For Oven's Sake!

Let's get cookin' …with kids!

Guacamole Sammie

Guacamole Sammie!

A very filling vegetarian lunch!

You’re gonna need a fork.

Well, if you put an entire avocado’s worth of guacamole on one sammie anyway.  Let me explain…

All the stars aligned one day when I was returning from yoga class.  I had a jalapeno picked from the garden sitting on my counter next to a perfectly ripe avocado.  Cause you know…

Avocad-NOOO!  Too far gone! :(

Avocad-NOOO! Too far gone!😦

I also had left over burger toppings in the fridge which happened to be a few slices of tomato and one perfect slice of onion.

Lastly, I had cilantro growing on the deck.

Nothin' like fresh cilantro!

Nothin’ like fresh cilantro!

On a side note, here are some fun facts about cilantro:

  • People who don’t like cilantro register it as a soapy taste. (I read that somewhere.)
  • Cilantro goes to seed really fast. (I learned that when I grew some last summer.)
  • If you trim it closer to the bottom before it gets too “feathery” you can keep it from going to seed a while longer. (The green thumb at our local farm store told me that.)
Trim and toss the

Trim and toss the “feathery” ones (they smell a little soapy to me), eat the others!

Oh!  Can’t forget the whole wheat bread, coarse salt, olive oil, and garlic that I almost always have in the kitchen!

Like I said, the stars aligned!

Like I said, the stars aligned!

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 jalapeno
  • a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • a ring of onion
  • 1 large (or 2 small) cloves of garlic
  • coarse salt
  • olive oil
  • optional: an extra slice of tomato and lettuce

Instructions:

1. Toast the bread.

2. Cut the avocado.

Cut the avocado. (Carefully, don't slice your hand on the other side!)

Careful! Don’t slice your hand on the other side!

3. Scoop it out with a big spoon and mash it with a fork.

4. Chop the cilantro and add it to the avocado.

5. Chop the jalapeno and remove as much or as little of the seeds and membrane as you want.  The more you leave in, the hotter it will be!

With this much of the insides left, it was just a tad spicy.

With this much of the insides left, it was just a tad spicy.

6. Chop the tomato and onion.

Chop the tomato and onion.

Add all three to the mashed avocado.

7. Now for the garlic…

Lay it on the cutting board.

Lay a big ol’ clove on the cutting board.

Rest a chef's knife on top of it.

Rest a chef’s knife on top of it, which works really well OR you could use something else if you’re afraid of cutting yourself.

Pound the knife.  Seriously, hit it hard on top of the garlic.

Pound the knife. Seriously, hit the flat side pretty hard on top of the garlic.

It will smash it and the skin just falls off of it!

It will smash it and the skin will practically fall off!

Mince it up.

Mince it up.

Sprinkle some coarse salt on it.

Sprinkle some coarse salt on it.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.

And then scrape your knife across it at this angle until a sort of paste forms.

And then scrape your knife across it at this angle until a sort of paste forms.

8. Stir all the ingredients together.

Stir all the ingredients together.

Yum!

9. Layer the guacamole on top of the toast.  If you want, add an extra slice of tomato and some lettuce!

Ooooh, fancy lettuce for a fancy sammie!

Ooooh, fancy lettuce for a fancy sammie!

10. Eat it.

Like I said, you're gonna need a fork.

Like I said, you’re gonna need a fork.

And quite possibly a sink to wash your hands.

And quite possibly a sink to wash your hands.

P.S. My kid cooks weren’t home this time, but if they were, I would’ve had them help…

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Pick, wash, and separate the cilantro.
  • Mash the avocado.
  • Mix the ingredients.
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Nutty Granola

Click here to print: Nutty Granola

Mmm... breakfast!

Mmm… breakfast!

I mentioned making this granola for the first time in a Busy Week Meal Plan post almost 10 months ago.  Since then I’ve made a version of it nearly every week.  Nutty granola is to this year what Baked Oatmeal was to last year.

Not only is it delicious enough to eat week after week, it’s easy enough that my kid cooks can do most of the work!

Start by whisking most of the ingredients.

Start by whisking (or having a kid cook whisk) most of the ingredients.

2

Then, have a kid cook stir in oats.

If you have two kid cooks, they should take turns.  Hey, I didn't say they'd be happy about it!

