Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31st, 2009


Happy Halloween!, originally uploaded by foodietots.

– white chocolate pear ghosts

Nature and Nurture

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Earlier this year, we took a family vacation to Florida. The boy and I went down a few days ahead of the husband and spent some quality time touristing with my mom. At the time, all of my grandparents lived in the Tampa Bay area so we’ve visited quite a few times over the years. One of our favorite outings is to the kitschy Greek village of Tarpon Springs, and this year my mom and I took the boy on a tour boat ride that stopped at a little barrier island in the Gulf. We had twenty minutes to walk and wade around the island, and while we began looking for shells my mom soon wandered off on a mission. As we headed back towards the boat, she reappeared with two plastic bags full of discarded bottles. I couldn’t help but laugh to realize my “green” genes were clearly hereditary.

Grandmom shows him a horseshoe crab

Grandmom shows him a horseshoe crab

Throughout my childhood, my mom sought to instill a sense of wonder and responsibility about our environment. We went on hiking trips, homeschool nature camps, annual camping trips, and more. Each summer, her parents, my grandparents, spent a month with us and these outings became even more fun, as we went to wild bird sanctuaries and learned to identify various plants. My granddad had, in a past life, made maps for the U.S. Geological Survey, so he was a willing explorer. My grandmother was never without binoculars and a bird guide, although she could identify many species simply by sound. She loved owls in particular, and after our last visit my son and I happened across a metal owl sculpture in our neighborhood antique shop. He remembered looking at the owls at Great Grandmom’s house, so I agreed to buy this one for our house.

storytime with Great Grandmom D.

storytime with Great Grandmom D.

My grandmother passed away this week. I’m grateful that my son was able to meet her, and reminded of how much I have to teach him.

My grandmother was a life-long supporter of the Audubon Society. As I explored their website, I came across this great kids’ page.

Kids Cook Book Soup: Apples!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I hope you haven’t had your fill of apple recipes just yet, because we have several more to share for the very first round-up of Kids Cook Book Soup. Thanks to all for sharing your apple inspiration, and please read to the end for the November theme announcement! With no further ado…

From Jen at The Gould House, “Eldress Bertha’s Applesauce”

kcbs-1-applesauce

Jen and her 2-year-old daughter, Ella, used apples from their farmers market to make this applesauce. Jen writes, “Ella enjoyed counting the apples, catching the apple peels as they fell into the bowl, and mashing the apples after they were done simmering on the stove.  She also ate her first whole apple while I was doing the chopping.  The applesauce was delicious and it made the house smell so “autumny”—definitely a keeper!”

From Melissa at Little Locavores, Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash — with Apples

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Melissa created this fall recipe with the thought of appealing to those who don’t like squash unless it’s doused in sugar. I don’t know if it won her farmer’s sons over, but this flavorful dish has extra kid-appeal when served in an acorn squash bowl. (Melissa and her son recently went apple-picking at Seedling Orchards in South Haven, Michigan.)

From Kelsey at The Naptime Chef, Spiced Apple Cookies

kcbs1-2-cookies

Kelsey and her toddler daughter made these scrumptious cookies, with New York McIntosh apples, to occupy a rainy afternoon — just one of many recipes in her “Apple Mania” arsenal.

And here at FoodieTots, Spiced Apple Hand Pies

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We picked apples at Virginia’s Crooked Run Orchard, reviewed How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World, and baked kid-sized apple hand pies. Yum!

~

And if these aren’t enough ideas to use up the apples in your crisper, here are a few more kid-friendly apple recipes:

Kids Cook: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

This is our entry for Kids Cook Book Soup — Apples! Check back later today for the full round-up.

