All Posts By Foodlets

Charity Curley Mathews dreams of raising kids who eat (and enjoy) real food. A former VP at MarthaStewart.com, she's a contributor to The Huffington Post and heads up Foodlets.com: Mini Foodies in the Making…Maybe. Together with her husband and three small children, she now cooks in North Carolina.

How to Make Homemade Food Coloring

by in How-to, December 17th, 2014

How to Make Homemade Food ColoringIf you’re steering clear of store-bought food colorings but want to make colorful cookies or holiday gifts, I’m with you. As a mom of four small kids, I’ve been looking high and low for recipes that produce vibrant colors without chemicals, and these are the best I’ve found. Below are techniques for making three primary colors that you can use as is or mix to create orange, purple or green.

The Colors:
To make red, use raspberries, pure pomegranate juice or roasted beets.

To make yellow, use raw carrots or mangoes.

To make blue, use radicchio or red cabbage.

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5 Easy Christmas Cookies Kids Can Make as Gifts

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 14th, 2014

Coconut MacaronsTo give our thanks to the volunteers at church, neighbors who always stop and ask how we’re doing, and even the UPS driver who never rings the doorbell at naptime (bless you!), we’ve been looking for a few good cookie recipes this season. The requirements are simple: They must be easy enough for kids to make and sturdy enough to wrap as gifts. Here are our top five recipes that fill the bill:

Coconut Macaroons: These five-ingredient cookies are done in 35 minutes, and best of all, you can’t mess up the presentation. Just put a mound of coconut mixture on a cookie sheet and bake.

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5 Kid-Friendly Ways to Reinvent Thanksgiving Leftovers

by in Family, Holidays, November 29th, 2014

Ginger-Peanut Stir-FryWe have four small kids at our house with small kid appetites. That means leftovers are a nightly thing. But in the spirit of variety, I try to change things up for round two with two things in mind: Half the cooking is already done (hooray for me!), and I can usually incorporate our leftovers into a riff of an already beloved dish (hooray for the kids!). For example, leftover broiled salmon might become a simple salmon frittata for my egg-loving brood. Knowing our kid-tested family favorites, here’s our plan for those Thanksgiving leftovers to come:

Leftover: Turkey
Make: Creamy Lemon Pasta or Peanut-Ginger Stir-Fry
Give that bird a whole new flavor with one of our family’s two favorite ways to eat (and re-eat) poultry: Creamy Lemon Pasta or stir-fry with fresh ginger-peanut sauce. Both kid tested, both approved.

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Get a Head Start on Thanksgiving Dinner: 5 Easy Recipes to Make the Day Before

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 25th, 2014

Baked Mashed PotatoesMaking dinner on a regular Thursday night is hard enough for most of us, but Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings can be a full-day affair. Now, I love cooking, but I also have four kids and our oldest is five, so I need to be strategic to pull it off and not spend the afternoon yelling at everyone to get out of the kitchen. Even if you aren’t swamped with little rascals running through your kitchen this year, I bet you’ll appreciate getting a few things done by Wednesday too. Here’s my plan:

Giada De Laurentiis’ Baked Mashed Potatoes
These twice-baked mashed potatoes (pictured above) end up in a casserole dish, making them perfect for reheating on the big day. And with store-bought breadcrumbs and two kinds of cheese, they’re also my favorite mix of delicious food that’s easy to make. Grazie, Giada.

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5 Slow-Cooker Dinners for Fall

by in Family, November 4th, 2014

Mushroom Barley RisottoI’ll admit it: I’m late to the slow-cooker party. But in my defense, I could never seem to find a slow-cooker recipe that doesn’t involve a packet of onion soup mix, gravy mix or can of soup — until now. Behold, five delicious, real-food dinner recipes that politely cook themselves over the course of an afternoon. Now that’s something to celebrate.

Mushroom-Barley Risotto
A vegetarian dish that’s as healthy as it is hearty? We’re sold on this one (pictured above) full of carrots, cremini mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.

Pulled Pork
As a mom of four small kids, I like meals that are simple, inexpensive and versatile. That’s why this one is a staple in our house. Any cut of pork will do, and slathering it with a mustard-based sauce before cooking gives it just the right amount of flavor. Add BBQ sauce, use it for tacos, sandwiches or whatever you (and the kids) like.

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5 Easy Veggies Kids Love — Really

by in Family, October 28th, 2014

Roasted BroccoliAs a foodie blogger, there is one thing I constantly hear from other parents: “Oh boy, you can never come to my house for dinner.” That’s not very helpful here, but the second thing I hear often might be: “How can I get my kids to eat more/some/any vegetables?” My answer is the same every time: Roast them. I do mean the veggies, and here are my favorite ways to do it.

The method (below) is the same — and delicious — every time, but if you want to add another layer of flavor, try them all.

Method: Toss veggies with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and place into an oven at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the vegetables. Flip once along the way.

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10 Simple Halloween Party Food Hacks for Kids

by in Family, Holidays, October 21st, 2014

10 Simple Halloween Party Food Hacks for KidsHere are 10 of the simplest ways to bring tons of Halloween fun to a party, classroom or family table in just minutes.

1. Creepy-Crawly Caterpillars (pictured above): Thread green grapes onto a long wooden skewer until it’s completely covered. Add mini chocolate chips to each grape on the very end for eyes (use a little frosting or cream cheese for glue).

2. Spider Sandwiches: Use a biscuit cutter to cut bread into 3- to 4-inch rounds. Spread with the usual favorite fillings like PB&J. Add four pretzel sticks to each side for legs, then put the sandwich top on. Use peanut butter for glue as you add two raisins for eyes.

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Classics with a Twist: 8 New Slow-Cooker Soups

by in Recipes, October 13th, 2014

8 New Slow Cooker Soup RecipesIn our house fall means two things: crisp weather and busy schedules. That’s what makes these hearty slow-cooker soups so perfect for this time of year, but that’s not all. Each of these classic soups has a tasty new twist, adding more flavor and richness, which usually means empty bowls (and happy kids) around here.

Turkey Chili: With a hint of chocolate, this mole-inspired chili is a fresh take on a cold-weather classic.

Potato Soup with All the Fixins (pictured above): Start with the humblest of ingredients — potatoes, onions and chicken stock — wait seven hours, then pile on all your favorite baked potato toppings, like bacon, cheddar cheese, chives and more.

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14 Pumpkin Treats for Kids

by in Recipes, September 30th, 2014

14 Pumpkin Treats for KidsJack-o’-lanterns aren’t the only fun way to use a pumpkin this time of year. From breakfast to dessert, lots of dessert, we’ve got 10 delicious pumpkin recipes kids will love.

1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies: When the weather turns crisp, what’s better than a gooey chocolate chip cookie? A chocolate chip cookie with rich and creamy pumpkin incorporated too. The perfect fall treat.

2. White Bean Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins (pictured above): These two kinds of chocolate pumpkin muffins have one thing in common: They both use white beans in the batter, packing a surprising little punch of protein (and the kids will never know they’re in there).

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9 After-School Snacks: From Super Simple to Deliciously Decadent

by in Family, September 22nd, 2014

9 After-School SnacksKids may be ravenous when they come home from school, but not all kids’ snacks are created equal. From easy-to-make treats to more-of-a-commitment (and totally worth it) eats, these are our favorite after-school snacks — not too filling but satisfying enough to hold even the hungriest kids over until dinnertime.

Super Simple:

Oatmeal-Chocolate Snack Cakes: Just sweet enough to satisfy, these cakey bars are full of hearty whole oats. Bonus: The recipe is so simple that kids can make a big batch themselves to enjoy all week long.

Peaches and Creamsicles: Even though school’s back in session, most afternoons are still warm enough to welcome a homemade Popsicle. Our favorite hot-weather treat is made with fresh peaches (or strawberries), pure vanilla and just a bit of rich and creamy half-and-half.

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