It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Recipe swap! An edible meme.

I hate meal-planning. Hate it with a fiery passion. I sit with pen in hand to make up a menu, and my mind is suddenly and completely filled with the most impenetrable … nothing. Not a single idea percolates to the surface. There is nothing like the blankness of my mind when confronted with the need to plan a week’s list of meals. I grow restless at the very thought, the old fight or flight takes over, and I just want to drop that pen and run.

Darn these kids who surround me who constantly want to ingest things. What IS it with all this incessant eating, anyway? Jeez.

(Which is why I am so very, very grateful to be married to a man who plans the dinners. He was not so grateful to discover, shortly after he moved in, that he’d managed to find a woman who frequently forgets to eat… (“What? You want to eat again? Didn’t we just do that? Damn.”) But since he’s neither bossy nor passive, he didn’t rant and rave, or even stew with resentment. Nope, he just saw a niche and he filled it.

We now have a menu posted on the fridge, a dinner listed for every day of the week, meals for which he does the shopping. Oh, how I love this orderly, methodical, hypoglycemic man.)

In my last post, Amanda commented on the mention I’d made of sub-standard caregivers who feed their charges KD and hot dogs. Let me clarify here: I meant people who feed their children this stuff routinely. Though there are some who never, ever feed their children such nutritionally vacant foods (and bless your virtuous, self-disciplined, inspirational souls!), the vast majority of us cave in to convenience once in a while.

That means that yes, the tots at MaryP’s house get Kraft Dinner on occasion. Even baloney sandwiches, which, to me, are the ultimate in Bad Kid Food, and “food” only if you’re inclined to be generous with your definitions… Still, while it’s not 100% nutritional purity around here, they don’t get much junk, either.

Nor do they get much in the way of the North American idea of “kid-friendly” foods, so much of which is over-processed, high-sodium, high-fat dreck. Junk, by any other name.

They do eat a lot of leftovers. Yes, leftovers. At least once a week. I have never understood why people revile leftovers. Leftovers are efficient! And thrifty! Leftovers are time-savers! And most of all — leftovers are creative. Really. Take one meal, tweak it a bit to make a different one; that’s creative, and creative is interesting!

I do, of course, make lunches from scratch. As you’re probably all really curious to know what goes down well with the tots, I’ll share a couple of our favourites — and then, because I LOATHE planning meals and am always on the lookout for easy, nutritous meals (who isn’t?), I’m going to ask for your input.

We’re going to have a recipe swap — or share, more like.

I’ll post two of my favourite daycare recipes, nutritional food that can be put together in 20 minutes or less. Then it’ll be your turn.

1. Post one or two recipes on your blog,
2. link to this post, and
3. let us know in the comments where to find your terrific ideas!

Let’s stick to healthy recipes. Recipes that use the bare minimum of processed foods. (Frozen fruit or vegetables are fine; canned items, too, if they’re low sodium. Avoid processed, heat-and-serve or pre-fried elements.)

THEN, next Wednesday, I’ll post a list of all the recipes, linking back to your original post. Bookmark the page, and it’ll be your very own virtual recipe book of tried-and-true kid-friendly recipes!

Is that not a brilliant idea? Thanks, Amanda, for the inspiration!

My recipes:

1. Farmer’s Omelette
(Requires cast-iron frying pan, or at least, pan that can go from stovetop to oven)

-one egg per child
-one slice of bread per four eggs, torn or cut into half-inch bits. Absolutely no reason to cut off crusts — in fact, I’ll often use the end slice for this.
-vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Preheat cast iron pan on a medium burner, with about a tablespoon of oil in it.

2. Drop bread bits into a smallish bowl. Pour in sufficient milk to soak the bread. You want the bread nice and soggy, but you’d like to avoid leftover milk, which would be wasteful. (Unless one of the kids will drink it, bread crumbs and all!)

3. In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs, just long enough to mix them well. Pour the bread and milk mix into the eggs. Stir.

4. Pour the egg/bread mix into the heated pan. Cook until brown at the edges, with lots of tiny bubbles coming up all around the outside. (Takes, um… 5 minutes?)

5. Cover the surface of the omelette with grated cheese. I grate directly onto the eggs, and stop when there’s decent-sized heap.

6. Put into the oven for 15 minutes.

7. Cut into slices and serve.

This can be served hot or cold. My teenage kids always liked having a slice in their lunch. I serve it with cucumber slices, cooked carrots, or whatever vegetables we have on hand.

