Sometimes parents need to turn the law of “don’t play with your food” on its head. With WILD EATS AND ADORABLE TREATS: 40 Animal-Inspired Meals and Snacks for Kids (10/6/15; $14.99) by Jill Mills, a regular contributor to Community Table, dishes are reimagined as different animals from owls, to pigs, sheep and will entice children to eat balanced meals as well as transform the tedious routine of preparing snacks and meals into fun family activities.
Keep reading for Three Animal-Inspired Snacks Excerpted from Wild Eats and Adorable Treats: 40 Animal-Inspired Meals and Snacks for Kids by Jill Mills. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. that Will Satisfy Even The Pickiest Eater!
There is something about cows that kids just love. Maybe it’s their moo sounds or their laziness. You will be surprised at how simple it is to create this fun cow lunch, and this is also a great way to get your picky eaters to eat some healthy foods for lunch.
2 pieces of whole grain bread
2 slices of provolone (or vegan) cheese
1 slice of turkey (or soy turkey)
2 black grapes
1 small yellow bell pepper
1. Cut both of the pieces of whole grain bread into circles, making one of them just a bit smaller than the other. Make sure to save the scraps. Place the bread on a plate.
2. Place the cheese on the bread and cut the edges to fit on top using kitchen scissors. Cut the slice of turkey to look like a nose and place it on top of the cheese for the head. Cut two ears from the bread scraps and place them on the top sides of the head. Cut pieces of the cheese scraps to fit on top of the ears and do the same with the sliced turkey.
3. Place different-sized raisins on the body to look like spots. Cut a large raisin in half for the eyes and a small raisin in half for the nose. Line up raisins in the back for the tail and around the neck for the collar.
4. Cut a triangle shape from the small yellow bell pepper and place it on the raisin collar to look like a bell. Cut slits on a lettuce leaf using kitchen scissors and place it on the bottom of the plate to look like grass. Cut two small legs using the bread scraps. Place two black grapes on the legs, for the feet.
Tips and Tricks
You can make any type of sandwich that your child prefers, such as PB&J or any other protein fillings. You can replace the lettuce with green grapes. You can use t insofutead of turkey.
Mexican Stuffed Froggy Peppers
These Mexican stuffed peppers contain healthy ingredients that the kids will love. I never thought my boys would try a stuffed pepper, but how could any kid resist eating these adorable frogs?! Now this is one of their most requested dinners.
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
5 green bell peppers, seeds removed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can mild enchilada sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese (divided in half)
1 Roma tomato
1. Add the quinoa to a large saucepan with two cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil five minutes, cover, turn off the heat, and let it steam for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
2. Cut the tops off the green bell peppers and save them for decorating. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Microwave the peppers on a plate for two to three minutes to soften slightly. (You can also skip this step if you like a crispier pepper).
3. Pour the quinoa into a mixing bowl. Stir in the black beans (saving about 10 of them to decorate), tomato with green chilies and their juices, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, enchilada sauce, and ½ cup of cheese.
4. Place the peppers in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Divide filling among peppers. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
5. Cover the peppers with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook about five minutes longer. Once the peppers are done cooking you can start decorating them into frogs.
6. Using a knife, cut pieces from the reserved tops of the peppers to make the back legs, front legs, and feet. Place them at the sides of the peppers. Cut off strips of the Roma tomato for the tongues and press them on the front using the flesh side to stick. Use a spoon to place the sour cream on top for the eyes. Take the reserved black beans and add one to each scoop of sour cream for the pupil. Add another black bean on the bottoms of the tongue to look like a fly. You can add a tiny amount of sour cream on the sides of the black beans using a toothpick to look like little wings.
Tips and Tricks
You can use also use pieces of a red bell or roasted pepper in place of the tomato to make the tongue. You can replace the quinoa with brown rice. If your kids do not like sour cream you can cut a mini round cheese snack in half to make the eyes.
Beary Cute Cupcakes
We originally created this fun idea to celebrate my son’s birthday during our camping trip. These bear cupcakes are a cute idea for a camping excursion or an animal-themed party. They are very easy to make, topped with premade wafer cookies and candies.
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
No. 233 multi-opening icing tip
mini vanilla wafers
black pearl sprinkles
premade chocolate cookie icing
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
2 cups of unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large muffin pan with 12 large cupcake liners.
2. Place the sugar, flour, cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine all the ingredients.
3. Mix in the butter on low speed, until the mixture resembles moist crumbs.
4. Stir in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to be sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Fill the cupcake liners just a little over halfway full.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
7. Cool completely before frosting and decorating.
8. Once the cake is cooled, scoop the frosting (see below for recipe) in a cake decorating bag using a no. 233 multi-opening tip. Pipe the chocolate frosting on top of the cupcakes to look like hair. Place your mini vanilla wafers on a work surface and attach toothpicks on the back side using the chocolate cookie icing. Let that set for about 10 minutes. Place the mini wafers on the top sides to look like ears. Pipe frosting around the edges, leaving only the middle of the wafer showing.
9. Add a regular vanilla wafer on the front and using icing, attach a chocolate M&M on top to look like a nose. Place black pearl sprinkles above the nose for the eyes.
1. Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for five minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.
2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Melt the chocolate on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave. For the microwave you can heat the chocolate chips in a bowl for one minute on medium high. Stir, then check every 20 seconds (stirring every time), making sure you do not burn the chocolate. Add the melted chocolate and milk to the powdered-sugar mixture and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes, scraping the bowl as needed to incorporate all of the chocolate.
3. You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.
Tips and Tricks
If you do not have an icing tip, you can pipe on the frosting by scooping it into a plastic bag and snipping off the corner using scissors. Take a fork and poke around the frosting, making it look like hair. If the frosting is too thick, you can add a little more milk to get your desired consistency. You can attach the wafers onto pretzel sticks in place of the toothpicks if you would like everything to be edible. You can use a premade cake mix instead of homemade. If the box calls for 24 regular cupcakes you will get 12 large cupcakes