Archive | June, 2012

The Mommy Files – My Kids Won’t Eat THAT

30 Jun

My kids are no different than any other person on this planet.  They have their likes.  They have their dislikes.

But more often than not I hear from so many moms, “you are so lucky, my child would never eat that”

I really dont’ think it has anything to do with luck, or my children being that different.  I think it has much more to do with the approach we take to dinner, and food in general.

So here are some things that we do that has nothing to do with the actual food we are serving but more a mindset about dinner.

1. I am not a short order cook, I do love to cook, but I cook one meal per meal.  We have allergies in this house but we still eat the same thing, I do not make special meals.

2.  We eat dinner together.  We do not eat it in front of the t.v., we sit at the table, and we talk to each other, not our phones or our electronics.  In fact we have always had a “no toys at the table” rule, it has served us well.

3.  We say grace.  Truly, it forces all of us to stop what we’re doing and offer up thanksgiving for the food we’re about to eat.  It re-focuses our energies from what we were doing to the task at hand.

4.  80% of the time you will like what I cook, I cannot always make five people happy 100% of the time.  But if you are in the 20% today please read rule 5….

5.  If you don’t like something you still need to try one bite, to see if you like this dish.  And if you still don’t like it, you can tell me without whining, complaining, fussing, pouting, shouting, crying, or being rude.  This is a life lesson that will serve you well in many areas, learn it now when you’re only a kid so it becomes second nature by the time you’re an adult.

6.  If you’ve tried dinner and do not like it and have told me in a polite way, you may be done.  But you are done.  No other food is available to you, I will not make you a sandwich, you do not get dessert.

7.  Children learn by example.  My husband, bless him, is very good about eating whatever is served.  No complaints.  If your husband is complaining about the food, what makes you think your children won’t?  Likewise SW knows that he is the oldest, he is the example.  He does not like mushrooms, he never has, I love mushrooms, guess what, mushrooms end up in our dinners.  He knows not to complain, that if he complains the younger two will not eat the dish either, but if he quietly pulls them out of the dish, the younger two are non the wiser.

8.  From the time my kids were old enough to walk, they help set the table and they take their dishes to the sink when they are done eating.  Engage them, make them a member of team family, when they feel like they matter and are a part of something bigger they’re a lot less likely to complain!

I know that this is sometimes easier said than done – this doesn’t happen over night either.  These rules stem from bad experiences on our end, don’t think it has always been easy!  But also don’t think it is hopeless!  Work at it, get your family on board!

There are few things I cherish like I cherish sharing food with my family and talking about their days.

Do you have tried and true tricks that work in your house?  Share them below!

Thursday Fun – Ivory Soap

28 Jun

Are you a pinterest junkie?  I totally am.  I love to find ideas to do with my kids, things to cook, things to make, ways that I will never actually decorate my house but in pretend Ule-Land I want to…. If you’re in to it like I am, lets be pinterest friends!  Find me here!!!

So when I saw this idea I had to pin it for later.  This comes from Our Best Bites and truly is genius.  Sticking Ivory Soap in the microwave?  Genius!  And I love this idea because it it on the cheap and the kids had a BLAST.

It is simple to do.

You need ::

Ivory Soap

A microwave

Wax paper

Put a piece of wax paper in the microwave and stick your unwrapped bar of Ivory soap on in there.  Set your microwave for a few minutes on high power and watch you soap poof up.  You don’t have to do the full 2 minutes, just until your bar is how you want it.

Now my microwave was waaaaaaaaay too dirty to take a picture of.  But here are my sweet babes faces watching it puff up.

And then we took it outside to play, because it is super crumbly and I didn’t want it all over my house.  (I promise SW is happy, I think the sun was just in his eyes…)

Then they decided they wanted to see what happened when you put water on it and this happened…. I don’t blame them.

Have you tried this?  What fun things did you do with it?  Leave a comment below!

Wordless Wednesdays

27 Jun

Simple Gazpacho – Dairy Free

25 Jun

Ah…. summer.  Sun-kissed kiddos, smelling of suntan lotion, wearing their bathing suits all day long, adorning bandaids on their knees.  There is no denying it is hot out.  Gazpacho is the perfect soup for hot summer days.  It requires no cooking and is full of fresh veggies, it is a great way to end a hot day without feeling too weighed down or heavy.  This absolutely reenergizes my kids to enjoy the longer days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you need:

1 lb already cooked, cocktail shrimp from the butcher’s case (if you are a vegetarian simply omit this step and consider adding a diced avocado or two instead!)

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, diced, minced, crushed, whatever is easiest for you!

1 small red onion, sliced

3 celery stalks, diced

6 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 cucumbers, chopped

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

4-ish cups of tomato juice – if you like your soup thick, add less, if you like it thiner, add more

salt and pepper to taste

hot sauce to taste

What you do:

Pull the tails off your cocktail shrimp and chop up, because I want a really coarse chop, I’m not too concerned with perfection. Throw your shrimp in to the bowl you will be serving your soup in.

