Baking with the Bigs

When 8:00 rolls around and I finally lay the baby down for the night, the big girls get hungry for some attention. I often get hungry for baked goods so baking together seems like a win for everyone! In all sincerity though, I can’t express to you enough how important it is for you to spend quality time with your children and build some memories. As a busy mom, it’s easy to be in a rush all the time and say “I don’t have time to play a game right now I’m doing the dishes!” or “No, you can’t help me make dinner, I’m in a hurry and you’ll just make a huge mess!”. I guarantee those kids won’t remember the dishes in your sink but they will certainly remember all the fun they had getting flour and food coloring all over the kitchen! When I was a little girl, I remember feeling like I never had my mother’s full attention. She always seemed preoccupied with housework. Not that there is anything wrong with that, different moms interact with their children differently and not all children are the same so this may not have had an affect on someone else but it made me personally feel insignificant. I didn’t want to chance my children ever feeling that way so you’ll often find us all in the kitchen together wearing matching aprons cooking or baking together. More often than not, you’ll also find an American Girl Doll or two in an apron “helping” as  well! Your chores will always be around,but your kids won’t be kids for long. Your kids should know the whole world doesn’t revolve around doing things with Mom. They should definitely know how to play independently and with each other while you get your chores done but we have to master a healthy balance of “hey kids, wanna help me bake?” and “I can’t fit another dirty dish in the sink, the floor is sticky, and everyone is out of clean undies. Could you play amongst yourselves while I tidy up?” Middle ground people. Middle ground! Lol. I hope someday when my girls have children of their own they will remember the giggles and smiles we shared doing ridiculous things like making tiny doll sized sugar cookies!

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I don’t want any angry emails over the dangers of artificial coloring in my food because you won’t ever persuade me to toss the food coloring! I divided the cookie dough into 3 equal-ish blobs and each one of us picked out a color.

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I then divided each color into 3’s and we each rolled out our own dough design on a cutting board before using cookie cutters to make shapes.

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Almost ready!!!

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The girls served their dolls first like good little mommies 😃

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Everyone (including Daddy & I) enjoyed our late night snack!

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Steak tacos

Steak tacos are a favorite go to meal in the Latch house. The kids love anything involving steak and cheese, and I like anything that doesn’t make a gigantic mess, takes less than 30 mins to make, and is delicious!
Gather ingredients-you’ll need
-Steak- I typically use sirloin but have used filet or ny strip before.
-Colby jack or other favorite cheese
-1 lime
-white corn tortillas
-cilantro
-steak seasoning (optional)
-margarine or butter

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Slice steak into thin strips and place in large skillet with about a tablespoon of butter or margarine. Take this time to add whatever seasonings you normally would a steak should you choose to do so. I use this fabulous Weber Chicago Steak seasoning that my hubby does when he grills. I also add a dash of onion powder and garlic powder. I often slice some very thin onion and toss it in with the steak but I was running late for an appointment so I skipped it this time. Cook the steak on medium heat till its at your desired heat.

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While your steak is cooking, take a second to grate your cheese if its not already done, slice your lime, pick and wash your cilantro leaves, and begin to hear your tortillas in a small skillet or in a griddle if you’re one of those kind of domestic divas.

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Once your tortillas are warm and toasty and your steak is cooked well enough for you get your plates handy and begin to assemble your tacos. Add the steak then squirt with some lime juice and top with cilantro then cheese. Fold in half and serve. We often serve with rice but they’re pretty tasty all on their own too so it’s not needed!

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Spinach stuffed chicken cups

I’m not one to follow recipes. That’s a little too well thought out and planned for a dysfunctional domestic diva like myself. But every time I make this dish, someone undoubtably wants the recipe. So here we go, I’m going to attempt to give you the “recipe”. Please know that I don’t use very technical measurement terms when I cook. You will never hear me say “add a cup of this or a tablespoon of that”. More than likely you’ll hear “add a dash of this and a pinch of that” so bear with me. Maybe some day I’ll be more organized and technical.
The fist thing you’ll want to do is gather your ingredients and supplies:
-chicken breast (how much obviously depends on how large they are and how many people you need to feed)
-cherry tomatoes
-frozen spinach
-shredded mozzarella or other Italian cheese
-seasoning of your choice (I keep it fairly simple and use an Italian blend, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper)
-extra virgin olive oil
-lime juice (optional)
-muffin tin
-cutting board
-sharp knife
-a small mixing bowl
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You’ll need to preheat your oven to 350 and slice your chicken breast in half vertically. I used 2 chicken breasts and was able to make 6 chicken “cups”.
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Chop your cherry tomatoes into 4ths and set them aside. In your small mixing bowl, add the frozen spinach, a dash of all of your seasonings, a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of lime juice, and your shredded cheese and mix well. I used about a cup and half of spinach and 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella but you’ll have to eyeball amounts dependent on how many servings your making.

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I used heb organic naturals frozen breasts so they weren’t huge but I cut the larger one in half again to make 4 cups from just 1 breast! The other one was smaller and only made 2. Once they’re cut, use a meat tenderizer or your fist if you have pent up aggression to beat the chicken into thin pieces. You may lightly season the chicken with the same seasoning you use for the spinach if you choose to do so. I do! Next, spray your muffin tin with cooking spray and put the chicken in forming individual hollow “cups”. Fill each cup with spinach/cheese mix and put in the oven.

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Obviously your oven and what not will make a difference as well as how thin you were able to beat that chicken but after about 8 mins (exactly 7 mins and 44 seconds in my case) remove the muffin tin and add your tomatoes and I like to sprinkle a little bit more cheese to hold it all together and clog my arteries a little more. Then put back in the oven another 5 mins or so until the chicken is fully cooked and the cheese is nicely melted.

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Remove from the oven and serve with your choice of side dish. My kids like it best with angel hair pasta tossed with a dash of rosemary and olive oil but we’ve served it with white rice as well.

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Mmmmm… Delicious! My kids will eat anything in the shape of a cupcake but if your littles despise spinach you can fill with anything they like really. We’ve filled them with broccoli and velveeta before and they were pretty darn tasty too!
Hope you enjoy!