Cooking for a family, while making family time

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Delicata Squash 101

Delicata Squash 101

There is so much to love about seasonal produce, and fall is full of so many good ones. Apples galore, pumpkin and all things pumpkin spice, and also squash and lots of it. Some of the more popular kinds of squash are butternut, acorn, and […]

Upside Down Magic Viewing Party

Upside Down Magic Viewing Party

Another new children’s movie coming out means another opportunity to turn it into an event. And I’m here to help you guys do the same. Summer 2020 is a lot different than what we are used to but we can still make the most of […]

Baby-Sitters Club Viewing Party

Baby-Sitters Club Viewing Party

Summer 2020 is different to say the least. I know each of us parents are trying our very best to make the most of a difficult situation. Finding small things to look forward to has made a big difference in morale around my house. As always, everything we do has an aspect of food to it.

One of my favorite things to do since I was a little girl (and still to this day) is book to screen adaptations. That means reading a book, then watching its counterpart on screen. Be that a movie, mini series or television show. This is now something I have passed on to my daughters. Up first this summer for our book to screen viewing party is The Baby-Sitters Club. What a classic. As an 80’s baby myself I remember reading (and loving) these books as a child. I also remember the very 90’s movie based off these same books. It was one of my first book to screen experiences, and I loved it! How cool is it to get the experience again through my own kids with the same book to screen stories in an all new modernized format!

My eldest daughter has loved these new graphic novel style Baby-Sitters Club books for years, counting down until the next book releases. She can tell you off the top of her head the exact date for when book 8 comes out, who the story is about and how much money she needs to save to buy it. Now her little sister has started reading them just in time for the show to premier. The 10 episode first season premiers on Netflix July 3, 2020 and for all the other 90’s mamas out there, Cher Horowitz (Clueless, Alicia Silverstone) plays Kristy’s mom! I’ll link the trailer below for your viewing pleasure.

Now let’s get to the part we’re all really here for, the food!! Or better yet, the snacks! Taking cues from the books, we’ll be making different things the Baby-Sitters Club eats throughout the series. From the book one party we’ll make pizza and salad (like Stacey, who is diabetic.) Lots of sneaky snacks like Claudia: Life Savers, chips and popcorn. However you should know these books are chock full of food references. Everything from Twinkies to fondue, Chinese food and fried chicken. Pick and choose what works best for you and your little ones when planning your own viewing party.

 

New recipes included below for our family’s viewing party are mini donut cookies, creamsicle Chex mix and rainbow fruit wands. All are tried and true recipes I’ve made before for various birthday parties or get-togethers. Bonus! None require any cooking, the most you need to do is zap some almond bark in the microwave!

 

Mini Donut Cookies

 

Ingredients:

1 box Nilla Wafers cookies

Vanilla flavored almond bark

Rainbow sprinkles

 

Method:

The most difficult part of these cookies is punching the “donut” hole in the middle. Now you are going to crush some cookies, I had about a 60% success rate. What I found works best to poke your hole is a sturdy hard plastic kids or baby straw. Hold the cookie steady on either side, then push the straw into the middle. If the hole doesn’t come out a clean circle no worries, once decorated you won’t be able to tell.

 

Up next it’s time to top your donut cookies. Melt your vanilla flavored almond bark in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until smooth and melted. Now either drizzle or dip your cookies into the almond bark and decorate with sprinkles. Let the toppings harden and cool then enjoy the cutest little cookies you ever did see!

 

Creamsicle Chex Mix

Ingredients:

5-6 cups Rice Chex cereal

1 navel orange (zest only)

8oz vanilla almond bark (I use Candiquik)

1/2- 1 cup powdered sugar

 

Method:

First up zest your orange and put aside. Next pour your cereal into a large bowl and melt your almond bark. Once fully melted, pour the almond bark over the cereal, dump in the orange zest and stir VERY gently until fully coated. Move your Chex mix into a large Tupperware container with a lid or work in batches in a gallon size zip top bag. Add in the powdered sugar and shake gently coating all of the Chex mix. This may require a little more or a little less powdered sugar. The consistency you’re going for is dry, not sticky but doesn’t leave too much powder residue on your hands.

 

WARNING: THIS CHEX MIX IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE AND DELICIOUS!

 

Rainbow Fruit Wands

 

Ingredients:

Rainbow colored fruit:

Red: strawberries, watermelon or raspberries

Orange: cantaloupe, peaches or mandarin oranges

Yellow: pineapple or mango

Green: grapes, kiwi or honeydew

Blue: blueberries or blackberries

Purple: grapes

 

Additional supplies needed:

Wooden skewers

 

Method:

Now you get the gist here right? You layer pieces of fruit on wooden skewers in rainbow order. Then refrigerate until ready to eat. That’s it. This is a perfect recipe task to give the kids. It’s patterns, fine motor and a healthy snack all in one!

 

So there you have it, all the makings for a Baby-Sitters Club viewing party. Read the books with your kids, maybe get some graphic novel style and some not. Have them spot differences between the show and books, a good lesson in compare and contrast. In the trailer alone my daughter picked up on that Mary-Ann in the show has glasses but Mary-Ann in the book does not.

Let the kids help plan the menu, my girls loved looking in the books for food inspiration. Don’t feel like you have to make special new treats, just throw together whatever you like. It’s more about the time together, the shared interest in something both nostalgic to you and relevant to them. The point is just to have fun and get the kids reading, while planning a fun snack filled viewing party to look forward to!

