‘Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the house…preparations were underway for the special visitor who would be bringing presents down the chimney. We put out carrots for the reindeer – the boys got to choose between regular sized carrots or baby carrots (it was regular this year). We also put out egg nog and cookies for Santa. The kids were upstairs playing, but we didn’t have any cookies. I put all of the ingredients and reminded them that we had cookies to me, and they came flying down the stairs to help.
We made peanut butter kiss cookies, and those are a lot easier when you’ve got helpers. I put the butter in the mixer, and then we all measured out the sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar. They each cracked an egg while I added the vanilla. While that mixed, we mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, which we then added to the mixing bowl. They rolled the cookie dough into small balls while I cleaned up a little. Funny how much chaos you can create in a kitchen with sugar, brown sugar, and flour. Then they rolled the first batch in sugar and put them on the cookie sheets and started baking while they got to work unwrapping the kisses.
Tip #1: When you have to unwrap a lot of candies for a recipe, put a small trash bowl on the counter for the wrappers. The work space stays neat, and all you have to do to clean up is throw the contents of the bowl into a trash can.
Tip #2: To keep the tips of the kisses from breaking off, put them on a plate after you unwrap them. That way, they are kept out of the way and are less likely to be damaged.
After we were done baking the cookies, the chefs had to make sure that they had turned out all right. After all, you have to make sure that the cookies are good enough. The kids declared the cookies Santa-worthy, and they also decided to take some to their grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner.
On Christmas Day, Santa brought D a wonderful gift. The Curious Chef makes safe and appropriately sized cooking items for kids. D now has a caddy with 30 kitchen tools that he and his brother can use when they cook.
The package included a shopping list, so he asked me to help him pick recipes we could make. Food Network has a page on their website called Cooking With Kids, so we decided to start there. We decided to start with a variation on Sloppy Joes. Before going to bed, he wanted to get a few other recipes. We started looking at side dishes. He loves pumpkin bread, so when we found a recipe for that, we added those ingredients to our shopping list. He wanted to put another main dish on his list, so he started talking about steak. Our church cookbook has a fabulous flank steak marinade recipe, so we’ll add that. Then he saw turkey meatballs on the site and wanted to try that. So now we have three recipes to try.
D’s birthday is in January, so we went to the website to see if there are any other cooking items he wanted to order for his birthday. He’s leaning toward the baking set that includes a muffin pan, silicone liners, and decorating tools. I told him I had seen a recipe for homemade peanut butter cups that called for silicone liners because paper ones would stick to the candy.That’s another recipe on his list to try.
Looks like my young chefs will be wrapping up 2013 in style and getting 2014 off to a great start.