Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken Pox Diet

Don’t eat chicken and eggs. Don’t eat oily food.

My kids have the chicken pox and luckily for me and them they were vaccinated earlier. It’s not been that bad. The vaccination has helped. Immediately, my thoughts were, what food I prepare and what do I do with the rashes and blisters. Everyone I spoke to, said no chicken, no eggs.

But the doctor said that there are absolutely no diet restrictions. Chicken pox has nothing to do with chickens! The disease is called chicken pox because the body looks like it’s been pecked by chickens. At least that’s one version of it.

My boys have been eating chicken. But, I prepare lots of soups. Fruits, like watermelon are wonderful.
No side effects.

Anyway, after doing some research and talking to the doctors, neighbors, colleagues and friends, generally, home remedies should include the following:

(1) Diet

Water – is the magic drink – getting our kids to drink plenty of water can sometimes be challenging. My younger son is especially rebellious when it comes to drinking water. Yesterday, I showed him a shrunken vegetable. He drank at least 5 glasses after!

Fruits – are always an important remedy. It boosts the immune systems while helping flush out toxins and digestion. Some of my sources explained that stay away from acidic fruits because it aggravates the rashes. The jury is out on this one. In any case, there are lots of fruits to choose from. The best perhaps, is going with apples, bananas, some grapes, pears and of course the humble watermelon and papaya.

Vegetables- Similar to fruit, vegetables is a must... Children may not want to eat very much during this time and vegetables may not be so appealing. I added them to the soups. You can carve out funny faces on the carrots or stuff some cheese in a tomato.

Avoid - Fast or junk foods, oily and sugary foods. These foods do not have the nutritional value and could aggravate the rashes.

Avoid foods that are hard to digest like red meat and such.

(ii) Skin.

Neem – if you have access to neem leaves – add them to a warm bath of turmeric. Poor over the skin before your actual bath to help soothe the skin

Click here for some information on neem and neem based products
Neem Leaf and Oil Lotion 8 fl. oz.
Oatmeal bath – Mix oatmeal with lukewarm water. Add honey as it has anti bacterial properties.

Bitter gourd leaves – similar to neem leaves. Mix the bitter gourd leaves to some turmeric and pour over the body.

By the way, chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. There are antivirus medicines that the doctor would give along with calamine lotion to sooth the itches and also avoid scars.

Because of the earlier vaccinations, kids generally don’t suffer as much. All they need is some good food, easy to chew and digest because their appetite would tend to be poor for about 5 to 7 days.

Please share your experiences and home remedies.

Happy Cooking and Teaching!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ginger Bread Cookies

To get kids into the kitchen, we need to entice them with food they love. Gingerbread cookies are an excellant idea for kids to explore their creativity and at the same time work on their motor skills. Of course the older ones can learn math, measuring and weighing and reading.

This is a simple recipe that I have kept for years:

Create A Treat Create-A-Treat Gingerbread Ginger Bread Giant Cookie Decoration Kit 6 Cookies, Icing, and Candy Christmas, Holiday, Present Gift Box
Shopping List
120grams of butter
110 grams of castor sugar
1 teaspoon of honey
270 grams of plain flour
Frontier Ginger Root Ground "non-sulfited", 16 Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)
ginger powder
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
A pinch of cinnamon powder
Frontier Cinnamon Powder Certified Organic (3% Oil), 16 Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)
Cinnamon powder

How to prepare

1. Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Use an electric beater. But if children are involved let them beat use a wooden spatula

2. Sift in flour, ginger and cinnamon powder

3. Add the honey and mix into dough

4. That's it - Roll the dough and cut into desired shapes.  You can use cookie cutters. Click on the image to help get some cookie cutters.

Fred ABC Cookie Cutter
5. Bake in preheated 175degres celcious oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Decorate as your kids like.

Teaching Components
Get the children excited about baking cookies
Let them shape the dough the way they like it
Make them mix and beat
Don't forget the measurements using the weighing instruments

Happy Cooking and Teaching!

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 minute Dish with 4 minutes of teaching Science of Plants

How do we teach children about parts of a plant and how they grow? The kitchen presents a beautiful opportunity. Here is a 2 minute dish - tasty, packed with nutrition, easy to prepare and its so quick to teach your children (3 years to about 10 years old) about plants and the science of plants. The dish costs next to nothing.

