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- Pumpkin Spice Coconut Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Chip Bread
Teaching Kids To Bake At Home
Homeschooling is a daunting task and many parents have reservations about if it is right for their family. The benefits of homeschooling for parents include the ability to determine their child’s curriculum, create schooling schedules that can be flexible, create stronger bonds with their children, spend extra time on difficult concepts, teach their core values, as well as add some additional fun with real-life learning activities, such as baking. Skills in the kitchen can reinforce math, reading, science, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills. Plus, the bonus of creating yummy foods the entire family will love.
Using recipes will build communication skills, enforce reading skills, improve the ability to follow instructions, work on hand and eye coordination, and goal achievement. If you have older children, you can even provide easy recipes for children to bake with minimal assistance from their parents. This gluten-free recipe is not only great for households with allergies, but it can be a great conversation starter about the everyday difficulties people face that we never see.
Now that the weather is getting crisp, we all know that means fall has arrived. What better ingredient is there than pumpkin? One of my favorite recipes that my toddler loves to help make is “Pumpkin Spice Coconut Oatmeal”. This is a great recipe that everyone in the family can enjoy and parents have the bonus that it is a healthy meal!
Pumpkin Spice Coconut Oatmeal
- 1 cup Thai Kitchen Coconut milk (I feel this is the best coconut to use since it adds a little more creaminess than others I have used)
- ¾ cup of water
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 to 2 tsp. (depends on your taste buds) McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- Optional: Nuts or dried cranberries
- Mix coconut milk, water, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.
- Add in your gluten-free oats.
- Microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until it reached the desired consistency.
- Stir and enjoy it.
- Optional: add nuts or dried cranberries to the top of your oatmeal.
This recipe is easy for younger children to assist since you can measure the ingredients and your little one(s) can help mix and microwave. For slightly older children, they can assist with measuring the ingredients. Older children can come up with additional ingredients to add to this delicious oatmeal. Make sure to also talk about the science behind this recipe. What happens when you mixed all the ingredients and it is heated. What type of change happened? Was there a texture change, color change, or did nothing happen? Asking children ‘why’ they believe their answer is correct is also vital.
Another recipe I love as the weather turns cold is “Pumpkin Chip Bread”. The bread is so moist and flavorful. I love cutting myself a slice, adding some butter on it before microwaving so it is warm and the chocolate chips are melting. So delicious!
Pumpkin Chip Bread
- 2 cups gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Mix dry ingredients… flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Once mixed well, stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
- Grab another bowl and mix pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and stir completely.
- Pour batter into the loaf pan evenly and bake for about 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
My two-year-old likes to mix the ingredients. I talk to her about what ingredients are wet and dry. For preschool-aged children, you can have them sort the ingredients once you have determined what constitutes a ‘dry’ vs. ‘wet’ ingredient. This is also a great activity to strengthen coordination skills by having them help measure and mix.
For those in the primary grades, children can practice their reading skills as well as following step by step instructions by going over the recipe. Also, this is a great time to have your children learn about their five senses. Point out how an ingredient feels, tastes, or smells.
For older children, you can discuss measurements and fractions. For example, you can ask them how many 1/8 tsp. are in 1 tsp. You can provide your child with only a 1/8 tsp. and then they have to figure out how to use the 1/8 tsp. to measure out the other ingredients. Once the bread is cool, you can cut a slice for your child and ask them to put their slice into halves or quarters or any type of combination. This activity also can lend itself towards teaching your children what exactly is in your foods. What is healthy and unhealthy and help them to create a modified recipe that would be ‘healthier’ such as using raisins instead of chocolate chips.
One aspect to talk to your children about is patience and problem-solving. Making mistakes when baking is very common. Many children get frustrated if they make a mistake and think they need to throw away the batter and start over. However, many times this is not the case. Tell your children to stop for a minute, think, and find a creative way to save your work. For example, if you added too much of one ingredient you could simply double the rest of the ingredients and make a double batch.
Lastly, there is one step in the cooking process everyone can assist with and that is clean up. Younger children love helping clean up dishes in soapy water. Older children might see this as a chore though. I recommend for older children that you give them different cleaning materials such as different types of soup or different cleaning utensils such as a sponge or rag. Have them compare which soap or utensil works the best to get the dishes clean.
Cooking can be very rewarding and a great addition to reinforce classwork in all content areas. Adding time in your homeschooling curriculum will help your children see how what they learn can be applied to their everyday life. Being gluten-free does not always have to be a challenge and something your children might dread. Showing them how you can still make awesome recipes will help them realize being different is not such a bad thing!
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