Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easy in a Pot

Happy to help!
There are days around here when we leave the house in the early morning and do not return until just before dinner. Where is this mystery stay at home mom and how does she stay at home? We tend to have more play dates, get togethers, and things to do than we can keep up with. On days like today I like to have a meal ready for us when we return. After running around so much it is so nice to relax until  we are ready to eat. Our favorite come home to warm meal is Easy Pot Roast. Not only is it easy but it is budget friendly. Please, give it a try.


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Fauxfredo

And a purse!

There are several wonderful things we have gained through this website. We have been blessed with some wonderful new friendships. One of our new friends is a fabulous mom who developed her own pasta sauce using cauliflower! She even won a contest with her fabulous recipe. We could not resist giving this Fauxfredo recipe a try. We followed her recipe.

Audrey's Tasks:

  1. Help gather ingredients
  2. Assist in chopping cauliflower
  3. Operate food processor
  4. Help measure ingredients
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Assist Audrey
  2. Steam cauliflower
I also cooked the pasta we ate with the wonderful sauce. Trust me, this is a winner (literally!). My very picky girls gobbled this up. We adults already enjoy cauliflower but now we have a new way to enjoy it.



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Monday, March 28, 2011

Baked Apple Puff "Whole Family Cookbook"

The best part!
This fabulous recipe is from The Whole Family Cookbook by Michelle Stern of What's Cooking With Kids. We were fortunate enough to do some recipe testing for this book and I can tell you it is amazing. Our copy is in the mail and cannot get here soon enough. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing a few recipes we received from Michelle in advance. If you are trying to cook healthier for your family but have met with resistance, buy this book. Not only are the recipes healthy but they are tasty. I credit Michelle for expanding not only the palates of the girls but myself as well.

Baked Apple Puff
  • 5 tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup cold milk
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 small crisp apples

Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt 2 tbsp butter in the microwave or in a saucepan. In a medium-sized bowl, crack the eggs. Beat the eggs lightly and then add the melted butter. Measure milk, 1 tbsp sugar, vanilla, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, salt, and flour, and add them to the eggs. Mix all of the ingredients until the batter is well blended. If you have one, use and apple peeler/corer/slicer to peel, core, and slice your apples. If not, use a vegetable peeler to peel apples. Cut out the cores and slice the apples thinly. Heat the remaining 3 tbsp butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet. Add the sliced apples and cook until they are golden brown, 5-10 minutes. (If you'd like, you can add a dash or two of ground cinnamon.)

Put on oven mitts and take the skillet off the heat. Pour the batter over the apples. Measure 2 tbsp granulated sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon and stir them together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the batter. Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 15-25 minutes until gently browned and puffed. (Do not open the oven during the first 15 minutes of the cooking process, or the puff will deflate.) Put on oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, and immediately place an oven mitt over the handle, so that you won't accidentally burn your hand. Cut the puff into wedges and serve immediately.

Audrey (and friends) Tasks:
  1. Chop apples
  2. Help measure and add ingredients
  3. Stir batter
Mom (and friend) Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Peel apples
  3. Assist children
  4. Cook apples
  5. Bake puff
We invited friends to share our first run of this recipe. They enjoyed not only the making but the eating of this dish. It is wonderful for weekend brunches or anytime you want a wholesome pancake. The apple goodness made the pancake sweet enough to enjoy without syrup. 

Chopping apples.

Cracking eggs.

Audrey showing off her cracking skills.

Measuring ingredients.

Taking turns.

Stirring.




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March 27 Happy Birthday!

Today is Audrey's mom's (my) birthday! We did not cook. For someone who spends a fair amount of time in the kitchen these days a birthday treat is an afternoon cooking class and dinner out. Not wanting to leave you with no post for the day I found a favorite treat you can make to celebrate, Black Bean Brownies. Try them, they really are good. Just thinking about them makes me want to make another batch. This week is scheduled for pantry clean out to make room for the beautiful presents I received for my birthday!


