Tasty Twists on Thanksgiving Recipe Favorites

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or delegated with contributing a dish, Pinterest is the place to be for recipe inspiration and how to. We’ve done some digging to narrow in on a few of our favorite pins to help you create delicious dishes with a tasty spin on your tried-and-true Thanksgiving favorites. Check out UrbanSitter’s Savoring the Season board for more great ideas.

5 Thanksgiving Recipes with a Modern Spin

1. Give the marshmallows a break this year and bring on the sweet potatoes in a whole new way with this sweet potato soup featuring pumpkin seeds and thyme. Easy on the chef, this pot of creamy, autumnal goodness can be made in advance of the big day and kept warm until you are ready to garnish and serve.

via Sweet Paul
via Sweet Paul

2. Pumpkin can lead the meal as a tasty appetizer like this pumpkin bruschetta just as well, if not better, than a classic pumpkin pie. 

via Sweet Paul
via Sweet Paul

3. Indulge in these acorn squash boats – so hearty it might just bump the turkey from its prime spot on the table.

via A Cozy Kitchen
via A Cozy Kitchen

4. Let this savory mushroom and leek tart serve as the star of a vegetarian feast. Even present it as a hearty starter or side dish for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

via Rachael Ray
via Rachael Ray

5.  Save some cash and surprise your guests with this delectable, spiced apple cider sangria. No one will miss the pricey wine.

via theKitchn
via theKitchn

Share your favorites and check back for more Pins for Parents – Thanksgiving Desserts.

Have an extra set of hands to entertain the kids while you prep for Thanksgiving – book a sitter online at www.UrbanSitter.com.

Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween usually means one thing to children — candy! Of course it also means costumes, trick-or-treating and spooky fun. But candy ranks up there as most kids’ favorite treat when October rolls around. Here are a few healthy indulgences that most little ones will enjoy — mummy and daddy, too.



1. Pumpkin bread. Mmmmm…baking a loaf of pumpkin bread makes your whole house smell like Fall. The cinnamon and cloves, the canned pumpkin — which is super high in Vitamins A and C, as well as beta carotenes — come together in a delectable way. Most supermarkets sell an easy mix, or if you’re inspired, make it from scratch. Throw in some chocolate chips to seriously up the yum factor.

2. Oranges with a celery stem. Easy as (pumpkin) pie. Peel oranges (or clementines) and stick a celery stalk on top. Voila! Mini pumpkins with an edible stem.

3. Pumpkin seeds. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a classic tradition for many families. Kids can help scoop out the mucky insides of a pumpkin and spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Add a little olive oil, toss with salt and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Crunchy and filled with vitamins to boot, these little guys are sure to be gobbled up quickly. Change up your recipe by adding cinnamon sugar or garlic salt for a different taste altogether.

Image via Rachel Tayse
Image via Rachel Tayse

4. Hard boiled ghost eggs. These make a perfect breakfast for little ghouls and boys. Just boil a few eggs, let them cool, then make a jagged cut across and bottom and add eyes and mouth with black food coloring. Frightfully easy!

5. Spider web pizza. This one is a great take on a popular kid-friendly dinner. Take standard pizza crust, add tomato sauce, and then thinly peeled string cheese in the shape of a web. Other toppings can be added, too. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes and dig in.

Whatever you choose to indulge in this Halloween, do it with gusto! Your little monsters are sure to enjoy the process as well as the result.

Search for babysitter and nannies online at UrbanSitter.com.

This Fall’s Must-Do Activities with Kids

fall activities for kids
photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

Ahhh, Autumn. It’s many people’s favorite season, and for good reason — the nip in the air, the crisp leaves, the pumpkin-flavored espresso drinks — to name just a few. And for little ones, there’s loads of fun to be had. Why not take the whole family and indulge in one of these sure-to-please Fall diversions on your next free weekend?

1. Pumpkin Patch

Now, this one is a classic, tried and true. Children are just as pleased with a trip to the super market aisle or an off-the-freeway patch complete with jumpy house. But most counties have at least one big, fall-festival-like patch with a corn maze, hot cider stand, and maybe even a petting zoo.

