Sunday, April 25, 2010

Baked Eggs Tom and Jerry Style - 3 -6 year olds


I found a great breakfast recipe, where your kids can easily make. This recipe is suitable for children aged between 3 to 6 years - they can work on their own with little adult supervision. The recipe below is simple and easy to read and follow. You can increase the print size if you like.

Why would we ask our kids to prepare a meal?

1. Our kids will need to read the recipe

2. Our kids learn to follow instructions

3. Let them be creative with the recipe

4. Measuring and counting and estimating all in less than 15 minutes or so

5. Builds their self esteem and confidence, which is perhaps the strongest reason

I don’t bother asking my kids to clean up too much. It would take the fun out of the exercise for them. It must be gradual and with help, I think. That way, they will keep coming back!


Here is a neat recipe to help you surprise your mum and dad. Its breakfast – easy to do.

What you will need:

1. 1 Slice of ham/bacon/roast chicken/or any meat

2. 8 small spinach leaves (but you can change it if you want – you can use sweet corn, frozen peas, spring onion or any vegetable that you or your parents fancy)

3. 8 cherry tomatoes

4. 4 eggs

5. About a matchbox size of cheese

6. 4 slices of bread, toasted, buttered – for eating with your dish.

7. 1 adult to help you with the oven


Children’s scissors – any plastic one will do

Grater (but you need an adult for this) If not use your hands to get the cheese into little pieces


1. Switch the oven on

Ask an adult to switch the oven to 180°

2. Place 4 ramekins in front of you

Nor Pro Porcelain Ramekins 6-Piece SetLook at the picture for how ramekins look like

3. Squash 2 cherry tomatoes into each ramekin. T

4. Break one egg

Break the egg into a bowl. Scoop out the shells.

Pour out the egg into the ramekin

Do the same with the other 3 eggs

5. Get the cheese into smaller pieces

Ask an adult to help you grate. Or you could use your hands and knuckles to break the cheese into smaller pieces. Hey, Why not!

Four Continents of Cheese on a Budget (2 pound) by igourmet.com6. Sprinkle the Cheese on top of each egg in the ramekin

7. Put in the oven

Ask an adult to help you. After 15 minutes you are done.

Happy Cooking little ones! Hope you enjoy the baked eggs Tom and Jerry Style

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How To Build Confidence In Our Children

Children require love and affection.

I am so grateful for my children. I thank God everyday for giving them to me. How many of us as parents feel horrible and guilty when we have to reprimand or scold them or show them our temper for something that happened at the office and with other parts of lives.

I read a very good article today on building confidence in children and I thought to share some thoughts on it.

Building children's confidence at a young age will make a big difference as they grow up into adults. It will help them preserve in troubled times. We have heard and read so many stories and statistics of people being bullied, spoken down to, abused both emotionally and physically as a child growing up to adults who struggle in their daily lives. Some unfortunately turn bad and the cycle continues.

If we decide to bring children into this world, I think there should be a few ground rules. Love and respect them. Teach them, listen to them and help them understand and at the same time learn and listen what they have to teach and say. It is perhaps easier said than done – but they are our children – we must.

Building confidence is a daily practice and can be simple activities.

1. Start with small activities
2. Slowly graduate to bigger activities
3. Break down activities
4. Ensure it is appropriate to their age and capability
5. Don’t overwhelm them or it would have the reverse effect
6. Give them room to make mistakes
7. Learn from children

Small Things Mean Big Things to a Child

Start with activities at home – we can achieve lots i. build confidence in our children 2. Develop small muscles; 3. Develop motor coordination

Home activities can include

1. Spreading butter or jam on bread – how often we hear parents say no to this because children will make a mess – I say let them!

2. Kitchen – I am strong advocate of children helping in the kitchen – depending on their age

a. Hand kitchen items or cooking ingredients to you
b. Assist you in baking and cooking – there are lots of activities in this blog where children get involved
c. Cleaning the kitchen and home
d. Putting away things after cooking – washing up.

3. Pouring liquid

4. Lace their shoes

5. Watering the plants

Play Games in the Kitchen

Games of course by itself is a tremendous self esteem booster – play a problem solving game and let him think about solutions (help him and never ridicule or laugh at your child)

The kitchen is an extremely great place to give him to confidence. Ask your child about the particular cooking activity – e.g. how much sugar/salt should we put in; what is half a packet; let see who picks a green vegetable faster; quizzes as you are cooking.

Create a ‘cooking problem’ and find a solution with the kitchen. Make it up depending on the age of your child.

Breaking it down

We should break down tasks so that it would not seem daunting for our kids. He will lose interest and tell himself that he can’t do it.

