Thursday, June 30, 2011

National Bomb Pop Day, Giveaway

Did you know today was National Bomb Pop Day? Me either until the fabulous people from Blue Bunny contacted me to see if Audrey wanted to participate. How could I say no? We have been working on a great red, white, and blue muffin recipe that fits perfect with those iconic red, white, and blue Bomb Pops. Plus, Audrey loves ice cream.

She had so much fun making the recipe and enjoying it with her Bomb Pop. It ended up being the hottest day of the year here in Kansas so we took our pops to a shady spot at the park and dripped all over our blanket. After we threw a little of the dry ice in a cup of water and watched it creep all over the table. I love sharing fun science experiments with the girls.

She dressed herself
Be careful your blue does not drip in your milk
Love dry ice!

You too can enjoy this yummy treat. The wonderful people at Blue Bunny are giving two of my readers free shipments of Bomb Pops! Keep reading to find out how to enter.

Red, White, & Blue Muffins

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (I use whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup chopped, fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup dried, wild blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside. In large bowl beat egg, add milk and sugar. Stir well to combine. Pour dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined. Add strawberries, blueberries, and macadamia nuts and stir enough to spread throughout batter. Fill 12 greased muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Try to keep the toddlers and yourself from eating them all before dinner. I recommend taking the extras to daddy's office for his fellow employees to enjoy so you are not tempted to eat them all. Not that I have done that...

Helping chop with Curious Chef Knife
Time to crack the egg
Yummy red, white, & blue batter

Audrey and Maurene's Tasks:
  1. Add the ingredients to respective bowls (Wet to oldest and dry to youngest)
  2. Crack egg (Audrey)
  3. Stir
  4. Help add fruit and nuts
  5. Stir again
  6. Place in tins (Audrey)
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Assist girls
  3. Add dry to wet ingredients
  4. Chop strawberries (sometimes girls help)
  5. Grease tins
  6. Bake
Now how do you win those Bomb Pops? Simple, leave me a comment about your fondest childhood summer memory. I loved getting ice cream from the ice cream truck. We were not always lucky enough to convince our mother that ice cream from the truck was a good use of our money but when we did, yum! I would hop on my bike and take my treat to the park to enjoy alone.

I will leave the contest open until July 15th, Maurene's birthday, at midnight. The winners will need to provide a street address as the package will be sent overnight in dry ice! How cool is that? You too could have a science experiment with the dry ice after you eat your Bomb Pops. Please include an email address with your comment. We might get creative and have the girls draw numbers out of a hat or something similar. I will update with my decision.

The great folks at Blue Bunny provided us with a free shipment of Bomb Pops. All opinions expressed here are mine, Audrey, and Maurene's. No other consideration was given for this post. 

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's For Lunch Wednesday, Snowman

You can see a snowman, right?
Lunch today was supposed to be a snowman. At least that is what Audrey told me. She asked for a strawberry nose and blueberry eyes. In order to get them to stay on her muffin she pushed, real hard. I could have been a good mother and offered her some method of getting her fruit to stick, but I was too busy taking pictures. I was also busy putting the peanut butter in the dipping container. You can't have carrots without dip. Mo uses her carrots as a dip transportation device. The girls also have a Red, White, and Blue muffin. Recipe to follow. 

Be sure to check back with us to find out about National Bomb Pop Day. Do you remember those fun red, white, and blue pops from your childhood? As always, be sure to check out all of the fabulous bento lunches at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

Audrey's beautiful dress was provided to her by a brand called Tea Collection. Check out all of the other fabulous clothing they have to offer at really affordable prices. If you live in Lawrence you can find Tea Collection at Blue Dandelion.

Work in progress

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Wordless Wednesday, Pancake Mix

Do not turn your back on a toddler.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Crack an Egg

Nothing gets my heart racing quicker than Audrey saying, "I will get the eggs, mommy!"  And I hear this clip in my head. Go ahead, watch the entire thing, I'll wait. 

