Busy Parents

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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RECIPE: Peachy Salmon

Heather, our founder, made this delicious meal on TLC a while back. The recipe is simple, easy and healthy and perfect for a summer meal. 

Peachy Salmon

Prep Time: Max. 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of fresh salmon

  • Four fresh peaches

  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp honey

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • Dash of sea salt

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Peel and slice peaches, place in a baking dish around the salmon.

  • In a separate bowl, combine rice vinegar, honey, olive oil and salt, and top salmon and peaches with sauce.

  • Bake for 10-15 minutes (until the fish flakes when poked with a fork).

Serve this with your favorite sides or try it with the healthy sides that Mom Made Founder, Heather, made. Enjoy!

family meal

family meal

Nine tips for an easier back-to-school

After long hours playing in the summer sun, the transition back to regimented school schedules and studying can be stressful on kids. Here are a few tips (and some fun ideas, too) to ease everyone back into the academic year from Mom Made Foods:

  1. It’s back-to-school time! To motivate your children, we’re fans of rewarding kids when they meet their goals. Have your kids set their own goals with your guidance and base them on what’s realistic for each child. Some ideas: eat healthy snacks, save part of their allowance, read a book a week/month or learn to play an instrument. Back to school tips with Mom Made
  2. Ever thought about getting your kids writing in a daily journal? We love this idea because it cultivates the writing and language skills vital to success in school and in life. Favorite topics to start young writers off: favorite school lunch, happiest summer moment, what I learned today.back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame3
  3. Create a month-long lunch plan for your family. Bring your kids in on the planning! It’s a great way to make sure they finish their lunch and get the nutrition they need to be successful in the classroom.back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame4
  4. Many kids are always on the hunt for a snack, especially right after school. Hide the cookie jar and counter unhealthy choices with easy-to-grab pre-cut veggies and fruit in the fridge.

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  1. Spend quality time eating together as a family! This “together” time is so essential to maintaining a bond for the whole clan. Another great way to squeeze in some QT: Sit down together on the weekend and plan ahead for dinners.

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6. Kids love notes—especially surprise notes from you stowed away in their lunchbox. Simply jot down an inspirational quote or a quick message on a napkin and slip it under their sandwich. THEY WILL LOVE IT.

back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame77. How many plastic sandwich bags do you toss every week? We’re betting a lot. Switch to the reusable variety for packed lunches—you’ll reduce waste and save money. Our favorites are from our friends at LunchSkins and…Mom Made Munchies fit perfectly in them!

back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame88. It can be next to impossible to find convenient foods that are actually healthy within the packed shelves at grocery stores. You have to commit to reading food labels to differentiate the “real food” from the rest. Simplicity is your best friend here. Focus on products with short, pronounceable ingredients and look for these labels: organic, antibiotic-free, non-GMO! Need more simple guidelines, then peak into our 2 min video "5 Tips for reading food labels."

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9. You don’t have to break into a sweat for exercise to “count.” But you do                   want to be regularly active with your kids—even walking or biking with them to school can make a huge difference. Combining this with balanced nutrition will keep your family on a healthy track and you’ll feel better!

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Fore more healthy insights and advice from our own Heather herself, please watch this 2 min video "5 Steps to hop on a healthy track."

It's never too late to start healthy!

BIG NEWS! Mom Made launching into Giant, Stop & Shop and Martin’s

We’re so excited to share some GIANT news with you! We have seven items going into Giant, Giant Supermarkets, Martins and Stop & Shop stores! In the freezer collageMMFaisle at these stores you will soon find, our brand new “Italian Style Beef Meatball Bites,” in addition to Turkey Meatball Bites, Chicken & Apple Meatball Bites, Cheesy Mac Meal, Spaghetti with Turkey Meatball Meal, Bean Burrito Munchie and Cheese Pizza Munchie. This expansion is thanks to all of you, our fans! Thank you for your endless support of our mission to make healthy foods for kids accessible nation-wide. Please tell your friends and let Mom Made do the cooking for you this summer.

To find a store near you, click here.

Cozy Family Winter Meal

Heather's Creamy Pasta with Mom Made Chicken and Apple Meatballs! I love dreaming up new recipes and especially love it when my whole family approves with a "Mommy, this is so good!" I hope your family enjoys this too!

Simple:  Mom Made Chicken and Apple Meatball Bites served with homemade white sauce over pasta (potatoes or rice works well too!).

