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ice cream is not for breakfast

feeding your kids without losing your mind

Archive for the 'school-age kids' Category

Summer harvest


Our first harvest of the season included eggplant, arugula, basil and cilantro.

The kids joined me in putting together an arugula salad, and we decided to add red grapes and pine nuts for color and crunch. For the dressing, we whisked together olive oil, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, paprika and a pinch of sugar. Delish!

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Sunday, July 19th, 2009 at 9:00 pm |

Last little bit of sweetness


I’m sure the last thing you want after over-indulging this holiday season is another cookie recipe, but this proved so delicious and so wonderfully easy to make with kids, I thought I’d toss it out there so you can make one last batch before swearing off sweets in your 2009 diet.

From Gale Gand, buttermilk as the secret ingredient. Click here for details.


Photo by The Associated Press

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Sunday, January 4th, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Kids being right: peelers and scoops version


Like many another adult, I was cooking long before I had kids.

And like many another adult, my cooking habits were formed in part from working with my own mother in the kitchen and in part from experiments on my own.

So I wasn’t all that interested to hear that my youngest was unhappy with my potato/carrot peeler after a semester in middle school. Recalling my own middle school home ec experiences, I knew that the disconnect between what the teacher wants and what reality dictates can be very wide indeed.

I held out for a while, but eventually purchased the potato peeler my youngest demanded. After all, she said, it was a great peeler and she was having to do the peeling anyway. Why not use the one she wanted?

To my great surprise, the peeler really was better than the older ones I used that looked just like the ones my mother used. Live and learn, I guess.

Two years ago, my youngest, again relying on that middle school home and careers cooking course, insisted we needed a cookie scoop. For those who aren’t blessed with a middle schooler, a cookie scoop is like a very small-headed mechanical ice cream scoop.

I didn’t see the purpose, since a table spoon and butter knife or bowl scraper works just fine, but for the holidays I ordered one from a catalogue for a gag gift. They may be available in stores, but I couldn’t find them.

The thing’s a marvel and I had to admit, once again, that my daughter was right.

The scoop broke last weekend during a particularly hard batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, apparently. I wasn’t there. I probably would have suggested they add another egg to the mix or some milk to loosen up the batter a bit. Now I’m looking for a replacement and trying to avoid my youngest’s grin, since she’s now two for two.

My only consolation is wondering what my youngest’s children will insist she change in her kitchen that she’ll have to admit is better than she thought.

Posted by Randi Weiner on Monday, September 15th, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


The big trade


In typing up notes for an upcoming story on school lunches, I was suddenly reminded of a conversation I had with my own children when all three were still in the public schools.

There they were, in elementary, middle and high school, respectively, and there I was, happily slicing carrots and celery stalks and worrying about whether tuna salad would go bad while sitting in their locker, when it was forcibly brought home to me that packing is not the same thing as eating.

“Mom, could you pack me an extra bagel?” I recall one of my babes saying.

“Sure,” I replied, tickled that I’d hit on something they liked.

“Yeah, my best friend likes them, and I can trade it for a candy bar her mom gives her.”

That’s when the other two chimed in, explaining what their friends brought, what they brought, and how they pooled their resources every lunch hour and chose what they wanted.

I guess it’s better than the story one of our editors tell when he was in school in the 1930s and a buddy of his would toss his brown bag over the fence of a local junk yard every morning on the way to school. When the snow melted in the spring, the remains of scores of school lunches were discovered…

Posted by Randi Weiner on Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
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Remembering school lunches of yore


All this back-to-school talk got me thinking about my old elementary school days and what it will be like when my daughter boards her first yellow bus. She’s about 4 years away from the experience, but I’m sure it will be as memorable to her as it was to me.

In fact, my first childhood memory is getting on an empty school bus and walking all the way to the back and sitting in the last row. When the bus came to the next stop a little blonde girl with pigtails got on and sat in the first row. I inched my way toward her as the bus carried on and that little girl would become my first—and subsequently—best friend until about sixth grade.
tjndc5-5b4p36et5t55tlwanb6_layout.jpgOther school memories include the cafeteria lunches. My favorites included square pizza, chocolate milk in a carton and those small cups of vanilla and chocolate ice cream that I always stirred into a soup with the little wooden spoon that came with it.

Some not so pleasant memories include having an aversion to franks and beans until well into my 20s after a kid lost his lunch on the bus and having to watch chunks of hot dog roll down the aisle. Excuse the visual, but hey, I’ve lived with it all these years.

I don’t know what school lunches are like today. I understand they offer healthier menus nowadays. Anyone care to let me in on what I have to look forward to in, well, four years?

Photo courtesy of TJN.

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Organic frozen kids’ meals — healthy AND good?


