Two year olds make great sous chefs.  Full of energy and enthusiasm, these preschool aged cooks love being asked to help in the kitchen.  Their eyes light up with every opportunity.  On the other hand parents sometimes hesitate to include their children in assisting them because of the additional time and mess, which is a reality of cooking with young kids.

What if we as parents changed our perspective to include kids in the kitchen to be on par with doing a family activity, like playing a game or doing an art and crafts project?  My grade school daughters, Abbi and Mimi, love to cook in the kitchen.  In fact, they can prepare many recipes on their own without any help from me.  But my two year old son, Eli, is still developing his vocabulary and wants to be able to do the same things as his big sisters.  He seems to like it when I find age appropriate opportunities for him to help in the kitchen.

This week Eli and I made granola.  I pre-measured all the ingredients ahead of time.  I told him very clearly what each ingredient was and waited for him to repeat it.  This way he was not only learning how to familiarize himself with simple cooking skills, he’s also learning new words.   We also took turns stirring the granola.  I told him, “you get two turns, I get two turns.”  I did this so he understood my expectations ahead of time to avoid potential power struggles and to practice sharing skills.

Our time together was really special.  Even though there were oats scattered around the table, watching Eli so focused on each skill was a joy.  Afterward we shared a bowl of granola with milk as our reward.  I know he doesn’t quite understand cooking conceptually yet.   But I believe he will grow his appreciation for cooking good wholesome meals someday and I will have the satisfaction knowing I helped him in this journey.

What I have for you today is a basic recipe for granola.  I love it because it is so healthy for you and so simple to prepare.  Feel free to swap in and out other ingredients as you please.

Here are a couple of great recipes which use granola as a component.

Working Mother Magazine Food Editor and publisher of In Jennie’s Kitchen, Jennifer Perillo, shares her satisfying Granola + Berry Smoothie perfect for a quick satisfying breakfast the whole family will love.





Who doesn’t love parfaits?  Check out this recipe for Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Parfait with Granola from Simple Bites by Cheri Neufeld for a delicious protein packed breakfast on the go.

What is your favorite granola combination?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.  I’m always on the hunt for new flavors.

Recipe: Almond Cranberry Granola

  • Prep Time: 10 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 60 min(s)
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 10 min(s)

Healthy to eat and simple to prepare, try this easy granola recipe.

Ingredients

    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • ½ cup wheat germ
    • ½ cup flax seeds
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1 cup slivered almonds
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup honey
    • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
    • Combine oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, cinnamon, almonds, and cranberries in a large bowl.
    • In a separate bowl combine vegetable oil, brown sugar, honey, and water.
    • Add the honey mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all the oats are evenly coated.  Transfer wet granola evenly on to two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
    • Cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
    • Remove from oven and allow granola to completely cool before serving.  Don’t worry if the granola doesn’t seem completely crunchy after coming out of the oven.  It will crisp up once completely cooled.

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  • http://www.thescramble.com Aviva Goldfarb

    I love how you include your children in your cooking adventures, Alice, and the granola recipe has my mouth watering!

  • mhg

    You’ve inspired me to get my daughter involved in the kitchen. She’s 19 months old and wants to do everything I do – especially in the kitchen!

  • http://www.InJenniesKitchen.com Jennie

    Yes, cooking with kids can be a messy adventure, but as you mention Alice, the payoff is the hope that they’ll enjoy cooking long after they leave the comfort of our kitchens.

    I also use my granola as a base for trail mix and that smoothie recipe you linked too (thanks!), but truth be told, my girls most love eating it by the handful. It makes for a convenient, portable snack, so I tend to keep a stash in my bag for those on the go snack needs.

  • http://melindahinsonneely.com/ Melinda Neely

    My favorite combo! Involving kids in the kitchen and having home-made granola to eat. This recipe sounds much healthier than the one I’ve used in the past. I’ll definitely try it out – with help from my six year old, of course!

  • http://www.simplebites.net/ Aimee @ Simple Bites

    Alice, granola was one of the first recipes I attempted with my 2 little boys. At the time they were about 20 months and 3. It went better than expected! Cooking with two is a challenge, but the tips you give here still apply, especially sharing the stirring.

    And what a better way to get kids to eat their grains than to coat them in honey! Yum.

    This site is going to be such an encouragement to parents – me included.

  • Joe A

    I bought my daughter a cooking apron before she was even born and thankfully, she loves to cook with daddy. At 28 months, I am absolutely amazed at the foods she knows and likes. I can’t wait to try this granola recipe with her.

  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    @mhg: 18 months is the perfect time to have kids start helping in the kitchen. There are simple ways they can help such as dumping ingredients into a bowl. Or have them help you count ingredients you’ll be using for a recipe.

    @melinda: I love 6 yr olds. I’ve discovered they are quite capable of cooking a lot!

    @Joe: If you make this granola w/your daughter, send me a picture with her cute apron on, will you?
    savorysweetlife@gmail.com

  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    Aviva, Aimee, and Jennie: You ladies are so inspiring. I love your family centered recipes. Happy to include your recipes for this article.

  • http://franticfoodie.wordpress.com/ Keren Brown

    I love granola with chocolate chips. Thanks for this great recipe.

  • Von

    What a great combination: healthy, economical, and kid-friendly, that’s what I love about your recipes. Keep it coming!!!

  • sara

    lovely recipe – though i wish it didn’t have sugar! i’m trying to keep sugar out of our little one’s diet for the time being – can you substitute anything else? perhaps more honey? agave? molasses?

  • http://www.hautemuslimah.com Asma @ Haute Muslimah

    Granola has got to be my favorite “healthy” treat! I love it with milk and on yogurt, and I’m glad to have a recipe to try with my little one.

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  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    Sara: Yes, you can substitute agave, honey, or molasses. I love cooking and baking with agave.

  • http://www.twokidscooking.com Kelly (Two Kids Cooking)

    We love getting kids in the kitchen at all ages, spending time with the family.

    Thanks for this delicious looking recipe and for your great ideas for promoting families getting in the kitchen together.

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  • SeattleMommy

    That looks so tasty and i love that you go to spend time with your son in such a special way. I’ll have to try this! Thanks!

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  • Jackie

    Would love to try this recipe!! How long would the shelf life be?

    • Alice Currah

      Hi Jackie,
      To be honest, I’m not sure since we go through it very quickly.