Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest Post, Five Make Ahead Meals

We are traveling again today but I thought I would share this post from Momma's Meals.

Making a Make-Ahead Meal

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fresh Corn on the Cob #SundaySupper

This is a special #SundaySupper for us because it involves cooking corn and family.

I recently wrote a series of posts about why I cook with my children. In that series I explained that it all began when we spent several weeks with my in-laws right after Maurene was born. During that trip I fell in love with the idea of eating together as a family as often as possible and that is the focus of the #SundaySupper movement.

It was also during that trip that I learned how amazing fresh corn on the cob can taste and how to easily cook it to perfection.

First a picture of Audrey during her first summer at the lake enjoying the taste of fresh corn. She was too little to eat the corn whole but I did let her gnaw on the empty cob.

Baby likes corn, August '08 .
The next summer was when Audrey stepped up to learn how to cook. She did not add cooking corn to her skills that summer but I did. Here is that adorable one of her making her family's favorite salad.

Salad, August '09
The next summer we were fortunate enough to make two trips to the lake. During our first visit we spent a great deal of time outside enjoying the house and the lake. It was a little cool because it was May in Minnesota but we did get one warm day to get out on the boat. The second trip was warmer and was filled with dinners of family favorites and Minnesota sweet corn. 

Playing outside, May '10

First boat ride, May '10

First time to drive, May '10
By the next summer the girls had learned to help with the corn. I set up the corn and they would get it ready to boil. When the corn is fresh we eat as much as we can stand to hold us over until next year. We buy local corn from where ever we are but we do love Minnesota corn.

Learning to shuck, July '11
This year Audrey was able to start helping with more of the corn process. I took her out to the local produce stand on the main drag in downtown Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. We spoke with the gentleman selling the corn and we were able to purchase a dozen ears of the sweetest tasting corn for $6.50. When we returned home we got right to the easiest fresh corn on the cob cooking method. After the girls helped me shuck.

Picking her own corn, July '12

Paying for her corn, July '12

Enjoying her selection, July '12
Fresh Corn on the Cob
  • fresh corn on the cob
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • enough cold water to cover plus 1 inch
  • a large pot
Peel the corn and place it in a large cooking pot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the corn plus 1 inch. Add the sugar and wait to cook until 20 minutes before dinner. When you are 20 minutes out turn the burner on high and cook the corn until the water comes to a rapid boil. Remove from the heat and use tongs to pull the corn out of the boiling water. Let sit on a plate to cool for a few minutes then butter if desired.

Fresh sweet corn does not need much to make it taste amazing but we do tend to enjoy ours with a little butter. Add salt or pepper if you feel the need but you will lose a little of the fabulous taste. 

A family meal is best appreciated after a family evening spent enjoying the summer. We love to go hiking, swimming, and biking. That goes perfectly with the #SundaySupper theme this week of bringing communities together through food and activity.

We are fortunate enough to have a sponsor this week that understands the need for families to play together and eat together. Merrell staff get outside and know what activity can to for the body. They are not only providing us with a gift certificate but a giveaway of a pair of shoes for the child of a lucky reader. I posted the purple color but they have many other colors to choose from.

Merrell is an awesome company making footwear and clothing to encourage families get back outside. The shoe we are giving away is from a line called Barefoot and allows the wearer to have the protection of a shoe while not adding a lot of weight to their step. Merrell says it better than I ever could and the pictures of the shoes are so cool so you really should just click the link and take their word for it.

Get connected with Merrell on Facebook and Twitter or just check out the website for all of the fabulous products they offer. Now you want to know how to win these cool shoes.

Leave a comment here telling me what #SundaySupper means to you and also your Twitter Handle. At 7pm EST we are having a Twitter chat and you will need to participate by responding to one of the questions and include the hashtag #SundaySupper. The chat lasts for an hour so you have plenty of time to join in. I like to use Tweetchat for twitter parties because it makes it easier to focus on the party. These parties can move a little fast so just jump in when you can.

Be sure to say hello and enjoy the party. I look forward to hearing what #SundaySupper means to you. This giveaway is open to US Residents only.

And check out the other blogs listed below. The first ten are all having a giveaway of different type of Merrell products. We were selected to hold a special children's giveaway for good reason but others are giving away adult products.

The woman who started the #SundaySupper movement and group, Isabel, wrote it this wonderful post. She also lists the blogs participating and information on how to enter the giveaways if you did not understand me:

Just like #SundaySupper, Merrell is passionate about what they do and it shows. I love that they Think Outside.  ”Outside is more than a place, it’s our history and inspiration for the future.”   This week our talented group of bloggers are sharing with you what #SundaySupper means to them and their lifestyles.
#SundaySupper is so much more than one meal a week!
Merrell has chosen these 10 amazing bloggers to host a giveaway on their site.  Make sure you stop by for a chance to win some great Merrell Products.  From city streets to mountain trails and everywhere in between, we are impressed by Merrell’s passion!
The Sunday Supper fun continues. Take a look at these wonderful stories and recipes for this event:
Let’s celebrate wine, food, friends and #SundaySupper.  The fun starts every week at 3:00pm ET by showcasing fabulous recipes. At 7:00 pm ET, we will start our live chat.  Join us on twitter by using hashtag #Sundaysupper or using Tweetchat.  We love to feature your recipes on our #sundaysupper pinterest board and share them with all of our followers.
You might want to say hello to our friends at Merrell too: www.merrell.com
Or connect with them on Twitter @merrelloutside and Facebook www.facebook.com/merrell
Check them out on You Tube 

*Update* From Random.org

That means that comment #2 by @libbyeddings was the winner! Congrats and I will contact you with your code shortly.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why I Cook With My Children, Part 3

Starting young.

What we have learned.

My children are so much part me and so much part their father. We are spending few weeks with my in-laws and they enjoying seeing the vibrant and inquisitive side the girls got from their father. From me, I hope, my girls received an appreciation for good food. Or at least that is what I am attempting to teach them.

Since that first summer when Audrey learned to make the family favorite Strawberry Salad we have cooked together a lot. That was three summers ago and more often than not the girls help in some way with at least one meal a day. We have learned so many ways the girls can pitch in and they surprise me all the time by wanting to try something new.

Two-year-olds can chop

What started with a salad has progressed to the girls being an integral part of the meal-time prep. They love to help and sometimes fight over who gets to stir, add, or chop something. Maurene's favorite words are, 'me too!'

The girls can:

  1. Cut fruit
  2. Stir batter
  3. Crack eggs
  4. Gather ingredients
  5. Set the table
  6. Wash unbreakables
  7. Clean counters
  8. Load/unload dishwasher
  9. Roll pizza dough
  10. Sweep and mop
Don't doubt what a child can do, no  matter the age. While looking through pictures recently I came across more than I can count of the girls sweeping up one of their messes, pouring ingredients, or watching something bake in the oven. And one beautiful picture of Maurene in a high chair playing with a bowl and spatula because she wanted to help too.

Mo's second summer at the lake.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why I Cook With My Children, Part 2

Papa helping Audrey.

This part is difficult.

I was so enamored with the dinner routines at the home of my in-laws because the evening meals at my home were less than ideal. My parents separated before I can remember. When I was six we moved in with my mother's second husband. The years that followed were the closest to a traditional home life I would know. My parents worked and my step-father wanted a nice meal on the table at six. This left little time for a tasty dinner.

My mother and Audrey.

Many evenings we had something bland from the slow cooker and others a bird was cooked until tasteless. My mother passed on her Chicken  Mushroom Soup Recipe and taught me to make blue box mac and cheese. 

I can remember sitting in front of a bowl of beans and begging my mother for more ketchup in the hopes of making it taste better. These are not the memories I want my girls to have. I hope they remember happy family gatherings and evenings spent enjoying food.

Audrey shopping.

The battles that many parents, myself included, have at the dinner table can make sitting down together less than happy. When we cook together we can appreciate the meal better and fight less about what we are eating. I try to include my girls in any way I can. They plan meals, shop for food, and cook the meals with me.

My mother did her best. I am trying to do mine. At the age of 36 I decided to learn to cook. Audrey and Maurene are helping me. Before I had children I never understood the need to learn something like cooking or how to eat healthy. Now as a mom I know why my mom tried her best to get me to eat those awful beans. They are healthy.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why I Cook With My Children, Part 1

Audrey's first summer in DL.

Every year since Audrey was a baby we have gone to stay in Detroit Lakes, MN with my in-laws for some part of the summer. That first summer it was less than a week but the next summer ended up being a 7 week trip. I had a new baby (Maurene) and a workaholic spouse who decided his parents would do a better job of helping me through those difficult first weeks. It turns out he was right.

While we were there we fell into a routine. Well, as much of a routine as you can have with a newborn. I spent my time sleeping, feeding Maurene, and getting her to sleep. My father-in-law did a lot of the entertaining for Audrey. My mother-in-law still works so she was busy during the day a lot. When it came time to make dinner Audrey was eager to spend time with her.

Two year old Audrey, Papa, and Dayna.

In order to be able to make dinner and still have time for Audrey my mother-in-law pulled a stool up to the counter and started showing Audrey how to tear lettuce and build the family favorite, Strawberry Salad. This was a task Audrey took to immediately. Here is a picture of her with a face full of feta cheese. I do not know how we ended up having any left over for the salad.

One for me, one for the salad.

Family dinners during that blissful 7 weeks were planned, executed, and consumed together. I had no idea what I was missing until that trip. Audrey felt such a sense of accomplishment and inclusion and I enjoyed the regular meals with family. I vowed when we returned home I was going to continuing cooking with Audrey. It was easier said than done.

Next: Why cooking with my children is so hard for me.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday, Goodbye!

Pretzels, Chex mix, carrots, celery, banana, raisins.

We had a goodbye picnic the day before we left and since it was a Monday I brought our tins for lunch. It is hot in Kansas so neither girl have been eating much midday. Maurene refused to fill her tin and instead had a few pretzels. Audrey enjoys Muffin Tin Monday too much to ever miss.

Having a few pretzels.

Friends saying goodbye.

Check out Muffin Tin Monday to see what the other kids had for lunch.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pulled Pork & Papa Mike's Cole Slaw #SundaySupper

A  meal fit for a Southern Queen.

We are participating in #SundaySupper again. It has become such a great way to interact and work with others to join us in cooking as a family.

You may have noticed a lack of posts this week. We are on vacation and I have let the cooking slip. It happens every year at the lake house. The girls are having far too much fun to help as often in the kitchen. I do not mind but did not want to miss this Sunday.

We are sharing recipes from The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman. We have only cooked a few recipes out of this book but they have all been amazing. The table of contents makes me hungry.

This week we decided to do something completely different for us and boy, are we glad we did. Usually when we have pulled pork sandwiches we purchase a tub of cooked, shredded pork. Before this recipe we thought that tub of meat tasted good. Now we know better.

Since we are on vacation we are hanging out a lot more around the house so we had time to make this delicious but long-cooking dish. When we make this at home I will certainly put it in the slow cooker instead of the oven. That way we can have dinner ready for us and not heat up the kitchen for the 4-5 hour cooking time.

Adding a little broth.

Me too, says Mo.

Shredding is a tough job.

We are partial to KC Masterpiece.

Dressing up the slaw.

  • 1 bone-in pork butt (5 to 6 pounds)
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • about 3 cups low-sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 4 cups barbecue sauce
  • about 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • sliced rolls
  • coleslaw and pickles (Papa Mike's coleslaw recipe to follow)
Place pork in a large pot with a lid and season with salt and pepper. Pour broth around the pork until it comes about one quarter way up the sides of the meat. Add liquid smoke to the broth (we left it out). Cover pot and put it in a 350 degree oven.

The meat is done when it is falling apart, 3 1/2 to 5 hours; use a fork to pull at the pork and it will really start to come apart. The internal temperature will register 190 to 200 degrees. Remove the pork from the oven and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pork from the pot and discard the cooking liquid. Cut the fatty parts from the meat, then use two forks to pull the meat apart, shredding it into small pieces. Place the shredded meat in a large bowl.

Warm the barbecue sauce in a small pot over medium heat (we found no need to do this as the meat was hot enough to warm it). Mix the meat with barbecue sauce and cider vinegar. Pile the pulled pork on rolls or just serve it with a big spoon, with coleslaw and pickles.

Audrey and Maurene's Tasks:
  1. Add broth to pot
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper
  3. Shred pork
  4. Mix with sauce
Mom's Tasks:
  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Place pork in pot
  3. Cook pork
  4. Cut fat from pork
As you can see this is a very simple meal. It does take a long time to cook but it makes enough to feed a small army, or my friend Aprile's family. 

Freeze half of the leftovers as we did and have another dinner later with absolutely no work. We placed the other half of the leftovers in the fridge for easy lunches for the week. I doubt the tub lasts that long.
On to Papa Mike's Coleslaw. This is an unusual recipe and one I never truly appreciated until this meal. It goes perfect with pulled pork!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp celery seed
Mix first six ingredients in a food processor and blend. Pour into a container with a lid and add celery seed. Refrigerate. Best if made a day in advance. Mix with bagged slaw mix. 

The flavor is not like the sweet slaw you get from the fried chicken place or like the spicier cracked black pepper kind from some Southern restaurants. This is a tangy yet sweet variety that tastes amazing with pulled pork!

Another fabulous #SundaySupper success!

The Sunday Supper Group has enjoyed creating Katie’s recipes.  We are honored to have Katie as our guest during our #SundaySupper live chat at 7:00 pm est.  Join us and chat with Katie about being a mom, kids and Spending time Around the Family Table.
We will be giving away 3 copies of the Mom 100 Cookbooks. This is an event you don’t want to miss!!
Here are some  favorites we will be sharing with you during #SundaySupper this week.

Main Dish:
Wine pairing Wine Everyday  @wineeveryday
We will be sharing great family recipes all afternoon and want you to share yours with us! #SundaySupper starts every week at 3:00pm ET by showcasing fabulous recipes. At 7:00 pm ET, we will start our live chat with Katie.  Join us on twitter by using hashtag #Sundaysupper or using Tweetchat.  We love to feature your recipes on our #sundaysupper pinterest board and share them with all our followers.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hard Boiled Eggs

Peeling eggs.

How many of you know how to boil the perfect egg? One in which the shell practically falls off. Well I didn't, not until our recent trip to visit my in-laws. The eggs I boil always grab onto their shells and cling to them for dear life. Asking a small child to help peel them is like asking to have half the egg thrown away.

Now I know the secret and will be able to share another simple task with my girls as they grow up. And they will now be able to help peel hard boiled eggs!

Place eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place on the burner and turn the heat to high. Once the water is boiling turn the heat down to medium-high and return to a boil for three minutes. After three minutes remove the pot from the heat and cover with lid. Let sit for 12 minutes. Remove eggs from hot water and place in an ice water bath to stop cooking.

Now your children can help you peel eggs!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Frozen Chocolate Bananas #SundaySupper

Frozen Chocolate Bananas.

This week for #SundaySupper the theme is #BeatTheHeat. Who could ask for a better topic? It has been hot here in Kansas so I thought we would do something frozen. But what? Pinterest to the rescue! A quick glance at the In The Kitchen With Audrey Board and I had the perfect inspiration

Putting the sticks in.

Ready to freeze.


The aren't pretty but they taste good.


  1. Peel the bananas
  2. Cut in half
  3. Place bananas on Popsicle sticks 
  4. Freeze bananas
  5. Melt chocolate chips with a small amount of shortening
  6. Dip frozen bananas
  7. Freeze again
  8. Eat!
We were in a rush to get these finished so we could have them after dinner so we made a few minor errors.  Insert the bananas carefully as they can break easily. I recommend slightly under-ripe bananas. The bananas should be frozen for at least two hours before dipping. Once the bananas are dipped they should be placed on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.

We are participating in #SundaySupper again this week and are excited by all of the great recipes. Join us Sunday at 2pm CST on Twitter to chat about #BeatTheHeat meals.

#BeatTheHeat Appetizers:
#BeatTheHeat Salads, Soups, & Sides:
#BeatTheHeat Main Dishes:
#BeatTheHeat Desserts:
#BeatTheHeat Drinks & Cocktails:
Wine Pairings Provided By: ENOFYLZ
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Five For Friday, Traveling Food

This Tuesday we are getting on a jet plane and heading to the much cooler climate of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We go every year and this one is no exception. Last year Audrey fell in love with a dairy cow named Cocoa at the Becker County Fair. She has hopes of seeing her friend again.

Before we head out on a multi-hour trip with a plane change in the Twin Cities with only one parent (me) we will be making a few kid friendly snacks. Here are a few of our favorites:
  1. Granola Bars. Always a kid-friendly snack. We love this recipe as it is versatile.
  2. Trail Mix. This is another versatile food. Add your favorite ingredients. My girls pick out the M&Ms first.
  3. No Bake Energy Bites. These are my favorite. I love the peanut butter taste!
  4. Baked Oatmeal, To Go! A fun, hearty food that can be a simple breakfast or tasty snack. So full of good for you ingredients.
  5. Peanut Butter Bread. Can you tell how much we love peanut butter? This recipe is simple and very peanutty.
What are your favorite travel foods? We get so tired of paying $4 for water and $5 for yogurt.

Audrey visiting with Cocoa.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's For Lunch Wednesday, Hot Dog!

Our fruitful lunch.

We took these fun lunches with us to the park. After the Fourth we had a few extra hot dog buns so I thought it would be fun to have this silly meal for lunch.

Mo is a master peeler.

Spreading on the peanut butter.

I thinned out some peanut butter for the girls so they could spread it over the banana easier. We have these silly sandwiches often but the wrap changes. Sometimes we flatten bread, sometimes we wrap with tortillas and others are hot dog buns like today. This is a great way to make banana sandwiches in a fun, different way.

Check out what the other kids had today at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

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