Yep, sneaky little thing, the fall to chaos. And then you're back dealing with the same old stuff you're dealing with during the school year: the repetitive dinner dishes, kids want to "help," but you have very little time to shop or prepare, and everyone's food allergies and disparate tastes exacerbate the situation. Time for a change of pace.
First, get everyone back into a routine by making sure they understand their daily roles and responsibilities. I am a true believer in incentives. I found this website called Kidspointz where you can assign each child tasks/responsibilities/chores using a points and rewards system. Kids can help develop their online charts, along with the rewards they are coveting (right now, the kids are really into computer time, online game subscriptions, special outings, etc). We are into week two and beds are still made, daily reading time is still observed, and whining is down to a minimum. Eventually their responsibilities will be habit and their rewards will come naturally--that's the hope, anyway.
As for the perpetual question, "What's for dinner?" we recently tried a simple recipe for fish tacos with much success. The kids were able to help, the bulk of it can be made in advance, and the use of frozen fish sticks buys me an extra day or two between grocery store visits.
As for the mayonnaise, for this recipe we tried Nasoya Vegan Nayonaise. It seemed to separate a bit in the jar and had a yellowish tinge, but when we made the coleslaw dressing, it was smooth as silk.
For picky eaters, try a plainer coleslaw (my 8-year-old swears by just cabbage, sugar, salt, pepper, apples, and raisins), and try creating a plate instead of putting it together into a taco. Your kids might surprise you by piling everything together anyway (see exhibit A below). Have the kids help you cook, or try adding in a favorite ingredient to make trying something new a bit easier. I also added a bit more sugar to taste, and substituted apple cider vinegar for the red wine vinegar.
|"Exhibit A:" She started off with everything separate, but quickly moved on to a taco.|
Coleslaw, adapted from Tyler Florence's Ultimate Coleslaw Recipe
1 cup mayonnaise, like Nasoya Vegan Nayonaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 store-bought bag of shredded green cabbage (8 oz)
1 store-bought bag or shredded red cabbage (8 oz)
Fish sticks (like Trader Joe's Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks Reduced Fat)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1. Pre-heat oven and pop the fish sticks in to bake on a foil-lined baking pan. Bake as directed on box.
2. Make the coleslaw by combining all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl, then tossing it with the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pan fry the corn tortillas and set aside for serving.
4. Allow kids to assemble the tacos and enjoy!