Tag Archives: Kids

Someone is falling down on the Job, and it’s not who you think.

I got up too early this morning.  As usual, I was checking out Facebook over my first cup of coffee or tea and something really caught my attention.  It was a Facebook post by a woman I’ve never met named Julie Marburger wrote this and a friend of mine shared it.

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Julie Marburger’s desperate plea to get people to do their job.

This really fired me up.  The closest I’ve ever been to teaching was in Girl Scouts (both girls and adults), which is a one-shot 1-2 hours, a weekend of teaching leaders how to take their girls camping, none of which is equivalent to someone in a classroom with 30+ kids for a 6-1/2 hours with, if they are lucky will equate to about 4 hours of actual learning because of disruptions and the critical to get them refocused and on track.

When the bell rings they are not done then spend the next few hours (and time at home as well) putting together lesson plans, grading papers, reading essays, creating tests and other handouts, and shopping for supplies they need for themselves, their classroom, and their students.  All that and a crappy paycheck too!  It’s no wonder why districts are running short on educators. This is how Julie articulated her point…


 

This is yet another example of why I don’t believe in children.  They are adults in training, as a parent, it is your job to prepare them to live and function in society when they turn 18.  

The word “children” is continually used as an excuse… They’re just children…Kids will be kids.  Let me be the first to say this if you haven’t heard it already, kids will not be kids, kids will be adults.  Sooner than you think.

If they cannot survive independently they will be the ones living in your basement until they’re 30, can’t hold down a job, can’t maintain a relationship, all because YOU ARE FAILING THEM AS A PARENT!  

Seriously, how can you even consider sending them to college if they can’t handle basic life skills?  And if you think they’re irresponsible now, just wait until keggers and beer bongs are introduced to them.

When you send your child to school, they are there to learn.  It is your job to teach them respect and proper behavior before they leave home to go to school. The more a teacher has to correct bad behavior, that is time away from teaching them what they need to know.  

It is not a teacher’s job to raise your child. It’s not daycare, it’s not a damned circus and it can’t be a free-for-all. Do your job so that your child can succeed in life, and don’t blame a teacher for your child’s poor behavior and inability to pay attention, respect materials and learn.

The more that caring educators get burned out and leave the more the requirements to be hired will lessen in order to get people into the classrooms and the more your child will be taught by people showing up for a (meager) paycheck.  This too is why we’re seeing more online schools will become the norm because a teacher can take 60 students instead of 30, the algorithms can help grade test and the teacher can get more done while at work because they won’t have to keep kids in line and focused.

You know those people who work the drive-thru that don’t give a damn about their job or your order? If things like this continue, prepare to see them on Parent/Teacher night.

 

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie ॐ 

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Teaching the Keys to Safety is Essential

When my daughter was still in elementary school there was a stranger danger alert.

Remember this

 

While I no longer have a child at home, seeing this picture on Facebook brought it all rushing back.  My daughter rode her bike back and forth to school.  We lived just a few blocks from the school which made her a walker but she had no one to walk with her.  Due to severe health problems at the time resulting in surgery, I was unable to drive her.

According to the school, riding a bike to school was considered a “privilege” reserved for 3rd graders and above.  I finally got them to concede that riding a bike by yourself was safer than walking by yourself.  And since they weren’t willing to walk with her or find someone to do so, they finally allowed her to ride solo.

In addition, I had gotten my daughter a Tracfone that she took with her anytime she was out by herself so she could call for help if she fell off her bike riding around the neighborhood or later on needed to check in to tell me when she got to her final destination (store, library, etc).   I used to get her the card with a year of service every Christmas and every year she had leftover minutes that would roll over.  At the time they only came with 150 minutes, so she did great!

Anyway, on “stranger danger day” the whole school was on lock down.  I was panicking because she was late and I had no way of finding out what was going on and no way to go looking for her.  (I think this was a week or two after my abdominal surgery.)  I called the school and thankfully found out what was going on.   My daughter in the meantime was panicking because she was going to be late and she knew I would worry and they wouldn’t let her call home on her phone or theirs!  (Yes, I took that up with the school too.)

Here in the Midwest, all towns are equipped with tornado sirens.  They are tested everywhere on Wednesdays at noon and carry an unmistakable sound that lets everyone for miles know of impending danger.

