Tag: kids & family

How to Keep the Kids’ Snack Time from Ruining Your Life

by in Family, April 8th, 2015

How to Keep the Kids' Snack Time from Ruining Your LifeBreakfast, lunch and dinner are one thing. I knew I’d be on the hook for those the moment I saw my first ultrasound (and my second, third and fourth). But adding snacks — two snacks — every day almost pushed me over the edge. It seemed like every time I got the kitchen counter shoveled off from the previous meal, some short person would trot up asking, “Is it snack time yet?” Instead of tossing a box of gummy fruits to the crowd and letting them fend for themselves, I started getting strategic. Here’s what I do to create a varied snack plan full of (mostly) whole foods (pretty) easily:

1. Make a Batch of Freezer-Friendly Muffins: I usually have a couple of kinds of veggie-packed muffins in my freezer. Set your premade muffins on the counter at breakfast and they’ll be thawed by snack time — or just pop them in the microwave at the last second. Try: Pumpkin Muffins 

2. Yogurt Parfaits: For a crowd with varied tastes, try a container of plain yogurt plus a few nutritious toppings. Nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, frozen blueberries, honey … Let each person add whatever he or she likes.

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Chocolate Eggs, Marshmallow Chicks and Jelly Beans, Oh My! 8 Ways to Use Leftover Easter Candy

by in Family, Holidays, April 3rd, 2015

Birds' NestsEaster mornings are usually a blur of chocolate around here, but after the kids have had their share of treats, there always seems to be extra candy (and whether certain moms have set some aside for themselves can be neither confirmed nor denied). Here are two ways to use four different Easter candies long after that bunny has put his feet up again for the year.

Mini chocolate eggs can be delicious in …

Brownies: Welcome spring with the simplest version of birds’ nests yet. Bake a pan of brownies and cut round circles before arranging mini chocolate eggs on top.

Cookies: Instead of chocolate chips, add mini eggs to your next batch of cookies or blondies. Cut them in half, or leave them whole for major impact.

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6 Essential Pantry Ingredients and 3 Surprising Ways to Use Them

by in Family, March 28th, 2015

6 Essential Pantry Ingredients and 3 Surprising Ways to Use ThemAs the mom of four kids under age 6, I’ve found the secret to stocking a useful pantry: Every item needs to be versatile. From breakfast to lunch and snacks through dinner, my favorite pantry items can be used over and over again in totally different ways.

Old-Fashioned (Whole) Oats: I buy the generic store brand. While we make our share of oatmeal in the morning — three minutes in the microwave, then drenched in whole milk and sprinkled with chia seeds and dried fruit — there’s so much more!

Breakfast: Banana Oat Cup Muffins with Peanut Butter and Jam

Snack: 2-Ingredient Cookies

Dinner: New Classic Meatloaf

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One Recipe, Two Meals: Pizza Rolls for the Kids and a Dressed-Up Pie for You

by in Family, Recipes, March 25th, 2015

Pizza Rolls for the Kids and a Dressed-Up Pie for YouPIZZA. It’s pretty much the one food that satisfies the entire world. Every single person on the planet. Every last human being, I tell you!

Don’t quote me on that.

What’s even better than an incredible pizza with gourmet toppings and loads of fresh cheese? Pizza ROLLS. Kind of like the ones you ate after school as a tot, but better! These are fluffier. These are cheesier. These have spinach in them so that you can say your kids ate a salad.

Oh, by the way, I’m Bev! I’m new. Does my hair look OK? I’m so, so excited to be here, starting a brand-new series on FN Dish! I’m going to be sharing two-part recipes with you, with the first part of each recipe being kid-friendly, and the second half being fit for grown-up faces. Strong enough for a man, but pH balanced for women.

Wait, that’s … hold on.

So my recipe today is obviously pizza. It starts off as homemade rolls for your littles, and then gets a little fancy face-lift for your adult mouth.

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Embrace the Freezer Aisle: 3 Frozen Foods to Always Have on Hand

by in Recipes, March 20th, 2015

Frozen FoodsIf you love home cooking but think you don’t have time for it on busy weeknights, guess again. The solution is simpler than you think: your supermarket’s frozen food aisle.

Veggies: Most vegetables are quickly blanched (plunged into boiling water, then immersed in cold water to stop the cooking process) before being frozen. The reason for this step is to stop the enzymes from breaking down, which results in loss of flavor, color and texture. So those bags of frozen veggies are comparable to their fresh counterparts, and in some cases, they’re a better choice if the vegetable you’re craving isn’t in season.

Pizza Dough: This is another staple in my house. You can stock up on your favorite brand from the supermarket, or make a few batches and store it in zip-top bags. All it needs is a little advance planning to thaw in the fridge overnight, and you’re ready for a quick weeknight meal. These doughnuts from Giada De Laurentiis, while not quite dinner, are on my to-make list too.

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Seeing Green: How to Host a Kid-Friendly St. Paddy’s Day Party

by in Family, Holidays, March 13th, 2015

Seeing Green: How to Host a Kid-Friendly St. Paddy's Day PartySt. Patrick’s Day isn’t the most-major holiday, but it is such fun for that very reason: The pressure is OFF. If you’ve got kids who want to party, it’s all about rainbows, hints of Irish fare made kid-friendly and food in every shade of green.

