Dinnertime Journaling: “I Would Totally Eat that for Breakfast”

We’ve been posting some breakfast makeover ideas this week in honor of the return of rushed school day mornings (here’s a link to the article we wrote for the San Jose Mercury News on this topic). As they kids get older, I realize more and more how important it is to start the day off with a nourishing meal and a full tummy (especially given the shrinking lunch periods at school).

With breakfast on our minds, we even found ourselves talking about it at the dinner table recently. We were eating Chinese jook which is a simple, thick rice soup that you dress up with lots of yummy condiments (I will post a recipe next time we make it).  The kids were intrigued and surprised when I told them that jook is actually considered a breakfast food across Asia since we always eat it for lunch or dinner. It’s not unlike a savory variation of oatmeal, but I guess jook is enough of a departure that the kids found the idea quite intriguing. Our conversation about jook got us thinking about other things we would like to eat for breakfast that are not on our typical morning menu of cereal, toast or eggs here in the US. Without hesitation they shouted out things like “quesadillas”, “fish”, “crackers”.

I Would Totally Eat this for breakfast_Catnip Infused wine.jpg

We cracked up at this non alcoholic cat-nip infused wine for cats, so that of course made it into our journal as well.

Again and again my kids demonstrate that they’re often more creative thinkers than us adults when it comes to food (and this proves itself over and over again in our kids’ cooking classes too)… it also reminds me that I should remember to get their input more often!!

I’m curious to know how other kids and families would answer the question “what would you eat for breakfast?”

[My family has been doing this simple dinnertime journaling project for the last 3(!) years. Whenever we sit down at the table for dinner we pull out an index card and draw and write together. We capture a few highlights from the day, ideas, funny thoughts, or just some crazy drawings. It's been a lot of fun an]

Breakfast Makeover: Smoothie Collection

Everyone loves smoothies! They’re super quick to make when you keep basics on hand, and they’re wonderfully portable for when you’re in a rush to get out the door (we’re always in rush on school mornings). Lately we’ve been making a big batch for breakfast and refrigerating the leftovers for an after school snack. I’ve also started adding smoothies to the lunch box this year (cleaned up, recycled small Odwalla containers work perfectly). As school lunch periods get shorter and shorter (don’t get me started!), this seems to be something my kids can successfully eat (along with a few other tidbits) in the teensy amount of time allotted for lunch.

If you start searching around for smoothies on the internet you’ll find tons of info– recipes, special containers, little tips and tricks. So…. to the collective oeuvre of smoothies out there I add our list of favorites with an international twist.

Mango Lassi_India Playdate

Mango lassis are by far the most requested smoothies in my house. We all love the creamy, sweet mango flavor, but that pinch of cardamom is what makes it special. For kids who insist they don’t like spices — this is a good place to start. Here’s our previous post with the recipe.

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Breakfast Makeover: Roasted Fruit

Roasted Fruit for Breakfast

The kids are finally back at school and parents all over the country are rejoicing – the summer was long (too long in many cases) and needed to end :).  Though we are all now back to the routine of rushed breakfasts and the speedy packing of school lunches every morning.

Breakfast is the easiest meal to get stuck in a rut with – milk and toast or cereal everyday?  Plus, having grown up outside the US, I do not even really consider “cereal” to be real food. :)

For the sake of a good breakfast and hence a healthy start to each day, it is almost worth waking up 10-15 minutes earlier. You can also use the additional time to talk about the upcoming day and everyone’s hopes and aspirations for it. Everyone seems to emphasize the dinner table conversation, but the breakfast table conversation may be just as important.

A hearty and tasty breakfast does not just have to be weekend treat – with some planning and advance preparation, you can make it happen almost everyday. In this post and the upcoming posts, we are going to share some breakfast recipes with some new/different ideas with an international twist.  We recently shared some of these ideas in an article in the San Jose Mercury.
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Thai Curried Noodles

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This dish looks way more complicated than it actually is.  And it is probably as beautiful as it is tasty.  We developed this recipe recently for the San Jose Mercury and our editor made it once for her family and then made it again a few days later.  Nothing makes us smile more than a successful recipe and positive feedback, especially from our editor (since she knows food!).

It also is far easier than it probably looks.  We use store bought red curry paste (which I always “gussy up”) and a grocery rotisserie chicken.  Technically cheating, but who cares?  When you can get something this tasty on the table for dinner, no one will ask about the short-cuts you took.  My little one’s face lights up when this is on the menu and I am thinking we need to make it again soon.

