Recipes for Babies & Kids

I’m loving the weather we’re having this spring, but since we can’t escape the snow today, we might as well take advantage of it. Today after shoveling the walks and building a snowman, we made snow candy for the first time. My kids loved it, especially since it’s so much fun to make!

You can use maple syrup or molasses to make snow candy. Each turn out a bit differently, but both are absolutely delicious!

Molasses Snow Candy Recipe

Adapted from The Little House Cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Molasses
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

Directions

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In a sauce pan, add molasses and brown sugar. Stir and cook until it reaches about 245 degrees Fahrenheit on your candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you’ll want it to be well blended and bubbly.

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Get a one casserole pan or two cake pans and fill them with fresh, clean snow.

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Carefully pour the molasses mixture over the snow. Drizzle it all over in small strips and shapes.

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Allow the molasses mixture to sit in the snow for a bit and harden. The snow cools the molasses, hardening it into chewy hard candy.

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Once the molasses mixture is hardened, pull the candy up. It’s okay if it breaks, you’ll want it in bite size pieces anyway.

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Break any large pieces into bite-size pieces. You can enjoy this immediately or place the pieces in a storage baggie or container. Store it in the freezer or the candy will melt into a gooey mess once again.

Maple Syrup Snow Candy Recipe (a.k.a. Maple Taffy or Maple Taffy Snow Candy)

Adapted from Shelteriffic.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (Salt-Free)

Directions

Like with the molasses snow candy, heat the maple syrup and butter in a sauce pan until it reaches 245 degrees Fahrenheit on your candy thermometer or is well blended and bubbling. Get a one casserole pan or two cake pans and fill them with fresh, clean snow.

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Pour the maple syrup mixture over the snow. The maple syrup snow candy doesn’t harden. Instead, it melts the snow becoming a gooey sweet concoction, so plan to eat this immediately. In fact, it’s more like caramel syrup over ice cream, then hard candy. It doesn’t store well.

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Use popsicle sticks, craft sticks, or spoons to eat the snowy maple syrup straight out of the snow.

Tips for Maple Syrup Snow Candy

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can simply go pour the maple syrup concoction over the snow outside and let your kids eat outside right out of the snow. Just don’t let them step in it and and then eat it! You can also pour the same mixture over ice cream, if you prefer, to create a maple syrup sundae.

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I used to live in this little town (seriously, only three stoplights) in Ohio. And there was a wonderful little privately owned pizza place in town that made the BEST Taco Pizza EVER!!!! It was our family tradition to order pizza once a month and when it was my turn to pick what we ordered it was always Taco Pizza from Hungry Howies. The crust was crispy, the taco meat with beans was delish, and the towering toppings of lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, and sour cream was so heavenly that my mouth waters just writing about it.

But sadly, I moved away from that little town when I was 14 and haven’t tasted a bite of Taco Pizza since then (until I recreated it myself). Actually, everyone I have ever asked, had never even heard of Taco Pizza! So while this isn’t exactly the wackiest on my list of Wacky Wednesday ideas, since it seems no one outside of my sleepy little childhood town has even heard of Taco Pizza, I  just have to share my recreation of this delicious marriage of two of my favorite foods, Pizza and Tacos! Now, I know what you are probably thinking, and it is probably pretty close to my husbands reaction, “taco?…..pizza?…..That sounds really gross but if you must……” But I assure you, give it a shot and your family will have a taste-bud explosion and it will soon become a family favorite like it has in our house.

And it is so versatile, cut small squares and it can be an appetizer at a casual party or larger slices and it’s dinner, you choose!

What you need:

1 Pizza Crust (store bought or homemade, it doesn’t matter but crispy is the key!)
1 lb. Hamburger
1 Taco Seasoning Packet
1/2 can of re-fried beans
8 oz. Taco Blend shredded cheese
1/2 head of lettuce
2 small tomatoes
Black Olives
Taco sauce
(any other taco toppings that your family prefers)

How to make this simple taste-bud masterpiece:

Roll out your pizza crust to get it as thin as possible without tearing onto a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat until just browned, drain well and add taco seasoning mix and 1/3 c. of water until well mixed as if you are making traditional tacos.

