My Three Kid Circus

This may be as crazy as it gets… but we're lovin' it!

Back To School Eve September 4, 2012

Filed under: Recipe — Sarah @ 3:04 pm
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My friend sent me this article about competitive school lunch packing.  It’s a funny read, but it’s also true!  I had to chuckle because I have been baking like mad the last two days, trying to get slightly ahead of the game.  I suppose, that by the end of the month we’ll be back to boring old lunches.  Here’s what’s in my fridge/freezer to start the school year off:

Pizza Puff Muffins

Corn Dog Muffins (my own making of Alber’s corn muffins with slices of hot dog)

Triple Chocolate Chunk Mini Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

A dozen hard boiled eggs

Watermelon slices…oh wait, my kids demolished that at lunch today!

Cut up cantaloupe

Carrots, Cucumber, apples, grapes, kiwi, hummus, deli turkey and all that regular kind of stuff.

What’s in your fridge?

 

Happy Pi Day! March 14, 2012

Filed under: Celebrations,Meal Planning,Recipe — Sarah @ 10:17 pm
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In honor of National Pi (not Pie) Day, we had pie for dinner:

Chicken Pot Pie using this recipe as it’s starting point.  I made lots of changes, so really, it went more like this:

Preheat oven to 400. 

I use a ready made pie crust just to make life easier.  Put one crust into your pie plate and prick several holes.  Bake for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the roux.  Add precooked shreded chicken and a bag of frozen vegetables.  Today, I used one of those Steamer bags that had sugar peas, carrots, cauliflower and brocoli in a basil butter sauce, plus added frozen peas and corn.  Normally, I would just chop up a bunch of fresh veggies and add my own seasonings but I was a little short on time today.  Melt cheese into the mixture.  Dump the entire pot into your now partially baked crust and then add your pie top.  We got a little fancy today and used cookie cutters to stamp “3.14” onto the top.  If you don’t want to get that fancy, make sure you vent your pie somehow so it doesn’t explode 🙂

Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes.  I had to cover my top after about 30 minutes as it was getting too brown.  Yum.

For dessert, we also had pie:

Apple Crumble Pie.  I made the recipe as is and just divided it into individual servings (Yes, we each got 1/5 of a pie.  Guess what?  We all licked our bowls clean too).  The kids loved having their own pies – and this pie is crustless so it was very easy.

My kids haven’t learned about Pi at school, so we found a short movie on BrainPop that did a reasonable job of explaining it to my 2nd and 4th grader.  They made some connections based on where they are in their math curriculum right now, which was fun to see.  But really, to a non-math person like me, Pi is just a number (3.14) that gives us an excuse to eat pie for dinner on the fourteen day of the 3rd month, eh?  Now I just have to find out when National Pie Day is, so we can have an excuse to have more pie for dinner…

 

Snacks March 13, 2012

Filed under: Recipe,Snacks — Sarah @ 3:10 pm

Today’s post is about snacks.  Do your kids get snack time at school?  Personally, I think it’s a bit silly, especially as my kids get older, but it is what it is.  I do like that my second and fourth grader bring their snacks from home.  My kindergartener gets a “community” snack which is often cereal or crackers.  I like that my older kids can bring a snack, because very often, they will choose to bring fruit or cut up veggies.  Or lately, nori 🙂

Sometimes though, I send one large container of snack for the week.  This week, we had lots of this-and-thats in the pantry, so it was a good week to do a trail mix of sorts:

Goldfish, mini chips-ahoy cookies, pretzels, wheat thins, marshmallows, cheerios.  Dried fruit and nuts would be good too, if I had any.  They were super excited for this mix.  I was mostly happy to clear several mostly empty boxes and bags from the pantry.

I’ve also been experimenting with a few recipes for healthier treats.

These homemade s’mores granola bars turned out pretty good.  All the kids agreed that there was too much honey so I may tinker with that a bit.  This particular recipe filled my mini loaf pan perfectly, and then I cut each larger bar into sixths.  You can find the recipe here.  It was really easy, and I even made my own granola, following the recipe that’s linked up in the aforementioned post.  The only change I made was that I only added half a cup of marshmallows and a handful of chocolate chips. I’ll definitely do these again.

What’s this?  This is a pan of gummy fruit snacks.  But I wouldn’t call them gummy fruit snacks.  Maybe pureed fruit jello?  Another easy recipe found here.  I used a combination of a blackberries, raspberries and blueberries and cran-raspberry juice.  I thought they were okay, one kid thought they were good, another didn’t like them at all and the third hasn’t had a chance to try them.  Not sure I’ll try this combination again, but it was so easy that I’d consider a different fruit combination.  Something sweeter, I think.

Of course, hands-down, the favorite “snack” that I made this week was the rice krispy treats.  Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics!

 

Family Dinners November 8, 2011

Filed under: Bento,Recipe — Sarah @ 9:00 pm

Soccer season is almost over.  Don’t get me wrong, of all of the sports my kids play, soccer is my absolute favorite and it actually makes me sad to know that the season is ending.  Practices end at the end of October because that is what the league and school district/fields negotiate and really, with the time change, we’d be practicing in the pitch dark.  My most favorite thing about soccer ending though, is that I have been able to put real dinners on the table three nights in a row this week.  Sunday night we had leftover lasagne and acorn squash.  Monday, we had this:

 

It’s called Oslo Pork and I got the recipe from a friend several years ago.  I have no idea the source, I just know it’s good.  And easy.  And my whole family loved it and fought over who would take the leftovers for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 2 beef boullion cubes
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced

Preaheat oven to 350.  Season pork chops with salt and pepper.  Brown both sides over medium high heat.  Meanwhile, combine sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.  Add water and boullion.  Place pork chops into 8×8 pan.  Make a couple one inch slits in the pork chops.  Pour sauce over meat.  Add sliced onion.  Bake at 350 until desired doneness, about 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and slice pork chops into 1/2 inch slices.  Mix with onions and sauce.  Remove about half the sauce and pour into sauce pan to make a gravy (to do this, whisk together cornstarch and cold water and then drizzle into sauce and whisk over high heat until sauce comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and keep whisking until sauce thickens).  Pour gravy back over meat and toss.

Our family ate this with rice and applesauce.  Yummy.

Tonight we had Carmelized Chicken Legs.  I wish I had a picture, they were so pretty and golden.  And so good that my five year old ate three chicken drums.  This kid is going to eat me out of house and home.  We had these with oven baked white and sweet potatoes.  My kids love these and they are fast becoming a most requested side-dish.  I love that the three of us who prefer sweet potatoes can have that craving met, and the two that prefer white can have those and no one complains.  No complaining at the dinner table is always a big plus.  Actually, I have to admit that my kids are very complimentary at the dinner table.  My boys will make their future wives very happy. 

And finally, today’s lunch:

 

It’s not terribly exciting:  apples, carrots/cucumbers/peas, bagel with cream cheese and pretzel thins.  But this isn’t just any cream cheese, this is Pumpkin Cream Cheese.  My friend made it a couple of weeks ago for her own birthday brunch, and it’s like having a pumpkin pie for lunch.  So good.  We’re almost out, and then I am going to lick the jar clean, it is that good.

 

Fresh Fruit September 28, 2011

Filed under: Bento,Recipe — Sarah @ 5:06 pm

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Okay all you readers who have asked about keeping fruit from browning. This one is for you.

Today, my friend taught me to can. Yummy, ripe pears. Can’t wait to try them, how can you go wrong? But before canning the pears, she showed me this great little product called Fresh Fruit. She sprinkled a little in bowl of water and then we soaked the pears for just a few minutes. Not a speck of brown. She also showed me an apple that she had cut the night before and left in a baggie on her counter. Pure white.

According to the directions, you can also just sprinkle it on the fruit.

It’s an all natural antioxidant, and my friend is super good about not adding junk to her food so I’ll trust her judgement on this one.

Haven’t looked for it in stores yet, but I did see it on Amazon for about $5 a bottle.

Have you tried this? Thoughts?

 

Lunch Box Test Drive September 2, 2011

Filed under: Bento,Recipe — Sarah @ 9:42 pm

Today, my kids and I had an appointment at my college alma mater, and then it was such a nice day, we decided to take a picnic lunch so that we could visit some of the fun neighborhoods that surround the campus.  It gave me a chance to see how my baby (yes, I will keep referring to him as my baby, at least for another five days, but who’s counting) could manage  his lunch box before he starts kindergarten next week.  I confirmed that 1) he is still not able to actually sit and eat a meal, 2) he eats non-proteins first…and therefore if he runs out of time, he’ll miss the more filling part of his lunch and 3), he is able to manage unpacking and repacking his lunch box.  He was super excited to try out his new lunch box and spork today!

Spork?!?  What’s that?  You can see one down below, but it’s basically a spoon on one end and a fork on the other.  And as my kids like to point out, a knife on edge of the fork.  Which to them, is entirely hilarious, because how many times have I warned them about putting a knife in their mouth?  Anyhow, it’s been a good lunch box addition for our family.

The Contents – Fruit salad, booty and egg muffins

The Details – I amended my original egg muffin recipe by taking out the bread completely and my kids loved it.  I simply lined my muffin tin with slices of deli ham and poured the egg mixture over that.  I popped a couple frozen peas into each muffin for color…next time I will also tuck the ham edges into the egg as the exposed edges burned.  The muffins didn’t rise too much, so I was able to stack two muffins on top of each other for those with a bigger appetite.

The fruit salad was a compilation of overripe fruit that was at risk for becoming a home for a new batch of fruit flies:  pears, kiwi, grapes and nectarines.  Yummy.

The Verdict – Kids loved the egg muffins and I think this will be our “final” version.  My kids, who were full of all sorts of questions today wanted to know how it was possible for booty to get soggy and stale at the same time.  Oops.  Guess when fruit salad is this ripe, it needs to go into its own container!

 

3 Kid Circus Test Kitchen August 31, 2011

Filed under: Bento,Recipe — Sarah @ 9:52 pm

Today I had seven kids over for lunch, so I thought, “What a perfect time to test out a few of these muffin recipes!”  Plus, one of the kids is a muffin fanatic, so I figured he could give me the ultimate review.  I served watermelon, apple slices, and three varieties of muffins.  I told the kids they didn’t have to be polite today and that I wanted real, honest feedback.  How often do you get to have lunch at a friend’s house and get to say that lunch sucks?  Amazingly, everyone found something they liked and 7 kids ate through a full three batches of muffins over the course of the day.

Just to keep things real, I served all of these muffins at room temperature.  And I offered condiments including pizza sauce, ketchup and mustard. 

First up were last night’s leftover Pizza Puffs.  I was a bit surprised that only my boys ate those.  What kids don’t eat pepperoni pizza?  

Next up, I did a variation on the Pizza Puffs.  It seems that a close second for pizza topping choices amongst the kid population is cheese, so I pulled the pepperoni on this batch.  I also made them into a mini muffin since I figured the boy who would likely enjoy them most, also is a mini muffin kind of guy anyhow.  

 

They turned out pretty cute, and sure enough, the kiddo who I thought might like them best, devoured four.  Three other boys tried them but didn’t give them the greatest reviews.  I suspect that my boys will polish them off tomorrow, however, when there is no other choice. 

What I like about these muffins is that they are packed with protein.  A full batch (which is approximately 18 mini or 9 regular muffins) has 2/3 c milk, an egg and 1 1/4 cheese.  There are actually very few carbs, most of the bulk of the batter is added by the cheese.

Just a couple of notes about the original recipe – I omitted the salt and I used non-fat milk. 

The last muffin I tested out today were the Corn Dog Muffins.  They were by far the biggest hit.  I made 16 and could have used another 16.  

Corn Dog Muffins

Preheat oven to 400.

Boil several hot dogs.  In this batch, I used 3 hot dogs but all of the kids agreed that they would have liked them even more if there was more meat.   Once hot dogs are cooked through, slice and set aside.   

(I used the Alber’s Corn Bread Recipe for my base)

Grease muffin tins.  Prepare batter.

  • 1 cup Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Spoon batter into muffin tins.  Fill about 1/2 to 2/3 full.  These muffins will rise slightly.  Poke hot dog slices into batter.

Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly brown.  Serve with ketchup and/or mustard…or if they are my kids, pizza sauce.

Next time I make these, I am going to actually try chopping the hot dogs into smaller bits and mixing it directly into the batter.

All in all a fun lunch!