Family Dinner:  In a pan, warm 3 Tbsp olive oil then saute diced garlic and shallots and sliced mushrooms over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp of flour and stir so that flour is soaked up. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk and salt and pepper to taste. Let the milk warm till it is bubbling and thickens slightly. Add a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach and a package of frozen Chicken & Apple Meatball Bites. Warm the sauce over medium heat until the meatballs are hot. Voila! Serve over your favorite pasta. You can also bring your own twist to the table by adding other veggies.

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Our Meatball Family is Growing

Mom Made Meatball TrioYou know we love meatballs! We're so excited about our two new additions. Mom Made Meatball Bites are made with  antibiotic-free meats, reduced sodium, made in the USA and bite size...keeping the fun in the meatball!  Find a store near you, and don't forget we are in the freezer aisle. ;-)

Mom Made Beef & Cheese Meatballs

 

Mom Made Chicken & Apple Meatball Bites

Is Family Mealtime Possible when Both Parents Work Out of the House?

Guest post written by Mom Made's Founder, Heather, for onehungrymama.com: Before I had kids, my husband and I lived and worked in London. We enjoyed cooking at home most weekdays and eating out on weekends. We’d roll in from work around 7:30 or 8 p.m. and sit down to dinner around 9 p.m. Name the ethnic food, and we made it. Going out to eat was also relaxing and fun; we had our favorite places and got to know the wait staff and bartenders in those restaurants. But making dinner at home was my favorite, cherished time together, even though it required our “cooking dance”: avoiding bumping into each other in the tiny hallway that served as the kitchen in our London flat. We promised each other when we had kids, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Well, that’s not quite what happened…After having two kids and launching a nation-wide, organic food company of frozen meals, munchies and bites, Mom Made Foods, mealtimes have shifted things slightly. Here are my top 5 secrets to upholding your adventures with food, even after having kids:

1) Meal O’Clock. Mealtimes at our house are 5:30/6:00pm. Yes, early. The second that the first parent arrives home, the kids are clamoring for our love and hungry for dinner. Pushing dinner time later (which we’ve tried from time to time) means cranky kids who are too tired to eat.  So we work on their clock in order to have a happy dinner time together—it’s still our favorite time of day.

2) Planning Meals. The dinner menu is still diverse but recipes have become much simpler. Prep time is minimal as we rush in the door after busy work days. We also have become much more organized about planning meals, especially dinners. We subscribe to a weekly meal plan company, The Six O’Clock Scramble, and one of us shops on Sundays for the week of planned dinners. Our workdays are packed and there’s hardly ever a minute to spare to pick up an extra ingredient on the way home.

3) Eating out. We’ve never stopped going to the restaurants we liked before having kids. We’ve kept a few special ones for date nights, but we’re not afraid to take the family to a restaurant without a kids menu AND white table cloths. Yes, you might have to walk out of one or two to teach a lesson to an misbehaved child, but that’s how they learn! Kids need to be taught manners. They’re not born with table manners.

4) Kids Palates. Research says it takes a child 10-20 times to be exposed to a food before they decide whether they like it. An exposure can mean the food is on the table and not on their plate, then they might put it in their mouth the next time then take it out of their mouth. After a few more exposures, they will be eating it with you. These things take time and a lot of patience! We high-fived recently when our son requested Pakistani food for his 7th birthday dinner. And it’s music to my ears when he asks for salad with dinner. He proudly told his 1st grade class about how and why his favorite vegetable is red peppers.

5) Running a Diner. If you’re not careful as a parent, you can find yourself running a diner, making food to order for each child for every meal. The rule in our house is that the kids can make requests at breakfast and lunch. But when it comes to dinner, their choice is whatever we’re making that night. We eat family-style, so they can help themselves to the foods as they wish, but we’re not hopping up from the table to make a p-b-j the night we make Thai Green Curry. Rather, they can choose to eat the curry or one of the sides as they’d like. We typically have some familiar food in each meal that they’ll turn to if they’re not in the mood to be adventurous. Our daughter is picky and right now if it were up to her, we’d have mac ’n’ cheese for dinner every night. But she’s two years old, and we’re not running a diner.

We have to remind ourselves of these rules regularly, and it takes constant work to hold the boundaries, especially on that really busy week when a parent is traveling for work or life just gets crazy. But those are the times when it’s most important to stick to it. The hard work does pay off.

Mom-to-Mom Perspective

Ever feel like this?  I do. This reminds me of the aftermath of a college frat party gone kid-style.  One of the many reasons I created Mom Made Foods was to help take the stress out of getting a healthy meal cooked for hungry kiddos.  When you're having a day like this, just put your feet up and trust Mom Made to do the cooking!

PS: See if you can find dinosaur starring down Raggety Ann?  Love it! :-)

Heather’s Top 10 Meal-time Essentials in 2011

This is my very first blog post. Hi, I’m Heather.  I am the mom of two awesome kiddos, the wife to Craig who's a sports journalist and the Founder and CEO for Mom Made Foods. Regardless how crazy I feel my life is, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love nothing more than to be with my family sharing a meal together.

I thought long and hard about what it is that I want to share with our readers.  I hope you enjoy ‘Heather’s Top 10 Meal-time Essentials in 2011’ list.  May one of these ideas help make your meal-times more happy, cheerful, healthy, green or best -- easy.

  1. We pack our son’s lunch every day using Lunchskins, reusable sandwich bags. Over the course of this year they have helped us save 100’s of clear plastic baggies.
  2. Mom Made Munchies instead of the ever-boring PBJ sandwich for son’s lunchbox. His favorites are the Cheese Pizza Munchie and Turkey Sausage Munchie.
  3. I bought fun, personalized placemats for my kids, nieces and nephews for Christmas last year from OliveKids. They’ve become a staple on our dinner table.  Best of all, they’ve helped my 2 yr old daughter learn to count and learn her colors as she studies her placemat during meal-times. If your child needs help learning geography, for example, look for one with the US map.  I highly recommend them as a gift for any child.
  4. Simple flower arrangements. In my next life, I will in some way be involved with flowers. It brings me peace and happiness to have fresh flowers in our house and makes every meal feel special, whether it’s delivered pizza or a home-cooked Sunday dinner.
  5. We joined a CSA ("Community Supported Agriculture") from whom we’d pick up fruit and veggies every Wednesday from June thru October.  I love that I and my kids have learned about and tried new produce.  Ground cherries, for example, are delicious!  Even better, all of it is freshly picked and locally grown.
  6. Our napkins and placemats were getting dingy. My dear mother gave me a whole slew of new placemats and napkins from West Elm for my birthday this year. They wash well and have brightened our table setting. Best though is that she gave me 20 of one color so I can rotate clean ones in without resetting the entire table.
  7. Mom Made Meatballs which we launched to the market in July are my picky 2-yr old daughter’s favorite protein food. They also became our go-to on our busiest weeknights.  They make a super easy, healthy meal that our whole family loves on spaghetti with sauce, just plain, on a skewer or my most recent concoction was putting them on a pizza.
  8. My 6 yr old son has learned to set the table every night. It is usually the first thing he does when he comes home from school. Just this simple change this year has enabled us to get dinner on the table a few minutes earlier than we’d be able to otherwise.
  9. The Six O’Clock Scramble has helped us with our weeknight dinners, enabling us to plan ahead, take the thinking out of the grocery list and enter the week feeling organized.  The Scramble has provided us delicious range of recipes getting us off the ol’ standards recipe list.
  10. Meal-times are a shared family effort in our home.  My amazing husband is a great help with weeknight meals. We share the duty / pass the hot potato of picking kids up and cooking dinner. Many evenings he has dinner prepped by the time I come home from work!  LOVE.

Please take a second and let me know what you think or if you have one that you would add to the list.

Thanksgiving Poem

It’s the week before Thanksgiving And all through the town

Not a parent was cooking

Not even a clown

Moms and Dads Everywhere are saving their energy

For that big day of thanks, sharing and preparing

A big turkey in the oven & a pie on the rack

What happens to their kids if they should want a snack?!

Why it's another Mom Made Moment if ever there was one

Give kids what they want when you are under the gun!

With 8 quick and healthy meals and snacks anytime

Your brood will be happy and think you sublime

All web users can save, too, with a click and a print

With $1/off any Mom Made, it really is super quick

And easy for mommas and poppas everywhere

Since Mom Made is in freezers from here to over there

Go rest up for the day of roast turkeys done your way

We wish you and yours a most pleasant holiday

And thank you, as always, for your humble following

Bon Appetit next week and happy Thanksgiving!