The secret is in the sauce…on the side (3 recipes)

We’re a family that dines together for seven dinners a week. This time around the table is important to us and is a crucial step in our journey to build a healthy family food culture.

But? This commitment to the family dinner has its rocky moments. On a nightly basis we’re dealing with spilled milk, tossed food, stormy attitudes and questionable manners. Oh, how our children’s manners are a work in progress (look for a post soon on how we’re working to improve them).

Some nights it would be a whole lot easier to serve up sandwiches on paper plates and then sit down to a hot! spicy! delicious! meal ourselves after we have tucked the munchkins into bed (and on the rare occasion, this is what happens), but we’re committed to that dinner hour.

Today I’m sharing one tip that has brought peace to the table – at least as far as the food is concerned; attitudes and pesky squabbles still need an intervention! This tip has helped to keep everyone happy with their food, especially Danny and I, who love full flavour dishes and are crazy about sauces.

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How to Make Your Own Fruit-Bottom Yogurt

We’re so pleased to have Cheri Neufeld of Kitchen Simplicity back as a regular contributor. Welcome, Cheri!

Growing up, Fruit-Bottom Yogurt was always my favorite. I got so excited when I would see one packed in my lunch box. Somehow they always seemed more flavorful then regular yogurt and I loved how the little chunks of fruit would add a burst of flavor in my mouth.

I’m still a big fan of yogurt but I have a hard time eating ones that taste fake or processed. Anything that has the “flavor” and no fruit gives me a bit of the heebie-jeebies.

Eating yogurt is a daily occurrence for my son so I try and make sure that the yogurt I purchase has real fruit in it. One way to ensure that is to make your own.

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Frozen Treats: Mango-Cilantro Popsicles

Beat the heat with our week-long series on simple frozen treats! Written by Elizabeth of Guilty Kitchen.

I‘ve often written in my personal blog and other places around the internet that I have a picky eater. This is not just any picky eater. This is a kid who will eat one thing one day and then flat out refuse to the very next moment. He won’t eat chocolate sometimes! For the longest time he refused to even try grilled cheese sandwiches and even now won’t so much as look at a ramekin of ketchup, going to the extreme of insisting it be removed from his plate if it makes it to our table alongside his sandwich and fries.

Desserts are not a given, and I’m often left completely boggled as to what to feed my son. I’d almost lost all hope of having a child who would follow in my food loving footsteps and then I had my daughter. At one year old, she’ll pretty much eat anything. She’ll at least give it a try and most likely swallow the first bite even if she isn’t too keen on it. My son? Still refuses to try anything new without coercion.

So when the weather started to heat up a bit, I thought I would try my hand at making popsicles. What better treat to give my kids than a healthy, tasty, homemade popsicle?

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Yogurt Unplugged (almost)

Written by Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn.

Iam a sucker for kitchen catalogs, those gorgeous, glossy advertisements that come in the mail. They do a wonderful job of tempting me, but when I’m done drooling, usually I just pitch the catalog without placing an order and without longing regret.

How am I able to turn my back so resolutely on those fabulous tools, gadgets, and machines that promise to pluck the last olive from the jar, take out strawberry hulls with ease, and make baby food at the press of a button?

I’ve learned a valuable secret. When you buy a single purpose gadget, you not only have to pay for it, you also have to store it. Most of us don’t have kitchens as big as a barn in which to store gadgets. It’s much tidier (and cheaper) to only invest in good quality tools that serve a multitude of purposes. A set of sharp knives will take the place of hundreds of kitchen gizmos and a solid set of pans will be in use years after you’ve put that hinged omelet pan in the garage sale.

One small appliance that falls in that category for me is a yogurt maker. If you have one and you love it, super, you need read no further. But if you have always wanted to try making yogurt, but didn’t want to buy a machine, read on. [Read more…]

Frozen Bites Part 2: More Easy Summer Treats

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

This summer marks the fourth year in a house without air conditioning. We survive the 90- and sometimes even 100-degree heat year after year by living in tank tops and flip-flops. I also open the windows and blow hot air around, trying to create a breeze. Finally, I stock my freezer full of cool treats that will air condition my family from the inside out.

Having survived a late July due date with my fourth child in these weather conditions, I’d say I know a thing or two about midsummer frozen fare. I start with the obvious: popsicles and ice cubes, both perfect for plopping into water that can’t get cold enough or running across your skin, and then I move on to things like frozen fruit for daily smoothies and ice cream treats aplenty.

Here are three of our favorite frozen summer treats.

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