These off-the-beaten-track spots offer a little something extra and really bring the experience home. Plus, the car ride builds anticipation. Check out these safe, no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas.

2. Apple Picking

If you venture out a little further into the country (or deep suburbs in some spots), you can usually find a place to pick apples when Fall rolls around.

A family farm is the typical backdrop and kids as young as one or two can join in the fun. Apple orchards are heaving with fruit this time of year and for a small fee, you can borrow a basket and pick as many you like (or want to pay for), as you meander amongst the trees and livestock. Have a taste or make apple cider at home! This is a fun, easy activity for families and makes for a great photo op as well. Some farms require an appointment, so do your research.

3. Pie Making

Once you’ve picked your apples (or purchased them at the grocery store), why not share the experience of making a home-made pie with your kids?

Whether you have Grandma’s tried and true recipe or one just downloaded, the kids will love the hands-on experience…and delectable result. You can even let the kids use cookie cutters to decorate the crust….easy as pie! And sure to fill your home with a delicious Fall aroma.

4. Jumping in Leaves

A classic straight out of a Normal Rockwell painting. But truly, leaf jumping never gets old for kids–or even dogs. Just use a standard rake to gather the leaves in your yard and let them go to town. Of course, you will have to deal with the end product — a mess of crispy leaf bits, but it’s worth it…right?

If you don’t have a yard full of leaves, head to your favorite park and do the same. In that case, the kids will have to gather the leaves themselves, but that in itself can be a great diversion.

Whatever you do this Fall, enjoy yourself! It’s a cozy season filled with rosy cheeks, full moons, and warm sweaters. Plus, before you know it, the madness of the holidays will be upon you. So get out there!

Find babysitters & nannies at UrbanSitter.com.

7 One-Pot Family Dinners to Welcome Fall

If you’ve had a minute to come up for air, you may have noticed that fall is nearly here. It’s time to give your BBQ a rest, forgo the salads and bring a touch of the season to your table with warm, homey, harvest dinners your family will love. The ones we’ve selected capture the season in a single pot, which means they are low-fuss and minimum mess. We hope you and yours enjoy them as much as we do.

One-pot Family Meals – Fall Recipes

1. Sweet Potato Soup

This creamy, mild soup is simple to make and truly autumn in a bowl. You can feel good about filling your family’s hungry bellies with such a healthy dose of anti-oxidants. Add a bit of chili for some heat and top with toasted pumpkin seeds for a satisfying crunch.

Sweet Paul Magazine

2. Braised Pork Ragu with Pappardelle

Dinner a Love Story calls this dish an “instant dinner party,” and explains it by saying it’s ideal for preparing in advance of your guests arrival, it tastes divine – warm and hearty – and leaves your house smelling wonderfully welcoming. If you don’t have guests coming, why not serve it for a nice Sunday family dinner.  We like her idea of serving it with a salad that has a little sweetness, such as greens with pears, blue cheese and pine nuts.

Pork Ragu
Dinner a Love Story

3. Kid-Friendly Chili

Some would argue that there’s no better way to spend a Saturday than inviting a bunch of friends over to watch a football game. Few would dispute that there’s no better way to feed them than to whip up a big batch of chili. This particular chili recipe may be just the one you’re looking to find. It was designed with kids in mind and adapted to suit a wide range of tastes, taking into consideration not just spiciness and the bean debate, but also texture. It calls for ground beef or turkey, but of course, simply omit it of you prefer a vegetarian version.

Kid-Friendly Chili
Butter Yum Blog

4. One-Pan Lasagna

One of the many amazing, family-friendly meal ideas from Tyler Florence’s cookbook, “Start Fresh,” this lasagna-in-a-skillet recipe is full of taste and appealing to kids and adults alike. It’s oohy and gooey and just right for warming bellies. Serve it with a loaf of crusty bread and a nice Chianti for Mom and Dad.

