I am trying to feed my family healthy meals while at the same time not losing my mind in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, I did not get the cooking gene from my mom who is hands-down the best cook I have ever known.  However, I am making my own strides in the cooking department and am slowly building my confidence as I experiment with cooking in order to grow a well-nourished family which I am finding is very difficult to do and does not come easily to me, but I am working hard at it!

Cookbooks that have been lifesavers for me:

The Waldorf Cookbook by Kelly Sundstrom

The Waldorf Cookbook

Toddler Menus: A Mix-and-Match Guide to Healthy Eating by Penny Preston

Healthy Meals for Babies & Toddlers by Valerie Barrett

Healthy Meals for Babies and Toddlers

Go-to recipes for the big challenge – DINNER:

Stuffed Peppers

Chunky Marinara Sauce for good ‘ole spaghetti and for using up your friend’s and family’s homegrown tomatoes (because I also did not get the green thumb gene from my mama either!).

Butternut Squash Pasta and Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sage

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tomato Zucchini Casserole

Lemon, Caper, and White Bean Pasta

Fast White Bean Stew

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw

Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette

Grandma’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

Mini Muffin Pizzas

Darcy’s Easy Eggplant Parm (from “No Monsters in My Bed” blog)

ingredients – 1 medium/large eggplant, 3 fresh tomatoes, olive oil, breadcrumbs, shredded parm cheese (or, i like to use the parm, assiago, fontina, provolone blend from trader joes called “Quattro Formaggio”)

1. Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds and generously apply salt to the pieces. Let sit about half an hour and then pat dry with a paper towel (i know it sound silly, but this keeps the eggplant from getting soggy)
2. Brush slices with olive oil (lightly) and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes
3. Remove eggplant slices from the oven and assemble them into stacks with the tomato (cut into round slices), breadcrumbs (about a tablespoon), and cheese (i.e. eggplant, tomato, breadcrumbs, a light smattering of cheese, then repeat. So that each stack has 2 eggplants and 2 tomatoes).
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted but not burned.

Snack Ideas

Breakfast Ideas

Lunch Ideas

Halloween Treats

Spidey Snack

spidey snack

This snack is easy to make — even for preschoolers — and fun to eat … even for preschoolers.

Hands-On Time: 3 minutes
Ready In: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 serving


    Mini Babybel cheese
    4 small pretzel sticks
    2 raisins


  1. Unwrap a Mini Babybel cheese and take the wax off. Break 4 small pretzel sticks (“spider legs”) in half and insert at an angle into the underside of the cheese, arranging 4 on each side. (For longer legs, use 8 whole pretzel sticks.) Add 2 raisins for eyes; use a pretzel to auger out eye holes.

Apple Smiles

apple smiles

This snack is easy to prepare and will certainly bring a smile to your child’s face!

Yield: 4 Apple Smiles


    Smooth peanut butter
    1 red apple, cored and sliced into eighths
    Squeeze of lemon juice
    Miniature marshmallows


  1. Spread peanut butter on one side of each apple slice (squeeze a little lemon juice over the apple if not serving immediately).
  2. Place four miniature marshmallows on one apple slice and then lay another apple slice, peanut butter side down, on top.

Banana Ghosts
Banana Ghosts

Here’s a Halloween trick your child will have no trouble pulling off–turning a ripe banana into a Halloween treat.  Remove any stringy fibers from the peeled banana, then cut it in half widthwise. Push a Popsicle stick into each half through the cut end, then cover each pop with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (about 3 hours).  Next, place a 1.5-ounce piece of white chocolate candy in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high until melted (it generally takes about 1 minute). With a butter knife, spread the melted white chocolate on the frozen banana halves.  Set the pops on a waxed-paper-covered dish. Press on candies or currants for eyes and mouths and return the pops to the freezer until ready to serve. Makes 2.

Spiced Tea

Ingredients: 6 cups water, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, 1 inch stick cinnamon, 2 tablespoons apple juice, 3/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar

Preparation: Combine water, cloves, and cinnamon.  Heat to boiling.  Add apple juice; cover and let brew 5 minutes, then strain.  Heat orange juice, lemon juice and sugar to boiling; stir and add to hot tea.  Makes six to eight servings.

Gingerbread Skeletons

Gingerbread Skeletons
  • White frosting
  1. To make a batch, punch out shapes from cookie dough using cat and gingerbread-man cookie cutters, then bake. When the cookies are cool, pipe on frosting bones.


carob cocoaBy Cathe Olson

Carob and molasses are good sources of calcium and iron. This is an excellent drink before bed or anytime you need a soothing treat. It’s good cold too.

2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy

1/4 cup carob powder

1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Pour into pan and heat to desired temperature.


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