A garden inspired picnic

A garden inspired picnic

I‘m currently running around trying to pack for a little family getaway to Prince Edward Island, but I have a recipe up over on Jamie Oliver you won’t want to miss.

It’s a spontaneous snacking weeknight supper that tuned into a little garden-inspired picnic. I brought outside for us to nibble on while we wound down from the day. The children buzzed around barefoot on the lawn, chasing chickens, while I walked Danny through a garden tour and we got caught up on our respective days.

It turned out to be one of my favourite meals from the week, and one I plan to reproduce several more times before the summer is over.

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Kids in the kitchen for FoodRev Day 2014

42 simple summer lunch ideas kids can make

When I announced to my boys that they would be making their own lunches over the summer, they responded with an enthusiastic “Yaaaaaay!”, followed by an unconvincing “Awwwww”. Since cooking is technically work, they didn’t want to come across as overly excited, but I knew that they were jazzed.

It’s all part of my master plan to keep them busy and out of trouble. I’d given it some thought and realized that lunch was the best meal for them to take over. I’m not awake enough to supervise breakfast prep first thing in the morning (kids don’t sleep in, remember?) and by dinner time they are fading from a day in the sun. No, it had to be lunch.

My children tend to eat a big lunch, then pick at their dinners; I’ve grown used to it. I stuffed their lunch kits with a well-rounded mid-day meal all school-year long and my 6-year-old never failed to return his completely empty. So, we’re putting some attention into lunches this summer, but still keeping things simple enough for them to execute under my supervision.

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Manners and the  family table

Our guidelines for good manners around the table

“Mom, can we ask Ethan why he was late?”

My eldest piped up with this question around our Sunday dinner table, while sitting across from the named guest. I remember trying to silence him with a look, and then muttering something along the lines of “we’ll talk about it later.”

Ah, kids. They certainly aren’t born with manners. It’s up to us, the parents, to teach them until they grow up and begin to grasp the meaning of tact and diplomacy. A most interesting discussion on the Simple Bites Facebook page a while ago encouraged me to write down and share our guidelines for good manners.

We strive to teach good behaviour around our table, but, boy, is it a work in progress. I’ve learned to heap on encouragement, striving to give 5 times the praise for each reprimand or instruction. Some nights it feels impossible to find anything good to say, but the children perk up with the praise and noticeably try harder.

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Pancake breakfast

How our kids made us brunch and how we lived to tell about it

Now that we’ve been cooking with our children for several years, we’ve always wondered how well would they function entirely on their own. My boys have claimed for some time now that they are proficient in the kitchen, and while they do a fine job, I have always remained close-by.

Last Monday was Danny’s and my wedding anniversary. The evening before was full of fugitive huddles and fervent whispers between brothers. Their eyes were shining when I tucked them into bed, and Mateo, the considerate one, asked me how early they could get up.

Something was afoot, although I’d never imagine they would attempt a full breakfast in our honour. It turns out those two are full of ambition.

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Kids in the kitchen for FoodRev Day 2014

Food Revolution Day 2014

Kids in the kitchen is a topic I am eager to discuss any day, any where, which is why I am thrilled to be participating in Food Revolution Day coming up on May 16.

FoodRev (for short) is a global day of action initiated by Jamie Oliver to examine what we put into our mouths and what our children are eating. This year’s focus? Inspiring children all over the world to get excited about real food and teaching them to cook from scratch. I am so on board. Are you?

Food Revolution Day

As a mother of three, I’m keenly aware of the importance of cooking good food from scratch and getting kids excited about food. In my own home I’m daily making cooking fun for my kids and inspiring a love of real food that will last a lifetime.

Most days, it seems like such a small impact, though. Sure my 8 year old loves to assemble spring rolls and whip up a sauce (he adorably calls Hoisin Sauce “poison sauce”) and my toddler can identify most vegetables in the market, but what about a wider influence? This blog is part of that, and even more thrilling is joining millions of others in a movement to get kids excited about whole foods.

Hit the jump to read more about FoodRev 2014, learn how you can participate, and, if you’re local, find out where we can meet up at the Montréal event.

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