real mom6

Wham.
A kick to the gut.
Wham.
A wack over the eyes.
A tug of war.
For the pillows.
For the sheets.
This is what it is like when my little one attempts to sneak into our bed.
Yet there is nothing sneaky about his restless sleeping, which often takes place at a 90 degree angle across Andy and me.
Grr.

Real mom problems.

real mom6

5:30pm.
One child is whining for a snack while standing periliously on the kitchen counter.
Another child is doing back rolls off the couch.
The dog is barking incessantly.
I am breaking a slight sweat from the chaos.
‘Gotta love weeknight dinner time.
Real mom problems.
real mom2

So as much as I adore cooking there is nothing fun about cooking under these circumstances, which is why I have a few ‘go to’ dinners to save the night…
I make “special green pasta”  at least once a week along with paninis, and these super simple flatbread pizzas.
Real mom dinners.
Ie: Sanity solutions….

Hope you, on the other hand, are sipping wine and reading Bon Apetit during dinner time! ;)

Xo, Bree

real mom2

Here’s What You Need:
2 large flatbreads (I like the Garlic Naan from Target’s Archer Farms)
Organic marinara or pizza sauce
Handful of baby spinach cut into strips
Uncured nitrate free pepperoni
Shredded cheese (Four Cheese Italian or similar)
Salt + pepper, Italian Seasoning, Extra virgin olive oil
Serve with: chopped fresh veggies and hummus or yogurt-based ranch dressing and fresh fruit

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Here’s What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 400. Spread the marinara or pizza sauce on the breads. Sprinkle with the cheese. Top with the pepperoni and the spinach. Drizzle lightly with evoo and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 10-12 minutes and pass with salt + pepper, parmesan, and red pepper flakes.
Easy peasy!
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Kid Tip: See those kid plates above?! Voila!
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heart6

I don’t know about you, but often I have the “best laid out plans” for my family~
let’s just say visions of hearts and rainbows…
And often times I am met with a miserable
FAIL
Such is the reality of a 2 year old and a 4 year old

First comes a temper tantrum

First comes a temper tantrum

Then comes throwing things...

Then comes throwing things…

..and then down the dumps goes my vision of us in an assembly line making heart- shaped pizzas, giggling
and making lifetime rose colored memories…

heart5

Hearts & rainbows forgotten, I cut out the Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough into heart shapes with a cookie cutter ( by myself)

And put the sauce and the Italian seasoning on (by myself)
heart4
And carefully cut out heart-shaped, nitrate free pepperonis (by myself)
heart3
And I gently sprinkle on the Four Cheese Italian Blend (by myself)
Followed by my cute heart shaped pepperonis (by myself)
heart + spinach
Popped them in the oven and added spinach and red pepper flakes (for myself)
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And  poured a half  glass of Grunau Wine’s Pinot Noir (for myself)
And let the boys eat their pizza under the table.
campingout
And breathed…

Happy Valentines!

XO,

Bree
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1meatballs

It’s almost ten pm.
I have no business typing this right now.
Andy leaves tomorrow for a 7 night trip, a friend from MN unexpectantly stopped by and is downstairs with him at ‘the bar’, my little guys are nestled snug in their beds (which means I should be), there are bills to be paid, books to be read, emails to answer…And the list goes on.

meatballs3Kind of like when you have a zillion things to do, so you do nothing?!

That’s me, right. about. now.

BTW-My product was officially manufactured today, which is brilliantly exciting, nerve wrecking,and thrilling all wrapped into one.
AND I am cooking for a potential crapload ton of people this weekend at the Home and Remodeling show in Milwaukee.
YIKES!
I can’t wait to share all the fun with you al as it unfoldsl!

In the meantime,  have meatballs…

Enjoy ;)

Bree

meatballs

Here’s What You Need: (Serves 4)
1lb ground organic chicken from Smart Chicken
1 tsp 100% maple syrup (Do not use the fake kind!)
1 egg
1-2 tsps each Penzey’s Italian Sausage Seasoning & Italian Seasoning*
½ cup of baby spinach, cut into pieces
¼ grated parmesan
Good quality marinara, warmed
Organic non-stick or better yet grape seed oil in a spray can
¼ tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)

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Here’s You Do:
Preheat the oven to 375. Meanwhile line a baking sheet with parchment paper . Mix the chicken with the egg and add in the Italian Sausage Seasoning, maple syrup, parmesan, and spinach. Use your hands and don’t over mix. Begin to form meatballs (about the size of an ice cream scoop). Place them a distance apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and then spray with grapeseed oil and season the tops with the Italian seasoning. Bake for five minutes more. To get them golden brown you can also broil them for a minute. Serve with the marinara.

IMG_5256

Kid Tip:
For some reason my kids loved eating these with toothpicks. Chicken lollipops! Try it! {You can leave out the red pepper flakes if you are making this for your kids.}

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nuggets4
I think I have told you before about my silly goose of a two year old?
Well, his new thing is an obsession with “chicken nugget.”

When I ask him what he wants for dinner he responds, “Chicken nugget!”
When he wants to call his brother a name he says, “Hey chicken nugget!”
When strangers ask his own name he often replys, “Chicken nugget!”
He even named his recent creation at Build a Bear “Chicken nugget.”
Goofy :)

Trying on his Grandpa's glasses!

Trying on his Grandpa’s glasses!

Anyway, I cannot lie and say my kids are strangers to the chicken nuggets from McDonalds, they are not. However, for many reasons I am not a fan. First off, they have 38 ingredients, most of which are non-recognizeable and including this scary note on the McDonalds website: “Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness).
nuggets

So, I created this healthy and natural (yay!) version using healthy quinoa and whole wheat, all natural chicken-baked not fried. I hope your kids like it!