I wrote a letter to the mayor, the school board and the principal asking that a similar system be utilized to put everyone on alert.  My suggestion to them was that we use something similar to the tornado siren system to alert everyone to what was going on.

Not only would a siren notify parents as to why students would be delayed, but it would alert students to “drill” type procedures like a fire alarm as well as letting area neighbors know that they needed to be on the look out for suspicious people in the area.  My suggestion was declined with a letter telling me that it was too much effort and unnecessary.

While I always knew I placed more value on my daughter than anyone else did, it was very disturbing to see it written out and her worth be considered so negligible.  It was the following school year that I began homeschooling my daughter.

In the meantime, in the “aftermath” of the event, one of the local news stations had interviewed a few people and it was on the air that very night.  One police officer commented that it’s very hard to catch “strangers” because children made such horrible witnesses because they have no concept of age, weight, etc.

Following the suggestions that officer made during that interview, my wheels got moving.  We called an “emergency” Brownie meeting that the parents were required to attend with the girls.  We did mock sessions asking the kids to describe us.  We met at the school, so having the chalkboard at our disposal we wrote out the answers the girls came up.  Adults were described as being anywhere from 20 to 100 years old, up to 1500 lbs and 20 feet tall!

When we asked the kids to describe what a stranger looked like, it was like asking them to describe a comic villain.  They were confused at first when we told them that a stranger is anyone you don’t know.  They can be handsome, friendly, clean and can even have a puppy.

We then taught them (and their parents) that rather than trying to come up with numbers, to do comparisons instead. Cindy’s dad looks as old as my dad or he’s fat like Uncle Bob or Patty’s mom is skinny like Aunt Judy, wears her hair like my babysitter or smiles like Grandma.

Size, shape, skin color, hair color, hair style and car makes, models & colors are all something that can be accurately communicated this way as long as children are taught to look for the comparisons so they can related them to you or police.

If a child does witness anything and are communicating with police, parents will be called and involved.  From there, police can clarify descriptions with the parents… how old is Dad, how are Uncle Bob or Aunt Judy built, etc.

I used to teach employees that the best form of security is good customer service.  Engage the customer and maintain eye contact.   There’s nothing wrong with teaching kids this too.  Those people who do bad things look for easy targets, whether it’s an adult or child.  They want someone who is easily intimidated and manipulated.   Assertiveness training is not just for adulthood, a dynamic personality keeps people safe at any age.

None of these things need be taught by panic.  The goal is not to teach paranoia  but rather awareness.  Play is always the best way to teach.  Make it a game.

  • Take pictures of celebrities and have your child describe them trying to have you guess who it is.
  • Point out scenarios that you see on the street that you feel could be unsafe and engage your child in conversation.  “See that little girl alone on the street corner?  That doesn’t look safe to me.  What do you think?”
    • It shows you listen to them and value their opinion
    • It teaches them to look around them to see situations and to watch out for other people.
  • Selling popcorn and cookies for Scouts or fundraisers for school or church are great ways to get them to practice eye contact and assertiveness (along with salesmanship, manners & cash handling).

Passwords are also a great means of security that we utilized as well.  It’s that extra step that not only makes them feel safe but makes them feel empowered.  We now live in a world filled with passwords, get them used to it early.  Let them learn what a good password is and let them practice even when you pick them up.  It’s a secret shared with only you two.

One last thing.  Teach your child to listen to their gut (or their “spidey sense” as I like to call it).  Whether it’s a neighbor or a relative, if they give your kid the creeps, please don’t force contact or allow them to be alone with that person.

Learning to trust your primal instincts is a good skill and one we unfortunately don’t listen to often enough.  How many times have you done something, only to kick yourself later commenting “I KNEW I shouldn’t have done that!” or “I had a bad feeling about that, but did it anyway”?

When Kid was little I read an article about a study done with victims of molestation.  Almost all of them had come from families where there was forced intimacy… meaning “go give Uncle Bernie a kiss”, “I don’t want to, I don’t like him” only to be told to do it anyway or something guilt provoking like “he’ll be sad” or he’s gonna cry”.  To adults it tends to be a big game to teach about manners.  I remember these vividly from my own childhood.

