First of all, I bet your child will eat more raw veggies than you expect. It's hard not to snack on all the goodies (cucumbers, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives) you have washed and ready. So they eat veggies while they work on decorating and then they get a second dose of the veggies that actually make it onto the faces.
Second, this recipe uses a lot of things you probably have on hand. It makes you get the veggies washed and ready to eat so even if you don't use them all up they will be ready to make more faces the next day or to toss in a salad or put out for a snack. I used up some odds and ends of cream cheese blocks. And you can use full size bagels, or the little mini ones.
Third, you can reinvent this recipe using whatever you have handy or feel like eating. Peanut butter faces could have pretzles, pieces of cereal, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips- a dessert version. But you could do flavored cream cheese with different fruits-strawberry cream cheese with pieces of apple, banana, kiwi, raisin, or craisin. Or even hummus or a soft spreading cheese with all the same veggies.
Those of you with toddlers around have probaby been doing your fair share of discussing emotions, and this recipe is a fun way to talk about "sad faces" and "happy faces". It uses a lot of imagination too. Sawyer liked telling stories about "who" he was making. Among our faces we have a Silly Santa and an Easter Bunny. Can you guess which one is which? (Answers at the bottom of the post).
Katzen's best advice was having young children wash the vegetables while you do the chopping and slicing. Sawyer loved having an important job. He initially wanted to use the scrub brush we use for the dishes on each cherry tomato. We lost less veggies down the drain because we put the collander in to help catch runaways.
The hardest part? Spreading the cream cheese. Try to leave it out for a bit so it is room temperature and easier to spread. Mollie says tell them to "push down and pull out" which I found myself repeating often. It took a lot of will power not to take over and just do this part myself! But again I've heard that spreading is good for development (Sue at Red Gate Preschool said so and I believe her).
The best part? Sawyer kept saying, "These are really, really good." And I kept thinking, "These are really, really good for you!"
Answers: Silly Santa is bottom right and Easter Bunny is top left.