Category: Adventures in Cooking

Making Meal Time FUN

Our meals are prepared at home every single day. Making meals that both my toddler AND preschooler love is a difficult task sometimes.  I do not have time to be a short order cook for every meal.  Making meal time FUN is essential at this age for a successful, healthy appetite.

Easy Snack and Meal Ideas to keep meal time fun!

Making Meal Time FUN

When each kid was a year and a half I started implementing rules about table manners.

-Always saying thank you after receiving their meal

-Saying please if they need extra milk or water

-Asking before they blow bubbles in their milk- blowing bubbles is one of life’s pure joys-do it and not smile-just try.

-Staying at the table until everyone has finished their meal

-Always asking about each other’s day- MY FAVORITE question to ask

 

 

Easy Snack and Meal Ideas to keep meal time fun!

Adding faces to ANYTHING on their plate’s equals immediate praise.  I mean, I can Picasso with the best of them and my “faces” make the cut.  So YOUR faces that you make with fruit-veggies-ANYTHING- will make the cut.  Now Emma Marie takes the time to rearrange her faces and plays with her food.  AND eats it-all of it.

Easy Snack and Meal Ideas to keep meal time fun!

Blowing Bubbles

Easy Snack and Meal Ideas to keep meal time fun!

My TIKI head that I made out of Greek Yogurt and fruit was a winner!  The kids thought it was hilarious that the TIKI was sticking their tongue out at them.  Whatever works.

PLUS I find if I add in as many colors of the rainbow as possible that they are more willing to just love the meal.  The brighter, the better.

You can follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more meal time ideas!

I grabbed a ten pack of Nestlé Nesquik® at Target and through a bunch in the fridge.  They can hang out in the pantry and you just throw some in the fridge when you want to spice up the meal with some chocolaty, healthy goodness.

I grew up on Nesquik.  LOVE being able to share in some simple joys with the kids that bring me back to my childhood.  You can BET that I blow bubbles with them.  Why not?

 

Easy Snack and Meal Ideas to keep meal time fun!
Nestlé Nesquik® Chocolate Low Fat Milk is made with 100% real milk and has 8g of protein in every 8 fluid ounce serving.  And, because #Nesquik® is specially packaged you can store it in your pantry. So feel free to stock up but don’t forget to refrigerate after opening.

Connect with Nesquik on Pinterest, Facebook, and on their website!

 

How do you make meal time fun?  Would LOVE to find out what works for your family!

 

Patriotic Popcorn

For our Avengers Superhero Party we wanted to make sure we had some Captain America approved treats!  The kids LOVED the Star Spangled Marshmallows that were easy to eat and deliciously food-allergy friendly.  Another favorite treat of my two little ones has always been a cup of popcorn and with a little pizzazz we made some that all of our Little Superheroes were proud to eat.
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Patriotic Popcorn

 Supplies:

3(large) Bags of White Air-Popped Popcorn-do not get a flavored popcorn-does not take color correctly.

1 lb Bag of  each Candy Melt– Dark Blue, Light Blue, and Red.

Sidenote: Candy Melts are typically in the party decorating aisle and not in the easier to understand baking aisle.  Who knew?

In glass containers melt your Candy Melt- following the directions on the bag-otherwise your Candy Melts will in fact burn and turn black.

 

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Fill large containers with Air-Pop Popcorn(microwave doesn’t work as well).  After the Candy Melt is a soupy texture you can drizzle it on to the popcorn, as even as possible.

 

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As soon as the first layer is covered you can mix the popcorn up to get even saturation.  Do not wait for the Candy Melts to dry on the popcorn before mixing… mix immediately.

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The darker colors took the best on the popcorn but I still enjoyed having the extra layer of color with the light blue.  The Candy Melts just up the sweetness factor which of course led the kids to love it just that much more.  Definitely perfect for our Superhero Party!

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As the weather warms up I know that I will definitely be breaking out the Patriotic Popcorn and Star Spangled Marshmallows for the Fourth of July!  What a great way to celebrate with our family and friends. Plus it has been declared that all parties from here on out with have color-coded popcorn AND marshmallows.  And the price point and time expense make this an easy one to say YES to.

 

What are your go-to snacks for parties?  Any family-friendly options or “secret recipes” you would like to share?

Please and THANK YOU!

 

Family Dinner Favorites( & Giveaway)

Dinner around the table is a must in our family.  Catching up on everyone’s days and the highlights and sometimes low-lights is essential.  We always, always make sure to eat at the table for each meal when possible.  One of the dinners that is always, ALWAYS a hit with our family is our Burrito Bowl Meals or Taco Tuesday!