One-Pan Lasagna
Tyler Florence

5. Kale Chickpea and Chicken Soup

Not your ordinary chicken soup. There’s nothing wimpy about this soup for the soul. It’s soothing and simple enough for little kids to gobble up without hesitation. Use leftover roasted chicken or pick up a nice one at the grocery store to make this a quick prep meal.  Don’t omit the rosemary croutons, as they add a good chunky, heartiness that make this a meal and not just a bowl of soup.

Kale, Chicken and Chickpea Soup
Feasting at Home

6. One-Pot Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Family Fresh Cooking calls this chicken recipe the perfect meal for those on grain-free, gluten-free meal plans. It’s a protein packed, veggie rich dinner you pop into a pot and let simmer while you do something more important, like tackle a fall craft with your kids or curl up with a book.

Roasted Chicken and Veggies
Family Fresh Cooking

7. Creamy White Bean Stew

The Cozy Apron describes this thick, hearty stew as a “warm blanket for the inside of the body.” It’s a wonderful choice for a rainy, dreary day. Be assured that there’s nothing bland about its milky whiteness. It’s spiked with smoky, thick-cut bacon, and fragrant herbs.

White Bean Stew
The Cozy Apron

If you find these recipes appealing and inspiring, check out our Pinterest Board, “Easy, Kid-Friendly Dinners for Busy Families,” for more great ideas for feeding your family.

How to Create the Perfect Family Picnic

meg_son_grassWhat better way is there to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with your family – soaking in the sunshine, eating good food and simply being together –  than with a glorious, family picnic? Before the summer slips away, follow our formula to create the perfect family picnic. We show you how to choose the right menu, including ideas and recipes for delicious and easy-to-prepare fare; how to pack just right; and also provide a fantastic round-up of the best picnicking spots for families in the SF Bay Area, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Greek Salad via Pinterest

STEP 1: The Perfectly Portable, Family-Friendly Picnic Menu.

The best picnic meals are the ones that come together without a whole lot of effort. After all, who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen in August?  The most successful picnics are also easy to transport and simple to eat while sitting or lounging on a blanket.  In other words, they are fuss-free.

And, since we’re talking about a family event, make sure the menu provides food and treats kids will be happy to eat without any pleading or begging from you. Think finger foods and simple salads you can eat out of the individual containers you transport them in.

Image via Cooking Light
Mozzarella Bites via Cooking Light

Here are some sure-fire hits for the best family picnic food:

  • Greek Pasta Salad – an entire meal in one bowl.
  • Edamame Salad – kids dig the tiny green bean.
  • Crudites with Kid-Approved Ranch Dressing for dipping
  • Fruit (it comes in its own package)
  • Baked Mozzarella Bites – You can eat these and the marinara dipping sauce at room temperature.
  • Quiche or a Spanish Omelet – delicious served chilled
  • Kebabs- with or without meat, food on a stick is cool.
  • Sandwiches – if you have a picky eater on your hands, stick with what you know works.
    Simple Sandwiches via Good Housekeeping
    Simple Sandwiches via Good Housekeeping

    If your crew likes shaking it up, try a new combo, like one of these 12 Simple Summer Sandwiches. Most can be assembled on-site.

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Brownies – These Frosted Zucchini Brownies use applesauce instead of oil and require no eggs.

STEP 2: Thoughtful Picnic Packing.

Gather the essentials – enough to have everything you need, but not enough to weigh you down so much that you’re worn out by the time you get there.

Image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest

You get bonus points if you can eat out of the containers the food is stored in, meaning you have less to carry and less to toss.  Stick with foods that require no or few utensils and borrow small plastic containers from the stash you use to pack your kids’ school lunches.

Just as important as the food are the extras –

A soft blanket everyone can fit on, a ball or Frisbee, a game the whole family can play, some music and of course, sunscreen, bug spray and water. If it’s a late evening picnic, a lantern is useful and sets a nice mood, and flashlights will entertain the kids while you rest and enjoy the night.

STEP 3: The Right Picnic Spot.

Your kids would likely be thrilled to simply throw down a blanket and sit on the back patio, since it’s so much more exciting than eating at, say the kitchen table.  If you’re looking for a better spot, here are our picks for the best places to picnic with families:







It’s an awesome time of year to be outside! Need a babysitter to take the kids to the park? Try UrbanSitter!