At about the three minute mark he is slamming breakfast items on the counter (blam!) and then says, "You have to be careful with eggs." Yes, you have to be careful with eggs. But that does not mean your toddler cannot cook with them. 

Audrey has been mastering the art of cracking an egg since she was two. I would love to say she is a pro. After a year and a half of practice she is still doing pretty good to get the egg in the bowl. Here are some tips for teaching your little one to crack eggs:
  • Have a towel handy
  • Make sure to have a garbage bowl for the shell
  • Expect to lose a few, practice!
  • Crack the egg on the counter, not the bowl
  • Place the egg in a separate container then add after all shells have been removed

    She is a pro

    Now Maurene wants to learn to crack an egg. I wish Bill Cosby were here.

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    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Muffin Tin Monday, Shapes!

    Time to slice the cheese
    "Can we make our cheese butterflies?" Audrey asked. I am baffled as to why shapes are so much fun. It might have something to do with the fact that my mom never cut my sandwiches on the diagonal or removed the crusts. She claimed there was more nutritional value in the crust. And I believed her. Now that I am the mom I want lunch to be fun.

    After cutting shapes they each selected fruits and vegetables to accompany lunch. Today they have cantaloupe, blueberries, veggie chips, yellow carrots, ranch dip, pepperoni, and munster cheese. I also pulled out some different muffin tins and rice molds for a little change of pace.

    This week I am going to visit as many Muffin Tin Meals as I can and showcase five on our site next Monday. If you would like for me to visit your site, please leave a comment below. As always, please check out the other fabulous Muffin Tin Monday Meals.

    Finished product

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    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Local Edition, Weeding Wednesday

    Several local schools have gardens this summer and they have put out a call for help weeding. When I first read this I wanted to go help the next day. Unfortunately. life gets in the way. Audrey's dad left for Joplin last Wednesday and he needed our help with business matters. With him leaving at 4am to go help those affected by the disastrous tornado it was hard to tell him we would be too busy weeding to run errands for him. This week I left for Type-A early in the morning so we missed weeding again. I hope not to miss next week!. You should join us! Weeding is from 8am-12pm and they will start at West Junior High. Signs there will point you to other locations if they move. Weeding is a great way to get active.

    Audrey's Golden Zucchini

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    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Let's Move! With Granola Bars

    By now many of you are aware that we have a childhood obesity problem in the United States. I almost said, growing problem but I am not much for puns. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, has made it her mission to help change that trend. To that end she created the Let's Move Campaign. Mrs. Obama decided to focus on Five Pillars:

    1. Creating a healthy start for children
    2. Empowering parents and caregivers
    3. Providing healthy food in schools
    4. Improving access to healthy, affordable foods
    5. Increasing physical activity

    There are many wonderful tips and tools on the website that are doable. This week we are focusing on that last Pillar. A toddler needs 1 hour of activity a day to maintain a healthy body. Between running errands, cooking, and regular housework it is hard for me to make sure the girls get enough activity. I am going to start taking walks with the girls after dinner on days we do not have other activity planned in the morning to make sure we are all getting some exercise. What will you do to make sure your little one stays active?

    No, she is not posing. This is a snapshot.
    When we are active and on-the-go we love to take granola bars with us to refuel. Sometimes we buy processed granola bars but we like to make them when we have time. I recently played with a few recipes and came up with this one that worked well for us:

    Granola Bars

    • 2 cups rolled oats
    • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
    • 1/4 cup raisins 
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup melted butter or oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in the next. I like to assign one child for each with the older taking the wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry and mix. Scrape batter into a greased baking dish. Bake 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly and cut into bars.

