New Rules for School

New Rules for School

Thursday, September 17, 2020

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In March when the novel coronavirus disrupted schools, families were optimistic that all would be back to normal by September. We know now that “normal” is relative. From preschool to college, students at every age now face hybrid learning, with both online and in-person instruction. And while we won't know the real effect of this change for years to come, what we can do is to focus on making the experience as stress-free as possible.

Create Structure

Children thrive when life is predictable and consistent and when they know what is expected of them. Establish a schedule for both online learning and exercise, as monotony can steal any gains. Create a designated place for learning that is well-lit, with good circulation that is away from distractions like TV or household chatter. Establish learning values and expectations by modelling how your child's teacher has set up the objectives for the year. Use meal-planning as a way to engage your child in creating structure.

Encourage Independence

Lockdown and curfews have curtailed freedom of movement for adults, but we often don't consider the effect on children. Find ways to nurture independence by giving your child some decision-making power. For instance, allow them to choose the lunch and snack menus of the week; and if they are old enough, empower them by having them create their own meals.

Make Room for Family Time

Create positive connection moments over meals by engaging your child with chores, like setting the table, plating the food, or even washing the dishes. Food offers comfort so the more deliberate you are in creating opportunities for children to be a part of something that brings them joy, the more bandwidth you're building for them to manage the stress of life as we know it now. After all, who doesn't love to eat?  

Be Flexible

This may seem counter-intuitive to the idea of structure, but rigidity can also backfire. Revisit the structure you have agreed on with your child, to ensure that it is working and focus on progress. These are challenging times, fraught with much anxiety, so put perfection on pause. This is the time where progress matters most.
Switch things up a bit to incorporate new ways to serve old favourites. With the time you win from the elimination of the school drop off, you can add some more flourishes to breakfast, and lunch can be heartier. By adding these recipes to your weekly rotation, we're sure your child will be more relaxed about the new rules for school.

The Best Dressed Chicken and Hamilton's Smokehouse Jerk Sausage Pizza
3 The Best Dressed Chicken Deboned Breasts
2 Hamilton's Smokehouse Jerk Sausages
1 pizza crust
1/2 tsp each: seasoning salt, black pepper, paprika, olive oil
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Preheat an oven to 350°F.
In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, tomato paste, salt, and pepper.
In a small pan, sauté the cubed chicken, seasoning salt, black pepper, paprika, and olive oil for about four minutes. Slice the jerk sausage thinly.
Spread the barbecue mixture on the pizza crust.
To assemble, sprinkle the cheese on top of the barbecue sauce then top with the chicken, sausage slices, and red onion.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust has firmed up.
Top with the cilantro and slice.

The Best Dressed Chicken and Tomato Pasta
4 The Best Dressed Chicken Deboned Breasts
2 cups penne pasta (cooked)
3 cups tomato sauce
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1 cup heavy cream
2 handfuls basil (torn)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil

Add tomato sauce and tomato paste to the pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, marinate the chicken breasts with the spices and olive oil.
Grill chicken breasts on high heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Let the meat rest then slice against the grain. Add Parmesan cheese, half the basil, heavy cream, salt, and pepper to the tomato sauce. To serve, top with grilled chicken, extra basil, and Parmesan cheese and cheesy garlic bread.

Monte Cristo Sandwich
2 slices Hamilton's Smokehouse Smoked Ham deli slices
2 slices white sandwich/challah bread
2 slices Gouda cheese
2 slices cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 sprigs thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter, for cooking

Place two slices of bread on a cutting board. Remove bread crusts to create a perfect square.
Spread mustard onto each slice of bread. Place 1 slice of cheddar cheese on half of the bread and 1 slice Gouda cheese on the other. Top cheese with 2 slices Hamilton's Smokehouse Smoked Ham, close sandwich and set aside.
Whisk together the egg, milk, smoked paprika, thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
When butter is melted, dredge the pressed sandwich in the egg mixture, coating all sides. Immediately move the sandwich to the skillet.
Cook for 3-4 minutes per side until the sandwich is browned. Also, upend the sandwich to cook on the ends for about 15 seconds per side. Cook until it is a dark golden brown and cheese is completely melted.
Cut the sandwich in half and serve immediately.

The Best Dressed Chicken BLT Bagelwich
For the Spiced Mayo
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
½ tsp curry powder
2 tbsp cream cheese

For the Sandwiches
2 Hamilton's Smokehouse Smoked Chicken Deli Slices
Honey glazed bacon strips (cut in half)
2 bagels (any flavour)
4 slices of tomato
2 pieces of lettuce

Place the bagels split side down on a hot pan, and grill for 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside.
Sauté onions in hot oil until browned. Add curry powder and garlic, then cook for another minute. Let cool and set aside.
Mix the curried onion with the cream cheese and set aside.
Spread the spicy cream cheese on one half of the toasted bagel.
Top with Hamilton's Smokehouse Smoked Chicken Deli Slices, bacon, tomato, and lettuce.
Top with the remaining bagel, slice the sandwich in half to serve.

Reggae Jammin Breakfast Burger
4 Reggae Jammin' Seasoned Beef Burgers
4 slices American cheese
4 large eggs
4 strips bacon (cooked)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large ripe plantain
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 small hamburger buns
¼ cup mayonnaise
4 lettuce leaves
4 tomato slices

Mix cinnamon and sugar in a wide bowl.
Slice plantains diagonally and coat them in the cinnamon-sugar mix and set aside.
Heat cast-iron skillet over high heat, then pour in ½ cup vegetable oil. Fry plantains until warm brown in colour and fully cooked through.
Remove the hot pan and wipe clean. Add 2 tablespoons oil and fry the eggs in a 3-inch-wide cookie ring (optional) just until the whites are cooked, leaving the yolk runny (or thoroughly cook eggs if desired). Set eggs aside on a plate.
Cook the beef patties according to package instructions. While in the pan, top with 1 slice of cheese. Sprinkle a bit of water to create steam to help the cheese to melt faster. Set aside.
Build the burgers by placing each cooked patty on the bottom bun (smothered with about 1 tsp of mayo). Top with the egg, then cinnamon-sugared plantains, lettuce, and tomatoes. Serve bacon on the side.
Serve immediately.

The Best Dressed Chicken Tenders
8 The Best Dressed Chicken Deboned Breasts (sliced in half)
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 eggs
Oil for frying
2 cups flour
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

In a bowl, whisk the eggs. In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and flour.
Rub the spices on the sliced chicken breasts. Dredge chicken strips in the eggs then the breadcrumb-flour mixture. Fry until golden brown.
Sprinkle each chicken tender with salt as they come out of the fryer.
Serve with fries.

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