celebrations, Food, Sweet girls

Halloween food

We moved the summer of 2015 into our new home. We took our outdoor cat, our indoor dog, and our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to a new house in a new neighborhood with new traditions.

One of these was the annual neighborhood Halloween party and trick-or-treating. I was so excited. For the first time, The Artist was old enough to actually trick-or-treat and understand the concept.

I bought her a “My Little Pony” Pinkie Pie costume. She wore her old Anna from “Frozen” costume instead. All the kids in the neighborhood loaded up for a hayride and community trick-or-treating.

The Artist had a blast. A BLAST. She was the youngest trick-or-treater, but she worked so hard to keep up on her short little legs. The moment she was sitting back with me in the trailer she would immediately dive her hands into her candy bag and start sugaring up.

With the other kids being older, sometimes, if the houses were close together, they would go to two houses at one stop, and the trailer would just move up to the next house. The Artist, however, was the youngest and slowest, so I tried to help her by carrying her. She saw the trailer moving away and thought it was leaving us behind. She ran as fast as those short, toddler legs would go, yelling, “No! Wait! Please!” She was channeling her inner Anna (from the scene where Elsa runs away), and I absolutely died out laughing.

We trick-or-treated for hours that evening, and close to our house, The Artist was feeling the effects of being up late and eating too much candy. Kyle took her to a house very close to ours. She apparently had a wet pull-up that was uncomfortable, so she decided to strip it off, throw it in our neighbor’s yard, and continue on trick-or-treating.

Kyle carried her and the wet pull-up two houses down to our house and to her bed.

The next year, I had a newborn, so she and Kyle went solo trick-or-treating, and last year we just walked up and down the hills on our street in the very appropriate misty fog. The Engineer was old enough to trick-or-treat this time, and she loved it. She couldn’t believe she could just walk up to people, hold out her little pumpkin, and people would give her candy. Frankly, I’m generally surprised with this concept, too.

We all love the Halloween season. Every time The Engineer sees a pumpkin, she yells out, “Pumpkin! Happy Halloween!” It is precious. The Artist has drawn about a hundred Halloween pictures – she very much wants to go trick-or-treating dressed as a witch. And because we love celebrating the end of the week during the fall season, this last Friday we had a Halloween dinner consisting of ghosts bananas, pumpkin oranges, kitty cat cheese, and spider donuts. You know, super healthy stuff.

For the ghosts, I used mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. I peeled cutie oranges and used celery for the stem of the “pumpkins.” And the cheese was the easiest – in fact, for The Artist’s birthday this year, a friend gave us 101 cookie cutters, so we can do pumpkins, cats, bats, and ghosts like this (Because The Engineer has a love for cats and pumpkins, I am sending her to school this week with cheese quesadillas shaped like pumpkins and cats.).

The spiders were easy, too, but instead of trying to push the M&Ms into the chocolate, I would suggest adding a little chocolate icing for the eyes.

And, even though the dinner wasn’t full of all the food groups, it sure was colorful and fun.





Some food stuff here

It’s fall. You all know what that means. Crisp air, falling leaves, the smell of a cool, brisk wind –

Nah, y’all. It’s Louisiana. It’s still hot as Hades here.

At any rate, if you want to turn your AC down to 69 (which I did) and pretend it’s fall (which I also did), you might be interested in cooking one of these fall dishes. Now, first and foremost, I am not the food blogger who is going to tell you how much delight you will get out of making and eating this dish. I’m just going to give you the recipes, because OBVIOUSLY you will GREATLY delight in making and eating them. I do hope you, my culinary friend, will enjoy.

<The Unnamed>
Yes, I have a recipe called The Unnamed because Kyle and I can’t agree what to call it. It’s a dish my mom made when I was growing up, and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like it – kids included.

Oh, one more thing — I do recipes a lot by the “taste and see” method. That’s why you can add another half pound of velveeta if you want or another pound of ground beef if you wish. Play with it. Make it your own. It drives Kyle insane because he follows recipes to a T – and then there’s me. “Did you add the oregano?” “Um, no. I added extra Italian seasoning instead.” “WHY????” “Felt like it.”

1 lb ground beef (go for 2 if you like meat a LOT)
1 lb velveeta
1 can Ranch Style Beans
2 cans chili no beans
Whipping cream (Whatever the smallest carton is)

Ground the ground beef. Drain it. Mix in the velveeta, three cans of beans, and rotel. Cook until velveeta is melted. Take off heat and add in whipping cream. Serve with Doritos. My mom likes to eat hers with rice, but when you can eat Doritos, always eat Doritos.

