Take a Taste Tuesday with Barefoot and Homecooked

Hi!
My name is Leeanne and I am a wife and mom from New Hampshire. My little boy is almost two and I am due with my second baby boy in just two weeks! I’m a stay at home mom and strive to maintain a tidy home with homemade meals on the table for when my hubby comes home from work but this can get tricky with a toddler! Since I love to cook I always try to include my toddler. I’m always thinking of fun healthy recipes but sometimes we make cookies at 7am because we were up at 4am and just go with it! A toddler can gain so much from watching, mixing, touching and just spending quality time while you cook together.

Here we are making some homemade sugar cookies. He loved rolling and feeling the dough, turning the mixer on and cutting out the shapes!

“Take a Taste Tuesday” features a fellow mom/friend/community member who shares a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant.  If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday – Toddlers in the Kitchen

Did you know children sometimes need to be offered a new food as many as 10-15 times before she will eat it? Crazy right?! I found that if my daughter is included in the cooking process she is more apt to taste foods as ingredients and then taste the finished product vs if I were to make the dish solo and just present the finished product to her. I also found that with continuous exposure to labeling foods, labeling utensils, and labeling actions while in the kitchen, my daughter’s vocabulary has grown significantly when it comes to kitchen items.

Below I am sharing the simple ways I include my toddler in our kitchen activities, promote language in the kitchen, and hopefully, expand her palate.

Putting Groceries Away – Once the groceries are in the house, my daughter knows that we have to put them away before we do anything else. She now reaches into the bag, produces an item, and declares “me helping.” We label the items together and then discuss where the food “lives” in the kitchen. She is getting pretty good at putting the food in the right spot.

Washing Food – We wash our hands, we wash our food, and we wash the dishes and the whole time we are talking. I model the word wash and then discuss the concepts wet/dry and clean/dirty.

 

Pouring In – Cooking involves so many opportunities to follow simple directions. I give my daughter the directions to “scoop out” and then “put in” the bowl.

Mixing – We mainly mix dry ingredients right now, but we are working towards wet ingredients. I model the word mix while mixing ingredients with a spoon, with your hands, or with a blender.

Dish Prep – We have my daughter’s dishes on a lower shelf that she has easy access to. When it’s time to prep for dinner we talk about the types of dishes/utensils we need and she’s in charge of pulling out her plate, cup, and silverware out for mealtime.

Tasting – The best part about cooking is tasting everything along the way. We label and taste each ingredient and then talk about how the food tastes: sweet/salty/sour.

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with From This Point Forward

Hi! My name is Mariah and I’m very excited to be sharing with you for Take a Taste Tuesday! My blog, From This Point. Forward., isn’t primarily about food or even motherhood, but focuses on how my life changed after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at the age of 25. That being said, perhaps the most difficult part of my RA journey has been figuring out how to navigate motherhood while living with a chronic autoimmune disease. (If my story sounds familiar to you, please keep an eye on my new site – Mamas Facing Forward – which will soon offer resources and support for the unique challenges faced by moms who are also living with chronic illnesses!)

My boys are currently three and five, and they’ll be gaining a little sister in just a few months! Like many kids, my oldest ate just about everything under the sun with gusto until he hit about 18 months, at which point he narrowed his list of “acceptable” foods to mere handful of items – most of which are carbs and dairy. Getting him to consume any type of produce is often a challenge. And though my younger son is much more willing to eat a wider variety, he’s also apt to reject food if his older brother declares it to be gross. So I needed a life hack for easily getting nutrients into my family’s meals – even when I’m not feeling my best. And that’s where “green cubes” come in!

Green Cubes

In the summertime, we belong to a CSA, which stands for “community supported agriculture.” Basically this means we pay upfront to support a local farm, and then visit the farm once a week all summer and most of the fall to pick up our share of whatever the farm produces. This generally includes a huge variety of greens – spinach, kale, chard, beet greens – and between the CSA and our own garden I often end up with a literal mountain of greens that we have zero chance of eating before it wilts (particularly since the kids won’t eat it fresh at all!)

So, instead of letting the greens go to waste, I make a batch of green cubes. This involves gently steaming the greens, pureeing them, and popping them in the freezer. I use an immersion blender and one of those baby food freezer trays – because that’s what I happen to have – but a food processor and a regular ice cube tray would work just as well.

I will admit that this process can be somewhat time consuming – so I generally try to save it for a time when I have at least a little bit of energy to spare. I do think the investment of time is worthwhile, however, as it gives me a quick option for easily adding nutrients to meals later on. I also find that I get more and more efficient with this process as time goes on. These days I’m able to multitask in the kitchen – cleaning up from dinner, for example – as I simultaneously put a mountain of greens through the steamer in batches.

Once the green cubes are frozen, I keep them in a giant Ziploc bag in the freezer and add them to anything and everything. I throw in one or two almost anytime I’m cooking ground meat – meatballs, meatloaf, taco meat. It’s also a great way to add extra nutrients to jarred tomato sauce. And while I refer to these as “green cubes,” because I make them most often using greens, you can do the same thing with other vegetables too. For example, if I buy a big bag of baby carrots and we don’t get through them all, I’ll throw the rest in the steamer and make a batch of orange cubes to mix in with the Kraft mac and cheese!

Veggie Banana Muffins

Of course, green cubes are only effective at getting nutrients into your kids if they’ll actually eat the meal you mix them into! My oldest currently refuses sauces (except ketchup) and all meat, so unfortunately he’ll completely reject most of the suggestions I just made above. But he will happily consume any baked goods I care to provide – which is how I came up with what we call “green banana muffins.”

In addition to getting my children to happily consume kale or chard, I’ve managed to sneak some other nutrition into these muffins as well. And, once you have a bag of green/veggie cubes in your freezer, this recipe is simple enough to make often and let the kiddos help!

Ingredients

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup sugar (the banana muffin recipe I started with called for ¾ cup sugar, but I usually use less because I add vanilla protein powder and it’s a bit sweet. I’ll use even less if I substitute applesauce for the egg!)

2 scoops (about ¼ cup) protein powder (This is totally optional, but as my oldest doesn’t currently eat meat I’m always looking for ways to get extra protein into him! I generally use vanilla whey powder)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 large ripe bananas, mashed (when bananas start turning brown in our house, I peel them and throw them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer so I can use them for these muffins instead of wasting them)

1 egg OR ¼ cup applesauce (I’m including an alternative here not only because it gives you options for different nutrients but also because I can’t be the only mom who starts a baking project and then discovers I’m missing necessary ingredients! I’ve totally been known to squeeze an applesauce pouch into this muffin batter!)

1/3 cup butter OR 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (There are lots of health benefits to coconut oil and I think it tastes great. Also – and this may be TMI – one of the reasons I particularly love it in this recipe is that it’s a natural remedy for constipation, which can sometimes be a problem for my oldest when he’s being particularly picky)

2 big cubes (about the size of a baby food jar) cooked, pureed vegetables (I usually make this recipe with green cubes, but you can also do it with sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower, or beets – though I will warn that while the beets turn the batter a delightful shade of hot pink, the baked muffins sadly don’t retain much of the pink color!)

Directions

Mix ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of your muffin tins. I recommend using paper liners or coating muffin pans with a non-stick spray. We have a couple of silicone molds just to make these muffins a bit more fun! (Though these days I have to admit I wish the dinosaur one was nothing by T-rexes, because both boys tend to get upset when the T-rex muffins are gone haha!)

Even when we make a double batch of these, they rarely stick around in our house for very long. They’ve always been a hit with our friends – so I hope your family enjoys them too!

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Healthy Little Handful

Hi there! I’m Lacey from Healthy Little Handful. I am a full time elementary reading teacher and mommy to an almost 2 year old little handful who absolutely refuses to eat her veggies! I am very new to the mom blog world and super excited to be a part of Take a Taste Tuesday. My blog Healthy Little Handful focuses on incorporating healthy ingredients into my daughter’s diet in hidden ways. When my daughter began baby led weaning at 6 months old she loved to try all fruits and vegetables, but around the age of 10 months she started refusing any and all veggies. Because I didn’t want her missing out on all those awesome nutrients, I had to become creative in how I got her to eat them. I began creating recipes with hidden veggies and other healthy ingredients, while still offering her veggies in their true form at the same time. My hope is that someday she will learn to love her veggies, but for now I will continue hiding them in every way I can!

One of my current favorite recipes for hiding veggies are cauliflower tortillas. In our house we absolutely LOVE tortillas. There is not a week that goes by where I am not using them, so I decided to try a much healthier tortilla option. Just in case you didn’t already know, cauliflower is considered a super food. It is sometimes overlooked because a lot of people consider “white food” to be less nutritious (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta). While it is true we should be eating a rainbow, we cannot forget that cauliflower is absolutely packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Actually, there are so many awesome benefits to cauliflower that I can’t even list them all without going completely overboard! Give it a Google and you will be amazed!

I keep my recipe for cauliflower tortillas pretty simple because I love to use them for so many different things. You could absolutely spice up this recipe with extra seasonings and other flavors of cheese depending on how you plan to use them. I also love to make a batch of these tortillas and freeze them so I can quickly put together a lunch for my little one in no time at all. Here is how we love to use cauliflower tortillas:

Tacos: 

I have to tell you, my daughter does not typically eat tacos or any other form of ground beef. I first tried this recipe for cauliflower tortillas on taco night and was completely amazed. Not only did she eat her entire taco, but she was able to pick up the tortilla and eat it like a true pro. The texture of these tortillas is more like a “hash brown” than a regular tortilla, so it is soft and easy for little ones to bite into.

Mini Pizzas:

Since my daughter took to the cauliflower tortilla so well as a taco shell I decided to try and expand its use. One of my quick and easy meal options has always been tortilla pizzas and my daughter loves them. I first made my daughter a cauliflower pizza on her Mimi’s day to watch her. I came home from work and her grandmas said, “She sure did love that pizza mom, she ate the whole thing!” When I told her that the crust was made of cauliflower she absolutely couldn’t believe it!

Grilled cheese:

This is such a quick and simple lunch to throw together for your little one, whether you call it a grilled cheese and serve it with tomato soup, or call it a quesadilla and serve it with a side of salsa and sour cream. All you need to do is melt some of your little ones favorite cheese in between 2 cauliflower tortillas and you have a delicious, healthy, and easy meal. I usually do this in a pan on the stove as opposed to the microwave so that the extra crispiness helps hold the grilled cheese/quesadilla together better.

The possibilities with these cauliflower tortillas are endless. I hope you and your little ones enjoy this recipe and can think of even more delicious ways to use them. Here is my recipe for cauliflower tortillas:

Cauliflower Tortillas

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: about 10 tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup of finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.) Begin by cutting up your head of cauliflower. Cut it into chunks and transfer to a colander to wash. Once washed, transfer small batches to your food processor. You may need to do 3-4 batches to ensure you get the right texture. Pulse the food processor a couple of times to “rice” your cauliflower. Empty the riced cauliflower into a bowl and continue with another batch. Once all cauliflower has been “riced” transfer back into the food processor.

2.) Once all cauliflower has been “riced” transfer      cauliflower to a thin dish cloth and ring as much water out as you can. After water has been drained     transfer cauliflower back into the food processor.
3.) In the food processor combine your cauliflower with 2 eggs, cheese, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times until ingredients are combined.
4.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
5.) Roll cauliflower mixture into golf ball sized balls and spread out on the baking sheet. I can usually fit about 6 tortillas on a baking sheet at a time.

6.) Press the tortillas down with your hand until they are completely flat and thin just like a tortilla.

7.) Place in the oven to bake, flipping once the edges start to turn brown (about 10 minutes) and cooking for another 10 minutes on the other side.

8.) Serve and eat right away with your favorite fillings or place into the freezer and allow to freeze for a couple of hours before placing in a freezer storage bag. Defrost and reheat them to make pizzas, grilled cheese, and more!

I hope you enjoy this recipe for cauliflower tortillas and would love to hear of any new and delicious ways you use them in your cooking! If you are interested in more hidden veggie recipes you can find them at www.healthylittlehandful.com and on instagram @healthylittlehandful.

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with the Menu Mommy

Hello, my name is Tammy and I am the Menu Mommy. As a mother of two young children and a full-time teacher, I love and loathe dinnertime. It’s one of our favorite daily bonding activities, but putting dinner on the table can lead to sacrificing our family playtime. In my blog, I share time saving tips, recipes, and creative ideas for how to meal prep efficiently, bring your children into the kitchen for fun cooking, and provide healthy, appetizing dinners for the whole family.

