It has become remarkably apparent to me over the last couple of months that some of the best loved times spent in our family are those spent baking, making dinner, sharing a homemade snack or learning through spending time in the kitchen. I think I suspected learning how to create different combinations of food would have a bit of a magical effect and have read a fair bit about how getting your kids into the kitchen helps them eat better, appreciate food and learn lots of great basic life skills.
But, it was the smiles and sense of accomplishment we shared this holiday season, the passing down of traditions and creation of new ones, the great eating that made it all come together for me. One of my big New Years resolutions for 2011 is to spend more time with the big kids in the kitchen.
Before we ring in the next 365 stretch, though, there are some seriously fun ways to spend some time together whipping up some tasty snacks. I wanted to share some of our recent adventures.
One really great mom-kiddo food adventure we tackled this year was making our own candy. This is so easy it will make your head spin and the results are truly lovely. All you need is some bakers chocolate, candy molds (from local kitchen stores) and some space in the freezer.
You just melt the chocolate, put them in molds and freeze for about 30 minutes. You can stay simple or get fancy making peanut butter cups and other filled candies.
We spent a whole day making these this year and I had to suck it up and begin to trust the 5-year-old near the stove. The results were fantastic.
This had a few great moments:
1. We established more trust between us and it gave her a sense of trust in herself.
2. It was a fun way to spend some quality time together on a rainy day.
3. She learned about having to be fairly precise and slow as she filled the molds. That is a first.
4. Everyone who ate the candies complimented her on them.
The second thing we did this season was tackle a baking project that I’d never made and was relatively complicated for either of our skill levels. I REALLY wanted to start a Winter Solstice tradition of baking a Buche de Noel and found a fantastic recipe for it on the blog Tenacious Lace.
Our daughter was so excited about baking a “fancy cake that looked like wood.” I just hoped it wouldn’t taste like a tree. We planned it out, went to the store and shopped for ingredients and came home to see if we could accomplish our first Buche.
We both spent the afternoon a bit giddy putting it all together. She cracked eggs, measured flour, helped me pour it out on to the pan. It seemed a bit magical to try something together in the kitchen for the first time.
I joke now that we have made one of those desserts that the family will say “We are going over there. They are making the Buche de Noel.” It was the most memorable part of our holiday season for both of us (other than the Star Wars toys the kiddo got from Santa).
Our time in the kitchen has brought us together in ways I could not have even imagined. It’s a New Years resolution I will have no trouble keeping.
About the Author (Author Profile)Robin Rivers is Our Big Earth’s Publisher and Sr. Partner. Able to survive on coffee alone. Often can be found leaping tall buildings with the help of great friends. Predisposed to odd hats and the color orange. In love with imagination, her kids and that crazy guy who married her.
Sites That Link to this Post
- A Helping Hand to Create Family Holiday Traditions | Our Big Earth | December 13, 2011
- Holiday Baking Recipes for the Non-Baker | Creating Traditions | December 3, 2012