As a busy working mom I am always looking for ways to cut my meal preparation down. Even though I am a chef and I love to cook, after a long day of standing around in the kitchen the last thing I want to do for dinner is chop, mince, and zest.
It's Toddler Café Tuesday. Our book has been out about a year now and I thought it was time to start sharing more of the recipes with you, my loyal readers.
Banana Hot Dog
In a pinch, a plain old banana can become a hot dog! This is a funny and different way to serve this fruit. Put it in front of your child and watch their reaction. Let your kids help add the “mustard”—it may be messy, but it is sure to get them interested. And it’s a great way to use up your old hamburger or hot dog buns. Serve with banana chips for the ultimate tropical experience.
Makes 1 serving
1 banana, peeled
1 whole-wheat hot dog bun
Creamy peanut butter
Place the peeled banana in a bun. Fill 2 zip-top baggies, 1 with jelly and the other with peanut butter. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of each bag, and squeeze out onto the banana as you would mustard and ketchup. Eat and enjoy.
• Add crushed pistachios for a crunchy relish look-alike.
• Cereal and dried fruit make great additional toppings.
• Let your toddler have some fun squeezing out the peanut butter and jelly in crazy patterns on their plates.
• If you are weary of peanut butter, try soy nut or almond butter for a change.
I never thought I would, really I didn't. Should I tell you? OK, while browsing the isles of Whole Foods as I do (really it is for work I just have to spend long hours wandering around the grocery store.) How do you think I get most of my ideas? Mostly I just walk around in a daze while my brain and eyes take in the plethora of ingredients.
Double Dippin’ Cheese Sticks
String cheese is not usually a food we need to convince our kids to eat, but this is a fun way to enjoy it. It teaches the kids about different textures, colors, and tastes—and they can double dip all they want! Choose some of the dips from the list below or create your own ideas. Remember to teach them only double dip if it is your food, not shared!
Makes 1 serving
1 piece string cheese
Choose 4 of the following ingredients:
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 tablespoon crushed pine nuts, almonds, or peanuts
1 tablespoon crushed tortilla chips
1 tablespoon crushed crackers or goldfish crackers
Put the dipping ingredients in separate small dishes on a plate with the cheese. Have your child dip the string cheese into each dish and discuss the different tastes. Take a bite and dip again.
(Again the photos were taken with my phone...)
If I could eat only Japanese food I probably would. One of our favorite things to do in San Francisco is to go to Japan Town it is all things Japanese, between the food and the great products it is a perfect half day trip. We went to the city to get some items for more exciting bento lunches. We came home with so much more.....
As you can see we have a new member of the pack called Choco Kitty. Sanrio is a dangerous place, I pretty much wanted everything I saw and of course kidlet and hubby did too!
Kidlet had mango @food_is_art and I had Thai iced tea. We love to slurp up the gelatinous balls of tapioca!
Kidlet's favorite lunch place is the Sushi restaurant that has the little boats that float around with sushi on them. I assume the sushi is removed after 10 times around but you never know, it makes me feel like I am living on the edge. It may not be the best Sushi around but the little boats that go around and around are a real crowd pleaser. Kidlet likes Tobiko the little tiny fish eggs, it is pretty hilarious to watch her eat the rice and Tobiko with chopsticks. She does a fairly good job if the chopsticks are rubber banded together!
We saw so much great food that day including these funny fish shaped cakes with fillings like sweet bean and chocolate. They are cooked on a cast iron molded griddle, they are spongy and only slightly sweet.
The other thing we saw that I really wanted to taste was Spam Sushi, but I didn't. Growing up in a kosher household Spam was not on the menu, so in my adult life I have developed a kind of strange love for all things SPAM. My MIL gave me a can of SPAM one Christmas about 7 years ago, I am still not sure why, maybe she likes the graphic tin too! I do still have it, how long does it last anyway?
The original reason for our trip was to get the bento supplies and boy did we get bento supplies....Egg shapers, soy sauce containers and cute little rice molds.
Lucky you...it's.....Toddler Café Tuesday. Our book has been out about a year now and I thought it was time to start sharing more of the recipes with you my loyal readers.
Here is a very easy way to make homemade ravioli. Gyoza wrappers can be baked, fried, or boiled like pasta. In this case the wrappers cook up just like pasta, with a creamy inside. Serve with browned cinnamon butter, or just plain as a great finger food. Freeze extra Pockets for those nights when the kids are hungry and you’re too tired to cook. Just boil, drain, and serve.
Makes 60 ravioli
8 ounces cream cheese
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus 1 tablespoon for pasta water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package (60) round gyoza wrappers (see Note)
2 tablespoons butter, for garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on high for 30 seconds to soften. Add the pumpkin and stir to combine. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, the nutmeg, and cinnamon, and mix with a stick blender or by hand until the filling is smooth.
Place a 1/2 teaspoon-sized ball of filling in the center of each wrapper. Wet the edges with water and fold the ravioli over to form half moons. Pinch to close, pressing down lightly around the mounds of filling to prevent air bubbles.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Gently add the ravioli, and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they float. (Depending on the size of the pot, you may have to cook them in batches.) Drain the pasta and toss them with butter and Parmesan.
· If you are cooking frozen Pumpkin Pockets, extend the cooking time to 6 minutes.
· If you have whole nutmeg, use your micro grater or box grater to grate it into the filling.
· Wonton wrappers are square and gyoza are round and slightly thicker, but they are essentially made of the same ingredients. You can use either for this recipe; the flavor and cooking time will be longer for gyoza.
[Photos taken with my phone....sorry about the bad quality]
What am I talking about, you ask? I hate to stray away from food because this is The Toddler Cafe you know, but this was so fun I just have to share. Lately my husband