Monday, February 28, 2011

"Yummy Cookies" Cocoa Crackles

Measuring and pouring.

Like any toddler Audrey loves cookies. And, like her mother, Audrey loves chocolate. When the two desires converge we like to make Cocoa Crackles from the Sesame Street Yummy Cookies: Baking with Kids cookbook. It calls for a little whole wheat in the recipe and is not as bad as most cookie recipes. When you want to splurge, give this recipe a try to see if it will take care of your sweet tooth, if you have one.

Audrey also loves any excuse to use the stand mixer. It is not as fun as the food processor but that might be because it is not this stand mixer:
Audrey's mommy has a birthday coming up soon and she is thinking about asking for this wonderful machine so she and Audrey can have fun with it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday

Audrey is in love with her red muffin tin. These days she loves to pull out the muffin tins anytime we have a meal of fruit and yogurt. Today we had a meal of fruit, yogurt, and sandwiches and Audrey ran for her tins.
I went to change a diaper while Audrey made lunch and came back because she claimed to have spilled yogurt all over. Turns out she just strung a little from the jar to the muffin tin.
Sorry these pictures are not very good but there was a toddler pulling at my pants all day.

February 27 "Picture Me Cooking" Fruit Jewels

We love the Picture Me Cooking cookbook! The recipes are fun and tasty. Audrey loves to pull the book out and look at the pictures of the recipes. Tonight we made these wonderful Fruit Jewels:

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 cups fruit
In a medium bowl have your helper butter until fluffy. Gradually mix in sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolk, orange juice and vanilla. Mix in flour until a dough ball forms. Have your helper assist you to press bits of dough into 2 or 3 inch tartlett molds or cupcake pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes. Have your helper assist you in removing tarts from molds by using the tip of a butter knife. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. 
Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup orange juice
Mix sugar, cornstarch and orange juice in a small pot and stir until smooth. Have your helper assist you in bringing mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Keep at a boil for about 2 minutes, until thickened. Cover and cool. Fill tart shells with your chosen fruit. Spoon glaze over tops of each

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Assist in gathering ingredients
  2. Fill tartletts
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Assist Audrey
  2. Make glaze
We did not actually make the tart shells but rather used some we had leftover from Christmas gifts. Next time we will have to make the cookie shells ourselves. These tasted wonderful! We used frozen organic raspberries. 

"Cool Kids' Cooking" Egg Nests

Preparing eggs.
We mostly try to make meals from as close to the raw ingredient as possible. Sometimes time constraints make a from scratch meal harder to get to the table. On those days we pull out our Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cool Kids' Cooking. It uses pantry and/or freezer items to get a good meal on the table. We made Egg Nests for dinner:

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen hash browns
  • 1/4 cup flour (we used whole wheat)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 6 precooked sausages
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare six cups of a muffin pan with oil or spray. In a medium bowl toss together hash browns with flour. In a small bowl beat 2 eggs lightly. Pour over potatoes; stir until well combined. Measure 1/2 cup potato mixture into each muffin cup. With clean hands, press potatoes into bottom and up sides of each cup. Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until nests start to brown. While nests bake, chop sausages. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and add sausage to each muffin cup. Carefully crack an egg into a small bowl; slide into one of the nests over sausage. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining eggs and nests. Cover muffin pan with foil. Return muffin pan to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until egg is done. 

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help gather materials and ingredients
  2. Crack eggs
  3. Cut meat (we used hot dogs)
  4. Measure and add ingredients
  5. Whisk eggs
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Assist Audrey
  2. Press hash browns into muffin cups
  3. Pour eggs into cups
These were pretty good. They stuck really well to the tin but tasted pretty good once we got them out. We had them with some local ketchup Maurene and I purchased at the Douglas County Seed Fair.

Maurene loves to pull things out of the drawers.


