Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Food Post's

Blog Post's relating to food =)

#8 FEED the People: in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

This is the 8th in a series about teaching school with lots of kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about.  These 10 things would have revolutionized my life, had I done them all from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

#8 FEED the people

     One of the things I get asked about a lot is food.  It's a valid question for sure!  With a family of 12, we go through a lot of food.  For some reason, all these children want to eat!  3 meals a day at that!  This becomes very time consuming when thrown into the daily grind of house and school.

     We spend about $750 a month on just food.  I keep cost down by making as much as I can by hand.  This means our food budget can stay lower but we have to put more time into these things.
sour dough bread
   We make pretty much all bread items from scratch (no bread machine and many of the items are sourdough), yogurt, many broths, some meals to put in the freezer... sometimes (honestly I don't have time for a ton of that and most freezer meals don't reheat well when made in the quantities I need).  We freeze berries we collect all summer and harvest tons from our garden and fruit trees in order to can and freeze.  These things keep our cost way down, but it does mean that we do a lot of "home ec." September and October, and we have to have at least one day a week set aside for bread baking.  I will talk more about these things in a future post.  The point of THIS POST is in how we actually feed all these kids in an orderly fashion, without too much mess, 3 times a day.

cinnamon rolls
     We begin: it helps to have as much as I can already made... like bread items.  It also helps to use my crock pot as much as I can.  For hot meals in the morning, I'd rather go the crock pot route the night before.  We do eat a lot of eggs but only because we have chickens.  We do not do boxed anything.  Not cereals, not dinner items, no pre made rice or packaged mac and cheese.  About the only thing we buy "pre-made" is handy items like spaghetti sauce, noodles,  pancake batter (and that is only because my husband prefers in (currently) as he makes pancakes on the weekends), sometimes granola bars, you know... that kind of stuff.
finger veggie mix for the fridge
     I will take some time to cut up finger veggies and put them in a large tupperware container so that we have cut veggies for lunches all week.  My two older girls make a HUGE amount of muffins 1x a week or so that we freeze and pull out as needed (along with the other bread items).  If we have a lot of eggs, hardboil and peel a bunch!   You know, just think about what you go to the most and pre-make as much as you can to make things easier!

  Another thing I do to save on monthly cost and to make things faster is I "flip" a lot of meals.  I can make 2 roast chickens from costco give me 3-4 meals... for 12 people! (with stuff added to it of course)

     I digress... back to the main point:  I have learned that if I do not keep the meals simple for breakfast and lunch, then our homeschool day can quickly be swallowed up in food prep, cooking, and cleaning.  We keep things pretty healthy, my kids eat all their "greens" (veggies) and they eat what they are served... period!

     For this post, I have tried to include our more predominate meals and my hope is to come through and do some picture tutorials on some of them as well.  Hope you all enjoy!

  Lets start with breakfast.  Now remember, all bread items are already made and just have to be pulled from the cupboard or freezer.  All meals include fruit and are usually on napkins or paper plates, unless they need "real dishes":
Morning "kitchen helper's" on
the chore chart, making breakfast.

This Guy is happy to eat!

Here is a list of breakfast items we have often.

  1. Overnight crock pot oatmeal (tons of different "kinds")
  2. Overnight crock pot french toast
  3. Overnight crock pot sweet bread
  4. Muffins/fruit/nuts
  5. Yogurt/fruit/nuts
  6. Eggs: scrambled, in burritos, fried, on english muffins, hard boiled etc.
  7. Cinnamon rolls/fruit/nuts
  8. Banana bread
  9. Raisin bread
  10. Pumpkin bread
  11. Pie.  Yes pie!  It is not below me to pull out a pie crust and fill it with canned fruit with a topping of crushed nuts.  I might even layer it with some yogurt.  Don't judge me, it's delish!
  12. Smoothies with some type of bread/muffin
  13. Every once in a blue moon, home made "cereal" and milk.
  14. Rice cereal
  15. Toast with something on it, with fruit/nuts
  16. Yogurt parfaits
  17. Pancakes
  18. Waffles
  19. Muffin Quiche 
  20. bagles
  21. breakfast pizza
  22. Breakfast salad.  Usually chopped up cabbage and other greens mixed into a happy greek yogurt.  Very yum!
b-fast salad
pumpkin muffins
Whew!  Most of this stuff can be made ahead of time and frozen, can go in the crock pot over night, or be whipped together within 20 minutes or less in the morning.  Clean up is pretty easy and with kids using the chore system, clean up goes fast.  Even if I didn't have an older kid cleaning crew, all of this stuff would be easy for me to whip out right before I got littles out of bed and I could clean up pretty quickly, by myself.

