After posing the question to a group of first year university students as to when they thought kids should be introduced to the kitchen many of them suggested the sooner the better.
Several had no recollection of ever helping their parents cook in the kitchen and were still at a loss on how to use many ingredients and kitchen tools, the prospect of holding a French knife was intimidating.
The thought of my son answering the same question in the same way in another 15 years or so prompted me to include him in kitchen activities at an age when he would begin to have good memories of the room where he spends the majority of his time… the kitchen.
Whether playing, asking to be held (yes still) or watching me prepare food that eventually comes to his plate it’s not uncommon to hear him express a “wow” each time he sees a different ingredient or utensil being used.
Tuesday’s have become our baking day and I consider myself fortunate to be able to spend some time home with Holden during the week. Choosing a recipe where his little hands can be useful, Muffins, Scones and Breads are among the choices which become breakfast and snack options for the week.
Lately he’s ventured into dinner time prep including layering the spinach in lasagna and sprinkling cheese on top of bean enchiladas. And that’s not all as I make sure he pulls his (small) weight in washing the dishes as well.
No secret that baking in the kitchen with a two year old will slow you down in prep time, cooking and clean up. I can’t help but smile (after I let out a small cry) when I see sauce stains on my white walls but in the end it means we’ve just spent quality time together!
Here’s a simple recipe to get you into the kitchen with your kids, it’s never too late or early!
Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
(Adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine 1998)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat half white)
¼ cup full flake oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
½ cup honey (I used ¼ cup for a little less sweet muffins)
½ smooth or chunky peanut butter (I used natural to avoid added sugar)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400F. and line 8 to 10 muffin cups with paper liners
- Stir first 4 ingredients in a small bowl to blend.
- With electric mixer beat banana, peanut butter, eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl.
- Slowly beat in flour mixture just until mixed.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Transfer muffins to rack; let cool.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- The best way to start when cooking with a toddler is to organize and measure all ingredients beforehand. This means one episode of Paw Patrol for Holden while I get to work.
- Although this recipe makes 8 good size muffins I stretch it to 10 making a good portion size for Holden. Make 12 for children with smaller appetites.
- Mixing in some flaked coconut and a few chocolate chips just before placing batter into cups adds texture and extra deliciousness!
- Since kids will naturally want to touch everything it’s a good idea to wash hands before as well as after.
- Talking them through each step explaining what you’re doing adds to the experience.
The Learning Tower
My life changed the day I came across this Idea on Instagram.
Known as the “Learning Tower”, it’s a modification (or “hack”) of a basic Ikea stool which allows Holden to get up and close to the action while keeping him safe. No more carrying him in my arms to include him in what I’m doing.
If you want to learn how to make one, here’s a place to start.
A big thank you to Holden and Elizabeth for this special guest post although I do sense some stiff competition coming my way Holden!