Christmas gifts from the kitchen are well loved in our family. The kids love making them as much as their grandparents love eating them. A few years now we have been making batches of Almond Biscotti in the food processor, and we are adding a new granola recipe (below) this year that comes from my Aunt Nancy. One batch of granola makes 2 sheet pans worth and I’ve found that parchment paper is so important to keeping your big clusters and not letting the granola stick to the pan. I reuse my two sheets of parchment paper over and over for granola, go green! I like to package the gifts in recycled coffee cans or reusable wide mouth canning jars. It’s 9 degrees outside, and a good day to be in the kitchen!
***Tips and lessons for cooking with kids***
- Granola is a great recipe for kids, let them measure, count, add, smell, stir–you don’t have to worry about them leaning over the hot stove.
- Your kids are never too young or too old to start, I started when my kids were 1. Check out kid’s cook books at the library, my kids were super excited about them.
- Think of all they can learn beyond the recipe…teach them where food comes from, and where does it go (garbage, recycling, compost). Math and measuring, family heritage and grandmother’s recipes, safety skills-teaching little kids to stay away from a hot stove and use a knife safely.
- Clean your counters really well before you start- if they stir like crazy and half your oats end up on the counter, just scoop them back in the bowl.
- Allow extra time, consider this a fun kid activity, not we need dinner on the table in 20 minutes!
- All messes can be cleaned up, and a failed recipe is not the end of the world.
- Teach your kids to cook and to eat right, learn which foods “help us grow big and strong and which foods are just for fun.” Cooking is an important life skill that is taught very little in school, it is as important as teaching them to swim, ride a bike, manage their money, and get along with others. It will serve them well when they are under their own roof.
- Have fun and take pictures of them!
Almond Spiced Granola
- 5 c oats
- 1 c almonds sliced or chopped
- 1 c cashews chopped
- 1 c coconut
- 1/2 c pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 c sunflower seeds
- 1/2 c flax seeds
- 2 t cinnamon
- 1 1/2 t ginger
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 c coconut oil melted
- 1/2 c honey
- 2 t vanilla
- 1/2 t salt
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl
- Combine melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt in a glass measuring cup and warm in the microwave
- Add wet to dry and mix well and transfer to 2 parchment paper lined baking sheets (I reuse my parchment paper over and over every time I make granola--go green!)
- Bake at 250 for 75 minutes. When the 75 minutes is up, turn the oven off but leave the granola in the oven for hours or overnight, this gives you nice clusters
- Store in an airtight jar
And the elf on the shelf is always watching!