It is always fun to make seasonal cookies. It is even more fun to include children in this tradition. Baking is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen. Measuring, pouring, cracking and mixing are all things that kids can do. I was very excited to make some Easter cookies and include the pastel M & Ms inside the batter. I have made this recipe many times and shared it with you earlier in the blog. This sugar cookie recipe from @averiesunshine is simply the best! Follow exactly what the recipe says, and do not skip placing the dough in the fridge. Remove cookies from oven when they are just slightly golden around the edges. From the top they don’t even look cooked, but I promise they are soft and chewy. I added some pink, purple, green, yellow, blue jimmies and sprinkles to the batter. I love the crunch that it gives this soft buttery cookie.
With many families leaving for warmer destinations in the next three weeks I decided to tackle the plane snack dilemma. I am not sure if it is just my son, but when we travel his stomach is a never-ending empty pit! It does not matter if we are on a plane or road tripping he is continuously hungry when we travel. We all know the key to a successful trip is to keep children occupied and happy, and this can be accomplished with some good snacks, new colouring book and a movie. Here are some easy and portable ideas for travel with kids.
- Granola bars, we especially like Lara bars or you could make your own.
- Granola bites, these small one bite balls are great for kids. I buy Made Good as they are lunchbox friendly.
- Snack or trail mix, purchased or homemade both work very well. For an easy homemade mix add: Cheerios, Chex, cheddar fish or bunnies, raisins or dried cranberries, pretzels and chocolate chips or m&m’s.
- Applesauce, the easiest travel kinds are the ones in the squeeze pouch.
- Mini muffins, if you have a stash in your freezer these are great for taking on trips.
- Sliced apples or other sliced fruit.
- Cheese string or Babybel cheese.
- Wraps, I usually pack a peanut butter and jam wrap for my son, it keeps well and easy to eat on the-go.
- Gum and a small bag of gummy candies. This always makes their eyes light up when they get the have two treats during travel, and may have the ability to calm an upset child!
The recipe that I used for the Leprechaun bait is another tried and tested recipe from my grandma Illa. She made these every Christmas, rolled them in red and green sprinkles and kept them in a Christmas box. I changed a few things with this recipe, but it is mainly the same one she used for many years. Instead of making large popcorn balls, I made them kid size, and rolled them in all things green.
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
1/4 cup of butter
32 large marshmallows
8 cups of popcorn (you can use an air popper or stove)
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkles of any kind (I used shamrocks and green jimmies)
In the top of a double boiler heat butter and marshmallows till melted. Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl. When marshmallow mixture is melted add it to the popcorn. Stir to combine. Leave this mixture to cool for a few minutes as it is too difficult to form into balls when it is hot. To make smaller popcorn balls I used a spoon slightly larger than a tablespoon(for ease of rolling cover your hands in butter). The recipe made between 30-35 small balls. Once formed roll in desired sprinkles. Store in an airtight container, but really just eat them!
During day-to-day life you can lose sight of the importance of spending quality time with the ones that you love. Today my son said, “Mom we are getting low on protein balls, we’d better find a recipe and make some more.” And just like that I was reminded to pause and spend some one-on-one time with my growing-up too fast little boy. We sat together and looked for a picture that appealed to him, and then together we gathered ingredients, measured, mixed and rolled. When we were finished he looked at me and said, “That was really fun!” In our busy lives don’t forget to take time and spend time with those that you love. Our newest protein ball recipe can be found here.
Enjoy your weekend,
It seems that at least twice a month we have pancakes on the weekend. Although we do purchase a buckwheat pancake mix, our most favourite is banana pancakes. I have tried many different recipes for banana pancakes, but found one by Nigella Lawson that is amazing! The addition of buttermilk make them light and fluffy with just a hint of banana. In our house my son and husband top their pancakes with butter and maple syrup. For me, I enjoy them with fresh fruit and some greek yogurt. You can find the recipe for Nigella’s pancakes here
Meal updates from last week:
All meals last week were very successful. When making the sheet pan meatloaf I did not bake my potatoes in the oven as instructed. Instead I made mashed potatoes like I normally do: boil then mash with milk and butter. The turkey skillet was better this time than any other time I have made it, and we are not sure why? I did not end up making the crock pot pulled chicken. I will report back after I have made it.
It is a miracle! We will be eating at home Monday-Friday. The end of the week is supposed to get nicer, so I will be using the barbeque.
- Greek sheet pan dinner from @skinnytaste. This recipe is from her latest cookbook and cannot be found on her site, but I did find this link for the recipe.
- Thai-style chicken legs from @smittenkitchen I will serve this with steamed broccoli and rice. I don’t usually use legs, instead I use thighs and they work just the same.
- Pork tenderloin with mustard sauce from @marthastewart I will serve this with roasted carrots and potatoes.
- Blt salad with buttermilk dressing from @marthstewart don’t let this salad fool you. It is filling and delicious and perfect for dinner.
- Chicken caesar burgers from @iowagirleats I will serve this with some waffle fries. Have you ever tried the Alexia waffle fries? They are seasoned and delicious, a perfect pairing with this burger.
