Thursday, February 28, 2013

Small Kitchen Gadget Essentials

Our top picks.

Cooking fresh ingredients every night for your little ones is vital to keeping them strong and healthy, yet sometimes this can feel like an unbelievably daunting task. These inexpensive kitchen gadgets make weeknight dinners quick and easy.  Here are the 3 kitchen 'must-haves' that we just can't live without:

1. A good peeler for whipping up a delicious sweet potato mash or making an adorable cucumber sandwich.

A good peeler makes dinner ten times faster.

2. When it comes to pulling out short pastas, potatoes or vegetables from boiling water, this hand held strainer keeps you from having to drag the pot all the way to the sink.

Short pasta, no problem.

3. Want to insure that you and your family actually eat the berries and grapes you buy? Get one of these strainer/serving bowl combos.  Makes washing and serving fruit SO much easier!  The kids will love washing fruit for their snack. (This one is totally our favorite!)

This makes washing fruit painless.

We found all of these products from Sur La Table although we recommend looking on sites like Amazon to find these types of products at the best price.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Supermarket Budget Tips

Staying on a budget at the supermarket is not easy, but it's certainly do-able and often necessary.  Don't let it get you down! Here are some of our favorite tips for sticking to your budget while still making weekday meals feel fun and exciting.

1.  Plan meals in advance.  This one is HARD for us 'go with the flow' type folks who like to see what strikes our fancy when arriving at the store.  Often this is the biggest money sucker of all.  Getting only the things you need means less waste. Plan meals you know you and your family like but also contain nutritional value like our chicken enchiladas or cuban picadillo.

2.  Have a couple of those meals be vegetarian. Vegetarian often equals cheap.  And healthy! Check out our simple and delicious tofu noodle stir fry.  Less meat means less money spent but also more nutrition.

3.  Have breakfast for dinner one night a week.  This is a fun and easy way to save money!  We bet your kids will enjoy whimsical breakfast night themes. If your kids like eggs you may want to try our cute crustless quiches.

4.  Don't get sucked into the coupon trap.  Use coupons when you can for things you need, but watch out for the unhealthy trap.  Often coupons are for unhealthy processed products that we never wanted in the first place.  Look at circulars for what produce is on sale instead.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Inspire Your Older Kids to Become Foodies

We are always looking for fun and out of the box ideas to encourage and inspire kids to try new foods. Here's our latest- watch family friendly cooking competition shows with your older kids and recreate those challenges in your kitchen. We are big fans of shows such as Top Chef, Chopped and Iron Chef which showcase a variety of foods and cooking techniques.  You will not only be exposing your kids to food which they have never seen (piquing their interests) but also to new cuisines and interesting people.

Top Chef challenge idea- Have a quick-fire!  Give your kids 30 min and a specific set of instructions.  For example, 30 minutes to make breakfast for dinner using eggs!

Chopped challenge idea- Put together the infamous Chopped mystery basket including 4 or 5 ingredients and give your kids 30 minutes to put something together using ALL the components in the basket.

Iron Chef idea- Pick a secret ingredient, give your kids a time limit and let them come up with something spectacular!

If you have more than one child, have them work as a team. You and your spouse can stand back and watch without interfering (on safety patrol), or get involved and team up with your kiddos!  No matter what your kids make, give them lots of praise and remind them that it's just for fun and to not get frustrated if it doesn't work out. Even the best chefs get flustered and make mistakes!  Take plenty of pictures and let us know how it goes. We'd love to hear from you.