Life Lessons: Cooking

One of my biggest hopes as a mother is to teach my children good eating habits and cooking skills. I don’t remember a lot of cooking lessons in my house growing up, and as a result, I’ve had to learn everything on my own through Google. When I went to college, I literally knew nothing about cooking. I could boil water to make pasta, pour a bowl of cereal, and that’s about it.

I really want Annabel to be better equipped than I was, so I’m starting early. Not only is it important to me that she know how to cook, but I also want her to like healthy foods and be educated on where her food comes from and what’s in it. In fact, that’s part of the reason I was so keen on having our own garden.

Everyday we go out and check the progress. The thing has gone crazy, and I’m totally obsessed with watching each vegetable grow.

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I’m hoping to pass that excitement on to Annabel. Perhaps if she feels a connection with her food and a pride in helping to grow it herself, she will be more apt to eat things that she might normally turn her nose up to.

So the garden is part of my whole goal of teaching her good eating habits.

The other part is getting her involved in the cooking from the get go. We’re lucky to have a giant island in our kitchen that is the perfect work station for me and also the perfect perch for Annabel. Every week I make homemade granola and she helps me. She’s also my official taste tester.

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Once we have everything ready, we pop it in the oven and wait. And watch it.

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She’s learning the process and hopefully making the connection between the task of assembling the meal, cooking/baking it, and then enjoying the fruits of her labor. One of her favorite things to eat is that granola over plain yogurt with fresh fruit and honey. I love that she has a hand in making it.

Just the other day, we went out to the garden and cut off a handful of basil. Once inside, we washed it, and put it in the food processor with some olive oil, walnuts (instead of pine nuts), parmesan cheese, and garlic.

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We chopped up lots of veggies and boiled some pasta.

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Gluten-free for me, regular for Nathan and Annabel. Within an hour, we had pasta primavera covered in homemade pesto using fresh basil from our garden.

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Next time I make this dish, I’m hoping to use mostly veggies from our garden! Annabel of course refused to touch it, but I’m hopeful that that won’t always be the case.

Naturally it takes longer to cook with my little “helper” and it’s always a messier endeavor, but hopefully the extra work will pay off in the form of a happy, healthy eater and cook!

Do you involve your kids in cooking? Please share any tips!

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