Throw all your veggies on the top of the shrimp.  Add the juice of your lemon, the vinegar, olive oil, and tomato juice.

Taste it.  Start adding salt, pepper, and hot sauce until you find the right blend for you and your family.

I throw my soup in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so it is nice and cool but you can serve immediately too!

That’s it!

No, seriously, that’s it!

Happy Eating!

Dairy Free Mac-N-Cheese

21 Jun

When I think of good mac-n-cheese I think of ooey, gooey, rich and creamy.  This recipe delivers!

What you need:

1lb macaroni noodles
1 medium butternut squash
8 oz + 4 oz cheddar cheese substitute
32 oz unsweetened milk substitute (I like coconut milk for the recipe)
3 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
3 Tablespoons Flour
your favorite butter substitute
salt and pepper to taste

What you do:
Set your oven to 400 degrees. Cut your butternut squash in half length wise and remove seeds. Place face-up on a cookie sheet and bake for one hour or until fork tender. Once cool enough to handle scrap out the squash and place in food processor with a tablespoon of butter substitute and salt to taste. Blend until you have a nice puree. Set aside.

Cook macaroni al dente – you don’t want it too soft, it will continue to cook in the oven.

In a cast-iron pot or dutch oven melt 3 Tablespoons of butter substitute and add 3 Tablespoons of flour, whisking to combine. Cook for about five minutes to make a nice roux. Slowly add your milk substitute and bring to a soft bubble.

Mix dry mustard in to milk and add 8 oz of cheddar cheese substitute. Cook until cheese has melted. Right now it is going to look really weak but fear not! Mix in your puree and watch the color become dark and rich!  I love this part because my kids are getting a healthy dose of a veggie and the color matches what the box mac-n-cheese tells us it should look like!

Bring your ooey gooey goodness back up to a boil, mix in your macaroni and top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes or until you have a nice crust on the top (my kids favorite part!)

Wordless Wednesdays

20 Jun

I wanted to start a new project :: wordless Wednesdays.

Simply one photo, no words.

Starting…. now.

Crock Pot Slow Cooker Dairy Free Mac-N-Cheese

15 Jun

Mac-n-cheese is always a favorite in our home.  Layers of gooey cheese and pasta, *swoooooon* seriously I even give some to the kids.  But when Dino-Man was first diagnosed as having issues with dairy we simply steered clear of this dish all together.  I didn’t know how to make it, I’m not a huge fan of nutritional yeast and that flavor, and I just wasn’t sure how to replicate the dish.

But don’t worry – that didn’t last long!  There are two ways we make Mac-N-Cheese in our house, this is the kids’ favorite, next week I’ll post my favorite, so stay tuned!  Updated: Find it here!

What you need:

1 lb elbow macaroni noodles

16 oz cheddar cheese substitute shredded

32 oz unsweetened coconut milk (or the milk substitute of your choice)

8 0z sour cream substitute – we used better than sour cream

3 – 4 Tablespoons ground dry mustard

:: As always, please read all packaged food before adding to your meal.  Food packaging is not consistent over    brands or even by region.  Please ensure that the food you are eating is safe for you and your family, and their needs. ::

Directions:

Mix the dry elbow noodles, milk substitute, sour cream, dry mustard and about one cup of water in the bottom of your crock pot.  Salt to your taste level, I probably added 3 – 4 teaspoons.  Layer cheese substitute on top of noodle mixture and cook on low for 1.5 hours.

After 1.5 hours mix the cheese in to the noodles and access moisture level.  At this point you may need to add more water, 1/2 – 1 cup.  You’re not going to over water it, you just want to keep it moist!  Replace lid and cook additional 1.5 hours or until the noodles are nice and soft.  Mix again and serve.

This is super creamy and my kids love it.  It is also easy and what busy parent doesn’t need easy?  My biggest tip is just keep an eye on it, if it starts to get dry just add more water, this is just going to vary by region and crock pot.

Dairy Free Lasagna

14 Jun

This may be the first recipe I ever created to be dairy free.  And it is without a doubt one of Dino-Man’s favorite.  All the veggies and rich flavor make this a hearty meal that is sure to please.  The fun thing with this recipe is you can mix it up, if your family prefers spicy, get your sausage and marinara sauce spicy, if you prefer mild, go mild.

What you need:

1lb Italian sausage – read your ingredients, some has dairy in it!

1 medium red onion, diced

8oz sliced, fresh, button mushrooms

4 small or 2 large zucchini, chopped in to bite sized bits

4 garlic cloves minced, diced, or crushed

1/2 cup bold, red wine like Merlot or a Cabernet

4 cups or two jars of marinara sauce – just like the sausage, read your ingredients, some put dairy in it

2 – 8oz bags of mozzarella cheese substitute

1 8oz package oven ready lasagna – I like American Beauty – dairy free and cooks up nicely!

