PLANE RIDES WITH KIDS

Let me start off by saying that I did not go into this trip feeling easy breezy. I love my children more than anything; they lighten my heart and ask interesting questions and love me unconditionally and say the funniest things but honestly, it is easiest to take a trip without them. Ok? ok. It certainly gets better year by year, but it feels like we are still investing in future trips being better by getting them some experience now. That said, my fondest memories from childhood are trips - camping, drives down to Mexico, weekends away to Palm Springs (all this by car mind you). It was not extravagant or expensive, it was fun to get out of the routine, and I want that for my family, even if it’s hard.

My sister got married in Australia a few weeks ago and I was anxious going into it. Unfortunately, I ride the waves of my kids’ emotions (I’m working on it…), and I knew that them being tired, out of sorts, whiny would pull my overly-sensitive self down with them, so we tried to prepare.

With summer around the corner, I wanted to share a few items we had for the plane, in case you find yourself needing to fill your tool bag sometime soon. At the time of publishing, our daughter is 3 and son nearly 5. The former is a light sleeper, the later loves tv, both are hungry ALL THE TIME so I knew these truths going in. I packed them each a generously filled backpack that had a reusable water bottle, iPad, card games, snacks and two toys from the dollar store I let them pick out a few weeks prior. We also had neck pillows which I’m not sure were necessary because they are so bulky and the plane gives you their flimsy ones anyway which are fine for kids.

The amazon links are affiliated, but all purchases were made by me and I hope you trust I wouldn’t mention it if I didn’t like it.

IPAD APPS

I don’t mind however you feel about screen time, but I believe it has a time and place, and that place is certainly on a 15-hour plane flight. Since everyone has their own screen on a flight that long, the ipads actually lost out to the novelty of their “own tv” but still, having these apps came in handy when we were sitting at restaurants for wedding festivities and such.

Monkey Lunchbox

Daniel Tiger

Duolingo (I have to do this language app with my son, so probs age 5+)

Endless Reader

Starfall

Thomas the Train

GAMES + BITS

Zoob Traveler: If you have a lego loving kid, these were great for keeping my older child busy and they come in an easy-to-pack bag.

Melissa and Doug everything: The tape book, water wow deals and felt pad specifically.

Card Games: Uno, Spot it, Go Fish and Memory

SNACKS

Melatonin Chocolates: I bought these from Good Day. They make a kids version too but it’s the same 1mg dose per chocolate, and the kids eat one and adults eat four so it doesn’t really matter which you buy, just alter the dose. Melatonin is natural and harmless. This from Zarbees is the same dosage and less expensive.

Nut Butter packets: All four of us ate these. I can usually find carrot sticks and apples no matter where we go, and having some nut butter to squeeze on makes those things more exciting for my kids. We buy the ones from Justins or Wildfriends has some. Speaking of, the oatmeal and nut butter packs came in handy too and the plane does have hot water available to cook the oats. Most markets have those on the go deals now.

Cut apples and carrot sticks: These can sit for hours without refrigeration and not get weird. I packed them in reusable bags then was able to reuse these throughout the trip.

Coconut Chips: Trader Joes makes a low sugar one near the trail mix.

New Primal Turkey Sticks: they make kids and adults sizes. You obv can get turkey jerky anywhere, but it was nice to have a protein for them since I brought a lot of carbs and that is what the airline offers them too.

I packed myself a salad on the way over. It was mostly composed of the last bits in the fridge I needed to use up, but if you’re planning ahead: these soba noodles, this salad, or these wraps or oh! or the winter salad from SKCC. I made the kids a turkey and hummus sandwich that got consumed before we even took off but whatever.

