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.

The Classic and the Kid-Friendly: 2 Approaches to the Strawberry-Rhubarb Combo

by in Family, Recipes, April 21st, 2015

The Classic and the Kid-Friendly: 2 Approaches to the Strawberry-Rhubarb ComboI can still taste the tang of fresh rhubarb as my mom picked long stalks of the stuff from our garden as a kid. (I also remember yelling to my friends who always seemed to be grabbing it for a snack, “No! That’s not celery!”) But what a transformation: How soft rhubarb became in the oven, set in a custard pie filling along with sweet strawberries. Strawberry-rhubarb is the killer combination of spring. So as those first stalks are spotted in markets everywhere, these recipes are on our radar:

The Classic Approach:

1. Rhubarb Custard Pie: This is it! This is exactly the sweet and creamy pie I remember, the one I’ll make for our kids this spring.

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How to Keep the Kids’ Snack Time from Ruining Your Life

by in Family, April 8th, 2015

How to Keep the Kids' Snack Time from Ruining Your LifeBreakfast, lunch and dinner are one thing. I knew I’d be on the hook for those the moment I saw my first ultrasound (and my second, third and fourth). But adding snacks — two snacks — every day almost pushed me over the edge. It seemed like every time I got the kitchen counter shoveled off from the previous meal, some short person would trot up asking, “Is it snack time yet?” Instead of tossing a box of gummy fruits to the crowd and letting them fend for themselves, I started getting strategic. Here’s what I do to create a varied snack plan full of (mostly) whole foods (pretty) easily:

1. Make a Batch of Freezer-Friendly Muffins: I usually have a couple of kinds of veggie-packed muffins in my freezer. Set your premade muffins on the counter at breakfast and they’ll be thawed by snack time — or just pop them in the microwave at the last second. Try: Pumpkin Muffins 

2. Yogurt Parfaits: For a crowd with varied tastes, try a container of plain yogurt plus a few nutritious toppings. Nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, frozen blueberries, honey … Let each person add whatever he or she likes.

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Chocolate Eggs, Marshmallow Chicks and Jelly Beans, Oh My! 8 Ways to Use Leftover Easter Candy

by in Family, Holidays, April 3rd, 2015

Birds' NestsEaster mornings are usually a blur of chocolate around here, but after the kids have had their share of treats, there always seems to be extra candy (and whether certain moms have set some aside for themselves can be neither confirmed nor denied). Here are two ways to use four different Easter candies long after that bunny has put his feet up again for the year.

Mini chocolate eggs can be delicious in …

Brownies: Welcome spring with the simplest version of birds’ nests yet. Bake a pan of brownies and cut round circles before arranging mini chocolate eggs on top.

Cookies: Instead of chocolate chips, add mini eggs to your next batch of cookies or blondies. Cut them in half, or leave them whole for major impact.

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6 Essential Pantry Ingredients and 3 Surprising Ways to Use Them

by in Family, March 28th, 2015

6 Essential Pantry Ingredients and 3 Surprising Ways to Use ThemAs the mom of four kids under age 6, I’ve found the secret to stocking a useful pantry: Every item needs to be versatile. From breakfast to lunch and snacks through dinner, my favorite pantry items can be used over and over again in totally different ways.

Old-Fashioned (Whole) Oats: I buy the generic store brand. While we make our share of oatmeal in the morning — three minutes in the microwave, then drenched in whole milk and sprinkled with chia seeds and dried fruit — there’s so much more!

Breakfast: Banana Oat Cup Muffins with Peanut Butter and Jam

Snack: 2-Ingredient Cookies

Dinner: New Classic Meatloaf

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Seeing Green: How to Host a Kid-Friendly St. Paddy’s Day Party

by in Family, Holidays, March 13th, 2015

Seeing Green: How to Host a Kid-Friendly St. Paddy's Day PartySt. Patrick’s Day isn’t the most-major holiday, but it is such fun for that very reason: The pressure is OFF. If you’ve got kids who want to party, it’s all about rainbows, hints of Irish fare made kid-friendly and food in every shade of green.

Fun Food Activities

  • Instead of goodie bags, we invite our guests to make a little treat to take home. Just be sure to have zip-top, cellophane bags or paper plates available for easier transport.
  • For very small kids, these Shamrock Shortbread Cookies get a hint of green from a very nutritious source (yes, spinach). Plus the rolling method is easy enough for toddlers to do.
  • Bigger kids will get a huge kick out of assembling Individual Layered Rainbow Cakes; just bake each color ahead of time and let them do the rest.

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8 Kid-Friendly Ways to Celebrate the Return of Asparagus Season

by in Family, March 10th, 2015

Roasted AsparagusIf asparagus isn’t on your kids’ list of approved foods (it could be!), try a bridge ingredient to help them warm up to those in-season stalks. That means, serve asparagus with another favorite food or flavor, or prepare it using a technique you know they like. Find out how to pair asparagus with bacon, lemon, Parmesan cheese and more.

