Monday, August 16, 2010

Bratwurst and Back to School

Today is Bratwurst Day-so celebrate!
Once the weather turns colder and I am not able to use my grill, I like to cook brats in the oven. They turn out (almost) as great as on the grill!
Preheat your oven to 350.
Grease a 9x13" baking pan. Add a package of brats (single layer).
Pour 1/2 can beer (or 1/4-1/2 c. water) over brats.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes. Turn half way through cooking.
They brown up nicely and go great on Packer Game Days, when it's too cold to "tailgate" outside before the game!

It's hard to believe that kids will be heading back to school in just a few weeks. We always celebrated with a "end-of-summer" party at our house.
My children would invite a few friends, we'd have special summertime foods, play some games, turn on the sprinkler and decorate folders or make book covers. The kids always had fun and it was a great way to end the summer. Do you have any first day of school traditions? Here are a few thought-starters or things you might like to try:

  • Make something special for breakfast. How about homemade apple pie or another fun, family favorite? Only for the first day!

  • Let them each select their own backpack and take a picture. Over the years you will have captured their interests, personality and be able to mark that milestone in their lives that might otherwise go unknown

  • Fill a jar with 30 pieces of candy and use as a countdown. Your child will be able to see, as he/she gets to select one piece each day, that the first day of school is getting closer and closer.

  • Pack a note with a loving messgage, joke or drawing into their backpack or lunchbox

  • Make a bracelet, necklace or braid a pair of shoelaces that they can wear on the first day

  • Decorate a backpack with a beaded key chain, pom-poms or a name tag

  • Hide a small treat, such as a sticker or small toy in their pocket

  • Make a special after school snack

And embrace the fact that they are venturing into new territory. They'll have many new and exciting experiences during the coming school year and you can watch, observe and encourage them.

We talked with Missy Chase Lapine, about her book "THE SNEAKY CHEF: SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR HIDING HEALTHY FOODS IN KIDS' FAVORITE MEALS". Since it's almost time for kids to go back to school, why not pick up a copy of Missy's book and introduce your child to healthier eating the easy way. They won't even know that they've eaten sweet potatoes, or white beans in the blondie brownies! The book is more than just a cookbook, although it does cover recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks. Missy explains her philosophy about food, the reasons why certain foods are so good for you and gives the recipes for the purees that you can make ahead and freeze. Who knows, you may find that besides being good for the kids, it's great for everyone in the family!

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