Zoku frozen pop maker

 

I bought this about two months ago. Naturally, I just took it out last week to use at the tail end of summer.

 

Photo by Carisa Brewster

 

I think I thought it might be a pain in the ass to use. I was wrong though. I LOVE this thing. My #1 son loves popsicles and is a picky eater, so it’s a great way to get fruits and veggies in him. You can use juice or smoothies to make popsicles.  I experimented with both.

 

Banana+Blueberry+Red pepper pops

Photo by Carisa Brewster

 

Pretty straight-forward. In a blender, pulverize:

1 banana

2/4 cups of frozen blueberries

1/4 of a whole red pepper

1/4-1/2 cup any juice of your choosing (I used Tree Top Fruit Punch)

You want a smooth texture, not too thick, but not too soupy. You can also ditch the juice and use water instead, if you like.

Follow the Zoku directions to make pops. And presto, chango, the #1 son gobbled it up.

 

Photo by Carisa Brewster

 

It takes ten minutes for the pops to freeze, so this all takes maybe 15 minutes total. They were a hit.

 

Carrot+apple+orange pops

I juiced a bunch of carrots, 1 apple and 1 orange.

 

Photo by Carisa Brewster

 

Made my pops. Nice color…

 

Photo by Carisa Brewster

 

But I didn’t like it so much. Straight juice makes the pops too hard. I was better off just drinking the juice.

Most kids love popsicles so this is a great way to make healthy ones. You’ll know every ingredient that is in it and you can sneak veggies in. Win!

Yo Gabba Gabba Party

My son recently became enamored with Yo Gabba Gabba, so we decided it would make a great theme for his birthday party. For the cake, I made a rainbow cake (recipe here). This blogger recipe uses diet Sprite to mix with the cake mix, but I just followed the box directions. I also used butter instead of oil and whole eggs versus egg whites.

Before going into the oven. Colorful!

 

It was a bit hectic, so I didn’t have time to take a pic after they were taken out of the oven. Below is a pic half-way through cutting it at the party. It was a hit!

Not the best pic. I'm a party hostess, not a photographer.

 

These next few pics were the food and craft table. We had finger foods and dips that matched the color of each Yo Gabba Gabba character.

Kids could choose what Yo Gabba character they wanted to make, with one already made to guide them.

 

Plex dip. You can't see little Plex there...again, I'm not a photographer!

 

Brobee veggie dip. Same bad angle, can't see the little figure there.

 

Muno sauces

 

There's Foofa!

 

And Toodee

The Yo Gabba figures were cupcake toppers and the colored sheets underneath were craft material we got from Michaels. My DH spent a long time putting the crafts together. We both thought maybe one kid may be interested in doing it because it’s kind of a crapshoot with kids aged 2-5; maybe they’ll be interested, maybe not. But the craft was a hit too!

Some details were a little off for us, but overall we were happy with how everything turned out. And most importantly, the kids had fun. We’re already thinking about the theme for next year. What cool themes have you done for your kids parties?

 

It’s all about the leftovers

I love making large main courses that last for a couple of days. This week I am making two dishes:

1. Ground beef lasagna

2. Pot roast with rutabagas, beets and onions (in the Crockpot)

I found a recipe online for a pot roast that I’m trying; my version will be a bit different though. If it’s good, I’ll post the recipe and link back to my inspiration.

Thanksgiving leftover stew

Since we only had turkey breast, all that meat is gone now. So I bought a pound of stew beef to add to the leftovers and some other things I found (still good to eat, of course) in the fridge:

Stew beef (1 pound)
1 rutabaga
2 med. parsnips
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 red pepper
1 bag broccoli+califlower
Leftover mash potatoes
Mushroom and chicken stock
Salt+pepper
A few shakes of ground mint

Why mint? I don’t know, I was just looking for something interesting to throw in there for seasoning.

Can’t wait to see how it tastes!

Turkey Day

 

The turkey breast in the Crockpot turned out great. Meat was falling off the bone. Noice!

 

Brussels sprouts and potato parsnip mash was good, too.

