Showing posts with label Kid Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kid Stuff. Show all posts

Sneaky Veggie Mac and Cheese

So many recipes are shared on Facebook, and most of the time I just scroll past. This recipe shared  by Buzzfeed managed to catch my eye around "back to school" time. A balanced meal I could make in the morning and the kids would quickly gobble up? That's exactly what we need on busy weeknights! I didn't love the recipe quite as written, but loved the concept. Combining it with the seasoning from my mom's macaroni & cheese recipe, it has turned into something nutritious and delicious that has been a hit at our house!

1 454g package of macaroni
1 C chopped carrots
2 C chopped squash (I use this frozen kind)
2-3 C chopped cauliflower (I use this frozen kind)
1/2 C water
2 C milk
2 C shredded old cheddar cheese
1 tsp dry onion flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tblsp prepared mustard
2 Tblsp +/- parmesan cheese

Prepare macaroni al dente and set aside.

Place vegetables and water in a pot over medium heat. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Do not drain. Add milk. Puree using an immersion blender. (Alternatively, add to a blender and process until smooth). Stir in cheese and seasoning until cheese is melted.

Add macaroni to sauce and stir to coat. Place into baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350' for 30 minutes.

I've tried varying the the vegetable quantity, but these are the measurements that have been most successful. I've learned from experience that too many carrots really changes the texture of the sauce! You can add your own seasoning to the sauce to make it more like your usual family recipe. A pinch of nutmeg, a couple dashes of hot sauce...whatever floats your boat! My kids like this as is. I add a little salt and pepper to my dish, or some corn salsa if its in the fridge!

Everything Pita Chips

A couple years ago, I saved a recipe for "Everything Seasoning" from an issue of Food Network Magazine (November 2013: Recipe listing here). As a lover of the popular Everything Bagel, I knew I wanted to make this seasoning and find some fun ways to use it. I've enjoyed experimenting with it in a variety of ways, but none as popular as these baked pita chips. My family gobbles them up like crazy, and they get rave reviews whenever I take them anywhere. I didn't realize that I hadn't shared the recipe until a friend asked me for it this weekend, which prompted me to share them with all of you. 

5 Pitas, split to create 10 rounds
3 Tblsp butter, room temperature
1 Tblsp Everything Seasoning (recipe below)

In a small bowl, mix butter and seasoning until evenly combined. Spread lightly over cut side of pita rounds. Cut into wedges. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400` for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks completely before storing in an airtight container. (FYI: This amount of chips fills my largest baking sheet twice, so be prepared to bake these in 2-3 groups)

Everything Seasoning

1 Tblsp poppy seeds
1 Tblsp sesame seeds
1 Tblsp dried minced garlic
1 Tblsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine in a jar and shake until thoroughly mixed. Store in a cool dry place until ready to use.


Tofu meets the fudgicle. Magic, courtesy of Weelicious chocolate tofu pudding. These are were a hit with our whole family, and make a deliciously filling protein-rich snack.

1 pkg tofu
1/3 C cocoa
2/3 C sugar
1 Tblsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in blender or with immersion blender until smooth. Freeze in popsicle molds overnight.

Look at Isaac's eyes - dying for a lick while he waits for me to take the photo...

"Timbit" Mini-Muffins

I made these mini-muffins with my toddlers today, and the youngest thought they were Timbits (much like Munchkins, for all you US Dunkin Donut fans). I think that means they were a hit! As a bonus, they are vegan-friendly and 2 Weight Watcher's points each.

2/3 C sugar
1 ripe banana
1 1/2 C flour
1/4 C cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C vegetable oil
3/4 C soy milk (coconut milk or almond milk are also suggested in the original recipe)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C icing sugar (the original recipe called for 1/2 C, but that seemed to be way more than necessary)

Beat sugar, banana, vegetable oil, soy milk, and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Pour into wet mixture and stir to combine.

Divide batter into 24 greased mini muffin cups. Bake  at 350` for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and roll in icing sugar. (I put the sugar in a large bowl so there was lots of room to roll and move the muffins, before dusting the excess back into the bowl.

Scones with Dark Chocolate Chunks

I had a bar of dark chocolate that was calling me from the pantry, but I also felt the urge to bake something. I came across this recipe for chocolate chip scones, and altered it to suit. I am enjoying one as a type!

1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tblsp butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 Cup skim milk

Combine all dry ingredients. Cut butter in using two knives (I always give up at some point and use my hands) until it looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in chocolate chunks. Work in milk gradually (may use slightly more or slightly less) until the dough comes together. Shape into a disk, and cut into triangles. Bake at 400` for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Dr Seuss Birthday Party

Cooking and party-planning are two of my favourite things and, luckily, they go well together. Because of his current favourite books, we decided to put a Dr Seuss spin on Simon's 2nd birthday party.

Here's the whimsical Seussical spread

 Green Eggs (no ham): sugar cookies with this icing
Where does one get a cookie cutter shaped like a fried egg? Just bend a round coockie cutter until it looks right!

There's a Wocket in my (pita) Pocket: broccoli slaw with this dressing in mini-pitas

Hop on Pop(corn): popcorn with this seasoning
 Three Cheese Trees (from Fox in Socks): cubes of marble cheddar on styrofoam trees (I swear this looked better in person!)
Yertle the (caramel) Turtle: pretzel rolo turtles, with topped with M&M's instead of pecans to be nut-free

One Fish. Two Fish, (not all) Red Fish, (or) Blue Fish: naturally coloured Goldfish crackers

Yink's Pink Ink Drink: pink lemonade

No clever name, but these treats just looked so fun and silly. Similar to Rice Krispie squares but made using Trix cereal and rolled into balls, the bright colours and abnormal shapes were a hit with the kids!

Rainbow Fruit Tray

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with this icing, and this filling (+ 3 TBSP raspberry jam) & homemade toppers
My take on Truffula Trees was really simple, but they had a big impact with the high-ceilings in our living room and kitchen. They were each just made out of two pieces of bristol board: one for the top, and one cut into wiggly strips to make the trunk. (And having picked up the bristol board at 3 for $1, making each tree for $0.66 is pretty great bang for your buck!)

Thing One and Thing Two were positioned running up the stairs from our entryway, greeting Simon's guests. I projected an image found online, traced it on to bristol board, coloured it, and cut them out. I loved the "coming to life" effect that the third dimension of the ribbon and balloon gave them.

I made these pom poms in alternating red and white tissue paper that were hung with fishing line from the ceiling, but they were somehow missed in our photos.

We sent this invitation to his friends to invite them (and their parents) to join us.

Our kids' birthday parties are always donation parties, where we ask that our guest bring a donation of non-perishable food for our nearest food bank in lieu of a gift. For our donation box this year, I used a quote from The Lorax that got people talking: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." One person even asked if they could have the sign - and of course, I obliged!

I had quite a few other ideas for food and decorations that just didn't come into fruition in time for the party (chasing two toddlers at 8 months pregnant will do that to you), but I'd be happy to share some ideas if you'd like to leave a comment.

I'm linking this up with  What's Cooking with Ruthie's Super Saturday Show & Tell , and  Thirty Handmade Days Linky Party !

Risotto Balls

My kids love rice, but they are pretty messy when it comes to eating it. After seeing risotto balls mentioned on a few blogs and in a few cooking magazines, I figured I'd give it a shot! Not wanting to pan fry them (as was often suggested), I followed the same general idea as my tuna balls. The kids loved them, and I am excited to make my own risotto with lots of sneaky vegetables for next time.

2 C of leftover risotto (I used this, which makes exactly 2 cups)
3/4 C dried bread crumbs

Roll chilled risotto into balls. Roll in dried bread crumbs and flatten slightly. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350' for about 25 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Allow to cool on wire racks.

Carrot Pancakes

I have oodles of carrots that I want to use up, so I did a search on my Google Reader. I was delighted to find this recipe, and they were the perfect easy dinner for this cold wet day. These pancakes were delicious and cooked up nice and thick and light. My kids gobbled them up!

1 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tblsp brown sugar
3/4 C buttermilk
1 Tblsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 C grated carrots

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients into a smaller bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix. Fold in grated carrot. Spoon batter into a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When bubbles form and pop on surface, flip over and continue cooking until golden.

