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Let kids lend a hand in the kitchen

• Jan 20, 2016 at 10:22 AM

The beginning of a new year is always a time for reflection. I never knew three out of my four grandparents so I cherish the memories I have of my maternal grandmother. I inherited the Italian love of food and family from my Mema and strive to pass that along to my own family.

Because I did not have a lot of memories of my grandparents, making memories with my own grandchildren has always been very important to me. They have been helping me cook since they were old enough to stand on a stool and stir. I am amazed that they now are almost past the point of needing to stand on the stool!

Cooking with children is not only a great way to make memories, but it is also a great teaching tool. While preparing our recipe, my grandchildren had to read, do math, learn to organize ingredients, learn to share and learn to work as a team — all while having fun.

I learned that the prep time listed on the recipe was NOT including children, and that it is perfectly OK for my kitchen to look like a tornado had just hit!

The dog learned that if he stands under a cooking child long enough, his patience will be rewarded.

The end result was the memory of sharing a delicious breakfast and lots of laughs, so it was worth the time and clean-up.

Since this recipe has minimal prep (the only cutting can be done with a butter knife) and lots of hands-on opportunities, it is great for children.

I hope you will give it a try with your children, too.

Granite Steps Country Blueberry Coffee Cake
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (12-oz.) can buttermilk biscuits
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats, divided
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Generously grease a 9-inch square baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon, and mix well with a fork.

Separate biscuit dough into 10 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into quarters, dip each piece in melted butter and coat with brown sugar mixture. Arrange in a single layer in baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the oats.

Combine blueberries and sugar in a bowl and toss to coat. Spoon blueberries over oats and biscuits and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup oats. Drizzle remaining melted butter on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cake is golden brown and center is done. Cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Donna Commander of Piney Flats is a community columnist for the Kingsport Times-News.