Ask any parent—whether they’re in the office, work from home, or work in their home—and they’ll all probably tell you that the most important thing is quality time with the family.
I’ve always believed that there’s no quality time like the time spent around the dinner table.
This is often the only meal families have the time to eat together. It also gives everyone a chance to catch up and talk about their day. This is the experience I had as a young girl and one I have with my family nowadays too.
Another thing any parent will tell you? Getting your kids’ interest and keeping it is basically an Olympic sport!
When it comes to any new adventure, in the kitchen or outside it, it’s important that your kids enjoy what they’re doing. On the flip side, coming up with new ideas to keep them entertained can be nerve-wracking as a parent—trust me, I’d know :)
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few ideas that will have your kids elbow-deep in entertainment and give you some time to put your feet up for a well-deserved break. Try these recipes with your kids and enjoy a dinner that has plenty of love and warmth in it!
Tomato sauce: As parents, we know the struggle of trying to get our kids to eat as healthy as possible. While tomato sauce may not seem like the most exciting recipe, it will give your kids the chance to make a healthier alternative to that usual bottle of Heinz.
This is also a great base for a ton of other recipes like pasta dinners, pizza, homemade fries—the sky’s the limit!
Tacos: What’s not to love about tacos? They’re fun to make and to eat!
That’s why this is a great recipe for any family dinner. The whole family can get involved in choosing their favorite toppings. Your kids will also have plenty of opportunities to get creative with the construction of their tacos.
Ramen: I’m a big believer that the best way to learn about new cultures and countries is around a dinner table.
When you teach your kids to cook, you get to introduce them to new worlds, literally and figuratively. Trying new things, whether it’s tacos or ramen, will help them learn more about the world around them. It also helps them broaden their palates, which means less fussy eaters—an added bonus!
Risotto and salad: One way to make your kids eat more veggies—put it right next to a bowl full of pasta :)
This is a winning combination in my household and it’s an easy way to add more color to your dinner time! Once your kids learn how to make one salad, you can open up the field to a whole range of options. Veggies are much easier to swallow once they learn how to make them more fun.
One-pot Mexican skillet: Nothing cuts down on clean-up time like a one-pot dinner recipe!
This is a fun way to show your kids how easy cooking can be, even if you don’t have an arsenal of tools in your kitchen. The discovery that they can make a whole dinner in just one pot will change the way your kids see food. It will also help them see just how easy cooking can be.
Help your kids kiss boredom goodbye!
Whether you’re introducing your kids to a cooking class or teaching them yourself, remember to encourage them to have fun in the process!
If you’re ready to introduce your children to the kitchen, here’s my #1 tip from one parent to another: Always make cleaning up a step in the process. It’s definitely the recipe for a cleaner kitchen and the likelihood of you letting your kids back in it :)
If your kids have been indoors for the most part over the last few months, as a parent, it’s entirely possible you may be worried about all the time they spend playing video games or browsing the internet.
As a mom of two, I can tell you that I worry about the same things. I’ve found that it’s hard keeping kids engaged while they’re at home. There’s always the temptation to leave them to their own devices—literally!
My kids love doing different things. One way I managed to get them on the same page and keep them off their tabs and phones was—you guessed it—cooking. I took them to the kitchen and helped them make some of the things they love to eat.
In the midst of baking lemon tarts, apple roses and other favorites, I showed them why I love cooking and why I do what I do.
Since I evoked a love of cooking in them, (cooking and baking being my love language), this is also the way my kids, now adults, take care of me. They cook for me on my birthday and for Christmas, they whipped up probably the best steak dinner I have ever had! (Of course, I paid for it all, but I did not have to cook!!!).
If your kids are cooped up at home for any reason and you’re finding it hard to guide them to more purposeful pastimes, learning to cook could be a great way for them to spend their time.
Kids cooking classes help your kids have fun—the good kind!
As a teacher, this is what is most important to me. I want the kids that learn from me to have a good time and look forward to their cooking lessons.
Kids cooking classes can help your kids work through simple, easy recipes and give them a rundown on kitchen basics, like safety tips and cleaning up. They learn useful skills including how to cook, how to clean up, and have a great time, all at once!
Your kids learn to trust themselves and become confident in the kitchen (and everywhere else)
In my opinion, one of the biggest benefits of teaching kids how to cook and how to tackle a recipe is that they learn how to make decisions and trust themselves.
These, as I’ve learned, are the foundations of confidence. It’s something the school system just doesn’t teach our children.