Friday, February 25, 2011

"Cook it in a Cup" Little Lasagnas

On our weekly menus I plan Friday nights for toddler meals because it is date night. Some nights I let the girls eat boxed mac 'n cheese and others we cook simple meals. Tonight, since Audrey and daddy are in Florida, is not date night so Maurene fixed Little Lasagnas from our Cook it in a Cup cookbook.

Ingredients for 6 individual lasagnas:
  • 1 1/2 cups dried penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Extra Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350°F. Put 1/4 cup of the penne pasta and 1/4 of the tomato sauce in each baking cup. Mix well to coat with sauce. Combine the three cheeses with the basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix with a fork. Top each cup with 2 tbsp of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle an extra pinch of Parmesan cheese on top of each cup. Place the cups on a baking sheet, cover with aluminium foil, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Serve in or out of the cups.

Maurene's Tasks (Audrey is out of town):
  1. Help measure and pour ingredients
  2. Stir
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Assist Maurene
  3. Bake
These were easy to make even with a 19 month old assisting. The only difference I would make would be to par-boil the noddles first. It takes too long for them to bake to completely done so par-boiling would speed that up. When they come out of the oven they are very hot, just like a regular lasagna, so let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes. And if your assistant is the curious type, don't worry, there are no raw eggs in this recipe:


February 24 "Yummy Cookies" Carrot Cake Cookies

It is fun baking with children. They want to do every part, lick every implement, and eat every bite. The enthusiasm is inspiring. And yet baking is not something we get to do every day. I don't want them to consume all of that sugar or fat. But when we bake we like to make Carrot Cake Cookies from our Sesame Street Yummy Cookies: Baking With Kids book. It has healthy carrots, nuts, and raisins and we usually replace half of the butter with applesauce. They satisfy the baking craving while still not being totally bad for you. So next time you have the desire to bake something yummy with your little one, try these cookies. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 23 "30 Healthy Things to Cook and Eat" Sunshine Toast

Audrey loves to eat Sunshine Toast because her father spreads strawberry jam on it. And it has a yummy egg inside. Momma loves to help her cook it because it is baked and easy to make. Audrey's daddy fries it in a skillet but when Audrey makes Sunshine Toast it gets baked. If you have a little one who loves eggs in a basket then you can make this baked version for a child friendly cooking experience. Our 30 Healthy Things to Cook and Eat recipe cards have so many simple, tasty, and easy recipes for children to cook. Audrey loves the pictures and picking out a recipe card herself. We have not taken any pictures making this meal in quite a while. It is such a regular dish that I do not even think of recording the production.

Wordless Wednesday, No Help

Tried to get Mo to help me make lunch...

What's For Lunch Wednesday

Audrey helped to make this quick lunch from leftover Pepperoni Bread and some fruit. The girls were too busy playing to actually consume much of this lunch.

Check out the other posts at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Kids Baking" Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Scooping cookies.
The William-Sonoma Kids Baking is a wonderful treat full of yummy goodies for all of the special occasions in your life. This is not an everyday baking book as almost all of the recipes are sugary and fat laden. After pulling the book out for one of our favorites, Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies I noticed a recipe for soft pretzels. I am intimidated yet intrigued. Maybe someday soon we will attempt it. Until now, Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (we subbed 1/4 whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two baking sheets with butter. In medium bowl stir together oats, flour, raisins, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium speed until blended. Turn off the mixer and add the flour. Mix on low speed until just mixed. Using a cookie scoop place 1 tbsp scoops of cookie dough on the greased cookie sheets spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown around the edges.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help gather ingredients
  2. Measure and add ingredients
  3. Stir and mix
  4. Operate the stand mixer
  5. Scoop cookies onto cookie sheets
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Help gather ingredients
  2. Assist Audrey
This is always a fun activity. Audrey is getting a lot better about mixing and scooping the cookies. I actually walked away this time to change Maurene's diaper and Audrey scooped the cookies by herself. And one quick tip: either make these for someone else or freeze half the batch as soon as you are finished. They are really good. 

