Welcome to week 10 of Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing kid-tested and kid-approved recipes, hands-on experiments, and activities paired with suggestions for how to bring learning to life in the kitchen.
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This week, kids can turn breakfast into a work of art with Smoothie Bowls, adding their favorite toppings for flavor, texture, and color. A simple science experiment explores why cut avocados turn brown—and how to prevent it from happening. Then, kids can use that avocado as part of their Rainbow Grain Bowls, a colorful, customizable lunch or dinner. Finally, the whole family can bake a batch of Egyptian Spice Cookies and learn about the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fatr.
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #atkkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one easy-to-scan location.
Here’s what’s cooking for the week of May 18th through May 24th.
Strawberry-Mango Smoothie Bowls
Kids can turn breakfast into their own works of art with colorful, spoonable Smoothie Bowls. With this simple recipe, breakfast can be on the table in just 15 minutes. Even the youngest chefs can measure out ingredients (and practice their counting skills), add them to the food processor, and turn the machine on and off. (Using a food processor instead of a blender is key to making the smoothies thick enough to eat with a spoon.) Once their smoothies are in the bowls, kids can have fun choosing and arranging their toppings, such as fresh fruit, granola, nuts, shredded coconut, or even a drizzle of maple syrup.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
1 cup (5 ounces) frozen strawberries
1 cup (5 ounces) frozen mango chunks
⅓ cup plain yogurt
½ ripe banana
2 teaspoons honey
Toppings (see recipe page for topping ideas)
Math (Counting and Estimation):
In this recipe, kids measure out 1 cup of frozen strawberries and 1 cup of frozen mango chunks. Have kids look at the size of one frozen strawberry and one frozen mango chunk and at the size of a 1-cup dry measuring cup. Ask them to estimate how many frozen strawberries they think will equal 1 cup? How many frozen mango chunks do they think will equal 1 cup? Have kids count how many of each fruit it takes to fill the 1-cup measuring cup. How close were their predictions?
As they eat their smoothies, ask kids to think of what fruits might take MORE pieces to fill 1 cup (These would be smaller fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries.) What fruits might take FEWER pieces to fill 1 cup? (These would be larger fruits, such as oranges, kiwis, and apples.)
Take It Further
Visual Art (Size, Shape, and Color):
The most fun part of making a Smoothie Bowl is adding the toppings! Kids can top their Smoothie Bowls with anything from more fruit to granola, nuts, shredded coconut, or maple syrup. We like to use a combination of fresh, crunchy, and sweet toppings on our smoothie bowls. Kids can use their toppings to create a pattern or a picture on top of their bowl. Challenge kids to create a picture that uses fresh, crunchy, and sweet toppings. Which colors work well for their picture? Will they create a scene? An animal? A pattern? What shapes can they make with their toppings?
If your young chef likes to get things just right, have them first arrange their toppings on a small piece of parchment or waxed paper. This way they can experiment with different ideas and make changes before placing the toppings on their smoothie bowl. Show us what you and your kids make by sending photos to email@example.com or tagging us on social media using #atkkids.
Awesome Avocados and Amazing Acids
In this simple science experiment, kids learn about oxidation—the chemical reaction that turns the flesh of fruits, such as avocados and apples, brown— and how to prevent it from happening. The experiment requires just a few minutes of set up, but kids will need to wait 8 to 24 hours to observe their results. You might start the activity one afternoon or evening and complete it the following day, just in time to use the avocado in your Rainbow Grain Bowls (see below).
[GET THE EXPERIMENT]
What You’ll Need
1 lemon (If you don’t have a whole lemon, you can use 3 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice.)
1 cup water
1 ripe avocado
As explained in the “Food for Thought” section at the bottom of this experiment’s page, when molecules in the green flesh of avocados are exposed to oxygen in the air, they form new, brown-colored molecules thanks to a reaction called oxidation. Acids (like the lemon juice used in this experiment) are antioxidants, which are molecules that prevent the oxidation reaction from occurring. Keeping the avocado flesh under water also prevents too much oxygen from reaching it, leaving your young chef with a fresh, green avocado. (They can also eat the oxidized avocado—just scrape the brown parts off with a spoon, exposing the green, unoxidized flesh underneath.)