Spread a thin layer of re-fried beans over your pizza crust (not to much, we don’t want to overpower the meat). Even if you don’t care for re-fried beans, this is a necessity, it isn’t true taco pizza without it! Top this with the prepared taco meat, and drizzle with desired amount of taco sauce. I used about 1 cup for my pizza. All that is left to do for this part is to top with cheese! Cover the pizza with the entire bag of cheese and pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or the cooking time recommended for the crust that you use. Since everything is already cooked except for the crust, the goal is to just get the crust cooked through and melt the cheese.

 

While your pizza is in the oven, shred your lettuce to bite size strips, dice the tomato, and open the olives so you are all ready to add your toppings and eat!

After your pizza comes out of the oven, immediately top with shredded lettuce (don’t be afraid to really pile it on!) The crunchy chill of the lettuce contrasts so nicely with the warm gooey-ness of the taco meat, cheese and beans. Now top with diced tomatoes and black olives and any remaining ingredients you would like to add! Cut into squares, not triangle slices, this pizza works better with squares. It could be because that was how Hungry Howies always cut their pizza but it could also be because the toppings are loose and will fall all over the place if it isn’t in small easy to manage pieces. The last step is to add a dollop of sour cream to each piece and enjoy!

As you can see this is just like any other pizza so you can add or subtract ingredients to suit your families tastes. My recommendation is to NOT take away are the refried beans, taco meat, and lettuce! Those make it the best EVER!

Let me know what you think, just scroll down a little and leave a comment in the box below and give it to me straight, is it just me or is this the best pizza ever!?!?!?

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Okay, I am going to be honest, this is by far the most disgusting and yet fun thing I have done in a long time. We have done plenty of Jell-O Molds, Knox Blox and the like in our time, but Jell-O Worms? I wasn’t too sure, but I had two little boys in my house who were absolutely sure that this was THE thing to do for Wacky Wednesday.

So I embarked on a journey to create worms! Now you can too!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 boxes (1.4 oz) Jell-O or Flavored Gelatin (raspberry or grape if you want brown worms)
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cup Cool Whip
  • green food coloring, (if you want brown worms)
  • 100+ plastic straws with bendable necks

How to get started:

Find a tall thin container for making your worms. If you have a 1/2 gallon or carton of milk or orange juice, trim off the top and that will work perfectly. I used a thermos that we had laying around (fail!). Thermos’ are insulated to keep the cold stuff cold and the hot stuff hot. SO with now thinking ahead planning on my part, running the water over a thermos to loosen the Jell-O from the sides, doesn’t work very well. So learn from my mistake and just chop off the top of your orange juice container, rinse it out and consider yourself warned.

What ever you do decide to use, make sure it can hold about 6 cups of liquid and that it is straight up and down to hold your straws erect. Now fill it with straws, this was my son’s favorite part, because not only did he get to ‘grow’ the straws (extending out the bendy section), but he got to put them in and practice his counting skills. Place all your extended straws into your container with the bendy part facing down and make sure that the end of the straws are sitting flush to the bottom of your container. Pack the straws in tightly to get a nice snug fit, a rubber band around the top of the straws will help pull them together when you pour in the Jell-O mixture.

Now it is time to make the Jell-O mixture. In a medium bowl, stir together the plain and the unflavored gelatin, then add the boiling water over the gelatin powder. Stir until the powder is dissolved. If you would like to make multi-colored worms, you can! Just use 1 box of flavored gelatin and 2 packets of unflavored gelatin instead and dissolve it with 2 1/2 cups boiling water. At this point let your bowl (or bowls) of gelatin cool down for about 20 minutes, not set but slightly warm, then add in the Cool Whip. If you are making one color worms, put in the entire 1 1/2 cup, use 3/4 cup if you are planning on using two separate colors. My plan was to make orange and red, but I didn’t wait for the orange to set enough before adding my red so they came out one color. We didn’t opt for the brown worms, because my stomach couldn’t handle that, but this is the point where you would add the green food coloring to turn your worms a natural brown color.

