own, without three kids ‘helping’. They are pretty proactive in the kitchen, but that vat of boiling water still makes me nervous.

White Pepper & Parmesan Crackers :: Simple Bites #recipe #snack #crackers

We settled on homemade crackers, a project I expected to be loads of work but well worth the effort. It turns out I was half right. Many hands made light work and we flew through the task, ending up with about 20 dozen absolutely delicious crackers. I even had time to snap a few photos as I knew I had to share both recipes here with you.

If you’re into homemade pantry staples, then read on for two recipes: Everyday Wheat Thins and White Pepper Parmesan Coins. [Read more…]

How our kids made us brunch and how we lived to tell about it

Now that we’ve been cooking with our children for several years, we’ve always wondered how well would they function entirely on their own. My boys have claimed for some time now that they are proficient in the kitchen, and while they do a fine job, I have always remained close-by.

Last Monday was Danny’s and my wedding anniversary. The evening before was full of fugitive huddles and fervent whispers between brothers. Their eyes were shining when I tucked them into bed, and Mateo, the considerate one, asked me how early they could get up.

Something was afoot, although I’d never imagine they would attempt a full breakfast in our honour. It turns out those two are full of ambition.

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What do oatmeal and Jamie Oliver have in common?

I‘m not so good at beginning new things in life. I worry about failing and not meeting standards; I tend to circle projects for a while, observing, and yes, dragging my feet.

Because I know this about myself, I was eager to get my first post for Jamie Oliver published and behind me. I have plenty to say on the subject of kids in the kitchen and, once started, should have no trouble making myself at home in my new digs.

It would have been far too easy to obsess over a topic for that first blog post, so I enlisted Noah to help me come to a quick decision together: Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal. It’s a hot breakfast that we love, and he can prepare it nearly all by himself, so it was perfect for kicking off a series on cooking with family.

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