Monday, October 20, 2008

Three-Dunk Chicken / 80's is Kid Music Part II

A friend of mine emailed me after my last post, amused at my devious plan to convince my children that my beloved 80's music was really kids' music. We mostly laughed at certain 80's songs NOT for children, and require a quick station change... "All I Want to do is... (Heart), I Want Your...(George Michael), Burning Down the House (Talking Heads)."

So, barring a few hiccups, 80's music really can be translated into kids' vocabulary. Here's a few examples to further prove my point...

Don't Stop Believin' Journey (inspirational, no?)
Your Mama Don't Dance Poison (a few off-color lyrics, but a loud
cough can cover those right up)
Walk Like an Egyptian The Bangles (fits nicely into Biscuit's Geography
Don't be Cruel Cheap Trick (moral teaching done for you)
Where the Streets Have No Name U2 (a five-year-old will ask you,
"Who took the signs?")
Hip to be Square Huey Lewis and the News (might as well be sung
by Big Bird)
DeDoDoDoDeDaDaDa The Police (Elmo for this one)
We are the World USA for Africa (more moral teaching, just don't
mention Michael Jackson is part of this group)

And the ultimate 80's to kid translation...

Pour Some Sugar on Me Def Lepperd (also chosen as 'ultimate' because Mommy knows all the words and sings at the top of her lungs!!)

If you can't get your kids involved in 80's music, it's no big deal.

It IS a big deal, however, to get kids involved in the kitchen. When kids get to help prepare their food in addition to choosing their food, then that feeling of empowerment just gets stronger and stronger.

Here's a quick and easy dinner for you and your kids to make together. Let kids do the three-step-dunk for a quick, simple and tasty chicken dinner.

Three-Dunks Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs (always keep these stored in freezer for freshness)
1/3 c. grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 to 4 Tbsp. olive oil

Rinse chicken and blot dry with paper towels. Place chicken in large, vented plastic bag and beat to death with the smooth side of a meat mallet (ok, maybe not to death, but don't be afraid to punish the chicken).

In one bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. In a seperate bowl, beat together egg and milk. On a paper plate, spread flour. For explanation on the assembly line, I present Biscuit...

Coat chicken in flour.

Then dip in egg mixture.

Coat completely with bread crumb mixture. Be very serious about it.

Here's what it looks like before you add chicken to an olive oil-coated skillet on medium high. Cook each side for approx. 3 min. or until chicken is cooked through. The trick is to make sure the oil is good and hot before you add the chicken, otherwise the bread crumbs will get all mushy. My kiddies looooove this chicken.

Here's the mess I had to clean up. Not bad. Biscuit is always so proud of himself when he helps me cook. Even though it's a little bit of extra work and clean up, it makes me feel good, too. Awwww.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Healthy Lunches / 80's Music is Kid Music Part I

Let me just start by saying this...

As a mom, a little deception goes a long way.

Here's an example.

Because of their mother's deceptive efforts, Biscuit, Blondie and Red believe that the 80's radio station is a kids' music station.

How did I do it?

First of all, I had a little help from the radio station. On came 'Shout' by Tears for Fears. Biscuit liked this song since the word "shout" is repeated a million times. The next song was 'Centerfield,' with lyrics like "put me in coach I'm ready to play." Hello, a song about baseball!

It was during this song that I had a Grinch moment. You know, the moment when the Grinch smiles that awful smile when he decides to dress up like Santa and steal Christmas.

As I reached down to change the radio station I said,

"Shouting and baseball?!? I'm going to change it now, this must be a kid music station."

Needless to say, we've been listening to 80's music for several weeks now. And what's terrible, and I realize I'm using this blog as a confessional, is that I perpetuate the deception by moaning from time to time that I wish I could listen to grown-up music. Terrible. I'm wondering if I'll have to address these issues upon my admittance into heaven.

My point is that I believe we mommies have a certain right to deceive our children when it comes to their well-being, or in this case, the mother's sanity. I love you, Laurie Berkner, but sometimes I just want to throw Freddie and his spaghetti through my car window.

I do not believe, however, that deceiving our children to eat veggies serves them well. Sorry, Jessica Seinfeld, but I've just got to disagree with your methods a little here.

The whole idea behind my business is that for kids to build a strong foundation of healthy eating habits, we need to educate and empower them while they're young. There are ways, lots of ways, to help your kids along this journey without stuffing their brownies with spinach. It's not supposed to be easy, but it's worth it. The gift of health is always worth it.