Fun Food Activities

  • Instead of goodie bags, we invite our guests to make a little treat to take home. Just be sure to have zip-top, cellophane bags or paper plates available for easier transport.
  • For very small kids, these Shamrock Shortbread Cookies get a hint of green from a very nutritious source (yes, spinach). Plus the rolling method is easy enough for toddlers to do.
  • Bigger kids will get a huge kick out of assembling Individual Layered Rainbow Cakes; just bake each color ahead of time and let them do the rest.

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8 Kid-Friendly Ways to Celebrate the Return of Asparagus Season

by in Family, March 10th, 2015

Roasted AsparagusIf asparagus isn’t on your kids’ list of approved foods (it could be!), try a bridge ingredient to help them warm up to those in-season stalks. That means, serve asparagus with another favorite food or flavor, or prepare it using a technique you know they like. Find out how to pair asparagus with bacon, lemon, Parmesan cheese and more.

Ina Garten’s Roasted Asparagus (pictured above): Roasted vegetables are always a hit with my four kids, so it’s a no-brainer that we’d try Ina’s fan-favorite recipe for asparagus.

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Cereal, Snacks and the “Sugar Game”: What They Mean to My Family

by in Family, Food Network Chef, March 7th, 2015

Cereal, Snacks and the My daughters had been begging me to buy a particular box of cereal for the month of March. In our house, cereal is either healthy enough to be considered a breakfast item (by virtue of low sugar and high protein and fiber), or it is a dessert treat that we buy once a month. This box of cereal was the “dessert” cereal for the month of March. I brought the cereal home today, and the girls cheered with excitement, knowing that dessert tonight would be a bowl of crispy chocolate cereal in cold creamy milk.

I returned to work back in my office. Suddenly I heard a soft knock and saw the eyes of my 7-year-old Margaux peeking through the cracked door. I knew it was important. I stopped my typing and invited Margaux in, with her earnest, somber face. In her little hands, she held the box of chocolate cereal. “Mom, I just checked, and this cereal has 13 grams of sugar. I don’t think it’s very healthy at all.” She was conflicted — a gift of being a reader and being incapable of unseeing what she had read on the label. What followed was a conversation about our health, making balanced choices and reading labels. We brainstormed some options that would enable her to enjoy the cereal sometimes, but without feeling bad about it. (Simply not eating this cereal again, however, was not on the table for Margaux.) We talked about maybe buying a treat cereal less often — perhaps every six weeks — and making the servings a little smaller in order to reduce the sugar. She suggested maybe skipping the piece of candy she is allowed at the movies next time to balance out the sugar. (I don’t hold high hopes for her making good on that one, if I’m honest.)

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Confessions of a Mommy Blogger: 5 Dinner Shortcuts Every Parent Needs

by in Family, Recipes, March 2nd, 2015

Confessions of a Mommy Blogger: 5 Dinner Shortcuts Every Parent NeedsThere are four small kids in my house right now, and I’m going to make dinner for all of them. Like I do (nearly) every night. But in order to make all these fresh meals, the ones that the kids like, that my husband enjoys and that I feel good about serving, there are going to be some shortcuts made. Like there are (nearly) every night. Here are a few of my secrets for getting it all done.

1. Use That Netflix Subscription to Your Full Advantage: There is no shame in putting on a video for the kids while you cook dinner. That gives you 22 minutes to get something accomplished while the kids bliss out. Tip: Just be clear ahead of time about how MANY videos or how LONG they’ll be watching. My kids go crazy if they think I’m pulling the plug prematurely. The last thing you want to start dinner with is mutiny.

2. Repurpose Leftovers with Confidence: On the incredulity scale, “This again?” is about a 9.5 at the dinner table. There’s also this: As a food blogger I’m constantly testing new recipes. Sometimes things are a hit, and sometimes they’re not. Either way, I love having a second life planned out for dinners like London broil (which later becomes a pot of beef stew), roasted chicken (which shows up again in a casserole) or meatballs that start out on pasta and end up on sub sandwiches. Sometimes the second time is a charm.

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5 Ways to Make Sweet Potatoes Even Sweeter for Kids

by in Family, Recipes, February 24th, 2015

Honey Roasted Sweet PotatoesOK, I’ve got to be honest: Sweet potatoes have been hit or miss in our house with my brood of four kids under 6 years old. But because I’m a determined mom with healthy-eating habits in sight (which is not quite the same thing as a glutton for punishment), I just kept cooking sweet potatoes. By now I’ve made them so many ways that we’ve come up recipes that work every time, and I want to share them with you.

1. Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Ellie Krieger’s combination of olive oil, lemon juice and honey — the trifecta of our kids’ most-beloved flavors — turns a pan of peeled sweet potatoes into a side dish little ones love.

2. Sweet Potato & Walnut Muffins
These muffins are not what you think. The batter starts with raw sweet potatoes and walnuts (or almonds or pecans — whatever you like) that you crush in the food processor before adding all the other ingredients without dirtying another bowl. The result is a protein-rich batch of delicious muffins that just happens to be full of veggies.

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