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


Let the lunch-making begin! We're ready for September 2nd. We love our Easy Lunchboxes ( 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. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Camping Food

Nasturtiums and herbs in our salad, rosemary in our Gin & Tonics, giant fluffy pancakes for breakfast, and Nutella s'mores. Just a handful of our amazing camping chow.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fast Food Done Right...

Our favorite fast food - sushi on the conveyor belt. This Tiger Roll is one of my faves:  spicy white tuna crunch with avocado inside, tuna and fresh mango outside, on sweet chili sauce. Delish! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


A blood orange cosmopolitan in an ice glass for Mom's Day dinner, and a fantastic"special" Mother's Day margarita with lunch... Delicious!

The ice glass was big fun for the kids to watch melt and change.

Joel had an Ocean Trust martini made with pineapple-infused vodka, muddled mangoes and oranges, and a slice of jalapeno. Amazing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bananas and Nuggets and Chocolate

I stumbled upon a list of "3-Ingredient Recipes" awhile ago and pinned this banana cookie recipe. It was surprisingly good, although I am certain the children would find them vile, and Joel was uninterested too. 

3-Ingredient Banana Nut Cookies

2 large, very ripe bananas
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped pecans (the original recipe called for walnuts, but I didn't have any)

Mix, drop by rounded Tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake at 350-degrees F for about 14 minutes. I makes exactly 12 cookies. 

These would be perfect as "breakfast" cookies. If only the kids would eat them. But, they abhor oatmeal, and Madeline doesn't like nuts anymore. Unless they are blended into the form of peanut butter. 

So, for dinner, over fries and homemade chicken nuggets.Not really a recipe, since I eyeballed a recipe on my phone, and then blatantly did my own thing. There were herbs in the crumb mix which would've make Erik fuss. And, since I've been intentionally making food that makes him practice dealing with things he doesn't like, I took in easy on him tonight. I just took chicken tenderloins from Costco, cut into bite-sized pieces, dipped in melted butter then shook them in a bag with panko crumbs seasoned with sea salt and smoked paprika. Baked at 400-degrees F for 20 minutes (I turned them after 10). They were a huge hit. Even with Madeline, who now claims to hate chicken (but will eat salad all day long). 

And, this double-chocolate banana bread from the Smitten Kitchen blog is divine. Really, really chocolaty and delicious. Decidedly more enticing to everyone else in the house than my "healthy cookies-like things" (Whatever.) 

But, really, make Deb's chocolate bread. You can't even taste the banana. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April Fools Tea

The kids have this Autumn Spice tea that is quite orange, and they'd had a tea party with it the night before 4/1, so I got some orange Jello at the grocery for a little polymer-prank (they've been studying polymers and making goo/slime too). 

Easy "recipe" for making finger-Jello with only one small box. 

One 3-oz. box Jello (flavor to match your tea or juice)
2/3 cup boiling water

Mix well and pour into tea cups and small tea pot (or juice glasses and small pitcher). Refrigerate overnight, and serve to unsuspecting children in the morning. Trust me, they'll think it's hilarious.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wonders never cease...

Erik. Eating. Pasta.



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