Get Your Red, White and Blue On with Crafts + Recipes!

Fire up your family’s patriotism with these fun craft and recipe ideas for celebrating the Fourth of July! We’ve rounded up two easy 4th of July crafts and two deliciously festive recipes.

Patriotic Bike Streamers via AlphaMom
Patriotic Bike Streamers via AlphaMom

Craft: DIY Patriotic Streamers

Lead your own neighborhood parade in style! Tie some streamers and balloons to your stroller and help your kids decorate their bike or scooter with these DIY patriotic streamers we found on AlphaMom.

Supply list is simple:

1. a pair of toilet paper tubes
2. curling ribbon and/or crepe paper streamers
3. inexpensive water-based children’s poster paint in patriotic colors
4. star stickers
5. paint brushes
6. a stapler and/or normal household tape

To create:

  1. Have kids paint the tubes one color –the base coat. (Resist mixing colors since you’ll end up with purple or pink instead of the red white and blue theme!).
  2. Once base coat is dry, let them decorate the tube by painting on stars, stripes, flags, hearts, whatever else says 4th of July. And adding stickers, too.
  3. Once everything is dry, staple and/or tape the streamers or curling ribbon in strips to the end of the tubes. Curl the ribbons.
  4. Slip the decorated tubes of streamers over the ends of your child’s handle bars, and voila, patriotic streamers!

You’ll all have a blast circling the block in holiday style. Blow some horns, shake some noise makers and belt out our national anthem to your heart’s content. Your kids will never forget it.

Patriotic Streamers for Bikes and Scooters via AlphaMom
Patriotic Streamers for Bikes and Scooters via AlphaMom

Recipe: Fruity Yogurt “Bomb Pops”

Homemade Bomb Pops from Healthnut Foodie
Homemade Bomb Pops from Healthnut Foodie

Remember those brilliant red, white and blue popsicles you likely devoured as a child?  They scream patriotism!  Make your own healthy version with yogurt, blueberries and strawberries:

Homemade Bomb Pops (Recipe care of Healthnut Foodie)

Makes 16 small or 8 large popsicles

For the red layer:  Puree 1 pint hulled strawberries with 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt.  Fill popsicle molds 1/3 of the way full with strawberry/yogurt mixture.  Transfer molds to freezer and freeze for about 30 minutes, to prevent the layers from mixing.  (There is no need to put the sticks in at this time.)  Rinse blender.

For the white layer:  When 30 minutes have lapsed, remove popsicle molds from freezer.  Reserve 3/4 cup of the yogurt for the blue layer.  Use remaining vanilla yogurt to fill molds 2/3 of the way full.  Return popsicles to freezer just long enough to prepare the blue layer.

For the blue layer:  Puree 1 1/2 cups blueberries with remaining 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt.  Remove popsicles from freezer and fill with blueberry puree.  Add sticks to popsicles and return to freezer.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.  Serve and enjoy!

Or, you could always throw caution to the wind (after all, it is a holiday!) and go for the ones you used to eat as a kid.  You can find them at Walmart.


Sparkler Printable from Delightfully Noted
Sparkler Printable from Delightfully Noted

Craft: Sparkler Printables

Light up the night with sparkler favors. Thanks to this free printable, you can turn any ordinary box of sparklers into fun, festive favors for any family or friend gathering. Download the sparkler printables here, and be sure to print them on heavy card stock. Cut a slit above and below the solid blue block and slide a few sparklers through. ** Of course, never leave children unattended with sparklers, and be sure to explain the dangers of fire and the importance of being careful of sparklers before you light them. **

Recipe: Refreshing Watermelon Sundaes


Red White and Blue Sundaes from Watermelon.org
Red White and Blue Sundaes from Watermelon.org

Red White & Blue Watermelon Sundaes

Recipe adapted by Babble from watermelon.org

Use a melon scooper to make watermelon balls (or could use frozen yogurt or raspberry sorbet)
4 cups watermelon balls
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sweetened whipped cream or thick plain or vanilla yogurt
Red, white and blue star sprinkles

Gently mix together the watermelon and blueberries. Divide among 4 sundae bowls. Top each with a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt and sprinkle with red ,white and blue sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Keep your party going this July 4th by joining your community at a family-friendly holiday parade, fireworks show or festival. Stay tuned for our July 4th Even Guide for ideas and info!