If you have two kid cooks, they should take turns. Hey, I didn’t say they’d be happy about it!

Add nuts of your choice.  I really like these blanched, slivered almonds.

Add nuts of your choice. I really like these blanched, slivered almonds.

Though I've done whole almonds (which are easier to pick out for a kid who is too little to eat them) and cashews.

Though I’ve done whole almonds and cashews, which are easier to pick out for a kid who is too little to eat them.

Walnuts are another favorite.

Walnuts are another favorite.

I do an extra step of breaking them up and removing as much of the skin as possible. (Doesn't the whole one look like it's floating? Weird!)

I do an extra step of breaking them up and removing as much of the skin as possible. (Doesn’t the whole one look like it’s floating? Magic nut!)

Now, here's the trick... press it down into an even layer.

Now, here’s the trick… press it down into an even layer.

Take care to press down the sides.  The side of a measuring cup works really well for this!

Take care to press down the sides. The edge of a measuring cup works really well for this!

Bake it for 20 minutes and rotate the pan.

Bake it for 20 minutes and rotate the pan.

Bake it for 10-20 more minutes.  Let your nose lead the way.  When it really starts to smell amazing and the edges start to brown, it's done!

Bake it for 10-20 more minutes. Let your nose lead the way. When it really starts to smell amazing and the edges start to brown, it’s done!

We add some raisins and eat it like cereal.

We add some raisins and eat it like cereal.

Oz usually requests a few types of cereal in his bowl (granola being one of them).  This mixing cereal thing is something I did when he was in my belly.  Isn’t it funny how kids often end up liking the things their moms craved while expecting?  I guess that’s why Danny’s favorite restaurant is the local Mexican joint.:)

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • ¼ c maple syrup
  • ¼ c brown sugar
  • ½ c vegetable oil
  • 4 t vanilla
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 6 c oats
  • 2 c nuts of choice
  • raisins (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together syrup, brown sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, and cinnamon until emulsified.
  4. Add oats and stir until coated.
  5. Chop nuts if desired and then stir them in.
  6. Spread onto prepared baking sheet, pressing into an even layer, taking care to press down the edges.
  7. Bake about 20 minutes, rotate pan and bake another 10-20 minutes. (Keep an eye on the edges!  Your nose should give you a heads up.)
  8. Cool in the pan for an hour or more and then break apart.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  10. Add raisins if desired to individual servings right before eating.

Here are some ideas to get your “kid cook” involved with this recipe:

  • Have him whisk. (Such a big bowl helps to keep it all in there rather than all over the counter!)
  • Have him stir in the oats and nuts.
  • Have him help press it into an even layer.
  • Share a nibble with him as soon as it’s cool enough to snitch!

This recipe is modified from the granola recipe found on page 228 of The America’s Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook.

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Fajita Quesadillas – Lucky Leftovers!

Kid Tip: Chop up the fajita mixture before putting it in the quesadilla for the little guys!

Kid Tip: Chop up the fajita mixture before putting it in the quesadilla for the little guys!

As if the Fajita Pitas weren’t easy enough the first time!  This took maybe 3 minutes prep time and max 20 minutes total!

Ingredients:

  • left over fajita filling
  • shredded cheese
  • tortillas
  • cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Put tortillas on the baking sheet and top with leftover fajita filling, then cheese.
  3. Put another tortilla on top, pressing it down gently.
  4. Bake 5-7 minutes, flip it over, and continue to bake another 5-7 minutes.
  5. Cut it with a pizza cutter and plate it up!

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Let him sprinkle on the cheese.
  • Have him “gently” press down the tortilla!
IMG_0844

Viola… another week night dinner in no time!

P.S. At first, I was pretty sure Danny was just going to eat sour cream for dinner.  Luckily, he moved on to his quesadilla! :)

At first, I was pretty sure Danny was just going to eat sour cream for dinner. 

0406151733b

Luckily, he moved on to his quesadilla!:)

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Fajita Pitas

Click Here to Print: Pita Bread

A fajita in a pita!

A fajita in a pita!

I wasn’t even tryin’ to be all cutesy with the name.  The plan wasn’t to eat these together, but after I made the pita, I couldn’t imagine NOT eating them with dinner and fajitas were on the menu!  So Fajita Pitas it was!

To be honest, I’m a little afraid of yeast.  I mean, it’s ALIVE… or something.  I don’t know… BRB!

Ok, back.  Well, I learned from the RedStar website that it’s a fungus.  Ok, so we’re working with a distant relative of the mushroom, a single cell organism that puts little holes in bread.  That’s not as scary as I thought!

And as I learned earlier, using it to bake isn’t as scary as I thought either… especially when you have a handy, dandy kitchen thermometer.

By the way, MY lukewarm isn’t very lukeWARM because I had to adjust the temp to be warmer about 5 times!

I used a meat thermometer on my water.

The package said between 110° and 115° F… almost there!

So after you get the yeast thing goin’ and get in a good arm workout by kneading the dough for a while, roll them out.

Doin' my baker GPA and husband's Lebanese relatives proud! <3

Doin’ my baker GPA and husband’s Lebanese relatives proud!❤

Now, take a break.  Let them rest for a bit.  They’re tired from all that kneading, too!  Plus, they’ve gotta recoup some energy for some serious lifting power!

Don't mind my kids' smudge marks or my reflection in the oven door.  Look at those things puff a pocket!

Don’t mind my kids’ smudge marks or my reflection in the oven door. Look at those things puff a pocket!

Seriously, pita is so weird.  I couldn’t stop marveling at how they just puff a pocket in the middle and stay attached at the edge.  So strange.  So cool.  So perfect for filling with stuff… like FAJITAS!

Puffy Pockets!

Puffy Pockets!

Beautiful Bread!

Beautiful Bread!

I started with 9, but in both these pictures only 8 are present.  I admit it, I ate one right out of the oven… with butter!  Pita with butter?!  I know, but WOW!

Pita with fajita?!  WOW again!

8

Before…

...After!

…After!

KID TIP: cut up the filling before putting it in the pita!

KID TIP: Cut up the filling before putting it in the pita!

Pita Ingredients:

  • 1 T yeast
  • 1 1/4 c warm water
  • 1 t salt
  • 3+ c flour

Instructions:

  1. Use a large bowl to dissolve yeast in water, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add salt and 1 1/2 c flour.
  3. Beat with a whisk to make a batter.
  4. Add additional 1 1/2 c flour and mix with a rubber spatula or spoon until a rough, shaggy mass is formed.
  5. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it with your hands for about 8 minutes, adding flour as you go to keep it from sticking.
  6. Roll it into a log and cut it into 6-10 dough balls.
  7. Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball into a disk that is uniformly 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Let the disks rest on the floured surface for 30+ minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  10. Gently flip each disk onto a baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes.

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Share what you know about yeast.  Try this experiment from Scientific American before or after baking.
  • Give him a small portion of the dough to knead along with some extra flour to add as he sees fit.  Make this into his very own pita – keep track of it through the process and share this extra special one with him warm out of the oven!
  • Sit in front of the oven door while they cook and watch them puff up together!

This recipe for pita bread is modified slightly from Under the Highchair.

I made the “Easy Oven Fajitas” recipe from Budget Bytes and didn’t modify a thing because they’re perfect.:)

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Lucky Leftover Chicken Patties

Hello again, Blog World!

It’s been a looooong time and I’ve been very busy teaching 5 classes I’ve never taught before, but some of my students are doing a blogging assignment and I’m inspired.:)

Can I just say how amazing it is to teach technology electives to high school students?!  I get to teach about things like social media and blogging?!  No matter how busy life as a “teacher mommy” can be sometimes, I would make this career choice over and over again… especially when THIS is my content area!

So about the food… who wants some Lucky Leftovers?!

I've been known to put just about anything on a salad!

I’ve been known to put just about anything on a salad!

In this case, it’s shredded cheddar cheese, left over bacon crumbles, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, and leftover Chicken Patties!

Forget left overs... you could eat it like this right when you make them!

Forget leftovers… you could eat it like this right when you make them!

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Busy Week Meal Plan

IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!

We have a busy week ahead and I was looking for easy meals cause I know I’ll want to spend more time lovin’ on my boys than cooking at the end of the day!

