Some activities sound great in theory. But when it comes to practice -- well, a tip of the hat to the moms who don't mind the mess leftover from fingerpainting, baking cookies from scratch, sand and water tables, decoupage, and other fun projects some children (mine) will likely never experience. For those children, Stacey J. Miller has given a great gift in the form of her new book, 101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes.
The "cakes" -- many of which are mini meals, like pizza --are mixed in a single bowl, carefully poured into a mug, and microwaved. The entire process takes only a few minutes, and leaves you with just a bowl, a mug, and a spoon to wash up. Even the most mess-averse mom can handle that.
In addition to cutting down on the mess, microwave mug cakes -- MMC for short -- also automatically limit portions. You're not left with a trayful of brownies beckonng you every time you walk through the kitchen. The small serving size, coupled with the fact that they can cook things themselves, can also be a nice way to get kids to try new foods.
The first few pages of the book are dedicated to explaining how Miller's idea came about and providing important general instructions for MMC baking. The most important advice Miller offers is to read all of those directions carefully before beginning. This isn't, in other words, a project you should turn over to your kids just before you leave to run errands or take a nap. Rather, it's an activity you can enjoy together.
The recipes in the book provide a nice variety of tastes that will suit most palates. If cherry cheesecake doesn't excite you, consider peanut butter and jelly. Or try spicy squash as a main course followed by a chocolate caramel dessert.
Get creative with your kids -- see if you can come up with an appetizer, main course, side dish, and dessert using recipes from the book. Use the cooking time from one cake (about 2 to 4 minutes) to wash out the bowl and mix the next. You can make larger batches and serve the same dishes to everyone in the family -- or take advantage of the single serving size and let everyone choose an individual entree.
One tip: If you do make a full meal, cook the dessert cake first. That way, it will have time to cool completely, and you'll be able to frost it just before it's eaten.
Use them as a playdate activity/snack combination. You can let each child choose his or her own flavor, make the cakes, cook, cool, and frost as desired. See? You can be That Mom. When your guest gushes about your culinary adventures to to his or her parents, just wave off the admiration. "It was nothing," you can say modestly, and they never have to know that you are telling the absolute truth!
To see for yourself how easy MMCs are to prep and bake, click here for the yummy and easy recipe for Blueberry muffin microwave mug cake. Ready for more? Order the book -- or spring for a combination book and mug gift setfor yourself or a friend.
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