My mom always makes great homemade soup out of leftovers. I have discovered just how easy it is to feed the family and use up food that would otherwise go bad. If you plan your meals right, or at least freeze the leftovers properly, you'll have the ingredients to make perfect soup on the weekend.
During the week make a chicken or turkey. Save the bones - freeze them and any left over meat.
The rest of the week make at least one pork roast and keep the leftover meat.
On Saturday get the bones out of the freezer or fridge. Boil the bones with 1 cut up onion, some celery, and poultry seasoning. Cover and let simmer for a most of the day. In the evening pour the stock through a strainer and cool in the fridge overnight.
On Sunday remove the layer of fat and put the gelatinous liquid back on the stove. Add the frozen meat, any vegetables that haven't been eaten this week (or are going limp), an onion, a can of tomato soup, some salt to taste, and let simmer until lunchtime.
Any leftover soup can be poured into cleaned jars while hot and put into the fridge. The jars will seal.
The jars of soup can be easily packed for daily lunches.
I know it may sound very time consuming but its not. The time the soup is on the stove on low heat simmering you can be doing other things around the house. It's perfect way to clear out the vegetable drawer in your fridge ready for the next week of fresh produce.
Every mother wants their children to eat their vegetables, and I'm no different. Neither are my children, they don't want to eat the more nutrient packed types of foods like spinach and kale. So I work them into other foods so that they don't even know they are eating healthy.
Easy ways to get vegetables into kids:
V8 Fusion Juice
Ranch dip with carrots / celery / peppers
Peanut Butter dip with celery
Cheese Sauce on Broccoli
A way to sneak vegetables and other high nutrient foods into kids: Baking!
I buy quick oats and grind them with my coffee grinder to make flour and then substitute it for 1/2 (up to 1 C) of the white flour required.
I buy flaxseed and grind them with my coffee grinder to make flour and substitute it for a 1/4 of the flour requirement and cut back on a bit of the fat. (trial and error) This add essential omega 3 to their diet for brain development and since both my kids are bright I'd say it worked!
I use a magic bullet type blender to blend spinach and kale with the required liquid to add vitamins and nutrients to the recipe. I drain the liquid and throw out the pulp. This only works IF it's a chocolate recipe and I add a bit of extra coca to cover up the green color. NOTE: don't blend a lot of the vegetable about 1/4 of the magic bullet blender cup and top up with the required liquid.
To chocolate chip cookie recipes I add craisons and dried blueberries for vitamins. I use the oat and flax flours with the white flour. Approx 1/2 white flour and the other 1/2 a mix of oat and flax flour.
I love recipes for banana breads, chocolate zucchini cake and fruit muffins. I use the oat and flax flours and add cranberries, dried raisins, dried blueberries, dried goji berries and whatever else I find in the kitchen.
Muffins are the easiest to make healthier. Not just with the flour substitutions but by substituting the butter for a canola oil or another high omega 3 oil. If a chocolate muffin then I blend spinach with the milk.
My favorite cookies to make are garbage cookies.... Take a basic oatmeal recipe add flax seeds, craisons, and throw in whatever else you have in the baking drawer to make them healthy then add lots of m&ms. They are good and healthy.
I use omega 3 brown eggs in all my baking.... the yolks are almost orange they are so packed full of nutrients.
Children need cholesterol for good brain development so don't worry about the fat content.
I use applesauce in place of some of sugar and cut back on the butter a bit.
I grind up nuts to a flour so they don't know they are eating them. - This is only OK if your child doesn't like crunchy bits in baking and isn't allergic to nuts.
The best Muffin, Chocolate Zucchini cake and Banana Bread recipes are in the Best of Bridge books.
Now that I'm back at work I find I'm too tired in the evening and too busy in the morning to get a decent lunch put together for the kids, let alone myself. Saturday has become a get life organized kind of day, including making lunches for the entire week. Now with traveling for work, this makes it even harder because I'm not there.
Stealing the lunchables idea without the high price tag I decided to make my own lunchables for the week. It worked out great!!!! There is a variety of different lunches already packaged ready to go, all my husband has to do is put them into the lunch boxes and away they go to school. The kids can build their own sandwiches at school making lunch a bit more fun!
Here are some items I used to put the lunches together:
Zyploc snack sized baggies
Zyploc plastic containers large and small round
Mini Bagels from Sobey's compliments balance selection
Processed Cheese and Cracker snacks
I'd put all the different ingredients into the zyploc containers making 10 different lunch combinations. The kids had fun putting the food into the containers and deciding which Halloween treat went in.
I would wrap each ingredient separately and use the zyploc snack baggies for the grapes, carrot sticks and celery sticks. The kids will put the baggies back into the plastic zyploc containers to be used again next week.
Any extra meat I had was wrapped and frozen in individual packets to make it quicker for next week's lunch making session.
The key is to stay organized, cut up the meat, cheese, carrots, celery and wrap them in portions then have the kids help put the different items in the different containers. Store in fridge until needed.
I also filled the small round zyploc plastic containers with yogurt and pudding to add into the lunch bags with a plastic spoon. My son will also get an extra piece of fruit because we can't fill him up fast enough he's growing so fast.
I hope this idea will help you make lunches easier and keep your mornings a little less hectic.
Do you have any other ideas or other items you love to put in lunches?
When it comes to making the kids lunches everyday it can be a challenge to keep it healthy, quick, easy and affordable. I've spent the day grocery shopping, baking and making snacky food for lunches. I am always looking for new ideas to make lunches fun. What is your fun lunch ideas?
I always have granola bars (bought and homemade), cereal squares (homemade), fruit, crackers, cheese, and a treat in easy reach. It takes all day to grocery shop, bake, and organize the snack box. Packing all the food into snack sized baggies and making jello, pudding, canned fruit and yogurt in small ziploc containers. Keeping fruit washed and in snack baggies in the fridge to make it easy to put lunches together quickly. Organizing everything for lunches in the pantry and fridge so they are grouped together and make it easy to throw a lunch together.
My favorite thing to make is mix. I use the last little bit of cereal in the boxes, junk cereal like fruit loops, raisons, craisons, and chocolate chips. I fill snack baggies for lunches.
Rice Squares: over low heat 3-4 on the stove melt butter 1/2C butter and 40 large marshmellows. Stir while melting and as soon as the marshmellows are melted then remove from heat and add rice crisp cereal.
Options: add chocolate chips to the melted mixture just before adding the rice cereal.
Options: add multi colored marshmellows just before adding rice cereal for extra chewy squares.
Puff wheat squares:
1/2 C Corn Syrup
1 C Sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 C chocolate chips
Melt the ingredients together on mid low heat and just as it bubbles remove the pot from heat and stir in puffed rice cereal stir to coat.
Always cut up into individual servings and wrap keep on hand for lunches.
Do you have a favorite recipe for lunches?
I am making snacks for the kids, and me, since we mainly snack all day and have small meals. Having the same thing all the time gets to be a bit boring and trying to provide something healthy they'll eat is a challenge.
I don't like to give the kids sugar cereal like Froot Loops or Corn Pops for breakfast, but as a snack during the day makes for a treat with some nutrition. At least better than candy! I will admit these cereals don't have a lot of nutrition packed into them, but some is better than none. I will empty a box into small snack sized ziplock bags and put them into the pantry for a quick snack.
My kids have a choice when it comes to beverages in our house - water or milk. I know a little boring but growing kids can never get too much water or milk.
We love Jello, making Jello healthy is easy and the kids love to eat it. I make a bunch of different options and fill small round glad containers to keep in the fridge. I use Juice and add fruit so I can sleep better knowing at least there is some nutrition and not just sugar and flavoring. My kids love finger Jello, I make this by adding knox gelatin to the Jello, 2 packets for a large Jello box. We use cookie cutters to make fun shapes, I've even made a huge spider and a Jack O Lantern for Halloween.
Ever since I was pregnant with my son in 1999 I've been an omega 3 nut but I don't like fish...... I add flaxseed flour (flax seeds milled in a coffee grinder) to all my baking.
Cereal bars are an easy snack to make and an easy snack to pack in lunches. By adding peanut butter, raisons and chocolate chips, different cereals it becomes different every time.
Share your fast, easy and healthy snacks for kids.