Sweet Potato/Potato Salad

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Being a mom is exhausting. So when I plan family vacations I try to stay away from theme parks, I always fell those vacations are more tiring than working and coming home. For the past couple of years we have been picking different cities, going to explore them, and see what things they have to offer that we do not get to do when we are home. This year we went to Portland and while there we visited The Blue Heron French Cheese Factory. Yes, my husband and daughter have quiet the sense of humor, to take someone with a milk allergy to a cheese factory and go cheese tasting.

While we were they I tried this heavenly potato salad, I had never had anything like it. It was delicious! My daughter requested it be served at her birthday party, and the guests were very impressed.

5 Russet Potatoes, large (peeled and chopped)
3 Sweet Potatoes, large (peeled and chopped)
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Milk (I used rice milk)
2 stalks celery diced
1-2 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

1. Boil the russet potatoes and one sweet potato. In a separate pan boil the remaining two sweet potatoes. The reason for the separation is you want one to be soft enough to mash and the others to be fork tender. Once both batches are fork tender strain water out.
2. Mash up the sweet potato that was boiled with the russet potatoes. Now add in the mayonnaise, milk, dill, salt, and sugar. Mix together until fully incorporated and add the celery in.
3. Combine potatoes (russet and sweet) and chopped hard boiled eggs in a large bowl. Gently fold in “the dressing” that was made, folding until the potatoes are coated. Some of the sweet potatoes may be come mush thats okay, it adds to the character.
4. Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.
5. Enjoy!

If you are a lover of eggs you can add more, I am not, and it will be just as good.

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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.

BBQ Pizza

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I love pizza, more than I care to admit. When our family ordered pizza I would look forward to eating it for breakfast the next morning! But recently I developed was cursed with a milk allergy! As an adult that means I know all of the great foods I am missing out on: cheese, Hot Cheetos, ice cream, the ease of purchasing bread at a store, etc. But I digress. Back to the pizza, I am no longer able to call up my local pizzeria and get my pizza. So we have a great alternative… we make our own, and it is fantastic!

My daughter loves making pizza and each person in the family gets to customize their pizza. So my husband and daughter are still able to enjoy the melty and heavenly mozzarella and I get a great dairy free pizza with no fear of anaphylaxis. Some days if I am feeling very adventurous I’ll even make it vegan.

Pizza Dough Recipe
Makes 2 medium or four small individual pizzas
1/2 cup water, warm
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast or one individual package
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup water, room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil, more to coat

1. Start by putting the warm water in a small bowl or cup, sprinkle the sugar in and stir until it has dissolved. Now sprinkle the yeast into the sugar-water mixture. Let sit for 19-15 to allow yeast to activate. After 10-15 minutes the mixture should have a foam on top. You can omit the sugar, but the sugar causes the mixture to foam. The foam shows that the yeast activated, I’ve been burned far to many times by yeast that was a dud. Lesson learned and solution found. Add the room temperature water and oil to the yeast water mixture.

2. Now in a large bowl combine the salt and flour stir to blend together. Slowly incorporate the water into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. This is where the kids get involved! Have them continue to mix using the wooden spoon, while they are doing that flour the surface.

3. Knead on a floured surface until smooth, the kiddos can do this or you can. Coat a bowl in the olive oil and put the dough in the bowl and cover, let it rest for about an hour.

4.This is my daughter’s favorite part, punching down the dough. We call this Hulk Smash, on a side note we are complete nerds at my house!

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5.Divide into two medium or four small dough balls. Let rest for 10 minutes.

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6. My daughter loves using her very own rolling-pin and rolling out her own crust. They may not be perfect but they are delicious.

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7. At this point you can bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. But since I am a California girl and I love my grill, I like to take it to the patio…

8. Does that sound scary to you? It shouldn’t be, I was frightened for so long but now it is a family favorite. Just turn on half the burners on high, allow it to pre-heat. Grease the grill. Put the dough (sans toppings) down after about thirty seconds to one minute it will start to puff up, let it puff for thirty more seconds and flip. Cook the uncooked side for one minute to a minute and a half and it will be all done.

9. Now put the toppings of your choice. Some suggestions: artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, pepperoni, sausage, and whatever else tickles your fancy. I like to put a store-bought pizza sauce on mine, but some days when I’m feeling feisty I’ll opt for an infused olive oil. Once you have your toppings put them on the side that wasn’t lit, close lid and let the toppings warm. For those of you lucky enough to enjoy cheese, let it sit until it’s nice and melty.

10. Enjoy!!!

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It is such an easy thing and we run it like a buffet so while I’m at the grill my daughter and husband are getting their toppings ready. We have done this when we have family over for dinner and it goes over smashingly… Or should I say Hulk Smashingly