And a set including this:



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Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26 Momma's Little Helper

Audrey is really excited about helping these days. Regardless of whether she helped cook the meal or not when it comes time to eat she wants to set the table. Sometimes she asks for plates and utensils before we even start cooking. I have started moving the little table into the kitchen and have moved the plates to a bottom drawer. Now Audrey can reach all of the necessary items needed for eating. Next week we are going to make some place mats with circles and outlines for forks and spoons. And here are the new plates, forks, and spoons we will be using:
They are made from corn, a renewable source! Dandelion Earth Friendly Goods makes this line of reusable children's tableware from corn-based bioplastic. The fork and spoon nest for easy storage as does the divided plate. I have served the girls many meals and the divided plate works well to keep food separate. We love these and wish we had them when Audrey was younger. 
If you have the ability and space you should make room for some eating supplies in a lower location. Then your helper can set the table while you read the recipe and start gathering ingredients. All you need are some fun plates and eating implements and now you do not have to worry about petroleum plastics when selecting your toddler friendly tableware. Dandelion has a set containing the entire place setting. 

For those with infants we were also given a set of infant feeding spoons. We would like to give this set of 6 spoons to a lucky reader. 
*Mandatory Entry*
Check out Dandelion and leave a comment about your favorite product.
*Extra Entries*
1. Follow this blog using GFC
2. Follow us on Twitter
3. Follow us on Facebook

This drawing will stay open until April 10th, midnight CST.

Discloser
We received a free set of divided plates and package of forks and spoons in order to do this review.


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Babble Food Blogs

I nominated Audrey as a Babble Top Food Blogger. Really it is for moms so would be considered a vote for me. Would you head over to Babble.com and vote for us? It would be great to see how many out there enjoy what we do.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25 Elvis Would Be Proud

The girls had grilled banana and peanut butter sandwiches. Mo has never seen a banana she didn't want to eat and Audrey will enjoy anything with peanut butter on it. When I came across this recipe in Chop Chop Magazine I knew we had to try it. And it is such an easy way to have a warm toddler-friendly meal.

  • 1 banana
  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
Slice the banana in half length-wise and then quarter it. Place the bread on a plate and spread the peanut butter on two slices. Divide the banana between the two pieces of bread and place on top of the peanut butter. Cover with remaining bread. Grill over medium heat in a skillet for 3-5 minutes on each side. Cut in half and serve with carrots or fruit.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Help slice bananas
  3. Spread peanut butter
  4. Place bananas on top
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Assist Audrey
  2. Grill sandwiches
  3. Slice and serve
I might have sneaked a bite while the girls were dining and these are really good. Give them a try for family movie night or for a camping in the living room experience. They go over well with the peanut butter and jelly crowd.
Excuse the washcloth, we had an injury

New dining location


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 24 Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Audrey spent part of her Spring Break visiting family. Even when away from home she loves to help in the kitchen. This turned out to be an interesting adventure as my parents are in a temporary apartment until they close on a new house next week. Apartment living means Nana has the bare necessities. With a few purchases (including our new favorite Eggland's Best eggs) we were able to cook. We found this recipe in our favorite Chop Chop Magazine.
Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • pinch of salt and pepper
Crack eggs into a medium bowl. Add shredded cheese and seasoning. We also added a little milk to make them fluffier. Whisk. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Use a little butter if your skillet is not non-stick. 

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Gather all ingredients
  2. Crack eggs
  3. Add milk and cheese (mom helped a little bit)
  4. Whisk
  5. Pour into pan
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Cook eggs
Audrey is slowly getting over her fear of the stove top but today she was just ready to go play. She likes to leave the cooking part to me because she is usually ready to do something new at that point. Mo climbed up and helped stir a little while Audrey set the table. Speak of table setting, we received some great new plates and utensils. Stay tuned to hear more.






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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And More Carrots!

This is a favorite vegetable at Audrey's house. The girls usually eat them raw with peanut butter or ranch. When I found a recipe for Carrot Fries I thought it sounded great. And it turns out it is. The carrots turn out well cooked and a little on the crisp side. Calling them fries made them an easier sell with Audrey (Mo went to bed early because she is teething).