Rainbow Grain Bowls
Fruits and vegetables come in all colors of the rainbow, from red tomatoes to green broccoli to purple cabbage. In this recipe, kids explore the world of colorful vegetables and make a rainbow-inspired lunch or dinner for the whole family. This recipe is very flexible, so if you don’t have one of these particular vegetables on hand, get creative with what’s in your fridge or pantry. Challenge kids to find another veggie (or fruit!) that’s the same color—instead of carrots, for example, try orange bell peppers or roasted sweet potatoes. See the “Food for Thought” section at the end of the recipe for more ideas for colorful substitutions. This recipe uses Quick Pickled Cabbage for the purple color in the rainbow (plus it adds tangy flavor and crunchy texture to the dish). Be sure to start the recipe by making the Quick Pickled Cabbage—it can sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
[GET THE RAINBOW GRAIN BOWLS RECIPE]
[GET THE QUICK PICKLED CABBAGE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
For the Rainbow Grain Bowls
6 cups water
1¾ cups short-grain brown rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or white beans
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, measured separately
2 tablespoons lime juice, squeezed from 1 lime
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1½ cups (9 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and chopped
1 recipe Quick Pickled Cabbage (see below)
For the Quick Pickled Cabbage
1 cup (8 ounces) unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ small head red cabbage, cored and shredded
Science (Botany) & Social Studies (Geography, History):
The “yellow” in the rainbow of this bowl’s toppings comes from ground turmeric. Ground turmeric is made from the root of the turmeric plant, which grows in tropical climates and is in the same plant family as ginger. To make it into a spice, turmeric roots are steamed or boiled, dried out in the sun, and then ground up into a powder. Turmeric grows especially well in India, and has been used for cooking and as a dye there for thousands of years. Turmeric's bright yellow color comes from a compound called "curcumin" which means "yellow" in Sanskrit.
Turmeric is usually described as smelling "woody" or "earthy." Ask kids to smell the turmeric in this recipe from the jar while measuring it, and again after microwaving it in step 3.
- How would they describe the smell? Does it remind them of anything?
- Did the aroma change after the turmeric was warmed up in the microwave?
What do they imagine a turmeric plant looks like? (See some pictures here!)
Take It Further
A rainbow is a multicolored arc (or curved line) that you can sometimes see in the sky. When light travels to Earth from the sun, it’s made up of repeating wave shapes (imagine two people holding the ends of a jump rope and wiggling it up and down). Some of the waves are longer, and some are shorter, which scientists call their wavelengths. When all of these wavelengths are traveling together, the light appears to be white in color. But if they get split apart, the different wavelengths appear as different colors. Light wavelengths can be split apart with a prism, which bends the light waves in different directions. This process is called refraction. At the end of a rain storm, the raindrops act as prisms. As the sun comes out, the light travels through the raindrops, the different wavelengths bend in different directions, and different colors appear in the sky! Ask kids:
- Have they seen a rainbow in the sky before? When? Have they seen rainbows anywhere else? (This video explains more about rainbows.)
- Can they name the seven colors you can see in a rainbow? (They are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, or ROYGBIV. This song is a fun way to remember them!)
- Can kids think of foods for each color of the rainbow? How would they taste together?
Egyptian Spice Cookies for Eid
These spiced, not-too-sweet cookies are often part of the celebratory spread enjoyed during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. One recipe tester, James, age 7, declared: “They are the best non-chocolate-chip cookie I’ve had in my whole life!” Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s common in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. You can find it in the international section of many grocery stores or with other cooking oils. If you can’t find ghee you can substitute butter in this recipe.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup ghee, melted, or 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup (2⅔ ounces) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Social Studies (World Cultures):
As kids enjoy these cookies, they can learn about the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr (“eed ul-fitir”, which celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims fast during the day, which means they don’t eat or drink. (But they do eat before dawn and after the sun sets.) Eid al-Fitr means “Festival of Breaking the Fast” in Arabic, and families celebrate by visiting friends and neighbors and enjoying lots of foods, including treats such as these cookies. On Eid, people greet one another by saying "Eid Mubarak!" Mubarak ("moo-BAH-rahk") means "blessed" in Arabic.
PBS Kids has an overview of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr for younger kids, while PBS Learning Media has a great video and supplementary information for older kids.
Use the conversations starters below to spark discussion around your table as you and your young chef enjoy these cookies:
- For Muslims, part of Eid al-Fitr is giving thanks for the blessings that God has bestowed upon them. What are some things that you are thankful for?
- Many Muslims also celebrate the holiday by donating food (or money to buy food) to those in need. What are some kind or generous things that you could do for others this week or this month? It might be for someone in your household, in your community, or across the world.
The Young Chefs' Club
On sale until May 31, 2020, the June box of the Young Chefs’ Club is all about ICE CREAM! It includes recipes for ice cream and raspberry sorbet (no ice cream maker required!), classic toppings like Hot Fudge and Strawberry Sauce, and more. Kids can invent their own ice cream flavors, learn the science of making ice cream scoopable, and roll their own sundae combinations in a fun game.
Catching up on Kitchen Classroom? Find previous weeks using the links below: