Tag: kids & 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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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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5 Kid-Friendly Alternatives to Cheese, Crackers and Carbs

by in Recipes, January 23rd, 2015

Carrots & Dip Taste TestGot a carb lover on your hands? A couple of pintsize cheese addicts? Me too. In fact, I have four small kids, and sometimes it seems like they’ll eat only cheese, crackers and other carbs (CCC), at least without a fuss. When we’re in a CCC rut, I break out a few of these delicious alternatives.

Carrots and Dip Taste Test: Hear me out. If your kids don’t like raw veggies, give them a choice of a few dips (salad dressings, hummus or whatever you have in the fridge), and ask them to pick a winner. Alternatively, pick their favorite dressing — say, ranch — and offer three to four kinds of raw veggies to dip right in. Have them declare a favorite vegetable instead.

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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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The 1970s Ingredient No Parent’s Fridge Should Be Without This Holiday Season

by in Recipes, December 21st, 2014

Turkey MeatloafAs a parent of four small kids, I’ve stumbled upon a little bit of liquid gold in my own kitchen. Every time I add it to things like soups, sauces, marinades or any cooked meat, my kids give a resounding thumbs-up. What is this miracle ingredient that transforms dinner from a Just-Take-a-Bite-a-Thon into a (reasonably) peaceful meal? It’s Worcestershire sauce!

Ina Garten told me to use it — and by “told me,” I mean she wrote recipes using it — and boy, do I. Now I add Worcestershire sauce all the time, and even though my kid-friendly recipes are all very fast, the Worcestershire makes any dish more flavorful, like it’s been cooking for much longer than I ever have time for.

Want proof? Check out Ina Garten’s 5-star recipes featuring just the right amount of this not-so-secret sauce here:

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5 Easy Christmas Cookies Kids Can Make as Gifts

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 14th, 2014

Coconut MacaronsTo give our thanks to the volunteers at church, neighbors who always stop and ask how we’re doing, and even the UPS driver who never rings the doorbell at naptime (bless you!), we’ve been looking for a few good cookie recipes this season. The requirements are simple: They must be easy enough for kids to make and sturdy enough to wrap as gifts. Here are our top five recipes that fill the bill:

Coconut Macaroons: These five-ingredient cookies are done in 35 minutes, and best of all, you can’t mess up the presentation. Just put a mound of coconut mixture on a cookie sheet and bake.

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5 Edible Gifts Kids Can Make

by in Holidays, How-to, December 4th, 2014

The holiday season is upon us, and that means two things: plenty of celebratory eating and lots of gift giving (and receiving)! Why not combine the two with edible gifts? The experts in Food Network Kitchen came up with these five adorable edible gifts that are simple enough for kids to make themselves, with just a little supervision. Delegate appropriate tasks to the big kids and little kids, and get creative with the wrapping and decorations. When the kids proudly present their homemade treats to teachers, friends and relatives, they’ll learn that holiday gift giving is even more fun when you’ve made the gifts yourself.

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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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