A Full Day of Romantic Meals

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What’s better than a romantic, candlelit meal shared with your loved one?  A full day of delicious Valentine’s meals! Of course, we all understand if you want to kick the kids out later to enjoy that romantic candlelit dinner you’ve been craving!

Breakfast

 

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After a few cups of hot coffee and some good conversation, treat yourself to a simple, easy meal that’s fun for the entire family to participate in.  Sometimes the best little moments are when the whole family gets a little messy and works together to create something delicious.  Pasolivo Granola with a touch of creamy vanilla yogurt and a fresh sprinkle of blueberries is the perfect way to start the special day with a little love.

Lunch

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This day should be a combo of laid back AND delicious.  There should be time for preparation of delicious meals, but also time to cuddle up with the family and reminisce about your favorite memories together. Keep it simple with Citrus Pesto Turkey Burgers featuring Pasolivo Citrus Olive Oil, Sparkling Citrus Vinegar, and Kosher Flake Sea Salt.

 Dinner Appetizer

Now, we all want to keep dinnertime as romantic as possible.  Whether that means sending the kids off to Grandma’s or to a friend’s house, this is the time for the three of you (you, your loved one, AND your delicious dinnertime lineup).

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Pasolivo Basil Feta Dip is not only easy and incredibly flavorful, but it combines just a few simple ingredients to create something mouthwatering.  Stick the baguette in the oven for a few minutes for the amazing combination of crunchy bread and creamy feta. Drizzle with a little extra Basil Olive Oil for a rich, peppery finish.

Main Course

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Sometimes the most delicious dinners are those that you simply stick in the oven and  allow to slowly fill your nostrils with the comforting (though hunger-inducing) aroma of a traditional home-cooked recipe.  Some of these include a fresh baked loaf of bread, morning blueberry muffins, and of course, roast chicken.  May we present the main course, Pasolivo Italian Chicken.

Side

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Traditionally Ratatouille is served as a main dish with a crusty loaf of french bread, but it can also be shared as a complement to the main dish.  The addition of the Herbs de Provence and Tuscan Olive Oil in Pasolivo Ratatouille recipe pair delightfully with the citrus flavors of the Italian Chicken.

Dessert

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If there’s anything better than a rich chocolate cake, it’s a rich chocolate cake with an added lemony zing!  This Chocolate Lemon Olive Oil Cake is so delectable and moist that no one would ever know it’s vegan.  The chocolate balances beautifully with the subtly sweet lemon flavor. And with that, the addition of Lemon Olive Oil preserves baked goods LONGER than butter!  So enjoy this for the rest of the week as well!

 

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Check out these handpicked Pasolivo gift sets:

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For the ultimate foodie and chef, we suggest the Pasolivo Dinner for Two Gift Set which includes Kosher Flake Sea Salt, Tuscan Blend, Garlic-Lemon Olive Oil, and a set of hand carved olive wood utensils.

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For the one who needs a little bit of relaxation, check out the Grapefruit Bath and Body Gift Set with Grapefruit Lotion, Hand Soap, and Body Butter. This set contains essential oils that are uplifting and mildly stimulating. ​

Cooking with Your Child at Every Age

How old is old enough to let that special child in your life help you in the kitchen? The answer might surprise you.

A couple weeks ago, we published an article on 5 habits that cultivate a love of cooking and good food in your children. The response to the article was so encouraging that we’ve decided to write some more family-focused pieces.

It doesn’t matter if the children in your life are your children, your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or some other relational dynamic. Giving those young spirits experiences in the kitchen early and often has been shown to have a direct impact on their views of healthy food and their ability to navigate around a kitchen well into adulthood.

Kids are very capable helpers in the kitchen, and it is that shared time learning about preparing food that they get their first tastes of feeling grown-up and confident in their self-sufficiency.

Here is a list of widely regarded age-appropriate kitchen responsibilities, broken up in general stages. These are purposefully broad because every child is different, and it’s important to take that into account when deciding how much independence they should have.

But, without further ado, here is our list:

Ages 18 Months to 3 Years

I know what you’re thinking, “Those olive oil people at Pasolivo are crazy! I’m not going to have my 18 month old helping in the kitchen.”

Just hear us out. There are many jobs in the kitchen that are suitable for children as young as 18 months, some would argue that children could start even sooner. At this age, they should obviously be completely supervised and the work space should be cleaned and cleared of any objects, fluids, or ingredients that could be potentially harmful.

Sure, you may have to deal with extra clean up. You might even have to finish the job, but remember that we’re building a foundation here. This is less about efficiency and more about teaching and familiarity.

If you’re looking to involve your youngest children, here are some good options.

  • washing fruits and vegetables
  • stirring ingredients that are room temperature
  • mashing with a fork or potato masher
  • sprinkling spices, flour, or powdered sugar

Ages 3–5 Years

The preschool years are a magical time of curiosity, exploration, and learning for children. It is often their first tastes of independence and decision making as they are given the freedom to be in a room by themselves and to embark on adventures, both imaginary and real, even if that adventure is something as simple as exploring the back of their closet.

Their time spent with you in the kitchen should feed that natural curiosity and desire to feel bigger than they are while still placing appropriate restrictions on their tasks for safety and teaching purposes.

Here are some child friendly tasks that will make your preschooler feel like they are an important contributor while maintaining your peace-of-mind that they’re operating in a controlled environment.

  • weighing ingredients
  • washing fruits and vegetables independently
  • cutting soft ingredients with a plastic knife
  • breading and flowering
  • mixing with a spoon or their hands
  • tearing or smashing
  • using a mortar and pestle
  • kneading and shaping dough

Ages 5–7 Years

These seem to be the years where we grown-ups begin to doubt our kids and underestimate their potential for achievement.

