Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Deadline Recipes :: Let the Kids Do It!

Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke thinks food tastes better if she didn't have to make it, and twice as good if she doesn't have to clean the kitchen after. And someday, this will happen at least once a week, in her very own house!
I have a girlfriend whose daughters make dinner. All. The. Time. I know, right? Dinner is prepared and cleaned up after by other people. People she created. It's one of the reason's I adore her, she's made these kids that I want to have, or at least fashion my brood after.

So how was it that the other night she got to have lasagna and homemade bread without spending all day in the kitchen - or even at home? She claims the simple secret is to foster a love of cooking when they are young. That's it.

Okay then. The boy has an EZ Bake oven, now what? Because that gadget is more work than it's worth, and now that light bulbd are phasing out, I'm not sure how long it will be able to not actually cook the frozen cookie dough.

Start small, with something the child can have ownership of. And, let them choose it. Well, I've tried to get my boys interested in green beans and pasta...but they're all about the wheat. My tall boy loves the idea of making bread. I think because it is both scientific and magical...and because I cheat. We use the breadmachine dough cycle, and he can turn this 'homemade' dough into whatever he wants. Bread, pizza, challah, cinnamon rolls, even pizza pockets. I'll take help with anything.

My small boy is equal parts wheat, butter, and sugar. My pastry-chef in the making can think up a great cookie. He'll even do the measuring, mixing, and taste-testing with little help. But...he's challeneged when it comes to cookie size. So, he gets a little help there.

Everyone praises the kids on whatever they make, and they do a great job so no one has to feign enthusiasm. My boys know what they are good at, so much so that my youngest decided to enter his cookies in the county fair.

The whole idea made me nervous. I've worked so hard to build this boy's confidence, I didn't want him hidden behind the junior division 4H geniuses. So, I hedged his bets and let him make 6 kinds. He really enjoyed the process of coming up with cookie ideas and making 6 batches in one day. When the fair opened, we checked on his entries...and the boy won 4 blue ribbons! I think I was as happy as he was. He also got a 2nd place, which he was glad about so he'd have differnt kinds of ribbons.

Now, he wants to make his 'winning' cookies for everyone...which had me wondering if the county fair has a casserole division. Just think, by this time next year, I could get out of dinner duty all together!

HAYDEN'S EASIEST PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 egg
1/2 cup of your favorite mix-in

Blend, form into 12 cookies. Use a fork to press cookies flat and make those peanut butter cookie marks on top. Bake 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Hayden's award winning mix-in? A chopped up milk chocolate bar. Other favorites include, chocolate chips, mini m&ms, bacon & honey roasted peanuts.
Jenna's dealing with line edits, waiting to hear back on a new story, and finishing the road trip book right now. Until it's ready, be sure to check out her latest. Private Scandal is ripe with secrets, sass, and sensational sex. Keep up with Jenna's spin on things on her website & blog

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