The Wall Street Journal just had a short story about organic frozen kids’ meals. Mixed reviews from their tween and teen testers. Check it out here.  (Personally, I want the whole Jetsons experience of pressing a button on my fridge and making a tasty, nutritious meal for the kids fly right onto the table.) 

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Saturday, August 9th, 2008 at 11:45 am |
| | 1 Comment »


That 5lb. bag of potatoes won’t cook itself…


So we decided to make a dent in our potato bounty Saturday night by making our own homemade potato chips.

Another great idea from our 6-year-old, a budding chef.

He carefully peeled the potatoes while I sliced and shallow pan-fried. (I had him hold the potatoes with his hand in a thick kitchen towel so if he slipped he wouldn’t peel himself.) Our 4-year-old got the round ends of the potatoes and a butter knife to work on her own cutting project. We bribed the 17-month-old with a Dum Dum lollipop to steer clear of the stove.

We’ve discovered the baby will do ANYTHING for a Dum Dum, which is great, since she never liked a pacifer and generally soothes herself by velcro-ing her body to me or my husband. I gave her one recently while the 4-year-old had her yearly doctor’s visit, to which my pediatrician said something along the lines of, “It’s amazing what you’ll give the third that you never would give your first.” Too true. (Hey, was she trying to tell me something? Good thing she didn’t see the chocolate chip cookie she had for breakfast — just joking!)

Back to the chips. They were so good we had to make them again last night. And clean up wasn’t bad at all. (Potato peelings are infinitely more manageable than the usual baking aftermath, which in my house is a thick coating of flour and sugar on the kitchen floor.)

Here’s a shot of our handiwork:


Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Monday, March 10th, 2008 at 1:01 pm |

Tagine of lamb for the little ones


If you ever needed more evidence the French approach to food (particularly when it comes to feeding kids) trumps ours, check out a great old post revived on Friday by one of my favorite blogs, The Expatriate’s Kitchen. It’s a lunch menu from a French pre-school.

Vive la difference!

Pizza, yes (three-cheese with sides of sauteed green beans and filet of cod), popcorn chicken, no.

I would have volunteered for parent story hour on Friday:

Carrot Soup
Roasted Pork au Jus
Buttered Noodles
Comte cheese and Fresh Fruit

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Saturday, March 8th, 2008 at 11:45 am |

A Cheerios lunch at 15


Adding my oar to this boat, but from an older parent’s point of view.

My days of worrying about solid food for my chicks is long past, but I struggle these days with providing a nutritional lunch for my youngest, a high-school sophomore.

Up to about a month ago, she would only eat processed foods, trading away or tossing much of what I would pack her for lunch. Now she wants something less junk-foody so I’m cutting up carrots for her.

She isn’t a big celery eater, loathes yogurt and has braces, so popcorn is out. Any advice on other relatively nutritious snacks would be appreciated as my imagination has gone on vacation. At her age, anything she doesn’t like doesn’t end up being eaten.

This is a kid who won’t eat sandwiches because they get squished in her backpack. She’s 15 and still eating Cheerios for her main afternoon meal. Help!

Posted by Randi Weiner on Friday, February 22nd, 2008 at 5:29 pm |


Live, learn…have your groceries delivered?


Here’s something new to cross off the mental list I like to call, ‘Things I will never do once I have kids.”

Nuke frozen pancakes because adding water to pre-mixed dry batter seems like too much work

Let my kids watch hours of inane television so I can get stuff done

Let a 3-year-old drink five Danimals in a row because she really, really likes them

For today, drum roll please, we can add…

Have groceries delivered to avoid shopping with small children

It’s true. Peapod came to my neighborhood with a free delivery coupon in hand and now I’m a reluctant convert.

Sure, I had all those romantic notions of using trips to the grocery store to teach my children the joys of selecting and eating fresh food, all the while imparting useful school-readiness skills.

“Look at the beautiful dark green kale, the ripe red tomatoes! Now let’s find something in the shape of a triangle!”

And I must say my kids are usually pretty good at the store. I can definitely do a week’s worth of shopping with all three in tow. No throwing themselves down in the middle of the aisle because I won’t buy them Count Chocula. (Well, not every time.)
But compare that to sitting down to the computer with a hot cup of coffee, paging through virtual aisles while the house is quiet, checking my running total, printing off recipes while I shop. Heaven. And presto chango the groceries magically appeared right at my front door early last Friday morning.

I had a fresh whole chicken stuffed with lemon and thyme roasting in the oven by noon, I kid you not.
What do you think? Am I depriving my kids of some critical character building exercise? Not worth the delivery charge? Is there something lost by not eyeballing the eye round yourself?

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Sunday, November 4th, 2007 at 4:41 pm |