{HOW YOU DO IT} cooking with the terrible twos

Editor’s Note: To kick off “{1 food 1 week} apple week”  guest contributor, Erica, gives us a glimpse into her kitchen by discussing farm-to-table with apples. This is the first post of a new series “How You Do It” where guests share a snapshot into their life with food. I am pleased to welcome Erica, and her adorable two year old son Dominick, to the blog. Thank you for sharing your story. -Christina

Cooking with the terrible twos…

I love my son, but as any mother will tell you – it’s impossible to get things done with a toddler tugging at your pants the whole time!  One of the hardest times for me has always been dinnertime.  Dominick is tired from being at day care all day, I’m tired from being at work all day, we’re both hungry…you get the picture.  I don’t allow the TV to be on until after his bath at night (although it can be very tempting to let the TV entertain him) and I’ve become very tired of washing crayon off my walls and floor from letting him color while I cook.  So what’s the answer to these dinnertime blues?  LET HIM COOK WITH ME.

I make sure he has something to do during each part of the cooking, let him get as messy as he wants, and have fun!! I find with Dominick the easier the recipe, the more successful our cooking experience will be J It also helps when you have your own Chef’s hat.  This one is fashioned from a plastic bag, computer paper, and double-sided tape – get creative!

The following is a recipe for applesauce that we recently made with apples we picked from Indian Ladder Farms.  I like to use sweeter apples for my applesauce, so we picked Jonagolds.   This was Dominick’s first time being able to actually pick the apples, and he had a blast! He ate at least three apples while we were picking them.  We will definitely be making this a fall tradition.

Erica’s Applesauce
(This is a recipe I’ve made since I was young, so the measurements are approximations.)

Ingredients:
6 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup water

I have Dominick add the water, sugar, and cinnamon to the pot (after I have measured them.)  As I peel and core the apples, he stirs them into the water.  I suggest using a big pot to reduce the mess from stirring by your little helper.  Cover and simmer the apples and water mixture over medium heat for 20-30 minutes (until the apples are soft.)  Allow the apples to cool and let the kids have at it mashing the apples with forks!

The measurements can be varied depending on how sweet you want your applesauce to be and the natural sweetness of the apples you use.  You can also do half apples/half pears (reduce your sugar as pears have more natural sugar than apples.)  Let your kids try adding different fruits to the applesauce to see what they can come up with, and have fun with it!!

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda says:

    Thanks Erica for this wonderful post! I think I will be busy making some chef hats for my crew as well! It is always more FUN in costume!

  2. Vanessa Perkins says:

    I LOVE the chef hat!

  3. Leslie says:

    Great post, Thanks Erica! I love hearing others ideas for getting kids in the kitchen. It’s not easy, but the pay-off is huge! I picture days, years from now, where my kids will be cooking dinner for ME. 🙂

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