by Foodlets in Family, February 18th, 2014
by Foodlets in Family, February 3rd, 2014
Two of my three small kids love hummus and I know many, many more who do. But hummus at the store usually has lots of mysterious ingredients in it — things I can’t pronounce — and having tahini on hand to make it myself is something my pantry just can’t seem to do. Enter the easiest, healthiest dip of 2014. If you want to get your kids excited about eating a few more veggies with lunch or as a snack, this is the way to go.
All you need to do is rinse a can of white beans and add a slug of olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, the juice of one lemon and, if you dare, mince half a clove of garlic and throw that in too (it’ll make the whole thing a little spicy so be careful with delicate palates). Then fire up the food processor — blend, eat and enjoy with your vegetables of choice.
by Marisa McClellan in Family, Recipes, January 17th, 2014
This year I’ve figured something out. Raising kids who eat healthy, whole foods seems to be half recipes, half behavior. While I’ve been focused on the healthy recipes for the last couple of years, I’ve also read tons of great books, and my new favorite piece of advice comes from, It’s Not About the Broccoli. When trying new things, let kids be critics, says author Dina Rose, Ph. D. So when I made a new dish with a new ingredient, sugar snap peas, I told my 4 and 2-year-olds that I wanted their opinions. Thumbs-up, thumbs in the middle or thumbs down — and if it’s either of the latter options, that’s OK because we’ll try this dish again another time and maybe they’ll like it better.
Call me an amateur psychologist, but releasing the pressure and allowing them to like or not like a new food seemed to yield just the results I was looking for. Not only did they give this one a thumbs-up, they stood up on their booster seats to stretch their arms even higher in the air — like two tiny Statues of Liberty at my kitchen table. That’s what I like to see.
Get the recipe for Ginger Pork Over Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas at Foodlets.com.
by Foodlets in Family, January 8th, 2014
I spent most of last week in Austin hanging out with my sister and her family. It was a trip I planned months ago, for no other reason than to see their new house and get a chance to spend many days playing trains with my 2-year-old nephew, Emmett.
One of Emmett’s favorite things to do is to pretend to make food (pizza and soup are two of his regulars). Because of that, I thought it would be fun to do a real food project with him. To maintain my sanity, I went in search of a no-bake cookie recipe and came up with Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares.
You start by crushing up enough pretzels to make two cups of crumbs. I put them in a big zip-top bag and told Emmett to break them. He put the bag on the floor and jumped up and down on it. He enjoyed it greatly and it worked perfectly. Once they’re crushed, stir in melted butter, powdered sugar and peanut butter until fairly well integrated. I got it started so that the sugar wouldn’t explode everywhere and then let Emmett help with the stirring.
When that base layer is fully combined, pat it into a baking pan. This is another opportunity for a kiddo to help. I put a sheet of aluminum foil down and had him help me push it flat.
Before you start assembling, read these tips
by Foodlets in Family, January 1st, 2014
I’m going to say something that may sound like bragging, but stick with me: my kids eat Brussels sprouts. Here’s the story: there are three of them — ages 4, 2 and 1 — and each one eats these mini cabbages with a different level of, shall we say, enthusiasm. So with all those juicy cranberries around the house typically destined for muffins, I threw a handful into our last pan of oven-roasted sprouts and the good got even better. And those resigned to trying a couple of polite bites got even happier. Get the recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries at Foodlets.com.
by Foodlets in Family, December 20th, 2013
These make the perfect special-occasion food — kids can help make them and they’re also delicious (to children and adults). Between the rolling, covering with cranberries and poking of pretzel sticks, there are at least three jobs fit for small fingers. Then there’s the fact that the recipe requires only a handful of ingredients (four to be exact). Now that’s something to make parents swoon. Get the recipe for these kid-friendly cheese balls at Foodlets.com.
Get more kid-friendly snack recipes
by Foodlets in Family, November 12th, 2013
‘Tis the season for snacking, and this recipe combines two of my favorite elements: It’s pretty healthy and the kids can help. All you need is a pack of whole-wheat pitas, olive oil and cinnamon sugar. I like to make my cinnamon sugar with a ratio of 2:1, sugar to cinnamon, which is a little less sweet than most. Slice the pitas, brush them with oil and sprinkle away — do it again on the other side and pop the whole pan into an oven at 400 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. My preschooler made these herself, then told her dad the step-by-step instructions the moment he got home from work (you know, while he was trying to get his suit jacket off, set his bag down and avoid stepping on the baby’s toys that somehow got scattered across the kitchen floor). The crisps are a huge hit here, and I hope they will be for you too.
by Foodlets in Family, November 7th, 2013
One of the best lessons I’ve learned about cooking for kids is simple: When something works, find a spinoff recipe. We have three small kids, and those rascals love Homemade Ham and Pineapple Pizza (duh!), so I made Pork and Pineapple Skewers. Sure enough, another hit. (Trust me, they’re not all hits, and that’s why this is important.) Our biggest, most-unstoppable hit on Foodlets has been these healthy Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins, so you know where I’m going with this. Bran cereal and chocolate chips bring new flavors to that classic pumpkin taste. These muffins are also easy, healthy and, yeah, a hit. Score one for parents everywhere.
Get the recipe: Pumpkin Bran Muffins with Chocolate Chips
by Foodlets in Family, October 23rd, 2013
I must have made chili 10 times, all different ways — chicken chili, chili con carne, chili with corn, chili without corn — and the kids wouldn’t go near it. Until I took a tip from “Fancy Nancy” and made it, well, fancy (and until I also eased up on the cumin, which I suspect was an element that led to previous failures).
It’s the presentation for knee-high critics that often counts the most. You won’t ever find me sculpting scooters out of hot dogs or sharks from watermelons. There are three kids under 5 at my house and I’d need a lot more free time in my life to pull that off. But doing this wasn’t difficult. To make your chili “fancy,” simply spoon and layer it with cheddar cheese into small glasses. Repeat, serve and bask in the success of the moment.
Get more adult recipes made kid-friendly
by Foodlets in Family, October 1st, 2013
Sometimes a hearty breakfast hits the spot. But when you have three small kids underfoot like I do, it has to be fast. I love assembling these ham, egg and cheese cups because they’re easy and the kids can help — which translates into insurance that they’ll at least try one. In this case, they usually devour them.
“Line” the cups of a muffin pan with low-sodium (non-MSG) ham slices. Add a quarter slice of wheat bread, then break a whole egg in. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cheese, then bake them for 15 to 18 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Get more kid-friendly breakfast ideas
Getting kids to eat spaghetti probably isn’t too hard, but night after night it can be a bit dull. That’s why I like to throw a few surprises at the little guys when I can — especially when it’s this easy to make a big impression. Here’s how:
Cook spaghetti for 3 minutes less than the package suggests and drain. Add marinara sauce (you don’t even have to heat it up), plus one lightly beaten egg. Butter a muffin pan and fill each cup with half a cup or so of pasta and sauce, then use your fingers to push the pasta up along the edges, making a well in the middle. Pop the pan into the hot oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. During the last minute, add two small mozzarella balls to the “nest” and you’ll have eggs. Keep an eye on the nests and if they melt down, that’s OK — now you have snowcapped mountain-tops.