Life is busy as a mom and there’s simply no way around it.

Whether you work out of the home or in the home, life with kids can get super crazy. So the last thing we want to worry about is what we’re going to put on the dinner table. We can feel our eyes already beginning to roll at the aspect of everyone being pleased with what we cook.

Sometimes, we need a little extra help when it comes to balancing our life, which is why meal delivery services are super badass. They’re pretty much designed for busy parents; lots of them offer healthy, delicious, easy-to-make meals, that don’t suck the life out of you and cause you to dissolve into a puddle of frustrated tears when your kids throw your perfect creation across the room because they refuse to eat.

1. One Potato

“One family, one meal.” 

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Food Family

Fresh produce? Check. Exact proportions to your family? Check. Yummy food? Ummm, check. We love that One Potato caters exactly to your family size, so not only are the meals easy but nothing will be wasted!

2. Foodstirs

“Create meaningful experiences in the kitchen.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Foodstirs

Okay, Foodstirs is seriously amazing – it’s “foodcrafting” with your kids. The perfect opportunity to get your kids out of your hair while you’re trying to cook, and actually cook with you. We’re all about bonding with our children, and what better way to do it than with cooking? We’re totally on board. Plus, the recipe kits are seriously amazing. “Brownie Popsicle Kit?” UMMM, YES. WE’RE IN.

3. Munchery

“From our kitchen, ready to heat.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Munchery

Any meal delivery service that comes with ready-to-heat meals is an absolute dream come true. Munchery is perfect for the families on the go – when you really don’t have much time to cook (which is always, right?) but want to enjoy a healthy, delicious meal with your family. Munchery also offers special “family style” meals which sounds like way less of a headache than any other dinner plan. Bring on the YUM.

4. PeachDish

“A fresh and healthy homemade dinner is in the bag two nights a week, as often as you like!”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Peach Dish

The cool part about PeachDish is that they know the importance of preparing a meal – and that a lot  of love goes into cooking. Two nights a week, they’ll send you recipe cards and instructions on how to cook the meal, as well as fresh veggies and delicious ingredients. They also specialize in delicious cuisine that you might order at a restaurant, but equip you to make it at home. Saving you time, stress and money. AMEN.

5. Blue Apron’s Family Plan

“Discover a better way to cook.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Blue Apron

Well this is cool – Blue Apron is a pretty popular home meal kit plan, and they now have a specifically family-centered meal plan with dishes like Miso-Honey Chicken, Seared Steakhouse Salmon, Steak Sandwiches & Roasted Carrots, and Parmesan & Provolone Cheese Pizza. This all sounds amazingly delicious.

6. HelloFresh

“We deliver delicious and healthy recipes with all the pre-measured ingredients to your door each week.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-HelloFresh

We’re all about those pre-measured ingredients. Anything to help us save a little time and save us from wanting to pull our hair out. Also, free delivery? K, you talked us into it. The caveat: these can get a little on the high-calorie side sometimes.

7. Schwan’s Home Service 

“Delivery to your door as easy as 1-2-3.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Home Cooked Meal

The best part about this service is you can order individual sides – so if you don’t have time to prepare the full meal, but have prepared the main dish, you can have roasted potatoes, broccoli, or salads delivered to your home.

8. Chefday

“Fine-cooking made simple and fun.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Food

For all of you on the East Coast, this is a great option. The ingredients that Chefday sends you are 100% organic, which is something we totally appreciate when cooking for our families, and when we don’t have to locate the ingredients ourselves.

Featured image via.

Making lunches is a lot of work.

Well, making lunches, breakfast, and dinner is a lot of work.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack – so much time preparing food. And then there’s the clean up. My knees are developing arthritis from the amount of time I’m spending at the kitchen counter. I might invest in orthotic indoor shoes.

Let’s not even start in about the grocery budget.

So where does every parent go when they are looking for meal ideas for their family? Pinterest, of course. But what I found there was not time-saving lunch ideas. Nooooo. Instead I discovered a cornucopia of pins dedicated to sandwiches cut into fun shapes, fruit kabobs, and smiley faced vegetables. Um, I was looking to do less preparation. Who are these people?