Recipe: Bean Sprout ala Ben Ten (Change the name of your recipe to entice your kids)

Shopping List

2 handfulls of beansprouts
2 tablespoons of chicken meat, sliced thinly or minced
Fish cake, fishballs, bean curd
Half an onion
1 pip garlic
1 inch ginger
2 tablespoon of oil
Soya sauce or salt to tast

How to prepare

1. Slice the garlic, ginger and onion thin (or better yet into as small pieces as possible to ensure that your kids swallow them without knowing)
2. Add to hot oil
3. Add the chicken and the rest (you dont need the chicken or the fish cake, fish balls and the like if don't have them)
4. Dip the bean sprouts into hot water for about 1 minute (this is a secret that not many will tell you. Dip the bean sprouts in hot water to prevent them from being overcooked and at the same time maintain their crunch)
See how the beans and bean sprouts grow
5. Through in the bean sprouts into the pan and mixed it up for about 1 minute. Dont forget the soya sauce.
6. Serve with garnishing.

While you are cooking the bean sprouts, show them parts of the sprouts - the root, the shoots and so on.
Get some wet cotton and place it in container and show your children how some beans sprout after about 2 days.

I find this is the most effective way for children to appreciate how plants grow.

Happy Teaching and Cooking!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dinner Tool

Deciding on a meal can be quite exasperating at times. My kids' answer to 'what do we cook today?' is often 'whatever'. My older boy who is a little more sensitive about the other person would say 'Whatever, mummy - you are good cook - whatever you make would be the best'.  Children are the best - dont you think?

I stumbled upon a wonderful website which helps plan meals according ingridients you have at home. Useful to plan a meal together with your family. Try it out and do let me know what you think?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Learning Math in the Kitchen

Dear Parents, teaching math can be tricky. And I have to cook and insist that cooking and math go together. I found this great book from - it has recipes and math problems all wrapped in one and the kids don't know that they are actually learning. Its for Grades 4 to 6. Try it. And the book is reasonably priced.

About the Math Chef

Cooking and math make such a natural combination that a book about both should be a real winner; unfortunately, that is not the case with The Math Chef. The recipes are interesting and tasty, and the directions, including safety precautions, are good; the black-and-white illustrations show both boys and girls involved in the process. In fact, as a children's cookbook, this title works well. The math is introduced and explained adequately, but its inclusion in the recipes seems more of an afterthought; for instance, when the concept of area is introduced in a two-page explanation, the only connection it has to the four recipes are that the sizes of the baking pans are highlighted. When weights are discussed, the weight equivalents (1 _ pounds [700 grams] of tomatoes) of the ingredients are given.

Just as cookies go with milk and peanut butter goes with jelly, math and cooking go hand in hand. This fun-filled book shows you exactly how.

With more than 60 activities and recipes to try, you can practice math while you cook! Get a handle on measurement, multiplication, division, fractions, percents, geometry, and more, while whipping up mouth-watering treats like scrumptious stromboli slices, chewy marshmallow-fudge squares, yummy chicken nuggets, and delicious butterscotch muffins.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced cook, you too can become a Math Chef. All activities and recipes are kid-tested and require only common ingredients and kitchen utensils. There's also a helpful list of safety rules, an explanation of basic cooking skills, and a complete nutrition guide.

I love the book. Try it and share it with your friends and family
The Math Chef: Over 60 Math Activities and Recipes for Kids
Math and Cooking all int one - click to read more

Best of luck.

Happy Teaching and Cooking!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fat Children and Home Remedies

Raising Fit Kids in a Fat WorldObesity is a popular topic these days. Studies show that children who became obese by age 8 were more severely obese as adults.

The statistics are worrying:

The number of overweight children aged 6-11 years has doubled in the past 20 years

The number of overweight adolescents aged 12-19 has more than tripled.

In 2009, only 22.3% of high school students eat fruits and vegetables five or more times daily (when fried potatoes and potato chips are excluded) in a 7 day period.

Research suggests that not having breakfast can affect children's intellectual. We don’t need research to remind us that hunger and food insufficiency in children can cause poor behavioral and academic functioning.

What are the home remedies?

Medications and surgeries are typically not recommended for children because it can be contained with proper and healthy diet. And reading the statistics, the concept of teaching kids while cooking makes so much sense. Dont you think? There is so much heartaches and anguish that can be prevented with practicing simple home remedies!

