Monster Pancakes

As a mom of littles, I know how difficult meal time can be! One of the best ways to have a pleasant meal with littles is to make foods they love OR to make their food fun! I would never suggest doing this at every meal because it would definitely lead to picky eaters and a worn out mamma. But, every once in a while, I love to indulge my kiddos. So, a few weeks ago I tested out “Monster Pancakes.” They were so cute, but they were also SO EASY! And, they didn’t take anymore time than regular pancakes.

Simply mix up your favorite pancake batter. We use the 10 lb. bag of waffle and pancake mix from Sam’s Club.

Heat up the oil of your choice in a pan and pour pancake batter to desired size (we use around 1/4 cup of batter per pancake).

Quickly use red decorating gel to make a mouth. Then add candy eyes and other candies to make facial features. Use decorators sugar to give your monster “fur.” If your children are old enough to stand over a hot stove, feel free to let them decorate their own monsters for added fun!

Tip: Have all of your decorations ready to be added before you start the pancakes. You only have a couple of minutes to finish the face before you need to flip it!

Flip your pancake and cook for another minute or two until pancake is golden brown.

Serve face side up on a plate.

Optional: Use powdered sugar, fruit, or syrups for hair after you have put the pancakes on the plate.

What are some fun recipes that you make with your kids?

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Amateur Catering On a Dime

This week I was given the opportunity to cater an event. My client was very easy to please, so I knew that creating a menu would not be the challenge. (Did I mention that the “client” was the Coach, and I was doing this for free?) My real challenge was working on a shoe string budget of $300, and I am proud to say that I came in under budget by $50!

Here is what I learned from my amateur catering experience.

Plan for the maximum number of people. The event only had 15 RSVPs, but hundreds of people were invited. We settled on planning for 80 people to attend. For a thirty minute reception at 5:00 p.m., we assumed 8 pieces of food per person (around 800 pieces of food total). It turned out there were actually only 20 people in attendance, but half of our food was eaten. We donated the remainder of the food to a very appreciative police precinct.

Know where to shop (and what to shop for). Serving trays and utensils are great finds at Dollar Tree. They have a variety of clear plastic that looks elegant and we were able to get everything we needed for less than $10. Warehouse stores are great for anything that needs to be purchased in bulk. We purchased almost all of our food from Sam’s Club.

Shop prepared. Bring a calculator and a pad of paper. While I did not know my menu in advance of shopping, I went in knowing that I wanted three desserts, two savory foods, and two salty snacks. I wrote down the price and quantity of each item as I added it to my cart. Towards the end, I used my calculator to ensure I was well within my budget.

Know your facility’s policies. The facility that our event was hosted in does not allow water bottles to be served. This came as a shock to me. My original plan was to buy six cases of water. Instead, I had to plan on cups, ice, and gallons of tea and water. This increased my cost and took up more room in my refrigerator.

Remember your wallet. Maybe this tip is only specific to me and my “mommy brain.” When I walked up to the checkout line, I realized that I had left my debit card at home in my diaper bag. I had to call the Coach to come bail me out.

Clean out your freezer. All of our food had to be stored somewhere. The night before I went to buy all of the food, I cleaned out our deep freezer and refrigerator. Good thing, too! The food fit perfectly in the space I cleared out.

Keep everything away from the kids! This one is pretty self-explanatory. Somehow your toddler will just know that there are tons of desserts and snacks nearby. Make sure everything is kept well out of reach, or you may spend part of your budget replacing food that was “accidentally” knocked over.

Give yourself plenty of set-up time! We live in a city that has some heavy traffic around the time I needed to set-up. In order to have an hour to set up, I planned to leave thirty minutes earlier than I normally would have. I did not have any problems with traffic, but it turned out that I needed the extra time for set-up.

I hope these tips help you the next time you are planning a party or an event.

Download my Menu Plan. There are blank copies for you to use for your event, as well as sample filled out pages from mine.

Healthy Lunch Meal Prep: Sweet Potatoes, Chicken, and Sweet Peas

Healthy Lunch Prep 1

I like to prep healthy lunches for the week on Saturday, so that I can simply toss lunch in the microwave during the week.

This week, I am having sweet potatoes, chicken, and green peas.

I love sweet potatoes! They are incredibly dense in nutrients and have the potential to regulate blood sugar. Not to mention how unbelievably delicious they are.

Simply roast sweet potatoes and chicken. Cook a package of frozen peas according to the package directions. Then layer one cup sweet potatoes, one cup peas, and one cup chicken in a storage container. This dish pairs well with broccoli as well.

Typically, one container makes two adult size portions or a portion for one adult and two toddlers.

I freeze the containers I will be eating towards the end of the week and pull them out 48 hours before I plan to eat them.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 cups sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cube four cups of sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, honey, and cinnamon. Stir until potatoes are coated evenly. Roast for 30-45 minutes.

Paprika Chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into 1” cubes and place in a single layer in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle seasonings over the chicken and bake for 30 minutes.