Santa's little helpers

Christmas is a time when families especially need to play together.  Helpers are always a part of my holiday kitchen happenings. Don't think only the little ones like to help, so do those teenagers.  I remember my friends coming over to our house to bake and taste.  It was a fun hangout.

What if you don't really cook?  Learn together and don't forget slice and bake cookies work well too.  Make some great holiday memories and use these ideas for tasty goodies to make with the children in your life this Christmas season!

Benefits of Kids in the Holiday Kitchen

  • Time.  Real time with them.  They won't be children forever.  Enjoy them now!
  • Conversation.  When was the last time you really talked?  Some of the best talks I ever had with a child were when we were playing together. I love to hear their ideas and perspective of what is going on around them.
  • Learning.  Cooking teaches so many things:  reading and following directions; increases vocabulary by learning new terms; math is used in measuring;  teamwork as you work with someone else; develops physical skills using kitchen equipment; and teaches food safety.
  • SUCCESSES!!!  Yummy things that they can take pride in sharing with others from the bounty of their efforts in the kitchen.  Nothing better than building up a child's image of himself with successes.
  • Safe Environment.  No, everything won't always turn out perfect.  So what if the item doesn't come out like the magazine picture?   Teach your children it is okay to discovery and explore.  What a gift to give a child this Christmas season:  the gift to try without fear of failure.
  • Laughter.  Don't forget the humor in cooking.  Don't take yourself too serious.  Remember your cooking trials and errors.  Share 1 or 2 of those with your children.  They enjoy seeing the child in you.

Here are 2 great holiday goodies to make using a microwave oven.  The recipes are from two of my Homemaker Volunteers.  They are a great community education and service group.  If you are looking for a place to belong, just call your Extension Service Office for more information about the Homemaker Volunteers.

 Rocky Mountain Snow Drops from the kitchen of Marty Butler

  • 1 lb. Vanilla Almond Bark
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 3 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 3 c. rice crisp cereal
  • 1 c. dry roasted unsalted peanuts

In a large bowl, microwave the almond bark on high for 1 minute.  Stir.  Cook for additional minute stirring every 15 seconds until bark is melted.

Stir in peanut butter until blended.

Add marshmallows, cereal and nuts.  Stir well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

 Chocolate Crunch Goodies from the kitchen of Hilda Franz
  • 2 c. Captain Crunch cereal
  • 3 c. dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 c. mini pretzels, broken into pieces
  • 2 c. rice crisp cereal
  • 1 lb. Chocolate or Vanilla flavored Almond Bark

Mix first 4 ingredients into a large bowl.

Melt the almond bark in the microwave oven for total of about 90 seconds.  Stir after the first minute and then continue with the rest of the time until bark is melted.  Stir about every 15 seconds.

Pour melted bark over dry ingredients.  Stir until well coated.  Pour onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.  Let dry.  Break into pieces.

For more information, contact:

Nancy A. Freeman, County Director
Harrison County Extension Service  
228) 865-4227