Archive for Cooking with kids

Cooking with kids: Chocolate Chip Graham Cookie Bars – Magic!

Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookie Bars - Magic!

Here’s a great recipe, for when you need something quick and chocolaty, warm and sweet. Great for when it’s -10 degrees out, with over 2 feet of snow on the ground outside. Like today.

The kids and I made Magic Cookie Bars last week, and were less than thrilled with the results – they were too crumbly (not enough of a base) and too chocolaty (really, it can happen).

So we switched things up a bit, and came up with a new, improved Magic Cookie Bar recipe – “Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookie Bars”. I think you’ll like them – I know we do.

Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookie Bars

½ cup butter, melted

2 packs of honey graham cracker crumbs

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts, chopped

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Spread over bottom of pan evenly.
  3. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over entire pan. (Get the edges, too!)
  4. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
  5. Sprinkle nuts over everything.
  6. Press down – you could use a fork, but I grab a sheet of wax paper, spray with cooking spray, and then use that to press down. (Easy and fast!)
  7. Bake 25 minutes until lightly browned.

This recipe is great to make with kids! It makes hardly any dishes, and even little ones can help out:

  • They can put the butter in a bowl, and melt it in the microwave. (Careful! Will be hot!)
  • They can crush the crackers: Put the 2 graham crackers packs in a gallon Ziplok bag, press the air out, then have them gently jump on it to turn them into crumbs. They can pour the crumbs in the bowl, and stir.
  • They can pour the sweetened condensed milk, and sprinkle the chocolate chips. They can use the chopper to grind the nuts. (Not too fine, please!)
  • They can press down firmly, using the sprayed wax paper.
  • They can set the timer.
  • While the cookies are baking, they can wash the dishes in warm, sudsy water.
  • And, then, after a grownup takes the cookies out of the oven, after the pan cools a bit, they can help eat these fantastically delicious, gooey, warm and chocolaty sweet cookie bars.

So, give it a try! Spend some time cooking together with your kids – it’s fun, and it’ll make your house smell great!

What’s your favorite thing to cook together? Share with us in the comments below!

P.S. The original Magic Cookie Bar recipe calls for 1 1/3 cup flaked coconut, so if you have that, feel free to throw it on, too. But, really, who ever has flaked coconut on hand?

Sunflower apron by: NowDesigns.

Original Magic Cookie Bar recipe by: Eagle Brand.

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88 fun things to do with your kids when you’re stuck indoors, that don’t require electricity

CouchFort_bywillholmes

It’s that time of year.  Snow, cold, sleet, slush.  Even in Atlanta.  What do you do with your kids when you’re stuck indoors?  Sure, you could let them watch TV, or hand them a tablet.  But, what it you want to do something with your kid?  What if the power is out?  Or maybe you’d like them to unplug for a bit, and have some old fashioned fun.

Here’s a list of 88 fun things to do with your kids when you’re stuck inside. Some are old classics, some are new. Some are high energy, movement ideas, and some are more quiet and calm. Try to switch it up a bit, and go with what feels right for your kid’s energy level.

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What’s Hot: Nerdy Nummies

Yesterday we had reason to celebrate. Son #1 got a big envelope from the college of his choice. He was accepted, and received a sizeable scholarship.

Me: “What should we do to celebrate?!?!”

Kids: “Go out to dinner!!”

Me: “No! We’re poor – we have to save for tuition!!”

My 10 year old daughter: “Let’s make a cake – just like Nerdy Nummies!”

Me: “Huh?”

My 10 year old daughter: “YouTube, Mom, come on…” *commence rolling of the eyes*

Unbeknownst to me, my girl has been watching hours of Nerdy Nummies on YouTube. And, she put it to good use – she made a chocolate cake, frosted it, put frosting in a plastic baggie and decorated it all fancy – all by herself.

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Cooking with kids: Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s that time of year again – holiday time, autumn harvest, Thanksgiving, pumpkins. Time for baking! This is our favorite Pumpkin Cake – moist, delicious, easy to bake, and ALL the kids will eat it. Frost the whole thing with the yummy Cream Cheese Frosting, or only half, for the folks who like it plain. I also love this recipe, as it only makes a few dirty dishes: 1 bowl, 1 spatula, beaters. Easy peasy.

Have your little ones help with the measuring and pouring. But don’t them lick the cake beaters, due to raw eggs – the cream cheese frosting beaters, they can lick, and lick, and lick.

CAKE:

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (or 1 small can) of pumpkin

  1. Pull out your mixer, beaters, a large bowl, and a rubber spatula.
  2. Beat together eggs, sugar, and oil.
  3. Mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Then add gradually to egg mixture.
  4. Add pumpkin last, and beat well.
  5. Pour into 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (no less).

