School holiday cooking
It's school holiday time again and, in-between outings, there are those inevitable hours at home where one might hear that dreaded phrase: "Mum, Dad, I'm boooooored".
Never fear, there are many ways to keep fidgety fingers happy in the kitchen. Why not put little palates to the test with a "Blind taste test competition". Place all different types of foods in cups, blindfold the kids and see if they can guess what they're eating. Chopped up pear, dessicated coconut, peanut butter, marmite, broccoli, chocolate... the choices are endless. You could turn it into a competition if there a few children involved, with the winner getting an edible prize.
Here are some other ways to while away some delicious hours.
Stuck indoors? Make movie time that little bit more fun with snacks and treats the kids can make themselves matched to the film theme. Some suggestions:
If the cold never bothered you anyway, get creative with these simple icy treats, sure to put you in snow mode.
1. Mango and coconut ice-blocks
Deliciously creamy and textural with a hint of the tropics.
2. Feijoa ice-blocks
Squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of these gorgeous autumnal fruits.
3. Chocolate peanut caramel ice-blocks
Deceptively simple, yet oh-so-yummy, the kids will love these chocolatey frozen treats.
Movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Get a taste of this edible world with three morsels we wish would fall from the sky.
1. Beef sliders
Snack-sized burgers are cute and delicious.
2. Surprise meatballs
Let the kids stab some toothpicks into these meaty treats to dip into their favourite sauce or chutney.
3. Jellied Fruit Cups
Simple but fun - this is an easy way to get some fruit into the diet in a pleasingly wobbly way.
Movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
There's only one thing you feel like doing when watching this classic - munching on chocolate. These three recipes will keep the kids sated.
1. Chocolate dog slice
Just four or five ingredients and 10 minutes later you have a moreish treat reading for some movie munching.
2. Toasted chocolate and banana brioche sandwiches
Willy Wonka would approve! Oozy, decadent and utterly scrumptious (pictured at top).
3. White and dark chocolate brownie
Chocolate and then some more chocolate - yes please.
Spend a bit of time teaching the kids basic kitchen skills - it's time well spent as it's some device-free bonding, plus research suggests teaching your children to cook can positively influence their food preferences and behaviours, helping to develop long-lasting healthy habits.
If you'd rather a professional show the kids the ropes, there are a range of specialist kids cooking classes throughout the holidays - a fun activity, plus learning life skills - two birds with one stone! Click here for details.
Kathy Paterson's been teaching her own nephews a few skills - take a look at her feature "Kitchen Takeover" for a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu that kids will have fun undertaking with you.
Plus, if you really want to put the little ones to work, try our Dinner duty: kids in the kitchen collection of more easy-to-make dinners the kids can get involved with.
Test children's measuring skills and how well they follow instructions with some simple baking - and treats don't have to mean sugar-highs. These nutritionally sound recipes tick more boxes.
1. Gluten and dairy free seed crackers
Try these delicious crackers dipped into a simple mix of smashed avocado, lemon juice and salt. A rival for chips and dip.
2. Banana bran muffins
Who doesn't love a homemade muffin - these ones are a cinch and filled with the goodness of fruit and fibre.
3. Coconut almond square
Refined sugar-free and super simple, the kids will have fun with this one.
4. Be Natural CocoNutty Granola slice
The kids can choose their favourite granola here, adding a more complex flavour to a simple treat.