Cooking with Kids

Cooking with kids is rewarding as a family bonding activity, a creative outlet, an educational opportunity, sensory exploration, and for learning basic life skills. Includes kids' recipes, tips for cooking with kids, and favorite kids' cookbooks.

How to Make Peanut Butter Cups in Silicone Molds

How to Make Peanut Butter Cups in Silicone MoldsGiven our love of peanut butter playdough, peanut butter nest snacks, and peanut butter cups, I thought we ought to try to make an Easter version of the divine combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

Maia and I first planned to make peanut butter cups in egg shapes.

I saw a few posts on Pinterest, and because I get inspired by pictures, but am not great about reading instructions, I assumed they used an egg-shaped mold to make them.*

After searching in vain for such a mold, and wondering if I could rig up some plastic Easter eggs to work as a mold, I came across a silicone mold that I liked even better at World Market. This one has butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, and bees—lovely and much more versatile than an egg-shaped mold!

*They actually rolled out the peanut butter filling, cut it out with egg-shaped cookie cutters, then dipped the eggs in melted chocolate. (I went back and read a couple posts after I struck out on the silicone egg mold hunt.)

This recipe is super easy and fun for kids to help make. We modified our regular peanut butter cup recipe by adding more powdered sugar to the filling and a little coconut oil to the chocolate…. 

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21 Spring Crafts Kids will Love

21 Spring Crafts Kids will Love on The Artful ParentWe like to celebrate Spring and Easter by crafting together using the themes and colors of the season:

Fresh spring flowers—daffodils, tulips, dogwood, rhododendron, azaleas, peonies

The light greens of newly emerging spring leaves

Pinks all around us when the redbuds are in bloom

The happy yellow of daffodils, sunshine, and fuzzy chicks

Bird song everywhere!

Birds nesting

Easter eggs—dyeing and decorating eggs, crafting with eggs, finding eggs, playing games with eggs

Gardening—planting the spring peas, watching new seedlings emerge, learning about

Baby animals—lambs, chicks, ducklings, bunnies!

There is so much to love about spring! And so many lovely themes and colors to incorporate into crafting.

Here’s a list of 21 spring crafts our family has enjoyed over the years. I hope you and your kids will have just as much fun with them!… 

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Easter Crafts for Kids, Spring Art Ideas, and Yummy Recipes

The Artful Spring eBook - Awesome spring crafts for kids and families, Easter ideas, and yummy recipesAre you ready for spring yet?

I so am.

And I’ve just decided I’m going to start thinking about spring—pastel colors, flowers in bloom, Easter crafts for kids, birds singing, sweet strawberries, and gardening barefoot—no matter what the weather is doing outside.

This winter has been longer and colder and snowier than I would have preferred, and we’re still wearing our winter coats (despite a few tantalizingly warm days a week ago), but I’m looking ahead. I’m planning and dreaming about when the dogwoods will be in bloom, the birds will be busy building their nests, and we can grow strawberries in the garden (Maia has requested we give them another try).

Sometimes I need to remember that spring is inevitable.

I like this quote by Hal Borland which I put on a photo of my daffodils from last spring:… 

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Peanut Butter Playdough (Or, how to make an edible, snail-riding, snow woman.)

Peanut Butter Playdough - (Or... how to make an edible snail-riding snow woman.)Have you made peanut butter playdough with your kids yet? It’s so quick and easy, which is a good thing since it is often requested in our home. We first made it after seeing this edible playdough post on Make and Takes several years ago and have made it regularly since. In fact, I think we’ve made peanut butter playdough three times in the last two months!

The kids make “food” with their edible playdough. Kinda funny, but the food in question was spaghetti and meatballs, hot dogs, hamburgers, and cupcakes.

And they make faces and people.

And a snail-riding snow woman. (We recently watched both The Neverending Story and um, I’m blanking on the name of the other movie we watched that had a snail as steed. Help me out someone? It’s a newish movie about a forest fairy world…)

I thought I’d share our favorite peanut butter playdough recipe as well as some recent pics of the playdough in action.

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup honey (just enough to make it stick together)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. It’s as easy as that!

Note: We’ve tried a number of variations on the peanut butter playdough, sometimes including a cup of powdered milk in place of a cup of the powdered sugar, sometimes adding cocoa powder for a more chocolate-y experience, etc, but we usually come back to this basic recipe.

