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A Spooky Meal

25 Oct

Halloween is a week away!  My girls are so excited they have asked for “spooky” snacks and meals. Here are a few ideas to “spook” up your meal!

Naked Franken’ Halloween Drink

  • 10 oz Naked Green Machine Drink
  • 2 google eyes
  • Glue
  • Black permanent marker
  • Red permanent marker
  • 1 straw (green preferably) cut into two small pieces
  • 1 straw (green) for drinking

Tear the wrapping off the Naked Bottle. Dry bottle with paper if it has condensation on it. Draw hair and mouth with black permanent marker. Draw blood or “cut” just below hair. Glue on eyes using a tacky glue or glue gun.

Jack-O-Lantern Pizza

  • 1 slice of pizza
  • 1 slice american cheese
  • Pumpkin shaped cookie cutter
  • Knife to cut eyes and face on pumpkin

Use cookie cutter to cut slice of american cheese into pumpkin shape.  Cut out a jack-o-lantern face on pumpkin shaped cheese.  Place on slice of pizza.

The Spooky Eyed Forest

Steam broccoli, heat Turkey Meatballs and place on plate.  Use a butter knife to spread ketchup so that it looks like the eyes are blood-shot.  Tear off a small piece of white american cheese to make pupil.

I served these all at different times.  Serve them all together and you have one “Spooky Meal”.

Try It, You’ll Like It (Pumpkin Lentil Soup)

17 Oct

If you have a toddler, I’m sure you’ve seen Yo Gabba Gabba. My girls became OBSESSED a little over a year ago when my parents took them to a show. I never thought that Yo Gabba Gabba would encourage them to eat. Our favorite song, which gets sung at almost every meal because my daughter is so quick to say “I don’t like that”, is “try it, you’ll like it…”. Any time we try something new we sing it.  Another great song for getting my girls to eat is “Party in my Tummy”.

Last week I made Pumpkin Lentil Soup.  When I put it in front of my four-year old I received the typical response “I’m not eating that, its gross, I don’t like pumpkin”. My response: “have you tried pumpkin? Did you try the soup? Haven’t you liked all the other new foods you have tried?”. We then reverted back to Yo Gabba Gabba and started singing the Yo Gabba Gabba’s “Try It, you’ll like it”. Of course she ate the entire bowl and asked for it again a few days later.

Pumpkin Lentil Soup Recipe (adapted from Slow Cooker Pumpkin,Chickpea and Lentil Stew)

*It is a stew but my girls like calling it soup.

  • 1 pound pie pumpkin or winter squash,
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 3 medium carrots ( I used baby carrots since we had them)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2  cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin beer (I used Dogfish Punk Beer)

Directions:

  1. Peel, seed, and cut the pumpkin into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Rinse and drain the beans.
  3. Cut the carrots into 1/2 in thick slices.
  4. In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker combine pumpkin, chickpeas, carrots, onion, lentils, tomato paste, ginger, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  5. Pour vegetable broth and beer all over ingredients in slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours.

I did not do this but it would be cute to use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter and cut a pumpkin shape on a slice of cheddar or yellow american cheese to place on top of the stew when served.

The Day I Discovered My 2 Year Old LOVES Salad

8 Aug

I usually don’t eat at the same time as my girls because I am helping them eat, getting the bath ready, or cleaning up from cooking.  I also LOVE having my time to eat while the girls have a little TV time before bed.  Last week, I had made a taco salad with a homemade avocado dressing I made in my Beaba.  I finally sat down to eat when I saw my younger daughter climb off the couch and walk towards me saying “salad…I want salad mommy”.  She ended up eating half the salad.  I usually struggle finding a vegetable to go with meals but when I discovered she liked salad, I now put a side salad together for lunch and dinner.  Last night she only wanted salad for dinner.  Now I just have to work on my 4-year-old. 🙂

Avocado Salad Dressing:

1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

3/4 of avocado

1 lime, juiced

Cilantro, I didn’t measure, just kept adding as I tasted the dressing

1/4- 1/2 cup water, you can add more depending on what consistency you like

Salt,Pepper, & garlic powder to taste

Put all the ingredients in the Beaba and blend, adding more water and seasoning as needed.

 

Memorial Day (or July 4th) Breakfast

25 May

Ships passing by.

A few days ago we were watching the parade of ships go by to kick off Fleet Week.  Maddie, 3 1/2, turned to me and started screaming “look mommy…it’s a pirate ship”.  I didn’t really think to correct her or explain to her why there were so many ships.  This morning the girls got up early so in honor of Memorial Day weekend I decided to get creative and make the girls a special breakfast and while they were eating we talked about the why we celebrate Memorial Day and why the ships were passing by the other day.  Here is what I came up with, also a fun breakfast to celebrate the fourth of July:

I wanted to add blueberries and/or strawberries to the pancakes or underneath the sailboat but the girls ate all the fruit before I was able to start cooking.

Blue Star Sailboat Funbites Pancake with Strawberry Syrup:

Added the star sprinkles while the pancakes were cooking.