Pumpkin Waffles

These pumpkin waffles were gooooood! A total hit with the whole family. I shouldn't have expected any less - I've never been disappointed with anything from Weelicious, and (more importantly) neither have the kids!

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp melted butter

Sift dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture and whisk until smooth. Bake batter in waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Inspired by my recently roasted and pureed pumpkin and encouraged by Joanna's variation on the recipe, I made these pumpkin chocolate chip scones this morning. Mmmm! Such a yummy fall flavour on a damp day.

1 1/2 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tblsp butter, softened
1/3 C pureed pumpkin
1/3 C buttermilk
1/2 C chocolate chips

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in pumpkin, buttermilk, butter, and chocolate chips. If necessary, knead with your hands to incorporate all the flour. Form dough into a ball, and flatten into a 1/2 inch thick disk on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and cut into 8 segments. Separate segments, and cut each into 2 smaller triangles (so my toddlers can eat them in one sitting). Bake at 425` for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

These had a more biscuit-like texture than my regular glazed pumpkin scones, but we really enjoyed them. And not having to cut in cold butter is always a nice treat...I don't know why that task always bothers me!

Ginger Waffles

Mmmm....such a nice taste of fall!

I found this recipe in an old compilation fundraising book. I love to go through those on occasion and see what I might have missed in the past. I thought they were delicious, and they were a hit with three toddlers at lunch time. (Photos of my happy customers appear below too!)

1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 C buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 C melted butter
1 Tbsp molasses (Crosby's, of course, since it's made here!)
1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients until smooth. Cook waffles according to the directions with your waffle iron. Mine took slightly less time than my regular waffles often too - plus the dark colour of the batter made them appear quite dark before they were well-done.

Sneaking seconds!

Pink Pancakes

With oodles of beets from our produce pack program, I was excited to find this recipe for the kids. And they loved them! I noticed a slight smell of beets when I cut into mine, but they taste the same if you close your eyes. I sprinkled chocolate chips and blueberries on a couple to make them extra-appealing to my toddlers.

First, clean your beets and trim to allow an extra 1/2 inch on each end. (ie: 1/2 inch of stem and 1/2 inch of skinny root on each beet). Place in a covered casserole dish, and bake at 425' for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your beets. Allow to cool in the covered dish, before simply rubbing to remove the skin with your fingers. Then, puree beets in a food processor until smooth - adding a little water if necessary.

You can easily incorporate the pureed beets into your own pancake recipe in lieu of oil or apple sauce.

Bright pink pancakes in the skillet
Finished pancakes (with chocolate chips) cooling on wire rack.

Weight Watcher's Chocolate Chip Chocolate Muffins

A friend shared this recipe with me, but the copy she sent didn't cite the original source, and I didn't find it in a quick search. I'll be sure to check with her an update this post, but until then...enjoy!

1 Cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 Cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (I omitted)
1 Tblsp canola oil
3/4 Cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 Cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

Combine apple sauce, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and oil. Stir well and set aside to allow sugar to dissolve. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Combine with wet ingredients, and fold in chocolate chips. Spray muffin tin with non stick spray (or use one of my fave kitchen items - silicone muffin liners). Divide batter to make 9 muffins. Bake at 375` for 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Cool Cucumber Sesame Noodles

My sister made this salad a few weekends ago, and it was an instant hit! It has a really fresh, cool, refreshing flavour. I know this will be a staple for us this summer! We had it last night with our beloved Teriyaki Salmon, and the flavour combination was great. An added bonus? My kids really like it too.

6 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Lb rice vermicelli (I used a 450g box of angel hair last night)
1 English cucumber, julienned
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Whisk together first 5 ingredients to make dressing.

Cook noodles until tender. Rinse and drain very thoroughly.

Toss noodles with cucumber and green onion. Combine with dressing.

Tortellini Spinach Tomato Soup

Quick, healthy, easy, and inexpensive. What else do I have to say? Oh, right: YUM! This soup taste simple and fresh, and is quite filling with the pasta.

