kids in the kitchen with lauren k. stein
lauren k. stein
author of fresh made simple
lauren k. stein is the author of fresh made simple, a collection of 76 fully illustrated recipes. her work has been featured in o, the oprah magazine, yahoo! health, leite’s culinaria, edible communities, huffpost, booktrib, yankee magazine, red tricycle, and others. stein is a former journalist for reuters, has written for the boston globe and develops recipes and recipe video content. she sits on the board of directors for the boston public market. her cooking is inspired by time spent in the kitchen with her three young children and feeding her family. she lives in boston, massachusetts and nantucket. read more about her cookbook and recipes on www.laurenkstein.com
feeding my family these days means accommodating tastes, texture and meal preferences for eaters from 10 months to 40 years old.
keeping it simple – not too many pans, ingredients or prep time – is key for our family of five. fresh fruits and vegetables with each meal are important and we try to eat as many different colors as we can (with varying degrees of success, but we keep trying).
whenever possible, i invite the kids into the kitchen with me. it’s a way to let them explore both new and familiar foods, plus it’s one way to get them invested in our meal and understand what it takes to prepare food. here are some tips I try to keep in mind:
never embark on a cooking together project when you ACTUALLY need to get food on the table – especially for young kids.
give yourself time and space to be messy or flexible.
give the kids specific jobs and have tools on hand that are easy (and fun) to use: mashers, melon ballers, pizza cutters, citrus juice squeezer, plastic measuring cups and spoons, wooden spoon are a few we like.
encourage kids to flip through cookbooks and magazines for food that looks good to them, and then try a recipe together!
if possible, grow some herbs (or more) and pick them when ready, or, when the pandemic is over, go to the farmer’s market together.
eat together whenever possible, maybe it’s family breakfast if dinner doesn’t work for schedules.
happy cooking! lauren
CHUNKY PEACH SALSA
½ large tomato (or 1 small tomato), diced
1 peach, diced
3 tbsp red onion, diced
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
½ tsp kosher salt
about 2 tbsp lemon juice (about half lemon)
½ avocado, chopped (more if you like!)
COMBINE all ingredients through lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl and STIR.
FOLD in the avocado chunks gently.
SPOON over tacos or eat with chips.
to dice a fruit of vegetable it’s like a small chop. these fruits and veg can be as big or small as you like or you can manage with a knife.
we leave the skin on our peaches!
eat the salsa with chips or plantains or tacos or carnitas. you can even spoon it over yogurt for a snack.
let the kids help: measuring the salt, tearing the cilantro, squeezing the lemon and stirring are all good jobs for kids who aren’t ready for the chopping yet.
S’MORES FROZEN YOGURT BARK
1 c whole milk plain yogurt
¼ c mascarpone
2 pinches salt
5-6 marshmallows (the big size)
6 graham cracker squares, roughly chopped
¼ c mini chocolate chips
COMBINE yogurt, mascarpone and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
WHISK together with a fork.
CHOP marshmallows (slice each marshmallow into 3, then quarter each slice).
FOLD into yogurt mixture.
SPREAD mixture on a sheet pan lined with a baking mat or parchment paper until even and about ¼ inch thick. (it won’t fill the entire pant, just a big blob).
SPRINKLE chopped graham crackers and crumbs over top and then mini chocolate chips.
PRESS lightly with the palm of your hand to ensure toppings are smashed into the yogurt.
FREEZE tray for at least 1 hour.
BREAK into pieces and enjoy!
leftovers can be stored in tupperware in freezer for about 3 days.
whole milk yogurt is important as it helps with a creamier texture.
try other mix-ins like crushed oreos and chocolate sprinkles or melted PB and mini chocolate chips.
let the kids help: measuring and whisking the yogurt and milk, cutting the marshmallows, sprinkling the toppings, measuring the chocolate chips, pressing down on the ingredients.