Teaching Moments

One of my favorite things to do with Hannah is cook.  She loves helping me in the kitchen and especially loves mixing things together.  I love that I can teach her different skills while doing something she enjoys.  I am patiently trying to teach her about measuring and looking at the numbers on measuring cups and spoons to see how much we are supposed to add to a recipe.  I love helping her learn shapes as she tries to be creative in making “new and improved” foods.  I love teaching her about the different types of food and how each of them is essential to our health.  I love exploring different colors and textures with her as she touches each ingredient.  I love knowing that, hopefully, one day she will be a better cook than me as she learns from my mistakes!

Obviously, my three-year-old cannot help me with everything that I do in the kitchen.  If the meal involves only things that need to be done on the stove, then I have to ask her to stay out of the kitchen (and to try to help me by keeping Ephraim out of the kitchen as well!).  But I try to make at least one meal a week that she can help prepare.

Maybe every mom takes the time to teach their children basic culinary skills.  Maybe not.  Whether you are making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or creating a dish that chefs around the world would envy, have you considered including your children in the process?  This is such a simple way to teach our children about math, science, shapes, colors, and life skills.  Even allowing your toddler to spread the peanut butter on her sandwich can help her learn basic fine motor skills.

So if you are interested in teaching your child in this way, I thought I would share the recipe we made this week.  One of Hannah’s favorite dishes is pizza, but I want to make sure that we are eating something that is nutritious as well as delicious!  I make a whole wheat crust, choose the healthiest pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce I can find, and then load the pizza with vegetables and healthy meat (such as turkey sausage), topping it all with low fat cheese.

Here’s the pizza crust recipe I use here:

No-Rise Pizza Crust (The instructions are from Amy at The Finer Things in Life.)

  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c. white flour (I use whole wheat flour here, too, and I think it tastes just as good, although the dough may be a little thicker without white flour.)
  1. Mix yeast, sugar, and water.  Allow to sit for a few minutes to get yeast activated.
  2. Add salt, oil and both flours.  Mix well.
  3. Knead into a smooth dough on a floured surface.  (I usually knead for about 2 minutes.)
  4. Allow dough to rest 5-10 minutes.  (It’s easier to shape if it rests.)
  5. Press into a large, greased pizza pan.  (This recipe makes enough for one large “hand tossed” consistency crust.)
  6. Add pizza sauce (I often use tomato sauce sprinkled with Italian Seasoning) and toppings.
  7. Bake at 425° for about 15 minutes.

I made the dough and then let Hannah flatten it into the pan.  She then poured the sauce on top and spread it around with the spoon.  I cut up an onion, mushrooms, and turkey sausage, which she delicately layered on top.  Then we sprinkled cheese over everything and put it in the oven to bake.  Yum-o!  And an added benefit is that she will typically eat things she helps create much easier than if I just place some food in front of her that she may not want!

I’m always looking for creative recipes to try with Hannah, so feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a message!  Bon appetit! 


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