So, I encourage you to stay on track, renew your efforts, or start helping your kids eat fresh fruits and veggies, lots of whole grains and as little sugar as possible.

I've got a great link to help you and your kids pack healthy lunches. Believe me, I've looked the Internet over and haven't found a better site than this. Kudos to Laptop Lunches!

Visit here to see a plethora of healthy lunch ideas, not to mention extremely cool and environmental-friendly lunchboxes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pasta, Chicken and Veggies / In the Dark

There is a natural ebb and flow to my world as a mom.

I am patient with my children. I take it out on someone else. I am patient with my children. I take it out on someone else. I am patient...

TDH will be the first to tell you that his wife can spend 15 minutes gently convincing his son to wear socks only to turn around and snap at him for running the icemaker while she's trying to talk. And so it goes in our house.

Today, however, TDH has caught a break... the flourescent light has burned out in the laundry room. Monday is my laundry day, folks. Stain identification cannot be done in the dark, or even by lamp. So, the laundry room is the stress focal point for the day, and TDH has been spared, bless his heart.

Of course, he'll still have to replace the light, so to show my appreciation, I think I'll make one of his favorite healthy dinners tonight.

It's hard to beat pasta, chicken and veggies, all in one pot. Let's call this One-Pot-PCV.

One-Pot-PCV (feeds four adults)

one pound whole-wheat pasta of choice
low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. butter
4 skinless chicken breasts
salt, oregano, garlic
veggies of choice

Boil pasta in broth. Drain and set aside. In same pot, melt butter right to the point before it turns brown (may have to turn heat back on for a moment). Add pasta. Set aside.
Season chicken with salt, oregano and garlic to taste. Once chicken browns, turn heat down to medium low and add veggies. (Veggies will soften faster and chicken will stay extra moist if you use a non-stick skillet with lid). Add C and V to P and serve! Sprinkle with feta or parmesan cheese for extra flavor. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Healthy Breakfasts / In Love with Consumer Reports

Several years ago, TDH fell in love...

with Consumer Reports.

The obsession began much to my dismay, as everything I wanted to purchase had to be filtered through his "Consumer-Reports-brain." You might think buying a hair dryer would be left up to me and my female expertise, but I was literally running from TDH the moment he started asking, "Did you go online to see which one would last the longest?"

It wasn't until a rotten thief at the zoo stole my digital camera and video camera (out of my double stroller... it was awful) that I found myself in desperate need of TDH's Consumer Reports expertise. For him, a priceless moment.

To make a long story short, I must say I fell a little in love myself.

SO, now that I actually read Consumer Reports magazine instead of throwing it in my husband's pile, I came across their recent ratings of kids' cereal.

Here are the cereals rated VERY GOOD (relatively low in sugar, some fiber, high in iron, source of calcium)...

Cheerios (General Mills)
Kix (General Mills)
Life (Quaker Oats)
Honey Nut Cheerios (General Mills)

And now, just because I know you're curious, the big fat losers...

Froot Loops (Kellogg's)
Golden Crisp (Post)
Honey Smacks (Kellogg's)
Corn Pops (Kellogg's)

If your little one is addicted to a sugary cereal, it would be in everyone's best interest, i.e. you, kid, teacher, bus driver, to put him or her through a little low-sugar therapy. If they resist, try compromising by mixing half sugary cereal and half low-sugar cereal.

I truly believe it is absolutely essential for kids to start off their day with a low-sugar breakfast. Sending kids off to school with a breakfast like oatmeal in their tummies will help them have more energy and improve their learning capability.

Here are what my kids choose from in the morning (5 year old and 2 year old twins)...


whole grain waffle/frozen blueberries (when you defrost them in the microwave, they create a kind of syrupy juice that will substitute for unhealthy syrup)


Flat-Out wrap (whole grain)/ turkey/cheese


eggs/toast with feta cheese (I know, most kids don't like feta, but mine are half Greek, so there you go)

What are some healthy options you choose for your kids in the morning?

**DISCLAIMER** It is important to note here that I am not perfect, even though after I reread this post I appear to be. Not only am I not perfect, but there are mornings where my children will not only throw their oatmeal on the floor in protest of the wrong color spoon, but shoot me a look to kill for even thinking yellow was better than red. I also have been known to give my kids bowls of dry Cheerios to eat in the car on a particularly hurried morning. I also have been known to put M&M's in oatmeal when out of raisins to avoid meltdown. So, again, there you go.