I want more feed…

I poorly planned breakfast around here this week and this morning was left with the option of rice….or rice.  I sometimes make rice and serve it with milk, honey and cinnamon.  My dad introduced that concoction to me years ago.  My kids love it.   

So this morning, my two year old sat on the kitchen stool talking away about all the usual things he likes to talk about, occasionally pausing to check up on me and make sure I was making him breakfast.  I bring out the big burlap bag of rice and plop it on the counter.  He’s quiet for a moment while he looks inquisitively at the big bag.  He’d never seen it before. Or at least he’s never seen me use it in the kitchen for breakfast. 

Then he says, “Mommy, we having peed?  I don’t want peed.  Pigs eat peed! “ 

Since I speak two languages: English and 2 Year Old English … I understood that the 2 year old English word “peed” is a double meaning word depending on the context in which it is used.  “I peed on the floor” is different than “we having peed?”.  I’d much rather hear the later usage than the first usage!

I understood that he was asking if we were having “feed” for breakfast and if we were, he wasn’t eating it.  He’s a farm boy and knows full well what a big burlap sack is for– feed for the pigs or chickens. 

I assured him it was people feed even though it looked like feed for the animals.  He wasn’t sure at first but after I fixed him a warm bowl of cinnamon, honey rice with milk and butter….he soon said, “I want more peed, please!”

Basic Tortilla Recipe using Basic Pantry Ingredients

Here is a basic tortilla recipe that we use all the time!  These tortillas are super easy to make too!  It is so easy to mix up that your children should be able to mix this up with a little coaching.  This tortilla recipe contains a few key ingredients that every pantry should have on hand at all times.   Homemade tortillas are much healthier than store bought tortillas.  These homemade tortillas contain 5 simple readable ingredients as opposed to the long list of unpronounceable ingredients in the store bought tortillas.  They are very tasty too!  My children love fresh, hot tortillas with a dab of butter and honey for dessert! 

You can also refrigerate or freeze homemade tortillas.   

Recipe: Basic Tortilla Recipe

Summary: This is a super easy tortilla recipe that makes wholesome tortillas with simple ingredients.

Ingredients

3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
4 to 6 Tablespoons of oil
1 1/4 cup of warm water

Instructions

  1. Mix together in a bowl with a spoon.
  2. When it sticks together enough to become workable, knead it with your hands a few times until you have a soft workable dough ball.
  3. Let the dough ball rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Separate into 10 to 12 dough balls.
  5. Press and cook in your tortilla press. If you do not have a tortilla press, you can roll them out like tortillas and cook them in a skillet…a few seconds on each side.

Variations

I use 1/2 ground wheat flour and 1/2 white flour.
I use olive oil usually, but you can use lard or butter.

Makes 12 good size tortillas  (note:  the picture above shows smaller dough balls for smaller tortillas)

Tips:

I always make 3 dough batches (36 tortillas) when ever I make this recipe.  However when doubling or tripling, just make separate batches.  This will allow your first dough batch to set for 10 minutes while you make your 2nd dough batch…then while making your 3 rd dough batch, your 2nd dough batch can set.  By the time you get finished making your 3rd dough batch, you can start pressing and cooking your first dough batch. 

Kitchen Tasks and Chores For Children ages 9 to 11


This is part 3 of the series, Kitchen Tasks and Chores for Children.  The first article was for children ages 3 to 5, the second article was about children ages 6 to 8 and this one, I will be again, focusing in on our 9 to 11 year old daughters.  I am blessed to be now reaping the benefits of having a 11 year old daughter who has been raised in the kitchen and is now blessing me daily with her wonderful kitchen contributions of making fresh bread, breakfast, cookies and a host of other meals.

