Trial by Toddler: Testing Once A Month Mom Recipes
First of all, let me say that I love the concept of once a month cooking. I always have. Ever since I read cookbooks like ‘Extending the Table’ the idea of utilizing similar ingredients across several meals, cooked at the same time to save energy costs, and then frozen to save time later – well, what’s not to love really. I tried it once or twice before I had kids but the scope and variety always alluded me – until Once a Month Mom came along and I found a system that made sense to me.
The first month I used the site I picked five or six recipes to make and cooked half-portions. Some of this was because I don’t have a lot of freezer space and some was due to picky eating in my family. That month it was my own picky-ness but there were so many things that I just KNEW my girls were going to eat.
One of the recipes was chicken with rice and mandarin oranges. Three things that they love to eat. They could eat them every day and sometimes they do. So I made the full batch of this knowing that this would be an easy sell in my house. This was my first introduction to Trial by Toddler. Apparently Chicken/ Rice/ and Mandarin Oranges are great foods but my girls were not going to eat them if they were all cooked together. Wow. Now I had four gallon-sized Ziploc bags of yummy dinner left that I knew my family wasn’t going to eat. Thankfully, like many other people have found, once a month meals are a great way to make sure that family and friends are taken care of in times of need.
Next I tried one of the breakfast recipes – Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Coffee Cake – or, as it’s called in our house – Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cake. This was an instant hit but there was a Trial by Toddler moment. You know that pincer grasp that toddlers are so good at? My girls worked diligently at picking out all of the chocolate chips and eating them individually while they left the crumbs on their plate. My way around this? Next time I made the recipe I substituted mini-chips. It comes out great and the chips are too small for them to bother to pick out.
And my favorite recipe that I was absolutely sure would be a success was the corn dog muffins. My kids love muffins and they love hot dogs. So I made a batch of these so glad that I would have something other than PB&J to send in their lunches and – they just stared at them. It was a no go.
I could go on with revelations for each recipe I’ve done but here’s what I do now – instead of launching into a full, once a month cooking day – making multiple batches of a recipe and then putting it into our family’s menu plan – I first make a single batch to see if the kids will eat it or it meets Trial by Toddler. This way I’m not wasting time and food on meals that my family won’t eat. I do continue to try new meals each month because I think it’s important for kids to try new foods and flavors but I also know the reality is that kids that are 3 and 4 years old mostly eat the same ten things – none of which they want to touch anything else on their plate. It’s who they are at this point in their lives. It might make me a little crazy sometimes but I know it’s a phase and they’ll grow out of it at some point and when they do I’ll have a wealth of recipes all ready because each month there are even more great new ones to try here at Once a Month Mom.
Stephanie is a SAHM with two girls and writes about books, being accountable, and living smart at What a Cool Idea!