Cooking with Charger: Spotlight on Meaningful Mama

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Cooking with Charger:

Spotlight on Meaningful Mama

 

Meaningful Mama_Pic1Jodi Durr is a blogger and mother to three children. Durr’s blog, Meaningful Mama, features a character development series for teaching children through play, discipline and positive reinforcement. Meaningful Mama also offers tips on parenting, crafts and recipes.

 

Recently, Cooking with Charger got to chat with Jodi Durr.

 

 

Cooking with Charger: We love Meaningful Mama! Tell us more about yourself and the blog.

 

Jodi Durr: I believe that parenting is one of the most rewarding yet challenging roles we have. Through all of it, we have been given the largest responsibility of raising the next generation. I want to inspire and equip you to make the most of this amazing position and to do this job well.

Wife of the perfect partner for me. Mother of three. Lover of fun, creativity, cooking, adventure, puzzles, games, family but most importantly Jesus. The heart of Meaningful Mama is the character development series for teaching kids. The icing on the top consists of parenting tips, crafts, recipes, cakes and more. I have a degree in education, but I love being home with my kids…most of the time. There are times I wonder if I’d want a job out of the house because this job is really hard, but I really don’t have a desire to be back in the work force.

 

CWC: What inspired you to create Meaningful Mama?

 

JD: Part of why I started this blog is because I have found parenting more challenging than I ever imagined. I have some great examples in my life, and I still have felt lost. I wondered, if I have these amazing resources in my life, what do people do that don’t have help and advice a phone call away? I wanted to become a source to help those seeking to be better in their parenting. This blog is me living out a bunch of “I should” moments that I was letting pass me by. I needed motivation to be present, and I wanted to inspire others along the way as I learned tools for play, discipline, positive reinforcement, learning and all of the other things involved in being a mom.

 

CWC: Do your children help in the kitchen? Any tips about teaching children to cook you can share with us?

 

JD: I love having my kids help in the kitchen. I have found them especially capable of helping while baking. Being in the kitchen together develops a sense of family, and it is a great space for teaching children. At age 2 my kids were helping me crack eggs, dump and stir ingredients. This teaches them fine motor skills and self control. While the kids grew, we worked on reading while looking at recipes and math as we worked out fractions. Sometimes I would double or half the recipe, so that created even more opportunity for learning. I believe in creating a sensory experience while cooking with kids. Having them smell and identify herbs is one way to do it. Being all in when kneading dough with their hands is another way to experience the sense of touch. My kids help me decorate cakes, which works on self-control and creativity. I’m at at the point, with kids aged 5-9, where they are very helpful in the kitchen rather than it feeling like it’s a bit more work. The time invested in the early years is definitely worth the pay as they get a bit older.

 

Meaningful Mama_Pic2CWC: What’s your favorite go-to recipe and why?

 

JD: My favorite go-to recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law. It is the most requested dish for celebrations at their house and ours. It’s her baked chicken dijon. It is easy to prepare ahead, and everyone loves it. I often make it when I am taking meals to other families. As a person who does cakes, I also have to say that my white velvet cake is amazing! It is a modified cake mix, and it always gets fabulous reviews.

 


CWC: Do you have an anecdote about an unusual experience that inspired a blog post? Please share!

 

JD: I try and be very real in my blog posts. Parenting … life … isn’t always rainbows and roses. I am candid when I’m struggling, and I want to help others when they’re having a tough time too. I often have personal experiences that inspire my blog posts. Often times audience interaction over something I’ve shared or a question someone has inspires a whole new post. I think of “Is Obey the New Four Letter Word?” which was inspired by a variety of Facebook responses. Whenever I discussed or shared a post that talked about teaching kids to obey, the question is often posed, “What are they, dogs?” I enjoy interacting with my audience in a loving way, addressing their own concerns about parenting.

 

CWC: What do you hope to achieve with your blog in the near future? In the long term?

 

JD: My goal at Meaningful Mama has always been to make a difference. Looking at the media lately, life can feel discouraging. Where’s the hope? How do I raise kids in all of this? Will my kids help the next generation look different? I see my blog as a platform I can use to inspire people toward stronger marriages and families. I want to help be a voice that inspires change, so my long term and short term goal is to grow. My audience can help by sharing my content when it inspires them. I also have loved having Meaningful Mama as a creative outlet for me. I love to create recipes, cake designs, crafts, activities and parties that are fun and engaging. I use these vehicles to not only reach my own family but also my readers.

