Archive for February, 2010

Wild Salmon Salad (mayo-free)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Fish, and its magical omega-3 fatty acids, is really important for pregnant women and young kids alike.  But it’s important to eat the right fish, and canned wild salmon is both an affordable and sustainable alternative to some other types (looking at you, tuna). According to KidSafe Seafood, canned wild salmon contains four times the amount of omega-3s as tuna, as well as a generous dose of calcium and protein.

I made this simple salmon salad to top homemade bagels (stay tuned!). I can’t stand the taste of mayonnaise, so instead this gets its creaminess from sour cream and a little kick from horseradish and mustard. It’d be great atop salad greens, in tea sandwiches (for spring baby showers, perhaps), or rolled up in crispy romaine leaves.

Recipe: Mayo-Free Wild Salmon Salad


  • 1 7.5-ounce can wild Alaskan salmon
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Drain salmon of excess oil (makes an excellent treat for any cats in the home). Empty can into a medium bowl and use a fork to break apart large chunks. Add remaining ingredients, tossing with the fork to combine. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to a day before serving. Makes enough to top 6 bagels. Enjoy!

Snowflake Coconut Cake with Maple Snow Cream

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

What to make when you’ve been snowed in for days? Snow cake, of course! When I proposed baking a cake the boy first suggested chocolate. I talked him into a “snow” cake instead, a.k.a. coconut.

We used Ina Garten’s coconut cake recipe, though I used unsweetened coconut instead of the sweetened she calls for. Really, this cake is sweet enough. It’s a dense cake, but flavorful and stays moist for several days, which is important when you’re making a cake for just three of you. (Though we did take some to share on a snow-day playdate.)

Instead of Ina’s cream cheese frosting, I used Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss meringue buttercream.

This is the frosting I used on the boy’s 3rd birthday cake this past summer, and it was an all around favorite — not sickly sweet, easy to make, and it held up on a humid August day — what more could you ask for? It does use quite a lot of butter … fortunately I stocked up before the blizzard, but we still needed to restock when the husband went out for a between-storm grocery run.

frosting the cake

After frosting, we took a snowflake stencil, cut out of wax paper, and laid it gently over the top. We sprinkled a heavy layer of dried coconut (unsweetened, again) over the openings, then removed the stencil to reveal our snowflake. I had tried to talk the boy into dying the frosting light blue so the snowflake would show up better, but he insisted that a snow cake had to be white. (Duh.) I think he was right though, as it turned out just lovely. Don’t you think?

(You could easily adapt this to make a Valentine’s cake by tinting the coconut pink and making a heart shape on top.)

You can’t have cake without ice cream, and I’d had snow cream on the mind ever since reading this article in the Washington Post. When I was a kid, the only thing we ever made with snow was orange juice-topped sno cones, not particularly creative. I remember wanting to make maple syrup candy, a la Little House on the Prairie, but I don’t think we ever did. So naturally I took advantage of the 30-some inches of fluffy white snow in our backyard to make maple snow cream — delicious and equally enchanting to kids and parents alike. (Well, this parent at least!)

Recipe: Maple Snow Cream


  • 1 bowl full of clean, white snow
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions: Heat cream in a small sauce pan over low heat. When warm, whisk in the maple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool. Gather snow. Pour cooled maple cream over snow, stirring to combine and break up any chunks that form. Enjoy immediately! Makes 4 servings.

What are you baking for — or with — your Valentine? It turns out I’m not the only one with home-baked Valentines on the mind — Kelsey of The Naptime Chef and Jennifer of Savor the Thyme are hosting a “Food is Love” challenge. Hop over to either of their blogs for the details; enter by Tuesday, February 16, and you could win a prize from Scharffen Berger chocolates. Happy Valentine’s Day to you & your foodie families!

Kids vs. Tomatoes

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Tonight at dinner:

Me: “How’s your spaghetti?”
FoodieTot: “Not good. There’s something wrong with it.”
Me: “What’s wrong with it?”
FoodieTot: “It has tomatoes in it.”

He did consent to eat several bites, trying to avoid the visible tomato pieces. I used a different brand of crushed tomatoes tonight, which had a more visible chunk I guess. We’ve been waging battle over tomatoes his entire 3.5 years of life (well, once starting solid foods). He’ll occasionally try one, only to spit it out. We ran into his best friend at the market one summer day and she was buying herself a pint of cherry tomatoes. He declared he did like them then, so we bought a pint as well. Once again, there was a bite quickly followed by, “eww, yuck!”

