Strawberry Walnut Crunch

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I have a small family… Just the three of us. So it isn’t cost effective for us to have a Costco membership… All the food ends up going to waste. Often recipes are too large for the three of us, which is why I look forward to having family over to eat with us. I get to make large quantities lots of food and it doesn’t go to waste. Or there are some dishes that are my favorite but the work that is required for three people outweighs the “Yummy in my tummy” feeling I would get once I was able to sit down to eat.

Aside from spending time in the kitchen, I love spending time in the living room watching Food Network. While watching the Pioneer Woman she made these delicious appearing Strawberry Oat Bars. But the quantities would be far too much for the three of us, so the recipe below is halved… Also I added walnuts because I wanted to make sure it had a crunchy texture.

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 stick butter plus 6 tbsp., cut into pieces
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cups oats
1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz. strawberry preserves (My daughter went a little crazy with the preserves and it still turned out great!)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your baking dish with non stick spray.

2. In a large bowl add the the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. I gave my daughter the 1/4 measuring cup and put those math skills to the test.

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3. Then have your little chef use a pastry cutter, mix all the ingredients so that it now resembles a crumble. Mixed in the chopped walnuts with a spoon or fork.

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4. Put half of the mixture into the bottom of your baking dish and press with the backside of the spoon. Now spoon and spread the preserves across the bottom layer. Put the remaining crumble mix on the top and gently press down.

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5. Put it in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

6. Enjoy! This is intended for breakfast but my husband and daughter could not wait until the morning and dug in after dinner.

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Mine may look different then what you make because I used Earth Balance which is a dairy free butter.

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Doggy Treats

We love giving home baked goods as gifts for Christmas! We have been busy at work making everthing from candy to beef jerky. It is a busy time of year, but we couldn’t forget about our dogs! They are part of the family, we call them the puppy sisters, and between the two of them and my daughter they fight and tell on each other like sisters do. Making dog treats is enjoyable but it is much harder to incorporate my daughter in that process, so when I seen a recipe for homemade Frosty Paws I ran to the store to get the ingredients that I needed.

They have been a hit, and we have given them out to our extended family’s animals as well. Nothing has brought my daughter more joy than making this and “treating” her sisters to this chilly snack.

Recipe
32 oz. plain yogurt
1 mashed ripe banana
2 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
Ice tray, these sizes are much better for our little dogs then the large bowl available at our Target

1. I started by measuring the honey and peanut butter slightly, so that it would be easier to stir for my daughter. I threw in all the rest of the ingredients in and let her stir till her heart was content.

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2. Then she spooned it into the ice tray. I popped the tray in the freezer until it was ready to treat them.

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That’s the only mess she made! I’ll have to remind her next time she gets sloppy.

3. Let them enjoy! I thought wrangling kids for pictures was difficult, but two dogs and one kid was a killer. So I couldn’t get a good picture.

Happy Holidays!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Today is a special day in my house, my daughter turns six! In all honesty I pretend that she has Peter Pan-itis and will never grow up, we live in Neverland, and all you need is faith, trust, and pixie dust Like I do for everyone else’s birthday, I asked what she wanted to do for her birthday dinner. Since she is six I was assuming she would want to go to Red Robin or a similar establishment. Boy was I wrong, she wanted sour chicken… Aka sweet and sour chicken. When I told her that I wouldn’t be able to make that because of the time it takes to fry the chicken. (She is a hungry girl and I wouldn’t be able to fend her off while it cooks) She then said Panda Express, it was clear to me that she wasn’t going away from the Chinese food theme meal. So we negotiated, (she has a future in negotiations) we compromised… I would make it the Sunday before her birthday and we would go to a restaurant where they sing to you the day of her birthday.

The thought of frying chicken may be scary to some home cooks, it was for me. But the sauce recipe can easily be poured over breaded chicken from the freezer section. For my family it’s not an option because of my allergy curse, but in the good ole’ days it was do-able and just as fantastic.

You may already be asking yourselves… Isn’t this a blog about getting your kids in the kitchen? Yes! Did you say homemade fried chicken? Yes! Part of getting your kids into the kitchen is finding jobs within the kitchen that fit your child’s ability. With meals like this I put my daughter on “sauce duty”! Which entails her measuring out the ingredients for the sauce and stirring it. It has been a great way to introduce her to measuring, and for her to practice her math skills. That is right, I trick her into practicing math, she will thank me when she is older.

Recipe
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
4-5 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or what the freezer package says if your are not frying the chicken breast.

2. Help your chef in training measure out the ingredients. Unfortunately for me, my child is not coordinated enough to get the ingredients into the tbsp. or tsp. so we eyeball it. Have your child whisk the ingredients together, if your kids is anything like mine they will love the whisk!

3. If you are not frying your own chicken, skip this step. Begin heating Canola oil on high. For our chicken we cube three breast into 1 inch pieces. Set up two pans one with 1 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 tsp. ginger in the other pan three lightly blended eggs. Coat the cubed chicken in cornstarch mixture, egg, and fry until it is golden brown on each side. Remove from oil until all chicken is done. (NOTE: I Do Not let my daughter fry or touch the chicken. I usually do this step myself but she wanted to drop the cornstarch mixture over a couple pieces)

4. Spray 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray, put all chicken into the pan. Pour the wonderful sauce made by your little chef over the chicken. Mix to coat chicken with sauce.

5. Cook for 15 minutes, turn chicken to coat with sauce Return to oven for 15 more minutes. After 15 remove from oven, turn to coat, allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

6. Enjoy! I know my birthday girl did. I caught her sneaking out of her bed to get more. How many dinner meals can you say that about.

Squid Hot Dogs

I have a picky eater, I hate to admit it, but I do. My daughter would be perfectly content with eating hot dogs, chicken nuggets, PB&J, and Panda Express for the rest of her life. But I enjoy trying new foods whether we are at a restaurant or at home. I seen this idea on Pinterest, and thought this would be a great way to get her out of this rut. She calls them Squid Hot Dogs, weird names help kids eat anything. They are the easiest thing to make and they make her happy, which makes me happy.

1. I let her cut the hot dogs herself, using a butter knife, it’s great practice for cordination and she won’t lose any digits this way.

2. “String” the hot dogs with spaghetti noodles that are uncooked, continue until all the hot dogs are done.

3. Put the “squids” into a pot of water. I wait to boil mine until she is all done, because she likes to drop them into the water. Begin to boil. Cook until spaghetti noodles are cooked all the way through. Drain the from the water, or “fish” those little squids out with a fork.

4. Enjoy!

This was the first experiment with something different and the dish that got me started down the path of getting her involved in the kitchen. It has worked wonders and it helps that her dad acts like he is freaked out by them. It led to her loving spaghetti and ball park pasta.

*Disclaimer* each child’s ability in kitchen varies, and I highly recommend you oversee your child while doing the cutting if they have never used a butter knife.