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  1. #1
    Euphoric !
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    Cooking for the kids

    I know a lot of you use crock pots and I am a fan as well. I am just curious how everyone does their meals. Do you do all the work the night before and have it slow cook? I just feel right now that I am always doing something for the daycare (shopping, interviewing, responding to emails, menu planning) so I don't even feel like I have time in the evening to be doing this. I have kept things very simple so far. I find even menu planning/cooking for my family has been haphazard with everything on my plate. Any tips for streamlining things??

    PS- I only have one dck in addition to my own kids so I have also found it is a lot of work for just one child when my kids would be content with a sandwich or a wrap. Maybe I am trying to make my menu more elaborate then it needs to be?

  2. #2
    Euphoric !
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    Is there anything wrong with a sandwich or a wrap? Don't stress yourself over the menu at this point. Keep it simple but varied and healthy. Slowcookers are fantastic! I put my stuff in the night before and let it cook overnight so it's ready for lunch. One thing I do here that's been helpful is to make stuff that freezes well and portion it out for daycare. Spaghetti Sauce, vegan chili, cauliflower/blue cheese soup with quinoa are a few that I do that come out of the freezer tasting normal and with a good consistancy.

    What about easy, throw together meals? My kids love a lunch of a muffin (or cheese and crackers), fruit, yogourt. Mushroom quinoa is super easy and fast to make. A Ploughman's Lunch sounds cool, but super easy. It's a UK thing that I've adopted. Bread roll, boiled egg, cheese, tomato, maybe a cold meat, jarred pickle (British relish kind of stuff). Make muffins up ahead of time and throw them in the freezer. I put cooked Quinoa in them for a bit more nutritional value. French toast is fast, with some sliced fruit and a dollop of yogourt. Brown beans with some toast and tomato goes over big here. Hummus with pita bread and some fruit or veg.

    Everything above is fast, easy and some of it is easily frozen. I often, when cooking something, make a lot, and divide into portions for easy meal prep - just don't forget to take it out of the freezer Don't be so hard on yourself. You're brand new, you've only got one child and probably have bigger fish to fry than the menu at the moment. My menu is somewhat elaborate, but none of the foods are difficult or complicated...they just sound fancy. BUT, I've also been doing this for a heck of a long time. You'll figure out what your menu will look like in good time. Find the meals that work for you and mix & match.

  3. #3
    Expansive...
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    I don't menu plan at all. Like cfred says....what's wrong with a sandwich? We often have cheese, meat fruit and veg cut up on a plate. Lots of variety and everyone always eats it.

  4. #4
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    I often double my dinner recepies so I can have some for my lunch menues. I like casseroles and my crockpot recepies as you get a complete meal in one pot ! A lot of the time my meals are prepared the night before or the morning. Once in a while I get together with a friend of mine and we cook all day... pies, sauces ... whatever recepies we want to try but can freeze. I LOVE having already made meals in the freezer... you never know when you are going ot need a night off

    I do also have one or two lunch a week that I prepare on the spot like spinach and cheese omelette, mac and cheese, sandwiches, tuna melts ... stuff like that. When I can I invite the kids to help me out even if it's just to taste to 'make sure it's well seasoned'. When I went lazy the night before and did not prepare my lunch I try to get it done before my kids arrive. It's easy now for me since none of my kids arrive before 8h00am and I am a morning person or I do it during freeplay.

    Don't put to much pressure on yourself you will find what works and throw out what doesn't. My meals do not take more than 10-20 minutes to prepare that is for sure.

  5. #5
    Euphoric !
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    I think a lot of the problem is that I am so busy with daycare stuff right now that I am not cooking a proper meal for my family and therefore don't have any leftovers. I am usually a super organized, health conscious and a meal planner so I think all the uncertainty is throwing me for a loop. I am also putting pressure (unnecessarily) to provide these kids with a home cooked, hot lunch. The funny thing is the mom wouldn't care at all (she is a restaurant parent and the kids are very picky).

    Maybe I just need to let up on myself and realize this will come once I find my footing a bit better.

  6. #6
    apples and bananas
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    I agree.. a sandwich or a wrap is a great idea sometimes and it gives them lots of the right nutrition. It's super easy to throw some cooked broccoli as a side as well. I find it super easy when I do meat the night before for dinner - chicken is great. I make extra, put it in the fridge and re heat it or add it to my mean the next day. Even a homemade mac and cheese with some purree'd veg and some chicken added in is pretty simplet and "throw together" And on those days that I am overwhelmed and didnt' plan we have a cold plate with cheese, meat, veggies, fruit for dessert.

    Don't be so hard on yourself. Simple is sometimes best and with less waste. I don't know if I'd bother doing a slow cooker meal for one daycare kid and my own.

  7. #7
    Euphoric !
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    I do love my crockpot and find it easy to throw chicken or beef and potatoes and carrots in the evening before to turn on first thing in the morning once a week and this morning I started crock pot mac n cheese. Other days I put a pork tenderloin in the oven and steam veggies, sometimes it's ham and pepper strips and cucumbers, I vary day by day. A favourite is my homemade fish sticks and wedge fries. But my meals are all cooked from scratch with lots of fresh veggies and fruit so my clients don't care about the menu. I don't have a set menu, just lots of variety and all the food groups daily with a minimum of prepackaged food so a minimum of chemicals and preservatives.
    Frederick Douglass
    It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

  8. #8
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    Im also a lover of the crock pot. I plan all my meals sunday night when I do my shopping. I buy extra meats to cook when Im cooking my supper and save for lunch the next day. I cut up all my veggies on the weekend and put them in 5 tupperware containers, one for each day. A couple times a week during nap, I bake banana loaf or muffins for easy snack the next day. And if its been a crazy morning grilled cheese and yogurt it is!

  9. #9
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    Momof4- do you mind sending me your recipe for crock pot mac and cheese? I usually make in the oven but crock pot would be so much easier!

  10. #10
    apples and bananas
    Guest
    I love the idea of cutting up veg on the weekend and having it ready each day. Thanks!

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