Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, Cat In The Hat

Making Cat In The Hat fruit skewers.

What cute food!

Toddler eating fail.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Egg Flower Soup

Pretty soup in a little bowl.

Audrey is at that cute stage where, if you give it an adorable name, she will beg for it. I know because I convinced her to try egg drop soup recently. Mollie Katzen give me the idea in her book for older children, Honest Pretzels. I checked it out at the library and flipped through to get some ideas.

She calls egg drop soup egg flower soup so I simply repeated the name to Audrey. By the next evening Audrey was begging to make it. I no longer had the book to look up the recipe so I improvised. 

Where did it go?

Sing a little song while you stir.

I chopped some celery, garlic and onion for her to saute. She then added about 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot and sang a little song while waiting for it to boil. After she cracked an egg, stirred it a bit and then added it to the boiling broth. The result was nothing like you get with your take-out Chinese but it was good. 

Maurene did not want to try but Audrey enjoyed half a bowl. The bowls were little but I was happy she tried it.

Sometimes it is just fun to make a recipe called Egg Flower Soup.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday, Don't Feed the Animals

Animal cracker food.

Our Muffin Tin this week is sponsored by animal crackers. Why are they called crackers when they are clearly a cookie? Convincing my toddler she has had too many would be easier if they were called cookies. Clearly something needs to be done. I did not purchase this bag of tempting nibbles but am guilty nonetheless. As we left our playgroup I felt a hypoglycemic attack coming on and needed food, fast. This bag of animal crackers was convenient so I grabbed it on the way out the door.

Maurene was so excited. She helped me eat them the entire drive home and then asked for more at lunch time. I relented and planned some other foods for the animals to eat. They like apricots, apples, grapes, turkey and cheese, right?

My helper for this meal is the toddler with the attitude, Maurene. She is clutching that banana and wearing her sister's shirt in such a defiant manner. Never mind, she is a good helper.

Now that Maurene is often my helper I have been cutting things up a bit and having her help me place items in the tin. She was even happier to help when she discovered the adorable animal picks I pulled out to keep the meat and cheese rolled up.

Who is the Big Sister?

Still clutching that banana.

She is explaining about how to roll the meat.

Check out what all of the other animals are enjoying this week at Muffin Tin Monday. You should enjoy a muffin tin meal as well.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Fed Up With Lunch

After date night recently the girl's daddy and I decided to stop at the bookstore. Ok, I begged him to stop because I wanted to check out the food magazines. After deciding I did not need anything on the magazine rack I went to fall in love with all of the cookbooks. On the way I found the new book by Sarah Wu, Fed Up With Lunch. In it Sarah tells the story of how she came to write her blog. 

I knew a little of the story behind the beginning from reading her blog. The pictures I had seen and the descriptions had so sickened me that I had stop reading the daily posts. Sort of putting my head in the sand.

I could not put the book down once I started reading; bad news for an overworked mother who needs to sleep more. Fortunately, it was a quick read.

Mrs. Wu tells how she came to start the blog and the story behind her meteoric rise in the social media world. But she shares more than just gross lunches. There is a great wealth of resources for those interested in working to make changes to nutrition in the schools.

Parents, educators, and children are invited to look into ways to make change. Sarah lists a number of organizations working to help further the cause of better nutrition for our youth.

This book is highly recommended by me for the information it provides and the positive perspective of an educator in the trenches with our children.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fostering Independence

Mo adding yogurt to a Muffin Tin Monday meal.

Audrey is in a Montessori school because her father and I like the way children are guided toward learning how to teach themselves. Instead of being told how to solve a problem the children are helped to discover the solution themselves. Maurene will start in the fall but we have already started some basic principles at home.

Before the girls were born I studied Elementary Education and came across a discipline style called Love and Logic. The basic idea is teaching children that they have choices in life. Instead of telling them what they must do the parent (or educator) gives the child two choices and lets the child decide. Both choices are acceptable to the adult and the child learns that she is capable. 

Children learn at such an amazing speed.

I explain all of this so that you will understand why I went back to sleep when I discovered my two-year-old serving herself breakfast this morning.