She loves making cookies.

Letting sister help.


Monday, February 21, 2011

"Cooking Rocks!" Tomato Basil and Cheese Pasta

Adding the best part, cheese!
Cooking Rocks! by Rachael Ray is so full of fabulous recipes that we use it a lot. The Tomato Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta is simple and tasty. We first made it for Audrey's grandparents while visiting them last summer. It works well with many different shaped pasta and can be adjusted to any family's tastes well (see my notes from the original post on our adjustments.) I like it because it is a simple baked dish and Audrey likes the cheese. She likes anything with cheese on top.

Muffin Tin Monday

Audrey told me she wanted a rainbow for breakfast this morning. While I was preparing it she said it needed to be served in her 'Muffin Tin Monday.' Since it is Monday I thought it a good idea. Here she is telling me how to cut her fruit:

And here is her finished product. She has green apples, yellow pears, red strawberries and watermelon, purple grapes, orange cantaloupe. All with a side of homemade yogurt. 
Check out the other Muffin Tin Meals this week! 


While you are looking around you should check out Today I Ate a Rainbow to find out how to get your children interested in having rainbows with (or for!) their meals.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Picture Me Cooking" Pepperoni Bread

Audrey just received Picture Me Cooking and she already loves it. All of the recipes have a spot for you to place a picture of your child helping cook. Audrey immediately placed a post card of Elmo in one of the spots. We started on another recipe so we could start filling up the book with pictures of Audrey cooking. Here is our first attempt:

Pepperoni Bread

  • 1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed (we made a batch in the bread machine)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • Pizza or tomato sauce
Lightly grease baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough into shape of a rectangle. Brush with beaten egg. Cover the dough with pepperoni. Sprinkle with cheese, Parmesan, and oregano. Have your cooking buddy help you roll up the dough firmly like a jelly roll or wrap. Pinch the seam to seal it. Place the dough seal side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Ask your cooking buddy to bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Bread will be golden. Have your cooking buddy remove the bread from the oven. Let it cool for 5 minutes then slice it and serve with pizza sauce for dipping. 

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help make bread dough
  2. Spread pepperoni on dough
  3. Spread cheese on pepperoni
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Help make bread dough
  2. Spread dough with beaten egg
  3. Roll up dough
  4. Bake
This was a big hit with Audrey. Of course you could add any pizza toppings you like. A great finger food for your next child centered event! Take pictures so they can remember cooking with you!

Perfect pepperoni placement.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ham and Cheese Popovers

The Cook it in a Cup cookbook and its accompanying baking cups are pretty cool. I have been carrying it around with me to show all of my mommy friends so they too can purchase the Cook it in a Cup cookbook. Today Audrey's daddy got up with the girls and made Ham and Cheese Popovers. When I got up a short while later they told me they saved me one. The recipe makes 6.

  • 1 package refrigerated croissant dough
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Unroll the dough and separate the 6 triangles. Sprinkle an equal amount of the ham and cheese on the center of each triangle. The rolls will have some extra dough on the ends. Trim this off. Place each roll in a cup. Then place the cups on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes, then turn the rolls out of the cups to serve.

Audrey's (and Maurene's) Tasks:

  1. Place ingredients on dough
  2. Help roll up popovers
  3. Place popovers in cups
Dad's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients and prep
  2. Bake popovers
Daddy decided these needed eggs and so he scrambled a few and added them. I had one and it was good. We will start keeping a roll of croissants in the fridge so we can have these any time. For the filling we can use whatever meat we have on hand and we always have cheese, always. 

