Archive for the ‘Kid-friendly’ Category

Berry Best Muffins

August 9th, 2011 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Kid-friendly, Muffins, Recipes

I made these delicious citrusy, berry-studded muffins last week for a gathering. They were easy to make, moist and a perfect way to highlight summer’s freshest berries. These muffins are best the day they’re made…but are still tasty the second day.

I used blueberries and raspberries, and lemon zest and orange zest for both the streusel and the muffin batter. The citrus combination filled my kitchen with a wonderful, summery fragrance. I didn’t use nuts in the streusel and there was still more than enough topping for the muffins. The recipe calls for fresh berries but you could use frozen (they will just take longer to bake). Enjoy!

Berry Best Muffins
-recipe from Simply Classic: A New Collection of Recipes to Celebrate the Northwest by The Junior League of Seattle

Makes 12 muffins.

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup berries (a mixture of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries)

Preheat oven to 350° degrees.

For Streusel Topping:  mix brown sugar, flour and lemon zest together in a bowl.  Stir in nuts and butter.  Mix together until butter is evenly distributed and mixture is crumbly.  Set aside.

For Muffins:  combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.  Add milk, butter and egg to the well and mix until smooth.  Fold in the berries.

Spoon into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling each only 2/3 full.  Top with 1 tablespoon of struesel topping.  Do not overfill the muffin cups or topping will run over into pan.  Bake on middle rack in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Place on a rack and cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.


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One-Eye Jacks

May 18th, 2011 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Breakfast, Eggs, Kid-friendly, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Snack

I love fried eggs, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs…just about any kind of eggs. I saw this recipe for One-Eyed Jacks in one of my Foster’s Market cookbooks and thought it would be a fun way to eat eggs and toast. They’re great for breakfast and as a snack.

Depending on heat setting and what your pan is made of, the bread may take longer to brown in the skillet. I let the first side get lightly browned before cracking the egg in the hole (for a runny yolk).

If making the One-Eye Jacks for a crowd, you’ll definitely want to use an electric griddle. My BroilKing electric griddle is perfect for cooking stuff like this when a frying pan will only let you make one or two at a time (pancakes, grilled cheese, etc.).

I spread the bread round (the part you cut out to make the “eye”) with butter and fried that, too, and used it to dip into the egg yolk while eating it. The parsley garnish isn’t necessary but does add color to the plate. Enjoy!

One-Eye Jacks
-recipe from Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes From Foster’s Market by Sara Foster

These are made one at a time and served hot out of the pan to each guest; just multiply as needed. Fry the cutout circles in the skillet with butter to dip in the egg yolk, or toast and serve with butter and jam. Serves 1.

1 slice bread (such as brioche, challah, whole-wheat, or whole-grain)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, or more as needed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large egg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chives, or basil

Use a cookie or biscuit cutter (or the rim of a glass) to cut a 2- to 2 1/2-inch round from the center of the bread slice.

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place the bread in the skillet and turn it over to coat each side. Cook the bread for about 1 minute on one side, until it is light golden brown. Crack the egg so that it falls into the hole in the center. Fry the egg in the bread for 1 minute longer. Flip the egg and bread and fry the other side for 1 minute or longer, depending on how done you want the egg. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the fresh herbs, and serve immediately.

Note: If the pan is dry when you flip the bread and egg, add a little more butter (about 1 teaspoon) to the pan.


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Grand Central Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 4th, 2011 by andrea | 11 Comments | Filed in Baking, Chocolate, Comfort Food, Cookies & Bars, Dessert, Kid-friendly, Quick Cooking, Recipes

One of my weaknesses is a good, chewy chocolate chip cookie. It’s like my kryptonite. I’m not proud of it, but I’m pretty much defenseless around them, which is why I don’t make chocolate chip cookies very often. Recently, though, I was thumbing through the Grand Central Baking Book (from the popular Grand Central Bakery located in Portland and Seattle ) and saw the recipe for their delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. “Oh yeah,” I thought, “I’m totally making these!” And, boy, do these chewy, chocolate-studded treats rock!

I’ve used a combo of semisweet and milk chocolate chips or all semi-sweet chocolate chips. Use what you have and/or like. My personal favorite is Guittard brand chocolate chips (creamy, smooth and absolutely delicious!).

My oven is goofy so I always have to play with the baking time a bit. Just watch for the cookies to have golden edges…the inside will still look a bit underdone. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes then pour a cold glass of milk and devour!

