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No Family Dinner? That's O.K. with Me!

Not too long ago, I read a headline on Babble that, as the author of a new book called The Family Dinner, really grabbed my attention. I was startled to see a blog post entitled “Why We Don’t Do Family Dinner” and thought to myself what the heck?!? Why would anyone Babble editors included want to promote the concept of NOT doing family dinner?? Don’t they know about all of the benefits of family dinner? How it helps to reduce obesity, drug use, teen promiscuity? How it helps us stay connected to our children?

Then I read the post by Bari Nan Cohen. And I calmed down a bit. Because she gets it. She understands that it’s not necessarily the time of the meal…it’s the ritual of the meal. So since her schedule doesn’t allow for family dinner she has made their regular ritual family breakfast. That meal has become the not-to-be-messed-with meal of the day in her house. It’s the time to connect and see what’s happening in everyone’s day. And on weekends, when school and work aren’t a factor, Shabbat dinners and Sunday dinners are the norm. Bari, like so many parents out there, knows that ultimately, what’s most important, is the connection and talking around the table that matters most.

Honestly, trying to do family meals is not about adding more “should” to your life. We are all crazy busy and overwhelmed. But a ritual, regular meal, whatever time of the day you do it, will make your life better, more manageable and enrich your life as well as your kids. It will actually make your day better because you will
know how everyone is feeling, what they are eating and what they are thinking.

So breakfast, lunch, dinner, after school snack or before bedtime tea…whatever your family ritual, keep doing them! For those of you out there who make breakfast your not-to-mess-with meal, here’s a fabulous “muffilettes” recipe from Kirstin! (They are a special combination of an omelette and a muffin!) And for those of you who have more time on the weekend and like to do a special Sunday brunch this recipe is for you too!

Southwestern breakfast muffilette (fancy word for an omelet muffin)

You need

  • 8 large eggs, gently beaten
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed black beans
  • 1 cup corn fresh or frozen, defrosted
  • 2 Tablespoons mild diced green chiles from a can
  • 1 cup of your favorite shredded melting cheese (cheddar, jack, …)
  • 1 cup diced canadian bacon, or cooked chicken sausage (optional)
  • 1 or 2 scallions finely sliced
  • 1⁄2 Teaspoon salt Black pepper, to taste

To make 12 muffilettes Or about 34 muffelittas (tiny muffin omelets, yep, might be getting to cute now, sorry).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Diligently oil your muffin tins small or large. In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, with the remaining ingredients (you can do this the night before, just gently stir the next morning). Place muffin pans on the center rack of your oven and bake for 20-25 minutes for the regular sized, or about 10 minutes for the bite sized (time to go take a shower, wake up your kids…) or until muffins are golden, puffy, and the eggs are not jiggly. Serve the muffilettes with warm corn tortillas, a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of salsa and a few cubes of avocado. Any leftovers can be store in plastic bag in refrigerator and are great for the days when you need to grab breakfast on the run…. Just make sure you have time for dinner together later.

Cooks tip

You can put any other combination of fillings in here, as long as they cook quickly and are not too wet, like big chunks of tomato might mess things up. But how about a combo of goat cheese, pesto and peas? Or cooked diced potatoes, green onions and roasted red peppers.Sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil? Cooked broccoli, fresh dill and feta…. Your favorite this and their favorite that…. Do tell us what you came up with! Thefamilydinnerbook.com

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