So as I often do, I checked out my own blog for ideas while making the grocery list. (I started this thing as a creative outlet of sorts and it’s really become a useful tool for me!  I love when other people find something they like, but the truth is, I’d do this even if no one looked at it.  But since I know my mom will look at it – because she always does – here is what you should expect for lunches when you’re here with Danny this week, GranMart! Xoxo!)

By the way, this makes me laugh every time…

need-recipe-for-i-dont-know

Next time your family comes at ‘cha with that, check out the What’s Cookin’ Page.  I do… or I bring it up on my phone and hand it over to the hubs… “Pick a few.”

Anyway, back to the busy week meal plan…

Before dinner on Sunday, I’m going to make some shredded chicken in the crock pot to be used in a couple of the week’s meals.  Check out how on the Tips & Tricks Page.

I also plan on making Miami Muffins cause I happen to have all the ingredients and they’re tasty! Lastly, I’m going to try a new granola recipe (if it works, I’ll post it in the future, if not, I’ll return to the ol’ standby found here).

So quick breakfasts will be muffins and/or granola atop Greek yogurt. Lunches will be leftovers from the previous dinner, and dinner is as follows…

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes were made ahead.  Green beans were prepped and gravy was quick!

Sunday Dinner with the Grandparents

Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes – these recipes are for make-ahead, which I’m not doing this time, but you could if you wanted to!

Good enough to eat on its own!

Monday

Caesar Chicken Sammies (using the chicken made on Sunday) with steamed broccoli

Possibly my favorite sandwich - a Georgia Reuben!

Tuesday

Georgia Reubens with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella (one of the sides I make with Balsamic Lovers Summer Dinner)

Wednesday

Wednesday

BBQ Chicken Pizzas (again, using the chicken made on Sunday) with salad

Thursday - Leftovers (maybe Georgia Reubens minus turkey?)

Thursday – Leftovers

Left overs and/or something out of the freezer (I always plan this for Thursdays because we almost always have leftovers!  Once I started reserving a day to eat leftovers for dinner, we started wasting a lot less food!)  The picture is a leftover from the last time I made Georgia Reubens – the same sammie minus the turkey… equally delicious.

Friday

Take Out!  Probably Pizza Hut – with pepperoni, banana peppers, and onions.

There you have it… the plan for this busy week (to be referenced by myself the next time a busy week is on the horizon.):)

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Breastfeeding, Pumping, & (Mostly) Pain-Free Weaning

Let me first say that no matter how long you decide to breastfeed, it’s okay. A lot of guilt seems to surround stopping. If you stop after a few days, it’s okay. If you stop after a few weeks or months, it’s okay.

On the other hand, if you continue to feed for a few years, it’s OOOOKAY! If you are all about feeding until your baby doesn’t want to nurse anymore, go for it! Every baby weans naturally at some point. I’ve read that babies will self-wean anywhere from before a year to 5 years of age.

I weaned my oldest around 3 months. I weaned my youngest when he was just over a year. I felt a little guilty (okay a lot the first time), but my brain reminded me of a few things…

A friend’s daughter who had formula pretty much from the get-go was spelling words at 3 ½ years old. In other words, starting my oldest on formula at 3 months does not mean his intelligence will suffer. Other friends didn’t produce enough, experienced too much pain so they stopped soon after giving birth, choose to go with formula from the beginning, breastfed their kids until a year or more (some pumping multiple times a day because they also worked), and did a combo of breastfeeding and formula because that’s what worked for their families. All their kids are happy and healthy.

So again, no matter how long you decide to breastfeed, it’s okay! There is no shame in giving your baby some or all formula at any age for any reason. Being a mom is hard enough; don’t beat yourself up about ending (or never starting) breastfeeding.

My second when he was brand new.

My second when he was brand new.

My first around 1 year.

My first around 1 year.

Some Things I Learned About Feeding:

If you feel your supply going down and you don’t want it to, drink A LOT of water and nurse/pump often. And for gosh sakes, eat when you’re hungry! How are you supposed to make food for someone else if you’re depriving yourself of FOOD?! If, despite your efforts, your supply still isn’t enough, don’t hesitate to supplement with formula.

