… little bit of this, little bit of that, a whole lotta about the kids

Category Archives: Cooking

 Week 12 – Danny Boome

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This week’s chef for the Food Network Chef Cooking Challenge is Danny Boome.  Never heard of him!  I checked out his food network recipes as well as his recipes from his UK show.  I was just uninspired.  I’d wanted to a beef recipe to use up some of the meat in the big freezer, but his beef selections (either on food network or on his UK show) were very limited — mostly to whole roasts / tenderloins.  I finally picked a simple roasted vegetable dish. 

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Thyme

 

1 pound carrots

1 pound parsnips

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 sprigs fresh thyme

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut them in half lengthwise, larger ones can be quartered.

 

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Place them on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the carrots and parsnips with the olive oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Scatter the thyme sprigs on top.

 

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Place them in the preheated oven.  After 10 minutes, give the veggies a toss and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelized. Serve warm.

 

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I cut my parsnips into 1/8’s instead of the halves or quarters suggested because they were really fat and I wanted them the same size as the carrots.  It took slightly longer than the 20 minutes listed here to get them cooked, even cut down to size.  An extra 5-8 minutes and they were soft as I like them.

 

What we thought?  Too sweet.  Carrots and parsnips are already very sweet vegetables.  Roasting brings that out more.  Add in the honey and I thought they were almost cloyingly sweet.  Yuck.   

 

I thought that would make them successful with the kidlet.  He said he liked them when I asked but when I said, “should I make them again?” he quickly said No thanks! So I think he was being polite 😉

Be sure to check out the linky over at I Blame My Mother for more Danny recipe reviews!


 Week 11 – Daisy Martinez

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This week’s Food Network Chef Cooking Challenge features Daisy Martinez Although fairly new to food network, she also has a PBS show, and her own website.  Her own personal site had a lot more recipe choices than the Food Network listing. Still, I ended up choosing my recipe from a Food and Wine Magazine article.  For some reason, several there spoke to me, which didn’t happen looking on food networks site.

I narrowed it down to Salmon Fillets with Leek Fondue (hubby would like this, but its not at all Latin, and since that is what she is known for, I really wanted something with those flavors), Peruvian Beef and Noodle Stew (I thought this sounded the best, but knew the boys wouldn’t like the big chunks of peppers and things, and the one I finally chose: Hearty Braised Chicken Legs.  

I made a couple of small changes.  First I used thighs only instead of whole leg quarters, because they were on sale and I’m not a big drumstick fan anyway.  Second, I used sliced baby bella mushrooms because I just wrote “mushrooms” on my shopping list and didn’t realize that I needed them whole in order to quarter them.  I don’t think either substitution made a substantial difference.

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Miracle of Miracles, my camera actually functioned properly and I have pictures to go with my post this week! 

Hearty Braised Chicken Legs

  

Recipe by Daisy Martinez

 

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 whole chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks (2 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 pound white mushrooms, quartered

3 garlic cloves

1 medium onion, quartered

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1 cup tomato sauce

 

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This was more than 4 pounds of chicken, I only used half

In a very large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes.

 

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Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook them over moderate heat, undisturbed, until they begin to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.

  

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Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the garlic cloves with the onion and cilantro leaves. [I didn’t want to dirty the big food processor, and since DH does dishes and whines when I do anyway I just used the little magic bullet.  For pureeing, it works fine]

  

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Add the garlic and onion puree to the mushrooms and cook over moderate heat until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

 

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Stir in the tomato sauce. Return the chicken legs to the skillet and bring to a simmer.

 

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Cover and simmer the sauce until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

 

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Season the braised chicken legs with salt and pepper, transfer them to plates and serve with the sauce.

 

Serve with white rice.

I thought it was delicious.  The sauce on the rice was so good!  I would use it as pasta sauce, over grits, on any meat.  YUM!  I don’t think you could make it without the chicken though, as the rendered chicken skin fat is used to cook the mushrooms, and there is a subtle (but definitely there) meaty chicken flavor throughout the sauce. 