:: As always, please read all packaged food before adding to your meal.  Food packaging is not consistent over brands or even by region.  Please ensure that the food you are eating is safe for you and your family, and their needs. ::

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Heat a large skillet over medium heat a couple of turns of vegetable oil.  Add sausage and brown.  (remove your sausage from casing prior to browning!)

Once your sausage is brown add your diced onion and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 additional minute.

Now add your mushroom and a dash or two of salt and cook until your mushrooms soften.  Deglaze your pan with your win and let cook until wine reduces by half.

Add chopped zucchini and 1 jar (or 2 cups) of marinara sauce, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

In a 9×13 pan spread 1/3 of the remaining jar of marinara sauce along the bottom of the pan to cover.  Place 3 pieces of uncooked pasta crosswise over the sauce.

Sprinkle 4oz of mozzarella cheese substitute evenly over pasta.  Spread 1/2 of the meat/veggie/marinara mix evenly over cheese covering pasta completely.

Again – Place 3 pieces of uncooked pasta crosswise over the sauce.  Sprinkle 4oz of mozzarella cheese substitute evenly over pasta.  Spread 1/2 of the meat/veggie/marinara mix evenly over cheese covering pasta completely.

Cover with 3 more pieces of uncooked pasta, evenly spread the remaining marinara from jar over the pasta and top with 8oz of a mozzarella cheese substitute.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake uncovered an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy!

**Certainly this dish could be made with traditional lasagna noodles.  I appreciate the ease of not having to boil the noodles beforehand.

***This dish is very hearty and does not need the cheese substitute to be delish!

Simple Thank You Presents

9 Jun

For the last year my boys have attended Royal Rangers at our church every Tuesday evening.  It was an hour and a half of wicked fun, Christ-centered goodness.  They learned Bible verses, first aid, knot tying, made derby cars (both boys ranked respectively first and second for the turtle award – we may have to google designs next year!)  and so much other rockin fun!

This week was their awards banquet so I wanted to make sure to say an extra big thank you to the men that volunteered their time week after week to our sweet guys.

The boys agreed that they wanted their thank you to be camping themed and after explaining that mommy’s budget couldn’t afford to buy them all tents (sorry guys!) we settled on s’mores kits and flashlights. Now this isn’t dairy free but still totally cute.

What you need:

Large Mouth Mason Jars (have I mentioned just how much I love mason jars?  Seriously, buy me a dozen, I will love you for-eva!)

s’mores makings (graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate)

snack sized baggies

small flashlights (I found these in the dollar section of the local craft store)

ribbon and fabric if you’re so inclined

Simply put your s’mores making goodies in the baggies and layer in your jar.  Cut a piece of fabric in to a square large enough to be screwed between the flat lid and the ring.  And then I cute the string (or ribbon) long enough to go around the rim of the jar twice, threaded the flashlight through it and we were done.

Now here is just how cheesy I am (you may never read my blog again after reading this), and note that the fabric had bees on it…  We attached a card, that both the boys signed, with this written on it:

“thank you for bee-ing the light to help me fall s’more in love with Jesus this year”

Yup, groan away.

Simply Me – Chicken and Veggie Dinner

8 Jun

As much as I love cooking, sometimes I just need simple.  But with Dino Man’s allergies simple cannot come out of a box.  Plus, out of a box is usually loaded with junk like way too much sodium, chemicals, and alien slime.

Tonight I made a very simple dinner with the ingredients I had on hand and the kiddos LOVED it!  Like SW asking, “Mom, can I have seconds (and thirds) of the veggies?” loved it.  Dude, totally!

Ingredients:

boneless/skinless chicken breasts, 1 package (that’s what, about 4?) chopped in to bite sized bits

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped in to small bites

a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach

3 – 4 Tablespoon coconut oil

a mix of colorful carrots (who knew they’re not only orange?!?!) about 1lb

3 zucchinis (yellow squash would work too, mine had just gone soft by the time I got around to using it! d’oh) sliced like french fries

olive oil

salt and pepper

:: As always, please read all packaged food before adding to your meal.  Food packaging is not consistent over brands or even by region.  Please ensure that the food you are eating is safe for you and your family, and their needs. ::

Heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Toss your carrots and zucchinis with a couple of teaspoons of the olive oil and a couple dashes of salt.  I put mine in a 9×13 pan and roasted for 45 minutes.

While your veggies are getting their roast on, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet pan over a medium heat.  Salt and pepper, to taste, your chicken and add to the coconut oil.

Saute up the chicken until no longer pink and add the sweet potatoes.  Stirring like a fool, let the potato cook for about 5 – 10 minutes, you don’t want it super squishy, but edible!!!  Then add your couple of handfuls of spinach and cook until wilted.

That’s it!  And the kids LOVED it!