Maybe it’s the fact that we don’t want them to grow up. Maybe it’s their penchant for teetering between having the same emotional meltdowns that they had during their terrible twos and consistently saying things things that would sound more natural if coming from an adult who just returned from time spent “finding themselves” on a walkabout .

Either way, they confuse us and we’re not sure what they can handle. Have no fear, use this list as a gauge in the kitchen, and they might start surprising you in other areas as well.

  • cutting with a small sharp knife
  • cutting with kitchen scissors
  • using a grater
  • greasing and lining cake trays
  • peeling oranges and hard boiled eggs
  • setting the table properly and according to traditional dining etiquette—in our opinion this is a vital and lost art for anyone who likes to host

Ages 8–11 Years

The pre-teen years are confusing years. Children in this age group long for independence. If there are older siblings, they are often appalled at not having the same freedoms that come with being a teenager.

At the same time, they are still quite dependent on the grown-ups around them.

They come to you crying when they wreck their bike, but will turn around and argue with you about how close they have to stay to the house on their adventures.

Learning to cook and take responsibility for their own meals and the meals of their family can be an empowering responsibility as well as giving you the opportunity to watch them mature.

So what are pre-teens generally capable of? Here’s a good list of places to start.

  • planning meals
  • following simple recipes
  • finding ingredients
  • using a peeler
  • whisking with a balloon whisk or hand mixer
  • using heat
  • making salads
  • opening cans

Ages 12+ Years

We’re about to blow your mind.

Your 12 year old is capable of doing anything in the kitchen that you can do. Sure, it will take some instruction and teaching, but you’d be surprised what they can accomplish with a little help from YouTube and Siri.

A Closing Disclaimer

Before you launch into a barrage of comments and notes about how we’re not being realistic, please keep in mind that it was less than a century ago that children were routinely responsible for cooking for the entire family. That was a job that was considered to be easy enough to delegate at an relatively early age by our modern standards.

While we’re not coming anywhere close to recommending you turn over your kitchen, it is worth noting that the major difference between those extremes is that there has been a fundamental shift in kitchen culture in America. The kitchen is increasingly a hub of activity and hurried tasks that need to be accomplished on the way to some other task.

Everything must be taught. And if we want to raise teens and young adults that can function in the kitchen better than most adults, then we have to make sure that every stage of their life is filled with appropriate tasks and education.

If we want to make them feel at home in their kitchen when they’re an adult, then we have to make them feel at home in our kitchen when they’re a child.

5 Habits to Help Your Kids Love to Cook

Studies show that children who help with cooking and meal preparation go on to lead healthier lives and consume more fruits and vegetables than kids who do not.

Cooking with your children is a romantic ideal conjuring up images of smiling children with their hands in a pristine bowl of baking dough. In reality, it’s often kitchen floors covered in unrecognizable goo, hand mixer mishaps, and high blood pressure.

Here are a 5 cooking habits that will make the culinary experiences with your child more enjoyable with effects that ripple long after the memory fades.

Engage with Your Child at the Grocery Store

The earliest and often the best places to start a love of cooking and good food is at the grocery store.

Even one way conversations about what makes one bundle of tomatoes more desirable than another, how delicious properly cooked asparagus is, or having them help to decide whether to have chicken or pork on Wednesday all sets the stage for them making the same decisions for themselves later in life.

Find the Time to Take the Time

If your families are anything like ours, the hurdles to having your children cook with you often start and end with our hectic schedules.

A busy evening where dinner is being squeezed in between homework, soccer, and dance lessons is probably not the best time to teach your 10 year old the difference between crushed and minced garlic. Instead, try setting one night a week that the entire family cooks dinner together and use that time to cook and reinforce new skills and knowledge.

Teach Kids The Tools of the Culinary Trade

A significant obstacle to learning to do anything is being intimidated by the tools that it takes to be successful. No one is going to build a house if someone doesn’t teach them to operate a circular saw. The kitchen has its own tools.

Take the time to teach kids how to use the hand mixer. Teach the difference between the oven and the broiler. Kids as young as 6 or 7 are old enough to begin using proper knife skills. Things like terminology, measurement conversion, and choosing the right pots and pans are all basic knowledge that has to be taught in order for them to feel comfortable doing it for themselves later.

Focus on a Signature Dish

This is our favorite tip because it’s so much fun for everyone involved. Is there anything better than being known for a particular dish and asked to bring it to every party?

Give your kids the same ownership. Teach them how to make an omelette, loaded nachos, or cheeseburgers. The dish itself doesn’t matter other than it should be something they love themselves and have fun making. Help them to perfect the dish to the point where they can do it without supervision. Once they own it, encourage them to experiment with new flavors and ingredients, and then stand back and watch the magic and creativity they’re capable of.

Give Them the Chance to Shine

Lastly, it is important that your kids feel acknowledged for their culinary successes.

As they feel more comfortable around the kitchen, give them complete ownership over some part of the meal. Maybe it’s the dessert course or just the garlic potatoes. Whatever it is that they prepare, make sure to comment during the meal how delicious it is and some specific thing you like.

For example, “Seth, I really love how you were able to keep the outside of these roasted potatoes crispy while the insides are still perfectly cooked. How did you do that?” Giving them credit and the voice of a master chef will give them the confidence and positive associations to keep them coming back to the stove over and over again.

What About You?

How do you teach your children to love good food and the process of preparing it? Leave a few of your own tips in the comments section below or on our social media. Share this article and ask your friends and family for their tips and experiences. Make sure to tag us so that we can follow along.