Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ways to make Father's Day personal and fun for him and the kids, without breaking your budget!

Everyone typically thinks of Father's day as gifts, ties, golf tees, etc. Most of my fav bloggers even have the cards, and crafts covered, some I'll share with you on my Facebook page here in a bit.

In a blue collar home, where money is tight and the “man of the house” may not even consider playing golf, nor has a job that requires a tie, the day and the gifts tend to be a little more low key and a bit more personal. Mostly, it's a day filled with fun foods and personal things like, the cards and crafts from my fav blogs,  movie mania. Movie mania is when the boys would spend several hours, if not most of the day, devoted to their dad's fav movies (G  or PG rated of course!). Dad hike, where the boys would go on an outdoor adventure or hike with their dad and pretend that the neighborhood was full of pirates or they were hunting for treasure. They would have wrestling matches with their dad, etc. The day always involves the kiddos and their dad, because without them, he wouldn't be a dad. Right?! :)

I polled the boys today about what were some of their fav things we'd done over the years for their father and am going to share them with you! Naturally, since they are boys, most if not all of them had to do with food! :D Besides, getting your children involved in the kitchen is always a great way to spend quality time together, gets them invested in their own food, which in turn makes them more apt to eat the food being made and truthfully it's just fun. Some if not all, you may have already thought of but, we're going to share them anyway!

First up is breakfast, if you want dad to have a great day, the best way to start out is with a fantastic breakfast! (I don't have pics of everything that they've done over the years but, I'll find some that are close to it!)

Personal Pancakes:
The fastest one is pancakes! Even if you're not a “make them from scratch” kind of person and use the premixed stuff from a box. The easiest way to personalize this easy breakfast is to add flavor. Does dad like apple cinnamon? Instead of using water, throw in apple juice and cinnamon. You can use apple sauce but, it will often times make your pancakes really thick, so keep that in mind if you opt to use it. If he's a banana bread kind of guy throw in mashed bananas (obviously a very ripe banana!). If you have leftover flavoring syrup, like the vanilla you use in cookies, you can throw those in too! A tsp or so of coconut flavoring or whatever you have on hand, can lend a personal and yummy touch to pancakes. For example, one year I had no mint leaves or crushed mint on hand, so I put in some mint flavoring and the leftover chocolate chips. Those pancakes went over extremely well! For fun, I do this for the holidays even, you can add food coloring. Is dad a Packers fan? Divide your batch and make one yellow and one green! The boys love doing this.

Want to involve the toddlers and preschoolers even more than just mixing the ingredients? Take out those old cookie cutters, even if they're for specific themed holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Let the kiddos have a go and they will revel in the fun!
 This was taken from my Christmas post but, you get the idea.

Again, this comes down to making it your dad's fav flavors. Got some milk and again the flavored syrup? You can make your own coffee flavoring this way. Add a bit of whatever flavor you have like Coconut, Hazelnut, etc. and a splash of milk. Even mint and chocolate milk if that's all you have can make a nice cup of coffee for a loved one!

French Toast:
I LOVE french toast but, truth be told for years was intimidated by making it. Why you ask, because lets face it, who doesn't like french toast?!?! It's fairly simple though. About one egg per slice of bread you're going to use (and this is great with bread that might be starting to get a little dry. You know those ones at the end of the loaf? Perfect for this!). Add vanilla, a little splash of milk, cinnamon and even a bit of sugar to the mix. Mix together and drop your bread in. I always drop a dollop or pat of butter to the pan (Even if it's non-stick) and lay the egg soaked bread on top. Helps it to caramelize nicely. Want jobs for the kiddos? Get out those cookie cutters again and let them go to town before adding the toppings or just have the kiddos top with your choice of a butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar and even your regular sugar if its all you have on hand. It's still delicious.

The everything or whatever you got omelet:
Not a french toast fan, and no pancake mix in sight? How about an omelet? They're perfect for any meal and you can put just about anything in them! Leftover burgers from the night before, extra brats, sausage or chicken. The kiddos even made their dad a hot dog omelet one year and truth was, it wasn't half bad! You can throw in whatever veggie you want, whatever spices you want, etc. It's really something you can't mess up. Heck, even if your omelet ends up scrambled eggs, they're still good! It's also a very easy food to teach the older kids to make.

Every time I think of what kind of food makes a blue collar worker happy, I can't help it, I think of pubs or bar food! Wings, nachos, burgers, onion rings, you know the kind of thing you can use one hand to eat! :D I think that's a man thing.

So, to top my list I got this recipe from a friend and even I surprisingly liked it!
Beef Nacho Casserole

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-1/2 cups chunky salsa
  • 1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 3/4 cup creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 cups Colby cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring to crumble, until evenly browned. Drain grease. Remove from the heat, and stir the salsa, corn, salad dressing and chili powder into the beef. In a 2 quart casserole dish, layer the ground beef mixture, tortilla chips and cheese twice, ending with cheese on top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes uncovered, in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and dish is thoroughly heated.

One of the boys' fav boy foods is our
Allergy free onion rings.
Rice milk
rice flour
1 onion slice into ¼” slices

Simply, slice your onion. Soak in rice milk and then into the rice flour. I usually do this a couple times and then into a hot fryer or pan with hot grease. You need to have at least a few inches of grease in a saucepan to allow the rings enough space to cook evenly and NOT touch the bottom. Once they are golden brown, remove to a paper towel lined plate to allow the excess grease to drain and the rings to cool. Salt and pepper if you wish and then eat.

These make some of the crispiest onion rings ever and they taste amazing!
Again, burgers always come up this time of year. You really can't mess a burger up. Top with fried, sauteed or even fresh onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, blue cheese, regular cheese, pepper jack, etc. You can include a nice sized pickle on the side or in our case the boys love to put those little, whole, dill pickles to the side.

With a burger, you can actually put things inside, which I know I've said, over and over again. So, if your dad like mushrooms, onions and pepperjack, throw them in a bowl with your raw meat and mix together before making the patties, along with your choice of seasoning or salt and pepper. Wash your hands well afterward though.

One of the boys' dad's fav was always :
Tuna Salad in a Tomato Bowl. 
Easy as anything and I know most of us have done it, seen it or heard of it.
Just mix together a can or pouch of tuna, your choice of miracle whip or mayo, some salt and pepper, relish even if that's to your liking.
Hollow out a nice, ripe, decent sized tomato. Put tuna salad mix into the center and top with a bit of Mrs. Dash's lemon pepper seasoning and serve. Every time I've given this to someone, they go nuts and devour it!
*Here's a hint, even when making a regular tuna salad sandwich, just adding the lemon pepper seasoning is a HUGE success!

One of the boys' fav things to make is hot turkey and Daiya cheese sandwiches. You can obviously do this with any lunch meat and brand of cheese though. Just do like a grilled cheese only you slap some lunch meat on one side (always put at least 3 slices of the deli sliced meat) and cheese on the other. As silly and simple as it's seems to do a hot lunchmeat sandwich, you'd be surprised how often no one thinks of it!

Extra spaghetti and meatballs from dinner left? Throw it on a toasted bun or even toasted bread and you've got a meatball sandwich!

There is also the ever classic, BLT sandwich! Always a hit but, if you've no bacon, even leftover chicken (just shred up) or leftover hamburger/turkey burger, etc. Get crafty and use what you have lying around. To make it fun for the kiddos, they have those sandwich cutters that make the kids' sandwiches all sorts of fun shapes, let them pick one out and cut their dad's sandwich.

There really is no end to the things you can make dad to make his day an unforgettable day, without breaking the bank or your budget. Just get creative and use what you've got around the house and to make the day just as fun for the kids, the best thing I can tell you is to think like a kid! I hope you all have a great weekend!

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