Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day. I love eggs, french toast, hash, home fries & pancakes. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. The best thing about breakfast is our daughter also loves it. It is the one meal that I can usually count on her eating. I will admit that we have made breakfast for lunch & dinner on occasion just to ensure that the kiddo would eat.
Pancakes are one of our daughter’s favorite foods & they are one of my favorite things to make. They are delicious, easy to make & a lot of fun to experiment with. Today we made PB & J pancakes.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes
1 cup of all purpose flour
3 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp jelly
1 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup of milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg & set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt & oil. Add the peanut butter & break up the clumps with a fork while mixing. Stir in the milk & stir well until smooth & peanut butter is broken up. Stir in the egg & jelly. Break up the jelly with a fork as well. It is ok if it is a little clumpy with the jelly. Pour 1/8 cup of batter per pancake onto a hot skillet set at medium-high heat. When pancake bubbles and edges start to firm flip & cook on the other side.
The pancakes were a hit. Next week we will try them Fluffernutter style.
There are some things in parenthood that do not make sense to me. The most recent in a long line of things that puzzle me is this, you have all heard me cry & whine over what a difficult eater our daughter is, then how do you explain this…
If the daily battle with my daughter at mealtime wasn’t frustrating enough, I now find out that she is capable of eating at each meal, just not for us. Siiiiggh! There are a few foods that I can count on that she will eat, pancakes, French toast & spaghetti. As you can see she likes her carbs. When possible we try to sneak in meat and our fruits & veggies, but it does not always work. Today’s menu had a couple of wins and a definite loss.
Breakfast: Banana & Nutella Pancakes
I had a couple of over-ripened bananas that needed to be used, so pancakes were a great place to use them.
Smash the bananas with a fork in a small mixing bowl. Add the egg & beat together & set aside. In a medium sized mixing bowl add 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 cup of milk & 2 tbsp vegetable oil & stir. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture & stir well. Stir in 1/3 cup of Nutella. Pour about 1/8 of a cup of batter into a griddle or in a frying pan set on medium heat. Cook until the pancake is bubbly & the edges are cooked. Flip the pancake & cook on the other side until cooked all the way through.
Breakfast was a success. She ate 4 pancakes of her own & a few bites of mine too. Score one for mommy.
Lunch: Monte Cristo Roll Ups:
Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the crusts off of 6 slices of bread. With a rolling pin, roll out each slice off bread. Beat an egg in a medium sized bowl. Brush one side of each slice with the egg. Cut a slice of ham so that it fits inside the slice. Cut a slice of Swiss cheese so that it only covers half of the slice. Roll the bread started at the cheese end. Dip the whole roll into the egg mixture covering the entire roll-up. Place on a greased cookie sheet & dust with confectioner’s sugar. Bake for about 7-8 minutes until golden brown.
While this was a big hit with mommy & daddy, Mai refused to try it. I tried bribery & pleading. “Just take one little bite.” Negative. This was a lunch time fail. The score now is 1-1.
Mexican Chicken Rice Bake
1 cup of uncooked white rice
1 pound of chicken cut into strips
1 cup of water
1 cup of milk
1 can of regular tomato soup (10.75 oz)
1 can of corn drained (8.75 oz)
1/4 cup of diced red peppers
1/4 cup of diced orange peppers
1/4 cup of diced yellow peppers
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Dice your vegetables & cut your chicken into strips & set aside in a casserole dish (I used a 9×12) add the rice, water & taco seasoning, stir well until seasoning is broken up & evenly distributed. Stir in the tomato soup & milk. Pour the corn & peppers over the top. Place the chicken strips over the top. Cover with foil & bake for about 45 minutes (cook times may vary). Remove foil, add the cheese & bake for 5 more minutes. Remove & let sit for a few minutes to cool. The top may appear slightly watery. The sauce will thicken upon standing. Scoop & serve.
It was a pretty good eating day other than lunch, but you win some & you lose some.
