All Posts In Family

One Recipe, Two Meals: Creamy, Cheesy Potato Soup

by in Family, Recipes, November 3rd, 2015

One Recipe, Two Meals: Potato SoupGah! Potato soup.

First of all, this weather slash temperature slash time of year just begs for potato soup. Really any soup, but especially potato. Why? Because it’s carbs turned slurpable. And creamy. And wonderfully comforting. If someone puts a bowl of potato soup in front of your face there is no universe in which you would push it away. Not possible.

I’ve come up with a very simple potato recipe that’s strong with flavor, but pH-balanced for the little faces in your crib.

Instead of boiling the potatoes in water, we’re using stock. Bam.

Instead of also boiling the veggies, we saute first. Boom.

Instead of heavy cream, I kept it waist-friendly with straight-up whole milk. Biggity.

And butter.

Always butter.

Can’t not with the butter.

This soup is ridiculous as is! But for your kids, keep it super simple with lots of cheddar cheese on top. Or nothing!

And for the adult faces, we get a little crazy with the toppings. I’m talking crumbled bacon, jalapeno peppers, dollops of sour cream, cheese, some yummy chives. Yes.

Actually, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go throw the rest of this soup in my face right this second. Join me?

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The Busy Parent’s Best Friend: A Slow Cooker (Plus 8 Kid-Friendly Recipes)

by in Family, Recipes, October 28th, 2015

Slow-Cooker Pork TacosThe beauty of a slow cooker is obvious: It does all the work while you ignore the thing for hours at a time! But for those of us with small kids underfoot, there’s an even smarter strategy to take advantage of: If you assemble your ingredients ahead of time (say at night while the rascals are sleeping), you can simply dump it all together in the morning. When the kids are up again, and it’s the end of your day, or soccer practice is over (whichever comes first), one of these kid-friendly dishes will be ready for dinner when you are.

Pulled Pork 3 Ways: With just a few spices, this pork cooks in its own delicious juices all day long. Then it’s ready to become not one but as many as three dinners! Slather on a bit of BBQ sauce and serve it over rolls, scoop it up (along with lots of that juice) and place it on top of rice along with crunchy diced apples or use it for Food Network Magazine’s pork tacos (pictured above) topped with mango, queso fresco and avocado.

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How to Set Up a Waffle Bar in 3 Easy Steps

by in Family, Recipes, October 16th, 2015

How to Set Up a Waffle Bar in 3 Easy StepsWaffle bars aren’t just for breakfast (though they’re great for that). They also make awesome family dinners and serve as the perfect party buffet. Best of all, they’re deceptively simple. Even the most-festive waffle bar can be set up in three easy steps.

1. First, decide on the waffle recipe you’ll use. A few fan-favorite suggestions:

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So, You’ve Been Asked to Bake for the School Bake Sale. Now What?

by in Family, Recipes, October 9th, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip CookiesBake sales are about appealing to the mini masses, so you want to choose a winning recipe from the start. It should be something simple enough to make without a fuss, familiar-looking (don’t forget that most of your customers are kids) and presented with a little flair. Here’s our best advice for a sold-out sale.

What you’ll need:

  • Get a platter or nice basket to display your goods. Both are universally available at every dollar store in town, so buy it there. (That way, if it never makes its way back to you, there’s no harm done.)
  • Small cellophane bags with twist ties are a great way to display anything from bar cookies to small treats that might come two or three to a serving.
  • Make a sign. Using big, clear letters, write out the name of your dish and, if possible, the main ingredients.

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One Recipe, Two Meals: Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce

by in Family, Recipes, October 7th, 2015

One Recipe, Two Meals: Gnocchi with Tomato SauceOK, we all love gnocchi. How can you not? Delicious little mouth pillows of delight! It’s basically the hybrid love child of all the carbs. Potato + pasta = duh.

I will admit, making gnocchi from scratch can be a bit laborious. It’s therapeutic on a weekend, when you have the time for it (and a trough of red wine to accompany this activity). But on a weeknight, when your family is in a fit of hangryness, you need dinner pronto, man! And this is going to be the way to do it.

I’ve come up with a beyond-simple recipe that gets the kids fed quickly, yet still maintains a teensy bit of fancy for you and yours. The sauce is glorious — packed with loads of garlic and basil, but pureed to give it a smooth, silky texture.