Easy Tacos

This one assumes you had some kind of beans for dinner the night before. Baked beans, lentils, chick peas, it doesn’t really matter. Or you can just use a tin of beans — black beans, kidney beans, whatever. (If you’re using tinned baked beans, do make sure it’s low sodium.)

soft tortilla shells
beans (leftovers!)
salad (leftovers!)
salsa (most kids prefer mild, but some love spice. Don’t assume you can’t serve spicey stuff to little ones. Give them the chance to experience it — but make sure you do it separate from a particular meal, because you don’t want them thinking they hate ALL tacos just because of the too-hot salsa!)
whatever other fillings you like

1. Put one tortilla in front of each child. (Or half of a tortilla, depending on the child and/or the size of the tortilla.)

2. Mash the beans in a bowl. Smear a couple of tablespoons of bean goop onto the middle third of each tortilla with the back of a spoon.

3. Help the children to sprinkle the tortilla with their choice of other foods: thinly sliced lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomato chunks, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, whatever. Keep the food to the centre third of the tortilla, otherwise you’ll quickly have too much in there to make a tidy roll — the poor tykes won’t even be able to get their mouths round it! This is a recipe where the making of it is so much fun that it’s very easy to go overboard.

4. Fold up the bottom third of the tortilla, then roll from one side to the other to enclose the beans and vegetables. (The folded bottom holds the stuff in.)

Because they get to choose what goes in there, this is a great favourite. My only rule is that they must have at least one protein (I go for the beans) and one vegetable in there.

July 30, 2008 - Posted by | food, memes and quizzes | , , ,


  1. I don’t think I have any suitable recipes to swap, but I’m going to appropriate that omelet recipe. It sounds like an easy, lazy-night family dinner. Thanks!

    With a salad and soup and maybe even a dinner roll or two, it’s a great evening meal. With some carrot sticks, it’s good for lunch. As long as you have milk, eggs, bread and cheese, you can make it. It can be served hot or cold. So many ways to eat it, so many reasons to like it. No surprise it’s been a family favourite for years!

    Comment by Florinda | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  2. My hero! These are recipes I (1) can theoretically make, (2) actually recognize all necessary ingredients of, and (3) might actually be willing to eat!

    I have no such recipes. Which is why we eat spaghetti. And spaghetti. And noodles with chicken broth. And more spaghetti. And Hamburger Helper. And BAKED spaghetti. And mac & cheese. And generally all things pasta and pre-made.

    I am REALLY looking forward to the final “recipe book” – I hope there are more creative folks out there than myself, who are willing to share!

    Glad you liked them. You’re a family of pasta fans? Let’s see, now… toss two cups of chopped green peppers, baby corn, asparagus, cucumbers, broccoli bits, corn niblets and cauliflower florets, grated carrot, or whatever crisp and crunchy vegetables you have on hand (two cups total, not each vegetable!), mix together with four cups of cooked pasta of your choice, drizzle a couple of tablespoons of tangy salad dressing (not creamy) over it all, toss, and ta-dah! Pasta salad. (Or pasta prima vera.) It’s a pasta dish, but lots of nutritious veggies — and easy? Your ten-year-old could make it, with a little supervision.

    Comment by Rini | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  3. I am not the cook in our house, so I can’t offer much, but one recent discovery that has taken Pumpkinpie by storm is to spread peanut butter (allergies not an issue in our house) in a whole wheat tortilla and wrap it around a banana sliced lengthwise. The perfect size for her little hand. It’s a good snack, although fruit is our current favourite and summer standard. We also do grilled cheese – with 12-grain bread and real cheddar – as a pretty quick weekend lunch staple, or pasta with butter and parmesan in a pinch, since those things are always in stock. Sides of carrots and cucumber slices add in some extra veggie matter with most meals.

    Comment by kittenpie | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  4. I love this!!!

    Noodles ala daddy…. noodles with butter, garlic salt & red wine vinegar…..

    I posted a couple ideas myself….

    Comment by K @ The Homestead | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  5. My kids love “cheese sandwiches”. Don’t be fooled by the name, there is nothing sandwich-ish about it.
    On each plate, I put cut up raw veggies. Broccoli and carrots are the current favorites. Then a rolled up piece of sandwich meat (low sodium turkey), a few pieces of cheese, and whatever else is in the fridge. Sometimes it’s fruit. Sometimes, mini wheat pitas. I also include (and this is key!) a dollop of tzatziki dip. I don’t cook, can you tell?!

    Comment by Tammy | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  6. I nearly forgot – the humble baked potato

    Spray with a little oil and sprinkle a little salt.
    Bake in a medium to hot oven for about an hour until the skin is crispy and the potato is soft inside.

    Cut off a “lid”, scoop out the potato carefully to preserve the potato skin “shell”, and mash with a selection of the following:
    -sour cream, cream cheese, butter or plain yoghurt
    -grated cheese
    -fried bacon pieces
    -drained tuna
    -finely chopped herbs eg parsley, spring onions/scallions etc
    -vegies eg: fried mushrooms, thawed frozen peas, sweet corn kernels, grated carrot, baked beans, sliced olives etc
    -anything else you can think of!