Most mornings I have a hard time leaving the house to go to work. I love the mornings in our home, our daughter will wake up & I will hear her sweet little voice calling out to us. “Mama, Dada, I awake.” I will go into her room and see that sweet smiling face & my heart will just turn to putty. She will jump up & wrap her arms around my neck & if I have time we will spend a few minutes together before I have to run off to work. On the weekends, I am excited that I do not have to leave this lovely scene, I get to stay home & enjoy my time with my family. Today was a little different. I was hoping that it was still Friday & that it was time to go to work. No such luck. It was indeed Saturday & my daughter really was having an epic meltdown. We are not going to get into details that is for another day, but it was brutal. Things just did not seem to be going our little girl’s way & she did not quite know how to handle it. It took a bit to calm her down, but she finally started to slowly snap out of it. A meltdown like that required a little extra cheering up, so mommy made a special treat for Mai for breakfast in hopes that we would get to see our smiley girl again.
Fruity Pebbles Pancakes
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of crushed Fruity Pebbles
1 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup of milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Directions: Pour the Fruity Pebbles on a plate or a bowl & smash with a potato masher or spoon to make crumbs. Put aside. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk & vegetable oil and stir well. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg & add to the rest of the batter. Stir in your Fruity Pebbles crumbs until evenly distributed. In a frying pan or griddle set to medium heat, (Test with water, water drops should dance across the surface when added. Lower or higher temp if needed) pour about 1/8 of cup for small pancakes or 1/4 cup for regular sized. When pancakes bubble, flip and cook the other side until golden brown.
It got Mai’s and Daddy’s stamp of approval & even put a smile back on my sad girl’s face. Two thumbs up, mama!
The battle at mealtime continues… Here are few funny things about my daughter and food. She will not eat a plate of macaroni because she says it is disgusting but she will dip Frosted Flakes in ranch dressing and tell me “Mmmm Mmmmm, it is so delicious.” She boycotts certain foods because she says they are “Too cheesy, but will ask for a slice of cheese each and every time we go the deli department at the grocery store.” and then a food that was her favorite last week, she will push a way from her this week with the claim “I do not like this.” Siiiiiiigh!
Mealtimes are tough. Our daughter rather be doing anything else in the world than eating. We entertain her during meals with books and talking about our day, but most of the time she just wants to jump down and play. I also have noticed the larger variety of foods given to her on one plate the more she scoffs at it. We try to keep it simple. Bite sized foods work best & of course whenever I can throw something into a muffin tin or roll it into a ball, I do it.
When Mai first started her path into pickiness, there was one thing that usually never failed, wrapping her food in a crescent. I made crescent stuffed everything for a little one. I had almost forgotten about this. We had a can of crescent rolls in our fridge & I thought we could re-visit our old trick & see if it could still work it’s magic.
On can of crescent rolls or crescent dough
1/2 cup of ham finely diced
1/2 cup of finely chopped broccoli
1 tbsp of parmesan
1 tsp of water
Pepper to taste
Cheddar cheese optional
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium mixing bowl beat the eggs & water. Add the parmesan, ham, broccoli & pepper. Stir well. Roll out the crescent dough (If using crescent rolls, pinch the seams together & join into one sheet. Slice into 24 squares about 1 1/2 on each side. Push each square into a mini muffin tin opening working it around to form a cup. Pour the egg mixture into each cup filling almost to the top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese if you desire. Bake for about 10-15. Cooking times will vary.
Mai made mommy very happy by gobbling up my muffins & daddy liked them so much he started a list of different varieties we could use to make for football parties.
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Being a working mom, it is hard to be away from my daughter all day. It is a struggle for me to walk out that door every morning. If I am lucky I get to see her wake before I walk out the door. Most evenings I do not return home until almost 6 pm. When I get home from work, I am so excited to see my munchkin. The last thing I want to do is spend all my time worrying about dinner & then getting into our usual battle over her not eating it. It is exhausting. I try to opt for quick kid friendly food during the work week. It is difficult with my daughter’s picky diet. It is honestly a roll of the dice as to whether she will eat or not. Even her old standby foods sometimes fail us, but still I try. I am always trying to re-introduce foods even the ones she hates in hopes that she will learn to like them. One food that she has never liked & has often puzzled me is mac & cheese. What kid doesn’t like mac & cheese? Mine apparently.
My daughter like most toddlers loves bite sized foods. For some reason it is not simply enough to cut the food into small pieces, it must be formed this way from the get go. I am not complaining though, I find the little morsels to be fun to eat as well. Our last experiment was bite sized macaroni & cheese with ham. Would this fool my little food diva into eating it? Let’s find out.
This is a quick & easy one.
1 box of Velveeta shells & cheese
1 6 oz ham steak thinly diced (about a cup – 1 1/4 cup)
Pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare the boxed mac & cheese. Mix in the diced ham, stir until ham is evenly distributed. Stir in the egg & add pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture into a greased mini muffin tin filling to the top. Bake for 15 minutes. Use a spoon to slide out the bites.
Did my bite size treats impress my tough little food critic? Unfortunately this experiment failed me. She took a bite & said, “I don’t like cheese.” & then spit it out. The good news is they were a big hit with my husband. I did get Mai to eat at least an ear of corn on the cob. Back to the drawing board, but for those of you with mac & cheese lovers in your midst, they might enjoy these bites. The battle continues.
I have a sweet tooth problem. Like most women I know, I love chocolate. I would eat it all the time if I could, but alas, not only am I not supposed to eat a lot of sweets, it is not exactly kind on the waistline. One thing that helps me get my chocolate fix & feeds my sweet tooth is granola. I love making it. I make bars, squares or just straight up granola with chocolate in it of course. It is easy to make & my daughter loves helping me too.
But my favorite of all granola snacks that grace my lunch box are granola balls. There is just enough chocolate to keep me happy, but with no sugar added, I feel less guilty.
3 cups of quick oats
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of peanut butter
2 tbsp safflower oil
1 tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup of dark chocolate
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix in honey, oil & vanilla, stirring well. With a fork cut in the peanut butter until mixed well. Add chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Scoop a spoonful of mixture & roll with your hand into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet & bake for 15 minutes.
I hate to sound like a broken record… I know you have heard me complain about this many times…BUT I have to say it again, my daughter is a picky eater. I can’t even imagine the amount of time & food I have wasted trying to get my child to eat a good meal. I have many sneaky ways & tricks that I use to help with the process, but that only works if she likes what she is eating.
She has a long list of gripes about her food:
“It’s too spicy.”
“It’s too cheesy”
“Noodles are disgusting”
You get the idea. Planning meals just plain stresses me out. At 2 1/2 years old our little girl still only weighs 25 pounds, so I will pretty much feed her anything that will get her to eat. Here lies the challenge. It is not uncommon for me to have several different meal options out at one time.
After rejecting meal 1 & meal 2, we try for a 3rd option. It is very frustrating. People tell you, they will eat when they are hungry, but yet I have seen my girl goes days without barely taking a bite.
I try to make food as fun & easy to eat as possible. She has recently taken a liking to hot dogs, just the hot dog, no bun. Tonight’s menu, corn dog bites. These are fun & super easy.
2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix (2/3 cup of milk & 2 eggs)
1 package of hot dogs
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground mustard
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Slice hot dogs into chunks about 1 1/2″ long about 1/5 of the hotdog. Prepare the corn muffin mix according to directions. Mix in the parmesan cheese, ground mustard & pepper. Dunk the hot dog chunks in the mixture one at a time coating them well. Place on two greased baking sheet. Do not worry about them being covered perfectly. You can top off any bare spots my spooning mixture over the chunks once on the sheet. Leave plenty of space on the baking sheet between corn dog bites. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool & serve with ketchup or mustard.
It was a dinner time victory tonight. It even warranted a thumbs up from my finicky little girl. A sigh of relief & one more meal down. Until tomorrow….
My obsession with cheesecake inspired desserts continues. Since the warm weather is here, I opted for a frozen cheesecake treat. These are easy to make and oh so delicious.
15 full graham crackers
2 packages of softened cream cheese
1 tub of Cool Whip
2 cups of strawberries (cleaned, stemed & sliced small)
1 1/2 sticks of margarine
1/2 cup of sugar
Preheat oven to 350. In a small sauce pan melt the margarine. Line a baking sheet with tin foil . Split the full graham crackers in half at their seam and place on the lined tray. Pour the melted butter over the crackers. Spread evenly across coating each cracker. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven & cool.
As the crackers cool, prepare your filling. In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, sugar & strawberries. Beat on a low setting until all ingredients are blended, scraping the sides as you go. Add the whipped cream & stir by hand until evenly blended.
Transfer half of the cooled crackers to a 12×8 baking dish. Place them side by side. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the top of the crackers. Evenly distribute the mixture & smooth out. Add the rest of the graham crackers over the top in the same pattern as the bottom. Scrape around the edges of the baking dish smoothing out the filling around the edges of the outside crackers. Cover & freeze for 3 hours. Cut & separate each cracker sandwich with a sharp knife. Serve & enjoy. Wrap the unused portions and keep in the freezer.
They say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” This could very well be true & the fastest way to get there is with a strip of bacon. I don’t know what is about guys & bacon, but I don’t think I have ever met a man yet that didn’t love it, My husband would literally put it on everything if he could. One of his favorite phrases that he mutters during dinner is “I bet this would be good with bacon on it.” Tonight’s meal is all about the hubby.
1/2 of a package of bacon
1/2 cut of seasoned breadcrumbs
1 1 lb box of shells
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup of margarine or butter
2 cups of milk
1 tsp worcestershire
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
Bacon bread crumbs
Prepare bacon. Cook it on the crispy side. Drain well & blot to get the excess grease off. Cool and crumble into a food processor. Pulse until all of the bacon is in crumbs. Blot more if needed. Mix with the bread crumbs & set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions & drain. Pour drained pasta into a large pot.
Preheat oven to 400. In a saucepan over low heat melt the margarine or butter. Add the flour, salt, ground mustard & pepper. Stir well until smooth. Stir in the milk & add worcestershire sauce. Increase the heat and stir continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Stir until smooth & then pour over the pasta. Mix well until shells are evenly coated & transfer to a baking dish. Top with your bread crumb mixture. I used about 3/4 of a cup. Use how ever little or a lot that you prefer. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Rice, rice, baby!! We love rice in our house. We love it so much that we own not one, but two rice cookers. When my mother was still alive, God rest her soul, she would buy me a fifty pound bag of rice every year along with my favorite soy sauce. When you have that much rice at your fingertips, you want to find different ways to cook it. I like it plain, fried, in risotto & it also makes a lovely rice pudding. For a smoother, creamier pudding use a smaller grain of rice. If you prefer your pudding with a bit more texture use a longer grain of rice.
1 cup of uncooked rice
2 ripe bananas
1 egg (beaten & at room temperature)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups of water
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp margarine or butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
In a medium saucepan, combine rice, water, margarine & salt. Bring to a boil. Cover & cook for 2o minutes. Do not stir! In a mixing bowl smash up the bananas with a fork. Add brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon & 1/2 cup of milk to the banana. Mix well. After rice is done cooking, pour the banana mixture over the rice & stir. Cover & simmer for an additional 20 minutes stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes remove from heat & beat in the egg. Beat for a minute & then add the other 1/2 cup of milk. Chill. Top with whipped cream & serve.
Mai really liked the rice pudding. In between every bite, she kept telling me “Thank you, Mama.” You are welcome, sweetheart.
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