Tag: kids & family

10 Ways to Eat Tomatoes Without Cooking Them

by in In Season, Recipes, July 25th, 2017

Corn, Tomato and Avocado SaladWhen the temperature reaches a certain number in the summer, I tend to give up. It’s hot, it’s sticky and everyone is sweaty. This isn’t the time to sit down to an eight-layer lasgagna. Coincidentally, it often happens at the same time as peak tomato season. That’s when I turn to gorgeous, fresh ideas like these to fill up my family of six without breaking a sweat.

Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad (pictured above)
Fresh corn kernels mingle with creamy mozzarella, thick wedges of avocado and a tangy lemon-lime dressing in this bright salad.

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10 Ways to Use Up All That Zucchini

by in In Season, Recipes, July 14th, 2017

Zucchini ParmesanEvery summer I’m faced with buckets of zucchini coming from the patch in my backyard, so you know I’m always on the lookout for excellent zucchini recipes. Here are 10 of my very favorites. Almost all of them have been kid-tested (and tested and tested …), and there are a few that look so delicious they’re already at the top of my list to try next. Want to join?

Zucchini Parmesan (pictured above)
If you love eggplant parmesan, you’ll love this. It’s that simple.

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9 Absolutely Adorable Ideas for Kids’ Birthday Party Treats

by in Family, Recipes, July 12th, 2017

Pull-Apart Beach CupcakesAs the mom of four small kids, I’ve thrown my share of birthday parties. And as each birthday approaches, you can count on me to be scouring the interwebs, relentlessly looking for ideas that guarantee show-stopping results—while also being realistic and doable. These are some of my favorites.

Pull-Apart Beach Cupcakes (pictured above)
We made this beach scene for a pool party and WHAT A HIT! With cupcakes baked right into the cones, there was no waste, not even a paper liner to toss in the end.

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10 Homemade Ice Pops to Keep You Cool All Summer

by in Family, In Season, Recipes, June 27th, 2017

Healthy Blueberry-Oat Breakfast Ice PopsThese are not the store-bought ice pops you grew up with. Nope, none of that sticky-sweet, impossibly red or improbably blue stuff here. Instead, we’re making homemade ice pops packed with fresh ingredients. And, bonus, they’re easy to put together.

Blueberry-Oat Breakfast Ice Pops (pictured above)
Want to impress your kids first thing in the morning? Give them an ice pop for breakfast. It’s OK, because they’re healthy!

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10 Ways to Drink and Eat Lemonade All Summer Long

by in Drinks, Recipes, June 19th, 2017

Raspberry LemonadeAll at once sweet, tangy and tart, there’s simply nothing so refreshing as a cold glass of lemonade. It’s basically the official drink of summer but that’s just the beginning. Behold, 13 ways to enjoy lemonade, from drinks to dishes, all summer long.

To Drink

Raspberry Lemonade (pictured above)
With only three ingredients, this is one of the simplest ways to make fresh berry lemonade.

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1 Mom’s Grab-and-Go List for Packing a Family Picnic

by in Family, In Season, Recipes, June 9th, 2017

Roast Beef SandwichesOne of my kids’ favorite summer dinners has less to do with the meal itself and everything about the location: outside. At least once a week we’ll pack up a big picnic for dinner in the great outdoors — our own backyard most of the time, to be honest. kids load up a wagon full of fixings, and we head out to the nearest shady spot. To make it easier (because a less stressed-out mom always translates into more fun for everyone), I’ve got it down to a science.

What to Bring

The trick to packing a picnic is bringing just enough essentials without hauling your whole kitchen outside. My seven must-haves:

1.     A blanket, if you’re sitting on the grass
2.     Cups and a pitcher of water (or water bottles, which work better for small kids who will likely/probably/certainly spill their cups)
3.     Beer or wine (optional for adults, but don’t forget an opener!)
4.     2 wet rags (picnics are ALWAYS sticky, and regular napkins don’t stand a chance)
5.     Forks (try not to serve anything that requires more than one utensil)
6.     Serving spoon for the salad
7.     Plates (I love those cafeteria-style trays for the kids. They’re harder to flip over plus there’s a spot for a water bottle.)