Used Funbites CubeIt and LuvIt pieces of pancake to create a “sailboat”. Added the little hearts to the top of the plate at the end.

Egg Flag: Used a hard-boiled egg and cut it in half. See under pictures for how I made the “stars and stripes”.

Used a tiny drop of blue food coloring in a little bit of low-fat mayo, mixed it in and used a tooth pick to make blue dots.

I used sliced red pepper for the stripes. I would have used tomato if I had it because the girls picked off the red pepper. To get the stripes to stay, I had to slice the egg and push the pepper down.

All done!

Fun and Yum!

someone got a hold of the sprinkles when mommy was cleaning!

Maddie’s plate rarely looks like this. I think I need to start making every meal fun.

Happy Eating this Memorial Day weekend!

Disclaimer: All ideas and images expressed are my own.  

We Eat Asparagus

2 May

I am always trying to get the girls to try new vegetables without having to purée them and mix them into smoothies or sauces.  A while back I decided to try asparagus with them.  It is a hard vegetable to get a child to eat because it smells and looks like a tree.  I thought there was no way they would eat it on its own and I was right.  Initially I cut it up into smaller pieces after steaming it and they wouldn’t touch it.  I went back to the kitchen to see what I could mix it into.  I came up with rice and goat cheese (both of my girls are cheese addicts).  As soon as I put it in front of them, the pieces of asparagus the same size as before, it was devoured with nothing left.  Now Maddie will try asparagus alone and will ask for this rice dish for dinner.  It is very easy to make and you can add chicken or fish and serve it all together in a bowl.

Dinner: Tilapia- they ate it all when I added “sprinkles” or colored sea salt and asparagus with rice and goat cheese.

“When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade”

13 Apr

When ever we go out to eat Maddie always asks for lemonade.  While I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago, it was about 80 degrees one day and there were a few girls with a lemonade stand at the end of the street.  It got me excited for warm weather and made me want to move to the suburbs so the girls could set up  their own lemonade stand on hot summer days.    I was looking through a Chasing Fireflies catalog I got in the mail and came across the cutest lemonade stand supplies.  I started thinking about how the girls could set up their stand and found recipes for snacks they could make to sell.  I’m not sure who is more excited about the idea of having a stand, me or the girls. Here is the stand I have in mind for US for the day we move to the suburbs or maybe we’ll just take a trip to my parents and set one up there:

Cardboard lemonade stand $78 (Image from chasing-fireflies.com)

Personalized decals for lemonade stand...I wish I could put two names on there. $28 (Image from chasing-fireflies.com)

Lemonade dispenser $128 (Image from chasing-fireflies.com)

What we would have:

Lemonade (flavors would change)  Maddie loves strawberry lemonade.  Here is a recipe I found from Emeril on foodnetwork.com.  We are going to try this weekend because the forecast says 80 on Sunday and Monday.

Image from foodnetwork.com

SkinnyTaste’s Pink Lemonade Confetti Cupcakes:  The girls saw the picture of these cupcakes and wanted to go out and get one.  I am definitely going to make these for them soon and would be perfect if they have a lemonade stand.

Image from SkinnyTaste.com

Taste of Home’s Soft Lemonade Cookies:

Image from tasteofhome.com

Lemon Square Bars from AllRecipes.com:

Image from allrecipes.com

All this recipe searching is making want to start baking all these delicious treats.  The girls and I better get to the store to get the ingredients. 🙂

Banana Double Chocolate Crunch Granola Bar “Cake” Recipe {Allergy- Friendly}

29 Feb

Last week I posted about Enjoy Life Allergy-Friendly Double Chocolate Crunch Granola (see post) and promised to share the recipe this week.  I don’t like having too many sweet things lying around because I tend to eat it all myself so I made a smaller portion using our new oogaa bowl.  The following recipe serves about 4-6 depending on how much you would like.  It was so delicious, I definitely will make it again.  It would be a perfect dessert or snack for a small play group.  It is best to eat that day because the bananas will go bad.  Try adding dried fruit too to the granola/ marshmallow mixture.

*Used Kellogg’s Rice Krispe Treat Recipe as a base for this recipe.

** Keep checking back for an oogaa mealtime set GIVEAWAY!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups or 1 oogaa bowl of Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Chip Granola
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows (we used Elyon Natural Vanilla Mini Marshmallows: fat-free, gluten-free, and kosher)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks
  • Milk* as needed (*can sub with soy milk or rice milk depending on needs)

Directions:

  1.  In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. (Step from Kellogg’s)
  2. Mix in Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Chip Granola until coated well.
  3. Put mixture in one oogaa bowl.  Cool in refrigerator  for about 10 20 minutes or until ready to serve.
  4. Once cool, press granola treat out of oogaa bowl and on to a plate to serve.  The bowl is flexible, so pushing it out is easy to do.
  5. Slice bananas on top of granola “cake”
  6. A few minutes before serving add Mega Chunks to a microwave safe dish, or you can use your microwave safe oogaa bowl. Keep adding milk as needed until you get a semi-thick sauce to drizzle (with spoon) over “cake”.
  7. Cut and serve.