One of the biggest struggles I hear from parents (myself included) is how to get children to try new foods. My husband and I love variety in our diet, and we want our children to develop an adventurous palette as well. One of my favorite ways to encourage children to try new foods is by using books to help them get excited about an upcoming meal. In this post, I will suggest some excellent children’s books that will help you do just that. Not only will these books entice your child to try your next culinary masterpiece, but they will also help promote an interest in literacy, allow for family bonding time, and maybe even start a new tradition in your home!

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

My son is obsessed with everything dinosaur and dragons come in as a close second. This humorous book talks about a dragon’s favorite food, tacos! Dragons Love Tacos is sure to get your child psyched about your next family taco night, and they’ll be eager to try various toppings on their tacos as well. After reading this book, you can create a taco bar using a variety of proteins and add-ons. Let your children assemble their own tacos to promote independent eating and avoid dinnertime objections. Who knows, they may even want a taste of some spicy salsa!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

As a mom, spaghetti and meatballs in marinara sauce is a great way to add extra vegetables to a meal by either mixing in chopped spinach with the sauce, shredded carrots to the meatballs, or adding spaghetti squash to pasta. What better way to foster excitement about dinner than reading a story where it falls from the sky!

First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger

My sister and I are both sushi fanatics. We especially love making our own sushi, an art we are still perfecting. My sister and I could not wait to share our obsession with my son. We started him off with deconstructed avocado rolls when he was about ten-months-old. To celebrate the occasion, my sister bought him this adorable book, which teaches sushi terminology through inviting, scrumptious illustrations. It is still a favorite in our home!

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert

I have a dream of someday planting my own “vegetable soup garden” just like Elhert does in this book. For now, I just have to settle with making vegetable soup inspired by this story. I recommend going all-out by bringing your child to the grocery store or farmers market to select their ingredients, having your child help wash and cut the vegetables (under close supervision), and cook your own vegetable soup! To save time, you can even make the soup in a slow cooker and your child can turn on the appliance to begin the cooking process!

The possibilities for incorporating books into mealtime to promote healthy eating are endless. While any of these books would make a fabulous addition to your child’s home collection, you can also check out your local library for these awesome books.

Do you or your child have any books you would add to this list?

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with State of Motherhood

I’m Zoe and I’m delighted to have been asked to be a part of ‘Take a Taste Tuesday’. I live with my family in a little town called Bishopbriggs in Glasgow, Scotland where I’ve been a stay at home Mum for the last 3 1/2 years.
I was inspired to start my own blog @stateofmotherhood after a couple of years following other mummy bloggers. In my blog I share my day to day life as a stay at home Mum to my 3 year old daughter Mae Josie and my 10 month old son Bertie.
I personally spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen as I really enjoy cooking. This is definitely due to the fact that when I was growing up my Mum gave me and my sister free reign in the kitchen. We also didn’t keep sweets in the house, so if we wanted a sugar hit, we would bake ourselves a cake! I want to encourage my children to have confidence in the kitchen like I did. I like to get them trying lots of different flavours and textures but more importantly I want them to have healthy attitudes towards food. That’s why I try to get the kids cooking in the kitchen whenever I can. Mae Josie loves to get involved and has helped me ever since I can remember. However, Bertie is really still at the ‘watch and learn’ stage.
My youngest Bertie has been teething pretty badly for the last few weeks. So when I came across this recipe for sweet potato and chamomile teething rusks, I had to try them. Looking over this recipe from My Kids Lick the Bowl, I knew right away that it was a perfect one to get MJ involved in. It has only 4 ingredients and very simple steps. At the moment when I cook with MJ I always measure everything out beforehand. She gets bored very quickly if we don’t, as she’s still a little young to fully understand that part. I then put all the ingredients into separate bowls so it’s easy for her to identify the different ingredients.
Any part that is safe for her to do, I let her. With this recipe the only part I played was pouring the hot water into the pan with the sweet potato and draining the hot water once it was cooked. The rest was down to MJ. She tipped ingredients into bowls/pots/blenders, blended the oats into oat flour, mixed up the dough, cut the baking paper, rolled it out and then cut it into pieces before we baked it.
Even the simplest task, like tipping flour into the mixing bowl, is exciting for her. She can do anything from washing vegetables to using a butter knife to cutsoft things like butter/mushrooms/bananas, etc. My advice is to get your child to help wherever you can. It not only helps them develop cooking skills, but helps with hand eye coordination and dexterity.
I also always find that when I get MJ to cook with me she is much more likely to eat things she normally wouldn’t. Needless to say, the girl who never eats sweet potato wolfed these rusks down and Bertie was one happy baby. Definitely a winning recipe in our house!