Sadly, instead of teaching manners, it teaches children that adults have authority over their bodies.  It also teaches that if they don’t listen to “Uncle Bernie” that they can get yelled at, punished, etc. by their parents or their parents will be mad at them.  I had never considered this until reading that article and it had a profound impact me based on incidents in my own childhood.

I know you want to keep your kids safe, and I want your kids to be safe too.  The world is a scary place but that doesn’t mean they have to be scared of it.  Give them the tools they need that keep them safe and will also help you sleep at night.

 

{{{hugs}}}

 

Maggie

 

 

“Pirate” Pancakes

Why are they “pirate” pancakes you ask?

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Because they’re filled with hidden treasure!

Intriguing name I know, but that’s the fun!  What’s the number one thing that kids eat when you go out to breakfast?  Pancakes.  Not just plain pancakes either.

That lovely plate of pancakes you see there?  Bacon.  Not just a little either.  

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Crispy frying bacon… can you smell it?

 

What I do is add the bacon and the grease to complete pancake mix (let it cool a little) then add egg & water until it’s the proper consistency.  Fry and serve.  Bacon in every bite!

Mom started these “back in the day” as a frugal dinner.  It was the best way to feed 2 adults and two kids with only a half pound of bacon and have everyone happy.  We would put anything in pancakes… diced apples, berries, cooked crumbled sausage, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, etc.

You name it and you can put it in there!  Me & Kid’s absolute favorite to this day are pancakes made with sweet corn and a little cinnamon.  So good!

Pancakes are one of the most inexpensive things you can make to eat and you can do so much with them.  Why not have fun with them?  Fill them with hidden goodies and surprise the kids.  Better yet, let the kids take turns adding the secret treasure and making them for the family.

So try it out, have fun with your kids and save money on your grocery budget.  It’s not only a great breakfast but it makes an amazing dinner for 4 for under $5.  You just can’t go wrong there!

Restaurant Night – A Family Tradition

Pork chops w-mustard cream sauce

When I was a kid, eating out was really a treat.  Literally twice a year going to a restaurant.  It was always for a special occasion and we always got dressed up to go.  Fast food didn’t exist back then the way it was now and our budget didn’t accommodate it even if it had.

One of my fondest memories when I was young was when my Mom and Grandma joined a daytime bowling league.  That meant on Thursdays I couldn’t come home for lunch.  There was a pizza place on the corner across from our school.  So rather than packing a lunch for me, every Thursday I was given forty-five cents so I could get a slice of pizza and a soda.  Yes, I spelled that out so you wouldn’t think was a typo.

It was awesome at the ripe old age of 8 to have money and be able to go spend it unsupervised, not to mentioned getting to “dine out” with friends.  It really was a treat.  As a side note, it turned into a life skill since neither my mother or sister would eat in a restaurant alone as adults.

As I’ve told you before, my mom was the Queen of Frugalites, or as she called it, being a skutch (rhymes with butch).  I still don’t know if she made the word up of or if it was one of those words from the German relatives.  My mom learned when she was young that it was okay to be poor as long as you didn’t know it and didn’t act like it.

Since eating out was such a novelty for us, she decided to instill the family tradition of “restaurant night”.   You got to order from “the menu”, which was a list of the leftovers in the fridge.  It was the only time we could all eat something different for dinner!

My sister and I are five years apart so we each enjoyed the novelty (in separate intervals of course) of playing restaurant.. setting the “dining room” (kitchen table in a tiny kitchen), sometimes even utilizing Mom’s “formal dining room” (the living room with a card table set up.  Sometimes something as simple as lighting a candle on the table or some dime store fake flowers.

We would go all out, preparing the menu board and taking orders on an order pad (practicing writing and spelling), helping with the preparation (aka reheating – a big deal pre-microwave), serving the individual plates, and then having Mom sit down so she could be served as well.  It was also the only time that she wasn’t the last one at the table.

My mom would have made a great homeschooler and greatly regretted not having the opportunity to do that with me and my sister.  As such she was very involved with my daughter’s own homeschooling, even planning their own field trips.  She got us very involved in the kitchen starting at three years old… scrambling eggs, making pancakes & grilled cheese and washing dishes, all while standing on a chair.  I’ve done the same with my daughter as well.  At 16 years old she cooked Thanksgiving dinner by herself and it was AMAZING!

I’m now back in a position of eating out on rare occasion, now due to location.  With no little ones to play/school with and pass this on, I’ve now taking a new turn on “restaurant night”.