This is actually a tip from my Italian friend, who just spent some time in Italy. She was like, “Bev, you’ve got to puree that sauce. You want it smooth, dude. Like us Italians. Smooth.” She probably didn’t say that last part, but I like to imagine that she did.

You’re using frozen gnocchi for this recipe, but shoot — dried is fine. Even homemade! The kids get the stripped-down version, topped with a simple dusting of Parmesan cheese and truckloads of crusty bread.

And for the adults, we’re simply adding a good handful of Kalamata olives and capers to the tomato sauce, giving it more of a puttanesca feel. You like it, right? I know.

You’ve got to make this! So incredibly perfect for a gorgeous, crisp fall evening. Top it off with more fresh basil, Parmesan and, like, a million pieces of crusty bread. You need these carbs. Trust me.

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Cookie Dough That’s Safe to Eat Raw (and Make Into Truffles!)

by in Family, Recipes, October 7th, 2015

Everyone knows the best part of making cookies doesn’t involve the oven at all. While it’s not recommended to eat raw cookie dough made with eggs, we’ve all snuck tastes at some point. Fortunately, to save you and the kids from potential stomachaches (or worse), Food Network Kitchen came up with five eggless versions of our favorite cookie doughs that are 100 percent safe to lick right off the spatula, mix into ice cream or roll into truffles. The latter make a great DIY gift that even young kids can help make.

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Where to Dine Out with Kids

by in Family, Restaurants, October 2nd, 2015

You love dining out. You love your kids. Sometimes it may seem impossible to combine these two passions, but never fear. To dine out successfully with small children, you just need a solid restaurant-selection strategy. Here are four restaurant categories to zone in on.

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You’re Never Too Old for Cereal Treats

by in Family, Recipes, September 29th, 2015

The magical combination of cereal, marshmallows and butter is nostalgic for many of us, but that doesn’t mean cereal treats should be reserved for the kids. And why stick to just one kind of crispy rice cereal, cut into boring old squares? Get creative in the cereal aisle and try out different shapes, molds and clusters. The possibilities for these timeless crowd-pleasers are limitless, and they’re still one of the easiest no-bake treats around. Read more

5 School Lunches You Can Make in 5 Minutes

by in Family, Recipes, September 12th, 2015

DIY Cucumber SandwichesSome parents meticulously pack their kids’ lunches the night before, ensuring a smooth start the next day. I am not one of them. My husband takes our kids to school every morning at 7:30 a.m. And every morning at 7:15 a.m. I start making lunch. “OK, we’re in the No Request Zone,” I’ll announce to all four small fry who are still eating breakfast, not yet even starting to wonder where their shoes are. But with a few handy strategies for banging out healthy lunches in a hurry, we rarely have a lunch-related disaster. (Getting all the kids out the door and buckled into their car seats, however, is another matter. See: shoes.) That’s thanks to this list of reliably quick lunch ideas:

DIY Cucumber Sandwiches: Think Lunchables with a fresh twist. Chop up a cucumber and put it in the lunchbox. Then set a small pile of turkey, ham and/or cheese next to it, and let the kids put together their own sandwiches at lunchtime.

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6 Tips for Hosting Your Child’s Birthday Party Without Losing Your Mind

by in Entertaining, Family, September 11th, 2015

6 Tips for Hosting Your Child's Birthday Party Without Losing Your MindWe have four young kids and the oldest turned 6 this year. That means we’ve hosted 14 birthday parties — so far. With many, many more to go, we stick to these guidelines for fun parties without frazzled parents.

1. Invite a small number of kids. No one has fun at a party that feels like a mob. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. See above, it’s no fun. Remember that old rule about inviting as many friends as you are old? It’s perfect. Five, six or eight kids plus a parent each makes for plenty of revelers.

2. Create a simple theme or activity. Host a tea party. Or have everyone come in costume. This year our 4-year-old had a tea party where everyone wore costumes. Put together a scavenger hunt with hidden clues, a karaoke sing-along or outdoor Olympics based on simple games (like relay races, a water balloon shot put and so on). Pretend it’s 1988 and channel your mother; she put a Barbie doll in the middle of your cake and called it a day.

And by all means, put the birthday child to work. That same 6-year-old LOVED creating signs for her party, directing people where to go and telling people what to put where.

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