HAVE YOU SEEN THESE YET? For part 2 of this holiday themed “little things that work” post, we bring you brownies cut into triangles and voila, Christmas trees! Along with the kids, I made them for our preschooler’s Gingerbread Fest and they were so fun and so easy that we’ll definitely do it again next year.
ALL YOU NEED IS ONE BIG COOKIE CUTTER plus five spare seconds and lunch will be served with an equally large smile. (Save the outside of the bread to make eggs-in-the-hole later in the week. Another smile, coming right up.) I have a gingerbread, a snowflake (a ghost and a pumpkin too) and doing this one small thing transforms a regular whole wheat sandwich from ho-hum to ho-ho-ho.
‘TIS THE SEASON FOR BAKING, and if you’re in the kitchen a lot these days, that’s exactly where your kids–the messy ones who don’t always listen to instructions–want to be. But it can be fun. It’ll be slow and you’ll have flour in places that the white stuff has never seen before but really and truly, you and your little guys can enjoy this time together. Here is how we do it around here.
“THEY LOOK LIKE LOLLIPOPS!” That’s what 2-year-old Estelle said when we made these, and you’d think that would be enough encouragement for the preschoolers at Phoebe’s school to dig in. It wasn’t. Despite our best efforts (though they weren’t actually very hard), these snacks crashed and BURNED when we brought them for the class to enjoy today. My own kids, especially Estelle, love them though. Maybe she still thinks they’re candy…
COURTESY OF “GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE” by Michelle Buffardi, we bring you the most amazing snacks your kids will see all year. (And that’s just the beginning. There are more than 50 clever cheese ball recipes in the book and you have a chance to win your very own copy right now!)
Here are the recipes and how-to details for each one pictured above:
THESE CINNAMON TREATS ARE SO SIMPLE THAT OUR PRESCHOOLER MADE THEM practically by herself. They’re also quite healthy and definitely delicious. We’re big on cinnamon here, because it’s a tasty way to add flavor without sugar, but also because it’s so dang good for you. Just a sprinkle of that magical stuff can do everything from regulate blood sugar levels to lowering cholesterol and more. Not that either is a big problem for toddlers and their big sisters, but healthy habits start easily at this age, especially when they’re delicious.
But enough about the superpowers of spices. Here’s how you (or your four-year-old) can make these crispy treats too.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Crisps
- 3 whole wheat pitas cut into 6 wedges each (we used half a bag, 3 pitas, and froze the rest)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the oil into a little bowl. In another little bowl mix together your cinnamon and sugar. Then cut up whole wheat pitas into wedges and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
WHEN YOU HAVE A FRIDGE FULL OF TURKEY and a house full of guests, the best way to handle both is a big casserole of turkey pot pie, just like this one. It’s a new riff on the Barefoot Contessa’s chicken pot pie recipe we made over once (and still the number one recipe of all time on Foodlets), but it’s simpler, almost healthier and of course you could make it with chicken too. [Read more...]
WHEN GRANDMA COMES TO TOWN, our kitchen goes into overdrive. Paul’s mom and dad were here for a visit over Thanksgiving and made one of Paul’s childhood favorites, apricot tarts. It’s an old recipe, the original could have, maybe come from a newspaper but this version has definitely been passed around church groups, through family members and lucky me, I’m the newest one to have it.
Like most of his mom’s cooking (take her amazing zucchini lasagna), these whole wheat tarts are pretty healthy. And at least as important, they’re easy to make. The girls had a great time helping form dough in the mini-muffin pan. Recipes like this one with little pockets where small kids can help are more and more on my mind these days. [Read more...]
HERE’S THE PINT-SIZED REVIEW FOR THIS ONE: “I like it a little bit.” That would be Phoebe (4) when I served this cabbage dish for dinner the other night. Estelle (2) and George (1) were equally enthusiastic. And you know what? That works for me!
*MICE ARE ASSOCIATED WITH SWISS CHEESE for reasons I don’t understand, but I do understand that Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard is a winning combination best served shaped like tiny mice with big sliced-almond ears and outlandishly long tails made from chives.
*AS FAR AS PETS GO, I’m more of a dog person, but I’ll take a cat in cheese ball form any time. The nacho-cheesy flavor of this cat works really well with tortilla chips, but if you try to dip a chip into this feline it’ll break. Instead spread the cheese onto tortilla chips, or serve it with crackers instead.
*FRESH HERBS ARE KEY HERE–the bright green color not only looks really nice but the herbs also brighten the flavor of the feta and lemon. Don’t worry too much about which herbs you use; choose a mixture of whatever green herbs you can find, or use all parsley–you can always find fresh parsley. [Read more...]
YOU KNEW THEY WERE COMING. And with my mouth stuffed full of sweet cranberry muffin right at this very moment I can say, “Ymfff. Themmmfff gmffff.” Ahem, I mean, yep, they’re good! The perfect Thanksgiving breakfast has arrived just in time. Just ask these guys, my trusty helpers.
DID YOU KNOW MOST CHEESE BALLS INCLUDE NUTS? And all sorts of spicy ingredients? At least the recipes I found do. This was a problem because two forces aligned this week: it was our turn to take the preschool snack and my former Martha Stewart Omnimedia alum, Michelle Buffardi, has an adorable new book out called “Great Balls of Cheese“. Seriously, it’s the greatest hostess gift ever and I may buy many copies in bulk. So when I saw this turkey shaped cheese ball, I had to make it. Had to. But couldn’t. It had nuts and our preschool has a no-nut policy. So we found another recipe and made updates.
Here’s the verdict.
PHOEBE CALLED THIS “THE BEST IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD”. She is also four and when two-year-old Estelle doesn’t share stickers, markers or whatever the hot commodity of the day is, Phoebe declares the incident “the worst in the whole wide world”. The whole wide world is mentioned a lot these days, so take the squash compliment with a grain of salt. But know that she ate her entire serving happily, making yummy noises and asked if we could have it again another time. So, we will.
SHE DID IT AGAIN! Remember the rainbow spa birthday party? Or the sweet shop birthday party? Now Amber, who blogs at Cake Pops and Squats, has created a birthday bake off competition for her 10-year-old’s big day. It was “Cupcake Wars” for 14 ten-year-olds in one kitchen, and if you’re wondering how she pulled it off, we’ve got all the details right here!
Name of birthday girl: Rian
Parents: Dutch and Amber
Age of birthday girl: 10
Where the party took place: Our house in San Diego, CA
Number of guests: 14
WE ALREADY KNOW THE KIDS LIKE ROASTED POTATOES. But spuds, full of potassium as they are, still don’t have the nutritional punch as some of their neighbors in the produce section. Here’s the solution. I’ll use the proven potatoes as a starting point then slip in some sweet potatoes (or carrots) just to add color, and a bit more nutrition. Will there be squawking? Yes! Will they all try it? Yeah, probably.
Our four-year-old is actually the best turn-coat of the bunch. She’ll tell me how she definitely doesn’t like something that she has never tried (apples come to mind) only to finally take the one bite she knows we ask of her and…grins. [Read more...]
IT’S NOT SMOOTHIE WEATHER ANYMORE. We’re heading straight into hot chocolate season here but I’d rather not spend the rest of fall with three kids crying, wrestling, climbing kitchen counters and “mommmmmmy-ing”, all thanks to the inevitable sugar crash from cocoa. No can do. Enter, the warmest little mug of goodness to hit our kitchen so far.
And I’m not kidding when I say things are getting good around here. The leaves are changing and everything is gorgeous. Even my little outdoor office in the making. Just add wi-fi and we’re all set.