I worked in restaurants for years and have my certification in gourmet cooking and catering.  While everyone is busy watching reality shows and sports, I watch Food Network… mostly for different ideas.  I can cook my butt off so to speak, but even for me there’s the difference between everyday meals and “special occasion” meals.

So now every few weeks I’m doing my own spin on the “restaurant night” that Mom started all those years ago, only now it’s restaurant quality food.  For a while my hubby & I referred to it as “expensive meat night”.  Still cheaper than eating out even though it’s a bit outside of the normal grocery budget.

A few weeks back I made boeuf bourguignon (beef burgundy – it’s a traditional French beef stew) over mashed potatoes with crusty bread.  Last night I made apple maple pork chops with a mustard cream sauce and served it with sweet potato & bacon hash and a sauteed slaw with apples, sweet onion and caraway. (That’s the picture at the top.)

I’ll post recipes later.  In the meantime, if you have short people in the house – have fun with them!  Get them involved in the cooking and everything else.  Playing is the best way to learn (and if it cleans out the fridge in the process, who’s going to complain?)

I’m not sure what’ll be next on my menu for restaurant night, it hasn’t popped in my head yet.  When it does, I know we’ll have a great time enjoying it!

{{hugs}}

Maggie

I’m Dreaming of a Pot Pie… and More!

With winter weather upon us, you need something filling and hearty to warm you up and keep you that way.  Pot pie is just the ticket to warm you up and keep you going.  What I love is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

Chicken Pot Pie

If you peruse the frozen food aisle (which is a great place to pick up ideas but not necessarily food due to the sodium content) you’ll find all kinds of variations including “dessert pot pie” (you know, it’s what the rest of us call… pie).

There’s only two parts to making a pot pie, the filling and the crust.  There are so many possibilities it’s astounding.  Truly you could make one for dinner every week for dinner and never eat the same thing twice.

The filling is always something stew-like… meat, veggies and gravy/sauce.  Whatever it is, you want it to be thick so it’ll hold up when you cut into it, just like a dessert pie.

What kind of meat?  So many choices…

  • Beef/Lamb/Venison – Leftover roast, stew meat, ground beef, even crumbled up extra hamburgers from the cookout if they’re not burnt (also great for chili – that’s why Wendy’s first put chili on their menu).
  • Chicken/Turkey – Canned chicken, leftover roasted chicken, marked down rotisserie chicken, thanksgiving leftovers, etc.
  • Tuna – I’m not a fan of tuna but if you are, it’s no different than working with canned chicken.

Sauces/Gravy

  • Gravy – Make it from stock, use the leftovers from your meal or even from a jar or can if you choose.
  • Cheese Sauce – Ragu has a couple good options in both cheddar cheese and Alfredo varieties if you want to make it quick and easy, or make your own.  Especially good for vegetarian options!
  • Cream of “something” soup – Mushroom, celery, onion, asparagus, chicken… any of them will work great!

Veggies

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Turnips
  • Okra
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cranberries (not a veggie, I know, but still an option)
  • Whatever you can find or think up!

Then there’s the crust.

First, there’s the option for one crust or two (top & bottom).  Then there’s the option of what to make the crust out of.  A traditional pot pie uses pie crust.  Remember when I said you could make this as simple or complex as you want to?  I wasn’t kidding.

Here’s some of your options for pot pie crust…

  • Homemade pie crust
  • Pie crust from the refrigerator section.
    • Open the package
    • Lay it in the pan
    • Add the filling
    • Lay another crust on top
    • Crimp the edges & cut a slit for the steam to vent (That’s it, you’re done.)
  • Pie crust from the freezer section (but wait, that only has one crust…)
    • Get one regular frozen crust and one deep dish crust.
    • Fill the deep dish crust
    • Cover with the regular crust like a lid and take off the pan it’s in (save it for crafts or whatever)
    • Cut a slit in the top for the steam to vent and you guessed it… that’s it.
  • Canned biscuits – just take them one by one and cover the top (the giant flaky kind are best because you can actually separate them in half if you need more coverage.
  • Canned crescent roll dough (that’s what I used in the picture)
  • Frozen puff pastry
  • Mashed potatoes (actually this makes it a “shepherd’s pie” but I won’t tell if you don’t)
  • Corn Bread batter
  • Stuffing

I”m going to give you the easiest recipe first.  This is absolutely perfect for getting the kids started cooking!  Even the pickiest eaters will eat their own cooking!