Healthy Baby Rusks Teething Biscuits

Cook 25 mins

Total 35 mins

Yield 12 rusks

Ingredients

  • 200g sweet potato
  • Chamomile tea bag
  • 1 Cup oat flour
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, or other light flavoured oil

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the sweet potato
  2. Place into a saucepan and cover with water, add the tea bag to the water
  3. Boil  sweet potato until tender
  4. Remove the tea bag and drain the majority of the liquid, leave a minimal amount, 1-2 tsp to help with the puréeing
  5. Purée the sweet potato, yield should be approximately 3/4 of a cup
  6. In a bowl Add oat flour, sweet potato purée and oil
  7. Mix with a wooden spoon or similar until a ball forms
  8. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone sheet
  9. Place the dough on the baking paper and roll to approximately 5mm thick
  10. Take a knife and score the dough into large shapes that your baby will be able to grasp
  11. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25mins, until firm to touch and golden on the edges
  12. Cool
  13. Snap the rusks along the score marks
  14. Store in an airtight container

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Meal Planning Mama

Hi! I am Brittany from Meal Planning Mama. I am so excited to share my little part of the internet with you. While I do not have a blog (hopefully in the near future), you can find me on Instagram, Pinterest, and on Facebook. I am a teacher, wife, mom, and weekly meal planner. My meal planning adventure started about eight years ago shortly after my husband and I were married. I was not a cook. We went through our first year of marriage with him cooking most meals. However, with his work schedule, it was time for me to learn how to cook! I started out simple, following recipes online, and teaching myself. Finally, I found The Pioneer Woman on Food Network and became addicted. Ree Drummond makes cooking look so delicious and so easy. From that point on, I was the sole chef in the house. Nevertheless, there was still the daily question of, “what are we going to have for dinner?” every night.  I quickly became frustrated with running to the store several times a week, which in the end would cost us more money over a weeks’ time! I read about “meal planning” (probably on Pinterest) and decided to give it a shot. Since then I have read hundreds of blog posts on the best ways to meal plan and have made it my own. There is no one way to meal plan—you have to do what is best for you and your family. Today my family cannot survive without meal planning and to help you out, I post weekly meal plans on my Facebook page. The nice part about my page is that you can scroll through several years of meal planning to find exactly the types of meals you want to make up your weekly dinners.
 
Today I want to share a favorite recipe with you from the woman who helped ignite my cooking passion, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. I have made a countless number of Ree’s meals and I can honestly say, I have never had a bad one. A few of our family favorites include baked ziti (see below), sloppy joes, quiche, salsa, beautiful Brussel sprouts, blackberry cobbler, cornbread dressing, and spaghetti sauce (just to name a few…haha!)
 
I make many crockpot meals over the course of a month, so if it does not go in the crockpot then it has to be simple because ain’t nobody got time for that. This baked ziti is super easy! If you have kids, then they can get involved to help (my 4 year old was a grouch on this day), or you can whip it up while they have quiet time or play time. It’s also a great meal to make and freeze for another time or to give to a family.

Ree Drummond’s Baked Ziti

Ingredients:
·         2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
·         3 cloves Garlic, Minced
·         1 whole Large Onion, Diced  *note: I cut up about 3 whole onions at a time and freeze them so  
     when I need onion, I can just grab a bag or handful! I did not use a full onion for this recipe
·         1 pound Italian Sausage
·         1 pound Ground Beef
·         1 can (28 Oz. Size) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
·         2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce *I used marinara sauce
·         2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
·         1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
·         Salt And Pepper, to taste
·         16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
·         1 tub (15 Oz. Size) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
·         1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
·         1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
·         1 whole Egg
·         Fresh Minced Parsley
 
 Instructions:
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and sauté for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.

Add tomatoes, tomato juice or marinara, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down. *I did not separate—still worked out fine*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).

Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine. 

Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella. *I just threw it all together in a bowl in poured it into a casserole dish. When your short on time, it happens and still tastes great!

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

(Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving!)
 