Kids cooking classes fill this gap. When they’re conducted online, your kids are also exposed to their own kitchen. This doesn’t sound like much but the truth is that getting to know your kitchen—where your utensils are, how your stove and oven work, and the ingredients you have—gives your kids the knowledge they need to feel like they’re in control.
Your kids become more creative
For me, one of the best things about cooking for kids is that it teaches them to think on their feet.
This is something I learned from first-hand experience. It wasn’t just travelling around the world that helped me tap into my creative juices; it was all the experimenting I did with food and different cuisines.
Kids cooking classes will tap into this element of exploration and help your kids see your kitchen as a cooler, much safer science lab! Trying out different recipes, playing with different ingredients, and learning to think on-the-go in the heat of the moment will help your little ones unlock that part of their brain that allows them to think like dreamers.
Last and certainly not least—kids cooking classes give you a little breathing room!
If you’re still working from home or you’re just keeping your kids at home these days, keeping them occupied—without worrying about whether they’re up to mischief!—is easy with kids cooking classes.
The beauty of this is that while your kids have fun and learn, you get a much-needed break. I used to feel guilty thinking that as a mom, I shouldn’t need a break. The truth is that everyone, especially parents, needs to rest and find time for themselves.
For me, the only way I can do this, guilt-free, is by making sure my kids are having a great time too.
Getting started is often the hardest step when it comes to anything new.
I’ve met countless people who tell me they can’t cook or bake to save their life. More often than not, these people have had a couple of bad experiences in the kitchen or have tried a recipe that was way out of their depth, scaring them out of the kitchen for good.
Like I tell all the great, talented kids who learn from me, the scariest part of baking, for a beginner, is getting started.
Here are seven baking tips that will work if you’re just starting out or want your kids to enjoy the thrills of baking! Good luck :)
1. Have fun!
2. Don’t skip the preparation
3 .Learn your way around the kitchen
4 .Take your time
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
6. Bake what you love
7. Again, have fun!
Does this look like fun?
It sure does, doesn't it! Baking and cooking is so much fun and eating it afterwards is even better.
But it also makes a big mess and we are going to talk about that today.
Listen, I know how hard it is to clean up, I have to do it every day. And its not always fun, is it?!
But I promise you, when you also clean up the mess you make, your parents will much more likely let you bake or cook.
Also, a clean kitchen is something every chef prides him or herself in. A clean kitchen is a good start and a great end to every dish you create.
Here is how I do it, when I don't feel like cleaning up. (I do this usually when I put whatever I bake in the oven).
I put on a song I love to listen to, I plug in my headphones and clean up as much as I can until the song is over.
First I put all the dirty dishes in the sink and soak whatever needs soaking. Then I put all the ingredients I used back where they belong. (If you don't know where they go ask your parents, or leave them in a neat stack on the counter).
Next I wipe the counters down... (oh, but maybe the song is over, then start another one).
Now I have two thing left to do.
I wash the dishes or put them the dishwasher, dry them if I hand washed them and put them away. Lastly I sweep the floor. And viola, I am done and it rarely takes me more then two or three songs.
That wasn't so bad, was it?!
This is what my sink looks like after a class. Be glad that is not what your kitchen usually looks like.
As a mom I am filled with joy when my kids cook or bake something on their own.
Most of the time they also leave me all the dirty dishes, leave the ingredients on the counter and a huge mess on the floor and work space. When I work with my students I encourage them to keep their surface clean and put the ingredients back where they belong. Cold things back in the fridge and dry ingredients in their proper place. Having a rag that they can use is helpful. Having pride in a clean surface is what I try to teach, as a professional baker I have to constantly clean up my work surface and I try to instill that pride in them as well. I tell them that you also eat with your eyes and a clean kitchen is a kitchen one wants to eat from! Enjoy these tips and come back for more, I'll always be here for questions, too!
Are you ready to learn? If you are going to hone in those baking skills, egg cracking is not just important, it is super fun! Even if you're only 3-years-old, you're ready to crack a whole carton of eggs into a bowl. Let's get started!
Start with Lots of Supplies
Are you cracking eggs for the first time, or are you a seasoned egg-cracker? Either way, cracking open a whole carton of eggs is the best way to become a pro. Let's practice:
For bowls, something sturdy with enough weight to it is always best, so hop to the cupboard and find the best bowl you can!
Let's Get Cracking
Now, hold your egg with both hands long ways so that there is some empty space in between your fingers. Get a good grip before making your first crack, eggs can be slippery!
Time to crack!
Tada! Don't worry if the yolk breaks the first few times or if you make a mess, that's what practice is for! Keep at it until you can confidently crack an egg right into your bowl.
