Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole

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I’m trying to work more quinoa into my toddler’s diet, but when I prepare it plain she just makes a mess with it. This creamy casserole dish is a flavorful way to introduce the food to your little one. For the soup, look for a nice base like a smooth corn, broccoli, or leek soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy soup
  • 1/2 cup shredded non-dairy cheddar
  • 1 small bunch broccoli
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  1. Heat the soup in a saucepan over medium heat, until warm. Stir in the cheese and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into tiny florets and steam until tender.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the soup mixture, broccoli, and cooked quinoa. Let cool slightly before serving.

Playing House

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Got leftover huge boxes from Christmas presents? Turn them into a play house for a day or two before you head out to the recycle bin!

Of course you can play this game any time of the year, but chances are your biggest boxes are arriving right about now.

In one of our largest, I cut a rectangle large enough for Veronika to scoot through.

Play House (1)

To make the “house” extra fun, I slotted through Veronika’s play tunnel, making for a house that she could enter and exit in multiple ways.

Play House (2)

You can add adornment with crayons or paints, if desired. I drew on a window, but Veronika was more interested in crawling through than drawing!

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Play houses like this can go from very basic to the very elaborate. Even one as simple as a box and a tunnel kept my toddler happy for ages today.

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Gift Your Child an Ornament Every Year

Ornament Year (2)

There are some households where the Christmas tree is color-coordinated or bears a different theme each year. Not so in our house! Our tree is a hodgepodge of homemade and heirlooms and ones we’ve randomly picked up over the years. But here is one nice thing that lends tradition to the tree: making sure to gift each child a special ornament every year.

This goes back to both my kids’ first Christmas, when they received one as a commemorative gift.

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Moving forward, we’ve picked one up each year in relation to a holiday excursion. There’s the train from a trip to a holiday train show, for example…

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…and this year Travis loved selecting owls from a trip to see holiday lights at a botanical garden.

Ornament Year (1)

This is definitely one of those traditions I intend to keep up, moving forward. How do your kids like to decorate the tree? Please share in the comments!

 

Cinnamon Orange Candied Pecans

Orange Pecans (2)

We have a tradition in our household that goes back to my childhood, of “elf visits” on Christmas Eve day. This is a chance to stop by and visit with neighbors and friends, bearing a sweet treat and often receiving one in exchange.

This year, we put together bags of these candied pecans. Kids will love helping to juice the orange and stir everything together for this quick recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small orange
  • 4 cups pecans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. Juice the orange over a bowl. Add the pecans and the remaining ingredients, stirring to coat.
  2. Spoon the nuts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, stirring about halfway through.

Orange Pecans (3)