Tag Archives: cooking


8 Dec

I love brownies for two different reasons. Well, the first one’s obvious. :0) The second reason I love brownies is because they are easy to make and the perfect way for kids to learn important skills.

Boxed brownies are a perfect way to introduce young children to cooking. Following the directions for making brownies is easy for readers and non readers because some of the directions are usually shown in pictures. Your child will learn math skills when they measure and time the baking process. Measuring, pouring and stirring work on hand-eye coordination, fine motor and large motor skills. The most important skill your child will learn is life skill. Everyone should know how to make a delicious pan of brownies!

Cooking with Kids

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Make a Date with Cranberries and Digest Some Good Feelings

23 Nov

Our guest blogger today is Sharon Rudnitski the creator of Cook Up a Story. An early interest in kitchen pleasures inspired Sharon to earn a degree in food science. A Gold Harvest award capped her 35-year publishing career with Agriculture Canada, for a national science program she led for children. Now Sharon enjoys bringing her stories, recipes, and healthy-eating messages privately to kids in the community. Sharon lives with her husband in Ottawa, Canada, near her grandchildren, whose ticklish taste buds challenge her at every meal to come up with good food that’s fun to eat.

Dates and cranberries make great friends. They contain minerals and molecules that your body loves. Dates have amazing amounts of potassium, which banishes the blues. Cranberries are full of nutrients that fight disease. Natural sugar in the dates plus fiber in the oats mean instant energy with benefits. These date and cranberry squares make a super healthy breakfast or snack choice with fuel that lasts. Best of all they taste DElicious, especially with a dab of vanilla yogurt. Learn more about how to rein in your sweet tooth. Read Cook Up a Story.

½ bag (500 grams) pitted dates
1 bag (340 grams) fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries, rinsed and with stems removed
4 cups oatmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼  tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar

large saucepan with lid, large bowl, wooden spoon, measuring cups and spoons, 2 nine-inch square pans

Get ready…
1. Put the dates in the saucepan. If using dried cranberries, add them too. Then add boiling water – just enough to cover their tops. Let them soften for 10-15 minutes.
2. If using fresh cranberries, rinse and take off any stems, then add them after the dates have softened.

Get set…
1. Gently stir the fruit over medium heat until the dates and cranberries form a soft paste (about 5 minutes after they come to a boil). Do not overcook as you want to see the different fruit in your squares). Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
2. For the crust, measure the remaining ingredients and mix them together in the large bowl. Sprinkle one cup of the crust mix into each pan.
3. Add half the cooled fruit mix to each pan, slowly, as the mix is thick and gooey. Use the flat of a large spoon to flatten and spread the paste. Then top each pan with one more cup of the crust. Let cool completely, then put in the fridge.

Cut into squares and serve with your favorite low-fat yogurt (optional, but a tasty and protein-rich addition).
Recipe adapted from one given to Vinny by France Laliberte. Thanks, France!

Healthy snack ideas from SMU.

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Simple Times

20 Oct

Did you know that October was National Popcorn Month? I know, we learn something new every day. But when I think of popcorn and this time of year, it reminds me of the popcorn balls my dad liked to make at Halloween. Although my mom hated the sticky mess, and the clean up was difficult, it was definitely a simple fall activity that I remember to this day.

I can clearly remember the event of making popcorn balls. It was always a cool fall evening, and my brother and I had spent the whole day playing outside, running from house to house, not soccer game to soccer game. We had finished our nightly family dinner, the fire in the fireplace was blazing, and my brother and I had finished watching  It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, on one of the four channels that we could get.  When the show was over, we’d gather in the kitchen and start popping the corn. (No, not in the microwave, silly! We didn’t even have one of those then!) My mom would warm the oil in her big, green pot on the stove. Then, she poured in the popcorn. The lid was place on the pot as if a secret was about to happen inside the large pot. As kitchen air filled with the smell of warm oil, we waited; waited for the sound of the first kernel to pop. Once we heard the magical first pop, we knew the rest would not be far behind. POP, CLINK, CLINK, POP, was the sound the kernels made springing around inside the pot, forming into delicate white clouds. Before we knew it, the sound would slow, and popcorn would cause the lid to rise. The sticky fun was about to begin.

My dad mixed the syrupy concoction while my mother smeared margarine all over our little hands so the stickiness wouldn’t be permanent. The popcorn was poured and mixed into the sticky mess. Next, we dug in and began to form the popcorn into baseball-sized orbs that would really only be enjoyed by my father. My mother would wrap the finished products in plastic wrap and set them on the counter; many of which would be hard as a rock when they were finally eaten.

I don’t know how long the process took, and yes, it was a process. But to us kids, it was simple fall activity, filled with sounds and smells that will be forever ingrained in my memory. I will never make popcorn balls with my kids, but we have plenty of our own simple fall traditions that I know they will remember when they have their own family. What simple fall traditions will your kids remember?

I Scream, You Scream

14 Oct

Summer’s over, but I’m a firm believer in eating ice cream no matter the outside temperature. Since today’s is National Dessert Day, I’m going to find every reason to have some dessert that includes ice cream today.

My family loves dessert, too, especially these easy-to-make ice cream (of course) sandwiches. They’re so easy that you can get your kids involved in the fun with you.


  • 1 package chocolate chip cookies (we use Chips Ahoy)
  • Ice cream of your choice
  • Sprinkles or small chocolate chips
  1. Take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften while you place the sprinkles and chocolate chips on plates.
  2. Stir the ice cream so it softens evenly.
  3. Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of ice cream and put it on the flat side of one cookie.
  4. Put a second cookie on top of  the ice cream and gently squeeze.
  5. Roll the edges of the ice cream in the sprinkles or chocolate chips.
  6. Put the ice cream sandwich on a plate in the freezer.
  7. Set out a few minutes before serving.
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