Fun Kid Recipes

Oh no. I must be running out of ideas. Nah, I’ve got weeks worth before I start building this with new stuff.

We all hear how good it is to have kids in the kitchen. Teaches responsibility. Teaches math. Blah, blah, blah. Family fun time!

Of course, the best reason I heard was from Tornado E’s 7th grade math teacher. When you don’t follow directions when cooking, the consequences are immediate and disastrous. If that isn’t life lessons, I don’t know what are.

So I give you easy recipes to teach your kids how to cook. And yeah, I’ve got bunches of these.
1. Quesadillas. Try different cheeses.
2. Cheese crisp. Open face quesadillas baked in the oven so they are cheesy and crispy. Butter the tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and pop into the oven until the edges get brown. Cut like a pizza Traditionally with cheddar. But I’ve done it with three different cheeses to make them look like candy corn once cut.
3. Trail mix. Kids love making it. Nuts, cereal, granola, pretzels, dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit, M&Ms. All kinds of fun and interesting combinations. I do this about once a year with my cubs. They love this. Their older and younger siblings love this. Their parents love this.

4. Popsicles. Juice in ice cube trays; plastic wrap over it; toothpicks or popsicle sticks stuck into the plastic in each square. No ice cube trays? Paper cups. Plastic wrap over the top. Stick a popsicle stick in. Freeze.

5. Peanut butter and crackers. Teach your kids early how to spread things. Mine are horrible at it.

6. Jelly and cracker sandwiches. My tornadoes loved these as kids. Regular crackers. Graham crackers. It can get a little messy.

7. Cheese and sandwich meat and crackers. Basically homemade Lunchables. Pick your favorite cheeses and meets. As a kid, I thought this was the height of sophistication.

8. Parfaits. Healthy: yogurt, granola, fruit. Layer. Dessert: pudding, cookies, whip cream (maybe a layer of chocolate syrup)

More to come. Stay safe! Stay sane!


Canned Crescent Roll Ideas

How many of you are getting bored with eating the same old thing? How many of your kids are getting bored eating the same thing? How many of you are bored with making the same thing?

Some of us don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to make gourmet meals right now. Here are a few ideas on using canned crescent rolls. All kid approved. It’s also a great way to start with some light cooking. Let the kiddos help. I find they are more likely to eat something that they made themselves.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Open up your rolls, spread them out, and add the ingredients. Roll them up and bake them like the directions say.

1. Spread cream cheese and sprinkle your favorite seasoning. I prefer garlic. To add extra flavor, brush melted butter and add a sprinkle of seasoning.
2. Half a stick of string cheese. To add extra flavor, brush on melted butter and sprinkle dried garlic or Parmesan cheese.

3. Half a stick of string cheese and few pepperoni slices. To add extra flavor, brush butter and sprinkle garlic, Italian seasoning, or Parmesan cheese. Add tomato sauce as a dip.

4. A few chocolate chips. I went a little crazy and made and added chocolate shavings.

5. Nutella. Chocolate shavings on those too.

6. Butter cinnamon and brown sugar.

7. A friend recommended ham and cheddar. Her son loves them, so she makes them and freezes them two in a bag.

Somethings we haven’t tried, but I want to. Cheddar. A slice of turkey or ham and cheese. A slice of apple. Jelly.

Good luck. Stay safe. Stay sane.

Snack Crack

I’m dedicating this post to TKW (as in The Kitchen Witch as in everyone else calls her Kitch, but not me.  I’m not in to mob mentality) because I’m giving her all the credit of coining the phrase “snack crack” and because she’s awesome in all ways.  And of course, the day I dedicate a post to her she’s off guest posting somewhere else.  Fine.  Follow her there too because she freakin’ hilarious.  Who else could write a post with the phrases “red furry handcuffs” or “the call of the Lorelei” or “Animal Terrorism?”

When TKW first mention “snack crack,” I was a little envious.  My addiction was never so neat.  It encompassed all things sugar.  “Fae, you know, people are addicted to alcohol and cigarettes and drugs and to some extent, pot, but you’re the first person I’ve ever met that’s addicted to sugar,” said my college-campus-apartment neighbor as he took another drag off his cigarette.  I just happened to be sucking down bright blue frosting from a tube at the time.  “Well, at least, we’re addicted to something together.  Hey, what color is my tongue?”

I’d like to believe I’ve matured some since then.  I make my own frosting that I indulge in after bedtime as not to set a bad example.  Though I still have to get blue raspberry Surpee (with a touch of coke and two touches of cherry too) and speak the immortal words “Hey, boys, what color is my tongue?”  (I’ll admit it, I’m totally dying my hair that color blue when the time comes to start hiding grey.)

