Archive for the ‘cooking’ Tag

Keep Kids Safe, Even When You’re Not Around: Kitchen Safety, Part II

Yesterday, we went over some tips on how to keep the kitchen safe for the family and the importance of passing on those good habits to the younger generation so that they can keep themselves from getting hurt when you’re not around to supervise. Here are some more kitchen safety tips for you to keep in mind and talk about with your kids.

5. Germs grow quickly in foods that are not stored at the proper temperature. Check your temperature settings on your refrigerator regularly, keep the door shut tightly when not in use, and encourage family members to limit the duration and number of times the door is opened for browsing purposes. Exercise extra care when it comes to meats and dairy products, make sure to put these foods away first after a shopping trip and back put leftovers back in the refrigerator immediately after each use. Throw out bread, cheese, jelly, fruit, vegetables or any other foods that have gone past their expiration date, have mold spots, smell funny, or are otherwise less than fresh.

6. If you spill something, take the time to clean it up properly.

7. Never use warm water to thaw frozen meats! Thin meats such as fish fillets can be quickly thawed under cold, running water whereas thicker meats such as steaks should be transferred directly to the refrigerator to thaw. Do not re-freeze thawed, uncooked meats. If you can’t use all the meat that you thawed, cook it, then freeze the leftovers.

8. Know how to use toasters safely:

• Keep the toaster away from curtains or towels or other fire hazards.

• Plug toasters directly into electrical outlets. Avoid using adapters, they can increase the risk of fire by causing you to unintentionally overload outlets with too many appliances. Always unplug toasters and other kitchen appliances when not in use.

• If toast gets stuck, unplug the toaster. Do not use any metal object to remove the toast from the toaster. A pair of wooden tongs are a great toaster accessory to have around.

9. Keep flammable objects and materials away from the stove. Towels, potholders, plastics, and paper towels can all catch fire quickly when near direct heat or flames. Never leave cooking food unattended and remember to turn off the stove right away when you’re done cooking.

Note: If something on the stove does catch fire, put a lid over it to smother the flames. Do not attempt to use water, salt, baking soda, etc. to extinguish the fire. If the flames are coming from the oven, close the oven door, turn off the unit, and have a fire extinguisher close at hand just in case that doesn’t put it out. If ever there is a fire in the house with leaping flames, leave immediately and call 911.

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Keep Kids Safe, Even When You’re Not Around: Kitchen Safety

Using child-proof gates to block access to unsafe or unsupervised rooms is a great way to help keep small children safe. Kids, however, are naturals when it comes to outgrowing things. Shoes, toys, and, yes, even safety gates are all fair game, making it imperative for parents to teach children from an early age how to be safe even when no one’s watching. This series of posts will cover room-by-room safety tips that your child should know and that you can use as a checklist to ensure your home is as safe as possible.

In the kitchen:

1. Avoid yucky germs and cross-contamination: wash those hands! All it takes is a little regular soap, warm water, and about 18 seconds of your time. Make sure to show kids how to lather up well, wash the backs and fronts of both hands, between fingers, and under the tips of fingernails. Rinse under running water and dry with a clean towel.

2. Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating with clean water and, if the skin is thick enough, a vegetable brush.

3. When using a knife, always cut away from your body.

4. Microwave cooking might seem kid-safe as there is no open flame or heating element to be burned by- but don’t be fooled! Microwaved foods can cause serious burns. Stir microwaved foods before checking for a safe temperature and make sure to only use cookware that is approved for microwave. Cover foods with plastic wrap for more even heating with less mess, but be sure to use caution when removing the film; steam burns! Containers can get hot too, so keep potholders handy.

5. Hot liquids, not fire, are the most common cause of burns on children. So use the back burners instead of the front ones whenever possible and always keep pot handles turned away from reaching hands. If you or your child do get burned working in the kitchen:

• Immediately submerse the burned area in cold, running water for at least five minutes. Do not use ice! This can further damage the skin.
• If the burn begins to blister, cover it loosely with sterile gauze. Don’t use fluffy cotton- it can irritate the injured skin.
• If the burn is severe, large, or on sensitive skin such as the face or groin area, seek medical attention as soon as possible. When in doubt, get help.

Stay tuned for more helpful hints in Kitchen Safety- Part 2!

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Kids in the Kitchen = Better Nutrition

One of the best ways to encourage your children to make responsible food choices now, while setting good habits for the future, is by getting them involved in the family’s food selection and meal planning process. Spending time talking to your kids about different types of ingredients, food preparation, and nutrition will not only serve to convey importance, it will also give them valuable information they will continue to use throughout their lives.
Start with the basics and keep it simple. Print out or bring home an up-to-date food pyramid in order to help your child understand what the different food groups are and how many servings of each are healthy to have during the course of a day. When your next grocery store trip rolls around, you and the small fry will have the chance to get in some field work. Before leaving the house, decide together what meals the family will have during the week and what ingredients you’ll need to pick up at the store; your mini-helper can participate by checking through cabinets and the refrigerator for supplies you may already have in the house.
For your child’s first kitchen assist, think: quick and easy. After you have a few positive experiences under your collective belts, you’ll be able to try increasingly more complicated and time-consuming recipes together. Don’t forget to use the opportunity to teach your child about kitchen safety and make sure to keep in mind that a successful parent and child cooking venture isn’t judged by a taste-test, but by how much fun you had while learning together.

Here’s a kid-friendly recipe to get you and your tiny chef off to a tasty start!

• pizza dough (boxed, canned, pre-made, whatever you prefer)
• shredded cheese
• eggs
• breakfast meat and/or vegetable toppings

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Beat eggs in a bowl with a little water, milk, or sour cream. Chop up toppings and add to eggs. Mix in shredded cheese.
3. Spread dough out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan/stone. Make a small lip around the edge of the dough so the mix doesn’t run off.
4. Gently pour the eggs, cheese, and topping mixture onto the pizza dough. Place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 25 minutes or until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.
Don’t forget that cooking left unattended is the leading cause of house fires. I recommend a ADT home security system, including a monitored smoke alarm to help keep your family safe. A monitored smoke alarm ensures that the fire department responds in an emergency, even if you are asleep or away visiting family. ADT is the leading provider of home security systems in the U.S., with more than 100 years in business.