So I was relieved to read this part of (ChowMama) Stacie’s interview with Feeding Baby Green author Dr. Alan Greene:

“… on average, most kids in the US don’t like whole tomatoes but, if you have them help to chop the tomatoes (carefully, of course), they’re about twice as likely to like them. If they go into a garden and pick a tomato or get a tomato from a farmer’s market before chopping it, they’re about twice as likely again to like it. And if they plant the tomato and watch it grow, most children will actually like tomatoes, just from watching them grow.”

Since the first two suggestions have failed thus far, you can bet we’ll be planting a tomato plant this spring!

For more funny things kids say about food, check out Jenna’s new weekly “Big Words, Little Foodies” round-up over at Food with Kid Appeal.

logo_letsmoveAnd in other feeding kids well news, I’m sure you all saw Michelle Obama’s launch today of “Let’s Move!” — a campaign to fight childhood obesity by increasing access to healthy foods (at home and at school) and encouraging physical activity. (Watch the GMA interview with the First Lady.)

You can get involved by becoming a fan of Let’s Move on Facebook, and visit Slow Food’s Time for Lunch campaign to send a message to your legislators urging increased funding for healthy school lunches.

As Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel explains, “One in three children will grow up to get type 2 diabetes, one in three is overweight or obese, and in the last thirty years, childhood obesity rates have tripled. Fortunately, this is not a mysterious disease. We don’t need to search for a cure. We know what the cure is. Eat healthy food, in reasonable quantities, and stay physically active.”

We’re fortunate to have ready access to fresh, locally grown tomatoes, even if the boy doesn’t yet appreciate them. We have a long way to go to make sure the same is true for every child in America. I’ll be following along and sharing more with you as the “Let’s Move” campaign progresses.

Homemade with Love {Cinnamon Swirl Bread}

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

If I try hard enough, I can almost a remember a time when my idea of unwinding after a long work week was heading out for cocktails with girlfriends. (Okay, so it really wasn’t that long ago.) But nowadays, few things are more soothing than spending some quality time creaming butter, sugar and eggs in the KitchenAid. Sure, cooking with a 3.5-year-old isn’t entirely relaxing, but it is especially rewarding to see the boy bite into a fresh baked cookie or slice of bread with glee and to watch him proudly boast to his dad, “Look what Mommy and me made!” And there’s no better time than February (hello Valentine’s Day) to share home baked goodies with the ones you love. So I’m declaring February “Homemade with Love” month here at FoodieTots. I hope you’ll join in and share what you and your kids are baking, too. There may even be a round-up at the end of the month if you have links to share.

First up is Cinnamon Swirl Bread, the next entry in my Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge. Peter Reinhart’s bread calls for raisins and walnuts, which I like well enough, but I wanted to make a simple cinnamon bread first. This is the bread that inspired me to join the challenge, as I have strong memories of my mother baking cinnamon bread and the warm fragrance that filled the house. I don’t even remember if she ever made it more than once, but the cinnamon-sweet scent has stayed with me all these years, and motivated me to overcome my phobia of yeast.

This is a pretty simple bread, the dough smooth and pliable. In addition to omitting the raisins and nuts, I replaced the shortening with melted butter. The boy helped me knead, giving it a few enthusiastic whacks and pokes.

To add the cinnamon swirl, you simply pat the dough out into a rectangle, spread it with a generous layer of cinnamon-sugar, then roll up into a loaf. (You can see pictures of this step on Pinch My Salt’s post.) After a second rise in the loaf pans, it heads into the oven to bake.

(You can see the pronounced difference between the crappy over-stove fluorescent lighting and my Ego lights, the dough didn’t actually turn from yellow to white…) I had a stuffy nose the day I baked it, so the scent wasn’t as strong as I’d remembered, but the taste was everything I remembered.

Cinnamon swirl bread is best with a generous spread of fresh-from-the-farm butter, and maybe a little more of that cinnamon-sugar on top. Delish. Of course, if you somehow don’t finish the loaf the first day or two, it also makes scrumptious French toast. And needless to say, the boy was quite pleased with the finished product.