Say hello to my sister Emily! When she told me about the Culinary World Tour project she was doing with my niece, Madison, I thought it was about the coolest thing ever! Emily is a super busy, working, single mom (getting married next January!), so if she can cook these recipes, so can you! First stop, Tennessee Tea Cakes. YUM!
I am a cooking fanatic. I love to experiment with different food styles in the kitchen, often resulting in a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, a mess of ingredients scattered across the counter, and a very happy belly! One of my hopes as a mother was to share this love of food and cooking with my daughter, Madison. I dreamed of sharing my grandmother’s spaghetti sauce recipe, or the crepe recipe I learned from my mom, or basically anything from the late great Julia Childs (love her!).
And then I realized that my child is the pickiest eater. Ever. No matter how many delicious entrees I presented her with, she simply refused to try them. I tried everything. Literally, everything. I tried being patient, I tried applauding when she agreed just to TOUCH the food, I tried leaving her at the table until she finished it (only to find that her will was stronger than mine)… You name it, I tried it. And yet… day after day, meal after meal, I got shot down. Eventually I gave up for a while – all that rejection was hurting my pride!
With the arrival of summer, I decided it was time to tackle the picky eater problem again. This meant I needed to get creative. So I decided to take my daughter on a Culinary World Tour. I first told her of far away places where the people speak different languages, and they eat different foods, listen to different music. That seemed to pique the interest of my little learner who is always in search of new bits of trivia to share with her friends.
“How would you like to visit and learn about all those amazing places without ever having to leave our kitchen?!” I asked, fingers crossed. “YES!” she screamed…. Oh thank you baby Jesus. We have a win. From there, I presented her with a notebook which would serve as her Culinary World Tour Passport and journal. Each day, we would pick a place (starting with the United States), learn some interesting facts about it and cook a recipe that is considered a local treat. In order to receive a stamp in the passport, she would need to do one thing: TRY at least 1 bite of each of the foods we made. She agreed to the terms (we shook on it… that’s a binding contract in this house). And the very next day we embarked on our Culinary World Tour!
First Stop: Tennessee
Here we learned about and made Tennessee Tea Cakes. We started our little excursion by researching the location on the internet and finding fun facts about the local cuisine and culture. We learned that Tennesse Tea Cakes were created as a result of food rationing during the Civil War. To celebrate a birthday, instead of making a birthday cake, they had to make smaller versions (imagine trying to share a cupcake with your family!). Madison wrote about the place in her food passport/journal, and we threw on our aprons to start baking! But not before we put on a little Tennessee music to fit the theme: Madison. Meet Elvis. Someday I’ll tell you about how I was in love with him when I was 8… or maybe I’ll leave that part out.
Our first excursion was a tremendous success! Madison (and I) LOVED the Tennessee Tea Cakes! We’ll definitely be making them again! Next stop on our Culinary World Tour: New York!
Lemon Honey-Almond Tea Cakes
- 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar plus additional for dusting
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
- 6 large egg whites
- 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Grease a 12 cup muffin tin; set aside. In a bowl, combine the sugar, all purpose flour, and almond flour.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Slowly whisk in the sugar mixture.
- Whisk in the melted butter, the honey, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until dark golden around the edges and firm to the touch.
- Immediately remove the cakes from the muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Dust cakes with additional confectioners’ sugar (oops, we couldn’t wait to try them so we skipped that step!) just before serving.
Makes 12 mini cakes
This recipe was found in The Deen Brothers Recipes from the Road Cookbook
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Panini Bar: Kids in the Kitchen
If you’re just joining us for the Kids in the Kitchen Series, be sure to check out last week’s challenge where we shared some tasty breakfast treats. This week, we’re working on lunch! If your kids are tiring of the same old lunch sandwiches, let’s change things up a bit and get them involved with their lunch choice. A panini bar is a great way to host an afternoon of family fun! (In truth, the panini bar makes regular appearances on our dinner menu as well – it’s a great option for the working mom who wants to serve a hot meal but doesn’t have a lot of time. I’ve also been known to sneak a hot panini for breakfast!)
The best part about a panini bar is that you can always switch it up. We lay out everything in the fridge in a huge spread and then the choices begin! Emily usually takes the orders and then I help her prep. She cooks them in our panini maker (Best invention ever! This is an affiliate link for the one I have – don’t feel led to click – it’s just there if you want it because I really think this product is awesome!) and then serves them up like a waitress in our own little family restaurant. Some things you’ll need:
- Assortment of bread – We’ve used white, wheat, tortillas, homemade, rolls, bagels, pitas…whatever happens to be on hand.
- Assortment of meats – Ham, turkey, roast beef, pepperoni, roasted chicken (See The Bird Word Series!)…whatever you like!
- Assortment of cheese – We always have cheddar and provolone on hand, but often take it up a notch with pepper jack or fresh mozzarella (my fav!).
