Sweet Potato Chronicles - THE NEVER ENDING STORY OF THE WELL-FED FAMILY… - page 2

Netflix & SPC: Mystery Mac and Cheese

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Now that fall has arrived, I’m set­tling back into my com­fort cook­ing and as much as I miss my BBQ burg­ers and cold sal­ads (water­melon straw­berry was my favorite this past sum­mer), I’m fully embrac­ing the lus­cious­ness of fall. In other words, I’m back to cram­ming my menu with hearty dishes like meat­loaf and mac and cheese. Read more

Netflix & SPC: The October Craft Mystery

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How often do you feel like you know what you’re doing as a par­ent? I mean, really, truly, you’ve-got-this con­fi­dence that you’re mak­ing the right deci­sions. I’d say for me, it’s about half the time. Some­times this divi­sion can be bro­ken up in time frames. Like, Julian has just started school and have I pre­pared him prop­erly for what he’s got to man­age when he’s there? Hmmm, really not sure. But in a cou­ple of weeks, I think I can guess that I'll feel like I’ll know bet­ter what time he should be going to bed, how much more prac­tice he needs with writ­ing his name, etc. Other times my clued-in/clueless split hap­pens within the same hour. No, I will not make another din­ner if Esme doesn’t like the one I made and I don’t know if I should let her pierce her ears when half of her friends have already done it. The truth is that no amount of study­ing par­ent­ing books, talk­ing to your friends, or scour­ing the inter­net makes chil­dren less of a mys­tery in cer­tain moments.

My cur­rent mys­ter­ies are like spooky book­ends. Why do four-year old boys need to make toi­let jokes part of every con­ver­sa­tion? How do seven-year old girls sud­denly know how to roll their eyes as a part of each mother-daughter exchange? I sus­pect that these clas­sic behav­iours will pass as unex­pect­edly as they arrived (if you’ve you’ve got five and eight-year olds and I’m wrong, just keep it to your­self, okay?). The other mys­ter­ies that have arrived in our home make me much hap­pier: Busy­town Myter­ies, for exam­ple. I’m old enough to remem­ber when Busy­town only lived in books. I loved pour­ing over them, with all their hilar­i­ous details. As I over­hear my kids watch­ing the new ver­sion on Net­flix I always catch myself singing along to the theme song. “Every­body all together, solve the mys­tery with Huckle. You can solve one tooooooooo.” Read more

The SPC Breakfast Planner

Strawberry Scones

From the moment I fin­ish my break­fast, I start think­ing about my next morn­ing meal. Ok, you got me, I start wor­ry­ing about din­ner but, once I've got that under con­trol, I go right back to think­ing about break­fast. Hands down, it's my favourite meal. So it's no won­der I always want to get it right. After all, if I don't have a good break­fast, then my day is off to a rot­ten start. I'm not sure if my daugh­ter feels the same way (I guess I should ask her) but, like other things, I assume she shares my feel­ings about the meal. (Obvi­ously, she hates walk­ing into class late too. I did.) There­fore, I try to make sure her break­fast is gives her enough energy for the day and has some­thing that I know makes her happy.

Eas­ier said than done, right? Dur­ing the week, going beyond the cereal bowl can be as dif­fi­cult a task as get­ting a 7 year-old to brush their teeth, I mean really brush them. It's why we give you our SPC break­fast plan­ner. We've got recipes you prob­a­bly expect like muffins as well as a few you prob­a­bly don't (good morn­ing, chia pud­ding!). We've also bro­ken every­thing down into cat­e­gories you under­stand: Grab And Go, 10 Min­utes Or Less and While You Sleep. So take what you need to sat­isfy your family's idea of the per­fect break­fast as well as get you out the door. I, for one, will be mak­ing the scones this week­end. After all, we're try­ing to get out of the house, on-time, with­out inci­dent, every sin­gle morn­ing too. Read more

Weekday Breakfast Week: Toad in a Hole

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This post was orig­i­nally pub­lished when Scar­lett was a wee four years old. How­ever, it con­tin­ues to ring true today. I still have "brush your teeth" and "get your coat" on a morn­ing loop but I also rely on this easy break­fast, even now that our morn­ings are way more hec­tic. (What was I think­ing back then call­ing those days "hec­tic." Rookie.) Along­side some fresh fruit, Scar­lett always feels sat­is­fied by this morn­ing meal. (In fact she had it today with sliced apples and blueberries.)

This week we'll be chat­ting break­fasts, espe­cially easy bal­anced morn­ing meals that will make you feel good about send­ing the babes out into the world. We'll see you back here late this week with recipes and strate­gies that will help you get out of your cereal loop. In the mean­time, go forth with this Toad in the Hole. It's a fam­ily favourite.

Scar­lett has got­ten to a fun age where she loves to hear sto­ries from what she calls the "old days." In other words, she likes when we tell her about places she vis­ited, things she liked to eat, or toys she had when she was a baby. The "really old days" are when we tell her places we vis­ited as kids, meals we enjoyed, or toys we had back in the day. (Her responce to a Sit'n Spin: "What's so fun about get­ting dizzy?" Not sure.) Once we offer our tale of "the really old days," it usu­ally means we bet­ter be pre­pared to man­age the oblig­a­tory requests: "When can I have a jeep and drive around play­ing Whites­nake?" (Clearly, that was my hus­band.) Read more

The Lunch Lifesaver, Part 2: Batch Cooking for Sanity

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We're at the end of week two of school here in Toronto, but I know some of you have been back for a few weeks. How is it going? We had a cou­ple of bumpy days last week but that was about the bus. I've been pretty pleased with how the packed lunch thing is pan­ning out. Despite my fears, Julian is adjust­ing to los­ing the three-course, hot lunch he had for years at day­care and hap­pily fin­ish­ing up the packed bento box I've been send­ing him to senior kinder­garten with. And it really doesn't feel like much more work to pack two lunches rather than one.

My real trick is doing as much prep on the week­ends as I can. It's my goal to make two or three things on the week­end and two of those are with school lunches in mind. Once you start this habit of cook­ing ahead each week­end, you'll start to build up your freezer as part of your arse­nal in a way that is life chang­ing. So a cou­ple of days a week I'm really just assem­bling a lunch rather than mak­ing it. And talk­ing about assem­bling, I make sure that I have lots of pack­able ingre­di­ents for snacks — things that won't smush. Even though I use a bento box, which keeps lunch ele­ments from touch­ing each other, there are foods that just don't travel or keep well. Look­ing at you, rasp­ber­ries. But grapes, car­rots sticks, pep­pers cut into strips, cucum­ber rounds, cherry toma­toes, cel­ery sticks, etc, all make it through the day well.

Okay, here's the lunch plan for next week, with a few things you batch cook on the week­ends. Let us know how it's going for you, what you'd like to see and what your kids like or don't like. We love hear­ing from you! Read more