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  I received the Enjoy Life Products for the purpose of my review.  I also received oogaa mealtime sets for the girls for posting about their product. I came up with this recipe because the girls would not eat granola on its own and  I thought why not make something like a rice krispie treat. Always check labels when using ingredients because I cannot say for certain which allergens this recipe is completely free of.

“Eat Your Heart Out” Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chicken {Recipe}

14 Feb
I got this recipe from my mom a few years ago.  I have no idea where she got it from but it is one of my favorites. I make it when we have people over for dinner, when I bring dinner to friends after they have a baby, and every once in a while for the four of us.  Anyone I have made it for has loved it.  The girls love it too, especially when we use fun shape pastas.  If you decide to stay in tonight this recipe is easy and delicious.  It would be great with a bottle of wine for the mommies and daddies and some sparkling cider for your little Valentine(s).
*When I make it for the four of us I cut the recipe in half and it still makes a lot.  I have also used shrimp instead of chicken in the past and it is just as good.
Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut bite sized
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 (9oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbl oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 (1lb) box farfelle pasta (or any other pasta you like), Since it is a special Valentine’s dinner we used “Eat Your Heart Out” Pasta by The Pasta Shop: Pastabilities (see my post about Pastabilities)
Directions:
  1. Saute chicken pieces with garlic, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt in the 2 Tablespoons of sun-dried tomato oil for 5-7 min, or until chicken is cooked.
  2. Drain tomatoes and add to chicken, reduce heat and sauté for 3 minutes longer.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on box.
  4. Toss cooked pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
  5. Add parmesan cheese on top.

Serve with a salad or veggies.

Made with Love: Allergy-Friendly Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

2 Feb

{Warning: Spoiler for Daddy}

I keep skipping over the super bowl and keep thinking about cooking activities the girls and I can do for Valentine’s Day.  In the past I have never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day but since having kids I find myself enjoying it more and more.

We were running late to take Maddie to school.  I had to get Pela dressed quickly and didn’t have a chance to feed her breakfast.  I bought Cherrybrook Kitchen Pancake mix a while ago and wanted to make them for the girls.  Since Pela and I had some time while Maddie was at school, I thought it would be fun to cook breakfast together as a trial for our Valentine’s Day breakfast for Daddy.  Although Pela is still a little young, she had a great time preparing.  She needed a lot of assistance and direction, often sneaking bites of the ingredients.  Regardless of the mess and some missing ingredients, which I easily replaced, she made a great pancake mix and will be a perfect activity for the girls to do together on Valentine’s Day morning for Daddy.

Cherrybrook Kitchen has a variety of  allergy friendly mixes, cookies, and icing.  Their products are peanut, egg, tree nut, and dairy* free.  They also have wheat and gluten-free mixes.  Maddie has a lot of friends with various allergies.  I plan on using Cherrybrook Kitchen to make raspberry and chocolate chip cupcakes for her Valentine’s Day party. You can find their products in the baking section at Whole Foods or check their website for a store near you.  Try Cherrybrook Kitchen, the pancakes were delicious.  We can’t wait to try their other products.

Allergy-Friendly Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes Recipe

What you need:

  • Mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • 1 cup Cherrybrook Kitchen Pancake Mix (followed directions on box to make 7 pancakes)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tsp Milk, rice milk, or another dairy alternative depending on your needs (we used low-fat milk)
  • 2 1/2 TBS Enjoy Life Semi- Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 4 Strawberries cut into a heart shape
  • non-stick pan
  • cooking spray, vegetable oil or butter (we used Pam Original Cooking Spray.

Made with Love

Directions:

  • Prior to doing with your child, especially with a younger child, have everything measured out so all the child needs to do is pour it out.
  • Cut strawberries into heart shapes, I found the link after I had already made them. Put them to the side until ready to cook pancakes.
  • Make Pancake batter with your child by stirring together  Pancake
  • Next, add chocolate chips and mix into batter.
  • Add raspberries, as stirring mash a little.
  • For cooking instructions, see back of box. Directions can be found at their site too.
  • I added a strawberry heart to center of pancake as they cooked.  They didn’t turn out as pretty as I had hoped so I left some of the hearts and placed them on top after the pancake was cooked.
  • After they cooled I used pink Wilton Sparkle Gel to decorate.  Your child could decorate too.

If the heart in the center doesn't turn out as planned use a cookie cutter for a heart pancake.

Ready to eat! On pancake #2

Kids Food Festival

20 Jan

I am very excited to take Maddie to the Kids Food Fest tomorrow morning.  She will be doing the Allergy- Free cooking class with Kristin O’Connor at 10:00 am.  I checked out Kristen’s new blog, Personalized Living: Using the Blood Type Diet,  and came across this Sweet Potato Pancake recipe that I want to make for the girls.  It looks so delicious, I can’t wait to see what she does with the kids tomorrow.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, check out the Festival.  There are a lot of fun events to sign up for and a portion of the proceeds will go to charities to help battle childhood obessity.  It’s not too late to get tickets!