Easy Peasy Pot Pie

Filling:

  • 1 – 10 oz can of chicken, drained
  • 1 large or 2 small – jar/cans of chicken gravy
  • 1 large can of VegAll, drained
  • 1 tube of crescent rolls

Directions

  • Mix first three ingredients together, season to taste (easy on the salt, remember that canned food already have a lot of salt in them)
  • Spoon them into a pie pan or cake pan
  • Unroll the crescent roll dough and place on top.
  • Bake according to package directions for crescent rolls, when they’re browned it’s done!

I wasn’t kidding when I said that it was easy!  A 3 or 4 year old can make this (with your assistance and supervision of course). Oh wait, I forgot the most important part…. Take a picture of your child with the dinner they made and post it on facebook for friends and grandparents to fawn over!

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Okay, so now on to the one I made in the picture.  I actually roasted the chicken a few days ago.  Bestie was working late and since it was just the two of us, Handy Husband decided to pick up a pizza so we didn’t have to cook.  I just put the chicken in the fridge for later.

I put a couple of potatoes in the microwave to bake and then stuck them in the fridge to chill them while I was doing other things.  I do this 1) to make sure that they are cooked all the way through and 2) to make sure they don’t turn to mush while I’m trying  to cook everything else.

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I separated the chicken.  One bowl for the meat, one big pot on the stove for the bones, skin and bits of “stuff”.  The meat I divided in half, put half in the fridge until I was ready for it and the other half went in the freezer for another day.

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I heated the bones and skin with a little olive oil and browned what was in there to develop the flavor.  To that I added the tops and bottoms of my celery along with the ends and peels from my carrots and onions and a couple of peppercorns and a few bay leaves.  I let it simmer on the stove for about an hour and a half (till the whole house smelled like chicken soup).

While that was on the stove, I diced up the rest of the celery.  I set some aside for my pot pie and put the rest in the freezer so that I can use it as needed.  I sliced up the carrots that I had peeled and trimmed and set them aside and diced the onion (put about 2/3rds of it in the fridge for salads, omelettes and such).

By the time that the stock was done cooking, it had reduced by about one-third.  I strained it and put the stock in a pitcher so I could refrigerate it.  I didn’t take a picture because frankly it looks like compost and is not that appetizing.  Be sure to add it to your compost pile for your garden!

Whatever I don’t use of the stock in the next few days will go into ice cube trays and into the freezer for later. (Check out my post on prepping and freezing foods for other ideas.)  I used about 3 cups for this dish and have about a quart left.

Just like cooked meats can be frozen for later use, and so can stock ingredients.  Keep a couple of big freezer bags going; one for chicken scraps, one for beef scraps and another with your veggie trimmings.  When the bag is full, make a couple of gallons of stock.  Why buy it for $1-$4 a quart when you can make it with stuff you were going to throw away!  It only takes a few minutes to brown the bones and fat and the stove does the rest!  Freeze or can the stock when you’re done.

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Using the same pot that I made the stock in, I added a little olive oil along with the carrots and celery. I sauteed them over medium heat until they started to soften (5 minutes?) before adding the onion.  As I was waiting for the onions I started seasoning… tarragon, thyme, marjoram, ground savory, garlic and a splash of soy sauce.  I also took the potatoes that were fully cooked out of the fridge, diced them up and had them sitting off to the side.

Once the onions were soft, I added a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease from my jar in the fridge (must have!)  Once the bacon grease melted I added a few heaping tablespoons of flour to make my roux. (Pronounced “roo”, it’s used to thicken the the stock to make gravy).   I let it cook for a few minutes until it started to brown.  This added color, flavor and kept it from having a “flour” taste to it.

I added my chicken and a few ladles of the stock.  Once it came back up to a simmer, the stock thickened into a gravy.  I shut it off, took it off the burner tossed in my diced potatoes and gave it a quick stir.  I gave a quick spray of oil to a 13″x9″ glass baking dish, poured in my mixture then topped it off with the crescent roll dough.  In my other baking dish I put a can of biscuits and put both in the oven at 375°F for 15 minutes till it was browned.  I gave them both a quick brush with some melted butter and dinner was done!