If you have a plugged duct, get that baby’s chin pointed toward it and nurse as much as you can until it works its way out. What I mean by “get that baby’s chin pointed toward it” is lay your baby down on a bed and lay over him/her suspending yourself in some sort of baby/momma yoga position so that baby’s chin is in line with the duct that hurts. Massaging the sore spot before and during feeding may help, too. I tried a warm compress, which may or may not have worked, but it’s worth a try! Also, to prevent clogged ducts, make sure you’re not wearing a bra or nursing tank that is too tight. Let those baby feeders breathe a little!

If your baby pops a tooth and takes a bite, make a loud, “YELP!” (You probably don’t have to remember this because it will likely come naturally!) After you yelp a time or two, baby will stop biting. My second kid had 12 teeth by the time we were through and he didn’t use them while nursing.

Some Things I Learned About Pumping:

Pumping sucks… in more ways than one if ya know what I mean! To give myself a little something to look forward to (even when I was waking up at 5:45 to pump before work), I read good books. Stick a good book in your pumping bag and ONLY read it when you pump! If you’re not into a book you start, get a new one! It’s gotta be a good book so that you look forward to something you associate with pumping, which sucks!

How often you pump depends on how often you want to feed your baby breast milk and how much you get when you pump. For a while when my second was still eating 5 times a day, I got away with pumping twice and nursing twice because I could divide my pumped milk into 3 feedings. For this reason, I would recommend pumping until you’re empty rather than pumping the amount your baby currently eats. If you find you’re getting more than enough, freeze some!

If you’re pumping in a place that isn’t convenient for cleaning your pumping parts, it’s helpful to put two dishtowels in your pumping bag. One for wrapping clean parts and the other for used parts (I had two colors – one designated as the “clean” color and the other as the “used” color to keep from mixing them up). After pumping, wrap your parts in the “used” towel. When you get home, wash your parts, let them dry, and wrap them back up in the “clean” towel. Wash the towels once a week or more. If you’re pumping more than once in a row without access to a sink, they have handy little wipes that you can buy to clean your parts between pumping sessions.

Get extra membranes (the “flaps” that fit on the valves) and put them in your bag just in case. A little tear in such a small part can halt your pumping instantly and who wants something so tiny to stop her pumping session in the middle of the day with baby feeders that are ready to do their thing and no time to get to a store?!

I found it really helpful to have a routine – in two ways. One, if you pump at the same time every day, your body knows what’s coming and you get the most for your efforts. Two, if you have a routine for how you manage all the junk that goes along with it, you’re less likely to find yourself ready to go and missing something you need. Here is how my routine went:

Before Work:

  • Pump
  • Wash parts, wrap them in the “clean” towel and put them in the pumping bag along with the cold pack and empty bottles with lids

At Work:

  • Pump
  • Wrap the parts in the “used” towel
  • Date the bottles using masking tape and a sharpie

After Work:

  • Put the used pump parts in the dishwasher, the cold pack in the freezer, and pumped milk in the fridge
  • Run the dishwasher every night (or clean the parts by hand) so they’re ready to go the next morning

Lastly, here’s a list of things to keep in your pumping bag:

  • A good book
  • Two dishtowels of different colors – one for clean parts and one for used parts
  • Extra membranes (and/or other parts you may need on the fly)
  • Masking tape and a sharpie for dating bottles
  • Clean bottles with lids and a cold pack if you’re not putting them directly in the fridge
  • A hands free pumping bra – cause it’s easier to read a book when you have a hand or two to hold it!
  • A nursing cover-up, which is helpful if you feel exposed where you’re pumping!

Oh, and one more thing… be aware of what you put on in the morning. It’s absolutely helpful to wear a top that gives you access without having to practically undress! This can be tricky day after day, but button-downs, stretchy fabric tops, and wearing nursing tanks under tops that can be lifted up all helps. Really, the best option is to pump somewhere you feel comfortable – not somewhere you feel like you’ll be walked in on. That way, if you need to practically undress, it’s no big deal!

Some Things I Learned About Weaning:

When I say pain-free I mean it doesn’t have to hurt as much as you’ve heard. Cabbage leaves do not have to be involved. There doesn’t need to be endless tears for you or your baby.

Now, there might still be a little pain involved. For example, I had headaches and a little nausea, which I’m not 100% sure were related, but when I looked up “symptoms of weaning” found that other women had experienced this as well.