What’s your food kryptonite?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
-recipe from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces, or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (9 ounces) rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. (Put the dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sieve if the flour or baking soda is clumpy.)

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until lighter in color and fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times during the process.

While the mixer is running, crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, then slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall in one at a time incorporating the first egg completely before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once during the process.

Gradually add the dry ingredients (in 2 to 3 additions) with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once, to fully incorporate the butter and sugar. Combine the oats and chocolate in the same bowl used for the dry ingredients, then add them to the dough with the mixer on low speed, mixing just until everything is well distributed. Often it’s easier to finish mixing by hand using a stiff rubber spatula.

Scoop the dough into balls the size of ping-pong balls (about 1.5 ounces). Arrange the dough balls on the prepared pans, 6 per pan, then press into 1/2-inch-thick disks.

Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The edges of the cookies should be golden brown, while the centers will appear blond and slightly underdone. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets.

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Banana Oatbran Muffins

February 19th, 2011 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Kid-friendly, Recipes

Looking for a good banana muffin that tastes great and is healthy, too? Give this recipe a whirl. My kids loved them…so did I! The struesel topping elevates them from plain ol’ banana muffin to something special.

I didn’t have plain yogurt for the recipe so I used 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup buttermilk. The muffins make a great breakfast treat or after-school snack. Enjoy!

Banana Oatbran Muffins
-adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe

Moist, tender, and banana-y, these muffins represent comfort food at its best.

1/2 cup yogurt (I used 1/4 cup buttermilk & 1/4 cup sour cream)
1 large egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed banana; 2 to 3 large bananas
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup oat bran
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ cup brown sugar
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon soft butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a standard muffin tin, or line with papers and grease the papers. 
Combine the yogurt, egg, oil, mashed banana, sugar, and oat bran in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside for 10 minutes. 
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. 
Work the topping ingredients together until the mixture is crumbly. 
Whisk the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Scoop into the prepared muffin cups, filling them almost full; the muffins won’t rise much. 
Sprinkle muffins with the topping. 
Bake the muffins for 20 to 24 minutes, until the muffins are set and browned. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and enjoy warm.


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Grand Central Bakery Peanut Butter Cookies

January 12th, 2011 by andrea | 4 Comments | Filed in Baking, Cookies & Bars, Dessert, Kid-friendly, Recipes

When it comes to cookies, most people fall into one of two catagories: crunchy or chewy. I tend to favor chewy cookies. This recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies from The Grand Central Baking Book bakes up a cookie that is buttery, peanutty and somewhere in between crunchy and chewy. I surprised my kids the other day and had a batch waiting for them when they got home from school. I was the coolest mom ever…until it was time for them to do homework.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a peanut butter cookie so I’m not the best judge as far as this cookie’s peanutiness (is that a word?). While they may not be as peanutty as some I’ve had, I preferred the texture to most peanut butter cookies I’ve tried. I recently gave some to a friend who said she doesn’t normally like peanut butter cookies. After trying a bite, she said she went on to eat two cookies. I guess that’s a pretty good sign! 

Grand Central Bakery Peanut Butter Cookies
-recipe from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson

This cookie is exactly what you’d expect from a classic peanut butter cookie: nutty, sweet, and soft in the middle, complete with emblematic fork crisscross on top. Unlike some peanut butter cookie recipes, this one is equally successful and delicious whether you use natural peanut butter or an everyday brand name. Be sure to stir natural peanut butter thoroughly before measuring it to distribute the oil. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoons if you use unsalted peanut butter)
1 cup (8 ounces, or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 cup (9.5 ounces) peanut butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Prepare to bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients: Measure the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. (Put the dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sieve if the flour or baking soda is clumpy.)

Cream the butter, sugar and peanut butter: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture is lighter in color and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and cream for another minute. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times during the process.

Incorporate the eggs and vanilla: While the mixer is running, crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, then slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall one at a time and incorporating the first egg completely before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once during the process.

Add the dry ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients (in 2 to 3 additions) with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once, to fully incorporate the butter and sugar.

Shape the cookies: Scoop the dough into balls the size of pingpong balls (about 1.5 ounces). Arrange the dough balls on the prepared pans, 6 per pan. Lightly dust them with granulated sugar before pressing with a fork to make a crisscross pattern, and then press the cookies into ½-inch-thick disks.

Bake: Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The tops of the fork marks and the edges of the cookies should be brown and crisp and the middle should be soft. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets.


