All Posts In Family

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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10 Apple Dishes Kids Can Help Make

by in Family, September 16th, 2014

10 Apple Dishes Kids Can Help MakeNothing says fall like the crunch of a good apple. Sure, kids love eating ‘em fresh out of the fridge, but here are 10 simple ways for your brood to help cook — and eat — their way through apple season, enjoying every bite.

1. Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp (pictured above): If this is your kids’ first crisp, you can’t go wrong with Ina Garten’s classic take. Kids can sprinkle the topping on with their fingers.

2. Healthy Apple Spice Quick Bread: Make one loaf for breakfast and snacks, and a second to freeze for later. Kids can shred apples and grease the pan.

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7 Lunchbox Accessories to Pack the Best Lunches Ever

by in Family, September 15th, 2014

7 Lunchbox Accessories to Pack the Best Lunches EverPacking a school lunch has a bad reputation, but it doesn’t have to be so hard — and the results can be very sweet. Here are a few of my favorite gadgets that easily make all the difference between a so-so lunch that comes home half-eaten and a special little treat kids can’t resist.

1. Bento Boxes: It’s simple to pack a balanced lunch when you have several compartments to fill with something different. Planet Box is the most-expensive line, but with a stainless-steel box that comes in a cushy (and customizable) case, it’s hard to beat. Our favorite plastic (and more affordable) version is EasyLunchboxes, which are BPA-free and also come with cooler bags in every shade of the rainbow.

2. Our Favorite Water Bottles: Oh, the leaky water bottles. If I could have a refund for all the sippy cups, water bottles and novelty glasses we’ve bought for our brood, college would be paid for already. Along the way I’ve figured it out. This is the only kind of water bottle we’ll buy going forward: The Bubba bottle is made of stainless steel, isn’t overpriced, is dishwasher-safe and hasn’t leaked a drop yet.

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New-School Cookie Jar

by in Family, Recipes, September 9th, 2014

New-School Cookie JarNow that school is back in session, we’re bringing back an old-school concept — the cookie jar — and giving it a fresh new look and taste. Have fun baking a few batches of homemade cookies over the weekend and store them in airtight containers or jars for the kids to select an after-school sweet. These bright, candy-adorned treats from Food Network chefs appeal to the child in us all. The kids won’t be the only ones trying to sneak them from the cookie jar (a high shelf helps!).

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4 Back-to-School Breakfast Shortcuts

by in Family, September 8th, 2014

4 Back-to-School Breakfast ShortcutsFrom Our Sponsor Toaster Strudel™

Ready or not, whether you welcome or dread it, it’s here. It’s time to get back into the school routine. Most of us need all the help we can get with that, and no one needs the guilt that comes with worrying if your kids are eating well before starting their busy days. Here are four ideas to get them out the door with full stomachs:

Shortcut No. 1: Make the most of your limited time in the morning by thinking about breakfast when you’re cooking dinner the night before. Cook extra chicken, ham, bacon or steak for additional, filling protein to add to scrambled eggs or an omelet the next morning.

Shortcut No. 2: If you’re having a breakfast-for-dinner night, double the pancake or waffle recipe and freeze the leftovers (be sure to let them cool first). Another breakfast is down with just a quick toaster or skillet reheating.

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How to Shop Your Pantry, Plus 3 Weeknight Dinners to Master

by in Family, Food Network Chef, September 6th, 2014

Melissa d'ArabianMy kids have been in school for exactly four days. Which is about how long it took to remind me that the summer routine of winging it for dinner won’t work anymore. Gone are the afternoons of lazily brainstorming dinner ideas at 5 p.m. from the comfort of a pool lounge chair (“grilled salmon or chicken, sweetie?”). In September, 5 p.m. without a dinner plan wreaks havoc on the delicate soccer-school-homework-ballet ecosphere of our home.

Anyone out there relate? What do you do?

Some common strategies: Race around like a madwoman cobbling together something – anything – that will feed the hungry bellies around the table, letting nutrition take a break for one tiny night. (Anyone?) Go to the drive-thru, or order delivery. Serve cereal (again).

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It’s OK to Play with Your Food

by in Family, Recipes, September 4th, 2014

Spaghetti NestsWhen whimsical dishes like these are on the menu, playing with your food is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. The fun factor will get even the pickiest eaters excited to make these recipes — and eat them! Fortunately for the rest of the family, these meals and snacks are also mighty tasty.

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Load Up the Kids’ Lunchboxes for Back-to-School

by in Family, September 4th, 2014

Fruit Leather Roll-UpsEspecially if you have picky eaters on board, it can be hard to pin down kid-friendly recipes that translate from the kitchen to the lunchbox. Luckily, Food Network’s guide to Kid-Approved Lunches and Locker-Friendly Foods makes cafeteria glee an everyday affair. These recipes for stackable sandwiches, DIY meals and wholesome desserts are champs in a lunchbox, and they are just the fuel your kids need to get back in the swing of things.

With a recipe like Ellie Krieger’s Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad for Food Network Magazine on hand, it’s a cinch for your kids to “eat the rainbow.” In between bites of whole-wheat bow tie pasta comes corn, edamame, red bell pepper and carrots.

Tyler Florence’s lunchtime comes with a dose of ingenuity: He packs a sandwich, among other things, inside an empty tennis ball canister. Tyler Florence’s Fresh Mozzarella BLT with Pesto on a baguette for FN Magazine easily one-ups the lunch pail.

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8 Creative School Lunch Ideas, No Edible Markers Needed

by in Family, September 4th, 2014

8 Creative School Lunch Ideas, No Edible Markers NeededI don’t know about you, but I think making a brilliant school lunch doesn’t have to be so hard. (Just open any parenting magazine and you’ll find glossy photos showcasing hula dancer sandwiches with cucumber skirts, rice pandas complete with sly little smiles and more.) These simple-but-special ideas will punch up your crew’s lunchboxes with nary a hand-carved cow sandwich in sight.

1. Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad by Food Network Magazine: Did you know bow tie pasta is called farfalle in Italian and means “butterfly”? Ellie Krieger opts for this colorful cold pasta dish (pictured above) full of fresh carrots, corn, edamame, red peppers and, of course, a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.

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Back-to-School Meal Planning

by in Family, September 3rd, 2014

Back to School Meal PlanningLast week signaled back to school for families in some parts of the country, and it starts this week here in New York. Watching my friends post first-day-of-school photos reminds me of the 180-degree turn it’ll mean for our schedules. No more sleeping in and eating breakfast at noon. Instead of sitting down to dinner at 8pm, that’s when I’ll be tucking the kids into bed. One thing back to school doesn’t have to mean, though, is back to takeout. With some smart planning, we’ll be enjoying the same home cooking, just a little earlier than our lazy days of summer.

Prep School: Set yourself up for success on busy weeknights by having vegetables ready to use. You can chop or slice onions and leave them in sealed containers one to two days advance. When I have a recipe that calls for only half an onion, I immediately chop the other half and store it in the freezer in a zip-top bag. Then I can just toss it into the skillet when I’m ready to use it (no need to thaw it first). The same goes for garlic. Chop a whole head and spoon it into mini ice cube trays. Just pop out what you need when you’re ready to get cooking (no need to thaw it first).

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