Monday, August 3, 2015

Brown Sugar Kale Chips (a post about cooking with children and a tasty recipe)

One of my favorite things to do with my big boy while Little Brother is asleep is to play in the kitchen.

Baker is wild and active.
He embraces all things three.
And he embraces all things boy.
We can be found on any given day making and baking and stirring things up in the kitchen!
Involving children in the kitchen is mutually beneficial. You get an extra set of hands, and your child learns the importance of proper nutrition, how to follow directions, measure, listen to instructions, tell time, and to increase their fine motor skills, among so many others.
Baker's favorite things to whip up are pancakes, brownies, and banana faux fro-yo.
My all boy boy prefers anything that requires the use of a mixer, blender, or food processor.
He loves power, and machines (errr, small appliances), and noise!
More recently, we've expanded our menu to include foods for all times of the day.
Baker has a slight aversion to things with different textures (as do many children with Down Syndrome), but we continue to encourage him to try new things.
He is a great eater and rarely refuses any food.
His newest love, brown sugar kale chips.
Three year olds who request kale chips, who knew??
Here's what you need to make our favorite afternoon snack:
  • 4 cups fresh kale
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup of loosely packed light brown sugar
To make, combine first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl or plastic bag. Toss or shake lightly to ensure all leaves are coated with olive oil and garlic salt.
In our kitchen, we alternate between a zip-close gallon size plastic bag and a mixing bowl with tongs. Both promote the use of fine motor skills, which is especially important for Baker. He loves sliding the zipper to open and close the bag and shaking it all around. He also benefits greatly from manipulating tongs. Especially during the summer, when his therapies decrease, we try to make our time together meaningful - both fun and intentional. 
Here's how to cook:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Arrange kale chips in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet
  • Cook for 12-15 minutes (or until the edges begin to brown slightly)
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar
The sugar will melt and adhere to the chips giving them a wonderfully delicious flavor that appeals to both your salty and sweet cravings.
PS - they're healthy
PPS - and totally toddler approved

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