• Tracey Shaffer: Cooking with kids during the holidays

  • Cooking with kids can be loads of fun all year long, but there is something about gathering your kids in the kitchen during the holidays that is extra special.

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  • Cooking with kids can be loads of fun all year long, but there is something about gathering your kids in the kitchen during the holidays that is extra special.
    Many families have a favorite holiday recipe that they make, like baking cookies using festive holiday cookie cutters or making homemade pumpkin pie. If you have a favorite recipe that you make every year, make it a family affair, set aside the afternoon and round up the kids to do some cooking.
    There are several ways that you can involve kids in the kitchen. The first thing that you need to consider is safety. Fire up the stove, but never leave young children alone to cook, chop, stir, slice or dice. Teach them to steer clear of the stove and don’t forget to turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so that little hands can’t grab them. Now that we’ve reviewed the safety issues, let’s look at how each child can participate.
    There are lots of tasks that little ones can help perform while making your favorite holiday food. They can stir fruit into gelatin, or mix muffin batter, or wash vegetables, or pour stuffing into the bowl. Wherever you decide to involve them, explain all the steps along the way. Use this opportunity to talk about their favorite foods, particularly what they like during the holidays. Tell them what you made as a child during the holidays. This is a special time to re-connect with your family and you will be creating lifelong memories. Don’t forget to take photos of the kids while they are preparing the food. The family will enjoy looking back and seeing how much fun they had in the kitchen.
    After you’ve completed your feast, light up the tree, turn on the holiday music and have a picnic in the living room. However you decide to spend the holidays, use your time in the kitchen wisely to create wonderful holiday food, as well as memories. Try this rich chocolate caramel bar for something easy and delicious.
    2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
    3/4 cup flour
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 cup trans-fat-free stick margarine, melted
    1/3 cup chopped pecans
    1 pkg (1 lb 6.5 oz) fudge brownie mix
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup canola oil
    2 eggs
    Caramel ice cream topping
    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom only of 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray. Mix oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and baking soda in bowl; stir in melted margarine. Reserve 1 cup oatmeal topping; stir pecans into reserved 1 cup oatmeal mixture. Press remaining oatmeal mixture in pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool. Stir brownie mix, water, oil and eggs until well blended. Spread evenly over baked oatmeal layer; sprinkle with reserved oatmeal/nut mixture. Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean. Cool 2 hours.
    Page 2 of 2 - To serve brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Drizzle caramel topping over top of each brownie right before serving.
    Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.

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