Saturday, June 10, 2023

At a loss: Kid-tested and approved recipes for the frustrated mom!

Bailey Woodean
Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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As a mom, I get endlessly frustrated just trying to get my son to eat. He is at a stage of toddlerhood where he enjoys a wide range of foods but he is picky about what he likes and when. For example, my son loves carrots. Loves them! But, for whatever reason, he turns them down occasionally and acts as though he dislikes them. Many days I feel like I fail to feed him properly, no matter how hard I try. So, I began keeping track of the things that were nearly foolproof! Nearly being the keyword here.

Instant oatmeal packet cookies

(thanks to
Instant oatmeal packet cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 6 packets flavored instant oatmeal (can use all one flavor, or different combinations)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of raisins or nuts (optional)
Instant oatmeal packet cookies
Instant oatmeal packet cookies
Instant oatmeal packet cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat softened butter with the white sugar and brown butter until smooth and creamy, then beat in the milk and egg until smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  4. Gently mix in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until evenly blended.
  5. Mix in the nuts or raisins (if using).
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets, flattening the tops of the cookie dough until they’re about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are light brown and crispy on the edges. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. After baking the first two batches of cookies on baking pans, I decided to try scooping the batter into muffin tins in an attempt to keep them from flattening out. Not only did they keep from flattening out, they also came out softer.
Instant oatmeal packet cookies

Waffles and breakfast sausage

(thanks to Aunt Jemima and my own additions)
  • 2 cups of Aunt Jemima mix
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • ⅓ cup of oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1-3 drops of almond oil extract (optional)
  1. Heat waffle iron
  2. Combine mix, water, oil, cinnamon, and extract
  3. Mix until large lumps are gone
  4. Allow batter to rest 4-5 minutes
  5. Pour desired amount of batter into the iron
  6. Bake until steam stops or waffle is done

After making the waffles, we like to top them with crunchy peanut butter and natural syrup. We usually pair our waffles with maple breakfast sausage links, they are my son’s favorite!

Hotdogs and homemade potato chips

Hotdogs and homemade potato chips

  • Hotdog (either turkey dogs or beef)
  • Hotdog bun
  • About 6 small potatoes
  • Ketchup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and other spices to taste
homemade potato chips
  1. Clean potatoes and slice them into potato chip rings
  2. Put them in a bowl with olive oil and seasonings to taste, toss to combine
  3. Cook in air fryer for about 25 minutes, stopping to shake occasionally
  4. Cook hotdog according to package instructions
  5. Prepare hot dog bun with ketchup
  6. Plate potato chips and set hotdog in bun
homemade potato chips

My son loves each of these foods, together and separately. Though I can’t be surprised when he chooses to only eat the hot dog bun during one of his “picky” days.


 Chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries

(thanks to
  • 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-large or 3 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper so the fries don’t get stuck to the pans.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into fry-shaped pieces
  4. Transfer half of the uncooked fries to one baking sheet, and the other half to the other baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle the sweet potato fries with the cornstarch (use 1 ½ teaspoons per pan) and salt (¼ teaspoon per pan).
  6. Toss until the fries are lightly coated in powder.
  7. Drizzle the olive oil over the fries (1 tablespoon per pan) and toss until the fries are lightly and evenly coated in oil, and no powdery spots remain (use your fingers to rub visible cornstarch into the fries as necessary).
  8. Arrange your fries in a single layer and don’t overcrowd; otherwise, they will never crisp up.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the fries so they can cook on all sides. Return the pan to the oven, swapping their positions (former top pan goes to the lower rack and vice versa).
  10. Bake for 10 to 18 more minutes, or until the fries are crispy.
  11. Serve warm!

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