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • pinch of pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Scrub or peel carrots. Remove both tips. Cut carrots in half crosswise, then lengthwise, and lengthwise again. Place carrots and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Toss coat. Spread out on a baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Audrey, Chloe and Mo's Tasks:
  1. Help measure and add ingredients
  2. Stir carrots
  3. Spread out on baking sheets
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Scrub and cut carrots
  2. Bake
These were very good. Make sure to cut your carrots in a uniform shape or the smaller ones will burn before the others are done.

Place in a bowl to coat.

Watch cousin Chloe stir.

Pour onto baking sheet.



What's For Lunch Wednesday

Audrey is really having fun with lunches these days. Here is her latest creation:

Fruit, cheese hearts, homemade cheese crackers, orange sweet pepper flowers, rice cake nutella sandwich, and two jelly beans for dessert.

Be sure to visit all of the other entries at What's For Lunch Wednesday.
Bento Lunch

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22 Chop Chop Potatoes

Continuing with our rave reviews of Chop Chop Magazine, we bring you Twice Baked Potatoes. Did you know potatoes have more potassium than bananas? And they are so easy to store and fix.

  • 2 Idaho Potatoes
  • 1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • pinch salt
Preheat oven to 450°F. Scrub and poke small holes in the potatoes. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Cool for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Cut each potato in half and scoop out the insides. Place insides in a  medium bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir to mix. Once mixed add mixture back to potatoes. Place on baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. 

We had a guest helper today, Audrey's cousin, Chloe.

Chloe's Tasks:
  1. Scoop out cooked potatoes
  2. Add ingredients, stir
  3. Put potato mixture back into skins
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Bake potatoes
  2. Cut in half
  3. Bake again
This was an easy, albeit long, recipe to make. Audrey enjoyed baked potato for the first time. I am not certain if it was because of the recipe or that all her family members were eating and enjoying it.

Wordless Wednesday, Ice Cream

Her favorite flavor, pink

Learning how to eat from a cone

March 21 For the Love of Carrots

To continue with our March Muffin Madness we made Carrot Cupcakes from Chop Chop Magazine. We are visiting family and have limited access to supplies. Nevertheless, we could not go without getting in the kitchen. Maurene stayed in her high chair and measured her gold fish for the first part but wanted to get involved for the second half.

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar, honey, or agave
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound of carrots, scrubbed and shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped lightly toasted walnuts or hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12 cupcake tin or put in liners. Put the oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl or in a stand mixer with paddles attached. Beat the mixture until everything is evenly blended. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined. Using a scoop, fill each cup 2/3 full and bake 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit until cool (10-15 minutes) then remove the cupcakes.
Maple Cream Frosting
  • 3/4 cup low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup
Add all ingredients and mix until smooth. Once cupcakes are cooled, use a tablespoon to swirl a bit of icing on each one.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Help measure and add ingredients
  2. Mix
  3. Fill muffin tin
  4. Help cut strawberries (we added to frosting)
  5. Mix frosting
Maurene's Tasks:
  1. Help mix frosting
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Assist the girls
This was a great recipe and very healthy. If you want a sweet cream cheese frosting for your carrot cupcakes, this is not it. It is light and slightly sweet but still very tasty.






March Muffin Madness



Monday, March 21, 2011

March 20 You Want Me to Cook What?

