Jamaican Mommies by Shanoy Coombs: From Jamaica; for the world


Fun Summer Food for Kids

It’s summer!! and in the midst of the scorching sun, the saving grace of the sea and the serenity of being on sand, many mums who have not gone the summer school route have a bit more time on hand to spend with our often too picky, too complain-ey and too melodramatic children. As with all things parenting where we have to pull on the creative caps (such as outdoor fun), meal preparations this summer demands that it not only LOOKS like fun but tastes great too.

This realization hit as I was about to prepare yet another Peanut Butter sandwich, another boiled egg, another macaroni and cheese salad, another pink, white or brown bowl of porridge and another same old slices of cucumber as someone has suddenly developed very specific, very non-meat eating dietary patterns, so it got me  web searching for fun foods for kids.

As a DIY Mama, I was thrilled with what I saw and was even more thrilled that many of the recipes allowed for use of local produce.  With way too many options, I am choosing some basics that require ingredients moms in Jamaica and the diaspora are likely to have:

1. I literally let out a little squeal about the cuteness that this lady bug sandwich  with lunch meat, cheddar, and lettuce and without a method it looks like a round cutter or food punch was used for the holes;  a blob of cream cheese or mayo, a little food colour/bits of raisin for the eyes) so it seems like a super easy DIY treat.

Image via Susanyuen’s blog
2. Baby girl loves her some hard boiled eggs and this cute little chicken fiesta will no doubt  be a majorrr treat.  I can already hear her voice “Mommy please make me eggs everyday”.  Without a recipe, if I were to guess I’d say the boiled egg yolk may have been removed and added to a piping bag to form the ripply effect when it is being squeezed back in and it looks like little bits of cheese form the beaks and dark food colouring or bits of raisins could round out the eyes.
Image via colourfully.eu

3. We know our kiddies don’t always love their fruits and veggies, so the creative cat approach will certainly be appreciated.  I loved this fruitilicious tree for several reasons: 1. It is so representative of Jamaica’s many coconut trees 2. It’s super easy to make 3. With our emphasis on buying local and supporting our farmers, the Green Kiwi leaves can easily be replaced with Mango slices (with the green skin still on) or even Juneplum slices 4. The other fruits used are always so accessible and even if we are short on tangerines, orange slices can be a tasty substitute.

Image via ShaneshirleySmith
4. Now what kid doesn’t love Ice Cream all day everyday? This Cheese Sandwich/Waffle camouflage is a win! Mommy blogger over at Kitchen Fun with my sons listed these too easy instructions. (You can use a cherry in place of the strawberry as that may be more accessible in Jamaica)

We used 2 pieces of wheat bread, cheese, butter, 1 banana, and 1 strawberry.

We cut the corners off of the bread to shape it like a cone. Save the scraps. We buttered our bread and placed our cheese in between to fit on the bread. Grill it up and place on the plate. Take the crust off of the scraps and pinch off pieces of it to cross on top of the bread. You can skip this, but we thought it looked more like a cone that way.

Take 1 banana and slice it. Pile the slices on the top edge of the bread to look like ice cream. Take a strawberry and cut it to look like a cherry.

Image via kitchen fun with my sons blog
5. Kids and Macaroni and Sphagetti often get off to a very good start.  However if your toddler is anything like mine, there comes a time when even the ‘bestest’ thing ever is discarded with a simple “I don’t like it any more”.  This often means that it is time to give one last run to see if it really isn’t liked any more or you just need to score more on the creative cat meter. So enter The Fun egg nest. 
Image via The art of Nutrition 

Our mum by the Art of Nutrition shared these very easy steps:

Recipe: A boiled egg per person; Wholemeal spaghetti (love the healthy twist); Sauce (I made a simple, hearty tomato and fresh herb); Veggies (I served with peas, broccoli, corn and baby spinach)

Method: Cook pasta and add sauce; wrap Spaghetti around, make a hole for the eggs to perch in and Place veggies around the side for foliage (N.B. Get creative with any veggies on hand)
Jmommies tip: You can also give ‘same old’ macaroni or spaghetti a new appeal by adding safe food colour and making a rainbow pasta meal.

6. Watermelon/ other fruit Popsicles Win!!! Do I need to even say why?! Pop on outside of your home for a bit, feel that heat then you will agree. Besides what a great way to replace the many requests for lollipops with these cool, healthy popsicle look-a-like treat. It’s super easy too: Grab a food cutter and some fruits, cut assorted shapes, Place on the sticks and freeze & imagine with me just how welcomed they will be in this heat.

Image via My Kid Craft

Image Via Flickr
7. But what of heavier meals you say? has you child suddenly started to dislike the taste of rice? How about a little bit of colour and some cookie cutter skills>> Meet Starry Night Bites. With great artistic flair, spread rice on your plate and use a cookie cutter to cut star and moon shapes out of cheese slices. Picture perfect!
Image via Parenting.com

8. And we couldn’t leave you hanging without fab summer drink options, so meet the “Call in the cool kids” refresher!

Image via Fast drink recipes

Here’s a fun drink idea for the kids… adults feel free to add vodka for a fun Magic Potion color changing cocktail! All you have to do is freeze ice cubes with different colored/flavored Kool-Aid, then add them to a glass of Sprite or sparkling water. Serve these to the kiddos who will love watching the color of their drink change as the ice cubes melt!

9. Sugar Rush Alert!! Not our healthiest option on the list we admit, but it is such a cool idea we had to share.  So administer in small doses followed by a water rush 🙂
Meet Cotton Candy Fizz- Grab a can of Sprite and a bag of cotton candy (Multiple bags for multiple colours) 
Image via Easybaked.net

  • Pour Sprite into a clear glass or cup (about 2/3 full) 

  • Drop a piece of cotton candy into the Sprite and smile as it fizzes and turned your Sprite colors. 

  • Combine colors to make your soda unique!

Jmommies Tip: Serve it up with cool straws, mini umbrellas and keep a pitcher of fruit infused water on standby.

10. Now we had to round off with another healthy treat- Summer Smoothies!!

Image via Raw Food Mum
The best thing about smoothies is that you get to experiment with the many tropical fruits in Jamaica.  A good place to start is to identify your kids favourite fruits and add about 3-5 pieces of those, enough to make it nice and sweet; almond milk or water proves to be one of the safer bases when considering lactose intolerance  and to make it super creamy toss in some plain yogurt and have fun.  See this  list of Smoothie Recipes for Kids and get cracking.  Remember you can always mix and match and find suitable alternatives in the event a listed ingredient is not available. 
Whew! Are you hungry yet? How about trying one of these neat food ideas this summer? The look on your child’s face and that “You are the best mommy ever” may actually be just the picker-upper that you need, even as your child enjoys a new spin on old favourites! So what are you waiting for?! Go go go and when you are done and need another  fun summer activity to do, remember Jamaica is packed with interesting places to go for the summer with kids.

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Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson
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