    Mo is an action girl

    Making sure it is in there

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    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Granola, More Than Hippy Food

    We made granola. Homemade, with love, and a recipe. The girls had a blast stirring all of the ingredients and licking the spatulas while I was greasing the pans. It was so much easier than I thought and the recipe I found on was perfect. We did add a few raisins because Audrey kept asking for them.
    They took turns pouring

    And stirring
    If you have never made homemade granola before, now is your chance. Get the kids together and get to stirring. The most difficult part is waiting for it to cook while that wonderful granola smell fills your home. As a bonus, granola makes such a great gift. Pack a mason jar full and have the kids color a gift tag. Who does not love granola?

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    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Wordless Wednesday, Carrot Tops

    Maybe the rabbits will eat carrot tops from our CSA instead of our strawberries

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    What's For Lunch Wednesday, Granola Bars

    Audrey and Maurene had fun making lunch this week. We had a visit from a camera crew from our local television station. They heard about our Food Revolution Page being named group of the week. Audrey took to the camera like a star but Maurene was a little shy. She had me hold her the entire time. This is why I did not get a picture of the girls making this lunch. The granola bar recipe will be posted Friday. Check back for a really great recipe!

    How colorful is that?!

    As usual we are submitting this lunch as part of the What's For Lunch Wednesday. Check out all of the wonderful lunches.

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    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Green Drops From Greenland

    I have tried to get Audrey to enjoy a variety of vegetables for years now. Occasionally she will try something but rarely does she finish a serving and even less often will she eat it again. Sure, we have vegetables with almost every meal and I have tried varying the preparation methods. Nothing has worked well. Until now.

    This week we got a bag of shelling peas from our CSA, Mellowfield Farms. For Father's Day I decided to have the girls shell them as peas are daddy's favorite. Little did I know that the girls would find shelling peas so much fun! Audrey kept talking about I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato where Lola eats peas because Charlie tells her they are 'green drops from greenland.'

    So what do you think happened when I served dinner? Audrey ate all of her peas. Then she asked for more and ate those. I think she might have asked for another helping if we had more. She also asked if we could grow peas in our garden next year. She knows that all of the food from our CSA comes from a garden because we visited one of their sites recently.

    The moral of the story is: Don't give up. I know half of the battle was won because the peas were so darn good. But the other half came from years of reading, cooking, gardening, and talking. She is 3 1/2 years old and will probably not remember that she used to not eat peas after 6 months. Or less.

    She was putting them in her eye

    Mo was serious about shelling

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    Lettuce Help You, More Tips

    Toddler Tips and Tricks returns this week with our recent favorite vegetable, lettuce.

    Audrey and Maurene both love to tear the lettuce. This was Audrey's first task as a young kitchen helper. Most children can be assigned this task if they are old enough to stand at the counter. Now, I will not claim that the leaves turn out uniformly torn or that you will not need to pick through to find the un-torn leaves. However, you can certainly leave them to this task for several minutes while you gather the rest of the salad ingredients. Be sure to wash the lettuce thoroughly, or have your helper complete this task as well.

    Audrey and Maurene's Tasks:

    • Wash lettuce in a medium bowl
    • Dry lettuce on kitchen towel
    • Tear lettuce and place in salad bowl
    • Assist with remaining ingredients
    You might have your helper place toppings on the salad or you could have her help cut fruit or vegetables with you. With some dinners we put the salads in individual bowls, larger gatherings mean one salad in a large bowl. Decide what will work best for you and set up your helper appropriately. In the early summer we have salad with almost every meal because we grow leaf lettuce on the patio in a container garden. I recommend a salad garden if you have even a little room. Ours is big but you could use a much smaller container.

    Mixed greens from our CSA
    Audrey's salad garden

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    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Muffin Tin Monday, Granola

    Homemade yogurt and granola are the best. Audrey, Maurene and I made our first batch of homemade granola, on purpose. We usually make it by chopping up a failed batch of granola bars. This time we meant to have our recipe crumble. It is so good. I may have had two bowls the first night. It was hard to save enough for today as we made it Friday. The recipe and pictures from the granola fun will be posted Thursday. I did not get any prep photos today as the girls were fighting over who gets to put the fruit in. Monday!