However, the lovely ladies at Kids Activities Blog recently shared that you can mix peanut butter with marshmallows for a tasty, two-ingredient edible playdough. I haven’t exactly shared that newsflash with my kids yet, because I know I wouldn’t hear the end of it until we went to the store for big, puffy marshmallows and made the stuff. I won’t hold out forever, but I’m keeping that one up my sleeve for a special treat.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Once the peanut butter playdough is mixed together (usually by the kids), we divide it out between the number of children in the house at the time, placing each ball of dough on a clean plastic placemat, and let them go at it.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Sometimes they just make things with the playdough itself, sometimes they include pretzel sticks (ever since we made peanut butter pretzel nests, they think pretzels should usually accompany peanut butter playdough), sometimes toothpicks, raisins, mini-chocolate chips, etc.

Peanut Butter Playdough

As for tools, a butter knife is sometimes handy. But mostly they like to use their hands. And the garlic press (for awesome spaghetti, hair, and just plain interesting designs).

(The bowl of spaghetti and meatballs above was made with a peanut butter playdough recipe that included both powdered milk and cocoa powder, btw.)

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

They love modeling with the peanut butter playdough AND they love eating their peanut butter playdough creations. Even the snail-riding snow women.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Have you made peanut butter playdough? Or another edible playdough recipe?  Please share your experience, favorite recipe, link, or ideas in the comments!

P.S. For those families with peanut allergies, here’s a list of 10 edible playdough recipes on Family Corner, many of which don’t include any nuts.

Kids in the Kitchen :: Baking up a Mystery Chocolate Dessert

Kids in the Kitchen -- Baking up a Mystery Chocolate Dessert

My kids have always enjoyed helping me in the kitchen—measuring, pouring, mixing, tasting. But in the past year, Maia (now 8) graduated herself to cooking on her own. 

She started with familiar dishes from her much-used copy of Pretend Soup, such as popovers, strawberry surprise muffins, number salad, and blueberry pancakes. Then she moved on to recipes from my cooking bible, The Best Recipe. She's made cookies, cake, pie, french toast, more pancakes….

Sometimes she has a sous chef in the kitchen (Daphne) and sometimes a collaborator (a friend).

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A Fall Gingerbread House with Halloween Candy

Make a Fall Gingerbread House with Halloween Candy!

I'm embarrassed to tell you when we made this Halloween gingerbread house. But I will anyway.

Maia LOVES making gingerbread houses and basically has them on the mind all year round. She wanted to make a beach-themed gingerbread house and I said we would when we went to the beach. We didn't make it there this year, though, so she begged to make an autumn gingerbread house to celebrate the first day of school.

And I gave in.

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Kids in the Kitchen :: An Anytime Celebration Cake

Kids in the kitchen :: An anytime celebration cake!

Maia loves to cook and has been doing so almost every chance she gets lately. 

She says that when she grows up, she either wants to work in a bakery as a chef, be a sewer, or work in a garden store. Sometimes she adds in artist. I look at that list and see myself—baker, sometimes seamstress, gardener, artist—and am struck anew by the extraordinary influence we have on our children.

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Pretzel Nests :: Creative Easter Snacks for Kids

Pretzel Birds Nests - Easter Snacks for KidsOne of the activities in my spring crafts eBook is an Easter snack for kids that they can make themselves out of peanut butter playdough and pretzel sticks. And then they eat it, of course!

When the kids made these snacks the first time around, for the eBook, there wasn’t any Easter candy in the stores yet, so we used pastel-colored marshmallows for the eggs in our nests. Once the Easter candy showed up in our grocery store, Maia started asking to make the nest snack again with real Easter candy.

First it was chocolate eggs she wanted

But then she spied the Peeps.

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An Artful Spring Nest Cake with Ice Cream Eggs

An Artful Spring Nest Cake with Ice Cream Eggs and a Kid-Drawn Bluebird

Maia and I baked a nest cake over the weekend, ostensibly to celebrate Daphne's half birthday (three and a half!), which is tomorrow. But, really, we were just looking for a good excuse to try out our nest cake idea.

The nest is a lemon bundt cake, the eggs are made out of ice cream, and the bird is a special Maia-drawn addition.

We are big into nests right now. We have a couple (pretend ones) on our spring nature table. And I included recipes for both nest cookies and a pretzel nest snack in my spring crafts eBook

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