Quick for Kids

Lettuce Tacos

Lettuce tacosWhen I first approached my kids about having lettuce wraps for dinner I was greeted to a collective yawn. Not so when I mentioned we’d be having lettuce tacos. Sometimes, getting your kids to eat more greens is all in the phrasing.

 

You can fill your lettuce tacos with whatever fillings you usually use on taco night – or go for something different. We decided on a Thai-themed version.

 

Thai Taco Recipe

Ingredients

! head Boston or Romaine lettuce*

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. white pepper

Dash of cayenne pepper (opt.)

Salt to taste (I prefer sea salt on this one)

1/2 lime

 

Lettuce taco assembly

Thai slaw (opt.)

1 1/2 cups shredded Napa cabbage

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1 1/2 tbsps. Greek or Italian vinaigrette salad dressing (I use Matsos)

2 tbsps. mayo

1/2 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

(Toss together)

 

Optional ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Wash and clean the lettuce pieces – try to keep them as large as possible.
  2. Meanwhile, add the oil to a large saute pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the hot pan and saute until no longer pink. Stir in the garlic and seasonings. Finish cooking through (about 5-7 minutes total, depending on how small you diced the chicken pieces). Remove from pan; squeeze the chicken with the juice from the fresh lime.
  3. Lay out your DIY tacos with filling ingredients – lettuce pieces, chicken, red peppers, golden raisins, slaw, Sriracha and let your kiddos serve themselves.

 

*Use Boston lettuce leaves (for softer tacos) or Romaine lettuce (for a stiffer taco)

Lettuce tacos with sriracha

 

 

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Fancify Friday: Easy Chocolate Almond Footballs

Chocolate almond footballs

Admission: I’m a Broncos fan and fully expect them to win the Super Bowl this Sunday (even though Peyton Manning has a 0-4 playoff game record when it comes to temps under 40 degrees).

 

These easy chocolate almond footballs are a fun way to dress up your Super Bowl party table or top game-day cupcakes.

 

Here’s how to make them.

  1. Melt a few wafers of white almond bark in the microwave.
  2. Use a toothpick to draw the threads on chocolate almonds (tasty football stand-ins).
  3. Place the almonds on waxed paper to set. That’s it!

 

Football cupcake

 

 

 

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Hearty Apple Cider Waffles

Hearty Apple Cider Waffles pic

I’m happily drowning in apples around my house–we’re snapping up every last Honey Crisp apple until the season is over. But all those extra apples need a place to go (when we’re not munching on them). My idea? Waffles. To up the apple-y flavor I thinned the batter with apple cider and a touch of maple flavoring.

 

But I wanted these apple waffles to be filling enough to serve for dinner. So I used plain Greek yogurt for a dose of protein in the mix and added in some whole-wheat flour. Walnuts round out the nutrient boost to make these waffles worthy of dinner.

 

Recipe

Servings: 5 waffles

Prep time: 10 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup all-purpose, 1/2 cup whole-wheat)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 egg

4 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup apples, diced small

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup apple cider

1/4 cup  walnuts, chopped small

1/2 tsp. maple flavoring

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Whisk together yogurt, butter, milk, maple flavoring, and the egg.
  4. Stir in walnuts and apple dices; thin the batter with apple cider.
  5. Add batter to the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cook through.
  6. The waffle will be soft when you remove it from the iron and will then firm up as it cools.
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Pumpkin hummus

Pumpkin hummus closeup picPumpkin loves garbanzo beans–the proof is in the hummus. Add pureed pumpkin into your hummus for a subtle, earthy underlying flavor.

 

The basic recipe is fast and easy to put together:

1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans

4 tbsp. tahini

4 tbsp. pureed pumpkin

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. Drain beans (reserving liquid) and place them into a food processor along with the pumpkin.
  2. With the blade running add in the olive oil and half of the reserved bean liquid.
  3. Remove the top of the food processor, scrap down the sides and add salt and tahini.
  4. Adjust the texture and flavor of the hummus using seasoning and more pumpkin, bean liquid, and/or spices.

 

For pumpkin pie hummus:

Add 1/2-1 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) and more pureed pumpkin

 

For Lebanese pumpkin hummus:

Add 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, and the juice from one lemon

Pumpkin hummus pic

 

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5 Ways to Use Halloween Cookie Cutters

Halloween cookie cutters picForget the cookies. You can use Halloween cookie cutters for so much more. They’re an easy way to turn a ho-hum PB&J into a fun lunch surprise. (Well, we make PB&A sandwiches around our house–my youngest prefers agave over jam.)

 

Other ways to use cookie cutters:

•Make Halloween tortilla chips–baked or fried
Pack day-old rice into the cookie cutter and then serve it on each person’s plate
•Place one on each person’s dessert plate and then sprinkle with cocoa powder to leave an outline of the Halloween shape
•Press into hot-off-the pan grilled cheese sandwich
•Cook pancakes then press in the Halloween shape

 

Halloween Cookie Cutter Cat pic

 

 

 

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Fancify Friday: Add fruit to savory dishes

A kick of sweetness–courtesy of fruit–is just the thing to brighten the flavor of many savory dishes.

Strawberries on burger

My kids were intrigued when we added thinly sliced strawberries to burgers. The verdict? The tangy berries mixed in with the other fixins’ perfectly. We don’t add strawberries all the time–but I like to use what I have on hand to reinvent dishes we have all the time. Which brings me to salad…

Mangos on salad

I usually throw some sort of fruit into our salads–diced apples, peach wedges, sliced mangoes. Again, it’s a matter of using what’s in season (and on your counter) to bring new life to your old-standbys. Plus, cutting up fruit is a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen prep.

Mangos on salad with oriental dressing

 

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Raspberry picking time

Raspberries in bin It’s that time of year again. Break out the baskets and start picking! We brought home 4 baskets of berries from a nearby farm, Monroe’s Orchard.

Child picking raspberriesSome of our berries didn’t even survive the car ride home, but I’ve already frozen plenty so we can have fresh berries in the winter. Have you been raspberry picking yet?

Children picking raspberries

Raspberries

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Breakfast sliders

Breakfast slidersWe have brinner a lot around my house. Breakfast for dinner works for my busy crew since it’s quick to put together.

 

Ingredients for breakfast sliders:

Mini-buns–I get them in my grocery store’s deli section but Pepperidge Farms has slider buns available, Hawaiian rolls work well, too

Breakfast sausage patties and/or bacon slices–I’m hooked on Costco’s precooked bacon

Eggs–Whisk them and then cook as you would an omelet, removing them from the pan so that you can slice into squares to place on the patties

Cheese–optional, I like mine sans cheese but the kids prefer a thin slice of American cheese to meld the ingredients together

Tomatoes–sliced thin

 

Put ‘em together:

Cut the buns in half and let your kids layer what they want in their mini-sandwiches.

Heat the sliders in the microwave for a few seconds before serving. Option: We like to grill the sausage patties and then put them on the buns so they have more of a smoky flavor.

 

Add ons:

Make it a meal by serving the sliders with fruit salad and tater tots or homemade hashbrowns.

 

Dessert:

Waffle brownies, of course!

 

 

 

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Chocolate chalkboards

This is everything you need to make your chocolate chalkboards.

This is everything you need to make your chocolate chalkboards.

My kids couldn’t wait to try these chocolate chalkboards in this month’s Family Fun magazine.

These edible chalkboards are easy to put together and make for a cool back-to-school craft.

 

Supplies:

Regular-sized chocolate bars (like Hershey’s)

Chewy caramels

Powdered sugar

White sprinkles

Toothpicks

 

Directions:Chocolate chalkboards

  1. Use the toothpick to carve a message in the smooth side of a chocolate bar.
  2. Sprinkle enough powdered sugar on the message to fill the scratches.
  3. Carefully(!) blow the extra powdered sugar from off the chocolate (or rub it off with a napkin).
  4. Mold the caramels into a strip in your fingers. Note: You may need to microwave them at half power for a few seconds in the microwave to soften them.
  5. Press the caramel strips onto the chocolate bar to frame around it.
  6. Add the white sprinkles to look like chalk.
  7. That’s it! Eat once you’ve taken a picture–or during.

 

Hey, who's eating the chocolate chalkboards?

Hey, who’s eating the chocolate chalkboards?

 

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5 Cool Ideas for the 4th of July

Child drinking limeadeAs you’re getting ready your Fourth of July picnic fixins’ put your kids in charge of making one of these cool treats.

 

Watermelon limemade. Serve watermelon in cups instead of dishes with this sweet-tart drink combo.

 

5 Minute yogurt popsicles. Yogurt, fruit, freezer. That’s all you need for these icy treats.

 

Elvis ice pops. Frozen banana slices dipped in chocolate and then peanuts. Yeah, you won’t be able to eat just one of these.

 

Fruity animal mini popsicles. Pour your favorite fruit juice into animal molds.

Carved orange elephants. To dress up your picnic spread, have your kids make these animals out of oranges.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 11.43.56 PM

Elvis pops

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 11.43.44 PM

5 Minute yogurt pops

 

Now who’s ready for the holiday?!

 

 

 

 

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