Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cub Scout Sous Chef

He needed to plan some meals, and make some meals (dinner... coming up tonight). He enjoys it, and both of the kids have become boastfully proud of "Great Gramma Irene's Pancakes" which is awesome.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2011 Elf and E Cookies

Erik's favorite movie in 2011 (and one of his favorites still) was Prep & Landing, so when I saw this idea for elf cookies online, I had to put my spin on them! I used my favorite play-dough sugar cookie recipe for them, and made a template for the hat based on the round cutter I used for faces. Then, just used a sharp knife to cut out the hats. The kids loved helping with these, and we sent each guest to E's 5th birthday home with some of these cookies. I should make them again this year and keep an eye out for better candies to use for the night-vision goggles...  


Unfussy: Gramma's Corn Moussaka

I love this recipe, but haven't made it in a couple years. The last time I did, neither of the kids would eat it. This week, I blended the cottage cheese with the eggs in my food processor so that the topping was a cheesy baked layer without any cottage cheese lumps. I never did tell either of them (who despise cottage cheese) that it was in this casserole. 

Mads loved it, after being skeptical about trying it. Erik tried two solid bites, and gave it a thumbs-down vote. He says the tomato sauce tastes funny... not sure if it's the cinnamon in it or what. His loss. I also made them take salad, and practice how to decline salad (and that Erik could choose the apples and grapes in the salad and only a few lettuce leaves)... practicing for dinner at other people's houses. So, the boy had two bites, fruit from the salad, and his bread (served with dinner) for dinner. Good thing he's a light eater (although I think that is one of the things that helps him be choosy...), maybe when he's a always-hungry teenager he'll start eating anything even if it's not his favorite. 
Gramma's Corn Moussaka and Power Greens salad with fruit and lemon vinagrette


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Unfussy: Variety

We were going to make Shepherd's pie (with leftover chicken) for dinner, but needed a quicker meal, so we did tacos.

I love letting the kids choose what they want, and offering up a good variety of delicious things. Even if (like Bread and Jam For Francis) Erik chooses only one corn tortilla with chicken, some carrots and a bunch of pear. His loss.

Fast Food: 3 mins. flat

Rocket, tomato, avocado, mahi mahi (leftovers from earlier this week), a splash of apple cider vinegar, a dash of sesame oil, and a grind of sea salt and pepper. Done. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Unfussy: Eggplant Parmesan


I had a taste of this style of eggplant parm at my friend Claudia's house the other night as she was assembling it. The trick is the slice the eggplant thinly after soaking it in salted water to remove the bitterness from the seeds. 

Both kids liked it. Erik preferred it without the sauce, but Mads loved it entirely, and mom deemed it the best she's tasted. I didn't re-baked it smothered in sauce and cheese, but just topped them because we were short on time to get to a school function this evening. 

Eggplant Parmesan

Two large aubergines, peeled and sliced 1/8-1/4-inch thick and soaked in 2 Tbs. salt in water in a gallon-sized ziploc. I left ours overnight. 
3 eggs, beaten
2-3 cups panko crumbs or Italian breadcrumbs

Drain eggplant in colander, then squeeze dry. Dip in egg, then panko and bake on sprayed cookie sheet at 425-degrees F for at least 5 mins. per side. or until golden and crisp. 

Top with homemade marinara, fontina/mozzarella blend and parmesan, serve with whole wheat angel hair pasta. 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Unfussy: Chicken Saltimbocca

I let Erik choose dinner last night, and he picked Mac & Cheese, which Mads hates. So, I told him that we could have mac as a side and since he had no other ideas, I decided to make Saltimbocca and my favorite kale Caesar salad.
Mads loved the kale, and E loved the chicken. M didn't care for the prosciutto or the sage in the recipe. Everyone else loved it though.
Chicken Saltimbocca
2 chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise (skinless, boneless)
12-14 sage leaves, chiffonade, then chop into small dice and mix into about 3 Tbs. butter
8 slices very thin prosciutto
Pound chicken flat between saran, spread each with 1/4 sage mixture, then top with two slices prosciutto. Cook in medium-hot pan, two at a time, prosciutto-side down to start. About 1.5 minutes per side.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Unfussy: Sloppy Joes


A recent Sloppy Joes recipe from Jamie Oliver made me realize that I haven't made these for the kids in many, many years. Like they were toddlers the last time we had them. So, I used his recipe as a loose framework and whipped up dinner. I may or may not have been chuckling in the grocery while buying ingredients and wondering which kid would hate this dish more. 

Hilariously, the "unpicky kid" experiment is proving that while Mads is a glorious veggie eater, she is actually more picky than Erik when it comes to new things... interesting. 

Here's my version of sloppy joes, although next time I would add shredded or finely diced carrot and maybe reduce the brown sugar by a tablespoon. 

Sloppy Joes

1 pound lean ground pork 
1 small shallot, peeled and diced
1 can organic tomato sauce
2 Tbs. malt vinegar
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. chili powder
1 can organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt, garlic powder and freshly ground pepper, to taste
slice baguette to serve

Brown and drain pork with diced shallot. Then add next six ingredients and bring to simmer until sauce thickens a bit. Add beans, season to taste, and cook until sauce is reduced to your liking. Serve on slice baguette along with a side of veg. 

Unfussy: Rice Pudding

Mads was a no on this, and Erik was a thumbs-up on the rice pudding but not on the cherries.

Leftover Rice, Rice Pudding 

1 c. cooked rice
1.5 c. milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
dash salt
1/2 c. dried cherries (or other dried fruit)

Mix all ingredients except the dried fruit in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling, turn down to low to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add dried fruit just before you reduce the heat. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ready!

Let the lunch-making begin! We're ready for September 2nd. We love our Easy Lunchboxes (http://www.easylunchboxes.com/) that I learned about five years ago from my friend Erin, and they are available on Amazon right here. I use my silicone heart-shaped cupcake molds (too fussy otherwise) for separating items like cheese, meat, crackers, and veggies in the large section of the boxes sometimes.

Erik likes his as "Lunchable-type" meals, where Madeline is pretty happy with a PB&J or a salad. We like the Mini Dippers containers for sauces and dressing in the lunchbox containers since they are not leakproof. One of my favorite dipping containers are simply reused dressing containers from Starbucks salads (also used to nuts and dried fruit in their Protein Boxes). 

We always use reusable snack containers of various types too, are trying the Fuel brand this year. And, we've got some Wrap-N-Mat wraps for sandwiches that were a gift... we'll see if those work for us. I might pare down a bit more, but I'm looking forward to taking baby steps to involve the kids in making their own lunches on a more regular basis this year! Here we go!! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Unfussy: Chicken Parmesan - ATK style

I love Americas' Test Kitchen. Watched an episode last night with great tips to make perfect chicken parm. And, since my children need more variety in their diets so they don't grow up to picky little snits... Voila!

It was great, and Erik the pickiest deemed it amazing.

Basically, halve two boneless skinless chicken breasts, pound between saran, then coat with an egg mixture of one egg and enough flour to make a runny paste. Then bread in a mix of 1/2 cup panko and 3/4 cup parmesan. Fry for 1.5 mins per side, two per pan, then place on cookie sheet. Top with a mix of mozzarella and fontina (or shredded Italian blend cheese), and broil until melted.

Serve topped with your own sauce simmered with a bit of olive oil, herbs, and one large can of crushed tomatoes (garlic, S & P, and about 1/2 tsp. sugar) until thickened. Yum.

Tender, moist chicken, light & crisp breading, flavorful, soft cheese topping, and delicious sauce that doesn't make the breading soggy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Gramma Irene's Pancakes

Thanks to Anna for posting this today, we had a delicious breakfast of buttermilk pancakes this morning. Yes, there is no sugar in these at all. I'm so glad that I had a quart of buttermilk in the fridge for a muffin recipe that I was planning to make.

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil


It makes "the right amount for two people" (which means 6 generously-sized 4-inch pancakes), and they are fabulous. 

Our family could've done with a single batch of this recipe, but I doubled it, so we had a dozen pancakes, and have six as leftovers, but in general we're not a big breakfast-eating group. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pie, Pie, Me oh my!

Six pies ready for Earl and Tricia's wedding... three cherry, two apple, and one blueberry. Made with Grammy and a bit of help from Mads today too.

Six are in the freezer to bake the morning of, but we had to bake a couple - one for mom to take home and a cherry to keep. Delish!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Madeline's 9th

She wanted a geode cake, with blue and red crystals. It's a 2-layer 9 x 13 cake, half is vanilla cake with cherry filling and half is chocolate cake with cookies & cream filling. Frosted with chocolate buttercream and topped with Fruity Pebbles geodes frosted in cookies and cream and filled with strawberry and cotton candy rock candy.
 
She wanted her name on it in cursive, and I bought the amazing minerals poster in Langley at the gem/rock shop for her. 

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