Also when I say pain-free I’m not talking about the heartache you might feel as you finish this chapter in your relationship with your little one. I was a little sad about it, but I’m also really excited for what’s to come. Not to mention, Daddy and I can get back to our sleeping in one day a week agreement. If you don’t do this, I highly recommend it if at all possible! Here’s how we do it…

We pick one day of the weekend where I will get to sleep in and one day that he will get to sleep in. The other person gets up with the kids and the person whose day it is to sleep in sleeeeeeeeps in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will say that “sleeping in” is like 9am at the latest these days. However, considering our kids usually get up before 7, 9am looks pretty darn amazing!

Did I mention this was his idea when our first was a baby?! THANK YOU, Husband who happens to be incredibly fair and devoted to the happiness of our family! I deeply appreciate it… seriously!

Ok, so back to the (mostly) pain-free weaning…

Take it slooooooow. This is the most important thing when it comes to pain-free for both of you.

If you feed your baby 4 times a day, cut out the least convenient feeding and substitute it with formula (if under 1) or whole milk and solid food (if over 1). After feeding baby 3 times a day for a couple days, you’ll notice that both you and your baby have adjusted pretty easily. Then, cut it down to 2 times a day for at least a couple days – more if you want and again, you and your baby will adjust pretty easily.

When it comes to eliminating the last feeding of the day, have other formula/milk/food ready to go and feed your baby until you feel relief but aren’t entirely empty. Then, feed baby the other formula/milk/food. Continue this until your body adjusts.

As you cut out feedings, increase other food of course. If your baby is eating solid food, increase the solid food, but make sure s/he is still getting a pretty good amount of fat. Our pediatrician says you don’t really want to limit fat in a baby’s diet until age two. (I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean fill your baby with fried foods. She means whole milk, and full fat yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)

I hope these tips help and I’m excited for you and your little one as you enter into the next chapter of your relationship! Now go give that bambino a smooch! Xoxo.

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Leftover Dogs &/or Buns

After a summer holiday weekend, we always seem to have left over hot dogs and/or buns.  Here are a few things to do with them…

Beanie Weenies:

Works well for leftovers, but are good enough to buy hot dogs without buns in the first place!

Works well for leftovers, but are good enough to buy hot dogs without buns in the first place!

Ingredients:

  • hot dogs
  • baked beans
Hot dogs often get a bad rap because of what's in them.  These are the only kind we buy.  Don't be afraid of dogs!

Hot dogs often get a bad rap because of what’s in them. These are the only kind we buy. Don’t be afraid of dogs!

Instructions:

  1. Chop the hot dogs into bite size pieces.
  2. Cook them in a saucepan over medium heat until they start to get a little color on them (or skip this if they’re already grilled).  Optional: drain the rendered fat.
  3. Add beans and warm through.

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Have him dump the ingredients into the pan.
  • Talk about where beans come from.  If you have a garden and are growing beans, talk about them and other kinds of beans that you could grow in the future.
We made these a while back and Daddy helped boogie nosed Baby Danny photo bomb the Beanie Weenies!  Too cute not to include.

We made these a while back and Daddy helped Baby Danny photo bomb the Beanie Weenies! Too cute not to include!

Grilled Cheese:

 

We don't buy regular white bread, but obviously white bread makes the best grilled cheese, so these are a treat!  Tastes like childhood.

We don’t buy regular white bread, but obviously white bread makes the best grilled cheese, so these are a treat! Tastes like childhood.

Ingredients:

  • leftover buns
  • cheese
  • butter
  • optional: ham, tomatoes, bacon…

Instructions:

  1. Butter the buns on the inside.
  2. Make a grilled cheese as you would normally, but turning the bun inside out.
  3. After flipping them, use a heavy plate to squish them down as the second side cooks…
... like this!

… like this!

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Let him butter the bread.  Go ahead!  Sure it’s a little messy, but a mess doesn’t affect the recipe’s outcome.:)
  • Talk about where cheese comes from.  Ask him to name all the different kinds of cheese he can think of.

Pizza Buns:

So much better than throwing buns away after they sit around for a week or two!

So much better than throwing buns away after they sit around for a week or two!

Ingredients:

  • leftover buns
  • pizza sauce (The packets left over from BBQ Chicken Pizza are perfect!)
  • mozzarella cheese
  • optional: pepperoni, black olives, Italian seasoning, onions, banana peppers…

Instructions:

  1. Tear the buns in half.
  2. Top with sauce, cheese, and toppings.
  3. Bake at 325° for about 7 minutes until cheese is melted and buns are slightly crunchy.

