Monday, February 9, 2015

Easy Heart Shaped Pancakes for Valentine's Day

Tinfoil heart mold for pancakes

OH Valentine's Day. How I love (and DON'T love) thee! 

I try not to make too much fuss about "holidays" like Valentine's Day. There's enough pressure in day to day living! However, I DO want to have a little fun and make sure my kids do too.

So far, we bought good-old valentines for the kiddos to give out at their school. Simple, cheap, cute AND they include NON-FOOD "treats" like pencils and stickers. 

Valentine's Day is such a candy and treat-focused time which makes it challenging for kids with food allergies. Non-food treats are an awesome way to celebrate the day and still show friends you care. Aww.

Oh, and parents of kids with food allergies REALLY appreciate those non food treats too.

Valentine's Day food allergies

On the other hand, it's also fun to have food allergy-friendly recipes and ideas in your back pocket for days like this.  I have a set of heart shaped cookie cutters like these (affiliate) that I'll use on Valentine's day to have fun with sandwiches, fruit, cheese, etc, etc!). 

We're also going to have our favorite Vegan Pumpkin pancakes to start the day with a special treat. I already cooked and froze them ahead of time so I can just pull them out of the freezer on Vday. 

It's so easy to make this beautiful plate. Just cut a triangle out of the top of halved strawberries, and sprinkle shredded coconut and dairy-free chocolate chips and enjoy!

Tinfoil pancake molds

I used this tin foil mold idea to make heart shaped molds for the pancakes. It was simple and easy to make and it took about 5 minutes total!  

How do you do it?
  • Basically, just fold a long piece of tinfoil the "hotdog" or long way, and wrap it around a heart shaped cookie cutter.  
  • Take out the cookie cutter from the foil, and adjust the tinfoil as needed to make a more perfect heart.
  • Spray the inside of the tinfoil with oil of your choice. I used olive oil in my Misto Sprayer (affiliate).
  • Put the tinfoil heart mold on an already heated pan and pour in your pancake batter.
  • Once the pancake is done on one side, carefully peel off the tinfoil and flip the pancake as usual to finish cooking.

This photo is about 2 pancakes later. The molds are still ready to shape a pancake!
Easy Heart Shaped Pancakes for Valentine's Day

  • Don't plan on making 20 pancakes with this tinfoil mold unless you have lots of time. I successfully used each one for about 3 pancakes (and made the rest of my pancakes the traditional way!). 
  • After each pancake I wiped off some of the pancake batter that stuck onto the tinfoil mold.
  • Make sure to spray the inside of the mold every time before you use it so the batter doesn't stick. 

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day? There are SO many creative ideas out there (on Pinterest for instance!). 

What's your favorite?


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Last Minute Superbowl Party Menu Ideas

As much as I love to consider myself a great planner, I am still all about great LAST MINUTE recipes. As a working mama of a 2 year old and 4 year old, I try to plan meals for the week ahead, but end up planning for one day ahead.

Or sometimes it's even more like, "What can I make for dinner in the next 30 minutes!?"

Or, in true reality, "What can I make for dinner in the next 10 minutes while my toddler is whining for food, and my preschooler is zooming an airplane through the kitchen while screaming?"

If you're a bit of a last minute planner like me, I thought I'd share some good eats for your Superbowl get together this Sunday.

Even if you're not a football fan (like me, although I try to be for my Hubby!), you can always use these recipes for your next get together or party.

White Bean, Basil and Lemon Hummus
Sesame free and better than store bought

Easy Baked Chicken Fajitas
One pan, full of flavor, and great to make ahead

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
Since the Superbowl = crockpot cooking!

Egg Free Italian Meatballs
Including hidden veggies, but also delicious as meatball subs!

Healthy Potato Skins
A different yet still delicious version of the usual!

Three-bean Salad
Healthy, kid-friendly and delicious

Rosemary Thyme Oven Baked Fries
So much healthier than fried!

Dairy Free Chocolate Covered Pretzels
So easy and good

SunButter Chocolate Cups

Don't forget to check out all these recipes on my Pinterest page and follow me!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Are You the Parent of a Helicopter Sibling?

I wrote this post a few months ago, but it's still a bit of a problem in our family. Is a Helicopter Sibling a problem in your family? How do YOU deal with it?

Helicopter Sibling
Little Gal and Little Guy during a rare relaxed and peaceful moment together!
Here's the situation:

Younger Sibling - Is trying to do something that might be a little "no-no" but not a big deal (i.e. - playing in the kitchen cabinets and making a mess everywhere with the Tupperware containers).

Mama - Is watching but doesn't stop Little Sibling because it's not a real problem and Mama is busy in the kitchen making meatballs! At least Little Sibling is occupied!

Older Sibling - Notices Little Sibling doing something she shouldn't. Immediately steps in and tells Little Sibling to stop.

Younger Sibling - Doesn't stop.

Older Sibling - Does everything he can to make her stop (i.e. - pulls everything away from her), despite Mama telling him that Little Sibling is okay doing what she's doing.

Younger Sibling - Gets frustrated and angry with Older Sibling and screams.

Older Sibling - Gets frustrated with everyone and screams.

Mama - Doesn't scream (yet), but wants to just crawl in the cabinet and take a nap with hands over ears. Instead, she puts down the raw meat she was handling and washes her hands while the Siblings begin to battle it out. She breaks up the fight by distracting them with cookies. 

Thank goodness for cookies.

This is just one example of the Helicopter Sibling battles we've faced with two little ones age 2 and 4.

So, it makes me wonder: 

Is being a Helicopter sibling really a bad thing? Yes, it's annoying right now, but isn't being a responsible and protective brother a good thing?

I'll never forget how proud I was of Little Guy at a friend's picnic. I was standing about 15 feet away, talking to another parent and watching the kids out of the corner of my eye. Little Guy was driving a little play jeep in our friends' backyard with 3 other kids inside. Two of them were in the "trunk" of the jeep with a door that easily opened in the back. 

Once all the kids were loaded in, Little Guy made sure to turn around and tell the other little kids to "hold on tight" before he pressed on the "gas". No other adults were anywhere near them, so I know he thought of it all by himself.  It made me proud to know that he was looking out for the kids' safety and had enough sense to tell them to hold on! I feel like he learned this from having a younger sibling and knowing how to keep her safe.

Is his responsible personality nature vs nurture?  Have we taught him to be a helicopter sibling?

We've definitely asked him to look after or help with his little sister in one way or another. From the day she was born, we wanted to instill a sense of love and respect for his sister. We wanted to encourage him to help with her needs as a baby and keep her safe. That's what big brothers are for, right!?  However, I wonder if we went too far in asking him to be her "protector".

How do we deal with this?  How do we teach Older Sibling to continue being responsible and watch out for his sister, but NOT be a helicopter sibling?

So far, this is what we've said:

Thank you for trying to help, but you are not the parent, Mommy and Daddy are the parents. Please don't worry about your sister when she's (include activity in which he's parenting over!).

And so far, I think it's worked pretty well. He realizes what he's doing and usually steps back. However, we still have daily instances where he just doesn't leave her alone!

Do you have a helicopter sibling in your house? How have you handled it?

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