The Story: This lovely book, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Priceman, caught my eye at the bookstore with its colorful illustrations. In it, a little girl sets out to make an apple pie but discovers her local market is closed. So naturally, she charts a course around the world to pick wheat in Italy, sugar cane in Jamaica, and apples in Vermont. I admit, on one level my locavore’s conscious felt a pang of guilt, but it was too cute a story not to buy. Besides, the point of eating local, for me, is to ensure my son knows where his food comes from. Even if it’s not always somewhere nearby.howtomakeanappliepie

The Lesson: My son knows apples grow on trees, and milk comes from cows. This may seem obvious, but it’s not always! My brother went through a phase as a kid where he insisted that milk came from the grocery store. No amount of arguing could convince him it came from a cow. (This was probably just stubbornness, we certainly were exposed to cows.) Anyway, last week I picked up the boy from daycare and headed out to do errands, and I had failed to pack snacks. I asked if he wanted to go to the drive-thru for apple slices, and he replied, “We could go to the farm and get apples!” In an ideal world, yes, but convenience won out this time.

The Recipe: I recently went to Williams-Sonoma looking for yeast. They didn’t have it, but of course I managed to come home with a bag full of new must-have kitchen tools, including these adorable apple and pumpkin pocket pie molds. The boy saw the one I was packing in my niece’s birthday present, and started to whine, “But I don’t have one of those yet!” So he was pleasantly surprised when I pulled out a second one for him. I decided to stick with the recipe on the box for the pie crusts, which I was glad to see called for butter. I halved the recipe to make 4 little pies. This really doesn’t take too much more effort than making a full-size pie, and the results are just too cute.

Spiced Apple Hand Pies
crust recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • maple sugar

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor to combine. Add butter chunks, and pulse until it resembles a course meal. Add water, a little at a time, pulsing between each addition until dough begins to come together. I only needed 6 tablespoons. Remove and press into flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. (Or, if you’re in a hurry, 30 minutes in the freezer.)

Filling:

  • 1 apple, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch salt

Combine all ingredients and set aside while dough is chilling.

To Assemble Pies: Prepare egg wash. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness and use the mold to cut out 8 shapes. If you don’t have the molds, use a large cookie cutter to cut shapes. Cut a leaf-shaped vent into the top crust pieces. Place the bottom in the mold (or on your parchment-lined baking sheet) and place 2 tablespoons of apple filling in the center. Brush a little egg wash around the edge, lay a second piece of dough over and gently press in the mold or together with a fork. Brush the top with more egg wash and sprinkle with maple sugar. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat to make the remaining pies. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 22-24 minutes, until crust is golden. Cool on a cooling rack at least 10 minutes before eating. Makes 4 small pies. Enjoy!

Note: I skipped the second freezing step, as we were in a hurry to finish before bedtime, so my crusts browned more quickly than they should have. But they tasted great! Oh, and despite the book’s instructions, our apples and eggs came from local farms.

Love is Pasta. And Cream. And Garlic.

Monday, October 19th, 2009

So last week was our blogiversary here at Foodie Tots (2 years!), and my husband’s and my anniversary (7 years!) as well. Ironic, since this blog may just lead to the end of my marriage… Okay, I kid, but here’s a true quote from my husband just the other day: “Why do you have to keep trying new things? I don’t like new things. I like the same things.” Okay, so it’s safe to say he didn’t appreciate my chicken quinoa soup, but one of those same old recipes he does enjoy is penne alla vodka. It’s also the boy’s favorite at our neighborhood pasta place, but in typical three-year-old finickiness he declared mine was NOT the same. Oh well, more for his dad, who did appreciate this family anniversary meal.

Recipe: Penne Alla Vodka

  • 12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 box penne

Instructions: Cook penne according to package instructions, subtracting 1 minute from cooking time. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium low heat. Cook garlic until soft and translucent, being careful not to let it brown. Add vodka and cook 1 minute. Add cream and heat to medium, stirring frequently, until it just begins to boil. Boil 1 minute, until cream starts to thicken. Stir in tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for several minutes. When pasta finishes, drain and fold into the sauce., cooking 1 additional minute. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin:

  • garlic & string beans, Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA (VA)
  • organic cream, Trickling Springs Creamery (PA)

this is our Meatless Monday recipe of the week. — another one of those “new ideas” the husband is skeptical about. follow along as I attempt to discover meatless meals that won’t make him groan. take the Meatless Monday pledge and you can get weekly e-mails with recipes and advice.