Daddy did not take any pictures. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

February 18 "Better Homes and Gardens" Oven Fried Chicken

This is a family favorite from my favorite cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Audrey learned to make it early on and we have been making it every since. When we had friends over to cook this week we all made chicken nugget versions of the Oven Fried Chicken. They all loved being able to make a favorite food. One of the moms asked about making the nuggets ahead of time and freezing them. We have always made them to order but I am sure they would freeze well. If your family likes to eat fast food chicken then you should try this easy recipe instead.
If you only have one cookbook in the house, make it this one. Here are some wonderful pictures of Audrey when she first learned to make this recipe.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's For Lunch Wednesday

Audrey made lunch today. It may look like Maurene is helping but she is doing the opposite.


We are linking up with What's for Lunch Wednesday. Stop by and see all of the wonderful lunches.

February 17 "Kids Baking" Puffy Apple Oven Pancake

This is one of those amazingly easy yet tasty meals made with the food processor. Audrey loves to cut up the apples and pour the batter in the pan. Since it is a Puffy Apple Oven Pancake we get to bake it and get out of the kitchen while it cooks. We found it in our William Sonoma Kids Baking cookbook which is full of yummy baking treats. Audrey's daddy, who is currently trying to lose a few pounds, is going away in a few weeks and we will fill the time making a lot of baked treats. What are your favorite baked goodies? Of course, Audrey loves cupcakes. We might try to make naturally dyed cupcakes and swirl some different colors. Let us know what you like to bake.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"The New Junior Cookbook" Top-Secret Wraps

From The New Junior Cookbook we found, and love, Top-Secret Wraps. They are a great meal on-the-go. Audrey and Maurene spend so much time visiting with friends or hanging out at the drop in center that we need to pack lunches several days a week. The girls love that they are made with tortillas and will eat them when they have tired of the same old sandwich. I love that I can make them with whole wheat tortillas and healthy filling and the girls still like them. Follow the ingredient list on the recipe or swap out for your child's favorites. With Audrey and Maurene so much of it is about marketing. It is used to sell sugary cereal, why not use it to sell healthy lunches. Then add some fresh or frozen fruit for a fun lunch.

A yummy lunch.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"30 Healthy Things to Cook and Eat" Oven Baked Omelet

Omelets are a big hit with the girls. We usually have them for dinner instead of breakfast. I am not too coherent in the morning so fluffy eggs are about all I can muster before 10AM. But a nice Oven Baked Omelet will turn any boring meal into 'brinner.' When I say brinner Audrey just laughs. I tried to explain, breakfast + dinner = brinner but, she is two three. 

Audrey gets to crack the eggs but these days she is not as thrilled with that task as she used to be. She even let me help Maurene do it last time. These days she is more interested in getting something, anything, out of the fridge. I let her get the eggs out. Yes, it was a little painful to watch but she she has to learn. This recipe is from our 30 Things to Cook and Eat set of cards.

PJs for Brinner 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day Zucchini Cupcakes

Maurene sure enjoyed them.


















We leave our regularly scheduled review of our favorite cookbooks to bring you the special Valentine's Edition of Cooking With Audrey. For this lovely holiday we made Zucchini Cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. The recipe came from Yum Food & Fun For Kids magazine. It is actually the Halloween edition but the recipe was not themed. I allowed Audrey to add (way too much!) red food dye to the frosting to make them dark pink. She loved them. And so did the rest of the family. The original intent was to mail these cupcakes to her grandparents so I had to hide some as soon as they were ready. We usually send one jar for each grandparent but this time they had to share! We will definitely  make these again as soon as we hit the store for more zucchini.

Zucchini Cupcakes
  • 2 cups flour (we made 1/4 cup whole wheat and will make it 1/3 next time)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (we added a bit more because the helpers were having fun)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. In one bowl mix dry ingredients and in another mix wet. Combine the two and mix until thoroughly mixed. Spoon cupcake batter into muffin tin, 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

  • 4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese and the butter. Using a hand mixer, mix until combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Spread on top of cooled cupcakes.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Measure and add ingredients
  3. Stir
  4. Place batter into muffin tin
  5. Operate mixer
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Assist Audrey
  2. Grate zucchini
I was really just an assistant and recipe reader for this one. I did have to grate the zucchini. Next time we are going to throw it in the food processor because the shreds were a little big. No one complained but they were visible. And next time Audrey will not be allowed to dump half a bottle of red food dye into the frosting. We will use a nature dye like fruit or pureed beets. There will most certainly be a next time. 