 

The kidlet is still refusing to eat meat of any kind, and didn’t want to brave the sauce on his rice.  Picky DH wouldn’t admit that he liked it (he objects to new recipes by rote I think =p), but since he went back for seconds, I think even he found the flavor appealing.  He didn’t use much sauce, but then he never does.  He doesn’t dress salads or use gravies or anything.

 

It took a little longer than 15 minutes t be cooked through (I use a meat thermometer to check for chicken doneness), but not ridiculously so, about 5 extra minutes is all.  As you would expect, the chicken skin after braising is quite slimy and mushy and no longer crisp as it was after browning.  I don’t like that texture so I removed it before eating, but I wouldn’t recommend cooking the recipe without the skin.

 

All in all a very economical (especially if you find chicken on a good sale as I did) and very tasty. 

 

Be sure to check out the linky over at I Blame My Mother for more Daisy recipe reviews!

 


I did not stick well to my plan last week.  I ended up not getting my shopping all done for the things we needed.  But on the plus side, I didn’t actually shop for anything that wasn’t on the plan either.  We had pizza one night (mom was in town), and went out one night (had a birthday party to attend) and otherwise cooked from the pantry and freezer, so I can’t beat myself up.  Too much.

Menu Plan Monday  

 

Monday:   Shrimp with Remoulade, Pasta, Green Beans

Tuesday:   Hearty Braised Chicken Legs from Daisy Martinez for the FNC Cooking Challenge, Rice, Broccoli

Wednesday: Soft Tacos (typical — flour tortilla, beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc), Tortilla Chips, Lightened Up Guacamole

Thursday:  Roasted Salmon with Chili-Lime Sauce, Barley, Creamed Spinach

Friday:   Butternut Squash, Sausage and Bow Ties, Green Salad, Fruit

Saturday: Dinner Out

Sunday:  Spaghetti with Meatballs, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Green Salad, Garlic Bread

 

For breakfasts we always have oatmeal, cold cereal, scrambled eggs, toast, freezer muffins, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruits to choose from.  I also keep us stocked with lunch meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, etc for bentos.    Even when not specifically listed, I usually have a mixed greens salad and fruit available for dinner.

 

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.  Check out the hundreds of other menus posted.


As I have mentioned before, finding quail eggs has been a perpetual thorn in my side.  I have been to over a dozen stores, from local asian markets, gourmet groceries and “world foods” vendors to chain stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and the like.  Although I didn’t find quail eggs, I did go back a few times to Uwajimaya.  They have a small bento box section, and while mostly they sell adult laquer type boxes, or belt-required two tier boxes (cute designs for kids, but 25$+ boxes, they aren’t cheap plastic), I occasionally have found some cute picks, small containers for dressings and dips and so on. 

Wednesday I dropped by to see what they had (I graze the bento section, eggs, produce and a snack aisle – kidlet likes those little Hello Panda cookies).  I had made a few good finds, and then at checkout I was asked if I had found everything, and I admitted I had hoped they had quail eggs.  But we do!  I was told.

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See!  Quail eggs!  *happy dance*  For some reason, instead of being kept with the rest of the eggs (and they have normal chicken eggs, fertilized ones, duck eggs, century eggs, and a couple other unusually colored eggs that i didn’t recognize, and couldn’t read the package), quail eggs at Uwajimaya are kept in the seafood department.  Apparently quail eggs are used in sushi applications, so they keep them with the sushi grade fish.

Boggle.  I never would have guessed that or checked there.  I’m kinda afraid of buying seafood or meat there because I don’t know if they are inspected or whatnot.  I know that’s probably just too paranoid, but I can’t help it!

So she called and had some brought up to the checkout for me.  Happy Dance!  Although now I have to figure out the perfect way to cook them.  With chicken eggs I just cover them with water, bring to a boil, immediately remove from heat and allow them to stand in the hot water for 10 minutes.  This produces fully hard boiled (no squishy yellow, yuk!), but not over boiled, no green ringed center, lovely eggs.  I can only assume that quail eggs will cook faster. I suppose I will try 5 minutes to start.   Any quail egg users have tips for me?