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7 Freezer Essentials This Mom of 4 Can’t Live Without

by in Family, Recipes, June 2nd, 2017

Roman-Style ChickenEven when cooking for a family of six, I don’t plan my meals as closely as you might think. But I am pretty serious about stocking my freezer with enough staples to make whatever sounds like the right combination of delicious, quick and easy pieces each night. Here are the items I try to never be without, plus what I make with them.

Chicken Thighs
Every time I see that beautiful sale sticker on chicken thighs, I load up my cart. Compared to breasts, thighs have more flavor, and you can’t be the price even without a hot sale. Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is one of our go-to favorites, and I love that I can prep the whole recipe and throw it into a bag uncooked, right into the freezer. Giada De Laurentiis’ Roman-Style Chicken (pictured above) is another make-ahead gem. Packed with tender strips of bell peppers, this one has a veggie built right in. But the most-straightforward dinner in this collection of crowd-pleasers might be these grilled chicken thighs full of Greek flavors. Lemon, garlic and oregano swirl together, coating the chicken perfectly — and doing it all in minutes.

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8 Ways to Get Kids (and Anyone Else) Excited About Seafood

by in Family, Recipes, May 30th, 2017

Baked Fish and ChipsSo, you keep hearing about potential health benefits of fish, but your family isn’t exactly keen on it. Now what? Instead of swearing it off your dinner menu forever, look to these eight magical recipes. Yes, they’re full of good-for-you fish, but they’re also full of flavors that my family and yours will enjoy, making them go-to dinner picks. If you’ve ever wanted to start feeding your crew more seafood, this is an excellent place to start.

Baked Fish and Chips (pictured above)
You’ll never guess what secret ingredient the chefs in Food Network Kitchen use to create a hefty crunch without frying. Hint: You may have had it for breakfast.

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8 Easy Shortcuts to Making Homemade Pizza

by in Recipes, May 24th, 2017

Mega Meatball PizzaIn her gorgeous memoir Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver describes the year her family lived on a self-sufficient farm in Virginia. To simplify their lives in one small way, they declared Friday night Pizza Night, therefore eliminating the question of “What’s for dinner?” at least one night a week. It’s a brilliant idea, yes. But if your dough skills are anything like mine, you’ll want a few shortcuts to make something like this happen at your house. Here are a few of my favorite tricks for enjoying homemade pizza without the hassle.

Buy dough from a pizzeria.
This one is a no-brainer. Who has time to deal with the yeast, the kneading and the rolling on an average weeknight? Look to your local mom-and-pop pizzerias for help, as many will sell you a ball of their fresh dough. Call ahead to find out, and if they do, stock up, because it often freezes well.

Make the sauce ahead of time.
Prep a big batch of Ree Drummond’s homemade pizza sauce then freeze it in 1/2 cup containers.

Skip the pizza sauce.
No time to simmer pizza sauce on the stove? Rachael Ray cooks tomato paste right into her toppings — ground sirloin, garlic and onions — and for an easy alternative (pictured above) to the usual prep.

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How to Eat Snacks for Dinner (and Feel Good About It)

by in Family, Recipes, May 15th, 2017

How to Eat Snacks for Dinner (and Feel Good About It)As a parent, I need to make dinner every single night. There are times when I simply cannot face turning on the stove, yet my four small children dutifully line up for dinner. There they are, ready for dinner. Reporting for duty. On these nights, I load up a tray (a cutting board will do just fine), pile it with a bunch of no-cook or quick-cooking bites, and declare it Snacks for Dinner Night. Here’s how to do it.

Version 1: The Feast

Somewhere between putting out a major spread and cleaning out the fridge, this kind of dinner is a collection of yummy flavors piled together in a big buffet. My kids call it “feasting.” I call it “dinner with no work.”

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