Too Old for Comfort? (Recipe – Diner Meat Loaf Muffins)

I’m coming to you all, once again, for parenting advice. You’ve supported me through my experience with Postpartum Depression. You’ve offered advice when I was Parenting with a Heavy Heart. You have even stepped up when things got serious around here… remember the controversy surrounding hand-me-down undies? :) Now, I am looking to you all to help me with Blanket and Talktus.

Blanket and Talktus… my 8 year olds “comfort” items. The blanket I made for Jacob was the first quilt I had ever sewn (and those of you who know me know that the words Kristen and sewing do not typically go hand in hand) . Talktus is a sweet little stuffed dog Jacob grew attached to soon after his 1st birthday. My children never sucked their thumbs. They never used pacifiers. Instead, all 4 of them have attached themselves to a special blanket or stuffed animal. In Jacob’s case, he dearly loves one of each.

Jacob does not take his blanket anywhere with him, except when we go out of town to relatives houses for a weekend. Both blanket and Talktus are simply there to provide comfort to him when he sleeps. He’s never really dragged them around everywhere, but if they are missing when bedtime hits, he can’t, or will not, go to sleep.

Jacob is now 8. 8 years old and still sleeps with his stuffed animal and blanket. He’s had a couple of sleep overs, and much to my relief, the boys have brought their own stuffed animals as well. So, my parenting question of the moment… at what age should you try to wean your kid off of their nighttime comfort items? At what age are you too old for comfort? Jacob does not at all seem like he has any interest in giving them up. Right now, it doesn’t seem to be hurting anything, but I know a day will come when he will be made to feel embarrassed for still sleeping with a blanket and stuffed dog. I would love to hear your opinions on this one!

Speaking of comfort.. how about comfort food? As much as meat loaf happens to not be one of my favorite things, it always makes me think of home. I don’t even remember mom making meatloaf all that often, but for some reason eating it today still transports me back to the dinner table

This recipe for Diner Meat Loaf Muffins from Cooking Light is just about one of the best meat loaf variations I’ve tried. I substituted Panko Breadcrumbs for the crackers, but that was the only change I made. I hope you enjoy and I hope, no matter what your age, it makes you think back to home… a place where you were never too old for comfort.

Diner Meat Loaf Muffins (from Cooking Light)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.

Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.

Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.
CALORIES 276 (28% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 3g,mono 4g,poly 0.8g); IRON 3.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 131mg; CALCIUM 48mg; CARBOHYDRATE 21.7g; SODIUM 759mg; PROTEIN 28.7g; FIBER 1.8g

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  1. martha says

    i am going to make these this week! yum! as far as the “loveys” our kids attach themselves to, don’t worry about an age limit, if he was sucking his thumb, then i would start putting the seeds of stopping asap, due to dental changes it can cause, but the other, he will have them for as long as he needs them. all 3 of my daughters have given up their “loveys”. enjoy your kids! and thanks for the recipe.

  2. says

    I don’t have children, so I can’t help with the comfort item question, but I can tell you that these meatloaf muffins would rank high on my comfort food list. What a great idea! Thanks for the idea and the recipe.
    .-= Kate at Serendipity´s last blog ..Home again… =-.

  3. says

    Yummy meatloaf recipe. My son is 2 1/2 and his only “lovey” is me. I don’t quite understand this because I have not, and hopefully, won’t get to this lovey object stage. Although the demanding little mama’s boy can be stressful sometimes, I know I will appreciate these times later. I do remember my lovey, a ratty hand me down dog being taken from me at an early age. I’m still mad about it. And my mother had a similar story, a rag doll being taken from her and thrown in the fireplace. She still is mad at her father for that, even though there both long gone.
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Celebrate Silver Dollar City’s 50th Birthday! =-.

  4. says

    One of my best friends, mother of 7, told me to get a stack of cloth diapers. That is what my boys used for their blankies. We had plenty of them, never ran out, didn’t matter if we lost it. Best advice EVER for a new mom. Kris, 5 still asks for a blankie most nights. Kye, 8-almost 9, asks occasionally but I always make sure I pack one if we go anywhere. Let him keep them till he doesn’t want them anymore!
    .-= Whitney Schmale´s last blog ..Visitors part 2 =-.

  5. says

    When my daughter was 18 we moved here to the condo and out came “Boobie”her childhood bear to sit on her bed:DJust a reminder of her childhood. If your 8 year old sleeps with Talktus at night and is quite independent of it during the day I think he will just grow out of his attachment when he is ready. The first time a friend mentions Talktus he will unattach himself to it in their presense and eventually altogether. In the meantime lets be comforted by meatloaf which I am attached to from my childhood with very fond memories.