Ina Garten’s Roasted Asparagus (pictured above): Roasted vegetables are always a hit with my four kids, so it’s a no-brainer that we’d try Ina’s fan-favorite recipe for asparagus.

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Confessions of a Mommy Blogger: 5 Dinner Shortcuts Every Parent Needs

by in Family, Recipes, March 2nd, 2015

Confessions of a Mommy Blogger: 5 Dinner Shortcuts Every Parent NeedsThere are four small kids in my house right now, and I’m going to make dinner for all of them. Like I do (nearly) every night. But in order to make all these fresh meals, the ones that the kids like, that my husband enjoys and that I feel good about serving, there are going to be some shortcuts made. Like there are (nearly) every night. Here are a few of my secrets for getting it all done.

1. Use That Netflix Subscription to Your Full Advantage: There is no shame in putting on a video for the kids while you cook dinner. That gives you 22 minutes to get something accomplished while the kids bliss out. Tip: Just be clear ahead of time about how MANY videos or how LONG they’ll be watching. My kids go crazy if they think I’m pulling the plug prematurely. The last thing you want to start dinner with is mutiny.

2. Repurpose Leftovers with Confidence: On the incredulity scale, “This again?” is about a 9.5 at the dinner table. There’s also this: As a food blogger I’m constantly testing new recipes. Sometimes things are a hit, and sometimes they’re not. Either way, I love having a second life planned out for dinners like London broil (which later becomes a pot of beef stew), roasted chicken (which shows up again in a casserole) or meatballs that start out on pasta and end up on sub sandwiches. Sometimes the second time is a charm.

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5 Ways to Make Sweet Potatoes Even Sweeter for Kids

by in Family, Recipes, February 24th, 2015

Honey Roasted Sweet PotatoesOK, I’ve got to be honest: Sweet potatoes have been hit or miss in our house with my brood of four kids under 6 years old. But because I’m a determined mom with healthy-eating habits in sight (which is not quite the same thing as a glutton for punishment), I just kept cooking sweet potatoes. By now I’ve made them so many ways that we’ve come up recipes that work every time, and I want to share them with you.

1. Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Ellie Krieger’s combination of olive oil, lemon juice and honey — the trifecta of our kids’ most-beloved flavors — turns a pan of peeled sweet potatoes into a side dish little ones love.

2. Sweet Potato & Walnut Muffins
These muffins are not what you think. The batter starts with raw sweet potatoes and walnuts (or almonds or pecans — whatever you like) that you crush in the food processor before adding all the other ingredients without dirtying another bowl. The result is a protein-rich batch of delicious muffins that just happens to be full of veggies.

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How to Turn 1 Roasted Chicken Into 3 Family Dinners

by in Recipes, February 17th, 2015

Easy Lemon Roasted Chicken with Carrots & PotatoesAs a mom of four small kids, I love dinners you can cook once, then use again in a new way later in the week. I call them “2 Dinners in 1,” but today I’m sharing how to be a suppertime overachiever. No two dinners here. Nope, this strategy is a bona fide three-in-one timesaver. After roasting a classic chicken and vegetables, you’ll serve chicken breasts and some of those veggies for a family-friendly meal. Dinner two will be legs and thighs in a simple casserole, and finally on night three, you’ll put leftovers to work in a whole delicious stock. Here’s your game plan for making it work.

Dinner #1: Easy Lemon Roasted Chicken with Carrots & Potatoes (pictured above)

  • Use the largest bird you can find, then slather a quickie vinaigrette — I like olive oil, thyme, fresh lemon juice and zest, plus salt and pepper — on both the chicken and vegetables. Be sure to double the amount of vegetables, so you’re cooking another dinner’s worth of carrots and potatoes (plus any other vegetables you like, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and so on), and cook them on a separate baking sheet. And if you don’t have enough lemon vinaigrette for the second pan, just use olive oil with salt and pepper.
  • Cut up the breasts for dinner, using Alton Brown’s method for carving a turkey, and remove each breast in one large piece before dicing it up to serve. (P.S. Ina Garten does this for chicken too.)
  • Serve just the chicken breast and roasted vegetables with a nice loaf of crusty bread and soft salted butter. Reserve everything else — and I do mean everything, including the bones!

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The 8 Sweetest Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids

by in Family, Holidays, February 10th, 2015

The 8 Sweetest Valentine's Day Treats for KidsFrom super sweet to pretty darn healthy, I’ve got your kids’ Valentine’s Day treats covered. Every one of them is doable for busy parents, and many are so easy the kids can help. So whether you and the little ones are celebrating at home or school, these adorable ideas say nothing but love from the oven.

1. Heart of the Batter CupcakesAs if a moist cupcake loaded with chocolate frosting wasn’t enough, what kid wouldn’t be delighted to bite into a cupcake to find a heart-shaped strawberry inside? I’m practically clapping myself about these too-cute treats from Food Network Magazine.

2. Chocolate-Covered Mini Pretzel Sticks: For small kids, a pretzel stick — loaded with chocolate and sprinkles — makes the perfect serving size. Bonus: Your little ones can help make a batch with you.

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