 Once again, this dish did not disappoint! We had my parents over for dinner and made a salad along with garlic bread to top it off. We also had leftovers for days! I cannot wait to make this again in a few weeks when I am working on some freezer meals for the winter! Follow me along on Facebook @mealplanningmama and on Instagram @mealplanningmamacbus to learn more about meal planning or to find weekly menus!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Two In Tow

Tonya Strickland is a newspaper reporter turned mommy blogger who launched her family adventure blog Two In Tow & On The Go earlier this year to share pictures tips and stories about things to do with kids on California’s Central Coast. You can share in their adventures (along with all the reasons they like to get out of the house) at @two.n.tow on Instagram + Facebook or visit the blog at twontow.com.

Rainbow Pancake Muffins with Two In Tow & On The Go

So … truth is, I don’t like to bake. Or cook. Or do anything in the kitchen, really, besides hide from my kids each morning as I huddle next to the coffee pot. My blog is about getting my 1 and 3 year old littles out of the house – so some major avoidance of kitchen duty just *might* play a part in that.

But, at the same time, I like finding activities for my kids to do. And my kids LOVE to bake treats. They love making them. They love eating them. They love wrapping their tiny pudgy fingers around wooden spoons and plastic cups and doing all the scooping and the pouring and the sprinkling. It’s, like, a whole thing.

And since I’m a sucker for happy, occupied children, often times you’ll find me in my kitchen scrambling for last minute ingredients that I didn’t plan for while simultaneously pinning a random recipe two seconds before I follow it (kinda) and Googling “what can you substitute eggs with?!”.

That pretty much sums up the other day when we planned to make blueberry muffins. That is, until I realized we didn’t have any muffin mix. Oh, and I’m also allergic to gluten. And apparently really love making things complicated. BUT we did have gluten-free pancake mix. With Funfetti! And what small child (or any reasonable adult, for that matter) wouldn’t love to make some awesome rainbow/unicorn/fairy muffins? The kids were stoked.

But ….. How do you turn pancake mix into muffin mix? Well, like anything good in this world, there’s a Pinterest hack for that. Whipping out my phone with kids begging to see vidoes of themselves in the background, first I found this recipe from Family Fresh Meals [https://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2014/06/easy-baked-pancake-muffins.html#_a5y_p=3502654] for “Easy Baked Pancake Muffins.” I was absolutely kicking myself for not having an amazing assortment of silicone cupcake liners in all these bright and fun colors. Like, how perfect is this picture [https://www.pinterest.com/pin/186547609541846497/]? I die. Alas, I just had plain ‘ol white paper liners. The struggle is real, people!

I went on to the next pin.

And that’s when I found Smashed Peas & Carrots’ recipe for “Pancake Mix Muffins” [http://smashedpeasandcarrots.com/pancake-mix-muffins-recipe-egg-free-can-be-dairy-and-gluten-free/] that were also gluten free and egg free. It’s important to find a gluten-free specific recipe, as I’ve come to find out on more than one (unfortunate) occasion, because the various wheat substitutes don’t cook the same way, or for the same length of time, as their deliciously gluten-y counterparts. So we followed Smashed Peas & Carrots’ recipe and gathered all the ingredients. Then I added a unicorn to the picture just to be trendy. Cute, right?

Pancake Mix Muffins /from Smashed Peas & Carrots\

Prep time: 5 mins // Cook time: 14 mins

Serves: 12 muffins

Ingredients

2½ cups pancake mix

½ cup granulated sugar (or evaporated cane juice)

1½ cups milk (almond, soy, or coconut works well too!)

¼ cup butter, melted

May add mix-ins such as: ½ cup fresh blueberries, ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (we like Enjoy Life brand), or top with cinnamon sugar before baking!

Instructions

Place all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and mix until well incorporated but do not over mix.

Add in mix-ins of your choice and fold into the batter.

Fill greased muffin cups ⅔ full.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 14-16 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!

Makes 36 mini muffins or 12 large muffins

So we did all that stuff, mostly. Except I didn’t have any fun mix-ins, because, you know, it’s me. And since my kids are tiny humans with less than perfect measuring skills, they didn’t quite “fill the greased muffin cups ⅔ full.” They filled them like this:

But while my 20 month old was busy with his dutiful scooping, he totally had what I affectionately refer to as “Baby Think Face,” which is when the kids are concentrating on a task so hard, it chubs out their baby cheeks and I SWOON AT THE SIGHT. Makes all this baking fuss super #worthit.