Audrey stayed over at school last night for a sleepover. Maurene slept alone in her room and woke up scared at a little before 5am. I tried to get her to go back to sleep with me but she stayed awake. She got up and retrieved her pillow and brought in a book to read. Around 6:30 she decided she needed a clean diaper and brought one in for me. After that I heard her in the kitchen (our room is next to the kitchen) rummaging through the drawer with children's kitchen items. After a bit I had to get up to see what she was doing.

I found her trying her best to remove the lid from a plastic 32oz container. When I walked over she told me she wanted yogurt for breakfast. She had a bowl, spoon, and the container laid out on her little table. I noticed it was actually cottage cheese so I swapped it for the yogurt and removed the lid for her. I almost started to spoon it into the bowl but then decided to let her do that. I added a bag of assorted muffins from a muffin swap earlier in the week for her to add to the yogurt meal. A 5am wake up left me tired so I went back to bed. 

Fostering independence means that I will be able to sleep in on Saturday mornings very soon.

When I got out of bed 30 minutes later I had a child who had fed herself breakfast and was ready to get dressed. Now we just need to work on cleaning up after a meal.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Homemade Staples

Learning to make white sauce.

When we started this journey over two years ago none of us knew how to cook. Maurene was only a few weeks old so she had an excuse. But Audrey, she was 21 months old when her grandparents first invited her into the kitchen and she had no idea how to make yogurt, granola, muffins, white sauce, or peanut butter. It took a while, but we remedied that.

  1. Slow Cooker Yogurt. The easiest way to make yogurt. I tried to learn the old fashioned way on the stove when Audrey was a baby and it always failed. This recipe has never failed us.
  2. Granola. The girl's paternal grandpa introduced them to granola. It goes well with the homemade yogurt.
  3. Choose a flavor Muffins. This recipe is one I have been using since before Audrey was born. Simple, yummy, and pretty healthy.
  4. Homemade Peanut Butter. We love peanut butter and were so thrilled to be able to make it ourselves.
  5. White Sauce. When I was a little girl my Great-Grandma Rose taught me to make a good White Sauce (roux) for her Creamed Pea recipe. I do not make creamed peas much but love sharing the recipe with my girls. We use it to make cream of mushroom soup for our Pork Chop Casserole.
Take some time and learn to make a few staples. We don't make them all the time but when we do it is enjoyable. There is nothing like a bowl of homemade granola with homemade yogurt to make you feel accomplished. Then you can call yourself Audrey's equal.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Toddler Cheeseburgers, AKA Sliders

Sliders and Bacon Spinach Salad.

Things have been busy at the office for the girl's daddy and I. I have to admit we have had a few take out meals recently. In the past take out meals were reserved for play dates at the golden arches. Those meals always meant a nugget dipped in ketchup because mamma doesn't eat beef. One take-out meal recently was purchased by daddy and consisted of cheeseburgers. Daddy thought he was being smart on the meal selection but the girls turned their noses up.

I thought it might be nice to have the girls help make mini cheeseburgers so they could get used to what a cheeseburger tastes like. It apparently only took one time for the girls to learn to appreciate a good burger.

Turkey Sliders

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp Heinz 57 sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup 
  • seasoning to taste
Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. Roll into small hamburger patties about the size of a young child's fist. We had a variety of sized to accommodate adult and child eaters. Grill or pan fry according to your liking. I have to admit I am not that great in this area. The sliders came out tasting fabulous though!

Audrey and Maurene's Tasks:

  1. Help measure and add ingredients
  2. Mix
  3. Roll mixture into balls
  4. Set table
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Assist with mixture rolling
  3. Cook sliders
  4. Assemble finished product
We loved these so much they made it instantly to the regular dinner menu. Audrey climbed up to watch while I uploaded pictures and begged to have these for dinner again tonight. Daddy is out of town so we do have leftovers....

Furiously mixing.

Patty cake, patty cake.

Admiring her work.

Someone has to direct mom in proper cooking procedures.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's For Lunch Wednesday, Rockstar

Mo's superstar sandwich.

The girls have gotten a little bored with sandwiches. As much as Audrey loved them last summer she is over them right now. In order to get them to eat something other than crackers I looked around for new sandwich ideas. Some awesome mom pressed stars into sandwiches for a super-hero birthday party. I wish I knew where I found the idea. Sadly, I forgot to pin it.

Making the cool lunch.

These lunches were for after our Wednesday morning play group so I did not encourage the girls to pack much. We have snacks available all morning so they usually do not eat much for this particular lunch. The sandwiches, carrots and a few grapes were actually more than enough because the weather was so nice we went outside. The girls were too busy playing to eat. Maybe they can eat them tomorrow.

Check out what the other families packed for What's For Lunch Wednesday.

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Wordless Wednesday, Baking Supplies

Kid sized baking supplies from IKEA.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras King Cake

Monkey Bread King Cake.

The girl's grandparents came to visit for the weekend. Danya (grandma) always brings fun things for the girls. This time she brought them Mardi Gras beads, masks, and horns. They have no idea what Mardi Gras is but they loved the gifts.

Sadly, grandparents can't stay forever. But we can play with Mardi Gras toys they left us. This morning we made toddler style King Cake.

Another good reason to make King Cake was to use the beautiful child's baking supplies Danya brought from IKEA.

Mini baking set!

As soon as the girls woke up I directed them to the kitchen and pulled out supplies. Audrey showed Maurene how to use a butter knife to cut refrigerator biscuits into fourth and place them in the bowl to coat with butter and cinnamon sugar.

If you did not click the link to see the recipe you may have guessed that this is not a traditional King Cake but rather Pull-Apart King Cake. It still comes with glaze and sprinkles.

Cutting the biscuits.

Adding melted butter.

Cinnamon sugar!

Finished with the mini version.

Ready to celebrate!


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Monday, February 20, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday, Snow

Snowy day tin. 

It has been a mild winter. We finally got snow. The girls wanted to go out and play in it first thing. Since I was still sleepy-eyed I decided to grab two bowls of snow and let the girls play with it in the kitchen.

Snow tastes good.

For our Muffin Tin Monday meal we pulled a few items together that looked like snow and added a little fruit and crackers.

We found mashed potatoes, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, and applesauce that looked a little like snow. Then we added a homemade fruit leather strip, some pureed fruit, and crackers on the side. This was one of the better received tins. I have no idea why.

Maurene putting together her tin.

Audrey loves to do it all.

Check out the other Muffin Tin Monday meals to see what others are enjoying for this fabulous meal.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bacon Spinach Salad in a Mason Jar

So proud of herself.

Recently we shared a family favorite salad recipe called Bacon Spinach Salad. It is yummy and goes with almost any type of meal. One of the problems we run into is the girls love making the entree but burn out by the time it comes to salad. If it is a rushed evening I will simply add a frozen vegetable reheated in the microwave rather than pull out all of the salad fixings.

That problem is now solved. I pulled out a quart-sized wide-mouth Mason jar and a canning funnel. Audrey poured the dressing in and then added bacon bits. We then carefully measured and packed in the greens. When it came time for salad we dumped (pulled out) the pre-made side into a bowl and tossed it to coat. Simple!

  • 1/4 cup salad dressing
  • a little bacon bits (we may have used quite a lot, like almost 1/4 cup)
  • 3 cups greens

Pre-made salad.

Yummy and healthy!

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Local Edition, Weekend Planning

If you made it to the Kaw Valley Seed Fair last weekend you may be in the planning stages of a great garden this year. I know my friends and I have already started planning a seed exchange as well as sharing tips for a great growing season. We all seem to spend hours on Pinterest pinning all of the cool projects we want to do in our gardens this year. There is no need to tell us we won't complete half of the projects; we are excited about the half we will complete.

This weekend take a little time to look at your space to see what you could grow. Then you can pop over to Cottin's Hardware to pick up a few supplies. They have a large selection of starter kits and seeds. We spoke with Linda Cottin and Dan Phelps at the Seed Fair about help getting our starts to grow better this year.


This was as big as our tomato plants got last year before they all died. We have learned that it may have been due to overwatering. With some tips we received last weekend we hope to fix that this year. 

Our other plans for the weekend involve finding a little baby to bake in a King Cake. I believe Sweet! will be there first place we stop. Not only is it located in the heart of beautiful Downtown Lawrence but they also have everything a baker could need. During my first visit I also noticed they carried a few of the kid friendly utensil line called Head Chef. We have several from this line and the girls adore each piece.

Here is our King Cake from last year:


Audrey had so much fun pouring sprinkles all over the place. Since we are doing a ring cake this year I am hoping to keep the sprinkles to a minimum. 

Those are some of our weekend plans; what are you doing this weekend? Hope it involves food!

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