For snacks this week I will be trying another new energy ball from @twopeasandpod This one is an oatmeal raisin version. Last week I found a recipe for overnight oats that I had for breakfast twice. It was a winner, so this week I will be making the coconut cream pie oats again. I am going to top it with some banana and fresh mango. If I have some extra time I will be making these!
Don’t forget to print the dinner-list-5 for ease at the grocery store.
I find that after a long weekend it is really difficult to get back into the groove. It is especially challenging when Monday was a holiday, and now it feels like you are a day behind. I was looking for an easy weeknight meal that was not going to take an hour to prepare. When I came across the recipe for sausage and spinach spaghetti pie I knew I had found what I was looking for. Comforting and flavourful this is an easy meal to add to your repertoire. I served the pie with a caesar salad, but you could also sauté some broccolini or any other family favourite. You could substitute the spinach with kale or another hearty green. What is even better is that this recipe comes from @cookinglight, so even though it is pasta it must be good for you?!
Meal updates from last week:
All of the recipes from last week turned out well. The lasagne soup is still a household hit, and tastes even better the next day. The teriyaki bowl was very flavourful adding the grilled pineapple gives it a sweetness that goes well with the sauce. The turkey burgers were also very tasty. My son and husband had theirs on buns, I ate mine over a bed of bib lettuce topped with tzatziki and kalamata olives.
This week we will be eating at home Monday to Thursday and then heading to the mountains for the weekend. I will be packing my crock pot in the car and taking our Friday night meal on the road to eat when we arrive. I have been following Cooking Light on Instagram and have been very impressed with their recipe ideas. I spent some time this week going over recipes on their website, and will be trying a few to see how they taste.
- Chicken gyros bowls from @cookinglight I will be serving this over brown rice and not adding the kale.
- Sheetpan meatloaf dinner from @cookinglight (we are a huge fan of matloaf so it will be interesting to see what we think about this recipe)
- Skillet turkey pot pie from @tasteandtell (I have made this recipe several times and it is very delicious. For the biscuits the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of buttermilk. I have never found that this is enough, so I always add double so that the dough is wet and not too dry)
- My boys will be eating fried egg sandwiches for dinner, as I will be out for dinner Thursday.
- Slow cooker bbq pulled chicken from @skinnytaste (this recipe is from her fast and slow cookbook, and cannot be found on her website. You can find the recipe from dineanddish.com)
Breakfast this week will be cereal and overnight oats. If you don’t usually use almond milk in your oats then this week give it a try. I also enjoy coconut yogurt instead of plain, and use frozen berries instead of fresh. For snack I am going to give these peanut butter pretzel energy bites a try from @pinchofyum. I love the idea of peanut butter and pretzels together!
Save yourself some time by printing the dinner-list-4
I spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen, so much so that my husband refers to the kitchen as “my room”. As a working mom it is challenging to find the balance between family time and preparing nutritious and delicious nightly meals. The key to this balance is to include your children in the meal preparation process. Not only are you spending quality time together, but you are setting your kids up for a healthier future. They are learning skills that are not taught in school and will have a better understanding of where their food comes from. When children are involved in cooking their dinner they will be more apt to eat their dinner! You do not have to wait till your children are older to get them involved. Below is a list of ways that you can include your children in the kitchen.
- Pour ingredients into a bowl
- Mix dry ingredients
- Mix batter
- Wash fruits and vegetables
- Peel fruits and vegetables
- Roll out dough
- Crack an egg
- Cut soft foods with a dull knife
- Form balls for cookies or meatballs
- Wash dishes
- Set the table
- Fill and empty the dishwasher
For an amazing example of someone who includes their children in the nightly cooking process, have a look at mylovelylittlelunchbox.com or follow Kayla on Instagram @mylovelylittlelunchbox
Meal updates from last week:
The sheet-pan meal from Cafe Delites was amazing! This will become a staple in our house. The granola bars were also a hit. I was worried that the molasses flavour was too strong, but my son loved them. I also ate them crumbled up on a bowl of yogurt.
After spending another weekend away it is time to get back into the kitchen! It looks like this week is going to be a chilly one so I am including a family favourite and other comforting meals. We will be eating at home Monday-Thursday and heading out for dinner on Friday.
- classychicken from the Best of Bridge ladies. This is an all time family favourite. We have this with broccoli not asparagus and I use fresh not frozen. We eat this casserole over egg noodles with a side salad. If I am making this for a large group I always double the sauce as we enjoy this meal for leftovers.
- Crock pot shredded beef enchiladas from @iowagirleats
- Slow cooker kale and turkey meatball soup from @foodiecrush This recipe calls for kale, but I will be using spinach instead.
- Thai beef bowls from @howsweeteats
This week breakfast will be over night oats and cereal. I am going to try another new protein ball, cranberry vanilla from Recipe Runner. If I have time I found a new gluten free cookie recipe from @minimalistbaker it uses almond meal instead of flour.
Don’t forget to print your grocery-list-2!