Chicken Tenders the Entire Family Will Love!

It’s back to school time and my kids are ready for quick-to-eat dinners that won’t let them fall asleep on the table.  They are still young (3 &5) and dinnertime is their least favorite time; they are tired, they are whiny and they just want to get to bed!  This recipe is one of their favorite things to eat.  Is it the parmesan cheese?  The hint of garlic?  I’ll never know.  But it’s a winner every time!

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or, 1 cup milk + 1tsp vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 quart oil for frying

Directions 

Just a little oil in the pan - no need to submerge

  1. In the morning, place chicken strips into a large, resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, mix the egg, buttermilk and garlic powder. Pour mixture into bag with chicken. Seal, and refrigerate at least 4 hours (I leave them in there all day).
  2. In another large, resealable plastic bag, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and baking powder. Remove chicken from refrigerator, and drain, discarding buttermilk mixture. Place chicken in flour mixture bag. Seal, and shake to coat.
  3. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Carefully place coated chicken in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and juices run clear. Drain on paper towels.

PS: yes, you know I rarely fry, but baked chicken strips are just not the same for my family.  Serve with a side of vegetables.

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A No-Fuss Way to Get Kids Out the Door in the Morning

Have you heard?? There is a new way to plan your lunches!  MOMables™ is a website created by a MOM dedicated to helping parents make their kids’ school lunch fresh!  Here is a brief interview with Laura Fuentes, Chief MOM at MOMables™ and one of our contributors here at AMKB.

AMKB: What is MOMables™?

MOMables™:  MOMables™ is a lunch menu subscription plan designed to help parents make fresh, wholesome, school lunches.  Our picky-eater, kid-tested recipes are made quickly — in ten minutes or less — with simple and fresh ingredients.  We streamline the lunch making process with a weekly menu and a shopping list.  We also provide you with a picture of the food so you know what the lunchbox will look like. Whether you have a small soccer team or one child, MOMables™ brings you fresh ideas so you can feel good about your child’s nutrition.

AMKB: What kind of ingredients are in a typical lunch?

MOMables™:  We believe feeding your kids wholesome food doesn’t have to be complicated.  All of our lunches have simple ingredients typically found inside your pantry and your current shopping list.  We plan the main sandwich, wrap, dish… and always picture it with a fruit and a vegetable to remind parents what a balanced lunch should look like.  You won’t find a packaged items in any of our lunches, only fresh food.

AMKB: What about a child with food allergies? Or, if my child doesn’t like one ingredient?

MOMables™:  Our lunch menus are not designed with specific dietary restrictions in mind.  However, nearly all ingredients are exchangeable for dairy free, wheat free, and vegan substitutes, for example.  Just like food allergies,  if your child doesn’t like one ingredient you can easily substitute it for another.

AMKB: I have kids of different ages.  How does your meal plan take this into consideration?

MOMables™:  Our lunch menus are a guide to portion sizes.  A parent preparing a lunch for a 4 year old child will make the food quantity slightly smaller than an 8 year old, for example.

AMKB: Can parents eat these lunches?

MOMables™:  Of course! Why not pack lunch for the entire family to save time and money!  My husband super-sizes his portions compared to my 5 year old and I love my sandwiches dressed with lots of lettuce and tomato (unlike my kids).  So naturally, there are some differences… but all the ingredients remain the same.  This saves me a lot of time.  We also pack most of the lunches on Sunday nights, so all I have to do is pull them from the refrigerator in the morning!

AMKB: How much does the subscription cost and how does it work?

MOMables™:  Our subscription pricing is $6 or less per month.  You receive a weekly email on Thursdays with some fresh tips from our kitchen as well as reminding you to log in to the website to retrieve your weekly menu and shopping list.  You print it, shop, and make fresh lunches!  It’s that easy.  You can sign up here. Or go to our main page and sign up for our FREE weekly news for more fresh food ideas.

Thank you Laura, we’re so excited to try MOMables™ and can’t wait to hear what others think! – Allison

Kid’s Favorite: Easy Pizza Rolls

Simple 30 Minute Lunch Box Recipe

 

I posted these this week in the MOMable’s Facebook page.  They are a HUGE hit in my house and I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting creative filling these with the toppings your family loves.  If you are in a hurry, I even give you the store-bought dough option.  This is a great recipe for lunch your kids will love in their lunchbox.  Try serving it with some nuts or fruit to  fill them up with great nutrition and energy.  You can make these ahead of time for dinner, and save leftovers for lunch!