I want to help!

Showing off her batter.

Yummy finished product.


Yes, she did lick all the frosting off first.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 13 "The Sneaky Chef" Hi-Fi Fish Sticks

Audrey and I wanted to make homemade fish sticks but did not know where to find a good recipe. While looking through my Sneaky Chef cookbook I happened across an interesting recipe that I thought might work. I was a little skeptical because it called for whole wheat flour as part of the breading and included a cauliflower and zucchini puree in the egg mixture.It was a hit! Audrey kept reaching across the table to snag one more fish stick to eat. Even Maurene had one. We used tilapia which is a fish I can find on sale often. This is a new regular meal.

  • 1/2 cup flour, preferably whole wheat (thats what we used)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup White Puree (make ahead recipe #4)
  • 2 cups Better Breading (make ahead recipe #12)
  • 1 lb tilapia or flounder, cut into 1-inch wide strips
  • olive oil for pan frying
  • lemon wedges
Combine flour and salt in a shallow dish. Beat eggs with White Puree in another shallow dish and place next to the flour. Put the Better Breading in a third shallow dish. Dredge each piece of fish first in the flour and shake off the excess, then dip in the egg mixture, and then the Better Breading mixture. Press the breading evenly onto both sides of the fish. Lay on waxed paper or parchment paper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat until hot but now smoking. Add a few fish sticks at a time, pan frying on one side until the crumbles look golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch for burning and turn down heat if necessary. Turn and cook on the other side 2 to 3 more minutes. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help make White Puree
  2. Help make Better Breading (actually it was Maurene)
  3. Help gather ingredients
  4. Crack eggs
  5. Measure ingredients
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Assist Audrey
  2. Dredge fish
  3. Pan fry
Audrey was too distracted to help because her daddy has a new RC helicopter. I had originally planned to have help me dredge the fish but I am glad she wandered off. This was a messy task and only toward the end was I able to figure out how to keep batter from getting everywhere (use a separate fork for each dish). Did I mention how much we loved this recipe?



Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 12 "30 Healthy Things to Cook and Eat" Creamy Chicken

Audrey and I love this collection of fun cooking cards. With great pictures of each recipe on the front it is an engaging set of cards. When Audrey comes across 30 Healthy Things to Cook and Eat on the cookbook shelf she pulls the cards out and looks at each picture, deciding which recipe she will cook next.

She loves chicken so often she picks the Creamy Chicken recipe. This wonderful recipe calls for coconut milk and a number of yummy seasonings. It serves 4 adults so we always have (coveted) leftovers for adult lunches. Served with brown rice and roasted vegetables it makes a nutritious dinner.

February 11 "Cook It in a Cup" Easy Eggs

What is so hard about making scrambled eggs, you ask? If you are a toddler and not comfortable with the stove top making easy Eggs can be a challenge. Enter the silicon muffin cup and the Cook It in a Cup cookbook. Now Audrey can make an individual serving of eggs in the microwave with little help.

  • 1 egg
Crack the egg into a measuring cup and stir with a fork until it is well blended. Pour the egg in a baking cup. Microwave the egg on high for 30 seconds. Let the egg cool for about 2 minutes, turn it out of the cup and serve.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Crack egg
  3. Stir and pour into baking cup
  4. Operate microwave
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Assist Audrey
Super easy and fun! Serving suggestions are toast, English muffin or a bagel.