Xo, Bree 

Here’s What You Need:
1lb chicken tenders, trimmed
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp seasoned salt
salt + pepper
Flour
Two eggs, whisked with a splash of water
Organic non-stick or grapeseed oil

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Here’s What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 425. Pulse the quinoa and the breadcrumbs with the seasoned salt and move the mixture to a plate. Make a separate plate with flour. Season the chicken lightly with s+p.  Create a dipping station:
1. Egg mixture (Be sure to shake off the access)
2. Flour  (Be sure to shake off the access)
3. Quinoa mixture (Be sure to press down to ensure it stays coated)
Place on a baking sheet coated with foil and then topped with grate to keep if off the foil-like in a roasting pan). Spray with the grapeseed oil or nonstick. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Carefully cut into nuggets. Your kids can dip into organic ketchup, honey mustard, or warmn marinara.
nuggets3

Kid Tip:
Okay so these don’t look like your average chicken nugget, but a little prodding, a little ketchup and you  should be good to go! If not, you can always pulse the mixture more to make more of a breadcrumb like consistency.

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I don’t know about you, but as much as I  love my children to eat oatmeal for breakfast, I am  not a fan of the way it inevitably ends up crusted on little shirts and matted into fine hair. (Especially as we are rushing to walk out the door for school.) When  my “little helper” was home sick, we concocted this solution: Oatmeal…In a Cupcake! It worked out great…He ate FOUR. You can serve them with a little spoon. You can also put them in a large ziplock bag and have them througout the week, heating them in the microwave for 35-45 seconds. Ta Da!
Here’s What You Need: (Makes about 10)

1.5 cups quick oats
2.5 cups of water
2 TBS flour
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsps 100% Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Here’s What You Do:Preheat the oven to 400. Microwave the water, oats, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cinnamon for 1.5 minutes. Stir to blend.  In a separate bowl beat the bananas, the vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 4 tsp of maple syrup, and 1/8 tsp salt. Stir in the flour until well blended. Pour into the the oat mixture. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and add them to the cupcake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Big fan…

Kid Tip:
None needed! These are targeted right for them, but for you–they are skinny and easy too :).

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You know Jessica Seinfield’s book Deceptively Delicious? She  has some pretty impressive ideas for “tricking” kids into eating veggies. I definitely need to give her credit for her incredible creativity- brownies with spinach and carrots, for example. I am all for taking drastic measures to get kids to to healthy, but frankly I don’t have time to be pureeing vegetables to sneak into my meals. I barely have time to make a meal at all. I also don’t want my kids to get invited for dinner at a friend’s house and have them start squirming when they see vegetables in their “real form” on the table. Instead I think I take the middle of the ground stance –both veiling and unveiling vegetables in my meals. These Sweet Potato “Cakes” are an example of just that. They are simple sweet potatoes, but since I put them in cute little dishes I could magically call them “cakes”. No pureeing or hiding necessary. Voila!

Here’s What You Need:
3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
1/2 tsp each nutmeg and cinnamon
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ff half and half
Pecans, chopped
Brown sugar

Here’s What You Do:
Put the potatoes, salt, spices and olive oil in the slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours. Preheat the oven to 450. Add the cream to the sweet potatoes and mash or blend with an immersion blender until creamy. Scoop into ramekins or small oven proof dishes. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of brown sugar per “cake.” Bake for about 7 or 8 minutes. Sprinke on nuts and bake for another two minutes.

Kid Tip:Since these are “especially for your kids” there are not a ton of tips, but I suggest calling them cakes right off the bat. They are not cakes, but every kid can get excited about “cake!” Also, if you have smaller kids you may want to eliminate the nuts and/or transfer the sweet potato mixture to a dish that isn’t breakable.
Adult Tip:
If I was making these for myself or other adults I would definitely spice them up a bit! I would double all the spices including the sugar (less the salt). I would also add a shot of bourbon to the slow cooker in order to give the dish a more complex flavor. Finally, I would broil them the last couple of minutes to really set in the sugar.

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I have always read that involving your children in the cooking process will make them suddenly love eating vegetables. I could never envision how this was going to work with a toddler, but since I love to eat healthy I thought it was worth giving it a shot. I am  never of fan of sitting down at the table across from my little guy with a big salad in front of me and a processed hot dog in front of him. So, I made up this little pizza recipe. Honestly? Worked like a charm! My son put on all the toppings and I think at one point I heard, “Yay! Broccoli!” Nice.
Try Brady’s Broccoli Pizza with your little ones this week!

What You Need:Handful of broccoli florets
Small pizza crust (like Bobboli)
3 TBS part skim ricotta
3 TBS all natural marinara

2 Cherry tomatoes chopped
5 Turkey pepperonis cut into small strips
1/4 cup approx. of Italian blend cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan to pass
S+P

What You Do:
Preheat oven according to pizza crust instructions. In this case 450. Boil broccoli for two minutes, drain, and set aside. Mix ricotta and marinara and spread over pizza crust. Top with all  the other ingredients and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Put in the oven for 11-13 minutes. Pass with parmesan for the kids and red pepper flakes for the adults. (
This is for one mini pizza, which serves two. Simply double the ingredients for the regular size, which serves 4.)

Kid Tip:One of the things I hear from other moms is how much they hate cooking two meals-one for the adults and one for the kids. This is the perfect Skinny Mommy/Healthy Kids recipe to avoid that.No need to alter this one, as your kids made it, so they should love it too!

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