feeding

Toddler Tacos

Since Liam and The Bean have entered the finger foods stage I have been working hard to find ways to make mealtime into more of a family experience. In other words; Momma isn’t making two separate meals. The toddlers eat what the parents eat, though sometimes with some slight variations.

This first meal we toddlerized (oh yeah, totally made that word up) is tacos. Taco night is probably my favorite night, and it absolutely cycles through our meal planning on a biweekly basis. I have an extreme obsession with fondness for moderately spicy Mexican food. Obviously with toddlers involved we had to tone down the spice action, so this is how I solved that problem and still created a tasty meal for everyone involved.

This meal received 4 of 4 toddler thumbs up, 6 of 12 puppy paws up, and 3 of 4 parent thumbs up (the hubs isn’t as big of a Mexican food fan as I am)

Chicken Taco Meat:
1 cup of shredded chicken
1/4 cup of McCormick Taco Seasoning
1/3 cup of water
1 – 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Dump it all in a pan and simmer for at least 15 minutes (until it is reduced to the amount of liquid you prefer).

I personally tend to keep things like shredded chicken on hand because it is so easy to make and so useful in many different recipes, especially toddler friendly ones. Liam will not eat cut up chicken (too much effort to chew, he prefers a more instant gratification) but he loves shredded as long as it is flavorful.

I quartered all my veggies (tomatoes and peppers) so they were toddler sized… I figured that also meant we could for more vegetables in each taco shell, which makes me feel like the meal is healthier ūüėČ

I swapped our usual Mexican cheese blend out for a plain shredded cheddar (spiciness sacrifices). My husband (an acid reflux sufferer) and the toddlers both appreciated this. My token nod to adding some life to my meal was to purchase a spicy salsa for myself. This allowed me to not really feel like I was sacrificing my meal for theirs (with the added bonus of only cooking one meal). I also gave the kids a single tortilla chip rather than an overwhelming large (for them) and splintery taco shell. The last substitute I made for the kid’s meal was yogurt (one split between the two of then) instead of sour cream.

The results:

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They loved the meal and the yogurt “dessert”, and I had my first toddler/parent combo meal win. Now let’s hope for many more!

Need an easy recipe for shredded chicken? Love your crockpot as much as I adore mine? Try this!

Place 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 boneless skinless thighs) in a 5 quart crockpot. Dump a 32oz box of low sodium chicken broth into the pot. Add spices as you see fit, I typically toss in 1/2 tsp of sage and call it a day. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Cool in fridge overnight, then remove chicken from the pot and shred with two forks.

A Great Idea Gone Bad, Attack of the Snacking Pups

So Liam has been feeding the dogs at lunch and dinner time now that he has finger foods.¬† It usually goes one bite for him, and 3 or 4 for the dogs.¬† Really, the fact that he is feeding them fresh fruits and veggies doesn’t bother me, but they now look at him as someone who is constantly going to give them food so he can’t sit down and have a cookie¬†without having 3 dogs looming around him.¬† The pups, they are the biggest beggars ever.

What? Dogs aren't suppose to dine at the table?

What? Dogs aren’t suppose to dine at the table?

Last week while I was out loitering in the baby section at Target I discovered these handy little snack canister.¬† Sure they were labeled for 12 months and up, but I figured if I showed Liam what was up with it a few times he would get it.¬† The tops appeared too small for a big old Boston Terrier snout to get through, so I figured the puffs or cookies would be safe and Liam could have snacks on the go.¬† I bought them, washed them, and tried one out with him. After 3 tries he figured it out, and the snacking commenced in his high chair…. with feeding the dogs still of course.¬† Liam is excellent at sharing.¬† Today I thought we would try to take it to the floor.

The instant swarming of dogs, Liam is in dog heaven.

The instant swarming of dogs, Liam is in dog heaven.

Sharing, because its what he does, with the dogs, with Mom, with Dad, with everyone.

Sharing, because its what he does, with the dogs, with Mom, with Dad, with everyone.

And.... the second he turns his back on the snacks the dogs strike sweet potato puff gold.

And…. the second he turns his back on the snacks the dogs strike sweet potato puff gold.

So it turns out that the snack canisters work great for teaching Liam how to take little things out of a container.¬† The do not work so great for keeping doggy noses out of the container.¬† While they couldn’t actually reach the snacks thanks to their brachycephalic skulls, they could drool all over and into everything in the canister.¬† It. Was. A. Huge. Slimy. Mess.

Yuck.

At least we can still use them for road trips when he gets older.