Instead of packaging the other chicken meat and veggies, I could have easily made enough for two and then froze the second one for later.  Which is what I did last time I made pot pie.

The fun of pot pie is that it’s all up to you and your imagination…

  • Chicken with gravy and veggies with pie crust…
  • Beef stew topped with biscuits…
  • Turkey with sweet potatoes and dried cranberries topped with stuffing!
  • Chili with cubes of cheddar cheese stuck in it then topped with cornbread!
  • Meatballs or sliced Italian Sausage with peppers, onions & mushrooms topped with canned pizza dough and brushed with garlic butter!
  • Corned beef and cabbage topped with mashed potatoes!

If you want to be really adventurous, any of these combinations can be put in between two pieces of crescent roll or pizza dough to make homemade hot pockets.  Just bake and freeze!

Be sure to tell me what combinations are your favorite!

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Reading is FUNdamental

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I have a confession to make… I was a manipulative mom.  It’s okay, the secret’s been out for years.  My daughter and I joke about it now.  As a single mom, I threw up my hands in frustration one day.  I was sick and didn’t want to get out of bed, so off the cuff I looked at my daughter and said “you be the mom today”.  And she did.

For her it was better than playing with her dolls and she did great.  I even was given a cool new kid name “Bella” (short for Belladonna…  as in Belladonna Took, the matriarch of Bilbo and Frodo’s family from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings). You just can’t argue with that!

After that, anytime I needed to get my daughter to do something that I thought I would get resistance on, I would flip positions and it worked every time.  (Sorry Kid.)  I’m also very fluent in the theory that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it.

As you may already know from some of my other posts, I homeschooled my daughter.  For a couple of years I also tutored my neighbor’s son in junior high and high school (further developing my enjoyment of homeschooling – but I digress).  The two of them had a bit of a sibling relationship back then, so while he and I were working together Kid wanted to know all about what he did.

Tutoring him was a great way for me to get refreshed on the more advanced things that I hadn’t used since school myself. It allowed me to prep myself for what lie ahead in my homeschooling.   Then as he would show her what we had been working on, you could see the little “aha” moments flash across his face as things took on deeper meaning.  It worked the same for both of us.

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Fast forward to today…

I found the most amazing link passed on by John Tesh on Facebook, highlighting this great program started at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, PA called Book Buddies.  In a word… genius!

As with most shelters, they welcome volunteers to come in and spend time with the animals.  The shelter workers and working volunteers have so much to do with the running of the facility that it’s hard to spend time with the animals and it’s best to keep them well socialized.

While some folks will come in and play with the dogs, not many will spend time with the cats.  (If you’ve ever had a cat you know how much they need quality time.)  In addition, if you’ve ever had a dog imagine how it would react you coming to play with it for a half an hour and then leaving it mostly in a crate or a kennel for a week until you return.  (Get exited and wait!) Doesn’t make for a fun mental picture, it’s more like teasing.  And it’s hard on the folks that work there when they’re getting all riled up and the visitors leave.

Now I’d like you to add another mental image… your choice.  Arguing once again with your child to do their nightly reading to practice, or…. better practice your reading so you can read the books to the dogs and cats when we visit them this week/month.  Better, right?

It’s a calm way to visit the animals and really spend time with them without getting them riled up, and most of all let them have the quiet personal time that only pets in a home get to have.  Sure it’s a great motivator to get your child reading but the truly amazing part is that it cultivates compassion and a sense of service as well.

While this shelter’s program rewards the kids for how many books they read, you can reward your child just as easily.  They also get to spend time with you and make some great memories while they’re doing a great service; that’s the best silver lining of all!

If your local shelter doesn’t have a program like this one, consider starting one!   Talk to you favorite Scout troop and suggest this as a service project or perhaps to gather some books to donate so that others may be inspired to read to the fur babies waiting for a home too.

I love ideas of giving!

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Zucchini – An Unpopular Vegetable

I was talking with a friend of mine about healthier eating today.  She has two small children and her youngest can be a little on the picky side when it comes to eating veggies.

I showed her my previous post called “Picky Eaters? Choosy Mom’s Choose Paleo“.  It’s all about making desserts healthier.  Face it, picky eaters are never picky when it comes to dessert!  In the meantime I was also mentioning things like zucchini bread and carrot cake (or as my daughter calls it “vegetables & frosting”).

