Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday soup kitchen hiatus for this week...

We got home midday today from a fun family night away so I didn't have time for any cooking. Thank goodness the freezer was stocked with meals from last weeks double batch!  Took out some goodies so this week we are having:

Garlic soup and sandwiches/wraps
Chicken drumsticks/thighs with a grape tomatoe and red pepper coulis served over brown rice
Then leftover madness

And some spicy lentil soup for lunches for the adults :)

Took out some banana bread chocolate chip muffins for the kids snacks too. 

When I went grocery shopping today I found an awesome addition to my bento box tools. Edible ink! Now I can get even more creative with the kids lunches. Check it out below. Pic on the left is my bento tools so far, and on the right is the kiddies lunch tomorrow! They saw it and were mega pleased :)

Tonight for dinner I went with simple and ultimately lazy.  But, it was delicious!  Made a Caesar salad and bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Had chicken Caesar salad. And since the chicken is huge I froze the rest of it and will use it for some awesome homemade chicken noodle soup to make on Sunday! 

Alright, back to policy writing/researching by day tomorrow.  Oh blessed Monday ;)

Happy work week to all!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ever since my daughter entered school it's become a weekly tradition to make a batch of homemade banana bread chocolate chip muffins to throw in her lunch bag for snack time, along with some fresh fruit. 

It's often a time where my daughter joins me in the kitchen and helps to measure, pour, stir, and create a giant mess in the process!  It's never clean or easy when cooking with a child :) But it's good for them to be a part of the process, and know what's going in their belly at the same time. So I try to involve the kids wherever I can. 

I use this recipe from the great site:

I modify this recipe slightly to make it a little bit healthier. 

Instead of butter I use vegetable oil, and instead of white sugar I use brown sugar. I also don't make the crumb topping as I find that's just a little much with all the added butter and brown sugar.  No child needs extra sugar!

I add chocolate chips for some added yumminess!

Now with both kids in school it's still a weekend tradition to make these.  I try to do double batches on a weekend so I only have to bake them every two weeks as there are now two mouths to feed :)

Give these easy muffins a try and let me know how they turn out!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bento style lunches for the kiddies!!

I've never been that creative at lunches for my first born since she entered school. With my second just having started JK this year I decided to be better with their lunches. Ive always been good at ensuring they are healthy and include most of the food groups, but other than that, it was just a standard boring lunch box. I decided this year to strive to make lunches for my kiddies that are fun as well as healthy!

I've been inspired through Pinterest and Instagram at all these cute little lunch box ideas that I really already had the tools for at home but was just to lazy to try. A friend of mine on Facebook has been doing them for her kiddies and posting these adorable pictures. She inspired me to do better :)

Some may wonder what "tools" are you talking about Miriam?? It's just a lunch?!  Well let me tell you what tools are useful in creating cutesy lunches. 

Cookie cutters (big and small, metal and plastic)
Sandwich cutters/presses
Silicone baking cups (Wilton sells some great ones and I bought mine at Michaels with a 40% off coupon to boot!)
Rolling pin

I started searching for some better lunch boxes that had compartments, were spill proof, and durable.   Then I found these amazing containers! Easy lunch boxes. 

You can check them out here:

I ordered mine from Amazon and they were less than $20 for a pack of four! I could even do a bento lunch for the Mr.  He would be horrified!!

With all that in stock I was ready for the first day of school!

And so it began!

My daughter loves pizza wheels which I've provided the recipe for in my previous post. They're a hit, easy, and healthy! My son much prefers train sandwiches!

I've also experimented with these fun carrot hummus sushi roll ups for my daughter and they're a fan fave as well. Check them out below. So easy!

Carrot Hummus Sushi Roll Ups:

Any bread of choice
Grated carrot

Take your rolling pin and flatten the bread as best as you can. It makes it easier for rolling them up. I also cut the crust off too for a cleaner look.  Spread some hummus on the entire piece of bread. Place grated carrot on half of the slice of bread. Roll up the bread starting at the end with the carrots. Slice it into sushi pieces and voila!  Delicious and healthy and fun!

I've had some fun with various fruits and my cookie cutters too. Check out the watermelon they had last week!

I'm going to continue trolling Pinterest, Instagram, and the web for the pics from other mamas our there that love to make fun lunches!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Double batch cooking today?!

So today was a little tricky for Sunday Soup Kitchen.  My husband was out golfing for the day, and I set out to do double, that's right DOUBLE, batch cooking!  I'm not going to be able to do any cooking next Sunday, so I had to do two weeks worth of cooking today.