As a public service, I decided to share my own great tips for Easy Lunches On A Budget. Here’s my first installment.

Easy Mac and Cheese Your Kids Will Love

1. Get two boxes– you don’t want to run short. Your kids are counting on you.

2. Prepare as directed. But why not go with 5% cream? It adds just that hint of decadence your family craves.

3. Serve. But not in those plastic bowls from IKEA. The real dishes, mom. Because nothing says “you’re worth it” like breakable dishware

4. Here’s a secret I debated about posting. But it’s too good not to share. Fresh-ground paper for a gourmet twist.

This post was originally featured on Jan Moyer’s blog, Tough Bananas. Featured photo via.

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“Hold the phone. Is this pizza?!”

Props to these kids for being willing to sample recipes from around the globe. Hell, I can barely get mine to sample recipes from from the back of the cereal box. While I’m sure they would much rather be eating mac n’ cheese, you’ve gotta give them credit.
Watch as these brave young souls try to scarf down food from different countries and find out who the picky eater really is.

We went to an apple orchard recently and have enough apples to survive off of for a year. Okay, maybe not that long but it feels like it. A few days ago, I made these mini pies and they are really good.

I think I may try to make one whole pie next time. Although, the mini pies are nice for a little treat… if you can just eat one. They’re also great to put in your child’s lunch for a treat.

I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

Refrigerated pie dough
1 1/2 cups apples, sliced and peeled (cut them to the size of corn kernels)
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
6 store-bought caramels (quartered)
Sea salt
Egg wash (1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon water)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a small bowl, add the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and flour. Mix to incorporate. Sprinkle a little flour onto a cutting board. Unwrap 2 refrigerated pie dough crusts onto the cutting board. Take a glass or cookie cutter (the glass I used is 3 inches in diameter) and cut out the pie crusts. I was able to get 16 all together.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the pie crust on sheet. Divide the apple mixture and caramel evenly onto the pie crusts. Add a pinch of sea salt to the top of each. Place the tops of the pie crusts over the mixture. I slightly rolled out the tops to fit them easier. Using a fork, crimp around the edges of the mini pies.

With a knife, cut two holes on top of the pies. Brush each apple pie with the egg wash. Sprinkle them with sugar and put into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Take out of the oven and let the pies rest for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container or you can choose to devour several. I kept them in the refrigerator and warmed them up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

This post was originally featured on Elle’s blog, This Is MommyhoodPhoto via

Taking kids to a restaurant to eat is nothing short of an adventure. Rarely are they perfectly behaved. Mine always take the opportunity to act as if they’ve never heard the word ‘no’.I’ve tried just about everything to keep my kiddos happy through the waiting at restaurants.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in my nearly 6 1/2 years of dining out with kids:

1.) Choose a family restaurant.

They’re a bit more tolerant of your two year old who won’t sit in her seat or screams “I WANT FRIES MOMMY!” during ordering. These restaurants always have things for the kids to do while they wait. We ate at Famous Dave’s this past weekend and not only were the kids given crayons and coloring books to keep them busy, I noticed a small play area in the front in case there was a wait for a table. Genius!

2.) Bring lots to do, even some snacks, especially if the restaurant isn’t as family friendly.

If you’re dining some place on the weekend, you’re pretty much guaranteed a wait time no matter where you go. Kids are horrible when they’re hungry, so I bring a few snacks along to keep them satisfied. Small baggies of Cheerios, raisins, grapes, and carrot sticks are a few of my go-to snacks. I also put in crayons and paper (in case the restaurant doesn’t have any), small books, and stickers.

Go at non-meal times. I feel like an old lady as I admit that 11:00 a.m. is lunch time. At least if we’re taking the kids with us to go out to eat. My biggest rule when we decide to eat at a restaurant, we either go the earliest we can or the latest (this usually requires a huge, late breakfast for my kids) that way we don’t have to deal with a crowded restaurant and wait times. That just spells out disaster.

Our youngest, staring at the other diners, asking them what they got to eat and if it was good. This goes under the things we’re trying to teach our kids NOT to do while eating at a restaurant.