Here are some thoughts on encouraging your 9 to 11 year old daughters in kitchen tasks and chores.  By now, she is really a viable asset to the kitchen workplace.  Each year that goes by, she is leaping ahead in her skills and knowledge.  She’s able to cook a variety of items and is venturing into her own creativity.   Not only have the early responsibilities matured her, but she is building on those early skills and transferring her knowledge of past kitchen failures into productive learning experiences that have launched her abilities farther than most grown women today.

Here is a taste of what you may be able to expect.  Remember these ages are not saying that she must know how to do this and that at this age, it is just a guideline.  Everyone is different.  I still mess up the coffee.  My 11 year old makes better coffee than I do!

  • She finds much enjoyment as she expresses her creativity in how she decorates the table, folds napkins, arranges flower vases and centerpieces.  We found the library a helpful resource for finding table decorating books, napkin folding books, flower arrangement books and kitchen cookbooks.
  • She may cook a breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, pancakes and sliced fruit.  She may add tea cups and a teapot of herbal tea to the breakfast table.
  • She also can make a variety of other breakfast type foods: cooks sausage patties, makes waffles, toasts bagels, cooks oatmeal, cooks grits, cheese omelets, french toast, fruit salads, smoothies.
  • She can make coffee and sweet tea!  She’ll probably like to make lemonade too and a variety of other drinks.
  • Can cook lunch and some supper dishes: pasta, a variety of grilled sandwiches, make salads and dressings, bake potatoes, mashed potatoes, prepares frozen and canned veggies by heating them properly.
  • Other cooking skills like boiling a whole chicken and frying hamburger.
  • She follows more complicated recipes and is learning all sorts of tips and tricks to becoming a good cook.
  • She can thoroughly clean the kitchen.
  • Knows how to operate the appliances in the kitchen safely.
  • She’s learning how to write a meal plan and plan a grocery shopping trip around items needed.  I started letting my 10 year old daughter write all the breakfast meal plans.
  • Is learning and mastering price comparisons, learning couponing and how to buy certain foods.  You have to take your daughter with you to the grocery store and use it as an opportunity to teach and train her.  Point out prices, point out size, point out ingredients.  They will pick up these little lessons very quickly.
  • Learning the art of bread-making mastering several skills in making dough, pie crusts, quick breads like muffins and loafs using items such as bananas, berries, dates, nuts etc in quick breads.  If you have a bread maker, teach her how to use it.
  • Well versed in creating appetizers for church functions, parties, hospitality: makes deviled eggs, chip dips and salsas, dressings and veggies, crackers and sliced cheese trays.
  • Well versed in making desserts.  She’s following recipes to make brownies, cookies, bars.
  • She is in the kitchen more often by herself as well as still standing by your side being taught how to take her cooking basic skills and advancing those into actually creatively cooking casseroles, soups, meat dishes, gravies and more complicated meals as she grows in the coming years.
  • She can be a great help to you when you are canning.  Teach her how to can using a water bath and a pressure canner.  I gave my 10 year old a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving and she loves it!  It’s a wonderfully done book that we used all summer and fall for canning applesauce, green beans and a host of other garden veggies.  We’ll be using it more this year too.
  • She can create and keep a folder or notebook with all her favorite and most used recipes.

For those who live on a farm, like us,  there are a lot of other things she can do. If she has access to raw milk: she can take over the milk responsibilities in the kitchen. She can filter the milk, ready the milk for cold storage and thoroughly clean the milking pans and filters for the next milking.  She can be put to the task of making butter for her family and learns how to use the other by products of raw milk — buttermilk, cream and even the sour milk. She can be responsible for collecting and cleaning eggs from her chickens and growing items in the garden. She may not be strong enough yet to milk a cow, but she is old enough to care for and milk dairy goats.

Think creatively and think out side the box.  Don’t assume that a 9 to 11 year old daughter just needs to play all day.  You will find that when you challenge and encourage her, she will thrive and blossom.  As with the youger ages, loving patience will go a long way.  We’ve had many wonderful burnt cookies, flat bread and bland noodles!  Relax, don’t expect perfection.  Cherish the effort and lovingly guide.  You will be glad you did!