 

 

We have yet to taste the chocolate hazelnut tart…but it looks divine…

I can’t imagine this not being good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Plans

Thanksgiving is in two days and I decided to cook a turkey breast in the Crockpot. However, I have about a 2.5-3-quart Crockpot and needed to get a bigger one for this (which I was fine doing since I can use it for other roasts and bigger portions of stews).

So I bought a 5-quart Crockpot on sale from Fred Meyer.

This would be fine if the turkey breast I bought was 4 pounds…it is not. It’s a little over 7 pounds. So now I have to exchange it for a bigger one. If I wasn’t hallucinating, I believe I saw a 6.5 or 7-quart Crockpot so this should be a painless transaction.

If all goes well, the turkey breast with onion soup mix rubbed all over it will go into the Crockpot. I might add a little mushroom stock and white wine to mix with the meat juices for gravy. And perhaps place pieces of apple or pear in the cavity.

So, my menu for Thanksgiving is:

Turkey Breast

Brussels Sprouts+Garlic Stir Fry

Potato+Parsnip Mash w/ blue cheese+carmelized onion

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

MIL is bringing over other sides, cornbread and cranberry sauce.

Small group for Thanksgiving. My family is in Philly and DH’s family is scattered as well although they all live in the Pacific Northwest. However, on both sides no one is really close unfortunately. But for most of us, there is no particular reason for the distance; we’d all have a good time catching up if at a gathering. For others, though, there are issues. Not a big deal, it is what it is.

One thing I almost did: Saturday, we went to a birthday dinner for a friend of #1. A mom I know there wasn’t doing much for the holiday and it’s just her, DD and DH. I almost invited her over for Thanksgiving. Most of the people I know here in Portland (including the mom I mentioned) are recent transplants. If their family isn’t in town visiting, it’s kind of cool to have friends over for Thanksgiving dinner.

Maybe next year?

Broccoli Cheddar Biscuit Muffins

Sunday nights are “Cooking with #1”. It can be anything; the main course, dessert, a side dish. This week we made Broccoli Cheddar Biscuit Muffins, a recipe I got from Cooking with my Kid.

 

They were good. Just wished I had of added more cheese because there is really no such thing as too much cheese. Of course #1 was very excited to make them, but a less enthused about actually eating them. Baby steps, I guess!

Ginger Chicken Salad

Tonight I made my usual Ginger Chicken Salad. It’s kind of a summer-like meal, but I was really craving it. Just roll it up in tortillas for wraps for spoon a bunch on bread for sandwiches. I don’t measure the ingredients though:

1-1.5 pounds cooked chicken breast, cubed
Mayo (jas much or little as you like)
salt and pepper
ground ginger
3 scallions
golden raisins
1 granny smith apple
lime juice

Just mix them up and eat!

Gummies!

One of my favorite addictions treats is gummy candy. Back when I worked retail during college, I could seriously tear up some gummy bears, peach rings, or Sour Patches. Could be sweet or sour (or, in the case of Sour Patches, sour, then sweet); my preference is sour.

But for the last four years, I’ve been either pregnant or lactating so I gave up the gummies because, let’s face it, it’s straight up sugar.

Until yesterday. I went to the store last night to get some essentials and I saw these:

It was all kind of a blur, but when I was standing in line they were among the other items I was planning to purchase. They were on sale, too. And they’re sour! I’m not making it habit, though.

Picky Eaters

From the moment he started solids, our #1 has been a picky eater. At now 3.5 years old he has improved, but it continues to be a challenge to get him to even try new foods; we’re not even into the whole clean-your-plate club. We just want him to try it, if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to eat it.

My SO discovered a blog, Cooking with my Kid, where the mom pledged to cook once a day with her son for a year (she accomplished that). She testifies that cooking with your child is a sure way to cure pickiness.

So now I am inspired to start cooking with #1 more often. Last night we made biscuit pizzas, a recipe I got from Taste of Home.

I didn’t do the Halloween theme included in the original recipe, just made the pizzas. It was pretty good.

And #1 ate tons of pepperonis and shredded cheese while making them, so he didn’t eat any of the finished product. Maybe he will try some leftovers today?