3.) Go over rules and table manners on your way to dinner.

I always remind them they must stay in their seats, use inside voices, etc. We also bring a few restaurant books with us. Two of our faves are: Froggy Eats Out and The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners. This book: Daniel Goes Out for Dinner (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) is already on my kid’s Dinner Books Wish List. These books help remind my kids of how they’re suppose to act in a restaurant. Sometimes it works great, other times I ask myself why I even bothered.

4.) Be prepared.

I like to look up restaurant’s menus (if available) and give the kids some idea of what the restaurant has to eat. If it’s a restaurant we haven’t been to, I look at pictures of the restaurant before we go or talk to people who have been there. Looking up the menu beforehand makes ordering so much less time consuming and telling my kids about the restaurant before we go gives them some idea of what to expect.

5.) Always request a larger table than what you think you may need.

Sounds ridiculous (and sometimes it’s just not possible) but there’s hardly anything worse than sitting at a cramped table with the kids. Claustrophobia sets in big time for all.

6.) If someone has a food allergy (my oldest son has several, which is why I bring this one up because it’s one of the more important Must Do’s for our family), call the restaurant ahead of time.

See if they can meet the needs of the person with allergies. If not (which has happened to us), ask if it’s okay to bring your own food into the restaurant. In my experience, restaurant’s are more than okay with this because it’s not an inconvenience to their kitchen staff and takes the pressure off of them.

7.) Point out the “naughty kids” in the restaurant.

This sounds horrible (and it probably is), but be sure to point out to your kids when they’re being good, the kids who aren’t following “restaurant rules.” Nothing makes my kids want to behave better than when they see another child misbehaving and me disapproving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always been important to me to take my kids out to eat once a week so they could learn from an early age how to behave in a restaurant.

The tips above have helped us accomplish this and keeps the eating out chaos down to a minimum.

This post was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog, Kidsperts.

Okay. So you can’t pack a crock pot in your picnic basket. That doesn’t mean you can’t whip up some heavenly perfect-for-the-outdoors eats before heading out for a special feast. Outdoor dining doesn’t mean you have to settle for drab dishes! Here are 10 highly recommended recipes for the perfect crock pot picnic lunch. Several are from my Gram’s Recipe Tin:

Crock Pot Garlic Dill Pickles

This one doesn’t even require that you turn on the crock pot! But it does take 144 hours for them to “cook.” Check out these divine Crock Pot Garlic Dill Pickles!

Crock Pot Turkey and Dressing Sandwiches

Savor a little Thanksgiving while dining outdoors! These Crock Pot Turkey and Dressing Sandwiches can be made ahead of time on crispy rolls or packed in a warming dish before heading out the door.

Crock Pot Chipotle Pork with Pineapple Coleslaw

This dish can be eaten hot or cold. The pineapple coleslaw takes no time to whip together (especially if you can find a pre-shredded coleslaw package).

Pesto Chicken Crock Pot Pitas

You can’t go wrong with these Pesto Chicken Crock Pot Pitas! Cook the pesto chicken in the crock pot the day before, refrigerate, and toss it into your picnic basket along with some deli pitas (or your choice of bread).

Crock Pot Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Although the recipe suggests serving hot, I’ve tried this one cooled and it’s awesome!

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

This is an easy way to make baked potatoes. Plus, they’re already wrapped in tin foil and good to go when you want to head out the door!

Easy Peasy Crock Pot Dinner Rolls

This recipe for Easy Peasy Crock Pot Dinner Rolls takes minutes to prepare and produces the most mouthwatering rolls ever!

Strawberry Crock Pot Scoop Cake

Combine strawberry pie filling and cake mix in a slow cooker, cover, and cook for a simple cake that practically cooks itself!

Crock Pot Triple Chocolate Brownies

Uncover the sweet side of your crock pot with these mouth-pleasing triple chocolate brownies. They make the perfect dessert for a picnic!

Crock Pot Dark Chocolate Pudding

This is a heavy, cream-infused treat that will leave you full, but longing for more. It’s been kid tested and husband approved, so grab your crock pot and get busy!

This post was originally featured on Crystal’s blog, Mommifried