    The usual tin

    Check out all of the other Muffin Tin Meals at Muffin Tin Monday!

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    Kids Cook Monday, More Ribs

    Adding the sauce
    This was orginally scheduled for last week but I was never able to finish the post. Kids Cook Monday, retro version:

    When I purchased the ribs we had a week or so back I bought them uncut in a slab. One slab is way too much for our small family so I cut them in half and froze the second half. When we started talking about dinner Audrey showed much more interest in helping this time. It might have been that she knew how good the ribs were and wanted to help. Or she just might have been in a cooking mood. Either way I got my helper back.

    We use the easiest recipe in the world: spread ribs with sauce. This recipe choice is mainly due to the fact that this was the first slab of ribs I have ever purchased. I have bought cut ribs and have a wonderful recipe for the slow cooker but I did not plan enough time to thaw the ribs enough to cut them for the slow cooker. Instead we used a large pyrex and microwaved them! They cooked in less than 15 minutes and we were able to get the entire dinner on the table in 20 minutes.

    Ready to cook

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    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Snacks are a SNAP, Lettuce

    This week for our post to bring awareness to the problems facing those receiving food assistance (SNAP) we bring you a post about a healthy and versatile vegetable, lettuce.

    Audrey's first job in the kitchen was to help her grandma make salads. She would bunch some precut lettuce into a few bowls and add the toppings. Here is a picture of her with so much topping shoved into her mouth her cheeks are puffed out. She was not what anyone would consider helpful. But it did start her on the road to where she is today.

    Making her signature strawberry salad 

    When Maurene started helping she was assigned the same tasks. Lettuce is easy to use to make a quick after school snack with lots of fruit, nuts, and cheese. That is the way Audrey and Maurene enjoy their salads. Here are a few of our favorite lettuce recipes:

      Mo gets to tear the lettuce
      Lettuce can easily be thrown on top of a burger to add nutritional value or to a great deli style sandwich for added texture. We love our little container garden leaf lettuce plants that allow us to add lettuce to any snack or meal.

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      Saturday, June 18, 2011

      Local Edition, Picnic in the Park

      Audrey, Mo, and I try to have a fun picnic in the park every Tuesday at 11:30. We have been rotating the parks we visit to more enjoy the variety that is available to us in Lawrence. That and South Park has been taken over by summer camp. This coming Tuesday we will be at Broken Arrow Park on the south end. Pack a lunch, bring your sun screen and join us. Audrey will probably bring something that looks like this:

      Standard lunch

      And Maurene will either spend her entire time in the hot, Kansas sun or she will sit quietly and eat the entire time. Mostly the girls do  not eat until we leave. If you want to keep up with us, follow our twitter feed at ToddlerAudrey or facebook at Audrey.Cooking. I try to remember to send a tweet out using the hashtag #lawmoms. Look for it!

      If you are not local then you will have to send us pictures of your picnic so we can virtual picnic with you. Post them to our facebook page or tweet them to us. We would love to see you get out and enjoy a good lunch.

      South Park

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      Friday, June 17, 2011

      100 Pushups and Muffins

      Fun and Fitness Friday this week is for moms as well as kids. Our town has gotten caught up a bit in the idea. I try to do my pushups in the morning while getting ready for my day. The girls think it is very fun and try to do pushups along with me.

      I think her placement is off...

      And over she goes

      Of course they don't exactly know what to do in order to do a pushup but it is cute watching them try. I like that they are seeing me do something good for my body and they will, hopefully, be encouraged to do likewise. We always make sure to grab a snack before we head out for our day. Some days we are low on homemade goods and end up with Cheerios or Gold Fish crackers. Others we are lucky enough to still have a muffin left over from the last batch. Our favorite muffins recently are Pineapple Not-Upside-Down Muffins made with pineapple, dried cherries, and a little whole wheat goodness. Try them yourself with our recipe or one of the variations. They are also easy to make vegan with some simple substitutions. Audrey and Maurene love making them almost as much as they love eating them.

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