My kids love to help in the kitchen from a really young age. I have memories of baking muffins with my first, when she was about 17 months old. She was sitting on the counter, helping stir the batter. Back then, with only one child, doing things like that was easy-peasy. No other children were running around between my legs, in circles around the kitchen nearly cracking their skulls on corners, or arguing about who’s turn it was to stir or pour in more ingredients.
Those were the days.
Now, my oldest is less a willing helper, but I find it more urgent and important that she learns how to cook. She’s ten. She can handle the stove, she can cut some things, so can measure and read a recipe. All good steps in the right direction. But can she cook dinner? On her own? Nope, not yet. But you better believe that I am going to have her, and her sister, able to prep and cook some simple things by this fall, and fully confident of their abilities to feed themselves by the time they move out. At least on the second part I have 8-10 years left! And then of course, I want the boys to be able in the kitchen, also. I’d much prefer knowing they can boil water, cook meat, and prep veggies when they leave home, than worrying how much ramen they’re eating and when they’ll finally figure out how to use the stove. So far, my 6 year old can make a sandwich for himself, so we’re getting somewhere…show and steady, right? 😉
With the newest addition arriving in September, at least one kiddo going back to school, and the rest still homeschooled, dinner is one area I KNOW I’m going to need help, and need to simplify as much as possible for a few months. I know my mom and I will prep lots of freezer meals before-hand, and I know friends will want to help and bring meals, which is amazing. Still, there will be nights that dinner will need to be made and I won’t be able to do it.
Thank goodness for older children, who are already on their way to cooking independently! And for a nifty, clever new e-book (affiliate alert, but I think you’re really going to like this one) “Simplified Dinners for New Cooks“.
Mystie wrote this not only for people who really are new to cooking and need some really simple but tasty ways to get dinner on the table, but also as a tool for parents teaching kids to cook! I LOVE IT.
I’ve been teaching the kids to cook for years…but I didn’t have a simple system.
It was “here, help stir” and “now you can pour this spice in…no, it’s not spicy, it’s flavor!” and “try measuring this on your own, you know how to read fractions now.” We’ve picked recipes together. We’ve prepped meals together, but as for making it seem like something they could do on their own, short of following directions on a mac and cheese box…we’re not there yet. We used to have a routine of one kid being “the” helper for one meal each week, when I would take extra time that night to teach skills like cutting and using the stove…but it’s been since before Christmas when we last did that.
“Simplified Dinner for New Cooks” makes this easy. There are even suggested recipes for the first few times I let my girls run the kitchen entirely on their own. All the recipes and instructions are simple follow, simple to customize, and quick to prepare. It’s like a how-to from someone who has been-there-done-that (and Mystie has, her older children prepare meals regularly…and they aren’t too much older than my own girls). The whole e-book is, for me, a manual in teaching my kids simply, and giving them basics. I was (sadly) lost on just starting from simple. It was–and is–fun to pick recipes of favorite meals together, but let’s face it: fajitas aren’t a simple dinner. That’s a lot of chicken to cut! I love prepping that meal with my girls, but to let them do it on their own? Not this year. I will, however, feel great about letting them make some of these dishes on their own by the end of this year.
Do you know how amazing that will be?!I can’t wait. I hope they will be just as excited as I am, since 8 and 10 are great ages for kids to earn some more independence and responsibility. I’m looking forward to the crock-pot recipes (which are customizable! You can’t beat recipes that give you basics and then let you flavor how you wish!), the “chicken-in-a-pot” recipes (which need little more than adding all the ingredients to a pot and then sticking it in the oven), and the side dishes. I don’t know about you, but I have a horrible time remembering sides. There are directions in this e-book for sides that will go well with nearly any of the main dishes. Win! And, even though the book doesn’t have a breakfast section, there are two recipes which will be breakfast/brunch winners: an omelet and cinnamon muffins. SO YUMMY. So, what’s holding YOU back? I’m about to go plan some dinners with my girls. Right now.
To make this even sweeter, there is a special launch discount code for the e-book: newcooks15. It is valid until March 6th, 2015. Don’t miss out! If you are looking for simple ways to teach your kids to cook (or need a gift for a high-school senior? Or college senior? Or anyone who would benefit from simple tips to boost their kitchen skills and build their confidence) this is the tool for you.
UPDATE: Winner announced!
AND Mystie has offered one copy to one of my readers! Just enter the Rafflecopter and wait for the winner to be announced. It could be you! Don’t worry if it’s not; the giveaway will end before the discount so you’ll still have a chance to pick it up at a great price.
a Rafflecopter giveaway