It's brave, very brave, and I was praying that the kids would have a good day and be okay with being cooped up in the house so this mama could cook like a mad woman today!  Thankfully the kids were amazing!  Quietly playing, eating, and I took some time to go out with them to the toy store too!  When their dad got home they got almost 2 hours of outside time too.  They were pretty great today :)

So today I accomplished the following :)
  • 4 loads of laundry
  • Chicken a la King
  • Chili (double batch)
  • Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken (double batch)
  • Garlic Soup
  • Pizza Pinwheels (double batch)
  • Funfetti Gooey Bars
First thing I did when I got up this morning was throw this great mixture in the crockpot.  Cilantro Lime Chicken.  I kind of modified this recipe from one's I've found on Pinterest so here goes:

About 5 chicken breasts
One can black beans
2 cups of frozen corn
1/2 of a red onion chopped up
2 garlic cloves minced
1 cup of chopped cilantro
The juice of 2 limes
About 1/2 cup of chicken broth

Seriously, just throw all of that in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours and don't look back!  It turned out delicious and we're going to have it for dinner tomorrow night served on tortilla wraps with shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Chicken a la King is a fan favourite around this house.  It's such an easy recipe I found years ago in a Presidents Choice Insider's Report that came in the local paper.  I modify this and use lactose milk (for the lactose intolerant in me) and I usually serve it over Tenderflake Puff Pastry Patty Shells.  You can find these in the frozen section of your supermarket near the pie crust and frozen berries.  The kids LOVE them!

Here's the recipe link for this great dish:

Chicken a la King

It was cold outside today and I had ground beef in the freezer.  Easiest recipe (also a cheap one in terms of ingredient cost) is chili!  My youngest isn't always a fan, but he eats it even though sometimes he's pretty angry about it!  I modify chili all the time, there's so many recipes out there!  Today I used chickpeas and white kidney beans, celery, carrots, garlic and onions.  If I had not just used up all the mushrooms in the previous recipe I would have thrown those in there too.

Here's a great chili recipe:

Easy Chili

I volunteered at work to bring some goodies in for a colleagues baby shower this week so I wanted to get that out of the way today instead of during the week.  Found this gem of a recipe on Pinterest and they turned out amazing!

Here's the link:

Funfetti Gooey Bars

I've been making pizza pinwheels for the last couple weeks for my daughter who loves them in her lunches!  My son, not so much a fan.  In fact I can't even get him to sniff it!  They're super easy, but somehow today they got all screwed up.  I think because I sprayed the pan with cooking spray.  NOTE:  Don't do that!

Here's the recipe:

2 sheets thawed puff pastry
6 tablespoons of pizza sauce
Grated cheddar cheese
Ham, or other meat of choice

Roll out the pastry, spread the pizza sauce over it, top with shredded cheese and the meat of your choice.  Roll it up and cut it into even rolls/slices.  Place it in the oven at 350 and bake for about 10-15 minutes.  Follow my advice so you don't have the mess I had today.  Don't spray the pan with cooking oil!

Oh, and wanna know an awesome surprise that I got today too?!  My mother in law knows the way to my heart - she showed up with two Shepherds Pies, and two HUGE batches of delicious chicken with bell peppers, onions and grape tomatoes served over brown rice!  Into the freezer it all went.  My freezer makes me smile right now :)

Alright, this mama's bagged so I gotta head to bed to catch some zzzz's before the work week starts again tomorrow!

Happy Cooking!

The beginning of something great!

I have wanted to start a blog for awhile now.  Life gets so busy I've just never sat down and taken the time.  I decided a week ago to make it my mission to get it up and running this week and with this first post I officially have completed my goal!

I started what we call in this house "Sunday Soup Kitchen" about 3 years ago after I went back to work after being on maternity leave with my second child.  I had a lot of fear about how our work/school/daycare weeknights would be when we would have two furious children at 5:30 when I get home from work, that just want their dinner and want it IMMEDIATELY.  That seriously scared me.

So after talking about it with the Mr., I decided a few weeks before going back that I would dedicate every Sunday (at least a few hours of it) to cooking a weeks worth of dinners, muffins for school snack, and healthy adult lunches for work (HATE eating leftovers the next day FYI).  It was torture at first - don't forget I used to despise cooking back then.  BUT, it has now become ritual, and honestly it is such a creative outlet that I really look forward to the prepping, cooking, and AMAZING aromas that come with cooking healthy meals for my family.  Dinners have been amazing since I started Sunday Soup Kitchen!  There is still weeknight stress, don't get me wrong.  BUT, it's at least a little more manageable.

Many people ask me "where do you find all your recipes"? The answer is - from all over!  I love social media.  Anyone close to me knows that :)  Pinterest is a great app that has people all over posting and sharing some amazing recipes.  My recipe board on Pinterest is loaded with recipes I've tried once, tried many times, or haven't yet tried.  I also have a lot of friends on Facebook that post some awesome recipes and pictures and I love recipe swapping with them too.  It's great when you know that someone has tried the recipe, it works, and it's good!

On a Friday, I begin my grocery list for that Saturday.  I buy everything I need on Saturday morning usually with one of my little kiddie sidekicks along for the ride.  I also have my list of what recipes I'm going to make and what day we're going to eat them on.  It may sound ridiculous to be this organized about it, but it's the only way to make it work if you want to do batch cooking on ONE DAY.  Organization is KEY.

I also have to say, that my Sunday Soup Kitchen wouldn't be possible without a husband who keeps the kids busy while this mama cooks up a storm!

So sit back, enjoy the recipe ride, and I hope learn some tricks of the trade that I've picked up along the years.  If I can make it easier for one person out there in their kitchen, I'll feel that this blog was worth it :)