Does your teen like to eat?

If you have a teen, you may be laughing out loud as you read that question because, really, does anyone have a teen who doesn’t?

And because we all know the answer to that one, spending a day in the kitchen together is a great idea to run with… Whether you have a son or daughter, knowing that there will be a tasty reward for a few hours of uninterrupted time in the kitchen with mom and/or dad makes it all worth it 😉

Plus – and I’ve especially found this with my sons – there is something about working together and doing something with your hands that makes it easier for guys to engage in a conversation. If you haven’t ever noticed that and you’re trying to get him to open up…well, then I would especially encourage you to try this handy “tool”!

Day 2 – Spend a Day in the Kitchen

I’ve successfully used these two easy-to-make treats in the kitchen over the years to create memorable times together with my crew. Not only were we preparing for the holidays in a real way, but we also built lasting memories and deepened our relationship. A win-win any way you look at it!

Recipe #1 – Easy-peasy Cocoa Bites

These fabulously easy to prepare treats are not only yummy but good for you, too. (But ya’ might not want to pass that bit of info on if you feel it’ll ruin the moment…)

They contain dates (which my kids actually prefer over raisins), coconut, and almonds. I’d imagine you could change out the nut to your preference, but this is what we’ve always used…

They only keep in the fridge for a week, tho, so get out your food processor, whip up a bunch, and be generous with guests at home. Or you could wrap up a bunch to bring to the next Christmas party you attend.


  • 2 cups (10 oz) dates
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup + 2T unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix everything together, minus the 2T cocoa powder, and place on a tray. Dust them with the reserved cocoa powder (or you could dust some with coconut and others with some ground nuts, too, for variety). Wrap in plastic wrap and keep chilled.

Recipe #2 – Pat’s Christmas peanuts

I make these every Christmas season. They’ve become a “must have” in the gift boxes I send to far-away family and friends, and my husband has started requesting cutely-wrapped baskets/cans of them as gifts to his co-workers.

They are a cinch to make, but you DO need to pay attention, and I’ve found loud and bouncy Christmas music in the background makes this an activity during which my teens and I both laugh (and munch) a LOT…


  • 4 cups of raw, shelled peanuts
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • red food coloring (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and heat, stirring often, till the water is mostly evaporated. Immediately (that is uber-important!) pour the mixture out onto a greased cookie sheet (with a lip) and bake for about 15-20 mins at 350°. Dump into a large bowl to cool. Then start your next batch ;-). Warning: these things are addicting! In a good way, of course.

Bon appetit! I’d love to hear what happens at your place when you spend a day in the kitchen…so feel free to update us in the comments.

And then come back every day this week as we discover other ways to prepare for Christmas…together with your teen <3!

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This post is part one of a 5-part series. Read the other parts here:

5 Days of Preparing for Christmas with Your Teen

1. Schedule quality time
2. Spend a day in the kitchen
3. Work on a Christmas playlist (or two) together
4. Host a Christmas party for his friends
5. Craft a special family Christmas evening

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Click on the image to find more wonderful ways to celebrate and prepare for Christmas over the course of the next 5 days.

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