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • He can tear the buns in half.
  • Allow him to assemble them with the sauce, cheese, and toppings.
  • Ask him what other toppings he thinks would be good on pizza and/or what other toppings he’s tried before.
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One-on-One Oatmeal

Oatmeal for two, please!

Oatmeal for two, please!

I love one-on-one time with my boys!

Since Danny is still taking two naps, I get to hang out with just my Oz during his little bro’s first nap.  We do puzzles without worrying that little brother will chew on the pieces and I can pay full attention to my almost 3 1/2 year old!  (When did that happen?!)

Then, on Thursdays, I get a lot of one-on-one time with Danny because Ozzy goes to school for Water Day.  So while my big boy is running through sprinklers and playing with his friends, Deeda and I are going on jammie walks and eating One-on-One Oatmeal.

Wash it down!

Wash it down!

Now, you could just make instant oatmeal using one of the packets, but this takes maybe 2 minutes longer and tastes so much better.

Make as much or as little as you want.  Save what you don’t eat for later… even though it seems like a breakfast food, I bet Ozzy will want it for an after school snack today!

Ingredients:

  • Quick Oats
  • Water
  • Cinnamon
  • Milk
  • Optional: raisins

Instructions:

  1. Put some water in a saucepan and turn the heat up high.
  2. Once it starts to simmer, stir in some oatmeal and turn the heat down considerably.  Add more water if it’s too dry too fast.
  3. Stir and simmer for a minute or so, sprinkling cinnamon on top as you do.  I let it get fairly dry and then remove from heat.
  4. Stir in milk to desired consistency.

When I make this for Ozzy from the start, I add raisins to the water at the very beginning.  If both boys are eating it, I just make sure there aren’t any raisins in Danny’s portion.

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

If it’s just Danny and me, I just make it one handed with him on my hip, but if Ozzy is with us, this is what he does:

  • Have him add raisins to the water before putting it on the heat.  (Oz loves watching them “dance” once it starts to simmer!)
  • He can very carefully sprinkle cinnamon into the pot.
  • He can stir in the milk once it’s in a bowl.
"I'm full, Mommy.  Ready for my first nap!"

“I’m full, Mommy. Ready for my first nap!”

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Josh’s Favorite Marinade

Click Here to Print: Josh’s Favorite Marinade

Mmm... kabobs!

Mmm… kabobs!

The title is Josh’s favorite, but it’s my favorite, too.  I look at the weather report and plan this meal for a night that is perfect for playing (and grilling) outside.  That being said, who wants to spend time INside prepping when you could be OUTside playing?!

It's easiest to prep it all the night before.

It’s easiest to prep it all the night before.

Prepping the night before also lets the marinade really do it’s thing!

All we do the night of is assemble the skewers and grill!

All we do the night of is assemble the skewers…

...and grill 'em!

…and grill ’em!

Once they’re finished, you can even feed them to your baby…

Well, the veggies anyway (if he's old enough to chew pretty well and you peel the pepper and chop them into small pieces anyway!)

Well, the veggies anyway (if he’s old enough to chew pretty well and you peel the pepper and chop them into small pieces!)

Marinade Ingredients:

  • ½ c soy sauce
  • ¼ c white vinegar
  • ¼ c brown sugar
  • 2 T diced onion
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • ½ t ground ginger
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • kosher salt

Ingredients for Kabobs:

  • skewers
  • 1-2 pounds sirloin steak
  • veggies of choice:
    • onion
    • peppers
    • mushrooms

Instructions:

  1. Whisk marinade ingredients (It’s helpful if you do so in a large glass container that has a cover.)
  2. Cut steak into chunks and poke holes in it with a fork.
  3. Place steak in marinade and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
  4. Chop veggies into large chunks.
  5. Toss veggies in oil, S&P.
  6. Assemble meat and veggie skewers.
  7. Grill until desired doneness.

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Have him help measure the marinade ingredients.
  • Have him whisk the marinade.
  • He can help assemble the skewers. Have him stick to veggies if you’re worried about him touching raw meat.

 

This recipe is slightly modified from: Six Sisters

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