Sort of fried fish
Shut up, I know it’s not a fall recipe, but you NEED to hear about this. We got an air fryer months ago, and, really, it was used for cooking chicken nuggets and French fries. We weren’t really doing it justice. So I LOVE fried fish. I love anything fried, let’s just be honest. But you can fry CATFISH in your air fryer. WHAT??!! It was like magic just took place in my kitchen.

If you don’t have an air fryer, ask for one for Christmas. Start a gofundme account. Because while it’s definitely handy to have for chicken nuggets and fries, it is AMAZING for fried fish.

Catfish. I suppose you could use other fish, too, but I haven’t tried.
Fish fry seasoning (I use the Louisiana brand fish fry seasoning)

Heat the fryer to 400 degrees. Coat the HECK out of that air fryer with Pam. You don’t want your fish to stick.

Coat that fish in fry seasoning. Oh, what, you thought I forgot about an egg bath? No, I didn’t. No egg bath needed. Just dunk in the seasoning and transfer to the fryer.

Fry for 10-12 minutes on one side and then flip to fry about 10-12 minutes on the other. I have been able to put two pieces in at once, but you may only can fit one, depending on the size of your catfish.

Thank me later.


Lunch ideas for kids

I’m stumped. You got any?

I have made lunches for my kids for four years total now. I hate it. I hate it so much. When The Artist went to preschool and started eating at school, IT WAS AMAZING. I suddenly didn’t have to meal prep! It was so lovely. Of course, then I was nursing and packing baby food and bottles for The Engineer, so…wasn’t quite the break I was expecting.

The Artist started kindergarten this fall, and I was pumped that her lunch is F-R-E-E. Celebrate!!!! Not only do I not have to pack a lunch for her, but I also don’t have to pay for it either. Woo hoo!! Go, public school! Can I get an amen? Apparently some very loving moms pack their kids lunch, though, because the other day she asked me if I would pack her a lunch. Haha, NO. Girl, you eating that cafeteria food just like I did.

The Engineer, though, still has to have a packed lunch, and, guys, I just don’t know. I’m running out of ideas. I love feeding the kids PBJs because both my dainty girls can down two of them at a sitting (seriously), and it fills them up with protein and carbs. However, I can’t send any peanut products to school due to allergies. So that option is out.

But, in case you’re wondering what does go into The Engineer’s lunch box, here are some ideas, and PLEASE SHARE SOME WITH ME!!!

1) Hummus and (whatever your kid eats): My kid loves dip. Anything she can dip, she loves. It’s actually a problem when we visit Chick-fil-a because she won’t eat the chicken – just the dips. She’s eaten tartar sauce, ketchup, and ranch dressing all on its own. She just loves the idea of dipping. And turns out – she can dip with hummus. I generally pack some pita chips or carrots with it, though, to be honest, the chips or carrots are just used as a pseudo-fork. But that’s okay – the hummus was the main star anyway!

2) Pseudo-yogurt parfait: I actually haven’t tried this yet, but I plan to. The Artist and I love yogurt parfaits (yogurt + honey + fruit + granola), but The Engineer is a bit suspicious of the granola. So I substitute Cheerios for hers, and she thinks it’s the best thing ever. So I’m planning to pack some yogurt, fruit, and Cheerios in her lunch and see how she likes that.

3) Cheese quesadilla. She has no problem eating this cold, and, if she’s lucky, I’ll throw in some salsa, too.

Y’all, that’s about it. I’ve also had parents tell me they’ve put chicken nuggets in a thermos or put pasta salad in the lunch box, but I’ve tried both and The Engineer didn’t eat it last year. Maybe I’ll try them again this year, though.

However, if there was just a way she could eat spinach popsicles at school (and in under 30 min – she savors them, ha!!), she’d think lunch was just about perfect.

Food, Parenting, Uncategorized

Eat your veggies

At the beginning of the summer, we had a brief concern that The Engineer wasn’t getting enough iron in her diet. She doesn’t eat a lot of red meat in general – in fact, she prefers that her diet consist of dairy, bread, and fruit. Her pediatrician asked me what kind of veggies she ate…and I hated to say it, but the truth was:


None. Zero. While I serve veggies with most of her meals, she regularly does not touch them. This doesn’t really bother me. I know it takes a billion times for a kid to be introduced to a new food before she likes it and it takes a billion times of trying that food before a kid actually likes it. So I never worried too much about what she left on her plate until we thought that she might have an iron deficiency.

