Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why The "Kids' Table" Is the Best Place to Be

I founded The Kids' Table over 8 years ago now. The name for a business that teaches hands-on cooking classes for kids and families came almost effortlessly. You've got the literal interpretation of it, as a place where kids get to cook and eat at tables, with tools, and in an environment tailored to them. And the more whimsical and nostalgic feelings that childhood memories of "the kids' table" invokes for many.

We know that "the kids' table" means different things to different people. And we want to know what it means to YOU! We just launched a Photo Contest so you can show us how "the kids' table" is the best place to be. Maybe it's a memory from your own childhood, or memories you're creating with your kids now. Maybe it's cooking together. Or picking apples. Or setting a beautiful table. Or picnicking in the park. Or sharing a takeout pizza on a busy weeknight. We hope you'll share your "kids' table" with us - because sharing is caring (and there's an amazing prize in store for the winner!).

Thinking about what "the kids' table" means to me highlights the endless iterations of the phrase. I have memories of cooking with my dad's mom (who made everything from scratch) and eating TV dinners with my mom's mom (who was a mother of three with a full-time job, and so excited when these frozen options came out to make her life easier!). My mom was a stay-at-home mom and cooked healthful homemade meals pretty much every day of my childhood - not so much because she loved cooking, but because she loved us. My dad loved to cook, but between work and home projects, it was an occasional weekend luxury. Now that he's retired, he makes a pretty mean loaf of crusty homemade bread!

Now as a parent myself (and a small business owner), sometimes I cook because I love it. And frequently I cook because I have to. And occasionally I order in. No matter how it gets on the table, I love connecting with my kids through food. Cooking together when possible, connects my kids to their food and enhances our connection to each other. Even if it's just a stir here or there.  When it comes to dessert, my teenage boys are definitely motivated to help. They actually love to make whipped cream by hand! An amazing way to earn your treat.... Try these Spiced Apple Sundaes for a fun seasonal twist on this kid favorite.

Spiced Apple Sundaes

For spiced apples
2 apples, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
2 T butter

For whipped cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 T powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

For assembly
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas or sunflower seeds

Put apple wedges in a small bowl. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to apples and toss well to coat. Heat a small pan over medium low heat. Add butter.  Once melted, add apple mixture to pan and bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until apples are tender, about 5 minutes.  Let cool.

To make the whipped cream, place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy peaks are formed. Don't go too far or you'll end up with butter!

Divide ice cream between four bowls. Top with cooled apple mixture. Sprinkle with seeds. Dollop with whipped cream and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

What kids can do (with appropriate tools and adult supervision)
*Chop apples (using a tool like a wavy chopper is a great way to make chopping safer for young children)
*Measure ingredients
*Whip cream
*Assemble sundaes

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