  6. says

    You’re never too old for confort!!! May it be those cute meatloaf muffis or toys. I guess there’s not a proper age to take those away from kids, I think it comes naturally. One day they simply feel growup and won’t want them…

  7. Lisa says

    I really believe that you should not take the items of comfort away from a child. They will let it go at their own pace and there is no need to rush them to grow up. Even with they out grown the item it is one of those special things you should save and put away somewhere.

  8. Christie says

    Hi! I have an 11 year old son and for the longest time he slept with his bed full of stuffed animals, including a few favorites. He would always take them everywhere with him, but the past year, he hasn’t shown any interest in them anymore. He just gradually outgrew them as he got older.

  9. Erin says

    I don’t think you’re ever too old; I’m a 16-year-old girl, and I still sleep with a stuffed animal at night.

    But, when the situation presents itself, and I can’t sleep with a stuffed animal, I do just fine.

    I think you grow out of the need, but not necessarily the want :]

    (And the muffins are cute!)

  10. says

    I think every child and situation is different. You know your child best. In my case I prepared him for the idea of it by making it seem like a rite of passage. In my son’s case he is always wanting to be older than he is I would remind him that big boys don’t sleep with a stuffed monkey. You can read it here in a post I wrote called Monkey’s Swan song. Now my son no longer sleeps with monkey but that toy is still around and he hasn’t forgotten him – every once in a while he still takes a cuddle which I think is cute.

  11. says

    I’m with Rachel. Although I am 27 years old, have an MA, and live with my boyfriend, I sleep with a blanky and a stuffed animal (Platty, a platypus whom I have had since 13). My boyfriend also sleeps with the animal when I’m not home! I don’t see anything wrong with it- it’s nice to be reminded of your childhood as an adulthood, even with something so simple.

  12. says

    Why don’t you let his future wife deal with that one?

    I’d take him comforting himself with a blanky and stuffed animal any day over other options. I still sleep with a fan on for the comfort of the fan – always have, always will if I have anything to do with it.
    .-= Amy from She Wears Many Hats´s last blog ..Itty Bitty Nest Giveaway =-.

  13. says

    What a cute dish! I bet it;’s very good with all kinds of vegetables. I would recommend broccoli or fried squash. Beef and broccoli are like a perfect match.

  14. says

    I figure they’ll give it up eventually. Brandon used to carry a plastic baseball bat around with him everywhere. Eventually that stopped but for a while I was sure I’d be taking pictures at high school graduation with him carrying that bat. (I might, just for laughs)
    .-= Trysha´s last blog ..Things I Like Today =-.

  15. says

    One of my three daughters had a baby doll we called Kiki (I don’t know why). She also had a blanket. We went through two sets of doll and blanket and thought there would never come a day she’d let go of them – and she did take them everywhere. When she was five, she left them at the park one day. When we returned to look for them, they were gone. We dragged our feet a bit replacing them, and then didn’t have the need. She stopped talking about them – suddenly didn’t need them. The same thing happened with my youngest daughter’s pacifier when she was four. A little like potty training, I think there is some mystery to how this “detachment” arrives. That’s little help, but consider “misplacing” Blanket and Talktus (one at a time). There will be tears – lots of them – but then there won’t be.

    As I said, there is mystery involved in this child-rearing thing.

    Re: comfort food – I do “Thursday recipes” on my site so wanted to check out other recipe blogs. Came across this one. Great food ideas. Really nice photos. What camera do you use? What setting?

    I’ll be back.
    .-= Daily Cup of Jo´s last blog ..Thursdays in the kitchen with Jo: fear and a twice-baked couch potato =-.

  16. Kristin says

    Funny, I found your post on TasteSpotting and it’s about comfort food and comfort animals and blankets too! Although I’m not a parent myself, I think my perspective may help. I am 20, looking forward to graduating from college and continuing on to get a masters, and happily still sleep with my blankie. Your first thought may be that I have no friends, but I’d like to attest otherwise, I certainly do! For me, the texture and snuggle with blankie really helps me fall asleep faster, it has become a trained reaction, when my face hits said blanket, I’m happily asleep quick. I wouldn’t give it up for the sake of saving face ever, and although I know as a woman I have more leeway in my blanket choices, I would encourage you to let your son indulge as long as he choses to do so. It may be the icing on his sleep routine. In parting, know that convincing my boyfriend that blankie is not a threat has been a work in progress for the last three years. :)

  17. says

    Love the idea of muffin meatloaf!

    My daughter and son each had a special blanket that they slept with – through high school! They knew kids would laugh, so they didn’t take the blanket with them anywhere, but just liked having it there at night. My daughter realized her blanket was falling apart, so she carefully wrapped it up and put it in her hope chest.

    Don’t sweat it. He’ll be done with them when he’s ready. I can pretty much guarantee they won’t be going on his honeymoon with him!


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