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Crazy for Candy Canes

December 22nd, 2010 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Chocolate, Christmas, Dessert, Entertaining Tip, Fun Food Facts, Handy Hints, Holidays, Kid-friendly, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Sauce


If you’ve got lots of candy canes and you’re wondering what to do with them, here’s a few ideas I found at 

The Candy Cane Can
-tips from Martha Stewart Everyday Food and 

More than 1.8 billion of these holiday hooks are made each year. Luckily, candy canes are tasty additions to lots of seasonal treats.

Hot-Cocoa Stirrer: Mix things up in a classic winter drink: Add a candy-cane “spoon.” It melts in the liquid for extra flavor.

Fudge Topper: Make Homemade Holiday Fudge an even sweeter gift with crushed peppermint. This is a great way to use leftover candy canes — simply put them in a zip-top plastic bag and then pound with a kitchen mallet.

Minty Bark: A holiday favorite, Minty Bark gets a cool crunch with peppermints. Blend crushed candy canes into melted white chocolate. Little elves can help break the bark into pieces and pack it in tins for gifts.

Candy-Cane-Chip Ice Cream: Kids love ice cream any time of the year. For a December-style treat, stir crushed peppermints into softened vanilla ice cream and freeze until firm. Serve with more candy on top.

Peppermint Sauce: Stir together equal parts cream and crushed candy canes over medium heat until smooth, then immediately whisk in some white chocolate until melted. Drizzle on brownies for a festive dessert.


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Rudolph Cookies

December 20th, 2010 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Christmas, Cookies & Bars, Dessert, Holidays, Kid-friendly, Recipes

Rudolph-cookiesHere’s a fun project I made with my kids not too long ago. It’s easy, fun and kids love eating the Rudolph cookies once they’re made. I used Nabisco Nutter Butter cookies since I’m not aware of any other peanut-shaped cookie on the market.

The hardest part of making the cookies was inserting the “antlers” into the filling between the cookies. You first need to separate the two halves of the cookies then stick the pretzel pieces into the peanut butter filling, sandwiching the cookies back together once the antlers are in place. Sometimes the peanut butter cookie halves break during this step so be careful when sandwiching the antlers between the cookie halves. Next time I’ll try adding a little dot of melted chocolate to help keep the antlers in place.

For cementing the eyes and nose to the cookies, I used melted chocolate chips instead of buying the candy coating. I had to microwave the chocolate a few times to keep it melted but other than that it worked fine. Enjoy!

Rudolph Cookies
-recipe from Southern Living Magazine

 4 (1-ounce) chocolate candy coating squares
96 pretzel sticks
1 (16-ounce) package peanut butter sandwich cookies
64 candy-covered green, blue, or brown chocolate pieces
32 red candy-coated chocolate pieces or red cinnamon candies

Microwave chocolate candy coating in a small shallow glass dish at HIGH 3 minutes, stirring once.

Place 2 pretzel sticks in peanut butter filling of each sandwich cookie, forming large antlers. Break remaining pretzel sticks in half, and place 1 half pretzel stick next to each longer pretzel stick, forming smaller antlers.

Dip 1 side of green chocolate pieces in melted candy coating, and place on cookies for the eyes. Dip 1 side of red chocolate pieces in candy coating, and place on cookies for the noses. Yield:  32 cookies

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Nabisco brand Nutter Butter peanut butter sandwich cookies.

Southern Living, DECEMBER 1999

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Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

September 21st, 2010 by andrea | 10 Comments | Filed in Baking, Cakes, Chocolate, Comfort Food, Dessert, Kid-friendly, Recipes

One of my kids recently requested (verbatim) chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles for his birthday treat. After doing a quick recipe search, I decided to make him a Chocolate Sour Cream Cake. The very moist, very chocolatey and very delicious cake was a hit with the Birthday Boy! Is there anything better than that?

I chose to make my own frosting so I can’t vouch for that part of the recipe. I can, however, vouch for the cake! In fact, I’m having a piece right now as I’m writing this post…Mmmmmm. 

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
-recipe from Hershey’

Makes 12 to 15 servings.

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 container (16 oz.) dairy sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FUDGE FROSTING(recipe follows)
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 3 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Frost with FUDGE FROSTING.


Makes about 1 cup frosting.

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1-1/3 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa; cook, stirring constantly, just until mixture begins to boil. Pour mixture into medium bowl; cool completely. Add powdered sugar alternately with milk to cocoa mixture, beating to spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.

