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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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