Summer Camp Fun June 23 2017
This week my oldest son started summer camp. It has been really fun for him which is great! The tricky part for me has been figuring out what to pack in his lunch that he will actually eat. Now I’m sure you are thinking the son of a culinary professional must have a great palette. Not to disappoint you too much, but he’s three and is in a bit of a picky stage. He’ll eat almost anything if it can be dipped in ketchup and mayonnaise but condiments don’t pack particularly well in a lunch box. I turned to the internet for some ideas on how to make my child’s lunch more exciting and appealing. Here are some of my favorites.
- Take a traditional sandwich and make it interesting by cutting it into a favorite shape with a cookie cutter.
- Have a color theme for the lunch like orange with carrots, cheese, orange & goldfish crackers.
- Let your child order their lunch like from the room service breakfast menu that you place on your door.
- Don’t stick to traditional lunch items… try waffles, pancakes, or breakfast cereal to keep it interesting.
If anyone has any other ideas I am definitely open to suggestions.
Matzo All Year Round! March 31 2017
This week I discovered that Passover may be coming sooner than I’d like. The big tip off was that everything at the Kosher Butcher was labeled Kosher for Passover. I won’t bore you with a Jewish History lesson but in a nut shell Passover is the holiday where we celebrate the Jew’s exodus from Egypt and retell the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments among others. Of course, the holiday has a lot of eating traditions and the biggest one for Passover is that we give up all leavened things. That means no cakes, breads, cookies, donuts, etc. for eight days. As you can imagine, that is a pretty tough endeavor for someone who love sweets! Luckily, there are some really delicious recipes to be made from Matzo that you almost forget it is Passover.
The recipe below for Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch is that good. I made it using The Matzo Project Salted Matzo from our marketplace. Feel free to expand on the recipe and top with candies and nuts of your choosing. It will only make the recipe better, I promise. Just like The Matzo Project Matzo, this recipe is good all year round!
Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch with The Matzo Project Salted Matzo
Makes approximately 30 pieces
4-5 pieces The Matzo Project Salted Matzo
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 12-oz bag chocolate chips
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
-Cover the baking sheet with The Matzo Project Salted Matzo, cutting and breaking as needed to fill all of the space.
-To make the toffee combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and stirring for an additional three minutes to let the mixture thicken. Pour the toffee over the matzo, spreading with a spatula to make an even layer.
-Put pan into the oven a bake for 10 minutes or until toffee topping is bubbling over. Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the pan. Let the chocolate soften for 3-5 minutes before spreading evenly over the toffee.
-Put the pan into the refrigerator for about 45 minutes to let the toffee and chocolate harden. Don’t leave in for too much longer as it will make it difficult to cut. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares.
Getaway Weekend to the Country August 12 2016
It was a very cold February night when we were out to celebrate the birthday of my husband and our good friend, @la_boite, that we first discussed taking our families away together. We just wanted to get out of the city and on that frigid night were really looking forward to the summer. It took a little time to plan the perfect getaway but we set a date and settled on a cute house in Washingtonville, New York. This past weekend we packed up both families (including the kids ages 5 months, 1 year and 2-2 year olds) and set off on our adventure.
Even though Washingtonville is only about a 90-minute drive from New York City, it definitely felt like we were in the country! The weekend was planned with equal time ‘sight-seeing’ and relaxing. We needed something to keep the kids and adults entertained. We started out with a delicious lunch at The Hop in Beacon, New York. This place was recommended by almost everyone we spoke with about the area. After our lunch I can see why. It had a great relaxed vibe and the food was delicious. I had a fried egg on polenta with Swiss Chard and too many tater tots. After lunch we headed to the Dia:Beacon, another recommendation by many. This museum is in an old factory and the building is just as spectacular as the art inside of it. The next stop was our house in Washingtonville, our home base for the weekend.
The house was set back in the woods and we frequently saw a family of deer as we were coming up the drive. One BIG perk of country living is having a yard and a grill. We put both to good use. We went to Blooming Hill Farm where @la_boite got a box full of goodies from the farmer’s market and treated us to delicious meals the entire trip. The rest of our weekend included an adventure to the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor sculpture park. We also went to Circleville Town Park for a swim in their lake and a perfect picnic. We finished the weekend off with a trip to Ochs Orchard, visiting their animals and bringing home some delicious peaches and tomatoes.
It was a fantastic weekend away and I hope we will do it again next summer. I always love getting away and exploring new places. It is especially nice to do it with good friends. I know the kids had a good time because the morning after we got home, my son asked where his friends were.
Picky Eaters August 05 2016
Children, especially toddlers, are often called picky eaters. They love everything that isn’t good for them… bread, pasta, French fries, chocolate. As a young girl, I vividly remember my grandmother saying “There is no such thing as I DON’T LIKE!”. We were threatened to get more of whatever we didn’t like and were clever enough to try to use it to get more sweets. When I went to culinary school one of my instructors claimed you should never say you don’t like something but use the phrase “This food has never been prepared to my liking.” It definitely sounds more sophisticated than “I don’t like this food” but really says the same thing.
I’ve been making my sons food since he was a baby hoping early exposure would make him less of a picky eater. I made a puree of everything I could think of and he ate most of it. Then the pickiness set in. What I’ve discovered is that he usually has a favorite condiment that will get him to eat almost anything. I used to put hummus with everything and he would gobble it up. These days hummus seems to only go on pretzels or crackers. When I met Stefanie of Due Cellucci Tomato Sauces she said other parents claimed their kids would only eat things with ‘Stefanie’s Sauce’ on them. I was a little skeptical since my son doesn’t like tomatoes to begin with. I recently discovered Stefanie was right! My son still loves his pasta but now he wants it with tomato sauce. That is a bonus for both of us because he’s getting what he wants and I know he is eating something healthy. For young (picky) eaters I recommend their Traditional Tomato Sauce. If I try to sneak in some Tomato Basil Sauce I’m often advised to get rid of the green stuff!
Recently my son has developed a new found love of mayonnaise. We’ve been putting it on our proteins this week. I’ll write more about mayonnaise soon.
Cooking with Kids April 08 2016
One of my fondest memories growing up is cooking with my family. Whether it was baking with my grandmothers, grilling with my grandfather (he set a timer so we would have a perfectly cooked steak with perfect grill marks) or making dinner with my parents, I always enjoyed being around food and creating something from a recipe. As a parent now, I love cooking with my son and introducing him to new foods.
It is my son’s second birthday on Saturday. He had few requests for his party but high on his list were a chocolate cake and chocolate muffins. We made the cake and muffins yesterday. I have been cooking with children for years but am still amazed at how they manage to make a mess in the kitchen. We had a great time baking and hopefully he likes the finished product once it is decorated with lots of frosting. For the chocolate cake I used this recipe for chocolate cupcakes and baked it in a large cake pan for about an hour. Here is the recipe for the chocolate muffins.
Chocolate Chip Birthday Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup White Sugar
¾ cups chocolate chips (we used Rococo Chocolates Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Bar)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oi
¼ cup chocolate chips (we used Rococo Chocolates Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Bar)
-Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners
-Combine flour, sugar, ¾ cup chocolate chips, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, milk, and vegetable oil until smooth. Pour into chocolate mixture and stir until batter is just blended.
-Fill the prepared muffin cups ¾ full and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
-Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.