What's to Look Forward to in Fall?

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Today is the first day of school for my big girl. After months of a heavy work schedule, I was sure that come this day, September 5th, I would be happy to finally get some time to regroup and recover from the summer. 

 

However, when the bus pulled away this morning, I felt so sorry for myself that I would be without my best girl all day! I cried softly as I returned to the house and saw the "back to school" sign I made. The house felt so empty! 

 

After an hour or so of nostalgia and watching everyone's "First Day" pictures on social media, I managed to get myself going. I went about cleaning the house and moving effortlessly from room to room without anyone following me! I was even able to get some work done before going to the school to drop off (ALL THOSE) school supplies and going to the grocery store.

 

We are now officially back-to-school, and it seems to me that summer might have actually not happened....I mean, the temperatures here in NY have been chilly, and folks are talking about Halloween already! The bathing suits and summer clothes have been (mostly) put away, and the pools are closed and the schools are open!

 

But, there is something I remember from the past few months...all of the eager lil' chefs that I had the chance to meet and cook with this summer! They ranged in age from 4 - 11 and I had the pleasure of working with several teen and pre-teen interns, too!

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Together, the interns and I taught the kids what it's like to create a meal! It's like creating art that you get to eat! But there are definitely some rules to follow!

 

So, I put together some tips that I hope you will find helpful when you have some time to cook with your chefs at home!

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5 Tips for Cooking with Your Kids

 

1) Measuring Matters. Most kids weren’t aware that there were 2 different ways to measure ingredients. They often used the liquid and dry measuring cups interchangeably. I showed them the clear measuring cups that measure liquids and my colorful dry measuring cups. This is one of the mysterious rules of cooking that they seemed to get after a few reminders!


2) Cut down the flour and sugar. When little arms need to get into bags of flour or sugar in order to measure, make it easy for them to reach by cutting down the bags holding the flour or sugar a bit once the supply diminishes a bit.


3) Use small spoons. When the recipe calls for small amounts of spices, like a ¼ teaspoon, make sure to have a small spoon (or butter knife) on hand.  Why, you ask? Well, if you give a child a measuring spoon and a jar of spice (think cinnamon, cumin, etc.), 9 times out of 10, they will flip open the top of the spice jar and attempt to shake the spice out with the hopes of getting enough into the spoon.

 

An easier and more cost-effective way of using spices, is to show them how to open the jar so they can reach in a small spoon (or butter knife) to scoop out enough to fill a small measuring spoon. 

 

4) Push it away. Peeling vegetables is something that even toddlers can do if shown the right way. Show them the blade, and let them know it has to be flat on the vegetable, and tell them they can’t touch the metal part with their fingers or it will hurt. Start with carrots, and try to avoid apples until they’re more advanced. Show them that they need to push the peeler away from them towards the end of the vegetable. I often repeat the little refrain “push it away, push it away, push it away and push it away!”

5) Scissors for snipping. There are some herbs that are easier to snip with a scissors rather than cut. Herbs like scallions, parsley and dill come to mind. But if you’re using mint, don’t cut the leaves because they’ll turn brown! Just rip those!

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That's it for now! Did you find the tips surprising? Do you have any tips you can add to the list?