Because I had five children so close together, it was important to me to have them learn independence in the kitchen at a young age. The sooner they learned how to cook and bake, the sooner my load was lessened! Plus, the kitchen is the heart of the home and it's important to me that they are a part of it.
Starting around the age of 2 or 3, my kids and I began baking together. They learned how to read measuring cups and how to stir. They got a dull knife around that time to help chop softer vegetables and fruit. At about 5 years old, they learned how to use the range and sharp knives. This is an age where developmentally, they are able to focus more on how to hold their fingers when using knives and pay attention to safety.
As long as an adult is present, each child is able to make their own eggs every morning, according to their preference. They are fully capable!
We are a homeschooling family and every Wednesday, we have a tradition of making something. It can be stressful for a parent to let children help in the kitchen, but if you start from the beginning with high standards, they are sure to follow. With my children, we have a rule that the best chefs and bakers clean as they go. They know to wipe down counters, wash bowls, and sweep flour from the floor. Usually, by the time the item is in the oven or on the stove top, the rest of the kitchen shows no evidence of the chaos that took place prior! This strategy has helped me to give my kids more freedom in the kitchen.
The children all have a few favorite recipes up their sleeves and if I'm ever in a pinch with work or other responsibilities, they are capable of making dinner for the family! It's such a treat!
If you have young ones, I'd encourage you to stretch yourself a bit and know that your children are more capable than you think. Keep in mind that not too long ago, young children were running kitchens, tending to farms and helping their parents in great capacities. Our children have the ability to do the same, only we have the luxury of teaching them for convenience and recreation, not out of necessity.
As we wrap of the end of the summer and the garden is full to the brim with zucchini, we figured we would share one of our favorite zucchini bread recipes.
Gluten Free Zucchini Bread (adapted from Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix)
- 2 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado or coconut oil
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups of drained and grated zucchini
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix, cinnamon, salt, ground cloves, coconut sugar and white sugar in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, zucchini and lemon zest in a separate bowl.
4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes (about 45 minutes for convection ovens).