    Re-stuff the potato shell.
    Sprinkle a little grated cheese on top
    Bake with the lid alongside for a few more minutes until the lid is super crispy and the topping has browned.
    Allow to cool a little before serving with the lid on top.

    Comment by Altissima | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  7. we do a meal like tammy suggested, but i call it “pickies lunch” (because you can pick it up with your fingers–not because you’re a picky eater!) i usually put string cheese, apple slices, crackers, cucumbers–whatever strikes the mood! my little boy is not much for sandwiches but he loves fruit and tomatoes–so anything that will get him to eat more protein will help me a lot. also, we are trying an elimination diet with him–eggs, at the moment! so eating is a challenge! thanks for your ideas mary!

    Comment by Dana | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  8. I just put up an easy frito salad reciepe on my site. Yum!

    Comment by Jessica | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  9. […] more fun recipes, and to share your own, go HERE. They are putting together a list of all the good ones to share and will send them out next week. […]

    Pingback by Frito Salad « FroggyLove | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  10. This is a recipe for an easy vegetarian dish –

    Comment by bermudaonion | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  11. I don’t have kids but I do have a very picky husband. We tend to eat a lot of pasta or meat & potatoes but lately I’ve been attempting to get him to branch out. We got a basket of fresh produce from a friend so he was forced (ha!) to try some vegetables!

    Comment by June | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  12. […] July 31, 2008 by zaynasgarden MaryP at It’s Not All Mary Poppins is hosting this terrific recipe swap meme. […]

    Pingback by A Recipe Meme « Zayna’s Garden | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  13. […] it grew out of the desire of a bunch of geeks working for the US Gov’t.  One of her friends, MaryP, has a meme on sharing recipes for kids (also handy for the eternal bachelor out there).  I love […]

    Pingback by · · · · Frustrated.TV » Blog Archive » Procastination | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  14. […] P at It’s Not All Mary Poppins had the brilliant idea of sharing kid-friendly recipes. Here are a few of my […]

    Pingback by Recipe Swap « Never The Twain | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  15. the kids love this soup and have no idea that they are eating their veggies;

    Cream of Vegetable soup

    2 tbsp butter
    1/2 cup of diced carot
    1/2 cups of Rutabaga, diced
    1/2 cups of celery, diced
    1/4 cups fo potatoes
    1/2 cups of minced onion
    1/2 cups of leek, diced
    1 cup of fresh tomatoes, diced (or a can of whole tomatoes)
    3 cups of chicken broth (if condensed, 1can & 1can of water)
    salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 cups of cream (15% or 35%), can be replaced by reg. milk

    my version of how to do this;
    dice everything and put everything in your soup pot
    cook at med-high temp until is starts to boil
    then lower heat to low-med for 20 to 30 min
    put through food processor to have a smooth soup
    add crème
    (if you are freezing the soup don’t add the crème. Wait until you thaw the soup)
    *** I always add broccoli and cauliflower, 1 full leek, cabbage if I have some
    you can get really creative with this

    Comment by Marie | August 1, 2008 | Reply

  16. Wow, these are great!

    My quickie meal is mini pizzas. I bought a little squeeze bottle of pizza sauce (bottle looks like a tiny ketchup bottle) and squirt some on whatever bread-like objects I’ve got around (hamburger buns, English muffin, pita, tortilla), sprinkle with cheese (I buy the pre-grated jalepeno style) and whatever cut up veggies are available. I don’t eat much meat, but you could easily chop up a leftover chicken breast or cook some extra bacon or even *gasp* traditional pizza meat!

    Comment by Karin | August 2, 2008 | Reply

  17. Oh yeah, I forgot. Bake it all in the oven until the cheese melts. I usually just use the “toast” setting on my toaster oven, or 15 min or so at 350.

    Comment by Karin | August 2, 2008 | Reply

  18. Just popping in to say that I made your Farmer’s Omelet recipe today and it was a big hit! Thanks!

    Comment by mamadragon | August 5, 2008 | Reply

  19. […] Farmer’s frittata, carrot salad (Frittata is based on the farmer’s omelette, but with a generous addition of fine-diced assorted vegetables, whatever I have in the fridge. […]

    Pingback by Menu Monday « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | November 5, 2012 | Reply

  20. […] Farmer’s omlette, braised […]

    Pingback by Menu Monday « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | January 21, 2013 | Reply

  21. […] First Course: Parmesan tomatoes* Main Course: Farmer’s Omelette Dessert: Bananas and […]

    Pingback by Menu Monday « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | February 25, 2013 | Reply

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