Lunches ;)  everything includes fruits and veggies even if they are not mentioned.  And yes, my kids eat all their "greens" (this is all veggies).  I still only use paper plates or napkins unless I need real dishes:

parfait cups for lunch

Pizza rolls

  1. Tortillia roll ups: this might be like pb and J but rolled into a tortillia, peanut butter/banana/celery,  or a sandwhich wrap.
  2. "Lunch boats".  This is like home made chicken salad scooped into romaine leaves.
  3. Parfait lunch cups.  Ummm...anything that goes in a cup
  4. Open face sandwiches.  Could be pb and j or meat and cheese stuff.
  5. Popcorn lunch:  popcorn, slice cheese, lunch meat, fruit, veggies, spoon with peanut butter on it, nuts ect, ect,... like a "lunchable"; it has a little bit of everything!
  6. Soup.  Man alive but I can feed these kids for days on different soups and bread!
  7. Bean and cheesers.
  8. Nachos
  9. Home made pizza on pizza crust or sliced bread or "pizza casserole" and we make many different "kinds" of pizza.
  10. Tuna melts
  11. Pasta salad
  12. pasta in general
  13. Ummm... bread anything.  Meat and cheese drop biscuits, bread with stuff spread on it, bread with stuff melted on it, bread baked with things in it (think calzone).  Did I mention bread?
  14. Corn dogs (ok, this one I buy and don't make from scratch)
  15. Hotdog rolled up in a tortillia
  16. Anything from the breakfast list =)
  17. Dinner leftovers
  18. Salads
  19. Anything I can throw in a large cup and send them outside with.... kinda like #4
  20. Stir fry stuff (this is usually a left over thing that gets flipped into a stir fry)
  21. Rice and beans... beans and rice =)
Dinner time now!

I will list just a few since dinners are usually more involved and its after school hours.  Plus, eventually I will write a more informative food post =)  I use bread as a "filler" with most dinners and always have a side veggie or salad as well.

personal pizzas for dinner
  1. Pasta of various kinds both as hot and cold dishes.
  2. Tacos.  
  3. Salads with meat on them.
  4. Soups
  5. Stews
  6. Pizza
  7. Chicken that gets turned into 3 or more meals
  8. Ham that then gets turned into another 3 or more meals
  9. Baked potatoes with stuff
  10. Every meal is a main "something something" with salad or side veggies and bread (usually sourdough sliced)
  What about snacks??? 

     Yah... we just don't.  The only exception wold be if we are having a really active day like swimming or hiking or... a beach day.  That constitutes NEEDING a snack.  When we are at home though, we just do not snack.  I can't afford it and they really do not need it!  If I had kids 3 and under in my home I would give them a snack between getting up from naps and dinner.  I have found if kids snack all day long they 1)eat you out of house and home BUT only on the "goodies" and 2) they don't eat their dinner.  They do have access to their water bottles all day long =)  When we do have snacks, its stuff like fruits, veggies, trail mix, muffins,  bread (lol).  Every now and then I  might have pretzels.  Like I have stated, we don't do boxed things.