Put your container of straws on a cookie sheet or inside a larger bowl, like I did because there will be spills!! Now that your mixture is ready to go, slowly pour the Jell-O over the straws. Some of the Jell-O mixture will seep up the sides, but no worries, your straws should be filling up. If you are using two different colors, pour in the first color and allow it set for about 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator. Then pour the other color on top. You can see that mine turned all red, because I didn’t allow my first color to set long enough, but it was still very disgustingly delish! I also used a clean lid for the extra Jell-O mix since I ran out of room in my thermos of straws.

Chill your Jell-O filled straws in the fridge overnight. After the Jell-O has set, it’s time for the messes of all messes! Run your container under warm water until you can pull the entire Jell-O/straw blob out easily. (This is also the part where you thank me for stopping you from using a thermos for your straws! This part was next to impossible and I wound up hacking away at the sides with a butter knife while my friend and the two excited boys tried to pull this mess out.) After about 15 minutes of hacking and pulling we finally managed to get the straws out. (this would have been much easier had I thought ahead and NOT used a thermos, even if it was pink!)

Now onto removing your worms, on all the websites I read, they said to “tightly squeeze and slide your thumb and finger down the length of the straw and the worm will be pushed out of the bottom”. I must not have very strong fingers because after about 5 very broken and quickly devoured worms were “squeezed” out I was just about done! The two little boys I spoke of earlier were about this close to missing out on Jell-O worms because I just couldn’t squeeze any more Jell-O from these straws.

So I ran some hot water back into the now empty thermos, gave each straw a quick dip in the hot water bath and they slid right out with ease. Make sure you don’t leave them in the hot water for too long, or you will experience the slimy mess falling out in the water, in the sink, on the counter and just about anywhere else, EXCEPT where you want them to go. Once they are all out of the straws, place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and put them back in the fridge until ready to serve, if they make it that long!

Even though ours turned out red, and not at all appearing like real earthworms, when you pop one in your mouth, it does FEEL like you would imagine a real worm does, so if you have a weak stomach leave these for the kiddos!

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Ready for the easiest and best recipe you’ll ever have?  I have a young boy toddler who loves yogurt, but can’t eat it without getting it into his hair, clothes, the table, the chairs, and pretty much everything within a 1/2 mile radius of where he eats it.  I know yogurt is healthy for breakfast and since he loves it and it’s so affordable, I’d love to let him eat it for every breakfast.  However, when we’re on the go, I have to either plan for a long clean up afterwards or skip it.

This is the perfect solution!  Not only that, but it also got my daughters eating more yogurt.  Even the Greek yogurt they couldn’t stand taste delicious as Yogurt Bites!

What you’ll need:

  1. (1) single-serving container of yogurt (any brand, flavor!)
  2. (1) sandwich baggie
  3. (1) cookie tray with Reynold’s wrap or wax paper covering it
  4. (1) freezer
  5. (1) container for storage

First, stir the yogurt up to blend it together and make it smooth.  Any yogurt will work, except whipped, so mix it up.  Try yogurt with fruit in it or the yogurt with the candy in it for a sweet treat.

Spoon the yogurt into the sandwich baggie and push the air out, then seal.  Cut one of the bottom corners off.  The closer to the tip you cut the sandwich baggie, the smaller the yogurt bites will be.  You can make them any size.  Just make sure they are bite-size or they’ll be messy to eat.

Squeeze all the yogurt to the end of the baggie towards the cut tip to make it look like you are piping icing.