Prep time: 7min   Cook time: 20-30  Yields: 12 rolls

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 TB butter, cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup of milk (or non dairy substitute)
  • plain flour
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup of ham chopped
  • 1 can of pineapple pieces, drained
  • Alternatives: cut veggies, pepperoni, olives, or any other favorite pizza topping

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 210 degrees and line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt. Cut butter into the flour with a knife.
  3. Begin to add milk slowly, mix/knead.
  4. Mix/knead until the dough starts to stick to itself, put on a floured surface.
  5. Kneed the dough until smooth, then use a floured rolling pin to roll into a rectangle.
  6. Spread the pizza sauce onto the dough, sprinkle cheese, ham, and pineapple.
  7. On the long side start rolling up the dough into a log.
  8. Brush the edges with some milk to help it stick.
  9. Cut the log into 12 pieces equally.
  10. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven to cool. Will keep for 2 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Under 5min option: purchase store bought pizza dough. Roll out. Follow steps 5-8 then bake according to manufacturer.

 

 

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Somalia: What Starving Really Looks Like

At 5:50 this morning my eight-year-old daughter was standing at the side of my bed, whining to me that she was “starving”.  I stumbled downstairs with her,  half awake, thinking to myself that she would not do well in Somalia.  After fixing her a bowl of oatmeal, I opened my laptop on the counter, and still feeling frustrated with her dramatics, said,  “This is what starving really looks like.”  As she ate her breakfast, we watched the news video of Somalian refugees fleeing drought and famine to find food in neighboring Kenyan and Ethiopian refugee camps.  Some of the children in the video had been walking barefoot for weeks.  She stared at my face intently as I started to cry, and then looked back to the screen at the parade of children literally starving to death.  Some had not made it.  Like so many “mommy moves,” I am not sure if it had been the right thing to do.  It was a bit drastic perhaps, but these days I guiltily scrape scraps of food from our dinner plates into the trash as I wonder how to help my kids understand.  My daughter is an active, and slim child who could eat all day.  She probably did wake up with her stomach growling, but in our home with a brimming pantry, and full refrigerator, she has no concept of what it truly means to be hungry.  To watch the images of suffering gives me a sense of helplessness, but organizations like World Food Program, UNICEF, Save The Children and SaveOne,  get money donated as directly as possible to those in need.   By donating to them, I feel I’ve at least done something other than sitting by and idly watching this tragedy unfold.

Do any of you know of other ways to help?  What are ways that we as parents can help our children understand what is going on in the world and how lucky we are to live in this country?

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Easy Brunch: Ham & Cheese Muffins

This week, I am at the beach with my kids in a condo with a full kitchen.  We are having lazy mornings where breakfast happens around 10:30-11am (right before we head down to the beach and eat a late lunch).  I brought some handy Biscuit mix with me because there are many quick and easy things I can make that are kid friendly and portable.  Yes, I am not a big fan of ‘mixes’ but we are on vacation!  I made these ham and cheese muffins for brunch yesterday and will be serving them with a salad for lunch today!  Can you say fast and deeeeeelicious!

Prep time: 10 min.  Total time: 30min   Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups Bisquick mix
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 TB vegetable oil/melted butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped fully cooked ham

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 400°F. Spray bottoms and sides of 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray. (Spray will work better than greasing or using paper muffin liners.)
  • Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with fork. Stir in Bisquick mix, milk and oil just until moistened. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese and the ham. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese evenly over tops of muffins.
  • Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve warm. Wrap and refrigerate any remaining muffins.

 

   
   


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Banana Split with a (Watermelon) Twist

Here I come again with another watermelon recipe!  If you missed last week’s watermelon cupcakes, you should click on over and try them.  They are really good!  Since we are still in the middle of summer, the heat is plentiful and watermelon is our favorite light dessert… here is a light twist on the banana split.

Ingredients:

  • Bananas (1 per person)
  • Watermelon
  • Toppings: granola, whipped cream or whipped topping, berries, chocolate syrup to drizzle.
Instructions:
  1. Cut bananas in half lengthwise and place the halves on plates.
  2. Top with watermelon balls formed with an ice-cream scoop.
  3. Add dollops of whipped cream, then sprinkle on berries and chopped nuts or granola.

 

Serve and enjoy!

 

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Photo credit: Disney Family Fun

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The Top 5 Safety Hazards for Kids

kids swimming lapsA few years back, sitting by the side of a neighbor’s pool, as the kids frolicked with their friends, I learned a little something about drowning.  Other moms were standing by the edge, some with their feet on the top step in the water.  We were all right there, alternately chatting and watching the kids.  One of the older girls in the pool grabbed what she thought was the hair of the life size Barbie doll they had been playing with moments before, and pulled her up from the bottom of the pool.  She was shocked to find one of her little neighbors instead.  The little girl coughed, and reached for her mother as she started to cry.  Apparently she had just walked right into the pool, not realizing she couldn’t swim, and she SILENTLY  sank to the bottom. No splashing, no screams;  it was not like in the movies.  It was eerily silent, and we had been right there.  The whole scene took place in an instant.  That is what a real drowning would look like. We were in shock, and acutely aware of the serendipity that the older girl decided to play with the doll at that instant.  She had unwittingly saved a life.