I also found some small side car boxes that will be perfect for kidlet’s morning snack.  I had wanted a few more containers for this (I really only had 2 the right size) but they are so overpriced online, and then when you add in shipping I would still be paying two to three times as much for ONE box as I paid for all three of these (4.50 total).

The last find was a dragonfruit.  I’ve always wanted to try them.  They looked a little bedraggled.  I have no idea what is normal, should they be firm?  Smell like something when ripe?  I just picked one with smooth flesh that had a little give to it when pressed lightly with a finger and hoped for the best!


 

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This week’s Food Network Chef’s Cooking Challenge features Claire Robinson.  This is one of the rare weekend only shows (5 Ingredient Fix) that I have actually seen a few times.  When it first premiered I watched several episodes.  I like her; seems very warm and approachable, and her recipes are very easy (with only 5 ingredients + salt, pepper and oil, how could they be tough, right? ;)).   Her food always looks so inviting (at least in the episodes I watched). Honestly, there were several times that I wanted to jump up, buy the ingredients and start cooking before she could even finish.

 

I will say that *most* of her recipes that I have seen are basic recipes, and really directed at a novice cook.  Her creamed spinach for instance is (shock) spinach and cream.

 

Bonus Review!

 

I have made her Sunday Roast Beef and Gravy and Thyme for Yorkshire Puddings twice before.  The roast is not budget friendly; for us at least it’s a special occasion cut of meat  (we had it for Easter and for my birthday).  But it came out PERFECTLY with her directions.  Perfectly pink, tender and soooooo good, which is why we had it again on my birthday.  I requested that for my meal, as I had only been home from the hospital a few days, recovering from the c-section, and mom was there to cook, as there was no way we were going out 😉  I’d never had Yorkshire puddings before I made them on Easter, so having a basic recipe was good.  They are like eggy popovers and with a little gravy drizzled over them, I thought they were fantastic.  However, I was not thrilled with the gravy that is listed with the roast.  Because it’s part of the roast recipe, she didn’t have many ingredients left for gravy I guess.  In order to get it thick enough to really BE gravy and not a pan sauce, it would have to reduce a very long time.  The second time we had it my mom just made a basic beef gravy, which was heavenly on the puddings.  The only other note is — read the Yorkshire pudding recipe all the way through well before you want to cook.  It’s got some resting time, and uses fat from the roast, so you want to plan for those things.

 

Anyway, on to the current review!

 

So far,  I’ve always picked a main dish to review.  Not this week.  I love Brussels Sprouts.  I’ve never met one that I didn’t like.  Fresh, frozen.  Cooked crisp tender or boiled until its limp as a wet noodle — I just love them.  I’ve never imagined them with apples.  Even more confusing is having them with *raw* apples. So I just had to try this one.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

 

4 ounces thick slab applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved lengthwise

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a sheet pan, lay out bacon slices. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and the fat has rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Carefully toss Brussels sprouts in the hot pan, and season with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven, and roast, turning once, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, [add] the walnuts and apples and toss to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter, top with the bacon, and serve warm.

I ended up making this on Monday, and the hubby was gone for dinner, so it was just me.  I thought they were just OK.  I like brussels with nuts, but the apples were very strange with it.   The texture was nice, the crisp apples with the crispy outsides, soft insides of the sprouts was a nice contrast.  But I couldn’t get past the weird (to me) flavor combonation of apples and brussels.  I would probably eat it again if someone else made it (I never met a brussels that I didn’t like, remember!) but I wouldn’t make these again, with the apples.  I do like them roasted wth the walnuts.  If you’ve never tried them roasted before, you should!

 

Edit:  DOH!  Reading Mubs review of these, I was reminded that I forgot to post that the time was off for roasting.  My oven is on its last legs (so sad, I adore my stove), and things generally take a little longer to cook than normal, but it still took a good 30-35 minutes to cook them.  Maybe she was using smaller sprouts.  I picked up mine still on the stalk at a world market near by and they varied from pretty big to down right huge.  I debated quartering them, but in the end I just halved as she said and it took nearly twice as long.

 

And my camera fritzed out.  I only took a few photos because my DH was out seeing John Cleese and I was juggling the 5 year old kidlet, the 5 month old baby and meal prep.  Because I’ve had so many problems with my camera I usually take 2-3 shots of everything.  I didn’t this time and paid for it with a lack of pictures.  Sorry!


I only managed to stick to my menu plan for half the week last week.  Going to carry over a couple recipes since I have the ingredients for them.

I really liked the Bacon Cheeseburger Wellingtons; the boys had mixed reactions.  I ended up using some hamburger from the freezer that had been pre-cooked with onions and red peppers, and then added the ingredients to it as per Candi’s changes she’d mentioned in a comment here.  Kidlet was gobbling it up until he found a piece of red pepper; and then he was D O N E.  lol

Menu Plan Monday  

 

Monday:  Creamy Shrimp Chowder, Rolls, Green Salad

Tuesday: Marinated Broiled Ribeye, Roast Potatoes, Crispy Brussels Sprouts from Claire Robinson for the FNCCC

Wednesday: Soft Tacos (typical — flour tortilla, beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc), Tortilla Chips, Lightened Up Guacamole

Thursday:  Salmon Turnovers, Green Salad, Corn

Friday:  Saturday: Crockpot Cabbage & Sausage Soup, Bread Sticks, Fruit

Sunday:  Chicken Cordon Bleu, Pasta, Broccoli

 

For breakfasts we always have oatmeal, cold cereal, scrambled eggs, toast, freezer muffins, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruits to choose from.  I also keep us stocked with lunch meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, etc for bentos.    Even when not specifically listed, I usually have a mixed greens salad and fruit available for dinner.

 

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.  Check out the hundreds of other menus posted.


Getting a recipe to use this week has been a challenge!  For me, when I try to browse the “top 100” recipes for ANY chef, (except for the 8 or 9 they specifically have listed as links), no recipes come up.   I had to spend a bit of time doing “Cat Cora” +Ingedient searches.  Just using her name brought up a ton of stuff.  AFTER the fact I discoverd that I can use a chef’s name in quotations, and make sure to switch the search box focus from “entire site” to “recipes” and it lists fine.

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This weeks Food Netowrk Chefs Cooking Challenge features Cat Cora.  I have never seen her on a food network show aside from Iron Chef America, although I have seen her other places.  The first time, in fact, was on Sesame Street, although she wasn’t presenting a recipe 😉  I know her style is Greek / Mediterranean, which I enjoy.  How can you go wrong with foods like good olives, phyllo, feta cheese, garlic and oregano? I love avgolemono soup when I am sick (chicken broth, rice, slightly thickened with lemon and egg) so when I saw the recipe for shrimp avgolemeno, I knew that was the one.

 

Changes:  I did not have fish stock, and that’s not something you can buy (at least not around here), so I decided to use clam juice.  I also discovered right before cooking that I didn’t have any skewers.  I ALWAYS have skewers, I mean seriously, have you seen my bento pick collection? LOL  The four inch bamboo ones weren’t going to cut it though, so I ended up skipping the grilling step.  The recipe says just to mark them and then you transfer them to the oven to cook anyway, so I don’t think it’s a huge deal.  I just cooked them a little bit longer in the oven.

Shrimp in Lemon Sauce: Garides Avgolemeno

 

Recipe courtesy Cat Cora

 

24 large shrimp, cleaned and deveined

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup fish broth

1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes

2 eggs

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

6 wooden skewers, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes

 

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Marinate the shrimp in the olive oil, oregano, and garlic 30 minutes. (It doesn’t say whether to leave the tail on or not.  I went ahead and took it off just for simplicity for the familes eating)

 

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Preheat a grill. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. Slide 4 shrimp onto each skewer. Place on a hot grill and mark on both sides quickly, not cooking them through. Put them in a baking dish and pour the fish broth over the shrimp with the tomatoes and place in the oven for about 4 minutes. (Because of my skewer snafu, I left in oven for 7 minutes.  Six would have been perfect for these shrimp, which were 16-20’s)

 

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Remove from the oven, take the shrimp out of the baking dish, and place on a platter. In a bowl whisk together the eggs and lemon juice. Slowly pour in the fish broth with the tomatoes and incorporate it until foamy. (Most recipes would warn you right now to be sure to go slowly; pour in that hot juice too quickly and it would probably curdle the egg)

 

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Season with salt and pepper. Pour it over the shrimp and sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm, as an appetizer.

 

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What we thought:  This is not a WOW! main dish (like last week’s coq au vin), but it’s a good family weekday dish. (It’s posted as an appetizer for six, but we fed 2 adults + kidlet with it as a main dish.)  It’s a light, tasty shrimp dish that takes almost no time at all to throw together and cook.  Aside from marinating time, it took 15 minutes, tops.  It could take longer if you aren’t as quick at cleaning shrimp though. 

 

The shrimp was perfect when I took it out of the oven.  It kept cooking though as it sat; next time I would take it out a minute sooner (I cooked it 7 minutes, since I didn’t have the grill time).  Still, it was much more tender and succulent than my shrimp turns out when I sauté it.

 

This one DH actually ate and not only didn’t he complain about my cooking new dishes all the time, but he spontaneously praised it (even though he was a little late and his shrimp was a little cold and starting to get rubbery I thought).  He does love his seafood.  Kidlet doesn’t like green stuff on his food, so I actually wiped off all his sauce and just served him the shrimp basically plain. 

 

This post is linked to the FN Chef Cooking Challenge over at I Blame My Mother.  Check the linky for more reviews of Cat Cora dishes!


 

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This week’s food network chef cooking challenge features Brian Boitano.  Yes, that Brian Boitano.  I watched it once and thought the food he was cooking sounded repulsive (It was a bacon themed day, how he made bacon sound bad, I don’t know, but he did!).  So it was with some apprehension that I browsed his recipes for this week.  The show is so new that there are relatively few recipes to choose from, so I suspect we’ll see some of us duping recipes too.  I picked his very un-authentic version of Coq Au Vin – which I love, but it is so time consuming and difficult to make “real” Coq Au Vin, it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.

 

Thanks to my camera problems as mentioned in a post earlier, I ended up with a bunch of unusable pictures.  I’ll post one of the few that came out, so you can see that I really made it 😉  Ignore the filthy stove.  I had a little accident with the leftover flour from dredging and it got all over the place.  The only sustitution I made is listed tbelow — I couldn’t find cipollini onions.

 

Coq Au Vin-guine, recipe courtesy Brian Boitano

 

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

1/4 pound pancetta, chopped

1 pound cipollini onions, peeled and sliced in 1/2 (I couldn’t find these at either grocery I frequent right now, so I subbed pearl onions)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces

1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 bottle medium-bodied Italian red wine (I have no idea what “medium bodied” means. We don’t drink around here.  I bought a middle of the road pricewise wine.)

3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 pound linguine

Fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped

 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until brown and crispy about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.  To the same skillet add the onions and cook until they just start to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on a baking sheet. While the onions cook, add the flour to a glass baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat. To the same skillet add 3 tablespoons olive oil, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute the mushrooms until browned, about 8 minutes and remove to the baking sheet with the onions. Shake off any excess flour from the chicken and put on a plate. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and add the chicken. Cook the chicken until browned, about 6 minutes and transfer to the baking sheet. Turn the heat to medium and add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes and deglaze the pan with 3/4 of the bottle of wine, making sure to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. While the wine comes to a simmer, add the thyme, chicken, mushrooms and onions and let simmer for 3 minutes.   

That's just steam, its not burning.  Also, ignore the dirty stove!

That's just steam, its not burning.

If sauce is too thick add remaining red wine. Add butter, taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta, transfer to a large serving bowl and top with the chicken and wine sauce. Garnish with the parsley, pancetta and a drizzle of the remaining olive oil.

What we thought:  I thought it was very good.  The sauce was delicious!  Especially on the pancetta, YUM!  It would be even better over mashed potatoes, IMO.  I can’t say that it is as fantastic as the “real” thing, but seriously, who can find an old rooster and spend 24 hours cooking it?  For a quick coq au vin, it was amazing.  Quick is a relative term.  It probably took about an hour from start to finish.

 

DH complained (as usual) for me making something new.  Kidlet thought it looked horrible.  He isn’t really eating meat right now, so I just took one chunk of the chicken, rinsed off the sauce and shredded it up.  When he saw mine in a bowl, he asked me “are you eating poop?”  GAH!  Why can’t my house be full of people that appreciate food!?

 

Although he doesn’t say so, you wouldn’t want to try making this in a non stick or cheap skillet.  Use a nice heavy bottomed one (much <3 to my all clad!). By the time you get the garlic and tomato paste in the pan, the bottom is really gummed up with all the good bits from the pancetta, onions, mushrooms and chicken that were cooked in before.  It’s the deglazing of all those wonderful bits that really adds depth to the sauce.


Because of the kidlet’s early history (he is adopted, was badly neglected the first six months of his life, and was very delayed), we did our own version of homeschooling from the time he was very little.  At first we worked with an early head start program; after the adoption was final we didn’t qualify for that (too much income), so we just worked at home at improving the skills and developing new skills.

When he entered the preschool age, we created an “Alphabet Book” using a large 3 ring binder, dividers and those plastic page protector things that you can slip your standard size paper into.  In that we collected his preschool work that was alphabet driven, as well as the projects that we continued to do at home to enrich him academically.

One of the projects we did for our letter of the week was a picture collage.  I’ve collected pictures from magazines, snail mail ads, old books that were too torn up to keep around, clip art I’ve printed, stickers, etc.  I keep them in a large manilla envellope (which I admit isn’t the best solution.  I keep thinking I need to get an expandable file thing or something so I can sort them better, but alas, this hasn’t happened).  Each week I’d go through and pick out a number of words that begin with the correct sound along with a few that didn’t.  Then I’d have the kidlet try and find pictures that begin with the letter of the week and glue them down onto a piece of paper for his letter book.

Letter Sound Collage

As he got older and better at it, I’d throw in some tricky ones (like putting a picture of some eyes in with the “I” words that week, for instance).  We also would go back to older ones and make sure he remembered what letter the collage was showing. 

As we finished them up, and he is easily identifying letters by sound, I’d have him select one picture from a collage page, draw his own version, and then try and write out the word, sounding out the letters.

I’m *really* glad that this is something that we focused on.  I am amazed at how many children in his Kindergarten class can receite the alphabet, but have no idea what sounds letters make.  Since they are focusing on “Kid Writing” – where the child writes words without adult assistance, using the letters that they hear in the word (ie, school gets written a lot like “skool” or “skol”), not knowing those sounds really puts those children at a disadvantage, as they have to learn that before they can develop thier writing and spelling skills.

This post is linked to Kid Friendly Friday at I Blame my Mother.


Today is an inservice day in our school district, so no school.  Probably no bento either.  I have a question for you moms out there though … how much does your child eat for a snack when they get home from school?

The kidlet has breakfast around 7am.  I *try* to give him a decent breakfast, preferably something with some protein and whole grains so it will stick around a little better and not just cereal, although that happens sometimes by his choice or dictated because we overslept or the baby is needy.  They have morning snack at 9:30, which is usually quite small; what I would consider a normal snack for him.  A small handful of pretzels, half an apple, or a half cup of trail mix — that kind of thing.  But when he gets home from school around 2:30, the kid is just Ravenous.

Yesterday he ended up eating: hard boiled egg, half a carrot with ranch, small dish of blackberry applessuce with a tablespoon of dried cranberries, 6 lil smokies, and 4 mini muffins (really mini, like 1″ wide).  He started with the egg, carrots and applesauce, and kept asking for more.

Less than 2 hours later he was asking about dinner.  I’m boggled by how much he is putting away.