Squeeze the bite-size drops onto the tray. Make sure they aren’t touching.  One container of yogurt makes about one tray of yogurt bites.  Next, place the entire tray uncovered into the freezer to freeze.

Since they are so small, they freeze quickly.   It may take up to 20 minutes or less.  Pull them out and you can easily lift the Reynold’s wrap or wax paper, then use your finger to pop off each one into a container for storage.

Enjoy them immediately, or place them into the freezer to enjoy later.  They store in the freezer for about 1-2 weeks.  Make sure your container is air tight to avoid freezer burn.  Give your young kids a few at a time, because unlike M&M’s these do melt in your mouth and your hands!  They are absolutely delicious!

Change it up!

Try dipping fruit in yogurt and freezing for a new and delicious taste!

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Recipe Credit: Yogurt Bites found on Pinterest and Fruit Covered Yogurt on We Love It.

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My daughter asked me the other day if she could have some gum, but after a look, I realized we were all out.  Her response was, “Let’s make some then.”

Typically, when we are out of something, we can make it ourselves like bread, crackers, and even hot dog buns, but I had no clue if you could make gum.  We went to the internet and after a quick search, we found that we could.   We didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand, so going out to buy gum would have probably been more productive, but not as much fun.

I’ll warn you.  Making gum is messy!  But, we had an absolute blast, so it’s a great way to entertain creative kids.

Before you get started, set the mood with some music! We highly recommend Icky, Sticky Bubble Gum by David Landau or our favorite, The Sticky Bubblegum Song by Carole Peterson.

CLICK HERE to see this recipe.

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We’re mixing things up on In Good Cents and launching some new things, so keep watch.

One we’re most excited about is Wacky Wednesday where anything goes.  We may be sharing some crazy recipes, fun ideas, insane things we do to stay frugal, hysterical things we’ve seen (or done) while shopping, or whatever grabs our fancy that week.

So here goes it goes!

Getting my kids to eat is a never ending challenge some days, but getting fun with food helps!  I’ve learned that adding sprinkles to about anything makes it so much more appealing and cupcakes are always popular, even when they aren’t really cupcakes.

That’s where Hot Dog Cupcakes come into play.  They are especially great if you have left over hot dogs from a cookout or camping.  Though, if you’re like up, you never have left over hot dogs!  I know, it sounds gross, but these are so delicious.

 Hot Dog Cupcakes Recipe

You will need:

  • 2 (8.5 oz.) packages of cornbread mix
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 standard-size eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 5-10 hot dogs (leftovers work great!)

How to make them:

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grab a muffin tin and grease the cups or line them with cupcake liners.

Cut into bite-size pieces.

Next, chop your left over hot dogs into bite-size pieces.  Circles work great, but if you have little ones, try triangles or half-moons to avoid a choking hazard.

Next, mix the cornbread mix and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk, then add to the cornbread mixture.  Stir until smooth.  I typically use my electric hand mixer to save time and get all the lumps out.

Toss in the cheese and hot dogs into the mixture and gently stir.

Spoon your mixture into the muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3rds of the way full.  Make sure the hot dogs don’t settle to the bottom, or you’ll end up a bowl full of hot dogs at the end.  If that happens, no worries.  Just spoon a few hot dogs into each cup to spread them out evenly.

Place your cupcakes into the oven and bake for about 14-18 minutes until they are golden brown.   Keep watch.  You don’t want them to burn on the top!

Serve with your favorite side, like baked beans.  To make them look more like cupcakes, drizzle with ketchup, mustard, or your favorite dip.  Or, if you prefer, you can put the dip on the side to dunk, like we do!  But, they taste yummy even without dip.

Mix things up!  Try this recipe with sausages for breakfast or brats for dinner.

These are a great meal for Freezer Cooking, so just place them in a freezer bag and place in the freezer for storage.  You can pull them out and heat them individually in the microwave to put in lunchboxes or for a quick lunch or snack.

 

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