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of zucchini growing up.  My mom only knew one way to cook it.  It was slimy and gross and I refused.  I blamed the vegetable and not the recipe.  I think a lot of folks do that.

Years later I was working in a restaurant when breaded, deep fried zucchini became popular, coincidentally so did ranch dressing.  I think the both helped each other in the popularity department.  I tried them and I loved them.  As they became on more and more menus though, I found that for my tastes they had to be smaller cuts in order for me to enjoy them.  One restaurant literally cut the zucchini into thick “planks”.  I personally didn’t care for the texture of the zucchini when it was cut this large.

So with this in mind, I wanted to give you a couple of different ways to enjoy zucchini and share it with your kids.  Try them out and let me know what you think.

zucchini bread

Maggie’s Favorite Zucchini Bread

Mix well:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 c Sugar
  • 1 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 heaping cups of grated zucchini

Add to it:

  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 c chopped nuts (optional)

Stir well and pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake at 325°F for 1 hour.  Cool on wire racks.

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Maggie’s Favorite Paleo GF Zucchini Bread

Mix:

  • 2 c  Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 1 c Shredded Zucchini
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2/3 c Walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Butter two mini loaf pans or one regular loaf pan
  2. Dust pan with almond flour – DO NOT omit this step or you’ll need a crowbar to get it out of the pan!
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Mix the almond flour, salt &  baking soda together, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork.
  5. Mix the eggs, zucchini & walnuts in another bowl.  Once well mixed, add to dry ingredients and blend well.
  6. Spoon into loaf pans and smooth with the back of a spoon to make sure it’s level.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool on wire racks
Note:  Due to the moisture content of this bread it is quick to mold.  I would keep it refrigerated.  If cooking for 1, slice and freeze on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Once frozen solid, transfer to a ziploc bag.  Take out as eat as desired!

zucchini fritters

Maggie’s Favorite Zucchini Fritters

The original recipe I have for these called for serving them with tzatziki sauce.  I like them with just a touch of Ranch dressing.  These are so good I even like them with eggs instead of hashed browns!  They freeze well and reheat nicely in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c grated zucchini
  • 1/2 c grated potato
  • kosher salt
  • Pinch of flour (or coconut flour for GF)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp your favorite chopped herbs (try chives, mint, tarragon… my favorite is basil!)
  • zest of one lemon
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 c diced white or yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter & 1 tbsp of olive oil for frying or 2 tbsp of ghee

Directions

  1. Line a colander with cheesecloth and add the zucchini and potato.  Spread out over the surface of the colander.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit for 30 minutes to drain.  Set the colander in the sink or in a pan to catch the draining liquid.
  2. After 30 minutes, pick up the corners of the cheesecloth and bring together and twist tightly to squeeze out excess moisture.  You want to do this over the sink, you’ll be amazed at how much liquid will come out when you squeeze it.
  3. Place zucchini/potatoes in a mixing bowl and add a pinch or two of flour (no more than one pinch of coconut flour) to soak up any leftover moisture.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, herbs and lemon zest.  Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Place a cookie sheet in a 200°F oven.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When pan is hot, add butter & oil or ghee.
  7. Place spoonfuls of fritter batter gently into the pan and use the back of the spoon to level.
  8. Cook three at a time until golden brown on each side.  Place on cookie sheet in oven until you’re done cooking the rest and are ready to serve.

Zucchini-crusty herb n parm

Dani’s Favorite Crusty Parmesan Herb Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • Fresh med sized zucchini, sliced in half longways
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (Asiago and Romano are awesome too!)
  • Freshly minced herbs…. rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, you choose!
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I add some freshly crushed, finely minced garlic to mine)
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly brush both sides of zucchini with olive oil and place on a foil lined baking sheet.
  3. Mix cheese and herbs together and sprinkle over the zucchini and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Top with salt & pepper to taste
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and place under the broiler for the last 3-5 minutes until cheese is crispy and browned.
Note:  For a great gluten free bruchetta, add some diced, vine ripened tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar!

So there you have it.  Three really great new recipes to try out that will having you (and your kids) loving zucchini if you don’t already.  Enjoy!

{{hugs!}}

Maggie