Dates, pretzels…yes, my entire personal item was full of food

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FEEDING KIDS : SWEET POTATO + BROWN RICE TOTS

Don’t judge these at first look! I mean, these are hard to take a photo of ok? There is something about this tot recipe that equally makes me roll my eyes a bit and also feel quite proud of myself. I am not above a convenience food for the kids - they love Banza Mac n’ Cheese and all things Dr. Praegers and we do fish sticks and avocado in tortillas for a scrappy fish taco and everyone is happy with those things. BUT! I made a homemade tot! That is exciting and I know ya’ll have been asking for me to populate the feeding babies section with more options. The tricky part with veggie burger type doughs is that eggs, or cheese or breadcrumbs hold those bits together. These have none of those things, but will also need you to treat them gingerly because of it. Be patient, expect to have funny shapes and dirty hands and I think your littles will like these. Do not forget the ketchup and ranch.

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SWEET POTATO + BROWN RICE TOTS

Recipe adapted from the Natural Nurturer

A friend from Cooking Club pointed me towards this recipe and my kids are obsessed. I always have leftover rice and stock sweet potatoes so these are easy to get together. They do not have eggs, breadcrumbs or dairy, which I usually include in my veggie patties so hopefully these help some people whose kids (or selves!) are sensitive to those things. If yours are not, a sprinkle of shredded cheese in here would help them stay together. These don’t have a ton going on, so feel free to add more herbs or spice based on whom you’re feeding.

ingredients

1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice (or quinoa)
1/2 cup steamed and cooled sweet potato flesh, about 1 small
2 Tbsp. flaxmeal
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. brown rice flour, plus more for coating (panko or breadcrumbs work too)
dollop of pesto or chimichurri, optional
fresh parsley
avocado or coconut oil, for cooking


directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the grains, sweet potato, flaxmeal, salt, brown rice flour, dollop of sauce if using and a small handful of fresh chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Pop the bowl in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to chill and firm up.

Heat a generous few tablespoons of oil in your pan (non-stick or seasoned cast iron suggested). Put a bit more brown rice flour in a shallow bowl. Form the sweet potato mixture into tot shapes and roll them in the flour. Your hands will get messy, just rinse between. Add them to the hot oil and continue with the remaining dough. Toast the tots on all sides, shaking the pan around, and remove them to a plate to cool.

Serve the tots with ketchup or ranch. They can be frozen and reheated in the oven at 400’ as needed.

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QUICK ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH EGGS GRIBICHE

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This egg salad recipe existed here a few years back, piled on top of avocado toast. For our Cooking Club menu a couple weeks ago we piled it on top of asparagus and served it with toast. I know it feels lunchy-brunchy, but it’s nice to have something off the mark for dinner. Videos take us awhile to make, but I know they make a recipe feel so much more approachable. Recipes can look like so many words, and then you see it on video and realize cooking is a lot simpler than it looks in recipe format. I know this is ahead for an Easter menu, but maybe log this one away for then.



Directions

Hard boiled eggs: Put the eggs in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water up to a boil, put the cover on, turn off the heat, and let them sit for 10 minutes Drain off the hot water and fill the pot with ice and a splash of water. Let the eggs cool completely, then drain. This can be done a week in advance. 

Preheat the oven to 400’. Lay the trimmed asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 8-10 minutes, though timing will vary on the thickness of your asparagus. Early season bundles are on the thin side, so 10 minutes should be the max, less if you like them snappy. 

For the gribiche: I don’t like my egg salad super yolky, so I remove half of the yolks. Don’t remove all of them! The yolks do help make it rich and delicious. Chop up the hardboiled eggs. 

In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, mayonnaise, olive oil, zest and juice of the lemon, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Add the fresh herbs, chopped eggs and stir to mix. Taste for seasonings. 

Serve a heap of the eggs gribiche over the asparagus. Serve it with fresh toasted bread, or not. 

Ingredients

FOR THE GRIBICHE

6 hard boiled eggs
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp. sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh herbs - some combination of parsley, dill and chives

FOR THE ASPARAGUS

3/4 lb. asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

FOR SERVING

Good quality bread, toasted, for serving


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