Empowering your Kids to Cook

teaching kids to cookIt’s fun to see a renewed interest in nutrition, cooking, and canning in this generation of  20-somethings. Yet, many of this age group have been left behind in being taught how to cook.  A generation ago 80% of Baby Boomers could cook from their pantry without a recipe; today 20% of their children can prepare a meal from scratch.

Teaching kids to cook isn’t difficult and provides them with lifelong skills.  As the old adage goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  You’d be surprised what children can learn at a young age with a bit of coaching. Soon, they’ll have skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

Follow this model for a helpful way to train kids to cook:

  1. You show them, while they watch you
  2. Do it together
  3. They show you, while you watch them

Here’s what your budding chefs can learn:

Continue reading

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Share Some Love, May 9th, with a Military Spouse you Know
When their loved ones are deployed or they are moving to a new place, military spouses can feel isolated, lonely and homesick. Why not widen your circle of friends and reach out?

Fun ideas to make their day:

  • Invite, invite, invite… draw them into your social circle and introduce them to your friends. Invite them to play dates, parties, outings, Mothers of Preschooler groups, church, the gym… whatever you do, welcome them!
  • Offer a ride. They may have only one family car and can’t get out a lot.
  • Call and text to offer encouragement and friendship.
  • Bring them a meal! If they are ‘single-parenting’ while their spouse is deployed, they will really appreciate a homemade meal. Dream Dinner’s makes it easy – fill an insulated tote with a frozen dinner along with some sides and sweets from our Finishing Touch Freezer.
  • Offer babysitting. They might not have developed a list of safe child care yet, but, need a break or date night.
  • Throw them a party! Baby showers and birthdays make great opportunities to do something for them that an old friend might have done back home.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the masses. Reaching out to just one person makes a difference! You don’t have to change the world, but, you could certainly change their world.

 

Mother’s Day is May 11th

mothers dayWhat mom wouldn’t love a freezer full of meals to make dinners nutritious and easy for a whole month?

Here are some fun options to make Mom smile with Dream Dinners on Mother’s day or any special day:

  • Sit down at the computer together and let Mom select her meals while you pick up the tab.
  • For a fun night out, take Mom to a Dream Dinners’ session and prepare meals together.  Then, put them all in her freezer when you bring her home.
  • Surprise Mom with a bag of homemade meals you deliver to her front door.
  • If mom lives far away, purchase a gift card online and we’ll mail it to her or send her an e-card (your choice). We suggest $75 for our Introductory Offer (for first time guests) or $200 for ~ a month’s supply!

Wow, a freezer full of meals – this will be a gift she’ll remember!

Ending the Picky Eater’s Power Struggle

picky eatersThe Battle’s On
Your child might be winning now, but, losing later to finicky habits and poor nutrition.

Picky eaters can turn rational parents into obsessed, battle-weary, rationalizing, bargaining, pleading, crazy people!  Whew, I’m worn-out just from describing it! We’re afraid our ‘little darlings’ will never eat balanced meals and will become malnourished skeletons, vanishing away like a puddle on a sunny day. I know; I’ve butted up against my share of picky strong-willed wonders. Someone’s cornered, and it feels like me!

Tough Love is not Mean
If you’ve done your due diligence with the family MD and he’s assured you they’re not going to die, then maybe it’s time to heighten your strategy and offer a little tough love. Although very cute, picky eaters are typically masters of the power struggle. If this is your child, read on. Continue reading

Teacher Appreciation Week May 5th – May 9th

If you’ve spent time volunteering in a classroom, you’ll know how big of a responsibility our teachers carry. Keeping a classroom of kids organized and focused takes dedication, diligence, and a whole a lot of love.  Education is a big accomplishment!

Dream Dinners is an easy and delicious way to spoil your teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Gather some helpers and load up their break room with these wonderful lunches and snacks from our menus. (items change monthly)

  • Parmesan Chicken Sliders (Great for a grab-and-go quick lunch)
  • Santa Fe Shredded Pork Burritos (Easy to bring in a crock pot and dish up hot anytime).
  • Coconut Shrimp and Sweet  & Sour Sauce with Jasmine Rice (Serve these skewered shrimp hot or cold)

Let the appreciation begin!

Fire up the Grill

grillGrilling this spring? Try these tips:

  1. Clean your grill. First rub the grate with a ball of aluminum foil. Turn it to high and burn off any remaining food residue.
  2. If your grill is prone to sticking, oil your grill when cool.
  3. Make sure your grill is hot when you place your meat on it to sear the juices into the meat.
  4. Pre-season steaks either with a marinade or with salt and pepper. Soak meat in marinade per cooking instructions (usually several hours), or for a steak, pat dry, season with salt and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking to absorb the flavors. Use about 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt for 1 pound of meat.
  5. When forming hamburgers, shape about 3/4th inch thick, slightly thinner in the middle, to allow for swelling.
  6. To get a seared crust, pat marinated meat dry before cooking. Continue reading

Timing your Meal

Preparing meals involve a lot of abilities from knowing how to cook to choosing what goes well together. The last thing you might be thinking about is timing. With a well-timed meal, your hot food is hot, cold food cold, and nothing is overcooked or mushy. This takes skill! Besides looking at your cooking times and counting backwards, here are some general principles that help me: Continue reading

Come Ride with Us – May 10, 2014

Living the Dream Foundation, something you can get excited about!

LTDBRLogoTina Kuna, Dream Dinners Co-founder, leads a fun team of volunteers each spring to bike the beautiful Snohomish, Washington country back roads for charity. In its second year, the Living the Dream Ride is everything a woman could want: fresh air, friends, fitness and fun! This year, the proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington. Continue reading

Limited on time to plan Easter Dinner?

great easter dinnerMenu planning takes time and creativity - two things most of us want more of!

When Easter rolls around (or other holidays), we find ourselves back to scanning recipes trying to make our holiday beautiful, special and delicious. Let Dream Dinners help make your Easter a cinch.

Try this Easter Dinner Menu:

  • Honey Chipotle Pork Roast with Almond Green Beans
  • Roasted Heirloom Potatoes
  • Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad
  • Rustic Country Rolls
  • Luscious Lemon Bars

Save your Holiday Menus
Have you ever sat down to a wonderful holiday meal or even a normal family dinner and thought, ‘Wow! That was perfect?’  Sometimes we land on a winning combination of sides with our entrée that we’ll want to remember and repeat. Why not start saving your favorite menus?

Create a ‘Menus’ file on your computer or start a ‘Menu Card Box’ like you would for recipes.  You can have a section for each major holiday, special events/parties, and everyday menus that work well for you.  When next year rolls around, repeat last Easter’s menu, or, add variety by substituting an item or two.  It’s much easier than starting from scratch.

With the baseline menu planning done, you can spend more time on something that stirs your creative energy like making a special beverage, decorating the buffet table, or preparing little gifts!

Happy Easter!