Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review: Zebra Mix

A few years ago I attended a parenting seminar here in Seattle, and we got fun goodie bags to take home with us. One of the things in my goodie bag was a box of brownie mix from Zebra Mix, a local Seattle company. Zebra Mix is a company that produces step-by-step baking kits for kids, including a chocolate chip cookie mix, a brownie bites mix and a zebra cupcake/frosting mix.  All three of those kits include ingredients that are 70% organic.  The mixes have all the dry ingredients included, you just have to add water, eggs and butter (and cream cheese for the frosting of the cupcake mix).

The genius behind these mixes is that they are geared specifically for children. Each mix comes with a Safari Baking Map, which has interactive instructions and activities for kids.  One side of the map is for the 4-9 year old kids, and the other side is designed for those 9 and up.  Not only does the map have very easy-to-follow instructions for the kids on how to make their cookies or cupcakes or brownies, it also has activities to go along with the baking, activities that teach art, science and math. The Safari Map also clearly notes which parts of the baking process will require adult supervision, so the kids can know when to ask mom and dad for help while still being independent for much of the process.

We received the Zebra Cupcake and Frosting mix and the Brownie Bites mix.  I decided to test out the cupcake mix, since I'm a cupcake lover. (If you read my personal blog and happened to notice that I am starting a diet, please pretend that you didn't read this post). 

Ethan is just a little over 2 years old, and the mixes are geared for those 4 and up, but he still had a great time helping me out with baking the cupcakes. Since he's too short to reach our tall kitchen counters, I would add the ingredients in the kitchen, then bring them to his chair to let him stir. He's never done any sort of baking or cooking before, so this was all totally new to him. And given his tendency to protest against direct instructions, I expected the worst, but he had a great time!


More stirring

The best part of baking- licking the beaters! (Frosting mix, not cake mix, so no raw eggs)

The finished product

Happy boy!

The other great thing about the Zebra Mixes is that they are designed for easy cleanup. Because goodness knows that moms have enough to do without having to add more kitchen cleanup into the day. Since all the dry ingredients are provided, there's no measuring of sugar or flour and none of the mess that that often entails. The Safari Map has a place for the mixing bowl clearly labeled right in the middle, so all the mess that your kids might make while stirring/adding water/egg/butter is contained in one small location. I was able to get these cupcakes made (with toddler help) in a short period of time, and cleanup went very quickly as well.  It was the perfect afternoon activity for Ethan and I, and definitely something I will do again in the future. After all, it kept Ethan entertained, I had fun, and I got to eat a cupcake at the end!

Zebra Mix is branching out from the box mixes that they have been making and now has a line of gift kits, activity baking kits, and a treasure tin/lunch box line.  Perfect for the holidays! This site has a link for finding a store near you that carries these great baking mixes. You will also soon be able to find them at Borders Books, Walden Books, Sur La Table, Toys R Us and Nordstrom stores. And you can also buy them online at this site. The box mixes (like the one I reviewed) sell for $5.99.