We thought it would be a good idea that our children learn to plan and prepare healthy meals in preparation for being a parent. Today was “Sweet Pea’s” day to cook. She chose to fix spaghetti, green beans, Italian Crescent rolls, and Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie! I wanted to share this experience in pictures. We feel this is a vital part of their education. Whether you homeschool or not, your children need to be trained to provide for their future family. Even our children who are not “excited” about cooking end up getting a positive experience from the evening. I am their “sous” chef and teach them tips as we go along. When I share a “family secret” that makes the meal so good, it adds a little spice to the whole experience. I hope above all else, they learn that the secret to awesome meals is one main ingredient: love!
Let’s join Sweet Pea and see what she has learned today!
In this first picture, you see her with her apron on. I taught her to tie the apron in the front and her “drying towel” will fit over the tie and be handy. This way it stays out of your food, off your counter, and you don’t have to “look for it”. She is seasoning the extra lean ground beef with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
While her meat is cooking and her water is boiling, she begins the process of making the pies. Here, she has creamed the egg yolks and sugar. The recipe she is using is the same recipe as my mother’s.
Here, you can see her using a tip she learned from a previous dinner. When measuring flour, take the back of a butter knife and level your measuring cup/spoon. She remembers this on her own now. I am glad to know this will be something she will share with her own children someday!
Next, she has put the chocolate together and is stirring. I tell the children often to “put some elbow grease into it.” While stirring she looks up at me and asks, “”Am I getting more elbow grease?”
Me: “You sure are!”
Sweet Pea (after a few seconds of stirring): “Whew, elbow grease sure is hard to maintain!”
I love these moments. I decided I would stir for her while she got the pie crust ready. For our purposes today, we used a refrigerated crust. Making a pie crust from scratch (and spaghetti sauce from scratch) can be a lesson for another day!!
So we put the crust in a pie pan and I showed her that she could flute the edge with her fingers or she could use a fork. After all that elbow grease used in stirring, she decided to go with the fork, because “cooking is not always easy!”
And now that the pie crust is in the oven, she gets to stir the chocolate, again. It is starting to get thick on the bottom and I thought that was an important feature she needed to be aware of. She said, “Wow, this is getting kinda chunky on the bottom!” One thing about cooking with children, I keep a smile on my face!!
And there is her chocolate pudding for the pie. I told her that mother uses the same recipe for her coconut pies, too. She just doesn’t use the cocoa and adds coconut when it is done. We can also use coconut milk in place of the regular milk. I also shared that this same recipe without the cocoa is cooked, but not too thick and is used as the “pudding” mixture in our homemade banana pudding! She just thought that was the biggest secret EVER!!
While the pie is cooling in the crust, she started the green beans. Now you will notice little specks in the green beans, YEP, that’s bacon!! She has learned to make the green beans the way I do. A secret she learned quite some time ago was how to take a can of store bought green beans and make them taste like home canned!! We wash them, rinse them, and let them cook until all of the water has cooked out. Cooking down, with bacon bits and salt, until they fall apart, makes them sooo good!! This is one vegetable I don’t have a problem getting the kids to eat!
Next, she made Italian crescent rolls. She took crescents and sprinkled them with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese, rolled them up, and baked them on 35o until they were lightly brown.
And for her final presentation! We look at serving sizes and nutritional values and she measures out food servings. We cut fats in many areas of our meal and we use chunky vegetable sauce in our spaghetti with extra lean ground beef, most of the time. The children shop with me and know I always read labels and choose the lowest fat or fewest preservatives. They each are assigned an aisle at the grocery store and are given a portion of the list. They know which products to choose and are learning how to choose fresh, lean meat and fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables.
And for the grand finale, her first “from scratch” chocolate pie!! It was SOO good. Sweet Pea did an awesome job in her Domestic Science lesson for this week. I think she gets an A+! What do you think?