Oct 19, 2014

Tips for Toddlers and Children to Eat Soup

One day last week my two youngest and I ate soup outside for lunch.  The weather was perfect - a glorious fall day.

After I snapped this picture (and posted it on Instagram as mommamajors), the thought came to me, "I wonder if other moms serve soup for lunch?"

We eat a lot of soup in the fall and winter.  Soup is nourishing, delicious, inexpensive, easy and quite versatile.  Not to mention, the warmth in your mug and belly can knock the chill out of your weary bones.

I've learned over the years of serving soup that it can be messy for those less coordinated (i.e. toddlers).

Tips for Toddlers and Children to Eat Soup

for the very messiest and uncoordinated unpracticed
- Strip 'em naked and let the soup run down their chin, chest, belly and chair.  Do this just before bath time and chalk it up to a learning experience...for both of you!
- Eat outside or in old clothes.

for those wanting to improve
- Serve chunkier soups with little or no broth (or liquid).  This is the soup I made last week (it's a current fav).  My 22 month old son was basically eating ground beef, cooked/mushy veggies, and beans all in one cup.  He loved every chunky morsel then slurped the remaining spoonfuls of broth at the end.  He is gaining control with the spoon and does remarkably well.  I try to set him up to win (removing frustration) by giving him the chunks in soup without the "soup."

- Serve in a cup or small bowl so that the child feels the freedom to drink the soup instead of fight with the spoon.

- Give the child the widest spoon that will fit in their mouth.  They need all the extra surface area they can manage to get food in their mouth.  Sometimes the "baby spoons" are not all that helpful.  We have a couple stainless toddler spoons that are helpful. (I steer away from using plastic when I can.)   If you watch my baby, he looses quite a bit from the bowl to his mouth.  When he is super hungry he sometimes puts down the spoon and eats with his hands for the first few bites.

- If at first you don't succeed, try and try again!  Don't give up!


PS -- My daughter is almost 4.5.  She can wield a spoon like nobody's business and has been eating soup like a champ for a long time.  I say that to encourage those with preschoolers that soup isn't messy forever.

PSS -- I'd love to know what soups you are making these days.  I am always on the lookout for new recipes.

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Oct 15, 2014

Save Time & Energy with This Tip

The day I realized two whole chickens would fit into my slow cooker --it was a glorious day.
If I'm going to spend the time and energy to debone a chicken, it's not that much more work to debone two.  The crock needs to be cleaned no matter what's inside.

The extra meat can be used for fast week-night meals or frozen for later.

And the additional bones makes it worth my time to make broth.  Win-win.


PS - Scroll through other cooking tips here.

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Oct 12, 2014

Plantains Are My New BFF

Plantains are my new best friend.  Have you ever tried them?  They're the huge green banana looking things.  When ripe, they are black.  I found some at the Colony West Kroger this weekend.

Last night at a dinner party a friend said, "When we were in Costa Rica, we ate them at every meal."  I've eaten plantains as chips and even fried my own but I didn't know the extent to their versatility.

I am learning they are quite adaptible, especially if you are trying to eat grain-free.

Today I tried a couple new (to me) recipes from The Paleo Mom.  I highly recommend her blog if you haven't checked it out.  She earned a PhD but now stays at home and can explain the science behind food.  She just released a cookbook.  Here's a video where she explains a bit about plantains -- how to choose and cut them, etc.

I made her nut-free, coconut-free paleo (grain-free) muffins.  They were really good and not grainy like some gluten-free recipes.  Many times with gluten-free treats you have to buy lots of random ingredients.  In this recipe, the most random ingredient was a plantain.  And if you can't find plantains, you can use a green banana (or so it says in the comments.)  The recipe recommends 3-5 T of dry sugar.  I used 5 T of sucanat and they were plenty sweet with the additional 2+ cups of blueberries.  Next time I make these muffins I will use even less sugar.

For dinner, we had herbed chicken savory crepes with mushroom "cream" sauce.  Delish.  I used to make crepes frequently but since we are trying to be grain free, I'd written crepes off my menu.  I will say, this meal was perfect for a weekend and would be too much work for a weeknight meal.  My eldest son ate the remaining crepes with butter and maple syrup.  We'd all eaten blueberry muffins before dinner so we weren't that hungry.  With the remaining filling, I added more chicken and broth for a hearty soup for my husband's lunch one day this week.

**Haven't tried it yet but just saw this recipe for Simple Paleo Tortillas...will try soon.

Tonight I also made The Paleo Mom's grain-free Swedish Meatballs.  I used way more fresh herbs because the recipe as written seemed a bit bland.  The meatballs we will eat tomorrow night.

My kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off when I was finished.  The fridge is stocked with good food.

Any new recipes you're making I need to try?

PS - By way of reminder, I do not make any money from this blog.  I endorse books and blogs just because I think they are helpful.

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