Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Meal Plan plus...

First, two crockpot reviews. Both two thumbs up! Beef Stroganoff and Pulled Pork. Visit Kelly Noel's blog b/c she shared both in one post and her family liked them too {which prompted me to make both in just one week}.

Monday: Bagels & Cream Cheese for the girls, Turkey Sandwich for me, fruit for all {Dave is working late and we have soccer + dance}
Tuesday: Baked Chicken Casserole {chicken, cream of chicken soup, topped with prepared Stovetop Dressing}, chicken nuggets for the kiddos, and a veggie
Wednesday: Hamburgers and Sausage on the grill, sauteed onions and peppers
Thursday: Pasta {I have to make a dish for the Teachers' Conference at school so I will reserve a bit at home for us, most likely a version of Baked Tortellini} + salad and garlic bread
Friday: ??

Dan, a wonderful gentleman from the Primrose Schools asked me if I would be willing to share an article about cooking with children. My girls love to cook with me, especially to help prepare baked items like cupcakes and brownies but they also enjoy preparing the batter for pancakes and other items. Oh, and pudding. They are expert pudding makers :) I still hesitate to allow them to do much on the stove top but honestly they seem content in the prep department for now.

From Dan:

Family Safety: Cooking with Children

Submitted by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, they have helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early child care services and education.  Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Dan has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.

The kitchen is a fascinating yet dangerous arena for a child’s curiosity with its activities and aromas. However the threat of potential hazards lessens when children are taught to be aware of the dangers and risks posed in the kitchen. There are many kid-friendly recipes that can be used when cooking/baking with your preschool child. Children do not need to be swept out of the kitchen when you are cooking. Instead engage your child, no matter what age he or she is, and teach them something new while spending time together that might otherwise be lost.

Dr. Mary Zurn, vice president of education for Primrose Schools, says time spent in the kitchen is a great way for families to share their day and thoughts with each other. Children develop a sense of responsibility and family by sharing in daily tasks. They earn a sense of self worth when taking part in helping to prepare meals.

Not only can children learn basic skills in the kitchen, they can also begin to learn the importance of nutrition. It may seem a bit early to be teaching a toddler about nutrition, but it is never to early. The earlier on in life children learn to eat healthy the more of a habit and less of a struggle it will become. For example, allow your child to take part in preparing his/her lunchbox. This will give your youngster a sense of accomplishment. When he or she opens the box at lunchtime they will feel proud of what they created, nutritional value aside.

1. Plan meals with the children’s capabilities in mind. Begin by assigning them simple things to do. Bringing a pot holder to the cook shows them the need for it. Think about what needs to be done each section of the meal. Opening boxes and pouring ingredients into a bowl are satisfying to a little one. Laying biscuits in a pan, adding sprinkles to sweets or shaking parmesan cheese onto pasta are other safe, satisfying tasks children can easily accomplish.

2. Set some ground rules as they learn to be aware of their surroundings. Children need supervision but even more so when they’re in the kitchen. Teach children to wash their hands before and after handling food to prevent illness. Remind them not to touch their face, hair or family pet while cooking. Tell them why handles of pots and pans are turned inward on the stovetop while cooking. Show them how to pour over the counter or sink so it won’t end up on the floor. Keep kitchen drawers closed so food doesn’t end up inside them. Simple rules but it’s the little things that mean so much.

3. Build up skills step-by-step. Increase their involvement of food preparation as they grow, teaching them how to read recipes and hone their math skills with measuring ingredients. Checking the flame or temperature in the oven are essential tasks in the kitchen. Knife handling should only be done by older children with proven coordination. A potato peeler or cheese grater is an easier task but still can be dangerous if not handled correctly. As they increase their knowledge and talents, they become more comfortable with the cooking process and may want to complete a dish or meal on their own!

4. Keep it fun. By giving them tasks in the kitchen they can do and do well, they’ll want to help instead of wandering off. A rushed meal is not fun, orders issued during cooking is not fun. Remember you are the adult, they are still learning. Setting the table can be daunting and overwhelming. Give them examples. Create menus with the children in mind. Every-so-often bake a cake or whip up cinnamon buns on a whim and invite them to help. Most importantly, give appreciation to your child by remembering to thank them for their contribution.

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1 comment:

piyush ranjan said...
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