Her wise pediatrician suggested sneaking spinach into her popsicles. That, my friends, is how we discovered how to get The Engineer – and The Artist – to eat their veggies on a daily basis.

Every other day – but seriously – I spend about ten minutes at the blender making 10 green popsicles. I don’t have “add one cup of spinach” or “add two cups of yogurt” or anything like that. It’s not a real recipe in the sense of adding specific measurements. It’s a “mama-needs-her-kids-to-eat-their-veggies-throw-it-together” recipe. It’s literally spinach and yogurt. Maybe a banana if we have one available and I’m feeling froggy. And that. Is. It.

Spinach and yogurt. Yep. Freeze into molds and serve on demand. During the summer, The Engineer could down three of these during one episode of “Puppy Dog Pals.” And because her sister was eating it, The Artist wanted one, too.

I varied it up a little one time by putting a bag (no, seriously, a full bag) of chopped spinach in a thing of boxed brownies because I’m assuming these kids aren’t going to eat popsicles daily throughout the winter (though I could be wrong…). They LOVED them. And they couldn’t believe that they could have TWO at a time. It was basically the best week ever.

And, yes, because they eat them every day – and often more than one at a time – I do have to make these almost on a daily basis, but that’s okay! And, what’s even better is that if they want to eat three of these for a snack and then don’t eat a lot at dinner – that’s okay too! Because they’re healthy.

Even better – I learned that there is dairy free yogurt (I’m sure I’m the only one on the planet who didn’t know this, but maybe there’s one more person out there who didn’t know), so if you’re pregnant or nursing or someone in your family has a dairy allergy, they can easily be modified! And still be healthy for kids – and adults!

So eat your veggies, sweet blogger friends. And get your kids to eat them, too. Even if you have to sneak them into your brownies.


Beginning with breakfast

My babies are starting school next week.

I have a mixture of excitement and nervousness, especially as The Artist is starting kindergarten. She’s going to a new school, wearing a uniform – gah, all the mama emotions are coming out. She’s got her pencil bag, her crayons, and her composition notebook – and she’s got a very early school start time.

And, being the planner that I am, I have some quick and easy breakfasts that I wanted to share in case you, like me, will be tossing breakfast to kids in the backseat and eating in the car.

1) Breakfast sandwiches
I do food prep on Sunday afternoons, getting The Engineer’s lunches for the week together and, if need, planning breakfasts. Breakfast sandwiches can be made in advance, made to certain likes and dislikes, and eaten on the run. Plus, if I make them, they’re generally healthier than store-bought. I like using ciabatta bread and stuffing with scrambled eggs, deli ham or turkey, and cheese. And everyone gets a personalized breakfast. The Engineer doesn’t eat eggs in any form, so she gets meat and cheese. Kyle and The Artist don’t like any white cheese on their breakfast sandwiches (The Artist refers to it as “wedding cheese” for some reason), so they get cheddar, eggs, and ham. And I want veggies on mine, so I get that. Wrap in wax paper and plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Microwave or put in the oven for a few minutes, and breakfast is ready. Side note – you can also make these as breakfast burritos if you have kids who are less messy than mine.

2) Smoothies
Kyle and I love smoothies, but the kids will not eat them. I have no idea why. This summer they lived on spinach popsicles (literally yogurt, spinach, and milk – that was it), but make it in a drink form, and they won’t touch it. However, it’s nice that Kyle and I can get some green veggies in our breakfast, even if the kids may not. And I make a variety of smoothies – with coconut milk, almond milk, frozen fruit, fresh fruit – but I generally always add spinach. We don’t eat too many veggies, so I try to sneak them in whenever I can.

3) The really-on-the-run
This is when you toss back a fruit, a squeeze-type food (Gogurt or GoGoSqueez, for example), and some type of carb – waffles, toast, nutriagrain bar, etc. Listen. Some days, it’s survival mode. As long as everyone gets fed, you win.

4) PB English muffins
I don’t get to send peanut butter with The Engineer at MDO, and as she is not a big protein eater, I like to give her peanut butter whenever I can. She also likes to dip things, so PB and apple, PB on toast, PB on a raisin bagel – whatever.

5) Some type of homemade bar
There are several options for this on Pinterest. We’ve used the energy bites and the oatmeal bars, but there’s also blueberry quinoa bars if you have any leftover blueberries from this summer.

Now that school is upon us – what are you fixing your kids in the morning? Give me some ideas!