Find mom-trusted babysitters at UrbanSitter.com.

6 Speedy Summertime Dinner Recipes

Summer is here, the kids are home, and they are hungry! Who’s got time to cook? Check out these 6 ideas for easy, no-cook, no-fuss dinners that get you in and out of the kitchen in a flash. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on a minute of summertime fun!

1. Gazpacho

Chop, pour, puree, chill and – voila – dinner! Here’s the perfect quick and healthy dinner that fills their bellies and cools them off, too. Hopefully, your kids will think cold soup is quite funny and they’ll get into the game by adding their favorite toppings to make it their own. Try chopped avocado, cilantro, tortilla chips, feta and croutons for toppings that make for a complete meal.


Gazpacho by Babble
Gazpacho by Babble

2. Bruschetta = Toast for Dinner

Strawberry Bruschetta by Annie's Eats

We’ve all had the kind with tomato and basil. Why not surprise them with a surprising new twist (kinda like cold soup!) – Strawberry Bruschetta – a wonderful combination of sweet strawberries, tangy goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar with a touch of fresh basil on top. It’s a fantastic flavor combination, and screams “Summer!” You’ll need just a nice French baquette, fresh strawberries, a touch of sugar, olive oil, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. The very simple recipe is here.

3. Quick Fish Tacos

Ok, technically, you do have to do some cooking with these fish tacos, but if you have a grill or even a grill pan, it’s a cinch. The recipe is also great for making good use of leftovers, so grill a few extra pieces of fish and save them for these tacos the next night. The sauce makes these extra special, and it’s just a simple mix of sour cream and lime juice with the level of seasoning (salt, pepper and jalapeno) that works for your tastes. The mix of veggie slaw and avocado make it a well rounded meal, and just right for summer.

Fish tacos

4. Antipasti Platter

A cold antipasti platter requires absolutely no cooking and next-to-no prep. It’s about as simple as calling for take-out, and yet so much tastier. With some forethought, you can keep many of these items on hand and pick up the rest at a one-stop shop. Go Italian by choosing a selection of cold deli meats and cheeses, jarred roasted peppers, sliced tomatoes, basil, olives and crackers or bread. Or, go Middle Eastern with a chunk of fresh feta cheese, hummus, olives, pita and any tasty Mediterranean tidbits you can pick up, including dolmas or a grain salad. If a big platter of tasty morsels isn’t going to cut with your kids, turn it into sandwiches they’ll dig, and grab a piece of fruit to go with them.


5. Cobb Salad

Before you protest, “My child will never eat salad!” – remember a salad is just a bowl of stuff a.k.a. building blocks. Chop what you have on hand, for a traditional cobb salad it would be some greens (a bag of salad mix works fine), cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, maybe cold leftover chicken or some bacon or ham, a can of kidney beans or maybe garbanzos, cubed cheese, a couple of hard boiled eggs. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan household, hold the meat and dairy. Give your child bits of what works for him, and throw the rest into a bowl and serve salad to the rest of the family. As easy as it is to grab a bottle of salad dressing, resist and spend a few minutes whisking one of your own. A Tarragon Vinaigrette, care of Iowa Girl Eats, works well and can be made with a whisk if you don’t want to drag out the blender or food processor.

For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:
Whisk or blend 2 Tablespoons lemon juice; 2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar; 10-12 tarragon leaves, torn;
1 small shallot, roughly chopped;
1/2 teaspoon sugar;
salt & pepper to taste; and 
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.


6. Dessert: Nutella (or Nut-free Nutella) Matzo Sandwiches

Your kids’ eyes will pop out of their heads when they come to the table and see chocolate sandwiches on their plates! Inspired by the Jewish tradition of serving sandwiches on Matzo during Passover, these sandwiches are simply Nutella spread between Matzo crackers. And for the nut-free households, Weelicious shares a handy substitution that tastes just as good as Nutella. The nut-free version blends one part chocolate chips with one part sunflower butter. Serve this yummy creation with whatever is fresh-picked at the Farmer’s Market and requires nothing but a knife for slicing.


