It’s not always easy incorporating kids in the kitchen. A hot stove and long blonde hair doesn’t mix well. Neither does a bowl that needs to be stirred and a boy who tends to lick his fingers. I know I’m not the only one who has faced these challenges!
As the kids get older, it’s becoming more apparent that it’s not the kids that are the problem in the kitchen – it’s the recipe. It would be silly (and dangerous) of me to invite my children to help me make caramel, for example. Or to help me fry something, as one of them is bound to get hit with hot oil popping about in the pan.
Yet, it is important for me to include the kids in the kitchen whenever possible. They learn basic cooking skills, counting skills, about health and nutrition… plus just being together, working together as a family, creates an atmosphere perfectly suited for open and interesting conversations.
Like many other areas of life, we must be purposeful when inviting kids to help us in the kitchen. Here are three tips to help you do just that:
- Choose a recipe that is kid-friendly (and age-appropriate) to make. It’s hard to let the kids help when you’re worried about their safety in most of the steps. Choosing simpler recipes where kids can measure, stir and pour means more “yes’s” and less “no’s.”
- Consider their help with a portion of the meal. Many dinners involve more than one step. If the kid(s) are able to help with one area, say flipping tortillas on a griddle, they’ll be just as excited about taco night as they would be if they prepared the whole meal themselves.
- Invite the kid(s) into the kitchen on slower days. Kids are naturally messier, especially when cooking. Recipes will take longer to make and messes will take longer to clean up when the kids are involved. So choose days that are NOT filled to the brim with appointments and errands. Allowing plenty of time means less stress and a happy experience for everyone.
This super simple, no-bake apple oatmeal cookie fits the bill for #1 and #2. You’re on your own for #3.
Aside from the small task on the stove, the kids can do the rest. Since these cookies do not require baking, they can be eaten immediately, or stored in the fridge to firm up.
Made with oats, these cookies stick to the ribs for quite some time after eating, making them a great option for breakfast. Consider yourself forewarned if you’re a snacker though – these could easily ruin your dinner!
Here’s a tip for pulling double duty while in the kitchen this fall: Chop extra apples for these cookies while making apple pie. If you chop too many, you have the option of making extra apple-y cookies, or use them in apple pumpkin pancakes!
No Bake Apple Oatmeal Cookies
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup shredded or chopped apple (approximately 2 medium apples)
1/2 cup fat (coconut oil or butter, or a combination of both)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups oat flour
Big Chef’s: Measure lemon juice and apples into a large bowl. Melt fat in a saucepan. Add remaining ingredients, except for the oat flour, and bring to a low simmer. Cook for one minute, while stirring constantly. Allow to cool to just warmer than room temperature.
Little Chef’s: Measure oat flour into the bowl with the apples. When the butter/sugar mixture has cooled, pour over the apples and stir well with a spatula. Shape into “cookies” and cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to retain their shape, or eat immediately.
Once cooled, remove to a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
Note: Dropping dough into a muffin tin is helpful for evenly sized cookies and when presentation matters. As shown in the photo, you can add rolled oats for extra chewiness, if desired. Simply decrease oat flour to 2 cups and add 1/2 cup of rolled oats.
Cheers to kids in the kitchen!
Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs