4 Ways to Involve Kids with Thanksgiving Preparation

Preparing for Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to get the kids involved with sharing some of the responsibilities in the kitchen. There are plenty of tasks your children can help with no matter what age.

  • Let each family member select one dish they’d like on the menu. Discuss what new foods they would be willing to try. Use this time to explain the importance of having a balanced meal that includes protein, vegetables and a variety of other dishes.
  • Let children help with table decorations. Ask them to craft some simple table decorations like placing colorful fall leaves in a bottle and create name cards for all your guests.
  • For kids who want to be more hands on with the prep work, give them a specific job in the meal preparation, i.e. mashing potatoes, chopping vegetables or stirring the gravy. (Of course, make sure they are being supervised when they are using sharp knives.)
  • On Thanksgiving, ask your kiddos to help set the dinner table. They can help fold napkins, set out the plates, put ice in the water glasses. Depending on the age, they can also carry plated dishes to the serving area.

Your kids will become more invested in the celebration and come to the table with pride in their contribution. Happy Thanksgiving from the Mom Made family to yours!

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Sous Chef Junior

If you love quality food as much as we do here at Mom Made, it only makes sense to get the kiddos involved in the kitchen! We believe in starting kids while they're young. It's genuine quality time while being productive in the kitchen. 

We encourage you to challenge your children to help with more than dessert. The more involved they are from a young age, the more they will learn to appreciate the joy of cooking and the link to healthy eating. 

Keep in mind - you know your kids way better than we do! Feel free to follow these age guidelines as you feel necessary. 

3-4 Years Old

  • Use cookie cutters
  • Rinse produce
  • Juice citrus fruit
  • Tear lettuce
  • Chop herbs (with much supervision if ready)
  • Cup soft fruits and vegetables (with much supervision if ready)

5-7 Years Old

  • Crack eggs
  • Form patties and meatballs
  • De-seed peppers (be sure to use gloves for hot peppers!)
  • Chop vegetables
  • Grease pans
  • Garnish dishes
  • Pour sauce
  • Use measuring spoons and cups
  • Shuck corn
  • Use microwave
  • Peel vegetables

8-10 Years Old

  • Use stove (to prepare eggs and other simple meals)
  • Use pizza cutter
  • Open can with can opener
  • Beat eggs
  • Pound chicken
  • Skewer food
  • Slice bread

10-12 Years Old

  • Boil pasta
  • Search for and follow simple recipes
  • Use oven
  • Use chef's knife
  • Simmer ingredients on stove-top
  • Make dressings
  • Cook a full meal!

If you're super confident in your new sous chef, give them the responsibility to plan and cook a full meal! You can relax in the living room, and enjoy having dinner made for you for a change. Regardless how involved your child was in their cooking responsibilities, they will come to the table proud of their participation and ready to try their creation.

Bon appetit!

 

Where to Donate Halloween Candy

Your Candy Will Bring Smiles

No matter how fun trick or treating is, the aftermath can lead to late nights, sour tummies, and fights over who gets the last mini kit-kat. So what’s a Mom or Dad to do when the candy long outlasts your little slugger’s costume? Donate it! It might be hard to believe (for candy-loving speed walkers) but donating your kids candy can help soldiers far from home feel warm and fuzzy, put a smile on a sick kid’s face who didn’t get to go house-to-house wearing their favorite superhero getup, and help families feel a little closer together when they don’t have a place to call home. Also, you can “donate” candy to science – there are some super cool experiments you can do with skittles, starbursts and lifesavers!

Operation Gratitude – Send candy to the troops around the world. No matter where a soldier is stationed, it’s probably far from home. What better way to celebrate a night of fun and frivolity than to send a sweet treat to those keeping us safe?! Operation Gratitude will gladly take your leftover candy (if you’re so inclined send some toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss too to keep their smiles sparkling and a handwritten note {reminding them to floss is optional}) and include it in the care packages they send to soldiers throughout the year.

Ronald MacDonald House – Families with sick kiddos can stay here for little to no cost during hospital stays to ensure that all kids have a “home-away-from-home.” Donating your candy to a local chapter of the RMHC can help put a smile on a face who might have had a tough day, long test schedule or just need a pick me up.

Local Homeless Shelters –If you want to donate your kids candy, and teach them a lesson in humility, try checking if the local homeless shelters accept donations of prewrapped candy. Little ones can make up goody bags with their leftover candy, and help out people in need. Many shelters have volunteer hours for high schoolers, families or just those who want to lend a helping hand. It never hurts to teach kids about life and how to make the world a better place.  

Science Experiments – Bring back the good ‘ole days by dropping Mentos into a bottle of coke (make sure you stand back!), drop Skittles in water and watch the S’s float to the top, and see if Lifesavers really do spark in the dark! 

Throw a Howlin’ Ghoulish Halloween Party

Hosting a Halloween party doesn’t have to stress out the head Mummy. 

Ask friends to bring their favorite dishes, whip up some spooky Witches Brew, throw together some meatball mummies, wrangled up your ghosts and goblins and you’ve got yourself a scary fun party. You can even help your fellow mom-sters by suggesting some creepy dishes to bring – such as severed fingers, spooky snakes, stuffed jack’o lanterns and even some brains! Your mini-brides, knights, Elvis’ and ponies won’t be able to stop talking about all the “gross” stuff they got to eat! Disclaimer: we take no responsibility for Junior telling strangers you made him eat “brains” for dinner.

Party Prep

No one wants to clean up after a party (major buzzkill), so order some scary easy paper plates and silverware that you can just bag up and recycle when the ghosts float home. Amazon has some great patterned party kits that can add a little spark to a super spooky night. We also found these awesome invitations on Paperless Post that will be easier to send out to potential partygoers than gathering howling wolves during a full moon.

 

Decorations!

Tick tock, tick tock – throw on either Hocus Pocus, or Casper to get the family in the Halloween mood. Then….put the kids to work…err….let them help….decorate the house by creating some handmade ghosts with tissues, black markers and string. Make spiders with construction paper, tape and red markers. String black and orange streamers from wall to ceiling to create a festive Halloween hall. Place “spider webs” around the house and complete the look with spider rings and fake flies. Et voila! You’re very own haunted house and party central!

 

The Witching Hour!

Mix up a cauldron of Witches Brew a few hours before your goblins arrive, dress in your favorite costume (we are in love with this one, and this one, and this one!) and fire up @pandora or @iheartradio’s Halloween stations to get some spooky good tunes pumping out of the house as your partygoers and trick or treaters start ringing the doorbell. Bonus points for pulling out your old Rocky Horror Picture Show album and spinning those retro vibes. 

Meatball Mummies

Looking for something so yummy it's scary this Halloween? 

At Halloween, it can be challenging to get kids eating healthy. When sugary treats abound and veggies seem scarier than normal, treat your kiddos to a tasty dinner packed with protein, good fats, and just the right amount of 'fright'!

Cook Time: 10-15 Minutes

Total Time: 20-30 Minutes

Yields: 8 Skewers

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Mom Made Turkey Meatballs
  • 1 box Linguine Noodles
  • 1 cup Marinara Sauce
  • Ketchup or diced olives (for eyes, as desired)

Instructions:

Cook linguine noodles according to box directions, drain the add olive oil to coat the noodles preventing them from sticking together. Warm Mom Made Meatball Bites as directed on box. Place four meatballs on each skewer. Wrap linguine noodles around the meatball "body," leaving a space near the top of the skewer for eyes. Dot the opening with marinara sauce, ketchup or diced olives to create eyes.

Dip mummies in marinara sauce and enjoy!

No need to be frightened, Mom Made is in a store near you!

Healthy Twist on Frozen Kid Favorite Meals

New Product Launch!

Mom Made is proud to introduce two new Mom Made Meals - Buttered Noodles with Chicken Meatballs and Cheesy Noodles with Beef Meatballs - that are now available in freezers at select Walmart and Safeway stores.

“We’re excited about these two new kid-favorite meals launching into stores nationally. These are the familiar, tasty meals that kids are clamoring for and that parents will turn to, knowing they'll result in big smiles and happy tummies,” said company founder and CEO Heather Stouffer. “With Mom Made’s Buttered Noodles with Chicken Meatballs and Cheesy Noodles with Beef Meatballs, we continue to broaden access, expand our product line and create a destination for health-conscious parents in the freezer aisle. These antibiotic-free, low sodium, protein rich and nutritious meals were tested extensively with kids and received excellent feedback.”

Seventeen kids came to celebrate the launch of the meals. Watch their reactions in this recorded live tasting. 

Caprese Meatball Kabobs

Looking for a deliciously kid-friendly spin on the classic Caprese Salad? Enjoy this Mom Made favorite. And don't forget--it's so simple the kids can help with this one too.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes      

Cook Time: 1-3 Minutes      

Construction Time: 10 Minutes       

Total Time: ~20 Minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) box Mom Made Turkey Meatballs or Beef & Cheese Meatballs
Cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls, small
12 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup balsamic dressing

Directions:

Follow directions listed on Mom Made Meatball box to heat.

While meatballs cook, clean tomatoes and basil. Once meatballs are cool, spear a single cherry tomato, meatball, mozzarella ball, and basil leaf. Repeat until all ingredients are utilized.

Lay skewers on platter and dribble balsamic dressing atop (optional). Serve immediately. 

For more fun recipes on a stick, click here.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Playdate

A simple & tasty summer playdate your kids will love!

Summer’s here and to keep the kiddos having fun and not glued to the TV, it's time for some playdates! We call this our “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Playdate” because it takes minimal time and effort to host a super fun afternoon with friends. Mom Made Meatballs, lemonade and old fashioned games create an easy way to pass the time, feed hungry bellies and entertain the young and young at heart. 

Whether you pre-make the snacks and lemonade, or send the kids out to play while you and the other Moms tackle snack time together, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to get everything ready.

We started making the lemonade then meatballs, and finished with playtime, but don’t be afraid to mix it up! Lemonade not your thing? Try some iced herbal tea or add some cucumbers to water for a spa like treat. Sliders not your thing? Sauté the meatballs and give the kiddos toothpicks and dipping sauces. The sky’s the limit with what you can create for your very own Mom Made “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy” playdate!

Happy Summer!

Playdate Games:

T ball – create backyard memories with a good ole’ fashioned game of T ball
Pitch a tent – Fill with books, puzzles and coloring books
Yard games – grab some outdoor darts, corn hole or ring toss for a fun mini-carnival
Tag – tag you're it!

Mom Made Meatball Sliders

Ingredients:

1 package of Mom Made meatballs – we used Beef and Cheese for this, but any flavor will do!

1 package of 8 count slider buns

1 jar of marinara sauce (bonus points if it’s homemade!)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, chives – fresh or dried)

1 – 2 cups of Mozzarella / Italian cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a pan large enough to fit all 8 buns (we used a round 9x9 cake pan). Layer bottom of buns around the pan, and drizzle 1 cup of sauce across buns. Add 3 meatballs to each bun and top with mozzarella cheese, remaining sauce and bun caps. Brush sliders with olive oil, and sprinkle with herbs. Cover with foil and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes for before serving.  

Mom Made Meatball Kabobs

Ingredients:

1 package of cooked Mom Made meatballs – your favorite flavor!

3 cups of your kids' favorite veggies cubed

1 cup of cubed cheese

½ cup of your favorite dipping sauces – BBQ sauce, Ranch, etc

10 Skewers

Gather the family around and make your own Meatball Kabobs! Bonus points for using extra veggies or creating your own recipe!

 

Organic Blueberry Lemonade

Lemonade:

½ pint of blueberries

8 lemons – juiced to 1 cup

8 cups of cold water

1 cup of blueberry simple syrup (recipe below)

1 large pitcher

Blueberry Simple Syrup:

Ingredients:

¾ cup of sugar

1 cup of water

½ pint of blueberries

Directions:

Bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar is fully dissolved. Add blueberries and cook for an additional 5 minutes until berries break down. Strain through a sieve and let cool. In pitcher, mix together cold water, lemon juice and simple syrup. Stir till well combined. Serve chilled and garnish with blueberries if desired!

Wondering where to find Mom Made near you? Click here.

mom's MORNING MUFFINS

Fuel your kids with a healthy, quick breakfast

A tasty spin on the traditional egg and meat breakfast, Mom's Morning Muffins are packed with protein and plenty of flavor.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yields: 12 Muffins

Ingredients:

3/4 cup shredded hash brown potatoes

6 eggs

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped

16 Mom Made Foods Beef & Cheese Meatball Bites

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan well. Microwave Mom Made Foods Beef & Cheese Meatball Bites according to package instructions, allow meatballs to cool, cut into quarters and set aside. Beat eggs in mixing bowl, add milk, shredded hash browns, meatballs, green onions and shredded cheese. Stir well. Scoop egg mixture into muffin pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until “muffins” are set. Serve immediately, or, let cool and freeze for quick breakfasts all week!

To reheat frozen muffins, microwave on high for one minute. 

Head out to get some Mom Made today!  Here's where we are!

Red, White, & Blue Berry Sticks

What's more fun than celebrating the Fourth with red, white, and blue tasty treats? These scrumptious treats will surely be a hit among kiddos and adults, alike. And, the best part is the kids can make these themselves.  

Total Time: ~15 Minutes

Yields: 20 Skewers

Ingredients:

10 fresh strawberries, halved
1 Cup fresh blueberries
3 bananas, sliced

Directions:

It's simple! Just spear the strawberry halves, banana slices, and blueberries. We started with strawberry, then added a banana slice, and finished with two blueberries.

Happy Fourth!

For more fun recipes on a stick, click here.

Festive Stars on Your Lawn

Easy and fun way to make your house festive for the 4th of July and a fun project for the kids!

What you will need:

  • A large piece of cardboard -The top of a pizza box works well!
  • Scissors
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Flour
  • Sifter

Step 1: Find a piece of cardboard and cut a big star to make your stencil.

Step 2: Fill your spray bottle with water. Then squirt the grass star with water thru your stencil.

Step 3: Once the grass is wet (with some extra help from the older kids :)), use a flour sifter and sift flour thru the stencil onto the grass. And carefully lift the stencil from the grass once you have covered it in flour.

And, there you go! Your lawn covered with festive stars will stop traffic. Don't forget to fly your flag too.

Happy 4th of July from our family to yours!

simple SLIDERS

Tiny & Tasty- our 'simple' Sliders are easy and delicious!

Everyone loves sliders - and everyone loves Mom Made.  Now you can enjoy both with this super simple slider recipe.  Great for home, parties, meals, and snacks!  

Total Time: 20 Mins

Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

8 Mini Buns

1 Box Mom Made Meatballs

1-2 cups Marinara Sauce

Mozzarella Cheese, shredded or fresh

Basil (as desired)

Instructions:

Place Mom Made Turkey Meatballs on a small bun and top with marinara sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella on the meatball. Place in over or toaster oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese us melted. Dress them up by adding a sprig of fresh basil.

Enjoy!

Looking for Mom Made in a freezer aisle near you?  We've got you covered.

5 Reasons Mom Made Foods Is Found in the Freezer Aisle

Happy #FrozenFoodMonth! Did you know there was such a thing? Here at Mom Made, we think the process of freezing is pretty cool. No pun intended. Freezing is our preservative. Here are the top 5 reasons why Mom Made is frozen:

1. Frozen food is convenient, fast and still provides nutritious value.

2.  Occasionally leftovers just end up in the trash. Frozen food eliminates food waste. Did you know that 2/3 of the population ditch up to 20 items a month?

3.  Compared to home freezing, manufacturers, like Mom Made Foods, freeze food within minutes to keep the nutritional value, as well as locking in texture and taste. 

4.  Freezing food is a natural process and the use of any preservatives is NOT required. Instead, it seals in freshness, locks the vitamins and minerals.

5. Thanks to freezing, Mom Made Foods is available year around, allowing busy families the option to help their home freezers stocked with easy, healthy meal options for those really busy days. 

Find a store near you.

When to buy organic

The Environmental Working Group 2017 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ is very handy guide as a reference when buying produce. We use it as a guide to prioritize which fruits and veggies to buy organic -- at least until the day when we can buy 100% organic, 100% of the time!

The Dirty 12

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes

The Clean 15

  • Sweet Corn
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Sweet Peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit

Visit EWG's site for more info on the Dirty 12 and Clean 15, and to download the 2017 guide.

Mom Made on Cooking Channel's "Unwrapped 2.0"

Unwrapped 2.0

Unwrapped 2.0

Watch Mom Made production on the big screen! If you love everything cheesy, you'll love Cooking Channel's Unwrapped 2.0. Watch how we make the pasta fresh and the the secrets behind our 100% organic Mom Made Cheesy Mac that make it nutritious and delicious!

If your mouth is watering after watching and you're wondering where you can find this product, then it's time to head to the freezer aisle! Find a store near you.  You can also order Mom Made's Cheesy Mac online with free shipping on healthygoodness.com

Yummy!

Does your child move like a slug in the morning?

If your house is at all like ours, you have some kids who have no problem getting out of bed in the morning and getting themselves ready. They pop out of bed then get that morning routine done - no questions asked. While there are other kids who make this slug meme a reality and they make all of us parents miserable in the morning.

I have one of each and recently I'd reached the end of my patience with my "slug child." We've tried everything from earlier bedtimes to nagging, to offering to help, to offering rewards. Nothing worked. I researched on the internet and came across an app called The Happy Kids Timer for Morning Routines. Done. Anything was worth a try to improve our mornings.

The first morning we tried it, immediate success! Not only did it add time to my morning routine that I used to be spending checking in on my "slug" but it add happiness and smiles to all of our faces. This app has literally worked a miracle! My "slug" child went from taking over 40 minutes to get ready in the morning with constant reminders to now she's ready in 17 minutes and has time to play before school. There's no yelling, no reminders, no whining. Instead, there's pride, happiness, confidence and PEACE.

Best $0.99 ever spent! I've since referred this app to several friends who have slugs in their house. They too found that it works! 

What's your trick to peaceful, happy mornings?

Happy Kids Tmer

Pop'em Meatball Party Appetizer

A bite-size, super easy appetizer that all ages are sure to love!  Everyone will think they're homemade...shhhhhh!

Prep Time : No more than 10 minutes

Yield : Approx 12 (2 Meatballs per person)

Ingredients:

1 (8oz) box of Mom Made Beef & Cheddar Meatball Bites

Low sodium chicken broth or water

2 Tbsp olive oil

Your favorite sauce(s) for dipping (bbq, tomato sauce, teriyaki, mustard, ketchup, etc)

Toothpicks

Instructions:

Prep dipping sauces and serving platter. 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Add meatballs to olive oil and heat for two minutes while turning meatballs until lightly brown. Add 1 C of water or chicken broth to pan and continue heating over medium heat for 5 minutes or until hot. With a slotted spoon, remove meatballs from pan and place on a plate with dipping sauce. Place a toothpick in each.

Enjoy!

(To find a store near you that carries Mom Made's Meatballs, click here.)

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Asian Meatball Appetizer

Craving something a little sophisticated? 

Five ingredients, a few toothpicks, and 1 dish later, you've served up an instant favorite.

asian meatball appetizer

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 Box of your favorite Mom Made Meatballs

1 cup Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sesame Seeds

Instructions:

Chop green onions. 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add meatballs to olive oil and heat for two minutes while turning meatballs until lightly brown. Add 1 C of water and continue heating over medium heat for 5 minutes or until hot. With a slotted spoon, remove meatballs from pan and place on a plate with teriyaki sauce. Roll meatballs in teriyaki sauce. Place meatballs on serving plate. Sprinkle green onion and sesame seeds atop meatballs - serve with toothpicks. Or for dinner, serve with sides of rice and salad. 

Find Mom Made in a freezer aisle near you!

Top Ten “Rules” for Successful and Positive Mealtimes with Your Kids

Mealtime can be hard. From getting the meal on the table to getting your kids to eating it, it's definitely stressful. Here are some tips on how to have successful and positive mealtimes with your kids.

  • Keep meals and snack times consistent and regular.
  • Eat as a family. Model good food habits and table manners. The kids will follow.
  • Sit down to eat and drink – don’t take meals on the run!
  • Keep a distraction-free eating area - no T.V., toys, or other distractions such as cell phones, laptops, or newspapers. That includes adults not jumping when they get a text during mealtime.
  • Provide a balance and variety of foods to keep kids interested satisfied.
  • Empower your child to make healthy choices about what to eat and how much. They will feel empowered, for example, if you offer them the option of healthy choice #1 or healthy choice #2, such as peas or carrots.
  • Don’t pressure your child to eat – this will backfire!
  • Respect your child’s choices and trust their natural ability to self regulate their food intake.
  • Set limits on age appropriate behavior at the table and stick to your boundaries.
  • Have fun! The less you stress at mealtimes, the more fun all of you will have!

Do you have other tips that work for you and your family?  Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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