For example, don’t tell him to bake a whole cake by himself. Take him through the process. And he will also realize the achievements for each task.

Praise Effort

This probably should have been number 1. Praise them all the time – direct them towards to the task – be specific.

Words of wisdom from a very learned person I know:

1. The Gift of Confidence is the Greatest Gift you can give your child
2. Love, Patience and Understanding are the best tools to build the foundation of confidence and self esteem
3. Mistakes are Opportunities to Learn – teach them how not to make the mistake again – there is no necessity to reprimand

I am so keen to hear your points of view. What do you think on the ideas on teaching and instilling confidence in children?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kitchen Safety for Kids

While cooking has a lot of positive teaching opportunities, we also cannot forget to teach basic kitchen safety. If we are particular about safety and continuously talk to them about it, it will stick and they carry it with them to pass it on to their young ones!

First lesson is for the adults – ask yourself 2 serious questions:

1. What do you think could be dangerous to a child in the kitchen

2. How do I make the kitchen safe while keeping the fun intact?

Now start kitchen safety by identifying and allocating age appropriate tasks


Two Year Olds are extremely exploratory – they have more power in their legs and hands. They touch anything and if they could, they would go anywhere. And they have short attention spans.

• Clean vegetables with brushes.
• Clean tables.
• Tear, break, and snap foods.


Three year olds a little more adventurous and more importantly they are growing and it is very important that they are given activities to stimulate and develop their motor skills and muscles at the same their brain is growing

This is make we can make them do in the kitchen

• Wrap foil around food.
• Wrap dough around meat or vegetable fillings
• Press dough into baking pan.
• Pour from small plastic pitchers. (Practice at the sink)
• Mix ingredients with hands or a wooden spoon (make sure that the container is twice the size of the amount of the mixture)
• Shake small jars of food.
• Spread foods using dull table knives or small spatulas.


Your four year old could cook if they allowed to! At this age, they have firm grasp of the use of their fingers and they have developed good motor coordination.

These activities in the kitchen will help them develop:

• Use fingers to peel eggs, oranges, corn, etc.
• Roll and flatten food.
• Mash foods.


Five year olds are ready to learn the real stuff. Teach them to use their hands and fingers properly and at the same time you can start introducing more serious subjects such as numbers, measuring, handling kitchen items and such.

These are some kitchen activities:

• Read to them from the recipe and help them measure ingredients.
• Cut soft foods.
• Teach knife safety: “Always supervise this activity”
Use a chopping board, a knife that fits their hands, and a plastic serrated knife for soft foods. Show how to hold a knife and cut safely. Teach them to keep the knife edge away. Show them what could happen if the knife cut their fingers.
• Turn a grinder.
• Grate food.
• Beat cake mixture or an egg with an egg beater.

We could as adults just not allow our kids to do any of the things above. For example- why teach them knife safety when it is easier and perhaps better in our minds just to keep them away from it all.

However, this is shielding the kids/over protective and we are not providing them with life skills. And that is why I think the kitchen is such a great place for us to teach these things – under supervision and the children are usually so busy having fun and doing their thing that they forget they are being taught. It will become natural for them to ensure safety later.

The kitchen can be dangerous and it is important that children are supervised while in the kitchen and allowed to do tasks that are age suitable for their age. I hope the above provides some a reference or checklist of ideas.

What do you think about teaching kids safety in the kitchen? Do you think there are more kitchen activities that can help with child safety?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Cooking Does For Me – Chapter 2

My boy wrote this piece in Chapters. Chapter 1 was about how he felt about cooking. For the second Chapter he wrote about ‘Cooking Technology’. See Chapter 1 on this blog.

Again I have reproduced Chapter 2 here – except for spelling and perhaps some grammar, this is my son’s original piece.

Cooking Technology

If you don’t know how to cook, watch the Asian Food Channel on TV. My favorite show is Restaurant Makeover. It’s very interesting because it turns a bad restaurant into a good restaurant. A Bad Chef to a Good Chef.

You need to learn a few things in school to be a chef. You need to learn math, science, and English. Math is to help you know how to measure like how much water you need to add to your cooking. English is to understand cooking and read recipes. Science is to know about what is happening in cooking.

We learn things from cooking like knowing the right ingredients and making food delicious. You can also make drinks.

The end

P.S. My son's musings got me thinking, about children having ambitions to become chefs. I found some books. I reading  the Chef's story - its about their passion and what got them into the kitchen. Interesting read. There are others, if you are interested. 
Our children are angles, with dreams, creatively and imagination. If adults did not forget these child thoughts, the world would probably be a better place.