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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Cooking with My Girls

bakingIt’s summer and time for some fun.  Never mind that we’re busy, busy, busy.  I’m trying to make memories with my girls, who, for some reason, do everything wrong.  Using my handy-dandy tug-of-war equation, I figure that one small step forward will change the balance of power forever.

From my lips to God’s ear….

All of this began when a friend gave our family two quarts of blueberries.  The kids enjoyed them on blueberriescereal, we adults nibbled them plain.  Then Benedetto’s thoughts turned to blueberry pie.  While in a bookstore, I glanced through a kids’ easy baking recipe book with… baked blueberry cheesecake.

Why not do both?  I could whip up a pie in no time, but the girls could help me with the cheesecake and its step-by-step instructions.  Generally, the children were way too busy with school and extracurricular activities to lend a hand.  They knew very little about measuring cups, and blending, and folding, and whipping ingredients, other than our oldest teen son who loved the Food Network.

“Girls, tonight do you want to help me bake a special dessert?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Da, Mama!” they enthused.

So we gathered our ingredients and propped up the standing, flip-top cookbook.  It called for cottage cheese and plain yogurt and graham crackers with melted butter for a crust.  The more we read the recipe, I realized that there was no size of baking dish specified, yet it did mention that it would feed four.  With six in the family, we decided to double the recipe.

“Okay, girls, you know your tablitsa?” I asked the girls in Russian about their multiplication tables.  “We’re going to multiply everthing by two….”

They laughed and giggled as I told them their graham cracker-crushing skills left something to be desired. blueberrycheesecake Mashenka struggled with… cutting waxed paper to line the baking dish.  Sashenka’s thumbs could not seem to crack the egg correctly.  But each got her turn in measuring, stirring, and deciphering instructions.

We ran out of cottage cheese and yogurt.  What to substitute for these?  The refrigerator had Greek yogurt or sour cream.

“Smetana,” I instructed, “but it’s going to be somewhat keeslee,” (sour).

“More sugar!” Sashenka brightened.

“Brilliant idea!”

My daughters grated a lemon, and separated eggs, and created a graham cracker crumb crust.  They learned to read ingredients in order and follow instructions.

It was a bonding time and blueberry cheesecake was later enjoyed by all.  Yes, even I had a bite.


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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Shelley says:

    Certainly takes longer to involve children in cooking and baking, but what rewards! Did they enjoy it?

  2. avatar Wendy says:

    We do lots of cooking as it is an activity that can promote literacy, step by step direction following and math skills in an active and edible activity. She doesn’t understand fractions in the abstract, but if the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of an ingredient and I give her a1/4 measuring cup, she will determine that filling it three times will equate to the correct amount. Setting timers and baking for the correct time is also useful for us as she struggles with elapsed time.

    • avatar admin says:

      Excellent point about the math and telling-time skills, Wendy. Most of my kids have no idea about 5 minutes versus 15 minutes… particularly in the bathroom! We have been known to set an egg timer for shower time, lol, but I digress. I love our new children’s cookbook, although practically every recipe is for cupcakes, it does have a few other selections and then we can follow the instructions. Reading, paying attention, checking and double-checking… what’s not to love?

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