All Posts In Family

5 Double-Duty Dinners: Turn Leftovers Into School Lunches

by in Family, February 1st, 2015

Basic Pepperoni Pizza and Four-Cheese PizzaYour mornings may go more smoothly than mine, but in order to get the kids out the door on time I need to have a bunch of lunch staples on hand. And sometimes those supplies come right from last night’s dinner. Hint: Make it even easier on yourself by packing up these lunches as you clean up dinner, while everything’s still out.

1. Homemade Pizza: Some schools balk when you send kids with takeout pizza, but the fresh stuff should be fine. We love ham and pineapple, as well as good ol’ cheese. But Ree Drummond’s 5-star Pepperoni Pizza and Four-Cheese Pizza (pictured above) look so good, we’ll venture out this week.

2. Rolls: Any time we serve rolls or crusty bread, I always use the extras for sandwiches the next day. We have small kids and the size is perfect. If yours are bigger, pack two of these mini sandwiches. (Feeling industrious? Bobby Flay has 164 [and counting] perfect reviews for his Parker House Rolls.)

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10 Tips for Getting Your Kids Engaged in Cooking

by in Family, Shows, January 30th, 2015

Cooking with KidsMore often than not, you hear parents complain that their kids won’t eat anything, they’re picky and they press their mouths closed at the thought of trying a new food. One of the easiest ways to get kids to become fantastic eaters is by getting them involved in the cooking process. Try out a few of these tips to see how quickly you can turn your resistant eater into a budding chef!

10. Take them grocery shopping with you. Let them pick out a new fruit, vegetable or meat to try with dinner tonight.

9. Look through cookbooks and recipe websites together. Have the kids choose a few recipes they would like to try making.

8. Assign age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen, like measuring ingredients, pressing the button on the food processor or being in charge of the kitchen timer.

7. Taste everything together. Talk about the colors, textures and flavors of ingredients. Then talk about how they’re different after being cooked.

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Beyond the Bag: New Ways to Eat Your Baby Carrots

by in Family, How-to, January 27th, 2015

It’s a common predicament: You buy a bag of baby carrots, eat a few, and then let the rest of them sit at the bottom of the vegetable bin until they become either a slimy mess or dried-out little nubs. Here are easy ways to use up the rest of that bag, get more veggies in your family’s diet and feel good about yourself! Check out the full gallery for all 14 delicious ideas.

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10 Great Ideas for Getting Your Kids Involved in Grocery Shopping

by in Family, Shows, January 23rd, 2015

Shopping with KidsHow often do you put off grocery shopping as long as possible to avoid having to take your kids with you? You can already hear them moaning, groaning and grabbing for every last food that you don’t want to buy. These ideas will have you actually excited to shop as a family, watching your little ones learning as they go, and excited about all the nutritious foods they will be asking to eat throughout the week!

10. Always have a list. Before you leave the house, make a list and stick to it.

9. Ask kids what they want to add to the list and then make them responsible for finding the items in the store.

8. Before you leave the house, take inventory of your kitchen. Assess what you actually use on a regular basis and notice which items sit in your pantry for months on end. Make a mental or literal note to avoid those items while shopping.

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9 Fresh Ideas for Winter School Lunches

by in Family, January 16th, 2015

Sandwiches on a StickOK, I admit it: I was a little relieved when school started again after the winter break. The house will be quiet again, I thought to myself. The house will be clean again. (In both cases, the “at least for a little while” part is implied, but you parents knew that.) In the midst of all this reflection, though, I forgot about something: packing lunches.

Without the allure of new lunchboxes, packing lunch this time of year can get tedious, so we’re stepping it up. Here are a few of our favorite ideas, including new things to try ourselves.

1. Embrace the Skewer: Chop up your kids’ favorite sub-style sandwich ingredients into big bites, then thread them onto a bamboo skewer, like what’s pictured above.

2. Amp Up Your Cheese and Crackers: Instead of a sandwich, serve cheese and crackers, but do it antipasto style by tucking in a couple of cheeses, one favorite and one new variety. Then add turkey lunchmeat and a couple of slices of salami.

3. Serve Soup: What’s more comforting than a thermos of hot homemade soup? We’re trying this 10-Minute Tomato Soup recipe ourselves. (P.S. Send a few crackers to add on the spot.)

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Why Our Family Food Goals Focus on More, Not Less

by in Family, January 13th, 2015

Foodlet.comMost food resolutions are about swearing off something: carbs, dairy, sugar, only refined sugar, white flour, all grains altogether … My Facebook feed is full of these New Year’s goals right now.

Eating better is a great idea, but I think these goals are off the mark, at least for me and my crew.

Our Family Food Goals

We have four small kids, from 7 months to 5 years, and there definitely are things I want to work on for better nutrition this year:

  • Less sugar (especially in hidden places like spaghetti sauce and yogurt)
  • More vegetables
  • Fewer empty carbs
  • And don’t forget manners! Our 2-year-old is a force at every meal, and for the sake of sanity all around, we’ll teach him the same rules his two older sisters follow.

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Creative Plating: My Secret Weapon for Getting Kids to Try New Foods

by in Family, December 27th, 2014

ChiliWhenever I have a new food I want my four small kids to try, I trot out a secret weapon — or two. There’s a drawer in my house full of little white bowls of all shapes and sizes: dipping bowls from an import store, egg cups from a big box store, little square appetizer plates bought on sale online. They’re all meant for adults to enjoy little bites of carefully made canapes at cocktail parties; I use them to serve new foods to small fries. Bonus: They’re also the perfect size for serving decadent desserts.

Anytime something is served in a dish like these, the kids think it’s fancy and exciting, so they’re way more willing to try it. And one more thing: All of my pieces are inexpensive, so if (and when) something breaks, it’s not the end of the world.

I’ve amassed a big collection, but even a couple of options would be just as fun. Here’s how we do it:

Juice Glasses: Of all my tiny pieces, our juice glasses probably get the most use. I use them for drinks every day, but occasionally they’re filled with parfaits. Everything from layers of chili and cheddar (pictured above) to yogurt and honey looks fancy when you can see those colorful layers.

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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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Fun Thanksgiving Projects for Kids

by in Family, How-to, November 21st, 2014

Chores like peeling potatoes can make kids start to feel like they are on KP duty, and though that may be fun for a while, it can quickly turn to drudgery. This Thanksgiving, let everyone share chores so they go by faster, then set your kids up with one of these fun projects. Even little kids can roll cheese balls and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and older kids can do more-complicated projects like creating a turkey-shaped veggie platter. These projects are win/win/win! They teach kids how to use creative thinking in the kitchen, they take some of the work off parents’ hands, and they keep kids occupied. Plus, the results look and taste good enough to meet the standards of your most-persnickety guests.

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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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