* All yummy images courtesy of Pinterest.  

HINT: These are great make-ahead meals to leave with the babysitter! Find trusted babysitters at UrbanSitter.com.

Cinco De Mayo Celebration for Family and Friends

Need a reason to party with your family and friends? Why not prepare and share a Mexican Feast to celebrate Cinco De Mayo!

Cinco De Mayo: The Menu

If the invite list is a mixed crowd, including tiny tots, keep the menu easily interchangeable and easy to eat. No need to make a separate meal for the kids.

Taco Bites and Shrimp and Guac Tostadas will please your guests, and can be customized to accommodate any finicky eaters. Round out the menu with a basket of tortilla chips, fresh salsa and guacamole, and don’t forget dessert – Key Lime Ice Cream served in individual cups.

taco bites by whipperberry
taco bites by whipperberry
shrimp tostadas by bev cooks
shrimp tostadas by bev cooks
margarita ideas








Did you think we forgot the punch!? No fiesta is complete without a perfect Margarita. With so many delicious variations to debate, we’ve included a Margarita Recipe Round-Up that’s bound to include everyone’s favorite or new found favorite. Be sure to mark the pitcher “Adults Only” and include a second, virgin-version for the kids.

The Inspiration


Tell your guests to bring their marachas and their dancing shoes. Even if you can’t bring in your own mariachi band,  you can’t call it a fiesta without a hot Latin playlist. Check out this Cinco De Mayo playlist on Punch Bowl created just for the holiday.


When the kids aren’t eating or dancing, keep them busy with a fun Cinco De Mayo craft that makes for a great take-home treat – Coffee Filter Flowers from Holidays Central:

coffee filter flowers by holidays central

What You’ll Need:

  • Butcher paper
  • Coffee filters
  • Food coloring in variety of bright colors
  • Eyedroppers
  • Chenille stem


Cover the craft table with butcher paper.  Each child can use an eye dropper to color several coffee filters in a variety of colors. For less mess, have kids use crayons or markers to color the coffee filters. Place one coffee filter decorative side down on the table. Next, place the other coffee filters on top with decorative side up.  Fold coffee filters in half and then scrunch the middle of the coffee filters.  Hold the scrunched area in place by wrapping the chenille stem around it. Straighten the stem. Arrange several flowers in a basket for a festive centerpiece until it’s time to take them home.

We hope these ideas show you it’s simple to throw a fun, festive feast everyone will enjoy!

Celebrating Cinco De Mayo without the kids? UrbanSitter is your go-to for finding a last minute babysitter.

Simple Family Dinners for Busy Nights

little chefIf your house is anything like ours, the days start to get even more jam-packed as the weather starts to warm up.

To help you spend as little, precious Spring-time in the kitchen and yet still manage to fill your family’s bellies with good food, we’ve compiled a list:

10 super simple, kid-friendly dinners sure to please everyone (we’ve even included a new meal for the baby!):

  • White Bean Stew with Bacon and Vegetables – There are plenty of chilly Spring days, and when it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of goodness to end the day. Put a pot of this creamy stew on and head outside to play with the kids while it cooks. It’s a mild stew, like a warm blanket on a cold day, and perfect for dipping crusty, hearty bread.

