A Few More Little Bites

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In addition to reading lots of books about food, I’ve also been involving Skoogie in the kitchen more...taking a few more little bites along the way. The more I thought about it, she hasn't spent as much time alongside us cooking as O. So on the days that we don’t have to rush somewhere she loves putting on her chef hat, apron, and pushing a chair to the counter to dive in. It is a way for her to take ownership, experiment, taste, and gain more exposure to the foods we eat.

Ownership

Each week I’ve been letting her pick out a recipe that feature ingredients she likes. She helps get the ingredients from the garden, farmer’s market or grocery store and usually helps make the meal. By getting involved, she takes pride in the final result, usually eats better, and meal time has become more fun.

Experiment

Yesterday, as I was cooking dinner, Skoogie said she wanted to make something too. Although it generally means things EVERYWHERE, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for her to experiment and create along side me. In fact, there were no squabbles amongst overtired siblings and I could focus on finishing the meal while she did her own thing.

She decided to make tomato soup. She put water in a bowl, dropped in some cherry tomatoes, grabbed some herbs and start mixing. Then she said…“I need a phone to know how to make the soup.” I laughed and thought, learning from example. You see, I typically pull up the weekly menu of my blog on my phone for recipes. “I told her we could get one of her phones, a cookbook or she could create a recipe in her head.” She went and found her C is for Cookie cookbook and found a picture of tomato soup.

As she was finishing she exclaimed, “I sure made a mess!” Again, I had a chuckle, a sigh and a smile. But dinner was ready and there hadn’t been any major issues during our typically pre-dinner witching hour. Not to mention the pride she gained in making her soup de jour.

As I pulled the last things together for our dinner, she went over and sat at the table, laying her head down and said, “The Chef is Tired.” I'm sure you can relate!

Taste

Cooking with Skoogie also provides time for her to try foods as they are being prepped. As the hunger munchies are setting in, it is a time that she can munch on ingredients that are part of our larger meal. It’s a great way to compare, contrast and get kid’s opinions. What does the carrot taste like when it is raw, compared to when it is cooked? Which do you prefer? Does the soup need a little more salt? We've been making some salad progress with the question - can you dip a piece of lettuce in the dressing and let me know if it needs a little more oil or vinegar?

Exposure

Cooking in the kitchen has also provided greater exposure to vegetables and other ingredients. Recently a friend gave me an overgrown zucchini that we’ve been using lots of different ways. I knew Skoogie would love it in muffins and she was eager to help make them; she especially liked grating the zucchini in the food processor. Before even biting into them she said, "These smell good mom." It also provided the perfect Segway to trying zucchini fritters and fried zucchini spaghetti later in the week! When serving the meals I reminded her how much she liked the zucchini muffins and she was more willing to take a few more of those Little Bites.


Zucchini Muffins

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

1 ¼ c Whole Wheat Flour or Oat Flour (for gluten-free version)

1/4 c Sorghum Flour

1 c Buckwheat

1 1/2 t Baking Powder

½ t Baking Soda

1/2 t Salt

3 t Cinnamon

Dash of Nutmeg

Dash of Ginger

2 T Flax Meal mixed with ¼ c warm water (Stir & let set for 5 minutes) or 1 Egg

1 ½ Overripe Mashed Bananas (Approx. 1/2 cup)

1 c Buttermilk (If you don’t have on hand, mix 1 T vinegar with 1 c milk and let sit for 5 minutes.)

6 T Agave

2 T Coconut Oil (Melted or canola)

1 T Butter (Melted)

1 t Vanilla Extract

2 c Shredded Zucchini

Directions:

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients and then add to dry. After mixed well, fold in the zucchini. Scoop batter into greased muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

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