 

CWC: What is your family’s favorite summer activity?

 

JD: We are water people. We love to be out on the water all summer. Whether swimming, boating or just hearing the waves crash around us, most of the summer you’ll see us in the water. We also have an annual trip to Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center that has become a vacation we look forward to every year.

 

CWC: What do you wish other people knew about Meaningful Mama? Is there something that surprises most when they first learn about your blog?

 

JD: I wish people knew my heart for making a difference. Yes, blogging has become a profession, and it’s a way to provide income for my family. However, I want my readers to know that I’m authentic and really care about impacting the world for good. For me, it is more about the impact it inspires in my own home and in the homes of others.

I think what surprises people most is that blogging is actually something that someone can pursue. I think people just have a lot of questions about how blogging can be a career. It’s become such a passion as I work to not only be a better mom but also a better and more effective blogger.

 

Meaningful Mama_Pic3CWC: Here’s a silly one. If you and your family had to be stranded on a deserted island, but all your human needs (such as food and water) were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

 

JD: I’d definitely want a Bible. It’s a guidebook to life, offering hope, love, joy and forgiveness. There’s so much depth to what can be learned from this book, and I want my kids to know it and the God who wrote it.

I’d also bring a deck of cards. We are gamers, and it’s hard to pick one game. A deck of cards would provide a variety of games to keep us occupied for quite some time.

 

CWC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

 

JD: Just be good to one another, People. There’s so much division I see in the news and in families. I just keep thinking, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Do your part to love well and live with integrity. Come alongside my purpose at Meaningful Mama so we can help teach our kids to do the same. 🙂

 

Visit Jodi Durr’s blog at MeaningfulMama.com.

Follow Jodi on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

Watch Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

 

Meaningful Mama_Pic4

 

Cooking with Charger: Quinoa Pizza Bites

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Cooking with Charger: Quinoa Pizza Bites

 

Welcome back to Cooking with Charger! I can’t wait to share this recipe, because it is definitely one of my fave snacks.

 

This one’s a healthy take on pizza bites, and goes with the popular foodie ingredient—quinoa.

 

Get ready for the kiddos’ new go-to snack: Quinoa Pizza Bites…

 

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Ingredients:

(yields approximately 18-20)

— 1½ cups cooked quinoa

— 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup mini pepperonis

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 large egg

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

 

Items:

— Mini muffin tin

Mixing bowl

Marinara sauce

 

extraA

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In bowl, combine and mix all ingredients.

  3. Distribute mixture evenly to each mini muffin section and gently press it down.

  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool in pan for 5 minutes.

  5. Remove from pan and serve with marinara sauce.

 

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An adorable, miniature snack that’s easy for the family to make together. I love how this treat is so customizable; try different variations by adding your favorite pizza toppings.

 

You can’t really go wrong with a healthy version of pizza bites!

 

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to five days, just reheat before serving.

 

Let us know how your Quinoa Pizza Bites tasted in the comments below. Thanks for checking out this Monday’s Cooking with Charger!

 

h/t: Live Well Bake Often

Adult supervision required.

 

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

Cooking with Charger: Breakfast Pops

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Cooking with Charger: Breakfast Pops

Charger here, and I have a new recipe to share with you. My favorite meal of the day is breakfast, so I’m excited to show you how to make it into a snack.

 

That’s right: Breakfast Pops!

 

They’ve got all the right ingredients; they’re healthy, and they’re just plain fun to eat.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get this paw-ty started!

 

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Ingredients:

(yields approximately 6 popsicles)

— 1-2 bananas

— 1 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup dry cereal (your choice!)

1/2 cup milk (Tip: Try a flavor! Strawberry, chocolate, etc.)

 

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Items:

— Mixer

— Popsicle molds

 

Directions:

  1. Mix bananas in the mixer on medium for about one minute until smooth.

  2. Slowly add the yogurt and milk and continue to blend.

  3. Add cereal. To avoid crushing it, stir the mixture by hand.

  4. Pour into popsicle molds.

  5. Freeze for 8 hours until solid.

 

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Test out different combinations of cereals and flavored milk to see which your family loves best.