Bonus Tip! Separate the Egg Whites from the Yolk
Have you mastered egg cracking already?! Watch this fun video on separating the egg whites from the yolk! There are many ways to separate egg whites from the yolk, but this water bottle trick is especially fun. Enjoy!
I love my homeschooling groups. We have such a nice time baking together. In our homeschooling series I let the kids decide what we bake each week. I feel like it is a good way for them to think about what they want to put in their body and what they are inspired to do. Also it gets them thinking about recipes and possibilities and some of the time crazy recipes show up that even I had never tried making before. I encourage creativity and brain storming.
Some of our cakes.
Before we parted, the kids tasted each flavor of the cakes and we discussed the difference. This is important to me, because I want the kids to become aware of flavors and mouth feel.
And if you need proof.... yes your kids do the dishes here too! :)
I can't wait for next week. We will start making Fairy houses!
Today we made petit fours.
Petit fours are sweet little cakes, decorated with a poured icing and in this case marzipan flowers.
One of the cakes the kids made was chocolate and the other one vanilla.
We filled the cakes with raspberry jelly and butter cream, cut them into 1.5" squares and cooled them in the freezer for a while so that they became hard.
Here the kids are making little delicate flowers out of marzipan that we dyed with food coloring. The smaller the decorations the fancier the petit fours look.
Very carefully the cakes are drizzled with a poured icing and then decorated.
I think they turned out really nice! Bon appetite!
I had an amazing time at Cafe Schoenleben, with Martin Schoenleben, master pastry chef, from my home town Puchheim, Germany. Puchheim is just west of Munich and he owns the last real bakery in that town. All the other bakeries there are chains and bake previously frozen Pretzels and bread rolls.
Not so with Martin! He is the sweetest man and he loves to share his knowledge with people.
Check out his blog here: (it is in German, but it's worth a look)
Here we are in front of Cafe Schoenleben:
I contacted Herrn Schoenleben before I left the US to travel to my hometown and he was all for meeting with me. I dropped by briefly to schedule a time with him (and to buy some baked goods, of course) and we quickly came to the conclusion that I needed to learn how to properly make bavarian Pretzels, or Brezen as we call them.
After a quick trip to Berlin I met him at his bakery where he had the dough already prepared and an apron and hat for me at the ready.
He got to work and taught me how to properly "throw" a Pretzel.
First he cut and weighed the dough into four pieces. (it was a lot of dough)
Cafe Schoenleben makes 300-400 Pretzels a day!
Then he flattened each dough ball and pressed them in this machine that cuts the dough into even pieces.
Each of those smaller pieces now goes through another machine to roll into these "sausages"
And then we get to work by hand.
Each of the smaller "sausages" get rolled into longer strands, approximately 60cm or 23 inches.
then each strand is thrown, by a left hand motion to shape the Pretzels. I will show in my upcoming video on how to do that.
This is what they are suppose to look like!
After letting them sit for a few minutes, we dipped them into Pretzel solution, sprinkled them with salt and baked them.
The solution we dipped them in is part Lye and part water, so it is quite dangerous and requires you to wear and apron, gloves and safety glasses.
At home we would use baking soda and water, which also does the trick. :)
And here are what they looked like when they were fully baked!
Beautiful and delicious! Freshly baked Brezen!
They were so pretty I even made my kids pose with them!
Thank you Martin! For taking the time and teaching me your wonderful craft! I will cherish it forever!
Until next time!
We had fun making these cookies and it tested our geographic knowledge. I started shaping South America and the kids thought I was shaping Africa. Then I got all confused and need to look it up.
The dough was super simple and it really doesn't need any chilling but of course you can pop the dough in the fridge if you want to make the dough ahead.
Just let it come back to room temperature before rolling it out.
SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 pinch salt
green & blue food coloring
Here is a template of the globe in case you need a little guidance. In our class we just let the kids come up with their own world. But it would also be a great geography lesson.
Oh my, we had so much fun today at the Women's Expo!
Bake Austin hosted 6 workshops and talked to countless ladies. The place was packed and our workshops were so popular we had them full 1 hour before each one started.
We tried making as many people happy as possible and we had 81 people take our workshops in total today. We made succulent cupcakes and I think everyone had a great time, I know I did!
I tell you what, today taught me this: "Do not stand between a woman and her cupcake!"
Before founding Bake Austin, Pascal Simon earned her degree as a Pastry Chef from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. A mother of two, Pascal is passionate about cultivating the next generation of bakers and welcomes children from all schooling backgrounds, whether public, private or homeschooled.