Tag Archives: dinner

Sniff and Season

My five year old makes me so proud.

My five year old makes me so proud.

Sniff and season is a very serious task.

Sniff and season is a very serious task.





We live in Northern Michigan and that is never more clear than during the winter. We get a lot of snow, a lot of ice, and now that the twins are in school we get a lot of snow days.

The kids get to stay in their pajamas all day, we get to eat on our natural schedule, the baby can nap when she’s tired. The house gets destroyed every time. It takes weeks to recover from the housekeeping nightmare that is a snow day.

Around lunchtime we always have the food debate. Soup? Sandwiches? Chicken nuggets (again)? Inevitably we can’t all agree, that is the nature of kids. Mine at least. They want something fast and NOW. I want something hot for them, since they eat cold lunch at school every other day of the week.

Today we all decided on fish. Fish is a dish that is either loved by all, or barely touched, depending on the day. So now the kids are in charge of seasoning it every time, this almost guarantees that at least three of the four will eat it. They trust each other’s seasonings more than they trust mine.

It is the same process every time, the only thing that changes is the kid. I pull out all the spices that we have. They open each one, give it a good sniff, and if it smells nice it goes on the fish. We get a nice meal, the kids gets more familiar with spices and how they work together in a dish.

Pierce and Ted are heavy handed with their seasonings, they prefer to mask the taste of the fish as much as possible. Both prefer to stick to old favorites like lemon pepper, garlic, or dill.

Lillian changes it up but is always light on the seasonings. She really gets into the concept of sniff and season. Since she is not putting much of anything on, the seasonings usually end up like a nice light nature’s seasoning. She takes her time, sometimes going back to ones she has passed over.

Today she had a lovely mix that pleased everyone, it is always amazing when one meal is enjoyed by all the members of the family! We don’t write down the fish recipes, it is more fun to do the sniff and season every time. This method keeps us from getting in a seasoning rut. I save ruts for my pot roasts and stews.

In case you don’t want to try the sniff and season method yourself here is the mix she used today:

Sniff and Season Tilapia

1 package frozen tilapia, thawed
1/2 stick salted butter, cut into chunks
Onion powder

Preheat oven to 425

Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray with oil. Place fish on sheet so it is not overlapping. Put the chunks of butter on top of the fish. Lightly season with everything, to your own taste preference.

Bake 12 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.


The three things we learned are
1) How spices work together
2) Sniff and season can take 30 seconds or 30 minutes depending on the kid
3) Mom needs a vacation after a snow day

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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Have Cornish Game Hens, Will Create a Theme

I like to make entire day long themes to make the long winter days more fun for my three preschool children. To help explain this I’m going to take you through my thought processes using *s to indicate internal dialect.

This is your warning. If you don’t want a glimpse into my brain, stop reading now. I admit, it is a scary place.

Last week cornish game hens were on sale, so that automatically put them on this week’s menu plan.

Brad brought them home and I can only assume his thought process went something like this. *geeze our meals are getting weirder and weirder. She knows these are just tiny chickens, right? I wonder if there is a football game on.*

Having never made game hens before I had to bust out my trusty Joy of Cooking book.

*cornish game hen, cornish game hen…here it is. Looks easy, less hen an hour to cook. Ohhhh swedish meatballs yum. I wonder how to cook a whole fish. I don’t have a whole fish. Ooooo I remember going to Medieval Times show in Vegas…we had cornish game hen there. The knights and horses were cool. We ate without forks. There is a fork under the table I need to remember to retrieve.*

I am that scattered. I probably don’t say “ooooo” in my head. I added that for effect.

So I’m thinking about Medieval Times shows and how my kids would love to eat a meal without utensils.

*I could just hack those little birds apart with a big knife. Jousting! The boys would love it. Maybe a bit dangerous. Pillow fights while perched on the rocking horses? Coloring house crests? Crowns!*

I got a bit more thinking in and came up with this fun filled Medieval day for us.

Before lunch we painted crests, during nap time I cut them out and taped them up in the kitchen.

We made up fairy tale stories, Lily’s all included a princess named Lily Belle and Pierce had to have a dragon named Tedzilla.

After naps we made crowns and princess hats by putting stickers, puff balls and sparkle paint on oversized construction paper.

We tried the pillow fights on the rocking horses, but it got too rough. So we switched to racing the horses across the living room. This was fun even though Ted couldn’t rock enough to move his horse. I just pushed him a bit when his opponent wasn’t looking.

Dinner was fun. We wore our hats. We ate our game hens, baked potatoes and broccoli spears with our hands. Everyone was fabulously messy. We laughed uproariously at Pierce’s confusion. Not understanding how to eat his meat without a fork he kept repeating “how do I eat it out? How do I EAT IT OUT?!?”.

*now what? I’m all tapped out on ideas. The castle tent! Ew the carpet over here got peed on. I need a scullery maid. Oh wait, I guess I am the scullery maid*

We set up the tent that is a castle and played prince and princess until it turned into a wrestling match and Tedzilla ripped off everyone’s crowns.

I’m not sure if the kids got any lessons out of the day, or will remember it, but this snowy day was fun regardless. Having a theme is fun, it creates a creative atmosphere, and is a nice change of pace.

I’m looking for other themes to incorporate into our days the rest of the winter. We have a football tent, with Superbowl just around the corner we could do a football theme and serve hot wings and (root) beer. Or a day of fishing in the bathtub followed by a baked fish dinner. My Facebook friends suggested a color theme, or an international day. I’d love to hear your ideas! *shamelessy use and pass off as my own*

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


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