Deconstructed Berry Shortcake

Deconstructed Berry Shortcake

My favorite thing to during late spring and summer time is to take my kids berry picking to a few of our favorite local farms. This is my own little version of “farm to table”. We pick various berries and cherries in the morning and […]

Teddy Bear Toast

Teddy Bear Toast

This fun little breakfast has been a family favorite since my oldest was a toddler. It’s different enough to be considered a “special breakfast” and easy enough to pull together with stuff you already have in your pantry. The hardest part of this is getting […]

Keto Lunchables

Keto Lunchables

This fun little lunch idea came about one morning when packing my husband his lunch. Taking the bread out of the lunch combination kind of reminded me of something from my own childhood, Lunchables! Still to this day they are beloved in school cafeterias all over the country. I started with the basic meat and cheese combinations and it sort of grew from there.

I like to start with either lunch meat, cured meats or some of each. To that I add a cheese that will compliment it, cheddar triangles or a mozzarella cheese stick. Followed by a low carb fruit or veggie, something sweet and of course some texture.

To make these is a breeze, all you will need is a medium to large size plastic container with lid. Next fill your container with silicone muffin tin liners, I like to use both standard size and mini. Mini muffin tin liners hold about a tablespoon, this is perfect for your sweets, it will also help if you are measuring your food to keep carb counts. Standard muffin tin liners hold about 1/4 cup, again this is great when tracking your portions and net carbs. You can also use smaller plastic containers that you have so long as they fit into the larger container.

Fill as many of these as you like, with whatever you like. I have included a bunch of different combinations of these lunchables that I’ve been making over the last few months. The main point is to keep this lunch easy, no silverware required, perfect for grazing if you’re having a working lunch, or quick snacking throughout the day if you’re busy. Feel free to throw in some tooth picks to make this snacking even easier.

Some different variations my husband has enjoyed are cucumbers, and veggies straws with a home made ranch dip, or a small cucumber greek salad . A hard boiled egg, peeled and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Various deli meats with cheeses and large spinach leaves to wrap them in. The sweets and texture often go hand in hand. Favorites include honey roasted peanuts, and protein bars. Berries are the best for a low carb fruit, however keeping with the small portions of your mini muffin liners you can include things such as a tablespoon of grapes or pears and still keep your carb count down. Another favorite to add texture is pork rinds, they have a lot of varieties of flavors so you can mix and match whatever you like.

Red Wine Sangria

Red Wine Sangria

I just fell in love with sangria in college. There was a popular Mexican chain restaurant that my friends and I used to go to all the time. We’d get pitchers of sangria and eat all the chips and salsa we wanted. It didn’t take […]

5 ingredient or less dinners

5 ingredient or less dinners

We all find ourselves in a dinner jam, time and again. The best remedy to this unavoidable problem is an arsenal of quick recipes. A lot of these ingredients you will find are pantry staples, like jarred sauces or freezer items like waffles and vegetables. […]

Cornstarch Dough

Cornstarch Dough

I’m sure you’ve seen these dough recipes floating around the internet, called soft play dough, cloud dough or moon dough. They are all basically the same which is a super simple recipe of cornstarch and hair conditioner. That’s it! Now let me be clear, this dough is just for playing with, not eating!

The dough comes together within minutes and can be modified however you like. Add food coloring to make different colors. Add glitter if you want sparkles. Add extracts or essential oils to give it a scent. More conditioner will make it looser and more of a slime consistency. More cornstarch will make it more of a crumbly dough. When the consistency is just right it’ll be pillowy soft and moldable. My kids call it pillow dough for just that reason.

Ingredients:

1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup hair conditioner (white in color)

Supplies needed:

Food dye
Glitter
Essential oils

Method:

In a large bowl combine your cornstarch and hair conditioner. Stir until completely combined. Add color, glitter, oils or all 3 and stir again until combined. Then mold, fold and create whatever you like. When done seal in a air tight container or zip top bag and keep until it dries out.

I won’t lie to you guys, this was messy! However, it cleaned up easily and the kids loved it. I gave all three of my kids their own bowls to mix and make their own. The conditioner we used had a mild scent on its own but we did add our own additional fragrances. If you decide to use food dye or essential oils you’ll only need one drop of each!

Roll, pull, stack and shape your dough to your heart’s desire. This is hours of fun, my little guy ended up with teal hands from all the playing he did. The more you handle the dough the warmer and looser it’ll become. If it gets too gooey add another sprinkle of cornstarch.

We used this as part of our new home school routine as a science experiment and then paired it with a bread dough recipe. No need for a stand mixer to knead your dough with so many little helping hands around. The same principles rang true with the bread dough as the cornstarch one, and the kids were quick to pick up on it. Too sticky? Add more flour! We talked about solid, liquids and gases and it opened up the conversation to lots of new terminology too. Dense, pliable and tacky to name a few.

As always, have fun with it. Make it a science lesson, or don’t. Pair it with baking bread or ordering pizza (that’s still dough) or no food at all. Keep it simple, the most important part is having the kids be entertained while we’re all stuck at home.

Easy Sandwich Bread

Easy Sandwich Bread

Once that grocery store panic hit I knew it was time to focus on a bread recipe. It’s always said “grab the bread, eggs and milk” and now of course we all realize toilet paper should never be left off that list. No matter the […]