I’m already starting to think about the seasons changing. I love fall so much but I hate to say goodbye to warm weather, flip-flops and lots of outdoor playtime. One of the things that I happily welcome though is baking in the fall. Nothing makes me feel cozier than lighting a fall-scented candle, watching the leaves turn fiery red, orange and yellow, and baking away in my kitchen. When I start losing the ability to send my kids outdoors to entertain themselves, I turn to the oven to keep them entertained. They love getting to help and especially like to feel part of the end product.
One of my favorite recipes to bake with my kids is banana bread for a few different reasons:
1. We buy a lot of bananas and then people forget to eat said bananas. So we end up with a lot of brown bananas, which are exactly perfect for banana bread. You’d think I’d figure out the human-to-banana ratio in our household, but it seems to be in a constant state of flux, so, we bake banana bread.
2. When you bake banana bread, you have to squish the bananas with a fork to make a puree. This is an absolutely perfect job for little hands of little people that love to squish things.
3. It tastes good, especially when you add chocolate chips. If you add dark chocolate chips, then it can totally count as health food because of all those antioxidants. I consider any chocolate health food… mental health that is. Try this one I added to the Co Springs Mom Collective Pinterest board.
If you’ve never baked with your kids, I’m going to give you a warning here…
Baking on your own can be relaxing, enjoyable, even therapeutic. Baking with your kids is not that. Might as well get rid of that expectation right now, mmmkay?
Baking with your kids is them taking turns dropping ingredients into the mixer and after each ingredient they drop, they ask if they can do another one… like they have this feeling that you have temporary memory loss and will forget altogether that they are there waiting impatiently to drop the next ingredient. As if you could forget, considering they have positioned their tiny stools so close to you that you can barely move your arms. This is actually strategic on their part because they are assuming that the claustrophobia will inhibit the memory loss.
Baking with your kids means constantly trying to keep the ingredients in bowls and measuring cups rather than the floor. Also, if you’re going to bake with your kids, for heaven’s sake, have a dog, or two or three. Having a dog means that at least half of what they drop will be licked up before you have to clean it. Bonus!
This also means constantly monitoring their finger placement, and I don’t mean to keep it from getting chopped off or caught in a blender. I mean make sure their fingers aren’t up their noses or down their pants doing what no mom wants to know about. If you want to eat this stuff, make sure those hands stay clean.
My last warning when baking with your kids is to do it when everyone’s healthy.
Nobody likes boogers in their banana bread and kids are known for sneezing at very inopportune moments.
Baking with your kids will certainly take twice as long and triple the cleanup time, but you can be assured that you are creating more than just bread and pastries. When my little kids turn into big kids and then adults, I know that I’ll cherish the memories when they were so small they needed stools to see the top of the counter. I hope and pray they will have beautiful memories of being in a cozy kitchen baking with a mom who loved them.