Are you ever standing in an elevator alone and get a Buddy the Elf-like urge to push all the buttons? Just to see what happens? You know, take your hands and run them top to bottom as fast as you can. Watch all the lights blink on and wait for that upward lurch. You know no one will ever know. No one will judge you. But what if you break the elevator? What if you get stuck?
What if it’s awesome?
This is the urge my three-year-old had whilst cooking this week for #wecookwednesday. We made smoothies and let me tell you. The blender became his Everest. Waiting and waiting to push the puree button was agony. It was pure torture to not push those shiny black buttons. Don’t get too quick to toot your own horn here people. Lids are a MUST. Turn your head for one second and your trusty blender becomes Old Faithful. Your kitchen will be covered in frothy fruit. Don’t you worry. No matter what surface smoothies are served on-they still taste bomb. Feel free to lick the ceiling, if you can reach it that is. Smoothies are one of my favorite things to make. Breakfast, lunch, snack-they work all day every day. I adored our easy fudgepops we made last week. They were wicked fun and the chocolate was so rich. But, as soon as we polished off our chocolate popsicles, Mr. Mischief started asking about new flavors. His mind was obvi reeling. I let him roll with it. Marmalade (Paddington obsessed up in here), raspberry, and strawberry just to name a few. I love a good Popsicle but momma already needed a mix-up. So I stuck my head in the freezer to scope out what ingredients we had on hand. Lots of frozen fruit.
Done! Smoothies it is brother.
You can’t get too overzealous when cooking with kids. They tend to jump steps and forget all order in the kitchen. My labbies are quickly learning that when Mischief pulls the chair over to the counter to climb up-it’s on like donkey kong. Scraps please! When developing recipes, I aim to pick ingredients that can be used in any order. Kids get creative and make up their own recipes as they go. This is ok! Let them invent and strategize. This can be tough on my type-A brain. Every week I line up the ingredients on the counter in what I “assume” is the most logical order. Enter the three-year-old mind. Chaos. Perfectly thought out brilliant chaos. And, WOW, did he love making these smoothies! My little chef grabbed fruit by the handful and dropped them into the blender. One of the true beauties of smoothie-making is it really doesn't matter what you throw in there. He mixed and rotated between strawberries, mangoes, blackberries, and raspberries. We counted as he let go of each handful. After we had put a considerable amount of fruit in the blender, I was certain this thing would never mix. The top was spilling over with ice-crusted fruit squares.
It was turning into Arendelle in there.
We needed to liquefy stat.
It is key to let kids make choices during cooking. Otherwise, you might lose them to a different activity. They don't want to be bossed around. After another peek into the fridge, we found tons of options to melt this bad boy down. Orange juice, apple juice, regular milk, chocolate milk, and almond milk. Drinks aplenty for sure. Maybe we need to clean out the fridge? Nah. The only thing I like more than drinks are condiments. Don’t get me started on that shelf. Sometimes I’m certain my fridge might explode between the sauces and the milk variety. He chose almond milk because it was “mommy’s milk”. I’m a sucker for almond milk and cereal. My fave. I know I know. Glamorous breakfast is my middle name. He poured the milk into the blender as I pointed to the bottom line. We had a crazy spill here. We got real close to losing the carton altogether. Mom fail. Or, not? He grabbed a dishtowel off the counter and mopped it right up. Holla! Happy dance commence. Feel free to facilitate on these heavier ingredients. In the end, I had to pour some milk into a measuring cup. This was much more feasible for him. Now for the last step. We needed one more thing to top off this tasty treat. One more ingredient to take this creamy, tart, and bright pink mixture to the next level. Yogurt would be just the ticket. Other than a few baby pouches, I didn’t have any on hand. Baby food FTW! We squeezed the yogurt into a bowl and he spooned the yogurt into the blender. Another spill here sent some yogurt over the sides of the container. I grabbed a paper towel and then..the lid fiasco. The second you get those ingredients into the blender, you must cover the top. Must. I didn’t hear his tiny fingers pushing the buttons but boy did I hear that engine rev up faster than a starting line on Fast & Furious. I turned around just in time to see the mixture shoot up like a volcano. Duck! Basically he needed a baby wipe bath and blo-out to get cleaned up after this week’s cooking extravaganza. Oh well. It’s easy to laugh off the mistakes when you can enjoy a smoothie with your little man. Cheers!
Early Childhood Lessons:
States of Matter (solid, liquid)
Yield- 2 servings
½ c strawberries (you can use frozen or fresh fruit depending on your child's tolerance to cold foods)
½ c blackberries
½ c mangoes
1 cup almond milk
Mix fruit, almond milk, and yogurt into blender. Cover and blend to desired consisteny.
**This recipe is subject to change depending on your preference of thickness.