Tag Archives: cooking

Now You’re Cooking!

Cooking is a wonderful family activity on so many levels. It help build kids’ confidence and creativity, encourages math skills, teaches about cause and effect, builds hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, increases the chance that they’ll eat healthier foods (unless all you ever make is dessert), and more, But most of all, it’s just plain fun. Here are some terrific products that will make cooking with your kids, well, a piece of cake.


Kitchen Tools and Utensils (Curious Chef)

curious chef-The brilliant minds at Curious Chef have a huge line of attractive, easy- (and safe-) to use, kid friendly kitchen tools that includes just about everything they (and you) could possibly need to measure, roll, cut, slice, dice, fold, knead, whisk, beat, strain, and otherwise prepare delicious meals. They even have recipes! Everything is designed to fit in little hands and to streamline the cooking process (our favorites are the color coded measuring cups, which all but eliminate measuring mix-ups). Prices vary. http://curiouschef.com/


Kitchen Accessories and More (Totally Bamboo)

cuting board - tree of lifeBamboo has become the go-to material for people looking for beautiful, high-quality, eco-friendly kitchen accessories. And no one does it better than Totally Bamboo. Their flatware is a stylish, reusable alternative to disposable cutlery. And at only $4 per set (fork, spoon, and knife), it’s a bargain. They also make mixing bowls and plates, but we especially loved their Tree of Life laser-etched cutting boards ($60), that feature images of exotic and endangered animals. See their whole collection at http://www.totallybamboo.com/


Fiesta Dinnerware (Fiesta)

fiesta luncheon plateEventually, all that meal prep will be over and it’ll be time to eat. And you’ll have tough time beating Fiesta for serving your edible creations. Fiesta has been around a long time—you may even have inherited a set from your parents or grandparents. And while the range of sizes and colors (which include plum, lapis, scarlet, and lemongrass), the quality remains the same. Everything Fiesta makes is dishwasher-, oven-, microwave- and freezer safe, and has a 5-year warranty against chipping (which won’t happen with normal use). Luncheon plates are $10.99 each. Prices for other items vary. https://www.fiestafactorydirect.com/


Canning and Storage Jars (Ball)

ball - blue-mason-jarBall has been making high-quality canning jars for more than 100 years. Their new Collection Elite honors the originals while introducing a line of never-before-released blue jars in three sizes. Of course, not everyone uses Ball jars for canning. They’re also great for storing dry or liquid ingredients, but getting stuff out of those jars can be a challenge. The new Wide Mouth jars with plastic pouring spouts have solved that problem. And for serious storage, check out their decorative half-gallon and gallon Super-Wide Mouth jars. Prices vary. http://www.freshpreserving.com/


Silicone Baking Molds (Freshware)

baking mold - madeleineFreshware makes a flexible, non-stick mold for just about anything you could possibly want to bake. But we especially love their dessert molds, which help you create cupcakes, cookies, Madeleines, tarts, candies, caramels, and many more deliciously sweet items that pop right out of the silicone and right into your mouth (after they’ve cooled down, of course). Some recipes are included. Freshware products are 100% food grade and oven-, freezer-, and dishwasher safe. Prices vary. http://www.freshware.com/


Savior (Ankomn)

Savior - AnkomnWhat’s a meal without leftovers? But did you know that the average American family throws out hundreds of dollars’ worth of food every year because it spoils? The Savior’s patented vacuum seal technology system (which doesn’t use electricity or batteries) will keep those leftovers fresh up to eight times longer, thereby keeping keep more of your money in your wallet, where it belongs. While it’s great at home, the Savior is also excellent for camping trips or other outdoor activities where you need to keep food from spoiling. It’s easy to clean, freezer- and refrigerator safe, and stackable. $69.99 for 1.5 quart size; $74.99/2.5 quart size. http://www.ankomn.com/

Cooking with Kids

Unlike other chores, helping out in the kitchen is something most kids really enjoy. Helping them get a good, basic knowledge of cooking, kitchen skills, and know-how, is a something that will definitely help them later in life. It can be messy, but the cleanup by wiping the counters and using a steam mop (these are essential to maintain the cleanliness of your floors – you can read steam mop reviews here!) teaches your children the responsibility of cleaning up their mess. In the short-term, it’s a great way to create some lifelong memories-and some pretty tasty meals. And the look of pride on your child’s face when their dish is served will be priceless. If you’re looking for some inspiration on what to cook, you could always check out blogs like St. Ambrose for some kid-friendly recipe inspiration and decide together what you’re going to make. Cooking with kids can be incredibly fun and rewarding, however, it only takes a moment for something to go wrong and for an appliance to be broken, luckily this is where your home warranty comes into play. You can check over here to see about various policies if you haven’t got one already.

It really doesn’t matter if you’re not the best cook in the world, as the emphasis on cooking with kids is FUN! But it’s understandable that you still want to be making something edible at the end of it all. If you are one of the many people in the U.S. who want to improve their cooking skills, you could take a look at the CocuSocial website to find a cooking class near to you. This is a great way of becoming a better cook and making amazing food. And you’ll then be able to pass that knowledge onto your kids!

Let’s start with the basics: pots and pans. Two of our favorites are the Green Pan and Twiztt collections. Both are eco-friendly, non-toxic, and are still easy on the wallet while not sacrificing quality.

green pan thermolon coatingVoted “Best in Europe,” the Green Pan can help you and your family maintain a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. However, this is not a traditional non-stick pan, Its non-stick Thermolon ceramic coating helps the food slide off easily, and is heat resistant, which means that if you overheat the pan (even up to 450C or 850F), it won’t blister or peel or release any toxic fumes or add any unwanted chemicals to your food. But be sure to follow the directions carefully. The Green Pan does require some special handling. Available at http://www.green-pan.us or at your local Target or kitchen store.

twiztt parents at playTwiztt, designed by Joan Lunden, is simple, safe, and affordable. Like the Green Pan, Twiztt uses Thermolon ceramic non-stick coating, which makes cooking-and cleanup-a breeze. Each Twiztt kit comes with everything you need to make a meal (except the actual food). For example, The “Cook, Cut, and Serve” set includes a melamine bowl with a stainless steel lid and an adjustable steam release knob, which lets you mix, heat, and serve in the same container. It also comes with an easy-to-clean, sustainable chopping board that fits on the bowl, eliminating the need to transfer chopped food from cutting board to another container before mixing. Everything but the cutting board is dishwasher safe. Available at http://www.twiztt.com or your local Bed, Bath & Beyond.

crock-potCrock-Pots are a great way to cook, and no home should be without one. On those crazy busy days when you know you won’t have time (or energy) at the end of the day to spend making dinner, toss all the ingredients you’ll walk in the door to a home-cooked meal. The new Crock-Pot Hook Up Connectable Entertaining System allows you to connect as many as six cooking units together, which is great if you have a large family or you entertain a lot. For more intimate gatherings, just use one. The units come in several sizes and are sold individually or as a kit. They’re attractive, easy to stack and store, and the removable stoneware and lids are dishwasher safe. Available at http://www.crock-pot.com or your favorite retailer.

yonanasNo food experience would be complete without dessert. And Yonanas makes creating health after-dinner treats fun. This blender-sized kitchen emulsifies frozen fruit into a creamy dessert that looks, tastes, and feels like soft-serve ice cream. You keep the vitamins and fiber and skip all the fat (okay, if you really want to, you can add chocolate and nuts). Plus, the flavors you make are completely up to you. Yonanas is easy to take apart and clean, and none of the dangerous parts get anywhere near those little helping hands. Dishwasher save, Yonanas is available at http://www.yonanas.com/.