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Chile Mac

September 13th, 2010 by andrea | 5 Comments | Filed in Beef, Comfort Food, Kid-friendly, Main Dish, Pasta, Quick Cooking, Recipes

Now that we’re heading into Autumn, it’s time to start hauling out the comfort food recipes!!! Chile Mac, a simple and comforting dish, is nothing fancy but it is a good, quick weeknight dinner. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive to make and can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.

I usually use beef broth instead of chicken broth, and I like to add a little more chili powder and cumin. Sometimes I use fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles to add a little more zip. Corn would be a nice addition, too. I garnish each serving with shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack cheese, or a dollop of sour cream. Serve with a big green salad. Enjoy!

Chili Mac
-recipe from The New Boston Globe Cookbook by Sheryl Julian

A great kids’ dish, this mixture of ground beef and macaroni, cooked together with tomatoes and a few spices, makes a fine weeknight meal. Serves 4.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 can (16 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Extra grated cheddar (for serving)

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and when it is hot, cook the onion, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned and softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the ground beef and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Add the macaroni, tomatoes, stock, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir well. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until liquid is mostly absorbed and macaroni is tender but still has some bite.

Add the cheese and stir just until melted. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Serve with extra cheddar.

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Packing a school lunch…safely!

September 8th, 2010 by andrea | 2 Comments | Filed in Fun Food Facts, Handy Hints, Kid-friendly, Morsels & Musings

I read an article in The Oregonian last week on how to safely pack school lunches. Our kiddos have enough hurdles to face these days at school without the added bonus of their lunch making them sick. The article includes a few simple rules to ensure that a packed lunch stays safe to eat.

And while we’re on the subject of brown bagging it, I recently bought these nifty Ziplock Divided Containers. They are reusable, dishwasher safe, and come in a 2-pack. They are similar to the hip bento box containers that are popular right now but less expensive. Plus, I won’t need to freak out if one gets lost or accidentally thrown away.

Follow the ABC’s of food safety when packing a school lunch
Special to The Oregonian

Back to school means back to the daily grind of packing lunches — an activity that’s definitely low on parents’ lists of favorite things to do.

It’s hard enough to come up with nutritious choices that your kids will actually eat, and even harder to predict which of their favorite foods they won’t be “tired of” that day.

But no matter what meal you send your child off with each day, make sure you follow basic food safety rules to keep the food from spoiling.

Rule No. 1: Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. While a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can linger at room temperature, anything made with meat or dairy products needs to be kept out of the danger zone (40 to 140 degrees).

Insulated lunchboxes/bags (rather than paper bags or metal lunchboxes) go a long way toward keeping things at the right temperature, but you still need to tuck an ice pack in there to keep things cool. A frozen water bottle or juice box can double as an ice pack and be ready to drink by lunchtime. Or buy several lunchbox-size ice packs so you always have one ready. These days, ice packs come in fun, kid-friendly shapes; thin, flexible “mats” ; or styles that have colorful cloth covers to soak up condensation.

When the weather cools, hot lunches are especially welcome and a good way to change things up. Invest in a couple of insulated containers for sending hot items like soup or warmed-up leftovers. Be sure to preheat them first by filling them with piping hot water and letting them sit for a few minutes while you get things ready. Then pour out, dry and fill.

Rule No. 2: Keep things clean. Once that lunchbox returns home, throw away anything partially eaten or perishable and wash out the box with hot soapy water. Leaving food in there only invites mold and mildew to grow. So wash it out as soon as you can and let it air dry until completely dry before storing. Once a week, it’s a good idea to sanitize the lunchbox with a mild bleach solution (1 teaspoon bleach per 4 cups of water).

Many schools ask parents to send children off with a water bottle each day. This a great way for kids to sta hydrated without having constant stream of children running off to the water fountain during class. But don’t think you can just leave that water bottle there all week without washing it. It’s easy for germs and bacteria to get into the bottles with every swig, and as the bottles sit at room temperature, those nasties multiply like crazy.

So wash the water bottle every day with hot, soapy water and let it dry completely before putting it away (again, mold is a risk if you don’t). And sanitize the water bottle when you sanitize the lunchbox.

Rule No. 3: These rules aren’t just for kids’ lunches. When you’re brown-bagging it, follow these food safety tips to keep yourself from getting sick, too. Protect your youngsters from food-borne illness with these guidelines on keeping packed lunches at safe temperatures, and containers and bottles clean.

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