     Okay, so don't judge me for using paper!  My dishwasher can only run so many times a day and we can not be backed up in the kitchen; we would get nothing done!  Dinner is pretty much always on real dinnerware and we run a load in the DW after dinner at night.  Breakfast and lunches are normally paper plates or napkins.  If I need to use real stuff, like for oatmeal, then I do.  Between breakfast and lunch we usually run one more DW load.  It all depends on what we had for Bfast and lunch =)

CUPS?  I love the land of sippy cups so as my kids got older I got them water bottles!  Everyone has their own and that is what they use everyday, all day, and that's it.  If they knock it over, it doesn't spill.  If we are going somewhere I can grab the basket of water bottles and take it with.  I don't have to wash 2 million cups everyday.  It's a beautiful system!  Water bottle live in the basket.  Not on the counter, in their room, outside, you get the point.  In the summer I put the basket on the porch so they have easy access all day long =)  We pretty much ONLY DRINK WATER.  I don't give out juice or milk to drink unless it's a special treat.  When I do though, they get it in a regular cup ;)

Did you just say your kids do not drink milk (GASP!)

     Why yes, yes you did.  All the great stuff in milk is also found in other dairy and in other foods.  My kids eat plenty of yogurt and cheese.  They eat dino kale and other nutrient rich greens and plenty of other fruits and veggies.  Milk is not the end all to health and my kids are not lacking!  Besides, we can not afford to have everyone drinking milk all the day long.  


     Well..... At this point in my life, it's a real joint effort between the kids and I.  I do most of the dinners with help from various children.  The kids do most of the other meals.  We all pitch in on food prep stuff as needed.  The older girls do most of the bread baking items.
     Of course, before my oldest was 11, it was just me.  I did it all and I did it as I had time and I prolly did even more because my family was small enough that things like freezer meals still worked.
F was about 13 here.  Making muffins.
You JUST HAVE TO MAKE THE TIME TO DO IT!  There is no trick to getting it done, you just have to get it done!  Sometimes that meant not taking a nap, or staying up a little later, or taking a whole saturday to cook and food prep.
    Don't underestimate your childrens abilities either!  My oldest was 11 when she started doing breakfast on her own.  She would get up at 7 and make muffins and/or other breakfast items for everyone while I nursed the baby.  I really could have had her helping me in that way much younger.  I know my current 8 year old boy could totally do it right now!  I just didn't know that I could have her doing stuff then and I didn't know it was OKAY to have her doing stuff!  Remember this is part of training them to be adults!  Start young!!!!
     As far as clean up goes, well the kids do that thanks to my CHORE SYSTEM, and if you do not have older kids yet- read it anyway!  Training starts early!

QUESTIONS?????  Please ask in the comments so I can answer! =)


So, this is pretty easy.  I will forewarn you though, I do not measure =)


  • crock pot
  • oats
  • applesauce or canned fruit (but you could skip this- it just makes it more yummy)
  • raisins or craisins or berries or nuts, if you want
  • spices like cinnamon,  pie spices, ect
  • vanilla
  • sugar if needed (if using applesauce or canned fruit you may not need any)

  • Dump in your fruit, spices, and any other add ins, like nuts or raisins.
  • If you are doing something like peaches, you will want to take some food scissors and cut them up smaller.
  • pour in a dash of vanilla


Dump in a bunch of oats.  You really can't go wrong here.  Just don't fill it all the way up!
(DO NOT add water before oats.  Always oats first)

ADD Water until the Oats are covered and then stir!
You want the  Oats "stew like"  if its too "soupy" add some more oats.  If too "chunky" add some more water =)

Taste the liquid and if its not sweet enough, add some sweetner =)

Before you go to bed, turn your crock pot on the lowest setting.  On my Crock Pot, That is WARM.


Put the lid on it and let it do its thing.  You will be ready to eat this yumminess in the morning!

(I usually turn my CP on warm around 10 p.m.  we eat it when we are ready in the morning.  7 am if we have to be out of the house but more like 9 on a regular day)

That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on "FEED the people"!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are: