Make Ice Cream out of Snow!

Snow Ice Cream
The best part? It's super easy, you can make it in 5 minutes!!!!
Are you as sick of winter as I am? I’m ready for Spring!!! So, we’ve been thinking of ways to enjoy these cold, cold days. If you’re lucky enough to get some fluffy snow, let the kids make some snow ice cream! We saw this in Family Fun magazine and it’s a hit.....just make sure to avoid the yellow snow. ;)

Place in blender:
1 pint Whipping Cream
½ c. white sugar or splenda

Add your favorite flavorings:
for chocolate: ¼ c. chocolate syrup
for vanilla: 1 tsp. vanilla extract
other options: 1 sliced banana (banana chocolate, YUM!!), ½ c. berries, scoop of peanut butter.

Blend on high for 3 minutes, until the cream thickens.

Have the kids fill a large mixing bowl with clean snow. Pour the cream mixture over the snow and fold in crushed cookies, chocolate chips, or whatever toppings you want. Eat it fast, it’s best fresh!!

Favorite Kiddo Tips!

Feeding those Fabulous, Funny, Finicky Kids

We all know how picky kids can be. They’ll tell you that something is their favorite food one day only to announce the next week that they don’t like it and won’t eat it again. Here are some ways to bring the fun back into mealtime and to help everyone enjoy meals! Also, check out the comments section of my Bloggy Giveaway post for some great ideas from other moms!!

Things to Remember:
1) Don’t take it personally, everyone has picky kids
2) Have cut up veggies and fruits on hand for easy decorating and snacking (it’s healthy, too!)
3) Keep introducing new foods even if they don’t eat it the first (or 10th ) time. They’ll get used to having different foods and eventually will try them. Always place at least a bite or two of something new on their plate.

Ideas for Success!:
1) Give choices and let them play! You might like it, too!
a. sandwich mosaic—spread a piece of bread or tortilla with peanut butter or cream cheese. Have various fruits, cheeses, meats cut into small pieces and let them make a picture on their “canvas” with the food chunks.
b. cookie fondue
c. cheese cube sculptures (give them cheese cubes and pretzel sticks and let them use them as “tinker toys”)
d. go “fishing” with pretzel sticks, peanut butter, and goldfish crackers.

2) At least once a week, try something new. They’re more adventurous then you think!
a. Theme meals (round things, backwards, etc…)
b. Learn where it comes from & the people who eat it. http://www.peacecorps.gov/kids/like/index_food.html is a great website for this.
c. Let them help!

3) Make it look like something else
a. Investing in pastry cookie cutters is worth it (for garnishing)
b. Make a “meal scene”—boats on the ocean, etc…
c. Boat sandwiches, car sandwiches
d. Small amounts of ketchup or other sauces can be put in a baggie, snip the end, and draw on plates or food.

4) Call it another name.
a. draw a crown on a napkin and serve “princess soup” or let them wear a crown while eating it.
b. Make a menu with funny names

5) Have regular meal/snack times. It’s hard with a lot of kids but will cut down on your stress. If they don’t want to eat, no worries. Let them know they can eat at the next meal time.


Car Sandwiches

We make these often. I saw this picture a long time ago in a magazine. You can tell from the picture that you simply take a hot-dog bun, hollow it out, add some "wheels" with cucumbers and carrot spokes, olive headlights, and a pretzel steering wheel. You can get creative and use whatever you have around to make the "car".
Then, we simply fill it with our favorite sandwich toppings or a salad and it's always a hit! Let me tell you, salad goes down pretty quickly when it's in the drivers seat.:) Have fun!


Garnish Tutorials

I love, love, love my food to look good. There's nothing better than delicious food arranged artfully. So, I'm always on the lookout for new garnish ideas. Here's a fun one from https://www.cookin101.com/. It's a mushroom! Watch the video on how to make it here. Cool, huh? Think how great that would look with a green onion flower next to a nice steak. Yum! They have a lot of other free videos and fun ideas.

Taco Salsa

My Friend, Suzette makes the best salsa EVER! I can't even describe it, it's soo good. Anyway, I finally weaseled the recipe out of her. We all covet it during the winter months when our gardens are little brown sticks and fresh salsa is just a dream.:) This is super easy to can in quart or pint jars so you'll enjoy it all year long.

Taco Salsa (by Suzett's Mother in Law) *Makes 4-5 Pints
Note: You can easily double this recipe, just cook in a very large pot

10 Large Tomatoes (Blanched and chopped)
½ Cup Jalapenos (diced)
1 Small Carrot (Shredded)
½ cups Green Chili (chopped) fresh or frozen ok
1 Large Onion (chopped)
1 ½ TBLS Pickling Salt (uniodized)
¼ tsp Black Pepper
1 TBLS Garlic Salt
5-7 Chili Tepin Seeds (crushed)

· Place all ingredients into a large pot and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours stirring occasionally (until desired thickness).
· Use hand blender to mash even more if you like it less chunky
· Pour into clean, hot jars.Wipe tops of rings and process in steam canner for 15 minutes.


Ratatouille's Ratatouille

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen
My friend Lisa (she's a great cook and super fun friend) found this easy version of Ratatouille, similar to the one they made in the movie. So, make some up, let the kids have fun layering, and maybe they'll eat their veggies! Original recipe by Smitten Kitchen can be found here. My kids had a blast making it we all enjoyed it. I sprinkled on some herbed goat cheese after baking and we ate it with Sausage and Green Chili Quiche for a French Night!

½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.
Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.
Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.

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