Kitchen Tasks and Chores for Young Children Ages 3 to 5 Years Old

I have fond memories of being in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother.  They weren’t persnickety about having a child make a mess out of putting muffin batter in the muffin tins.  I cooked and baked with them from a young age and spent many hours in the kitchen as a teenager concocting many desserts from my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook.  I was welcomed into the kitchen and learned how to do many things from a young age just because they thought I could and allowed me to!  Too many times, we assume our children aren’t old enough!  Welcome your children into the kitchen.  It’s a great teaching tool with lots of fun things to make and create!

I’ll start off this Kitchen Tasks and Chores Series with ages 3 to 5.  I have two more segments, ages 6 to 8 and ages 9 to 11.

There are so many kitchen tasks and chores that a young children ages 3 to 5 can do!   Here are some of my favorite tips and some of my girl’s favorite things to do in the kitchen.  One note:  young boys also like to help mom in the kitchen.  My boys love to stir, mix, dump, roll.  If you have young boys, they can also be involved in helping you cook and bake and experiment in the kitchen!

  • They absolutely love to sit and watch me cook or bake.  Many times they pull up a stool, watch and ask a ton of questions!
  • They love for me to fill them a soapy warm water sink and put dishes in it for them to “wash”.
  • Teach them how to crack an egg.  We’ve had some really good, funny times teaching our 3 to 5 year olds how to crack and egg!
  • Little ones love to pour and stir! In many of the things we are baking, they pour and stir most of the ingredients.  If I am making a more complicate meal or baking something that needs specific attention, many times I make the girls a little bowl of their own with water and flour and let them mix up their own dough!  This gives me the ability to focus on my tasks but includes them into the kitchen work as well.
  • It’s very important to remember to talk and explain while you are cooking or baking.  Talking over their heads about cups, teaspoons, half and whole, liquid and dry, sweet and sour is not too advanced for their little minds.
  • At 3 to 5 years old they can start really contributing to the cooking and baking process.  Have them mash the bananas for the banana bread!  Teach them how to grease the pans.  Show them how to put muffin papers into the muffin tins.
  • At 3 to 5 years old, our children have learned how to unload the dishwasher.  Because I have placed all my child plates, cups and bowls on a low shelf, they are able to put these items away.  They can set the other dishes up on the counter for a bigger person to put away.
  • They love to retrieve things from the pantry!  If you will involve them in putting things away in the pantry, they will learn where a lot of things are located.  Ask them to retrieve relatively easy items to get, handle and remember.
  • Have them help put away groceries after your grocery store trips.
  • 3 to 5 year olds love to open packages for you!  Have them open the tea bags, frozen vegetable bags and pasta bags.  Teach them how to use clips, twisty ties and zip lock baggies.
  • You can also teach a 3 to 5 year old how to put soap into the dishwasher.
  • They can learn how to hold a broom and how to start learning how to sweep.  Sweeping develops coordination, focus and awareness of things around them.
  • Wipe down lower cabinets and appliances.  It isn’t necessary to use harsh cleaners when cleaning your cabinets and appliances.  You can use sponges or cloths with a bit of warm soapy water or a vinegar wash solution to give to your children for cleaning chores.
  • Little girls love to shuck corn and shell peas.  They are also very helpful in the garden picking beans, squash or tomatoes and other garden vegetables.
  • With my help and supervision, I start letting the girls handle a knife and operate a hand held non-electric can opener.  They like to cut up boiled eggs, cut huge olives, cut green peppers and mushrooms.

These are things that young children enjoy doing and enjoy learning about.  I have found that introducing things to young children can be a very exciting time for them.  They are learning how to be big and they embrace the task or chore with enthusiasm when you offer them encouragement!

Think about other kitchen tasks and chores your young children like to do or could possibly do.  Give it a try and see how they do!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat