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.

6 Breakfast Picnic Ideas

by in Family, August 25th, 2014

6 Breakfast Picnic IdeasWhat better way to savor the last days of sunshine than packing up a breakfast picnic? There are two ways to do it: Go old school with a blanket in the yard, or head to the patio. Either way, just pack a thermos of coffee, another full of milk (doing double duty as a beverage for the kids, plus creamer for the java), then bring your breakfast out on a tray — it’s easier to handle than a basket. Now take your pick: We’ve got muffins, eggs and more, each of them to go.

1. Baked Scrambled Eggs (pictured above): You don’t need a bug-shaped pan to pull this off, but it’s sure fun. Beaten eggs plus milk and the toppings of your choice (cheese, ham, tomatoes and more) go into the oven for a sturdy egg dish that’s just as good at room (or outdoor) temperature as it is hot.

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Beyond Cobbler: 12 Ways to Eat Fresh Peaches

by in In Season, August 18th, 2014

12 Ways to Eat Fresh PeachesWhen a recent trip to the farmers market left me with more peaches than I could get through before some pushy fruit flies set up a serious colony, I did what first sprang to mind: I made a peach crisp. And it was delicious. But just as the last crumbs were gobbled up, a new question loomed: What am I going to do with the other 50 peaches in this box? That’s when I started hunting for delicious ideas and found these.

1. Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze (pictured above): The sweetness of fresh peaches meets just the right amount of heat in this one from Bobby Flay.

2. Fresh Peach Cake: Think of a pineapple upside-down cake, but even more decadent because this is a recipe from Ina Garten — one I can’t wait to make.

3. Grilled Peach Salad with Balsamic Bacon Vinaigrette: Looking to spice up your favorite leafy greens for lunch? Try the magic of crispy bacon plus juicy peaches on top.

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Beyond Ketchup: 5 Transforming Toppers Kids Can’t Resist

by in Family, July 31st, 2014

Beyond Ketchup: 5 Transforming Toppers Kids Can't ResistEver tried to serve your kids something new? I write a blog about cooking for kids — about cooking one dinner, about raising kids who appreciate real food, about trying again when it doesn’t work out — so we eat a lot of new stuff around here. And when our group of four little ones (all under the age of 6) are skeptical about my latest culinary experiment, I try to bridge the gap with familiar, and beloved, flavors. No, the kids don’t all like the same things, but there are a few universally loved flavors. These are my heavy hitters, the MVPs of the kitchen and our best flavor ambassadors.

Fresh Lemon: Squeezing lemon on anything instantly makes my kids intrigued. Does it work for fish? Yes, of course, but there’s also roasted potato wedges and steak. Even greens like sauteed spinach, Swiss chard and kale are wonderful with a splash of juicy citrus. Plus, squeezing the juice is fun for the kids to do themselves.

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Dinner on a Stick: 10 Skewers No Kid Can Resist

by in Family, July 14th, 2014

Dinner on a Stick: 10 Skewers No Kid Can ResistTired of lackluster reactions to the phrase “dinner’s ready”? Try a trick I use on my brood and serve skewers. From sides to entrees, everything’s more festive on a stick, and the good news is, it’s pretty simple too.

1. Fish Skewers with Basil Chimichurri (pictured above): With bright pops of green basil sauce and juicy red cherry tomatoes, Melissa d’Arabian’s skewers turn fish from a picky eater’s no-no into a showstopper worth trying.

2. Pork and Pineapple Kebabs: Sure a pork chop is tasty, but chopping it up and serving it with fresh pineapple wedges transforms an otherwise average dinner into something special.

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4th of July Dishes Kids Can Help Make

by in Family, Holidays, July 1st, 2014

4th of July Dishes Kids Can Help MakeAs if the Fourth of July isn’t already festive enough, here are five recipes that even the littlest cooks can help make. Each dish gets high marks in two key areas, cuteness and simplicity, which gives everyone enough time to enjoy his or her fine work when it’s done.

Berry Trifle: Layers of berries, cake and cream — any dessert with such an easy-to-follow recipe is one all kid-friendly kitchens should have on hand.

Starry Cheese, Tomatoes and Crackers (pictured above): With the help of a star-shaped cutter, transform an average afternoon snack into one with a patriotic punch.

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How a Toothpick Can Save Lunchtime and 7 Other Secrets

by in Family, June 25th, 2014

How a Toothpick Can Save Lunchtime and 7 Other SecretsWhen it comes to gimmicks for getting kids interested in their food, I say, “Yes, please.” I have no shame when it comes to fun presentation, cute shapes or miniature anything, as long as it’s no more difficult than making a plain old version. With four kids at home — the oldest just turned 5 — these are my favorite tricks of the meal-making trade.

1. Sandwich Sushi: We call these “roly-polies” in our house, and the method couldn’t be simpler. Take a piece of bread and use a rolling pin to flatten it out (making the surface bigger too), then fill with your usual toppings like PB&J, turkey or whatever your kids like. Roll up and slice into 3 to 4 pieces.

2. Bunny and Bear Hard-Boiled Egg Molds: Our kids love eggs, but they actually cheer when I spend an extra 20 seconds creating bunnies or bears with these easy-to-use egg molds. Just press a peeled egg into the mold, close and wait a few seconds, then pop ‘em out.

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6 DIY Versions of Store-Bought Snacks

by in Family, June 16th, 2014

6 DIY Versions of Store-Bought SnacksHaving kids means having snacks on hand. Try these can’t-miss recipes for homemade versions of supermarket favorites like granola bars, graham crackers, cereal bars and cheddar cheese crackers. They’re fresher, tastier and easier to make than you think.

Homemade Granola Bars: Ina Garten packs her bars with almonds, dates, dried cranberries and even a pinch of wheat germ in this recipe.

DIY Strawberry Cereal Bars: Give that box of popular cereal bars a run for its money with this simple recipe full of whole oats and a secret ingredient no kid can resist: a thick layer of organic strawberry fruit spread.

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7 Ways to Get Kids Hooked on … Carrots

by in Family, June 2nd, 2014

7 Ways to Get Kids Hooked On ... CarrotsIf “Eat your vegetables!” is a constant (and frustrating) refrain in your house, boy, are these ideas are for you. I have three small kids and not one of them likes carrots. Not really. Not if you asked them. But when I cook carrots in dishes like these, voila. Suddenly everyone’s a fan.

Honey-Glazed Carrots: One of my most-successful strategies at home is adding beloved flavors to previously unpopular foods. Kid-friendly ingredients like honey and lemon transform plain carrots into a thumbs-up dish — or at least one that everyone’s willing to try without a fuss.

Mini Mac-and-Cheese Cups with Carrots (pictured above): The secret to getting these to hold together is a mixture of beaten egg and ricotta cheese, making everything just gooey enough before baking to stay solid when it’s time to serve. Bonus: These carrot-packed pasta cups work well for lunchboxes too.

Pastina with Peas and Carrots: Giada De Laurentiis’ “little pasta” dish can be made with any pasta shape you (or your kids) like. And with special ingredients cream cheese and mascarpone cheese, this creamy dish is bound to be a hit, carrots and all.

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9 Simple DIY Popsicles

by in Family, May 27th, 2014

9 Simple DIY PopsiclesWhen the weather turns warm, there’s nothing more refreshing than a Popsicle — except one made with fresh ingredients and not an iota of fake coloring in sight. Here are FN Dish and Foodlets’ favorite ideas for sunny days ahead.

Chocolate Sundae Ice Pops: Low-fat milk plus ripe avocado and bananas, not to mention honey and cocoa powder, make Melissa d’Arabian’s chocolatey pops a surprisingly healthy treat.

Strawberry-Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops: Full of fresh fruit and organic yogurt to boot, these frozen treats are low in sugar and even pack a punch of protein.

Italian Ice Pops: Frozen raspberries plus fresh mint and lemon juice are the base for these light and refreshing pops by Giada De Laurentiis.

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10 Kid-Friendly Memorial Day Recipes

by in Family, Holidays, May 20th, 2014

10 Kid-Friendly Memorial Day RecipesIf you’ve ever been to a potluck with a kid, you know how challenging it can be to find a plate full of food he or she is familiar enough with to enjoy. So if you have upcoming cookouts or campouts, or you just want a festive meal to celebrate the start of summer, try one of these dishes. Your kids (and everyone else’s) will thank you.

Chicken and Pineapple Skewers (pictured above): Chicken coated in favorites like soy sauce, ketchup, honey and even a little brown sugar doesn’t get much more kid friendly — until you add fresh pineapple chunks and put it all on a stick.

Better-for-You Peach Crisp: Full of whole oats, fresh fruit (like peaches, plums, apples or any fruit of your choice), along with coconut oil and crunchy almonds, this crisp is tasty and so good for you that it even works for breakfast — but we doubt you’ll have any left.

Grilled Link Hot Dogs with Homemade Pickle Relish: Sure, you can go with a package of regular dogs, but finding link hot dogs might be a fun twist for the little guys. And what kid can resist a crunchy dill pickle on a hot day? Let kids help you make this tangy relish and watch those proud faces when it’s time to serve.

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