February 10 "The Toddler Cafe" Popcorn Soup

I really did not want to focus too much time on any one cookbook as we have so many that we love. However, The Toddler Cafe really is our favorite. There are a ton of great recipes that you really can get a toddler to eat. I have proof:



Back to the Popcorn Soup:
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups grated mild cheese
  • 1 to 2 cups popped popcorn
Melt the butter in a saucepan. When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and continue whisking until the butter and flour are combine, about 1 minute. You are making a roux. It will start to smell like biscuits that are cooking; this is how you know it is ready. Do not let the roux get dark brown, but keep it light like the color of bread dough. Add the broth and milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes, until thickened. Add the corn and continue to cook  for 5 more minutes, until the corn is thawed and the soup is bubbling. Remove from the heat and add the cheese; stir until melted. Serve the soup in small bowls and sprinkle with popcorn at the table.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help gather ingredients
  2. Measure and add ingredients to pan
  3. Assist whisking
  4. Add popcorn
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Help gather ingredients
  2. Cook soup
  3. Pop corn
  4. Serve soup and popcorn
Make sure the children get to add the popcorn to the soup. It makes a funny sound and they should enjoy listening to it fizzle as it sinks into the soup. We have also added popped popcorn to other soups for fun and to make them more appealing.


Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s BeansHip HostessPillsbury and Westminster Crackers. 

February 9 "The Sneaky Chef" Breakfast Ice Cream

We have a couple of the books like The Sneaky Chef. I know there are many out there who completely disagree with hiding good food in tasty food. I have to say that I (mostly) agree with them. But then again, I don't. Here are a few of my arguments:

  1. We don't hide, we add. Audrey helps and therefor sees it all
  2. Plenty of adults add nutritious ingredients to smoothies or drink energy supplements
  3. A number of foods we eat have healthy stuff already added like vegetable pasta sauce
  4. Many of the bakers I know use applesauce in place of some, or all, of the fat while baking
These are just a few. You can see how I do and don't like hiding foods and yet I (sort of) do it when cooking with Audrey. She loves her Pink Pancakes but does not realize the pureed beets added for the pink color are a food she has not liked in the past. On the other hand we made Lily Pad Pancakes recently and she added all of the peas to the blender to make the batter. She knows what peas are. We made Zucchini Cupcakes and she was able to correctly identify the zucchini in the fridge. I could go on but you get the point.

Audrey first made Breakfast Ice Cream last summer when it was very warm. She loves that I let her make a treat for breakfast. It was one of the first recipes we tried from The Sneaky Chef and I must say we were sold after that. Try it next time you want a decadent ice cream treat.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 8 "The $5 Dinner Mom" Pizza Wraps

Anything with the word pizza in the title usually goes over well in this house. Audrey is just learning that pizza is a fun food to eat so she has started to enjoy making the different foods we call pizza. We found a recipe in The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook for Pizza Wraps that are not only inexpensive but tasty! The recipe originally made it on the menu because we had a pizza cooking demonstration and had leftover pepperoni. After this dinner I had to kept a small bag around for Pizza Wrap night. We even get the cute mini pepperonis some times because the girls think they are fun to eat. Well, Maurene likes to play with them but I am hoping she will learn to eat a little meat soon. When we first made these wraps Audrey was not as good of a helper so many of the tasks listed for mom can no be done by Audrey; like helping to get the ingredients and pouring the sauce on the tortillas. Here is a cute picture of Audrey chopping green peppers. We usually purchase red because we like the taste better.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 7 "Cooking Rocks!" Crunchy Oven-Baked Chicken Toes

Cooking Rocks! is full of amazing and easy recipes for children of all ages. When we first made Crunchy Oven-Baked Chicken Toes our friend Leah joined us for dinner. She enjoyed the meal just as much as Audrey and momma. There are also wonderful side dish recipes for most meals. The recipes are broken into age appropriate cooking groups but Audrey likes to try them all. If you need a good fast Italian recipe this is your book. There are even a few baking and drink recipes. This is in our top five favorite cookbooks of all time!