Oh, and I should also add that one really awesome thing we DO have going for us on the baking front is that my husband made those awesome learning towers you build from pieces of wood attached to an Ikea stool. So our kids look SUPER CUTE at the counter, being all tall enough to reach stuff.

If you’re intrested, we straight-up copied these plans for the towers: [http://www.mintinthemiddle.com/2012/11/lucy-recommends-learning-tower.html] from Mint In The Middle. Except I didn’t have time to paint ours all cute. Because kids.

Anyway, the muffins. They turned out pretty funny:

So then I scooped a second pan with my masterful adulting skills and they turned out fairly normal:

The kids gobbled up both types of muffins all the same. And really liked them! And that made me happy. Until I surveyed the true extent of the kitchen duty damage: piles and piles of wet paper towels, soggy with batter slopped on top of aaaaall the kitchen utensils.

But, I mean, cleaning up ridiculously messy messes is basically our everyday anyway. And just lookit my 3 year old’s happy wittle rainbow pancake muffin smile. Like I said, I’m a sucker for a happy kid.

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Fare & Square

Happy Take a Taste Tuesday! This week I have partnered with Fare and Square, a meal preparation service that is local to Columbus. Fare and Square offers individual curated meals and a la carte proteins and sides to allow you to mix and match to create a meal of your choosing. You can order what you need from a menu that changes weekly. Orders need to be placed by 3 p.m. on Friday, and the food is delivered on Sunday afternoon (or you can pick up on Monday or Tuesday free of charge).

Now that we are back on our school schedule, life is a definitely more hectic than it was this summer. By the time we are home as a family, the last thing I want to do is spend time in the kitchen prepping dinner. What is wonderful about this particular meal prep service is that the food comes fully prepared, so all that is required is reheating it in the microwave or oven. (I tend to think the food tastes better reheated in the oven, but the microwave is faster.)

Each week the menu changes to offer a variety of food combinations that I wouldn’t of thought to pair (or have the skill to create). The food choices have gotten me out of my comfort zone a few times, and I love that it allows me to introduce my daughter to new foods that are prepared well. The menu offers a variety of sides that generally wouldn’t be considered your typical “kid food,” but that is alright with me. I have watched my daughter try a variety of new foods that would not have been on her plate had it not been for Fare and Square.

This has been my go to meal preparation service for the past year.  When I know our week is going to be especially busy, I try to plan ahead so a well balanced dinner is waiting for us at home. Fare and Square is also my go-to baby gift for new families. It’s a wonderful way to provide a new mom with a healthy well balanced meal and not subject her to my cooking. If you are ready to give it a try be sure to use the code saynplaycolumbus15 for 15% off your entire purchase. If you’re looking for some meal planning advice, I highly recommend the pork tenderloin, gnocchi, and summer vegetables as a meal combination.

Disclaimer: We were provided free meals from Fare and Square in exchange for a collaborating post. We have previously been enthusiastic customers of this meal preparation service and were excited for the opportunity to partner.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Take a Taste Tuesday with Lakes and Lattes

Hi! I’m Malini. I have a 4 year old and she just LOVES to cook with me. I wanted to share an easy recipe that’s great for cooking with kids. I call it “Karina’s Cheesy Puffs.”
When I’m not playing around in the kitchen, I’m off traveling the world. Basically, I’m obsessed with all things food + travel. You can follow along with our family adventures on my blog, Lakes and Lattes.
Karina’s Cheesy Puffs Recipe:
Before I get started, I like to gather all my supplies. You’ll need the following:
Baking sheet, covered with parchment paper
Cutting board
Small bowl
Tablespoon
Small cup of water
Pastry brush
Cookie cutters
Fork
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
Grated cheese (We like cheddar or parmesan at our house, but any grated cheese will work)
Instructions:
A grownup will need to preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
My 4 year old can complete the rest of these tasks, but use your best judgement if you kids are younger. They may need some additional help from you.
1. Crack an egg in the bowl
2. Add 1 tablespoon water, and whisk together with a fork
3. Put thawed sheet of puff pastry on cutting board and cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. I like to use medium sized cutters.
4. Place on baking sheet, and using pastry brush, lightly paint the cut-outs with the egg wash.
5. Sprinkle on your favorite cheese.
A grownup will need to put the shapes into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
These are delicious on their own as a snack but my favorite way to serve these is with tomato soup!  Great for dunking!
While these never make it past a few minutes in our house, the best way to store leftovers is in an airtight container.
Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!