I chose this recipe (one from my "to try in 2010" list) for a Monday night because it makes a large enough quantity to have it a couple of times throughout the week. I had it for supper last night, and Josh and I both had it for lunch today, and there is still oodles in the fridge. I'll be making it again before winter (ie: soup season) is through! The only thing I am going to try differently next time is to use crushed tomatoes in place of diced. Both are suggested in the original recipe, though I only had diced on-hand. I assume it will change the texture and colour of the soup, but I'll repost and let you know!

1 Onion, chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, Minced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (900ml) cartons of vegetable stock
1 (454g) bag of tortellini, frozen or fresh
8 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, if desired

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions in a little olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Add tomatoes and broth. increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package instructions (about 9 minutes). When tortellini has about a minute left to cook, add the spinach. Stir, allowing spinach to wilt. Season with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to taste.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

These muffins were adapted from this recipe from Cooking Light . Unfortunately, my changes make them a little less healthy because I was working with ingredients that I already had. I look forward to trying the original recipe sometime soon. These muffins taste like a coffee shop treat!

1/3 C light cream cheese
2 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 C flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C milk
1 cup frozen raspberries

Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until well blended. Add sugar, vanilla, and egg. Beat until fluffy.

Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add to cream cheese mixture, alternating with milk. Fold in raspberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until done. Yeilds 12 small-ish muffins.

Tuna Balls

My sister-in-law gave me a copy of this book a while back. It has some great ideas from first foods to picky toddlers, and tuna balls are definitely one of our favourite recipes from it. Such a great way to pack some protein into little bodies! The kids love them. It takes a few minutes to make them on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but so easy to haul them out of the freezer on a busy weeknight. (Many items in the books are designed to be made in bulk and frozen)

1 medium baked potato
1 egg, beaten
1 tin white water-packed tuna, drained
1 Tbsp red onion, finely diced
2 C cornflakes (we usually use cracker crumbs)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Cut potato in half and scoop out the inside. In a blender or food processor, mix potato, egg, tuna, and onion. Crush cornflakes or crackers until they are the consistency of bread cumbs. Scoop 1 Tbsp of tuna mince and form into a ball. Coat ball in crumb mixture. Place coated balls in an airtight container/bag and freeze.

To serve, defrost tuna balls in the fridge. Spread 1 Tbsp olive oil on a baking sheet. Place tuna balls on baking sheet an bake at 350` for 10 minutes. Flip and bake fo another 10 minutes, until crispy and golden in colour.

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I got this recipe from my cousin a couple years ago, and I apologize that I don't know the original source of the recipe. These cookies are so great with a cup of tea - and healthy enough that I don't feel bad having three at a time!

½ C butter
1 C sugar

1 egg

1 C cooked and mashed carrot (I’ve grated it raw before too and it’s been fine)

1/3 C milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 C white flour

1 C whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

2 C rolled oats

1 C raisins

Beat the butter, sugar, and eggs. Combine the carrot, milk and vanilla and add to butter mixture. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the wet. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375’ for 12-15 minutes.

Apple Pancakes

My kids eat apple pancakes at least once a week. The recipe has slowly evolved from a really old standard Betty Crocker pancake recipe, and currently looks like this.

1 egg
3/4 C flour
1/4 C quick oats
1/2 C apple sauce
1/2 C milk (more or less)
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1 small apple, peeled and grated

Combine all ingredients, adding the milk last and adding more or less depending on the consistency of the batter. For each pancake, pour onto a hot pan and cook until cake is puffy and bubbles on the surface are popping. Flip, and cook for an additional minute or two. Serve immediately, or cool on wire rack and reheat in the toaster.

And sometimes we add raisins and make little faces. It's the little things in life that make us the happiest, right?

Toddler Snacks

Not so much a recipe...just an idea.

I started doing this at Easter, when we went to my parents' house for brunch. I knew that Isaac would probably be ready to eat before everything was ready, so I brought along some snacks. I just divided a variety of cereal and snacks into an egg carton. These are mostly snacks that he has all the time, but the presentation made him SO excited...he's been reaching for the egg carton in the fridge ever since. What a cheap and easy thing to do to make a toddler smile!