Healthy eating

Parents are the ones who buy the food, cook the food and decide where the food is eaten. Decide what to eat together –plan and cook together.

When buying groceries, choose fruits and vegetables. Avoid buying too much cookies, crackers and prepared meals, are high in sugar and fat. Always have healthy snacks available.

Never use food as a reward or punishment. Aren't we so guilty of this?

Limit sweetened beverages, including those containing fruit juice. These drinks provide little nutritional value in exchange for their high calories. They also can make your child feel too full to eat healthier foods.

Child Obesity: A Parent's Guide to a Fit, Trim, And Happy ChildSit down together for family meals. Discourage eating in front of a screen, such as a television, computer or video game. My kids tend to do this – it can quite difficult to get them to the table. I remove the plug! Or the father shows a stern look.

Limit the number of times you eat out, especially at fast-food restaurants. Many of the menu options are high in fat and calories.

A critical part of weight loss, especially for children, is physical activity. My husband and I got my kids to walk with us at least during the weekends. At first there was a lot of fretting and grunting but they are enjoying it so much now that they look forward to the outings.

Find activities your child likes to do and take part. Don’t forget to vary the activities. For instance, if your child is artistically inclined, go on a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks that your child can use to make a collage. If you child like toys like mine, make them walk all over the mall with you! You will get a good work out too!

If you like more information, there is a lot of useful information on these two websites.
Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance
Happy Cooking and Teaching!

Monday, November 8, 2010

How to Advance Children's Learning Capabilities - You will be Suprised!

Did you know that parents who don't give their children chores at home may be slowing their development? Research has shown that children who participated in household tasks starting at age three or four are more likely to succeed in adulthood.

Cooking and kitchen activities is such a powerful household activity.
Look What You Can Make With Dozens of Household Items!: Over 500 Pictured Crafts and Dozens of More Ideas!
As they kneed, mix, beat, snip, read, and converse with us, children are learning, developing physicaly, mentally and socialy.

How and Why – It is encouraged that parents know and understood this because it helps with applying the cooking activity accordingly

Mirror neurons. Mirror neuron in our brains, allows us to duplicate actions and emotions that we see, which means that we’re continually participating in what we observe.

A baby benefits from time in the kitchen. What is the baby observing – our actions, our talk, and if you notice babies and get facinited with what you’re doing. Your baby’s mirror neurons allow her to experience what you’re doing i.e. allowing her to practice in advance.
eebee's Mix & Mash: Adventures in the Kitchen for Baby & You (Eebee's Adventures)
Try doing something different – like cut a different carrot with waving roots – notice the change – there is increased attention. If your knife slips and cut yourself, she’ll react to your surprise and pain, making her understanding of sharp implements more real than any warning might accomplish.

Meaning. Cooking gives purpose and a clear goal. Providing recognition for the effort in preparing a dish will help him eat his veges!

Responsibility. Research has shown that children who participated in household tasks starting at age three or four were more likely to succeed in adulthood.

Waiting until children were older can backfire. My father used to tell us, show them responsibility and they will be able to take of themselves as they grow older.

Higher-level learning. Kitchen-related tasks allow our children to learn more than just prepare a dish. They are learning scientific principles, develop personal qualities such as patience, confidence and challenge. . They are motivated to apply what they’re learning to more challenging endeavors.

Sensory learning. Full sensory learning has staying power. Apart from nature, it’s hard to find a more sensory-rich environment than the kitchen. We humans must see, hear, smell, touch, and, yes, taste to form the complex associations that make up true comprehension.

Active learning.

Childhood is a period when learning actually changes the brain’s functional anatomy. Hands-on experiences are particularly vital at this time.

The child who spends plenty of time with manipulatives (arranging cookies on a platter, sifting flour, washing silverware) and using real-world math (measuring ingredients, counting celery stalks, following recipes) has a strong foundation of representational experience, which in turn enables better understanding of abstract mathematical concepts.

These hands-on experiences also contribute to reading readiness. Another benefit of kitchen learning?

Cooking and tasting the results a short time later provides wonderful lessons in cause and effect.


Happy Cooking and Teaching! Power to the Kitchen!

How to Maximize Your Child's Learning Ability