Between the months of May and August unintentional injury deaths peak for children under 14 years old.  Below are the top five culprits that parents need to be aware of, and the proper precautions to take to protect kids, and enjoy summer safely.

1.Drowning.

Nearly 9 out of 10 fatal events occur during a brief lapse in supervision.  A child can drown in a matter of seconds, as I learned in the frightening lesson above.  My kids spent their years learning to swim looking like little Michelin men.  At least I knew they wouldn’t sink!

2.Bicycle Injuries.

The most common injuries are broken bones, but head injuries can be life threatening.  A helmet is the single most effective safety device for reducing the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death following a bicycle crash.  Even if your kid falls and hits their head in your own driveway it can be just as serious.

3.Falls.

Trampolines and playground equipment are top culprits.  Toddlers are most at risk for falls from windows.

4.Motorized Vehicle Accidents.

Although the summer is generally a more relaxed time of year, car safety should be followed in the same way as the rest of the year.  Teenagers are a large percentage of all motor vehicle accidents.

5.Burns.

In younger kids these are usually cooking burns or water burns, in older kids campfires and fireworks.

Unfortunately we can’t keep our kids in a protective bubble, but by making sure they  are actively supervised when in or around water and having them protected with appropriate safety gear, they have the best odds and are sure to have a blast this summer!

kids playing at beach

 

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Ice Cream Face Melts My Heart

I try to keep sweets away from my daughter.  It’s not to be mean; rather, it’s because I know with my husband around, she’s getting plenty. Yup, he’s the sucker in the family and will do anything to see his little girl’s eyes sparkle. Case in point, our recent trip to Mystic, CT, where my husband gave my daughter ice cream AND part of a brownie.  I am worried, however,  that if she eats too many sweets those veggies will start becoming a lot less appetizing.  I mean, who wouldn’t choose brownies over brussel sprouts?

VIDEO Diary Day 5: Bloopers & Reuniting With Old Friends

I have been so excited for this day.  We drove from DC to Richmond, where  we are staying  for a bit with a very good friend of mine that I met at my first television station in Sherman, TX.  Back then, it was the only station in the country to be three affiliates; ABC, NBC & FOX.  I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but that was the case.  Now, it’s simply the NBC affiliate.  Tracy and I had so many good times together.  I saw her through several boyfriends, was in her wedding  five years land several moves later, and now we both have families.  In 1998, when Tracy and I met, I was the only one of my friends married, so my husband and I would often “host” the holidays at our house. Rather, it was an apartment that my husband and I shared with a roommate because we were so broke.  She, too, has become a life-long friend and the memories of those days in the sweltering Texas heat, I will forever cherish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOj21ulLPo8

Anxiety About Leaving Your Kids….

My husband and I are going on a trip to Ireland for our 10-year Anniversary.  I am definitely excited about the trip, but I’m not too excited about leaving my kids behind.  Even when I am exhausted and losing any bit of patience I have left at the end of the day, there is nothing more I want than to be with my kids.  I can’t imagine being apart from them for an entire week!  No stories at night, and no hugs and kisses!  I’m not sure how I’m going to survive.  Everyone says once I’m there safe and sound and having fun, then it will be easier.  I guess we will see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(At our Wedding – June 2001)

The kids are staying with my parents, and they live close to my brother and sister as well.  There will be a lot for the kids to do with their Papa, Gaga, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  Hopefully, they will be entertained and not missing Mom and Dad.  I will probably be the one missing them more!

I will be able to talk to the kids each night on Facetime (the Mac version of Skype), so at least I will be able to see their cute little faces and speak with them.

(Family Photo – Papa, Gaga, Aunts, Uncles & Cousins)

A week will probably fly by!  It’s all planned out and we will be moving around (Dublin to Cork to Killarney), so I’m sure I will be back home before I know it.  I love my kids, but I love my husband as well.  This should be a nice time for us to focus on “us,” which we have not been able to do in a while.  It’s easy to put relationships on the back burner when you are raising two kids.  Focusing on married life is very important as well, which I fully understand.  The kids are now ages 4 and 6 , so I am finally ready (sort of) to be able to leave them – but ONLY for a week (my husband wanted longer)!   I will post after my trip and let you know how it all goes!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

(My two cute kiddos who I love SO MUCH!!!!  I will miss them!)

* Have you left your kids for a trip?  How old were they?  How did you feel?  Any tips on getting through the week?

 

 

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Kristin Wheeler