You can use “light coconut milk”, but I am not a fan at all.  I have tried it and hated it, low-fat coconut milk in my book, just doesn’t cut it.  But don’t let my snobbery stop you. :)  You can also use Asian noodles, but thin or regular spaghetti works just fine.  Not the the real thing, but definitely good enough and somewhat reminds me of the laksa I grew up eating. Continue reading

We Love Joyful 12

We had the good fortune of meeting Hollie Greene last year at a CUESA cooking class for kids and have ever since have been in awe of her passion for getting kids to eat better and her sheer knowledge of food.  She is an amazing teacher and she even joined us this year with a “cooking with kids” session on Italy day for our summer camp and it was a super-hit.  She has enthusiasm and energy bubbling out of every pore, and we love hanging out with her and learning from her.

Hollie has just launched the Joyful 12, an educator-and-kitchen tested learning lab designed to motivate even the most reluctant preschooler to try, and even love, eating vegetables and fruits all year round. The Joyful12 features proven educational techniques that teach parents essential – and often missing – home cooking skills, in a beautiful, engaging and affordable online format.

Cooking and eating with young children is essential for fostering a child’s healthy relationship with food. Yet parents often struggle to find time to cook, and many lack the most basic kitchen skills that make preparing healthy delicious meals fast and efficient. Even for parents who are die-hard Food Network or food blog fans, the ability to whip up a complete shopping list, master basic knife skills, or to cook unfamiliar but compelling vegetables such as fennel or asparagus can be looming barriers to getting a vegetable-centric meal on the table.  Chef Hollie’s recipes carry clear allergen labels and are tested gluten-free, alleviating concerns about inadvertent exposure. And to take the sting out of the grocery run, all Joyful 12 recipes integrate into an innovative, mobile-ready shopping list, allowing users to seamlessly take their market plans on the go.

A season’s worth of techniques and recipes is only $12. For $40, parents can access a year’s worth of tutorials and inspiration for summer, fall, winter and spring, with unlimited access to all videos, recipes, shopping list tools, and more.  It is a must check out.  Below is a recipe from her collection of wonderful recipes!

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas

This dish looks and tastes gorgeous and I can imagine that it makes a wonderful school lunch!  Plus, it super fast and easy and a good one to make with the kiddos.  I love that she omits garlic in her recipe, as I would do the same. :)  Obviously, she’s a kindred spirit!

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Picnic Time: Spanish-Inspired Sandwich

Spanish Inspired Sandwich by A Little Yumminess

This is the last of our international sandwich ideas for picnics.  Now it is up to you to come of with your own variation of a sandwich from around the world.  Work with your kids and make a sandwich that represents a part of the world that you are from or a favorite cuisine.  I am thinking a tandoori chicken, mixed salad (tomato, onion and cucumber like a kacumber) with a thick yogurty spread with spices with pita as our version.  The possibilities are endless…..do share yours with us!  We love new ideas!

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Picnic Time: Greek-Inspired Sandwich

Greek Inspired Sandwich by A Little Yumminess

Our picnic series continues with some our top tips for successful picnics and a sandwich inspired by Greece!

Make a checklist. There is a lot to bring, so a list will help you get organized. Don’t worry if you forget something—as long as it’s not the food!

Make finger food. The fewer utensils you need, the better. Lay out containers of food on your picnic blanket and call it a “garden buffet” so children can pick and choose what they like. Kids love to just pick up and eat their food.

Buy food. If you don’t want to wake up and cook before you head out, stop at your favorite deli or supermarket, and pick up your picnic. Purchase prepared sandwiches or wraps, some fruit, cereal bars, nuts and water, and you will be all set.

Bring plenty of cleanup supplies. You will need more of these than you think Bring a whole roll of paper towels or several dishcloths and perhaps even some wet wipes. Also, bring hand sanitizer if you are going to be somewhere you cannot wash hands. And don’t forget extra bags to collect your trash.

Bring safety items. Make sure you have a first-aid kit in the car or in your basket/backpack. Scrapes and cuts are inevitable, and it is best to be ready for them. Sunscreen is also essential, as are hats and bug repellant.

Bring games or toys. You can spend your time exploring nature, or bring some toys and games along. A travel-size board game or deck of cards will be easy to carry. Or bring a bat and a ball or football for some more active fun.

Select an enclosed space. To reduce your stress level, find a park or area that is enclosed. That way you won’t have to worry about your children wandering away.  Particularly helpful when you have younger kids in your picnic party.

With July 4th coming up – head doors on a fun picnic!

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