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As a food allergy family it is imperative for us to read ALL of the labels of EVERYTHING that we bring into the house.  This has made trips to the store harder and longer, but that’s our reality.  We tend to eat as fresh as we can and with little to no additives if possible seeing as that is where most of the cross-contamination can occur for our (life threatening) allergies.

When Del Real Foods asked if I wanted to share about some of their food I jumped at the chance to showcase a brand that we LOVE and that is SAFE for our family.  We bulk buy the Gluten-Free Chicken and Gluten-Free Beef from Costco.  Hello deliciousness.  I try to make all of our meals from scratch but goodness does life get busy!  After a day out and about with the toddler and preschooler I hardly want to make another meal…

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For the last two years Del Real Foods has helped keep our Burrito Bowls full and Taco Tuesday easy.  I LOVE when I can count on my kids eating the food I put in front of them.  Nothing makes me crankier than wasting a plateful of food that a picky kid just won’t touch.  We have never had a burrito bowl turned down.

Not once.

#MomWin

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My husband and I LOVE spicy food and the Al Pastor Taco Kit came with some of the tastiest, spiciest sauce to spread over my marinated pork tacos.  We wiped our plates clean.  Embarrassingly clean.  I know exactly what I am going to pick up for our next party as that Al Pastor Taco Kit came full to the brim with food easily enough for 5-7 adults.  Took my husband and I nearly a week to finish. YUM.

 

You see those gorgeous Beef Tamales? Yes, they were fresh and perfect.  Coming from someone who has lived in the Southwest for thirteen years? That should say something.

 

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We were sent our favorites: Shredded Chicken and Seasoned Shredded Beef AND were able to try the Carnitas, Al Pastor Taco Kit and those oh so filling Beef Tamales.  And I am more than a little excited that one of my readers will be able to pick FIVE items to be sent straight to your door.

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Asking them not to dive right into their plateful of foods? Well, that right there took some restraint.  A ton of restraint for a hungry toddler and preschooler. Thankful that the first shot worked(everyone’s eyes open is a win) and we were off to the races.  Our fridge was overflowing with goodness.

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And these two didn’t see to mind one bit that we had tacos all week.  Definitely hit the store for more bell peppers- their fave to crunch on for Taco Tuesday’s.

And NOW onto the GIVEAWAY!

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GIVEAWAY

There are FOUR total possible entries for this giveaway.
1.  Leave a comment on the bottom of this post on why you would want to win a Del Real Foods Prize Pack. Please include your name and email in the post so that I can contact you if you are the winner!
2.  Follow As Cute as a Bug’s Ear on Instagram and  leave a separate comment on the bottom of this post saying you did so.
3.  Follow As Cute as a Bug’s Ear on Twitter and  leave a separate comment on the bottom of this post saying you did so.
4.  Follow As Cute as a Bug’s Ear on Pinterest and  leave a separate comment on the bottom of this post saying you did so.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org and emailed.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway ends 5/1 at 5PM Mountain Standard Time.
Thank you Del Real Foods for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are 100% my own.
Hope you all have a wonderful week!
What is your go-to meal for dinner when life gets busy?

 

Munchkin Meals: Two Toddlers{& Little Green Pouch Giveaway}



Time for another Munchkin Meals thanks to Brittany over at A Healthy Slice of Life! On the first Thursday of every month she hosts a Munchkin Meals Link-Up Party- which enables me to look through tons of great meal ideas to change things up with my two toddlers.  We do have to be mindful with what foods we give our two little ones because Big Brother has a tremendous amount of food allergies. He goes into anaphylatic shock with gluten, arrowroot, peanuts/nuts, baker’s yeast, oats and immediately throws up if he consumes any amount of egg or apple.  Other allergies that we avoid in our house entirely: peas, tomatoes, beef, carrots, soy, codfish, crab, shrimp, and oranges.  We are thankful that there are a lot of people in our lives that take the time to find special treats or recipes that work for our family.  

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Previous Munchkin Meals: 




Toddler & Baby{ 9 Months}


Breakfast Options: 
Bananas, Blueberries, Gluten-free/Egg-free/Nut-free Pancakes and waffles, Greek yogurt, Chex Cereal, Brown Rice Crispies Cereal, Pears.




Lunch & Dinner: 
Tacos, Burrito Bowls, BBQ Chicken, Pasta, Mac and Cheese, “Scooby” Sandwiches-Turkey rolled up around cheese, White Chicken Chili, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Cucumber, Cheese Cubes, Grapes, Cauliflower, Black Beans, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Pinto Beans, Corn on the Cob, Homemade Purees. 


