Math, Projects, Science

Cooking with Kids – Pizza

I believe I mentioned before that letting your children help out in the kitchen, while hard on your counters and floors, is beneficial for them in multiple ways.

Pizza is a great way to let them help out. They can do it all (make the dough, roll it out, put on toppings) or just help with the toppings.

I use the American Test Kitchen pizza dough recipe, it makes a small pizza so I normally double it. I let my 3-year-old help dump the measuring spoons, help me count scoops, and press the buttons on the processor.

Combine 1 cup BREAD flour, 2/3 tsp instant yeast, a little salt. Add 1 tbsp oil and then slowly add up to 7 or 8 tbsp of water until it forms a ball and is no longer sticking to processor. (By slowly, I meant you should run the processor every few scoops to see how it’s mixing.) Take it out and knead it a bit and form a ball. Let it rise in a covered bowl for an hour and then roll out and add toppings. I bake mine at 375(F) for 10 minutes, or until all the cheese is nice and gooey and the crust is starting to turn golden. You may need to change the cooking time and temperature based on your toppings.

It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it is fun! Let your kids in on the joy of cooking. They may even want to help wipe down the counter when they are done. (Mine did not, they wanted to eat the rest of the shredded cheese, resulting in my having to vacuum when the 1-year-old started dropping cheese everywhere.)

Math, Science

Happy Chocolate Chip Day! 

According to National Day Tracker, today is National Chocolate Chip Day. What better way to celebrate, than by baking some chocolate chip cookies?

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These home-made cookies follow the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in my favorite cookbook, The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook by American Test Kitchen. (Available from Amazon)

I had Mr. 3 help me make these and they turned out wonderful! There are so many benefits of cooking and baking with your children! Here are a few that I discovered today:

  1. This is a great way to practice MATH skills. We talked about so many different math things including, but not limited too: Measuring, Addition, Subtraction, Fractions. We also counted our 12 cookies before we baked them. And we counted again after we baked them, and ate two.
  2. We read the recipe together, and we talked about how the recipe was broken down into different parts. We read the ingredient list and talked about all the funny abbreviations and the weird way they write the measurements (fractions). We talked about the importance of following directions.
  3. They get to practice their gross and fine motor skills when measuring, scooping, pouring, and mixing. They have to practice being firm but delicate at the same time in order to not make a mess. The downside is that it does take a while to get these skills.
  4. There are science skills involved too. Watching the ingredients come together, or watching them interact in the oven and evolve into something we can eat is amazing. Also, we talked briefly about food safety and how baking the cookie dough makes it safe to eat.
  5. We practiced being patient while we waited for the cookies to bake.
  6. We discussed how cleaning up is part of the cooking and baking process. He helped me clean up by bringing the vacuum and helping me clear the floor of toys. He also helped me do laundry and we put in his shirt that was covered in flour.
  7. We were rewarded for our hard but fun work with super amazingly soft melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies.

The more I think about this, the more benefits I can come up with. How about bonding with your child over something you both love? Or your child feeling useful and proud for making something so amazing? We need to remember that cooking is an important life skill, and we probably learned how to cook from our parents. Baking may not be a life skill, but it is similar to cooking and may help children get an introduction to the kitchen in a way that is pleasing and rewarding.

Besides, it was time to vacuum and wipe down the table anyways.

KidsHealth.Org has a great article that shows simple ways to include your little ones in the cooking or baking process. This includes giving them skill appropriate tasks such as scooping, pouring, mixing. If they are more skilled, they may even be able to crack eggs. My 3 year old likes to use the vegetable peeler on carrots or cucumbers. They also suggest cutting soft food with cookie cutters. Older children may be able to do more things. Trust yourself and your children!

I hope you have the chance to eat some cookies today.