February 6 "Deceptively Delicious" Pink Pancakes

Audrey loves anything pink. And she also loves pancakes. Her daddy likes to buy the pancake mix you add a few ingredients to and cook. In our Deceptively Delicious cookbook (which we adore) we found a wonderful recipe for Pink Pancakes that uses a mix. Audrey loves to make them because the food processor is involved. We mix up a batch or two and freeze what the girls do no eat. That way I am able to add 'Pink Pancakes' to the weekly breakfast menu when I know I do not like to cook in the morning nor am I able to do more than toast a frozen pancake. This allows time for me to make coffee and sulk over the news. Place these next to the Lily Pad Pancakes and you are well on your way to a rainbow sensation in your freezer.

February 5 "The Toddler Cafe" Lily Pad Pancakes

I cannot get enough of this wonderful book. The Toddler Cafe is full of great recipes that are not only healthy but also tasty. Many of them have already become regulars and we plan to try more soon. This is going to be our new must have recommendation to all parents of young children. Audrey and I made Lily Pad Pancakes which are not much more than pureed peas made into cakes. I served them to the girls with applesauce and they both ate them. You should make up a batch or two this weekend and throw them in the freezer for an easy snack before dinner or a fabulous green breakfast.

  • 8 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp all-purposed flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • vegetable oil, as needed
  • butter or plain yogurt for serving
Add peas to blender with the water and egg; puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder and gradually mix with a fork or whisk. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes while you clean up. Place about 2 tbsp of oil in a saute pan, warm over medium heat until shimmering, and drop 1 tbsp batter into the pan. Gently cook for about 3 minutes, until you see bubbles forming around the edges. Flip and cook on the second side until very lightly browned. Continue until all the batter is gone. Serve with butter or plain yogurt.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Crack the egg
  2. Measure and add ingredients to food processor
  3. Mix
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Assist Audrey
  3. Cook pancakes
We enjoyed making these and the girls really liked them. I tried one as well and served with applesauce they are pretty good. 



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 4 "The $5 Dollar Dinner Mom" Slow Cooker Meatballs

While The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook is not made for children it is great to use for little helpers because the recipes are easy to prepare. Audrey and I love to make Slow Cooker Meatballs with Spaghetti. Pasta is an easy sell with little ones and I have found it easier to add nutritious ingredients to the sauce without changing taste much. With meatballs you can serve the meat on the side for children with aversions to food touching. Another advantage to this recipe is that it cooks in the slow cooker while you are running errands or cleaning the kitchen. For those looking for healthy yet budget friendly recipes this is the cookbook for you. We love it so  much we bought The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook also. It is quickly becoming just as beloved.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday

Audrey got some new silicone baking cups and had to use them for Muffin Tin Monday. She thinks they are cool. Mom thinks the book that they came with is even cooler. Look for a review soon.


February 3 "The Toddler Cafe" Monster Soup

As promised, the Monster Soup recipe. In The Toddler Cafe it is called Swamp Soup. My girls do not know what a swamp is and I thought a name change would work. I told Audrey her daddy killed a monster just so she could make this soup.

  • 4 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini (3 medium)
  • 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • prepared pesto (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat 2 cups of the broth, the onion, garlic, and nutmeg. When it is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the remaining 2 cups broth and the zucchini and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the zucchini is limp but still bright green. Remove the lid and allow the soup to cool slightly. In a blender, puree the soup mixture with the avocado flesh in batches. Return the blended soup to the pan and warm on low, adding salt to taste. Stir in pesto to taste, if desired.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Chop zucchini
  2. Pour chicken broth in pot
  3. Scoop avocado flesh out
  4. Operate the food processor
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Chop vegetables
  3. Heat soup
  4. Assist Audrey
We love this. It tastes like guacamole soup. We did not add any pesto and liked the soup just fine. One day Audrey was busy in her room so Maurene was able to make the soup.