Posts tagged Mini Cooks
Mini Cooks: A complete menu

What's the sweetest way to end a lovely series? With dessert, of course.

Sheri has baked up a classic treat that she's honed to perfection - cupcake cones! I've never made these, and it's been on my mom-to-do list for a while. And I wouldn't want anyone but Sheri to give me the complete scoop (pun intended) on how to make these work - and look so good!

I loved this note of wisdom and encouragement from Sheri's post today:

It’s all about working together to create something special, and if {using a mix} is going to help you get there, then go for it. Sometimes you just want to cut right to the fun part, and especially with young children or kids who are not enthusiastic cooks, a mix is just the ticket.

The Mini Cooks series has been such fun to create together with Joy and Sheri. These ladies have such talent and creativity! They not only inspire me, but they naturally push me to be better.

And the best part of the whole experience for me was that my family came along for the ride! We made meals and snacks together and tried new flavors and dishes. If Spring Break is coming up, consider pinning the series and take some time to enjoy cooking together!

A fun surprise is in store for tomorrow. Pars Caeli turns TWO, and I have a present...

See you for the party - pajamas and slippers are encouraged. :)

xoxo, MJ

New to “Mini Cooks”? You can catch up here:

MJ’s “Recipe for Success”
Joy’s “Egg in a Basket”
Sheri’s “Granola Bars”
MJ’s “Vegan Smoothie”
Joy’s “Enchilada Lasagna

Mini Cooks: Enchilada Lasagna

It's time for another beautiful installment of Mini Cooks with my friend, Joy of

Frock Files

. She's cooked up an easy, hands on meal cheerfully titled Enchilada Lasagna. And it's perfect for our family and probably yours, too.

I am a huge pasta fan, favoring of course fresh pasta above all, but still a fan of ramen and even Spaghettios (oh, gees, I just admitted that). And yet I am raising three amazing children who have absolutely no interest in noodles or pasta. Joy's recipe today takes some of the flavors we adore and adds in tortillas - you've got to check it out.

It's what we're having for dinner. I wish it could look this pretty.

Thank you all for the amazing support of this collaboration! We've had a ton of fun planning and prepping it all for you and your families. Do you have an awesome recipe to share? Tag it with #minicooks so we can pin it to the

Mini Cook Pinterest


Catch all of the recipes and tips on these posts!

5 ideas for getting started with Mini Cooks

Egg in a Basket

Snack Granola Bars

Lunchtime Vegan Smoothies

xoxo, MJ

Mini Cooks: Lunchtime Vegan Smoothie

Wednesdays are always such fun around these parts with the addition of our Mini Cooks series. In our fourth week here, Joy, Sheri, and I are teaming up for lunch. And I'm delighted to share with you our version of this awesome recipe that has loads of vitamin A and vitamin C to make you feel really good about what you're adding to your children's lunches.

Surprisingly, my three perceptive children have not picked up on the fact that I make smoothies every time I test out a new recipe on them. It's my fall back plan for good nutrition if the main meal ends up going south on us. I also love adding them to our lunches at home for an easy way to add extra goodness and interest to our sometimes boring lunches.

We've made smoothies from whatever we have around our house including juices, yogurts, sherbets, berries, bananas, and whatever fruits are in season or on sale in the frozen foods. This blend is extra good for us with the addition of some apple cider vinegar and soy.

I enlisted my mini-est of cooks for this recipe. He's always excited to cook and bake with me, he loves smoothies, and he's head over heels for orange.

Here's what you need, alter depending on your favorite flavors (but don't skimp on the maple syrup):

  • Juice of 4-5 oranges
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2-3 cups of peaches (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup
  • 1 small container of vanilla yogurt (soy)

This recipe is perfect for young helpers. They can smell the maple syrup, oranges, and vinegar. They can take in the beautiful colors of the fruits. (If you're like us, without a juicer) they can squeeze the juice and pulp right from the oranges. L felt pretty powerful squishing the orange peels and seeing orange juice happen right before his eyes.













We threw all of our ingredients into the blender. L is able to handle the hand mixer and toaster, but the blender just makes too much noise for his liking so I grated and liquified while he got distracted with one of his favorite household chores.

This is where I just had to go with his interest and let him play. Eventually he realized that the dishes were dirtier than he really wanted to deal with, and he was ready to taste test our smoothie.

His reaction? Two thumbs up, and "awesome." I'll take that.

He was excited to make it for his sisters' return from school, proud of his accomplishment. And I felt good that we were all enjoying a healthy addition to lunch and snack.

Do your mini cooks enjoy smoothies? Give them a try and don't forget to add a colorful straw! :) See more great recipes suitable for your mini cook on our Pinterest board.

xoxo, MJ

P.S. More fabulous posts for the children in your lives:

5 ideas for getting started with Mini Cooks

Egg in a Basket

Snack Granola Bars

Mini Cooks: A healthy snack

It's time for another great recipe to enjoy with your Mini Cooks! Big thanks to Joy and Sheri for this awesome series. Today Sheri takes on snacks!

We keep our snacks, sorted sweet or savory, in our pantry on the low shelves and on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that the kids can help themselves as they'd like. I am all about independence and knowing when you feel hungry. I also want my children to make good choices.

Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with snacks and my kids. Sometimes snacks can supplement our meals so well and other times they devolve into another dose of sugar. I'm always on the hunt for a healthy snack that will appeal to them. I think Sheri heard my silent plea to the world and created these yummy granola bars with her son, Noah.

I've never made granola, and I'm ready to dig in.

I love their circular nature, and they're sized just right for little hands (and stomachs). Hop on over to see adorableness meet healthy. Thanks Sheri and Noah!

Guess what? We have a great collaborative Pinterest board for Mini Cooks that you should check out for new ideas on fun recipes and tips for cooking with children.

Catch up on the series with the intro of “5 ideas for getting started with Mini Cooks” and don't miss Joy’s yummy breakfast of “Egg in a Basket”

xoxo, MJ

Mini Cooks: Time for breakfast

Breakfast is our all-time favorite around here. We could have pancakes in the morning, cereal and toast for lunch, and dine over a stack of French toast with a side of eggs. Our diets would lack balance but, hey, we'd be happy for quite a while! Breakfast is also such a wonderful meal to invite kids to cook! Think of all the Hollywood portrayals of the red-faced, smiley children, thoughtfully carrying the tray of morning treats for Mom and Dad to enjoy in bed.

Well, that hasn't quite happened around here, but we do make it a practice to cook breakfast together on the weekends. Sundays are the best time to gather around the kitchen island and grab a mixing spoon. We bring the griddle out for small eyes to watch as bubbles appear in the circles of batter. We snack on chocolate chips (one for every year of your life and extras for every person in the family who loves you!) as we take in the rich smells of the bacon crisping and popping.

I think it's important for my children to understand the process of food preparation. The act of stirring to smoothness, ladeling an even portion, waiting and watching are all part of the amazing observation of life, and I find becoming a part of this work has made them more interested in food and independence more generally.

Joy has a fun and easy breakfast meal with eggs (and gorgeous photography) that I can't wait to try with my kids. Guess what's for dinner tonight? More on Egg in a Basket.

And if you're wondering how to make your kitchen a great space for your mini cook, check out last week's ideas on inviting them into the kitchen!

Have you made an egg in the basket before?

xoxo, MJ



Mini Cooks: A recipe for success

Every Wednesday for the next six weeks join in for a fresh collaborative series called Mini Cooks. I'm teaming up with Sheri of Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt and Joy of Frock Files to explore the culinary world through the lens of children! We'll be offering you simple recipes and cooking adventures that you can do with your children, nieces/nephews, neighbors, and more.

We've been cooking up (pun intended) a fabulous series to give you practical recipes as well as helpful ways that children in your kitchen can get involved, learn important skills, and grow to love the foods they create. I'm delighted to kick us off with five ideas on how to enjoy time in the kitchen with your mini cooks!


Cooking is more comfortable when the tools of the trade fit your size. Take a look at your drawer or canister of kitchen gadgets and see what might work best for little hands. Utensils need not be used as they were originally intended... a brightly colored measuring spoon can work to mix ingredients and playful plastic cups can be a great substitute for larger adult measuring cups. Or maybe make a splurge for a magenta spatula or little egg whisk to let your littles know that they were thought of, too, in the process of food preparation.

Be sure they have a safe and secure way to reach countertops or consider taking the cooking process down to their height at a kitchen table or play table.

Dress up is always fun so consider if mini aprons and chef hats might be your thing!

Perhaps the aspect that keeps our children out of the kitchen more than any other is safety. Ovens, ranges, knives, and processors present very real concerns. Our job as the big chefs, if you will, is to make sure the space is set up for success and that we monitor mini cooks in the kitchen at all times.

First, be sure to alert children of possible dangers and help them understand safety zones. Model good locations to stand when cooking by the range, opening the oven door, or flipping on the griddle. Where are hot spots? What is breakable?

Remember to teach clean habits during the prep and clean up processes.

Of course, certain processes are not child appropriate, and mini cooks need to understand this, too. Children can still be engaged while adults take on the more risky elements.

This one I love. When my children are really involved and enjoying our food prep, it's a direct result of the pre-planning I did to make it a success. Having all of the pots, pans, bowls and tools washed and ready to use; thinking through the preparation process and what ages can handle what skills; talking with my children about what recipes they want to try.

In our house, it's a rite of passage to be able to use the hand-held mixer. And from the point that someone can stand on their own, my children know that they are welcome to hold the measuring cup over the bowl. My oldest, M, now 9 is excited to have the cutting board and dicing responsibilities now. Think early and often invitations to participate!

Forgive this former teacher, but I cannot pass up the amazing teachable moments found in the kitchen. From the history of recipes to the geography of the people who created them to the mathematics of measurement. From nutrition and agricultural learning to business and art lessons, the kitchen can become the most fertile learning ground in your house. Let it be!

Every child has her or his own limit on the messy they are willing to do. My younger daughter, C,  embraces and wears all things sloppy as she bakes. My son wants his hands clean as soon as they get wet. And neither perspective is good or bad. Try to expose your children to both sides. Engage in the messiness of goopy recipes that require hands on and use the tongs and scoops that can keep hands clean.

And remember that floors, sinks, counters, ovens, and even ponytails can be cleaned so that your mini cook can feel good making the necessary messes for his or her masterpiece!

Join us next Wednesday as Joy brings us a simple breakfast treat to entice your mini cooks into the kitchen.

Big thanks to Joy and Sheri for your incredible creative touch!

xoxo, MJ