- Assortment of toppings – Tomatoes, basil, roasted red peppers, hot peppers, avocado and bacon have all made appearances on our panini menu.
- Assortment of condiments – Mayo, mustard, hot sauce, ranch dressing…lots of tasty options here.
The opportunities are truly endless. Everyone loves getting to have something a little different and choosing their own toppings per their tastes, but you don’t feel like you’re prepping separate meals for everyone. It’s quick to set up, quick to prep and quick to clean up. And the best part is that a panini bar requires some input from every member of the family, so it’s a great activity to get everyone chatting and interacting in a combined effort to create some tasty together.
We’ve made BLTs, club sandwiches, mozzarella caprese yummies (YES!!!!), grilled cheese…seriously, I can’t think of a food that doesn’t taste better after it’s been pressed in the panini maker. It’s like my own little homemade Panera! Emily feels super independent and in control getting to prep and cook, and I love getting a bit of a break from being in charge of mealtime.
Do you have an awesome sandwich that you think would be killer in the panini maker? Please share! I’m always looking for new ingredients to include in our panini bar. And be sure to link up any awesome panini recipes below and check out what the other gals made this week!
Quick and Easy Recipes for Working Moms
If there is one thing I am always on the hunt for, it’s quick and easy recipes. With growing toddler twin boys eating me out of house and home, I’m constantly fighting the grumpy munchies when we get home from work. Dinner needed to be on the table…like five minutes ago. Finding the right quick and easy recipes has been a bit of a challenge. There’s no shortage of recipes on Pinterest, but I find myself quickly overwhelmed and click happy, leaving me with hundreds of options spread across 15 different boards. Some recipes are easy prep and then some just look darn tasty and would take some real elbow grease and time for me to pull off.
So! I decided to create a never-ending quick and easy recipes link up on Chaos & Kiddos! For all those working moms out there who frequent our site for recipes that are manageable for the tight-on-time working parent, we’ve now got this extra bonus post for you! We’ll be collecting quick and easy recipes from bloggers all over the planet!
There’s just one rule – All recipes posted MUST BE 45 MINUTES TOPS from preparation to table. This includes cooking time!
The link up sorts the most recently added recipes to the top of the list, so come back time and time again for new recipes to freshen things up a bit. Bloggers! This is your chance to get creative when sharing recipes that would be an ideal fit for a tired working mom coming home to starving kiddos. It does not have to be dinner specific either! Quick snacks, breakfast, lunch…anything that can be whipped up in a jiffy to quell hungry voices with just a little bit of time and effort.
If you try a recipe and find that it is extra, extra fabulous, please come back to leave some blog love via the comments to encourage other working moms to take special note of a home run quick and easy recipe that you discovered on this link up. And visit the original poster to say thanks for helping save time and energy (and sanity!) in my home!
Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars by Weelicious: Kids in the Kitchen
The name really says it all on this one. As working moms, I’m sure most of us would admit that “on-the-go” is pretty much the only mode we operate in. When it comes to cooking, it needs to be quick and easy. As I work harder to focus on healthy ingredients, I’m often drawn back to my Weelicious Cookbook, where simple healthy recipes abound and cooking is always a family affair. This week, for the Kids in the Kitchen Series, we had to come up with a breakfast food to cook with our children. I immediately thought of the Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars by Weelicious because they’re super healthy, very easy and have lots of ingredients that the boys enjoy dumping in their bowls. And for the working mom, they are a major win, because they’re perfect for me to grab for breakfast as I’m heading out the door in the morning.
I admit, this post was supposed to publish first thing Monday morning. As often happens, life got in the way, and I’m, let’s see, only about 12 hours late. I almost didn’t get it done tonight either! I had one moment of “Oh, I’ll just do it tomorrow,” and thankfully, I convinced myself otherwise. Cooking tonight with the kids (all 3 of them!) will be a memory I hold dear for years to come. The boys were so excited, and their “sissy” was happy to hang out with her family for some tasty fun. They ended up chanting “You can do it! You can do it!” when Emily was measuring ingredients and even hugged each other in happiness, which is a rare occasion for my crazy competitive boys. It was a special night. I’m so glad I followed through. Doing these series with my blogger friends really challenges me to purposefully plan fun activities with my children, which as a busy mom, is something I feel I often overlook when the going gets tough, even though it should be my number 1 priority.
What You’ll Need:
- 2 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 cups Milk
- 1/2 cup Applesauce
- 1 Egg
- 3 tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 3/4 cup Dried Fruit (I used raisins and dried cranberries)
- 1/4 cup Nuts or Seeds (I used Pepitas and Sunflower Seeds)
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
-Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.
-Combine milk, applesauce, egg, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.
-Mix the dry and wet ingredients together.
-Add the dried fruit and nuts.
-Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
These bars will last 5 days in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Be sure to check out what recipes my gal pals tackled for this week’s challenge and link up your own tasty breakfast posts!