I keep a few sweet potatoes sliced into sticks in the freezer, because we eat the preseasoned fries from the freezer section of our grocery store in approximately 6 seconds and always want more. Belle can always request fries and we’ll make them.
I am trying to give Belle a sense of the flavors involved in various spices, so we spend a lot of time smelling the spice options. Choosing one of three is advanced, so I tend to present “a or b” choices in the same family. For instance, Penzey’s vindaloo and garam masala blends are similar, but vindaloo has more chili heat to its spice. I might let Belle choose which she prefers and put away the other.
I also give Belle control of the spice and oil bottles, from opening the cap – so she can recognize the difference between flip top and twist off and use the right fine motor skill – to shaking over the bowl for gross motor precision. Our fries are sometimes overspiced but generally it’s a lot of surface area to cover so hard to mess up. I keep a hand on the oil or give her a measuring cup for it, because it pours so quickly.
Skills worked on:
- Gross motor (strength, midline coordination)
- Fine motor (strength for opening bottle caps)
- Following directions
- Cookie sheet(s), probably 2
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon (optional)
Recipe (10 min prep, 25-30 min bake, yield: 1 sweet potato’s worth):
- Sweet potato
- Oil (olive, vegetable, canola, whatever)
- Slice sweet potatoes into thin sticks, roughly the size of McDonalds fries. Freeze in ziplock bags, or continue.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Break apart frozen fries into a large mixing bowl.
- Add about 3 tbsp oil per sweet potato to coat the fries. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other spices until it looks like every fry will get some seasoning (1-3 tsp of each spice per potato). Use a wooden spoon or hands to toss.
- Spread in a single layer on cookie sheet(s). The more space between fries, the crispier they’ll get.
- Bake for 20 min, stir, bake additional 10 min.
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