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Give All Kids a Shot@Life: Support Global Vaccinations

April 28th, 2017 · Comments Off on Give All Kids a Shot@Life: Support Global Vaccinations

Measles, rubella, polio — these are diseases we don’t really think about on a daily basis. But elsewhere in the world, a child dies of one of these vaccine-preventable diseases every 20 seconds. Think about that — we have the ability to prevent these diseases, to eradicate them completely, if only we could reach all children around the world. Last year, UNICEF provided vaccines to 45% of the world’s children, saving between 2 and 3 million lives. Each year, global vaccine programs reach more children through new and cost-saving technologies; we have the potential to save an additional 1.5 million children each year if UN member nations fully fund global vaccine programs.

ShotatLife #vaccineswork

Why do I care so much about this? Those girls remind me of my daughter and her first grade Girl Scout troop. I believe we have a duty to give all girls (and boys) around the world the same chance and opportunity to live happy, healthy lives that our girls have here.

Unfortunately, the US president has proposed a budget that would drastically cut all global aid, including these critical vaccine programs. While global health is just a tiny portion of the US foreign aid budget — less than 1.5% — pulling back on our contribution will cause irreparable harm. Measles, rubella and polio do not fear borders or walls; if they are not rooted out in the countries where they remain, they can and will make a return to the US. We cannot afford to let any child go unprotected against disease, disability and death.

Champions Summit on Capitol Hill |

Earlier this year I was able to attend the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Champions Summit to meet with Virginia’s legislators and urge them to reject any budget cuts that would harm the world’s most vulnerable citizens. Please join me and contact your members of Congress — TODAY — to ask the same. It’s World Vaccination Week, and together our voices can make a difference!

Congressional visits |

Will you stand with us? Sign the Petition:

    • Call your Members of Congress at 202-224-3121 and ask them to fully fund global vaccine programs.

Want to do more? Join me as a Shot@Life Champion to learn about other ways to support global vaccines:


Comments Off on Give All Kids a Shot@Life: Support Global VaccinationsTags: food for thought

Spring is for Brunching: Requin at Mosaic District

April 4th, 2017 · Comments Off on Spring is for Brunching: Requin at Mosaic District

When a local restaurant by one of my favorite chefs closed, the heartbreak was short-lived by the announcement that a new restaurant from Chef Jennifer Carroll would take its place. If any of you are Top Chef fans, you may recognize her from the show’s sixth season. Confession: that was the only season of the show I watched from beginning to end, because of several DC chefs who were also on that season. One of them was Mike Isabella, whose Mike Isabella Concepts launched Carroll’s first DC-area restaurant, Requin. (A second location will open later this year.) Neither Isabella nor Carroll won that season of Top Chef, but they have created a winning partnership here at Requin in Northern Virginia’s Mosaic District.

kids menu at Requin |

I actually won a brunch for two at Requin — and overnight stay at the next door Hyatt House — from an Instagram contest. We decided to let the kids join us to review the kids’ menu and they were smitten from spotting the restaurant’s shark logo to meeting Chef Carroll after the meal. My husband and I went with the “bottomless brunch” which is served sort of like a tapas menu, where you order a few plates to share at a time. It’s $35 per person and you can enjoy 25-cent mimosas as well. We managed to work our way through most of the options but didn’t quite have room to try them all — so I guess we’ll just have to go back!

bottomless brunch at reqiun |

The menu is packed with locally-sourced seafood and seasonal ingredients. A few favorites include the smoked blue catfish schmear — which I had to fight my daughter for the last bits of, wild mushroom soft scramble, ratatouille, and lamb merguez. The kids gave all thumbs up to the brioche French toast. We shared the cookie plate for dessert but if you find yourself too full for cookies, I recommend the delightful Greek yogurt topped with burnt honey, fresh berries and toasted coconut. It’ll leave you feeling virtuous despite the generous amount of food you just ate. 😉

Requin kid-friendly brunch DC |

Tip for those taking the kids: ask for a booth in the middle for a view of the kitchen so they can watch the action. And note that little ones can order off the kids’ menu while the grown-ups order the bottomless brunch, or adults can opt for a la carte as well.

Top Chef Jennifer Carroll |

Check it out: Bottomless Brunch is available 11am-3pm every Saturday and Sunday. Requin will host an Easter Bunny Brunch from 10am-2pm on Saturday, April 15 — make reservations here.

Mosaic District
8296 Glass Alley
Fairfax, VA

If you’re visiting the area or just looking for a relaxing staycation spot, we enjoyed the Hyatt House at Mosaic. I often joke about moving into the Mosaic District, where we frequently find ourselves on the weekends for coffee at Mom & Pop, more lunch options than you could get through in a week, Sunday farmers market, MOM’s organic market, a fish market, a butcher, summer movies on the lawn …. and yes, the essential Target for anything you can’t find in the boutiques. So it was a treat to stay over. In the summer, their rooftop pool looks like a great spot to relax after a busy day of shopping (or sight-seeing: there is Metro access to DC a free shuttle ride away). The hotel’s complimentary breakfast buffet includes an omelette station, which is always a hit with the foodie kids. Just save room for brunch at Requin later!

Disclosure: We received a complimentary meal for two from Requin (the kids paid their own way) and overnight stay from Hyatt House through a contest giveaway. All words and opinions are strictly our own.

Comments Off on Spring is for Brunching: Requin at Mosaic DistrictTags: around DC · foodietots reviews · restaurants · review

Infinite Kusama at the Hirshhorn + Polka Dot Eats

February 23rd, 2017 · Comments Off on Infinite Kusama at the Hirshhorn + Polka Dot Eats

What’s red and white with polka dots all over? Why, it’s the first mirrored room installation of the Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Mirrors exhibition that opened today at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. A retrospective of the Japanese artist’s sixty-five-year career, the exhibit includes six infinity mirror rooms, paintings and sculptures, and an obliteration room that lets visitors apply dots to fill the space. Obviously there is much here to excite younger artists, but how kid-friendly is the exhibit?


I toured it on my own first and was glad to have the chance to experience it myself before going back with the kids. Even with timed admission tickets there is a lot of waiting in line.* Unless your kids possess infinite patience, waiting 20-30 minutes to spend 30 seconds in each room may prove trying. If possible I would definitely recommend having two adults so one can roam back and forth with the kids while the other holds the spot in line. I spotted two benches between the rooms where kids could sit and rest. I may try using the audio guides when I go back with the kids too as those headsets tend to hold their attention far longer than just reading the sign plates in the exhibit.

Kusama pumpkins | foodietots

(*Not going with kids? To speed the lines, attendants were sending people into rooms in groups of two to four, and the 30 seconds you’re allotted in each room doesn’t allow much time to jostle for photos. So, take a friend or three if you aren’t crazy about selfies with strangers, or take advantage of the chance to move ahead of the line as a solo visitor.)

With those cautions in mind, here’s a peak at what you’ll see.

Kusama Infinity Mirrors | foodietots

Words and pictures can hardly do it justice though, especially the infinity rooms, so I highly encourage you to make plans to see it in person before May 14! From DC the exhibit travels to Seattle, LA, Toronto, Cleveland and Atlanta.

Kusama obliteration room DC | foodietots

Kusama obliteration room |

How to See It: Timed tickets are being released on the Hirshhorn website each Monday at noon for the following week. A limited number of walk-up tickets are also available each day at 9:30am. (Check their Twitter account to see if the passes are sold out.) If you go the walk-in route, there’s a Dolcezza pop-up in the courtyard serving coffee and gelato pops and of course you can roam the sculpture garden or ride the Smithsonian carousel just across the street while you wait. With timed tickets, you can get in line 30 minutes before your ticket time, although they were running about an hour behind on opening weekend. Allow plenty of time: we waited 80 minutes to get in and spent another nearly 2 hours to go through the exhibit on Sunday afternoon. (With kids, take advantage of the portable bathrooms in the courtyard before your group is called to enter the building so you don’t have to get out of line later.)


