Episode 124 Creating Memories with Food

How to create memories with food traditions

Special memories around food are part of our family traditions.

They are woven into fabric of our lives. They can be really fun, or they can feel overwhelming.

I have said before that traditions create stability and predictability for our children. My teens still like knowing there will be a helium balloon on their chair at the kitchen table on Valentine’s Day.

I grew up with many food traditions. Some were simple like pink heart biscuits and some were elaborate like corned beef and cabbage with flaming Irish coffee on St. Patrick’s Day or her annual Halloween Cookies.

 

It does not matter if traditions are simple or elaborate.

What matters is that they are meaningful to you and your children.

Food traditions are optional.

If you are stressed out by a tradition, let it go. You can skip them and still be a “good mom” and a “fun mom.”

Food traditions can be flexible.

You can outsource the work to the grocery store or local donut shop.

They don’t have to be junk food or sweets. You can get a Great Harvest Bunny at Easter or a heart shaped pizza on Valentine’s Day.

Some traditions will fade.

Our Saturday morning tradition of Oatmeal Pancakes faded into sports and sleeping in.

When you child wants to celebrate and you aren’t up for it, consider giving them the memory.

My daughter loved April Fool’s Day and I didn’t care too much, but I worked to make her a special lunch full of pranks and she relished every minute. It is a lasting memory.

What are your special food memories? Share them in the Feed Your Family Tonight Facebook Group.

 

Links from this episode.

Halloween Cookies

Mary Big Hair

Oatmeal Pancakes

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here

Episode 105 Thanksgiving Basics

Many of us will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. For some, it will be their first time cooking Thanksgiving and for most, the gatherings will be smaller than in the past. Today’s episode goes into the basics of planning and executing Thanksgiving dinner.

 

2-3 Weeks before Thanksgiving talk with your family. Ask them what foods are most important.  Focus on what’s most important to your family and let go of the rest. If you family doesn’t care about mashed potatoes or green bean casserole, then don’t feel like you have to make those dishes.

 

In the Feed Your Family Tonight Holiday Planning Guide there is a “Thanksgiving 101” guide. If this is your first time cooking Thanksgiving, this guide will help you avoid rookie mistakes like not allowing enough time for the turkey to thaw or not planning out what times each dish will go in the oven on Thanksgiving Day.

 

2 Weeks before Thanksgiving finalize the time for the gathering, decide what plates, cups, silverware and serving dishes you will use for the meal. Finalize the menu and make two grocery lists. The first list is all the items you can buy the week before Thanksgiving. The second list is the few fresh items you will need to buy early Thanksgiving week.  If you are using a grocery pickup or delivery service, book your time now. Most pickup and delivery services will let you adjust your order up to 24 hours before your scheduled time. The best times will fill up quickly so start your order now.

1 Week before Thanksgiving do your first grocery shopping trip. Start thawing your turkey in the refrigerator according to this schedule.

  • 20-24 pounds: Friday
  • 16-20 pounds: Saturday
  • 12-16 pounds: Sunday
  • 10-12 pound or large turkey breast: Monday
  • 5-7 pound turkey breast: Tuesday

 

A word about turkeys- Most grocery store turkeys (like Butterball) have a salt solution added. It will say on the label broth solution added. You do not want to brine this type of turkey. It will end up too salty and the meat may get an odd texture. Conversely, if you get a “natural” turkey, it is very important to brine it so the meat will retain moisture. You can do a “dry brine” by rubbing salt directly on the meat underneath the skin, or a “wet brine” in a saltwater solution. “Fresh” turkeys are often “super chilled” which means they will take a day or two in the refrigerator before they are ready to roast. There may even be a few ice crystals in the turkey.

Thanksgiving week-

Monday or Tuesday you want to do your final grocery trip. Start prepping any dishes you can. I always have Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes one day for dinner and roast a pan of sweet potatoes for the sweet potato casserole. If you have a separate formal dining room, set the table.

Wednesday- Bake your desserts and get the turkey prepped. You can put it in the roasting pan uncovered in the refrigerator. This will dry out the surface of the skin making it extra crispy when you roast it the next day. If you stuff your turkey, wait until just before roasting to add the stuffing. It is not safe to have the stuffing in the cavity overnight. Make a list of all the tasks you have to do on Thanksgiving Day. Make note of the times each dish needs to go into the oven and the temperature for those dishes. Calculate how long to roast your turkey and add 30 minutes for it to rest before carving.

Thanksgiving Day-

Follow the plan you made for oven usage. Make note of tasks you can give to guests who offer help. Some of my favorite tasks for guests include filling water glasses and lighting candles.

 

Most of all, enjoy your time with your family. Creating a memorable Thanksgiving is possible even if everything isn’t perfect. Use the Feed Your Family Tonight Holiday Planning Guide to help you get organized.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Episode 102 Halloween in 2020

Episode 102 Halloween in 2020

 

Halloween is likely to look different this year. My local community is not doing trick or treating which makes me really sad because my twins are 13 and this likely would have been their last year trick or treating.

2020 is a year my kids will remember and I am working hard as a mom to create good memories in the midst of disappointment. Our family has many Halloween traditions. Some of them we will keep and some we will skip this year.

 

We plan to have our traditional chili and chicken noodle soup dinner. (Odd considering episode 101, but it is our reality.) We will also decorate and share pumpkin cookies.

 

We are considering having an “Easter Egg” hunt with Halloween candy or a scavenger hunt with clues leading from place to place in the house and yard.

 

A big part of Halloween is connecting with your neighbors. Here are a few ideas to build community.

-Show an outdoor movie

-Do a “Ghost Hunt” where neighbors put paper cutouts of ghosts in their windows so kids can walk by and look for the hiding ghosts.

-Do a pumpkin carving contest on your block. Drop off a flyer and 2 flags at each home on your block. Families can “vote” on their favorite carved pumpkin by putting a flag in the yard of their favorite pumpkin.

 

Create new memories by trying to make some of your favorite Halloween Candy. I have not tested these recipes, but it could be a fun activity to do with your kids.

Butterfingers

Marshmallow Peeps

Almond Joy

Peanut Butter Cups

Pay Day

Taffy

Heath Bar

My mother suggested doing old fashioned activities like making caramel apples or popcorn balls.

 

No matter what, the key is to have fun and build memories.

You can find a transcript of this podcast here. 

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Episode 73 Creating Memories with Project Cooking

When I first found out that my children would not be in school the rest of the year, I decided that my goal for this time was to make memories. One way we are making memories in our home is to do “Project Cooking.” These are recipes that take a little extra time and are labor intensive. Last week we made donuts. Today we are making stuffed grape leaves.

Years ago, my husband and I went to a community dinner at a Lebanese Orthodox Cathedral near our home. My husband instantly fell in love with their ethnic foods and asked me to learn how to make them at home. It took years of learning recipes and getting tips from my friends to make excellent Lebanese food. One of our favorite dishes is stuffed grape leaves. Rolling a filling of beef and rice into hundreds of small grape leaves takes a lot of time, but my girls and I enjoy making them.

Do you have family recipes that you want to pass down to your children, or are there ethnic cuisines that you like but have never attempted to make at home? Now may be a good time to make these recipes with your children. You will be building memories that will last. I want my kids to look back on this time and remember the special moments we had working together in the kitchen.

 

Links from this episode can be found here.

Let’s Bake Bread

Facebook Group