Archives for June 2014

42 simple summer lunch ideas kids can make

When I announced to my boys that they would be making their own lunches over the summer, they responded with an enthusiastic “Yaaaaaay!”, followed by an unconvincing “Awwwww”. Since cooking is technically work, they didn’t want to come across as overly excited, but I knew that they were jazzed.

It’s all part of my master plan to keep them busy and out of trouble. I’d given it some thought and realized that lunch was the best meal for them to take over. I’m not awake enough to supervise breakfast prep first thing in the morning (kids don’t sleep in, remember?) and by dinner time they are fading from a day in the sun. No, it had to be lunch.

My children tend to eat a big lunch, then pick at their dinners; I’ve grown used to it. I stuffed their lunch kits with a well-rounded mid-day meal all school-year long and my 6-year-old never failed to return his completely empty. So, we’re putting some attention into lunches this summer, but still keeping things simple enough for them to execute under my supervision.

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Cousin Camp Out (Recipe: Sour Cream & Onion Potato Packets)

I‘ve been camping ever since I was about ten, when my sister and I would sling a backpack of food and blankets into a canoe and paddle off to spend the night on a nearby island.

We’d build beds out of moss, sleep under the stars and wake up early for a dip in the lake. It was completely magical – and I still can’t believe my parents let us go! Nowadays, I camp with my young family, crash in a tent and stick to provincial campgrounds over wilderness, but our camping trips are every bit of an adventure as my childhood excursions.

This past weekend we invited a couple of the cousins and grand parents over for a backyard camp out on the summer solstice. It gave us a chance to test out our gear before we head next weekend for two nights of country camping with friends.

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How to get kids cracking making Cheese Crackers and Wheat Thins

Homemade edible gifts for my children’s teachers are a sure thing to leave my kitchen come school’s end. I feel like it is the least I can do after the educators have poured their energy into my children all year.

The goodies are our way of expressing our thanks and vary from year to year from chai spiced granola to honey whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Now before you read on, please understand that I am playing to my strengths here. I’m not trying to make myself out to be some kind of perfectly pinteresting supermom. Making and assembling edible gifts is easy and fun for me, so I run with it whenever the opportunity arises. I couldn’t be crafty like my friend Amy if I tried and I don’t enjoy shopping, so I head to the kitchen and dream up something delicious.

It’s important to me to have the boys get involved in making the gifts to teach them to give back and to show appreciation in a tangible way. This year I had thought about canning something, perhaps strawberry rhubarb jam or strawberry caramel sauce, but I tend to do most of my canning on my own, without three kids ‘helping’. They are pretty proactive in the kitchen, but that vat of boiling water still makes me nervous.

White Pepper & Parmesan Crackers :: Simple Bites #recipe #snack #crackers

We settled on homemade crackers, a project I expected to be loads of work but well worth the effort. It turns out I was half right. Many hands made light work and we flew through the task, ending up with about 20 dozen absolutely delicious crackers. I even had time to snap a few photos as I knew I had to share both recipes here with you.

If you’re into homemade pantry staples, then read on for two recipes: Everyday Wheat Thins and White Pepper Parmesan Coins. [Read more…]

Middle Eastern Taco Salad with Roasted Chickpeas, Tangy Avocado Dressing

Last Saturday I pulled together a salad for a barbecue with bits and bites of ingredients I had on hand – and it turned out to be one of the best dishes I have enjoyed this year.

You’ve probably been in a similar situation before: committed to bringing a dish to a gathering yet totally uncomitted to going shopping for said dish. Having a well-stocked pantry and a garden that is starting to produce aids and abets the creative process. That was certainly the case for this Middle Eastern taco salad.

I started by listing the leftovers I had on hand: half an avocado, a bit of roast chicken, a quarter of a red onion, the end of a block of feta cheese. Lettuce and cucumber could be found in the garden, along with oodles of oregano and mint. Now I had a direction….Greece. But I wanted to go further East. I rummaged around and turned up a can of chickpeas, a bag of pita chips and whole cumin seed in the pantry. Now I was set to play.

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Changes afoot and looking ahead for Simple Bites

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri Bergson, French philosopher.

Friends, if you have a few minutes to spare today, I’d love to share with you the new route this blog is taking and a few changes I’m implementing along the way.

When Tsh and I launched Simple Bites back in 2010, we figuratively had a handful of road maps stuffed in the glove box and a few pit stops picked out, but that was about it. I never imagined the sights I’d see and the exceptional people I’d meet along the way. For the last four years, this blog has been in drive and we have covered a lot of miles.

I’m not saying the journey is over – nothing like that – but for a long time I have felt like it is time to take an exit off the freeway and travel the country roads for a change. (And now I’m looking for the runaway ramp on this whole road trip analogy.)

Simply put, it’s time for a change. Why? To keep things exciting, to challenge myself, to evolve, to slow down in some ways, to speed up in others. To do what is right for me personally and not necessarily what the experts say food blogging should look like. I can’t quite explain it in words, but I’ve been feeling a change coming on for some time.

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