Some of my favorite mother/daughter memories take place together in the kitchen. I’ve always loved to cook and entertain (I get the love from my own mom) and I was intentional about instilling a love for food and cooking and cultivating a spirit of hospitality in our home as I raised my daughter.
We cooked everything together from savory roast chicken and homemade chicken stock to crisp cookies and chocolatey brownies. We would knead dough into rich loaves of cracked wheat or fragrant Anadama bread and roll out pie crust, cutting it into lattice strips and together we’d weave it atop fresh berry pie. We made ice cream, hand-formed dad’s famous meatballs, cut up veggies for salads, grated cheese and made our own vinaigrette. We mashed potatoes with heavy cream and butter, shucked hundreds of ears of corn and made fresh pesto in the summer. Holiday mornings always included crisp bacon and a big bowl of blueberry muffins.
We enjoyed kitchen time together and as a result, my daughter, now a wife and mom of 2 little ones, is an amazing cook in her own right. I taught her to appreciate good ingredients and to enjoy the process because I’ve found there’s something deeply fulfilling about preparing good food for your family and friends and enjoying it together.
Whenever my little grandson Eli comes to visit he insists on helping me as I cook. “I help, Mimi!” he says as I lift him up to sit on the stool next to me. I want him to enjoy cooking and as he gets older, I can’t wait to have him help me make all kinds of things. It will be messy and I envision flour everywhere but that’s part of the fun!
Summer time is the perfect time of year to get your girls started in the kitchen. As the weeks stretch on and the chorus of “I’m bored!” begins it’s monotonous lament, take an afternoon to prep the week’s meals or bake cookies or make a pie or homemade popsicles. It gives them something productive to do and teaches life skills at the same time.
Here are a few simple summertime recipes to get you started.
Watermelon with Honey and Mint
Frankly, I can’t get enough of this on hot summer days, it’s so cooling and refreshing!
- 4 cups watermelon, cut up
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
Now just toss the watermelon in a big bowl with the honey and mint. If your girls are older, try adding the balsamic, it really adds a wonderful contrast and is divine with the mint! Chill thoroughly. Doubles easily.
Frozen Bananas Dipped in Chocolate and Nuts
This is a fun and super easy recipe to do together.
- 8 medium bananas, peeled
- 8 wooden popsicle sticks
- 32 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Line a sheet pan with waxed paper. Cut 1-inch off the end of each banana.
- Insert a popsicle stick into the cut end of each banana, pushing the stick halfway in.
- Place the bananas on the sheet pan and freeze, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.
- Arrange the dipping decorations on several plates. Working with 1 banana at a time, dip it in the chocolate and turn to completely coat (spoon some on, if needed). Roll the dipped banana in the desired decorations, transfer to the sheet pan, and return to the freezer.
- Once frozen, store the bananas in an airtight container.
Additional ingredients to dip the coated bananas in: granola, chopped nuts like peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamias or pistachios, jimmies or sprinkles, crushed cookies, more chocolate chips, and toasted unsweetened coconut.
- 2 cups of full fat coconut milk, almond milk, organic milk or kefir
- 1/4 cup cane sugar or coconut sugar or 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, slightly mashed
- Mix the coconut milk and sugar until smooth.
- Fill popsicle molds with small pieces of fruit leaving room for the milk/sugar muxture. Or, mash up the fruit and mix it all together with the coconut milk and sweetener. I like to do it in the food processor. Makes it fruity and creamy!
- Carefully and slowly pour into your popsicle molds until they are full. Leave enough room for the popsicle sticks.
- Set in the freezer overnight or until frozen solid.
Any kind of fruit is fine, whatever your family likes. Try mixed berries, mango, papaya, peach, grapefruit and lemon, pineapple (mixed with the coconut milk, it makes a Pina Colada popsicle!), cantaloupe, raspberry and lime, strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry.
If you don’t have popsicle molds, not to worry, use paper cups. Just insert a popsicle stick and when they are frozen, peel off the paper cup and you’ll have a yummy, homemade treat!
These are just a few simple recipes that I love to make and are easy to do no matter what age your girls are. What are some of your favorite summertime recipes? Feel free to share and enjoy time together in the kitchen!