 

Some pawesome things to keep in mind about this recipe? Greek yogurt has double the protein of regular yogurts. And if you try a flavored milk, children are drawn to the color and still get the same nutrients as regular milk.

 

Tell us how your Breakfast Pops turn out in the comments below. I’ll see you next Monday for more Cooking with Charger!

 

h/t: In Katrina’s Kitchen

 

Adult supervision required.

 

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

Cooking with Charger: Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

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Cooking with Charger: Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

 

Welcome back! Remember me, Charger the Chef Dog? Boy, do I have a treat to start your week off right: homemade fruit roll-ups.

 

I’ve been making these since I was just a pup and not only are they a healthy snack, but they’re also irresistible (like me!).

 

But enough kidding around. Let’s get cookin’…

 

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Ingredients:

— 3 cups of ripe (or slightly over-ripe) diced fruit

— 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (prevents browning in light-colored fruit)

Optional: add 3 tablespoons of honey, sugar, or agave syrup to sweeten

 

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Items:

— Rimmed baking sheet

— Food processor

— Plastic wrap

— Scissors

 

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Prep:

  1. Preheat oven to lowest temperature setting (140°F, depending on the oven).

  2. Line baking sheet with quality plastic wrap. Leave an inch or two of overhang, because plastic wrap may shrink in oven. Tip: Low-quality plastic wrap will melt in the oven. Also avoid foil, parchment, and waxed paper, as fruit will stick to these.

 

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Directions:

  1. Puree diced fruit in food processor until smooth. Taste and add sweetener as needed. If mixture is too thick to pour, add a little water.

  2. Spread mixture on baking sheet evenly, so it is about 1/8″ thick. Avoid spreading to the edges.

  3. Place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake for 6-8 hours, until the center of fruit mixture is no longer tacky. Tip: If edges get too crispy, brush them with a little water while baking to rehydrate the fruit.

  4. Remove from oven and peel fruit mixture off of the plastic wrap while it’s still warm. Either roll it back up in the plastic, or roll up in a sheet of parchment.

  5. Once rolled, using a pair of clean scissors, cut into individual roll-ups. They should stay rolled on their own, but if needed, use tape or a twist tie to keep them bundled. Store in airtight container or freeze.

 

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Experiment with different types of fruit for a variety of textures and flavors. Paw-sonally, I like strawberries and raspberries best.

 

Another great thing about this snack is that there are no artificial preservatives. So help your family get their daily dose of fruit today with this tasty treat.

 

Let us know your favorite homemade fruit roll-up flavors in the comments below, and check in next Monday for another Cooking with Charger recipe!

 

h/t: Our Best Bites

 

Adult supervision required. 

 

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!

 

Cooking with Charger: Sweet Berry Egg Muffins

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Cooking with Charger: Sweet Berry Egg Muffins

 

Hi, Rescue Dogs Movie fans! My name’s Charger, and I’m a chef dog. Every Monday I’ll introduce you to a pawesome new recipe the whole family can make together.

 

First up is a yummy breakfast-inspired dish, which can also be a simple go-to snack. Plus, it’s healthy—and still really, really tasty.

 

Ready? Great! Let’s get started.

 

Ingredients:

— 2 very ripe bananas (the riper, the sweeter the muffins)

 4 eggs (or egg whites/substitute)

— About 1 cup of berries (your choice!)

 

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Items:

— Mini muffin tin

— Mixing bowl

— Cooking spray

— A fork

 

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

  2. Peel bananas. In a mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add in the eggs and whisk the mixture well to combine.

  3. Spray mini muffin tin with the cooking spray. Add a few berries to each section.

  4. Pour (or use a scoop spoon) the banana/egg mixture over the berries to fill each cup section. Tap down the muffin tray to release any air bubbles.

  5. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes.

  6. Allow to cool a bit, remove from the tin, and dig in!

 

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Easy and delicious, right? This flourless, 3-ingredient recipe is low in carbs, fat and sugar, AND is packed with protein and potassium for the little ones to start the day right.

 

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Nutrition:

(per mini muffin — yields 20)

— 28 calories

— 3g carbs

— 1g fat

— 1g protein

 

Share your favorite children-friendly recipe in the comments below, and be sure to come back next Monday for more Cooking with Charger fun!

 

h/t: Mind Over Munch

 

Adult supervision required.

 

Download Rescue Dogs Movie on iTunes today!