Chances are, you’re spending more time in the kitchen these days, with the holidays literally around the corner. But why not ask your kids to help you with the baking and cooking? This is a great way to keep the kids busy doing a creative activity, but to also give them the sense that they’re helping mom and dad with the holiday festivities!
Judy Weitzman, also known as “Diet Coach Judy,” author of How to Eat When Life Gets in the Way, and grandmother of two young boys, offers a number of kitchen gadgets that help little hands enjoy cooking and baking:
Nesting Bowls & Spoons
Nesting bowls and measuring spoons are fun toys and help little ones get more familiar with kitchen utensils. “Zach’s little brother, Brandon (age 10 months), loves the measuring spoons which are easy to hold and fun to bang around,” Judy says. “Plus, they feel good on his gums since he is teething. By giving them kitchen gadgets as toys, when it is time to help make things, they feel comfortable using them. He also likes my metal nesting bowls because they make a lot of noise when he bangs the measuring spoons on the bowls.”
Wooden spoons are also a safe kitchen utensil for little ones. And cookie sheets and/or jelly roll pans are mandatory for making all kinds of cookies and bars.
“My stepdaughter gave me this cool gadget that peels and cores the apples in no time,” Judy says, which came in handy when her 3-year-old grandson Zach recently helped her make applesauce. “Zach loved turning the crank and watching the ‘snake’ of skin fall off the apple. This is definitely something that has to be done with an adult monitoring the situation since they could get hurt on the sharp edges. Zach helped me measure the other ingredients by pointing his finger to the line on the measuring cup so I would know when to stop. Then he helped pour the ingredients into the pot.”
Zach’s other favorite Kitchen Gadget is the egg slicer (left). “He loves hard-boiled eggs and this nifty little gadget is easy and safe to use for his little hands,” Judy says. “It takes eating an egg to a whole new level. Often times, he will ask for a second egg just so he can slice it.”
Must-Have Baking Supplies
“In my early adult years I didn’t own a mixer so stirring with a spoon was my only choice and it worked great,” she say. “A regular mixer works great and having all the fancy extras is nice but not necessary. I have the Kitchenaid Mixer which is the best on the market in my opinion. It is sturdy and lasts forever. Plus, you can buy a boat load of attachments, which give you the ability to do everything from making pasta to whipping up your favorite cookie dough.”
Another key item is a measuring cup that show the measurements as you look in from the top. “Makes it so easy,” Judy says.
Other fan favorites in Judy’s house include a hand juicer for lemons and limes, the Cuisinart, which picks up where the mixer leaves off, and springform pans for making cheesecakes. “Having a great set of bowls is critical,” she adds. “You always need a variety of sizes when baking and being dishwasher safe is a given.”Judy’s favorite “kid-friendly” recipe is for Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, “because there are so many steps where the kids can get involved.” For example, rolling the dough into balls is like playing with clay, unwrapping the ‘kisses’ is another safe and fun project for them.
Here’s her recipe:
- 14oz. can of Eagle Brand evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup of peanut butter
- 2 cups of Jiffy mix (comes in a box by the flour)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix evaporated milk, peanut butter (you can melt it for easier mixing), then add Jiffy and vanilla. Take 1 inch balls of dough and roll in granulated sugar; bake 6 – 8 minutes and then push kisses into center of balls.Follow Diet Coach Judy on Twitter @dietcoachjudy and Facebook
- For more daily expert updates, follow genConnect on Twitter and Facebook.
- To stay on top of the latest contributions from experts: Sign Up for genConnect.