FROSTING:

1 stick butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese (I microwave it for 15 seconds or so)
2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (a.k.a. 10x sugar / confectioners sugar)

  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together.
  2. Gradually add in vanilla and powdered sugar.
  3. Beat well.
  4. Frost cake when it is cool (warm is okay, but if the cake is too hot it melts the frosting and makes it look weird).

Photo: by Pumpkin Passion.

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Cooking with kids: Angel Food Cake

Summertime means easy and light cooking. And of course, angel food cake – light, sweet, fluffy, no fat, delicious with seasonal strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. And a dollop of whipped cream.  This is officially our favorite summer dessert:

Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Step 1:  Separate eggs. Put the egg whites in large mixer bowl. Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes. (If your kids are helping separate the eggs, have them break each egg into a small bowl. Then, if the yolk is successfully separated and there is no yolk in the egg white, you can easily pick out any egg shell bits. Then, dump the small bowl of egg white into the large mixer bowl.  You don’t want ANY egg yolk in the egg whites.)

Step 2:  Sift powdered sugar and flour together 3 times and set aside.

Step 3:  Add cream of tarter, vanilla, and almond flavoring to egg whites.  Beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form (medium to medium-high speed). Watch carefully, for when soft peaks just begin to form.

While continuing to mix, gradually add granulated sugar, about 2 T at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. (Don’t over beat.) Remove from mixer.

Step 4:  Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the beaten egg whites and fold in gently. Repeat, folding in remaining flour by fourths.

Step 5:  Pour into ungreased 10″ tube pan. Gently cut through batter with a table knife to remove any large air pockets. Level the top.

Step 6:  Bake 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees until golden on top. (Don’t open oven until the cake is done).

Step 7:  When done, immediately invert cake, and cool thoroughly in the inverted pan. Gently loosen sides of the cake from pan and remove.

Now, top with fresh berries and whip cream, and enjoy!

Note:  If you don’t have an angelfood cake pan, you can make this in a 9 x 13″ pan, but reduce cooking time to 30 minutes.

Another Note:  My mixer bowl isn’t very large, so I end up dumping the beaten egg whites in an XL bowl, then folding in the flour. Otherwise, it gets a bit messy.

Photo by DailyCraft(I’d love to get a photo of an angel food cake we make, but, it gets eaten so fast… by my little angels…)

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Cooking with kids: Chocolate Brownies

I wish I could post a picture of the delicious Valentine’s Day chocolate-y brownies that we made. But, we ate them all. (I lightly sprinkled confectionary sugar over a lacey, heart-shaped doily. It was pretty. Really.)

We’re trying to cut desserts down to Sundays only, but sometimes a little chocolate is absolutely necessary. This easy, delicious, fudgy brownie is made from scratch, and is based off NattybyDesign’s recipe. No more store bought brownie mixes for us! This recipe is simple, and can be made with stuff already in your pantry.

If there’s any leftover – wrap them individually and stick them in the freezer for kid lunches during the week.

Chocolate Brownies

Mix together:
1 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar

Add, then mix:
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

With mixer running, toss in:
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour

Bake in a greased 13 x 9 pan at 350 degrees: for a metal pan, bake for 25 minutes; for a glass dish, bake for 35 minutes.

(I grease the pan by wiping the bottom with the empty butter wrappers.)

Best. Brownies. Ever.

Photo by Roboppy.

 

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Cooking with kids: Banana bread (or muffins!)

Here’s a tasty, easy recipe for you to make with your kids for banana bread or muffins.  If you’ve got 3 overripe bananas, everything else you probably already have in your fridge or pantry.  We make double this recipe at least once a week, and it’s a favorite of the kid’s friends.

This is a fun recipe for little ones, as there’s measuring and pouring, mixing, and operating a blender.  (Noisy!)  It’s a good idea to use this opportunity to teach about blender safety.  (Also, no licking batter with raw eggs is another good rule.)

Makes:  3 mini loaf or 6 large muffins or 12 regular muffins.

Equipment you’ll need:

Blender
Large bowl
Rubber spatula
Mini loaf or muffin pans

Prep:

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray your pans with cooking spray/oil.

Step 1:  mix dry ingredients in large bowl

2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Couple shakes of nutmeg

Step 2:  mix wet ingredients in blender

2 eggs
½ cup (1 stick) softened butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar

Blend; then add one at a time to blender while running:  3 overripe, peeled bananas.

Step 3:  pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Mix.  Put in pans.

Step 4: Bake

Regular muffins – 20 minutes
Large muffins – 30 minutes
Mini loaf pans – 40 minutes

Photo by foodpr0n.

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