It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Menu Monday

First course: salad
Main course: black bean enchilada bake
Dessert: gooey cranberry squares

First course: corn niblets
Main course: toad in the hole
Dessert: cantaloupe

First course: cooked carrot sticks
Main course: lentil soup and baking powder biscuits
Dessert: clementines

First course: winter vegetable salad
Main course: Cuban shredded beef on rice
Dessert: cantaloupe

First course: cauliflower au gratin
Main course: stuffed green peppers (vegetarian version)
Dessert: Timbits

As always, if there’s a recipe you’d like to have, just ask!

November 25, 2013 Posted by | food, health and safety | , , | 1 Comment

Menu Monday

Monday: Pork meatball banh mi (only mine was turkey, because that’s what we had), grated carrot salad, roasted asparagus and mushrooms

Tuesday: Falafels, tabouli

Wednesday: Macaroni and cheese (home-made, with minced broccoli and cauliflower in it)

Thursday: Chicken-ginger stew*, biscuits, cucumber salad

Friday: Tofu in peanut sauce, mixed cooked vegetables (we have carrots, there’ll probably be cauliflower and broccoli leftover from Wednesday.)

*If you follow that link, you’ll see the recipe is for soup, not stew. My lovely husband is not a fan of soups, however delicious, but he does like stew. It’s a texture thing, and you know, though I do love soup, I get the texture thing. Happily, it’s a pretty simple thing to turn a soup into a stew: thicken the broth and toss in more stuff to bite on, and there you go! I often thicken broth with pureed squash or (less often) potato, or occasionally, for a protein punch, pureed chick peas, but this time I’ll just use flour, since I don’t want to change the taste of the soup that much. (Never made it before; want to know what it tastes like before I really alter it!)

May 28, 2012 Posted by | food, health and safety | , , | Leave a comment

Baking Powder Biscuits

Ask, and you shall receive. Cate wanted the recipe for baking powder biscuits, so here it is. I make these all the time — so often that I don’t use the recipe any more, just toss things in a bowl until it looks right, so I had to go look it up for the proportions. My version is from the More With Less cookbook (where it’s called simply “Basic Biscuits”). I got the recipe from a cookbook, I got the name from my grandmother, who made them without a recipe for decades, but I never got her to show me how! Silly.

Anyway. Baking Powder Biscuits

Preheat oven to 400F

Sift together:
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Cut in:
1/4 cup shortening

Add all at once, stirring till a soft ball is formed:
3/4 cup milk.

Plop dough out onto floured counter, knead lightly 20 – 25 times.

Now the recipe tells you to “roll or pat to 1/2″ (1 cm) thick and cut with floured glass or cookie cutter“. Sometimes I do that, particularly if there’s some reason we want shapes — hearts for Valentine’s Day, that sort of thing. But usually what I do is make a double batch and then rip off golf-ball sized chunks, and plop them into an ungreased 8×8 or 9×9” pan. I love the texture of the golden-brown rough surface, and the contrast of the soft and white insides. (It’s also a personal quirk: To me, if you roll it, it’s a cookie, not a biscuit. Cookies are flat(ish); biscuits are round.)

However you form them, put your biscuits on an ungreased pan and bake: 10 – 12 minutes for the rolled biscuits; 18 – 20 for the balls.

Good with butter, good with jam, good with gravy. Fancy them up by adding a half-cup of shredded cheese, and then they’re cheese biscuits. Easy!

February 13, 2012 Posted by | food | , , | 10 Comments

Dipping sticks

Nothing rude, just what we had for lunch today! First off, they each received about a half cup of cucumber and orange pepper slices. When those were done (never put the rest of the meal on the table until the vegetables have been ingested; very motivating), I brought out the main course:

Dipping Sticks.

It occurred to me as I served it that this would be another good entry in the Quick-and-Healthy toddler food sweeps. (Recall that I’m hoping for lots of good, healthy recipes for small children?)

I’ve long said that kids will eat styrofoam if they’re allowed to dip it, and today’s lunch proved the point. Because Dipping Sticks? Really? They’re firm tofu, cut into fingers and deep-fried in an inch or two of oil, lifted out with a slotted spoon, cooled for a minute or two on paper towels, then served with … this is the important part … a tablespoon of plum sauce each for dipping.

They devour them, and ask for more! Of course, deep-fried anything is just about the very least healthy way to serve it, but I do use olive oil, and I do blot them thoroughly before serving — and it’s tofu!

And why do I not call them that, instead of with the cutesy euphemism? Because some of them are convinced that they DO NOT LIKE TOFU. If I call them tofu sticks, it would be a struggle to get them to eat it. Call them Dipping Sticks, though, and they vanish in the burp of a toddler.


August 1, 2008 Posted by | food | , , , , | 6 Comments

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 | , , , | 21 Comments