Sweet and Sneaky Ways to Eat Your Veggies: Carrots

aka “Earning Desserts as a Five-Year-Old”

carrot cake oatmeal


I always ate my three daily servings of fruit as a kid. I drank my “crazy drink” (OJ + fizzy water) through a straw at breakfast, munched on apple slices at lunch, and popped grapes like candy as an after school snack. But vegetables?


Totally different story.   Continue reading for recipe.


January 23, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 30 comments.

Better Than a PB&J

peanut butter, banana, and jelly panini (PBB&J)

Many children dread this Monday morning. Classes begin again, and the school bus will shuttle them off to memorize more multiplication tables and write big book reports. The recess bell sounds too quickly, the lunch break ends too soon, and the drive back home drags on and on.


But they aren’t alone.   Continue reading for recipe.

January 6, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 31 comments.

Bending the Rules

microwave popcorn

I’m not allowed to keep bags of popcorn kernels in the house. It’s a safety-comes-first type of rule. The temptation is just too great to pour them into a pot, heat it uncovered on the stove, and watch as the fluffy white morsels explode out and rain down on the kitchen floor.


Instead, I’m required to have adult supervision whenever I make a popcorn snack. No picking super small pots or hiding all of the lids. (Yes, I’ve tried…)   Continue reading for recipe.

December 20, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. 11 comments.

Fudging the Definition of “Dessert”

Because of Mom’s unwritten rule, “No dessert for breakfast,” we only found healthy cereals in our childhood pantry. Forget about Frosted Flakes or Cinnamon Toast Crunch; we ate Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, Cheerios, and the occasional Life or Fruity Pebbles (a real treat!). We enjoyed our small sweets after dinner, or sometimes with lunch, but never in the morning.


Although my inner chocoholic hated admitting Mom was right, I was nearly ready to wave the little white flag on this battle—until I stumbled across this recipe. Go ahead, scroll down. With those ingredients, no health nut could ever describe this breakfast as an indulgent splurge! But the taste proves otherwise…   Continue reading for recipe.

July 30, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. 4 comments.

(Happy) Birthday

Every year, thousands of parents dim the lights, grab the camera, and stand in front of their child. “Make a wish!” they exclaim before snapping a photo of their kid’s puffed up cheeks blowing out the glowing birthday candles.


I dread this moment. I never know which singing face to look at, so I stare awkwardly at the cake in front of me, outwardly smiling but inwardly sweating.


What should I wish for?   Continue reading for recipe.

June 25, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 4 comments.

Care for a Condiment?

As a kid, my condiment knowledge was pretty limited. My grandpa told me that people put mustard on hot dogs and ketchup on burgers, but I broke those rules and squeezed both bottles over either grilled meat. Always Heinz ketchup and French’s yellow mustard (none of that fancy Dijon stuff for a five-year-old!).


Somewhere in my teens, I tried barbeque sauce for the first time at the ever-famous Pub downtown. I ordered a barbeque chicken quesadilla, and after the first bite, I immediately became infatuated with its sweet yet subtle tang.   Continue reading for recipe.

June 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals, Satisfying Sides. Leave a comment.

A Confusing Childhood Conundrum

As a five-year-old, the vegetable mustard greens confused me. Mustard was bright yellow and came in a French’s squeeze bottle, while greens were, well… Bright green, like lettuce and spinach. How could a food possibly be both yellow and green, both a condiment and a leaf, both spreadable and crisp?


It didn’t take long until I learned that mustard actually is a plant, not just a spicy topping for hot dogs and sandwiches, and the condiment is formed from the plant’s seeds. But I spent enough time puzzling over it as a kid that I came up with my own brilliant solution: coat some greens with mustard to make your mustard greens!   Continue reading for recipe.

June 4, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

Little Girl, Lots of Love

After my mini muffin tin arrived in the mail, I really wanted to make a batch of true mini muffins. (Cornbread just doesn’t count!) The problem? Most of the recipes on my “To Try” list involved fruit. With such tiny little cups, only one apple chunk, blueberry, or raspberry would fit inside!


But then I remembered another tasty option: lemon poppy seed. Growing up, I loved this flavor more than any other. I always picked off the thin slivered almonds pressed into the top before peeling down the sides of the wrapper to pick at the bottom first. Even though the soft sugary top begged to be eaten, I still managed to save the best for last! (Most of the time…)   Continue reading for recipe.

May 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

When, What, Why?

As a little girl, I asked a lot of questions. My favorite word was “why,” closely followed by “what” and “when.” As in, “Mommy, when may I have dessert?”


During the times I noticed her in the kitchen preparing to bake, I started asking my questions before she even finished pulling out the flour and sugar!


“Mommy, what are you making?”

“When will it be ready?”

“Why won’t it be ready sooner?”  Continue reading for recipe.

May 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 11 comments.

The Grown-Up Way to Play With Your Food

As a little girl, I stuck raspberries on the tips of my fingers and popped them into my mouth, one by one. They looked like a cross between bumpy red fingernail polish and Mom’s sewing thimble, although I carefully hid from her while eating my fruit fingers to avoid a lecture on not playing with my food. But she must have smiled at my stained fingernails!


When Safeway advertised a two-for-one on raspberries last week, I grew nostalgic as I picked up a couple cartons. Despite avoiding the strong temptation to stick some on my fingers, I still noticed that a chocolate chip fit perfectly into the hole. And the chocolate-stuffed raspberry nestled beautifully into a mini cupcake tin filled with lemon cake batter. And cream cheese tasted delicious with each individual component, so it was natural to use it as a frosting.   Continue reading for recipe.

March 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 7 comments.