Back to maturity, I have more will-power now.  I don’t spend (much) money on sweets.  I don’t buy candy every time at the store.  I don’t (usually) eat a spoonful of brown sugar when it’s out.  I didn’t fill my Easter basket with tons of candy, even though I wanted to. Right now in my freezer is a half-gallon of chocolate brownie ice cream from Cold Stone and two quarts of strawberry Eegees (think virgin daiquiri, only sweeter with hunks of fruit), and none of it has been touched.  Of course, all this might not be the power of my will but the fact that I bake a dessert every weekend for Tornado E’s lunches, but I’m still calling it will power.

On top of this, there is nothing that I eat that I can’t set down and move on.  I may indulge in a long mental goodbye as I feed it to the boys.  But I can give it up.

So imagine my surprise when I realized I had my very own snack crack.  I made apple berry salsa as a side one night a couple of weeks ago.  I set the salsa aside to make the rest of dinner, but as I cooked I kept going back to the salsa.  I do have a habit of eating while I cook, which is why I cannot make it professionally, so I chew gum.  But that night it was all about the salsa.  By the time I was done making dinner, I had enough salsa for one person.  So I finished that off too because it wouldn’t be fair to just serve a little.

The next week I made the apple berry salsa to take to Tornado E’s t-ball game as a snack.  I offered it around without any takers.  So I sat watching Tornado A crawl around on the blanket and what passes for a t-ball game, snacking on the salsa.  By the end of the game, there was no more salsa.  I had a snack crack.  A yummy, tasty snack crack!  A healthy (?!) snack crack.

I adapted it from a Pamper Chef recipe.  I’ve experimented with the portion sizes, but this is the original size.  The cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips are an awesome dessert in and of themselves.  I can’t say your kids will like it.  Tornado E has a thing against strawberries.  (Yeah, I know.  Strawberries.  It’s so weird and so very, very sad.)  The prep time is what annoys me the most, but it’s well worth it.  Try it and enjoy.

Apple Berry Salsa
2 medium Granny Smith Apples, diced
1 pint of strawberries, diced
2 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 small orange
2 TB packed brown sugar
Baked Cinnamon Chips

1. Mix diced fruit.
2. Juice orange.
3. Add 2 TB of juice and brown sugar to fruit.
4. Mix gently.

Cinnamon Chips

8 (7-in) flour tortillas
1 TB sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 400

1. Sprinkle or brush water lightly on tortilla.
2. Mix cinnamon and sugar either in a shaker or a bowl with spoon.
3. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over tortilla.
4. Cut into wedges.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly brown and crisp.

Adding vegetables

I bought Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld well over a year ago.  The BFF and I saw it on Oprah and ran out to buy it that night (after The Husband was home and willing and able to do babysitting duty).  The BFF and I love cookbooks and love spending our time looking at cookbooks together.  And this one would be helpful with Tornado E’s eating issues.  But we were skeptical.

I tried the pita pizzas first, and to up the anti, I tried them with broccoli puree.  If you could hide the strong tasting broccoli puree, you could hide everything.  And it worked!  We weren’t big on her Mac and Cheese, but I have since learned you need to bake it with a cheese sauce, so I need to try it again.  The boys and I love the Frozen Yogurt Pops and Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.  Tornado E just adores the Applesauce Muffins, but I had to add more spices to give it a more flavorful taste The Husband and I love.  Everyone loves the Aloha Chicken Kebabs, but I don’t fry them; I bake them.  I combined her Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe with one I got from Weight Watchers with delicious results.  The only Epic Fail so far is the Mozzarella Sticks, but I want to try them again to see if I missed something.  And I can never bring myself to destroy Mash Potatoes that way.  Never.

The best part of this book is that it caused me to think about food differently.  But with the duh factor of my mom and grandma, who told me that they always hid vegetables in whatever they could.  It wasn’t a new concept.  But I did make leaps they never did.

I started adding carrot or cauliflower puree to enchiladas and enchilada casserole (the only casserole that Faemom endorses).  When I make muffins or coffee cake or cinnamon rolls, I drop in apple or pear puree, which made them so much more moist than before.  I’m always looking for another food to drop in more vegetables.  My baby brother has become so suspicious that he asks me what I hid in dinner.  (Don’t worry; he’s as bad as Tornado E when it comes to vegetables so I don’t say a thing.)

I did find better tips on how to handle purees than Seinfeld.  She wrote about how she would puree every Sunday for the week.  Who has time for that?  When a vegetable or fruit is on sale, I just buy a bunch, puree it, and stick it in the freezer in ½ cup sizes in zip lock bags.  Much like I did when I was making baby food.  And that’s another thing, sometimes it was cheaper to buy baby food and use that.  A regular serving size of baby food is just about ½ cup.

If you’re thinking “Good Lord, how is Tornado E ever going to eat vegetables if she hides them all,” let me answer.  I still serve him fruits and vegetables with his meal in hopes to get him to try it.  I also like the purees for myself because they make the meal more fulfilling.  Not only do I know I’m getting in more fruits and vegetables, but the servings fill me up faster because of all the ingredients.

I say give this book or technique a try.  I’ll keep working on other foods to use purees in because Tornado E has to get more vegetables in some how.

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