Guest blog post by Jenny Galati of Fables and Focaccia – tastes and tales from the soul, http://www.fablesandfocaccia.com/blog.php
Many recent studies have revealed that by teaching children to cook they are more likely to grow up to be healthy adults because they have a better knowledge of cooking techniques, preparing food and new tastes. This is also the premise on which the philosophy behind Petits Chefs Academy is based. This Vaughan based, educational cooking school (offering cooking camps and workshops), is designed for children, as a fun, interactive and safe environment where they discover the value and joy of healthy nutritional cooking.
As a passionate foodie, I fully embrace the idea that cooking is a life skill and should be taught at an early age. I have vivid memories of being hoisted up onto a kitchen chair to stand alongside my father at the kitchen counter as a young child and have been encouraging my twin daughters in much the same way. I try to instil in my children the same joy that I receive in preparing a meal, much like the people behind this kid-friendly, culinary academy.
My girls and I had the opportunity to participate in one of their many creative workshops, the holiday themed session “Santa’s Coming to Town”. Here we were taught how to make healthy cookies for Old Saint Nick, putting him at less risk for diabetes and many other chronic illnesses. While my children may have been the ones involved in the hands-on teachings, I actually learned a few lessons myself while listening to, and observing their very knowledgeable chef demonstrate how to make: sweet potato chocolate chip cookies, banana raising oatmeal cookies and vegan snowballs.
Dressed in their little chef hats and aprons, each participant was given a copy of the recipes being prepared, and were taught healthy nutrition practices in a fun and interactive manner. What I found particularly interesting was the fact that the children taking part ranged in age but were grouped together accordingly to work on age appropriate recipe, a really great way to build social skills. While the focus is of course on food, there are also indirect lessons that petits chefs are taught in academic areas like math, science, and geography among others.
My little elves truly enjoyed their interactive experience, baking up festive treats; following along with their recipe, measuring and mixing their ingredients and brimming with pride when tasting the final result. It was a wonderful and educational gift, one that I am delighted to pass on this holiday season to other children on my gift list. I commend the team at Petits Chefs for it is an Academy of great learning, great fun and great cooking! Buon Appetito!
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies
This healthier variation on a classic cookie, paired with a glass of almond milk will give Santa the energy he needs to deliver all those presents on Christmas Eve.
3 large ripe bananas
1/3 cup apple sauce
¼ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups quick cook oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking tray with parchment paper
2. Mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher in a bowl
3. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix slowly with a spatula
4. Whisk together the wet ingredients
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined
6. Using a table spoon or ice-cream scoop form cookie balls and place them on the baking sheet
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes approximately 12 large cookies