When it’s raining or cold and you don’t want to be outside, it can be tricky to keep little ones entertained.
I love spending time cooking in the kitchen but am always looking for quick and easy recipes to cook and that I can involve my children in – I think it’s a great way for them to learn where their food comes from and what goes into the food they are eating as well as practice skills like measuring or pouring as well as clearing up after themselves! They also tend to be much better at eating the food they have created so we’re often experimenting with different flavours or ingredients.
You can make a whole day out of it and be as creative and adventurous as you like. Depending on the age of your children you can get them involved in simple or more difficult tasks (it’s probably safer though to leave the knives until they are a bit older, for your sanity and their safety!)
You can let them choose a recipe (I usually have two in mind and my toddlers chooses their favourite for us to cook). This can also make a trip to the shops much more interesting (and less frustrating for you and them!) as they want to be there to find “their” ingredients.
Bear in mind though that cooking tends to take a little longer with children and they can lose patience and interest quickly especially if you have younger children or you’re not prepared. I have a 4yr old and 2yr old so I tend to chop or measure out some of the more tricky ingredients in advance so when we’re cooking it’s a fun activity rather than one of us getting frustrated…I know that as they get older, things will be quicker and they can be involved in some of the more challenging preparation activities!
Also be ready for mess! Things WILL be spilled, flour goes everywhere and there’s probably all sorts that ends up on the floor but that’s half the fun right!?! You could get them to help clean up too so they learn that there is no magic cleaning fairy! (Wouldn’t that be nice!)
The great thing about our jewellery collection is that your accessories can be popped in the dishwasher too so you don’t need to take off your jewellery to enjoy a messy baking session with the kids!
Here are a few of our favourite recipes – I’d love to know yours though so pop them in the comments below and I’ll let you know how I get on making them!
Quick and easy oat & raisin cookies
This cookie recipe from Anabel Karmel is a firm favourite with my children and, for us, it’s the right balance of speed and ease. There is some sugar in this recipe, but you could easily make some adjustments. For example, we swapped the golden syrup for honey and I reduced the sugar content by half and replaced with homemade apple puree for more natural sugar sources.
- 100g (4oz) butter
- 75g (3 oz) demerara sugar (or ½ sugar ½ apple puree)
- 1 tbsp golden syrup (or honey if you prefer)
- 50g (2 oz) ground hazelnuts
- 75g (3 oz) raisins
- 100g (4oz) self-raising flour
- 100g (4 oz) oats
- pinch of salt (optional)
- Preheat oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3
- Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup into saucepan and heat until melted
- Stir in the raisins, nuts, flour, oats and salt if using
- Mix together until it forms a dough-like consistency
- Shape into small balls and flatten slightly onto a baking tray (this mixture usually makes around 12 cookies)
- Bake in the oven until the cookies are lightly golden (approx 10-12 minutes). They do tend to go a bit hard if left too long so make sure you keep an eye on them!
- Leave them to cool on a wire rack
Did you know?
- Raisins are a good source of calories and fibre plus are great for a quick-release of energy (watch you don’t have too many though as the sugar content can be high).
- Oats are great for longer-lasting energy and help stabilise blood sugar levels. They are also rich in fibre that helps to protect the intestine lining and keep cholesterol levels down.
- Nuts are a good source of vitamins, minerals and protein as well as being good for longer-lasting energy.
If you’re looking for a savoury option then marmite snails or cheesy twists are super easy. All you need is some puff pastry, marmite and / or cheese. I prefer to buy the ready to roll pastry as it’s easier with little ones and keeps them interested!
- Pre-heat oven to 200C
- Roll out the pastry into a thing rectangle
- Spread marmite (however strong you like it!) over the pastry
- Roll up the pastry up from one side to form a long “sausage”
- Brush the inside of the far edge with a thin wash of milk and press onto the “sausage” to seal
- Slice the “sausage” into pieces approx. 2 cm wide
- Place each “snail” on to a pre-greased baking tray, leaving space for them to puff up
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown
- Once ready take out and leave to cool slightly
- They are delicious warm but can be eaten cold too
Cheesy twists can be done in the same way as above (or mix the two together for a cheesy marmite feast!) but instead of rolling into a sausage, cut into strips about 3 cm wide then twist the pastry before placing onto a baking sheet and painting lightly with a milk wash.
Spinach and feta muffins are also a favourite for us and make a great snack or even breakfast muffin. They can also be frozen so you can save them for a later date or for picnic lunches. (you can also add chopped tomatoes if you want something extra)
- 100g frozen spinach
- 75g feta cheese
- 100g cheddar cheese grated
- 250g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 60ml olive oil
- 240ml milk
- 1 ½ tsp mixed herbs
- black pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C and grease muffin pan
- Thaw spinach with a few zaps in the microwave
- Meanwhile measure flour, baking powder, grated cheese and mixed herbs into one bowl and add some cracked black pepper to season
- Measure the milk and olive oil into a smaller bowl. Add eggs and whisk together with the spinach
- Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ones until just mixed
- Crumble the feta cheese into the mixture
- Divide the batter into the muffin tin
- Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until just turning golden brown
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before taking out of the muffin tin (you may need a rounded knife to loosen gently) then cool further on a wire wrack
If you’re little one needs an apron, we have included some gorgeous cotton ones in our Children’s Gift Sets to help keep your little one clean whilst creating magic in the kitchen.
I would love to know how you get on with these recipes or if you have any other favourites? Pop them in the comments below, I'd love to give them a try!
If you love chocolate but are looking for a healthier version of the classic chocolate brownie to make with children, give this one a try... the fresh raspberries make a very tasty addition!