LOVE our Little Green Pouches in our house!



Puree Favorites:
Sweet Potato
Blueberry & Apple for Em
Pears
Blueberry & Greek Yogurt



Quinoa and Brown Rice with Grilled Chicken and Veggies




A couple times a week we treat our little ones with a little frozen yogurt. Priceless. 


Our family has used the original set of Little Green Pouches daily for over a year.  They are DURABLE & TODDLER APPROVED.  They are easy to use, fill, and wash in the dishwasher.  As many parents know, the pouches available at the store cost a pretty penny with how much your little one eats.  Simple answer is making a large batch of pureed food and just fill the pouches up.  The pouches fit in our side-drawer of the fridge. Both of my little ones started being able to hold their own successfully around nine months old.  Until then the pouches were so much easier to use when we were out and about- no mess and no spoons.

When Little Green Pouch contacted me about their new FAA Compliant Pouch Set I was over-the-moon excited! I love that we will be able to use these when we travel!  Plus, another six of these bad boys have already come in hand with two hungry toddlers.



Reusable Food Pouch Features:

FILL-ABLE
Strong, Leak-proof zip seal at the top, so the pouch can be opened & filled with up to 3.4 ounces(the perfect size to bring on the airplane!) of your favorite pureed foods.  Blow into spout to expand it to its full supple shape!

REUSE-ABLE
Our eco-friendly food pouches are made from durable BPA, PVC, Lead and Phalatefree Plastic. They are built to withstand those beatings that only young children can give & (after cleaning) take some more.

DISHWASHER-ABLE
The pouches are top-shelf dishwasher safe! For best results, rise all the homemade spinach surprise out of the pouch and spout before running the cycle.

FREEZER-ABLE
Fill up a bunch of pouches with your homemade or store bought purees and pop them in the freezer.  You can defrost them in warm water when you are ready to enjoy.  Or, pack them in your lunch in the morning-they’ll be ready for squeezing by the afternoon.

SQUEEZE-ABLE
The size and suppleness of our reusable baby food pouches makes it great for use by those darling little hands.



Toddler Approved




GIVEAWAY

Now YOU can win a set of your own!  Little Green Pouch is giving away one set of their new FAA Compliant Size Set to one of my readers!

There are FOUR total possible entries for this giveaway.

1.  Leave a comment on the bottom of this post on why you would love to win a set.


2.  Like As Cute as a Bug’s Ear on Facebook and comment on the bottom of this post saying you did.

3.  Follow @Littlefamblog on Twitter and comment on the bottom of this post saying you did.

4. Follow @Littlefamblog on Instagram and comment on the bottom of this post saying you did.

Please leave your email in one of the comments so that you may be contacted if you win. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and emailed.  Winner will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway ends 09/11 at 5PM Mountain Standard Time.


You can connect with  Little Green Pouch on TWITTERPINTEREST, and FACEBOOK for all of the latest news and announcements.



I received the product for the review.  All opinions expressed are always 100% my own.

Easy Summer Picnics

As soon as the sun sets over our house the backyard becomes our summer playground.  Sand turtles, play BBQ grilling, and castle conquering fun in the shade- exactly what two active toddlers love.  


Getting these two to slow down and EAT during the day-especially when there is fun to be had-is a feat in itself.  Picnics are the answer.  They grab what they want and GO. Perfect for the always moving toddler nation.  They LOVED being able to grab goodies and sip water, “Like Mom” from glasses.  Em does her best with a straw, but anything that big brother does she thinks she can do.  I used to put the food on a blanket-a la traditional picnics- but it would get trampled by an over-zealous pirate or a shrieking bear.  We like to play make believe.  
Read Salad’s offered to send us some of their summer favorites and we dined in style alfresco.  If you can’t tell the picnic was entirely #toddlerapproved.  Mom Win.








Super thankful for our summer memories.  

3 Bean Salad:

Classic salad of green beans, wax beans and kidney beans in a vinegar based, sweet-tangy dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


4 Bean Salad:

Classic salad of green beans, wax beans, kidney beans plus chickpeas in a vinegar based, sweet-tangy dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


German Potato Salad:

Thinly sliced potatoes and bacon in a traditional sweet-piquant dressing. Great served chilled, heated or at room temperature.






Southwestern Bean Salad:

Robust mixture of black beans, corn, hominy and kidney beans in a subtly spicy tomato-bell pepper, chili-lime seasoned sauce. Serve chilled, warm or at room temperature.


You can connect with READ Salads on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for all the latest news and announcements. 



I was not compensated for this review.  I did receive product for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own.

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