After the Visit: We always visit art museums with a sketchbook and colored pencils and I encourage the kids to sketch their favorite piece before we leave. At home, they may add to or complete the sketch or do an art project it inspired. This time, I’m thinking the repetitive tiny circle painting method Kusama used to create her net paintings would be a great way to test/build my kids’ focus …. but at 6 and 10 they tend to have their own ideas. We also try to create a menu tie-in, so I’ve pulled together a few polka dot-themed recipes we can cook together:

polka dot pizzas | foodietots

  • Grilled Portobello Pizzas — using olives &/or pepperoni to add dots (or use English muffins);
  • Toad in the Hole — using two different sized circle cutters to cut the bread in a larger circle around the egg circle;
  • Bake a cake and decorate with fondant circles — my daughter loves watching cake decorating videos on YouTube and is always asking to use fondant; this may be a fun weekend project to carry on the polka dot love!

If you take the kids to Kusama, let us know what they think!





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Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Taquitos

November 15th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Looking to mix up your Taco Tuesday routine? How about this simple yet delicious creamy chicken that cooks in a slow cooker all day, and takes about 10 minutes to finish assembling in the evening? Doesn’t get much better than that! In the morning, simply place chicken breasts, green chiles, salsa verde, cream cheese and seasonings in your slow cooker. Set it for eight hours and come home to tender, creamy chicken. From there, you simply roll the chicken mixture and cheese into tortillas and bake them until golden. I serve them with sliced peppers and avocado and extra salsa for dipping; sour cream and guacamole are also welcome additions.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Taquitos |

I was a slow adopter of the slow cooker (ha ha, unintentional pun there!), but it is such a life-saver during the busy fall sports season. What have you made in your slow cooker lately?

slow cooker creamy chicken taquitos |

Place shredded chicken in the tortilla. If your family likes things hot, you can also add diced jalapeño here, and a tablespoon of cheese over chicken. Roll them up, brush with olive oil or melted butter, and bake until golden.

homemade chicken taquito recipe |

Recipe: Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Taquitos (Flautas)


  • 3 or 4 chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1 5-ounce can roasted Hatch green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter


  1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and add all ingredients through cream cheese. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Warm tortillas in oven while it preheats. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
  3. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with a fork. Mix in cooking liquid to keep chicken moist.
  4. Take each tortilla and place chicken filling across. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of shredded cheese and roll up, placing seam side down in baking dish. Brush tops with olive oil (or melted butter). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
  5. Serve with additional salsa verde — and, optionally, sour cream and guacamole for dipping.

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FamilyStyleDC: Honey Pig Korean BBQ & SnoCream, Annandale

September 9th, 2016 · Comments Off on FamilyStyleDC: Honey Pig Korean BBQ & SnoCream, Annandale

Welcome to FamilyStyleDC: our occasional recommendations of places to eat, play & go! around Washington, DC. Today we’re featuring a family favorite for Korean-style barbecue in Annandale, Va., and local dessert spot.

honey pig korean bbq | #familystyledc

It’s no secret that Honey Pig is the place to go in Northern Virginia for Korean barbecue, but we’ve had good luck avoiding a long wait — even on a Friday night — by arriving on the early side for dinner service. This is truly a family-style meal, as you choose your meats to be cooked on the hot plate in the center of the table. Each family member gets a bowl of rice, and an assortment of hot pickles, kimchi and other sides is quickly placed on the table. We usually start with an order of pan-fried dumplings while waiting for the meats to cook. Our go-to order is bulgogi beef and sliced pork belly, although the foodie boy recently asked to try beef tongue and loved it, too!


Loud K-pop music videos play throughout the restaurant, keeping it lively and giving the kids something to watch while waiting to eat — although the food moves very quickly, so the wait isn’t long.

And as for dessert…

SnoCream Company vintage school bus | #familystyledc

Just across the road in the back of the K-Mart parking lot you can find dessert served out of a colorful vintage school bus — SnoCream Company makes shaved ice-style ice cream with toppings ranging from traditional mochi, boba and lychee to your usual cereal, cookies, and candy. The girl and I shared a honeydew snocream with mochi, Pocky and condensed milk, while the boy went for mango with oreo and m&ms. Delicious! And, you get to sit on glowing “ice” cubes while you eat, for added entertainment value.

snocream shaved ice cream | #familystyledc

Where to find it…

Honey Pig Korean BBQ
7220 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA
(other locations: Ellicott City, Centreville & Germantown)

SnoCream Company – check their website or twitter for location & hours




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