^Hey there, ^I’m Claire ^and I’m a tasty producer ^and today I’m going to show you some of my favorite recipes to make for the kids in my life. (energetic music) Personally, I don’t actually have kids, but my mom and I are the caregivers for my six year old niece and my three year old nephew. Basically, I get to be this really cool Auntie-Mom hybrid superhero and it’s hard, but it’s also really, really rewarding. When they suddenly came into my care I had to quickly learn how to cook for kids and let me tell you, it was no easy feat. I was lucky enough to be able to channel it into my work by making Tasty videos and Tasty Junior videos. My co-worker Hannah, she has this six year old son, his name is Jackson and he’s my best friend and he’s usually my sous chef in all Tasty Junior videos. We have been cooking together since he was four and I’ve gotten to see him blossom into such a kind-hearted and goofy boy. We have a blast together in the kitchen and he brings so much joy to the office whenever he comes in. So as all parents know, you don’t always have time to cook everything in the morning during the week and it was my nephew’s birthday. I wanted to make something super innovative and special for his birthday breakfast. And he loves cinnamon rolls and who doesn’t love birthday cake? So I made a cinnamon roll out of birthday cake and they were such a hit at home that I had to make them into a Tasty Junior video. Now, I know what you all are thinking: who gives their kid so much sugar for breakfast? But just to see the joy of his face when he woke up to a cinnamon roll birthday cake, he was ecstatic and it made the experience of making it just that much better. So, in order to fuse cinnamon rolls and birthday cake together, I had to figure out a way to get that cake flavor without adding extra sugar. I ended up just using a box of pre-made cake mix and adding flour to the cake mixture to make it more of a dough consistency rather than a cake batter consistency and it worked like a charm. They’re fluffy, they’re sweet, they’re cake-y. They’re everything you would want in a birthday cake cinnamon roll hybrid. Having to all of a sudden pack lunches for two kids was super intimidating at first. When I was a kid, I remember getting made fun of for having certain things in my lunch and I really didn’t want that for them, but I still wanted them to have nutritious lunches, which I know can be time consuming. My time is already so limited in the mornings, and I needed a quick solution, so I thought of how adults meal-prep for their week all the time and so, I just adapted it for the kids. It teaches kids the responsibility of packing their own lunch. My niece loved that responsibility and she was so proud to walk up to her friends and show them that she had made it for herself and I could see the confidence growing inside of her and it was great for me too because doing just a little bit of preparation can save you ten minutes of time in the morning. That extra ten minutes allowed me to be able to brush my hair or have a cup of coffee or spend those extra few minutes with the kids. And it also sometimes will give me that extra ten minutes of sleep which is so valuable. This is not the only thing that you can make for your kids’ lunches. Have it fit your needs. It’s all going to be catered to your family and what your family likes, but it’s just designed to save you some time and as much as it saves time for me, it also teaches my niece some responsibility to pack her own lunch is such a big deal because she feels like she is serving a role. It gives her an opportunity to participate in our morning routine and she feels like she’s a part of it and that’s really special for our family. We want to include them and raise them to be independent human beings and this is just one of the ways in which she is learning to be an independent person. Everybody has their go-to favorites when they’re cooking for their kids. In my house, tacos hands-down are the winner, but they’re always such a mess especially with a toddler. So, I was trying to figure out a way to work around it and then the taco breadsticks were born. Kids love tacos. Kids love breadsticks, so why not combine them? I know it’s not traditional in any way, shape, or form, but I really enjoy being able to use inspiration from other classic dishes around the world to make them fit my family’s needs. My nephew can hold it in his hand and not make a mess all over the table or himself. Getting a kid to try a new thing can be really difficult so if you play with their personal flavors that you know that they like, it will be much easier for them to eat it if they know it’s taco-flavored or pizza-flavored or something familiar to them, but in a new form. At my house, I serve them to my niece and nephew as an appetizer or a snack or even a side at dinner. They’re just a special treat the kids love and it blows their minds just about every time they eat them. Dinner is probably the number one, most frustrating thing for parents when cooking for kids. It can take a lot of time and effort and by the time you’re done cooking, they’re probably just going to turn their nose up at it and say it’s not what they wanted. There was this one time I went to dinner with my boyfriend and his family at this really nice, expensive, Japanese teppanyaki restaurant. There was this child across the table from us whose parents had ordered him this really nice steak dinner that was cooked right in front of him and it was really exciting for him but all he would eat was his fried rice. That’s like 30 dollars worth of dinner and all he ate was fried rice and I was like dude, you have such a great dinner in front of you, why are you only eating fried rice? And then it dawned on me. Kids love fried rice, duh. So that experience inspired me to create fried rice and to play with the flavors of fried rice because yes, it’s not traditional again, but it is an opportunity for me to show my creativity through the food that I make for the kids. I don’t know about you, but I never met a kid who doesn’t like fried rice. So if you can play with the flavors and customize it to your child’s preference, you’ve got a solid hit for dinner that night. As much as we would like to be, we can’t always be model parents and our kids can’t always be model children. Luckily, my niece and nephew are perfect and they usually eat their vegetables, but sometimes I do have to get creative. With this dish, I really wanted to take the classic, childhood favorite of a cheeseburger and bring it to life with a little bit of healthiness to it. I added some broccoli and carrots. Honestly, I don’t even think the kids noticed that there was anything in there. They’re not little investigators like I know some kids can be, but I know these kids and I know that if there was a plate with broccoli and carrots and a cheeseburger on it, those broccoli and carrots probably will get ignored. Believe it or not, I do read the comments. I’ve noticed a lot of parents shaming other parents for having to hide their vegetables in their kids’ food and if that’s what works for their family, great. If it doesn’t work for yours, try something else. And if you have a perfect child who eats every vegetable that crosses their path, you my friend, are a lucky parent. If you’re still finding it hard to get the kids to eat something that has green in it, try involving them in the cooking process. They’re more likely to eat what they made because they have a sense of pride in it and you get a good bonding experience cooking together. I am a mean baker, but I am not the best cake decorator so I was looking for something pretty full-proof that even I could make for my niece’s birthday. When we were planning her fifth birthday party, I’d ask her what theme she wanted and all she would say was unicorn, that was it. It was going to be unicorns and she would accept nothing else. The kids had recently started living with me and she didn’t know that many kids and she was new to the area and I really wanted to give her the most amazing birthday possible. She’s such a great kid and she’s been through so much, that she really does deserve the best. I went from being a free-spirit, easy-going 24-year-old woman living with my best friend in Los Angeles to a parent. Basically overnight and I’m not going to lie, it was terrifying and it still is terrifying because I have these two amazing little people who rely on me for everything in their lives. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to learn from one another and they have made just as much of an impact on my life as I feel like I have made on theirs. I don’t know if I personally will ever have kids, but, I will say that I am more than happy to give all my love to these two kids for the rest of our days. I’m not gonna lie and say any of this has been easy, it’s been the most difficult time in my life so far, but I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world. Even though I’m not their biological parent, I still have to face the day to day activities that parents do with their kids. I made this amazing cake and I brought it out to all the kids at the party and they were all so excited, the cake got devoured in about ten minutes. On the way home from her party, she had said thank you so many times, but she says auntie, you know I loved my unicorn cake, but I just want you to know that it did kind of look like cow too. And when the video got posted on the internet, the commenters also thought it looked like a cow, which it was not as cute coming from them, but it was adorable coming from her. So yes, It does look like a cow, but it’s a unicorn cow and it’s unique. These two little kids are the most creative and quirky and funny people I’ve ever met. If I can foster that and channel it into being inventive and cooking and being creative with me, that’s the best activity we could ever do together. Food is my love language and it’s how I show the people in my life that I care about them. Cooking for these kids has been such a journey of trial and error and it’s made me a better cook and a better aunt because of it and I just have adored every second of this journey. That’s not true, I’ve complained a lot, but it’s fine. (offscreen) Oh, yes. (laughter) (gentle guitar music)