Audrey and I won a prize pack from a giveaway for Pillsbury recently. They sent us a cute bread basket, bread warmer, butter knife, jam and honey, and coupons for a product line called Simply. We picked up a loaf of Simply Rustic Bread the other day and decided to give it a try.
I was skeptical. It is not homemade. No measuring or mixing went into the creation of this bread. All Audrey had to do was grease the baking sheet, remove the bread from the container, and cut slits in the top. I was morally opposed to the idea. Then I tried it. Or rather, the babysitter gave some to the girls and then told us how good it was. We all fought over the rest of the loaf. It rivaled Audrey's bread machine loaves.
Then I thought: why would I include this baking adventure on our blog? How hard is it to pop a pre-made bread in the oven to cook for 30 minutes? But, I remembered, not all of our readers have the time to make from scratch bread often. Next time you want a quick, fun, tasty treat to make with your little helper, try the Simply Rustic Bread from Pillsbury. It really tastes good. And you can enjoy a simple activity that will help your child become more independent in the kitchen.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 19 March Muffin Madness!

Sorry for the radio silence, we are traveling.
We have been invited by The Kid Can Cook to share muffin recipes for the March Muffin Madness! Being that we live in Lawrence, Kansas March Madness is a big deal. We actually have to plan gatherings and social events around the NCAA playoff schedule every year. And this year one of our frequent visits to see family in Tulsa, Oklahoma coincided with the start of the playoffs. To celebrate the Jayhawk's win Friday night we share with you some of our favorite muffin adventures:

  1. Carrot Applesauce
  2. Zucchini (it is a cupcake but really, what is the difference?)
  3. Truffula Fruit
  4. Cranberry Muffins
  5. Tiny Grape Upside Down Muffins
  6. Mini Banana Muffins
  7. Hawaiian Pizza Muffins
For more fabulous muffin recipes head over to The Kid Can Cook. We would also love to see your favorite muffin recipes. Link up and show us your baking skills!
March Muffin Madness


Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18 Oatmeal Cookie Day

According to FoodFest 365!: The Officially Fun Food Holiday Cookbook today is Oatmeal Cookie Day. Who are we to argue? Audrey loves oatmeal cookies and the first time we made them I ate 8 in one setting. I told Audrey we gave the rest to our friends but really I ate them. The classic chocolate chip cookie used to be my favorite but recently the oatmeal raisin has won out. Who does not love the chewy, sweet goodness of raisins and oats? There is also something about making cookies with healthy ingredients like oats and raisins that makes me think that they are just a little bit healthier than a sugar or chocolate chip. For that reason I am a lot  more likely to say yes to baking cookies when they are 'healthy' cookies. Are you with me?


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Green Monster Day

In honor of St. Patty's Day we decided to not just wear green but EAT green. That is a tall order, chez Audrey. The girls are a little skeptical of most things green. However, they like our Monster Soup and will enjoy a Green Monster on occasion. What tips or tricks do you use to encourage your little ones to eat healthier? Have you found a great recipe you would like to share? We would love to hear about it and give it a try. Audrey and Maurene love making new recipes and they will, on occasion, try them.
Monster Soup

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tasty Treats or Toddler Terrors

It was late in the day and everyone was still a little out of whack from mom being sick. I got medicine yesterday and feel a lot better. Not 100% but, according to daddy, good enough to go back on mommy duty. That usually involves cooking. We decided  to make some wonderful toddler treats to go in lunches for the girls tomorrow. I got the ingredients out, cleared a spot for prep work and invited the girls over. That was the last bit of control I had. Recipe first, crazy pictures to follow. Adapted from our Picture Me Cooking cookbook.

Toddler Treats
  • 3 cups wheat cereal
  • 3 cups corn or rice cereal
  • 3 cups Nutty O's
  • 1 cup pretzel pieces
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 lbs white chocolate melting disks
In a very large bowl mix together cereals, pretzels and nuts. Melt white chocolate and stir in cinnamon. Pour white chocolate sauce over mix and stir evenly to coat. Pour mix onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and let dry. Break into pieces and place in a sealed container to store.

Audrey's Tasks:
  1. Operate microwave to melt chocolate
  2. Measure and add ingredients
  3. Stir and help spread on baking sheet
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Assist Audrey
  3. Clean up mess
Maurene's Task:
  1. Make a mess

A little mess is easy to clean

Keep an eye on extra help

A CLOSER eye

Teach them to sweep

We have decided to include this post in the My Kids Are The Messiest contest. Think it will win?