Thursday, August 29, 2013

Breakfast Cups

This recipe is really great when breakfasts are seeming a little "blah" lately, or if you have to entertain. It's gourmet looking, although it's deceptively simple to make! We love that around here!

Serves: 4 people (2 cups per serving) 
Calories: 190 for two cups.

Eggroll wrapers (or wanton wrappers-those will make smaller cups)-8 wrappers
4 Eggs
Splash of low-fat milk (1%)
Oil spray
Several shakes of Garlic powder, onion powder & dried chives
1/4 cup Tomatoes, or other veggie
1/4 cup cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash hands and spray both sides of the eggroll wrappers with spray-oil and spread the oil evenly across the wrapper with your fingers. Do this for all 8 wrappers. Stack the wrappers and cut them down the middle. Spray your muffin pan (only 8 cups) with oil and make the cups by laying one halved wrapper in the cup (press it down into the cup) and lay another half perpendicular to it so that it forms a flower-looking cup. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden.

Meanwhile, scramble the eggs, adding the milk, salt, pepper, powered garlic, onion, chives and also your veggie(s). Spray the skillet with oil and cook low and slow. Sprinkle on cheese when it is about done cooking and evenly distribute them among the cups. Garnish with another sprinkle of chives.

My kids only eat scrambled eggs or pancakes for breakfast. (Kids will be kids.) So, this was a treat for them because it was something new for scrambies. They loved the crunch from the egg-wrappers.


It almost looked too pretty to eat; like a lotus flower.
I said almost.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sam, the artist.

The boys are a bit young to start preschool officially, so I decided to grab some preK workbooks nonetheless and continue working with them throughout this year.

My son, Sam, is the artist in the family. He will steal what paper he can (sticky notes, notebooks, my music!) and draw lines and say alphabet letters. They don't look like the actual letters, but it was a huge sign that it might be time to teach him how to draw a few of them.

I found this nice alphabet dry-erase board at Walmart to trace letters, and look forward to teaching him and his brother how to hold the pen and trace the little dashes, as well as continue their letter recognition.

Project: Butterfly Transformation

At the end of June, I wanted to do something educational that went along with one of their favorite books, "The Very Hungry Catepiller." Before we started the project, I had them color the life cycle of the butterfly from a coloring page I found online.

The boys and I made our own butterflies out of foam and wooden clothes clips (the ones without the springs). The boys adored this project, and it was a good project to lead into the discussion of how caterpillars transform into butterflies.

This is a great project for children preK to kindergarten under the supervision of the parent(s).

Wooden "Doll Pins"--1 per butterfly
Foam (rectangular pieces 4x6''' long)--2 pieces per butterfly
Foam decorative pieces
White Glue
Glue gun and sticks (please, only for the parents!)
White string (or better yet, fishing wire)
Googlie eyes
Plastic "Craft Lace"(about 3'' per butterfly, 1.5'' per antenna)

Fold the rectangular foam pieces in half and cut out the shape of the butterfly wings (you'll almost be cutting out the shape of the top portion of a heart with one side being smaller/shorter). Double up two wing foam colors of the child's choice and hot-glue them together and into the slit area of the wooden doll pin. Hot-glue the antennae to the top of the doll pin. After that, the child can white-glue their foam pieces and googlie eyes onto the butterflies. Attach the fishing wire or string onto the head and hang.

Another project to go along with the Butterflies is to make a cocoon, which is a good project to lead into discussion about the caterpillar/butterfly transformation while you are gluing the tissue paper strips on, as well as it being a good place to store the butterflies when not in use.

A variety of tissue paper, cut into stripes (do yourself a favor and stack them while you cut)
Mod podge glue (or make your own)
Wide paint brushes
1 Balloon
A piece of string or twine (to hang it while it dries)
Optional: glitter

Blow up the balloon to the size that you want your cacoon to be. Tie a string to the knot of the balloon. Pour the glue into a bowl. Lay a couple of layers of tissue onto the balloon and paint the glue onto the tissue until it is fully coated. Cover the entire balloon with many layers so that the cocoon isn't too flimsy. Hang it to dry. It will take up to 48 hours to dry. Once fully dried, cut a slit into the balloon and cut enough of the top opening off to fit the butterflies in. (Don't over cut the top though.)

We made a catapiller out of green construction paper chain loops and 1 red loop for the head.

This would be a great opportunity to make a caterpillar snack out of cucumbers (body) and tomatoes or strawberries (head). >>>PICTURES to come.

Visit THIS website from Simply Sprout to get coloring pages for the very hungry caterpillar.

Recommended book to read:

Turkey Burger Wrap

This shouldn't be anything new, but ways to lighten up burgers are:
-Lean meat
-No mayo
-Reduced fat cheese
-Lettuce wraps instead of buns

Add onions, tomatoes and the like, and you will wonder why you haven't tried it earlier!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Who hates buying expensive chicken nuggets? I do!
Who hates buying expensive chicken nuggets with artificial ingredients, fillers or preservatives? I do!

Now don't get me wrong. this will not taste exactly the same as the store-brand, and that's because there aren't any fillers in them, and you can pronounce all of the ingredients. It's like a cross between chicken nuggets and meatloaf, they are healthy and you know what's in them! Make a bunch and freeze them for quicker meals. Go ahead, puree a little bit of veggies (carrots or broccoli) and sneak them in sometime. Kids love food that is shaped, so grab all of your small cookie cutters.

Serves: about 6 (20+ nuggets, depending on shape)

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs  
  • In large bowl, combine chicken, 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs onto the rolling surface. Round into a ball, and roll out flat. Press into a cookie cutter for shaped nuggets or use a small round cutter to make circular nuggets.
  • Dip nuggets into bread crumb mixture (1/8 cup Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs) and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.
  •  Preheat oven to 375° F. Arrange nuggets on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Lightly spray nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional). Bake 20 minutes or until fully cooked, turning once half way through cooking. 
  • You can freeze the leftovers for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

 The kids seemed to enjoy it.

More Healthy Meal Ideas

Roasted Beet, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad:

Roast the beets with a little salt and pepper (and a drizzle of balsamic dressing) in the 400 degree oven for an hour until tender, sprinkle on salad with goatcheese, toasted walnuts & almonds and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Serve with a lean protein (this was a cheesey turkey sausage that I had on hand).

Ham-and-Cheese Noodle Salad: refer to FoodNetwork website for the RECIPE.
 This was very good. Even the husband loved this! It works very well with children/toddlers as well.

BBQ Chicken Packets: get recipe HERE.
My entire family love this, and it was very easy! It's a dinner winner!

Butternut Squash Au Gratin: get recipe HERE.
This was actually supposed to be a Speghetti Squash Au Gratin, but being in a hurry and not thinking things through at the grocery store...I bought the wrong variety. It was still very good.

Angry Birds Snack: make food fun!

My 2.5 year old boys are angry bird fanatics. Le Sigh. I've seen something like this made with strawberries, apples and cantaloupe, but I only had this on hand. It's not the most clear-cut of fruit characters, I know. The point is, make something that your children recognize (or point it out if they can't) and make snack-time fun...especially with fruits or veggies!