    Creamy White Bean Stew from The Cozy Apron
    Creamy White Bean Stew from The Cozy Apron
  • Black Bean Nacho Pizza – Turning anything into pizza is a sure-fire way to get your kids to chow down. You can make this simple and quick by using a store-bought pizza crust or dough (pick up a ball of whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s).
  • One-Pot Pasta Dinner – Leave it to Martha to show us how to a delicious meal without breaking a sweat. Follow her formula for making the most of your pot and your time, such as cooking eggs or vegetables in the water with the pasta, and making a quick sauce while the pasta drains.
  • Quick and Easy Pork Fried Rice – So much better than take-out, but just as quick. You can leave out the pork if you prefer to go vegetarian, and even amp it up with more veggies.
  • Parmesan Chicken Cutlets – Oh how we drool for chicken cutlets, plain and simple or fancied up. This recipe creates a nice crispy crust on an all-time favorite. If you must, cut the cutlets into small chunks, and voila, you have nuggets.
  • Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup – Turn grilled cheese sammies into hearts (a cookie cutter, of course) and you get big points with your kids.  Add a bowl of creamy tomato soup (Whole Foods has a tasty one in a carton) for dunking, and you’ve got a respectable meal on the table in minutes.
  • Braised Pulled Pork with Apple Cabbage Slaw – Sounds too complicated to be called quick and easy, right? Throw it in a slow cooker after you drop the kids at school, and sometime during the day whip up the crunchy veggie slaw.
  • Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes by Quick Dish Tablespoon
    Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes by Quick Dish Tablespoon

    Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes – Imagine the look on your kids’ little faces when you announce that you’re having cupcakes for dinner. Whoever invented the muffin tin is a genius. This is an awesome meal for several reasons – it’s made with short-cut ingredients, it’s good to make-ahead and if need be, it’s mobile. A yummy meal-on-the-go.

  • Quick Fish Tacos – Known to convert even the pickiest, non-fish eaters, these tacos remind ya that summer is on the way.
  • Southwestern Pasta Salad – Good for toddlers and big kids, too. No need to heat this well-balanced meal.
Sweet Potato Carrot Soup  by Spoonful
Sweet Potato Carrot Soup by Spoonful

And, we haven’t forgotten about the littlest member of your family. Give’em a taste of something completely new.  Sweet Potato Carrot Soup with Cheddar makes the most of fresh, early Spring vegetables, and is so delicious, you’ll want to make enough for the whole family family.

Bon Appétit!

Did you know some babysitters will cook dinner for the kids? Log in to UrbanSitter and look for “Cooking” listed under the “Other Services” section of a babysitter’s profile.

Summer Recipes for Kids

With summer just around the corner, kids will be pining for something new and different. Why not introduce them to the kitchen? Here are a few simple recipes that you or a trusted babysitter can tackle–just set up the ingredients before you leave the house!

Do-It-Yourself Pizza

This is a huge hit in my house. Buy the small Boboli pizza crusts, or if you’re really ambitious, roll and toss your own with pre-made dough at Trader Joe’s or your local pizza parlor, some tomato sauce (you can even use whatever pasta sauce you have on hand), and toppings galore. Some of our favorites include pepperoni, olives, broccoli, artichoke hearts, and bell peppers.

Line your table or counter with newspaper or use a plastic table cloth, and let the kids start by spreading the sauce with a spoon. Layer on the cheese and toppings and don’t stop them from making a mess–that’s part of the fun. A grown up should handle the oven part, but you’re sure to see plenty of smiles when the pizzas are done. Kids love to eat what they’ve created!


Whether you want to actually put up a stand is debatable, but making and tasting the lemonade is always fun. Depending on the number of children, you’ll need anywhere from four to 16 lemons. You can figure four per child. You’ll also need cold water, sugar, and a pitcher.

If you have a citrus squeezer, it’s much easier. Kids can do the squeezing on their own, though toddlers might need a little help. Once you’ve got an ample amount of juice in the pitcher, add some cold water and then start with spoonfuls of sugar. Have the kids taste the lemonade after each sugar addition. Note how much sugar it takes to make it palatable. (This could serve as a good lesson on the perils of juice in general.) Once it’s satisfactory, give everyone a cup full of ice, and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Lovely on a hot summer day.

Oatmeal Pancakes

More fun than ordinary pancakes–and healthier, too! Kids will love the pouring and mixing, and if you make enough to freeze, you’ll have a healthy breakfast on hand for those busy weekday mornings.

You’ll need:
1/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 mashed bananas or 1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1.Combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Pour by 1/4 cupfuls into a skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Flip after first side is firm.
4. Remove from skillet when ready, and experiment with toppings like nut butters, yogurt, cottage cheese, maple syrup, fruit.

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