Many of our holiday traditions started in our childhood kitchens cooking with family. Whether we decorated sugar cookies or helped baste the turkey, the moments spent preparing meals together were instrumental in shaping who we are as moms and home cooks today. We now find ourselves in our grown-up kitchens getting ready for the holidays, cooking and baking with our own children.
This holiday season, we urge you to invite your kids to cook with you. You’ll see how it makes them more appreciative of the food you’ll be serving for holiday meals and proud that they helped you in the kitchen. You’ll also be starting a meaningful tradition. Invite a grownup friend and her son or daughter to cook with you and your kids. It’ll feel like a party! Since it can be hard to see your friends at this busy time of year, you’ll appreciate that you’re getting something accomplished while spending time with some friends.
Think of neighbors, teachers and friends while cooking together with your kids and teach them the value of giving during the holidays. From our experience, nothing beats the gift of food, especially made by small hands!
Here are some tips to get started cooking with your kids at the holidays:
1) Decide who and for what purpose you’d like to cook or bake.
2) Let your kids be involved in the planning of what you’ll make together.
3) Bring your kids on the shopping trip. Walk down aisles at a store like Sam’s Club and choose items and menus together. Let them select some festive ingredients to give your food a holiday touch.
4) Make sure little kids can see what’s happening. Pull out a stool or chair for them to stand on.
5) You don’t need to have official small-sized kitchen tools, but give a little thought to the equipment by letting your kids use a special spoon, colorful measuring cups or unbreakable bowls.
6) Teach beginning chefs a few basic skills such as breaking an egg, mixing, and pouring.
7) Help more advanced cooks learn to measure their own ingredients and create their own recipes. Make sure to write them down!
Involve kids in the cleanup too, and let them taste test a bit along the way.
(Obviously, you need to be very careful of sharp knives and hot ovens. But don’t worry too much about the mess. It’s all part of the experience.)
While there are so many foods that are fun to cook with kids during the holidays, we’ve put together a list of our top ten absolute favorites.
1) Granola (see video and recipe below)
2) Holiday Bark
3) Decorated Spritz Cookies
4) Peanut Brittle
6) Candied Nuts
7) Hot Cocoa Mix
8) Gingerbread houses and people
9) Cranberry Scones
10) Cinnamon Buns
Make sure to check out Sam’s Cooking Club at www.samsclub.com/cookingclub to get more ideas for recipes and money-saving cooking tips. And, most of all, enjoy cooking with your kids and friends this holiday season!
Making Granola for the Holidays
Alison & Shannon