Archive for July, 2012

The Really Young and Hungry Welcome Union Market DC

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

A cold and steady drizzle didn’t deter the foodie tots from seeking out more delicious eats around town this weekend. This time, it was the Summer Picnic Spectacular at the coming-soon Union Market in Northeast DC.

union market washington dc

We love this project, from development firm EDENS, for many reasons. Modeled after foodie meccas like the San Francisco Ferry Building, it’s bringing retail back to one of the earliest market sites in Washington. It’s gathering some of our favorite local producers and brands (Trickling Springs Creamery, Rappahannock River Oysters, Peregrine Espresso, to name a few) in one beautiful location. It will have a cheese shop. And on this wet weekend, it provided good eats, drinks and fun for the whole family. And it warmed this mama’s heart to see so many other foodie tots in attendance. It’s truly a delicious time to be a kid or an adult in Washington.

Click the slide show to see the foodie tots favorites, including fried pickles, corn salad, churros, ice cream worthy of a salute, and more.

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Union Market opens September 8.
1309 5th Street NE
Washington, DC

Disclaimer: Headline is a shameless rip-off of nod to the Washington City Paper’s Young & Hungry blog. Give me a call if you want to branch out to the younger and hungrier audience.

Eat, Play, Go: NatureBox, DW’s Unicorn Adventure & Farm-to-Street Party

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Happy Friday! We’ve nibbled and noshed our way through the first month of our summer break with no slowing down in sight. Here are just a few things I’ve been meaning to tell you about… and remember, the Ball jar giveaway ends tonight so go comment, quick!

NatureBox snacks

EAT: Ever find yourself in a rut at snack time or when packing camp or school lunches? Enter NatureBox — a monthly subscription service of healthy snacks. I don’t know about your kids, but my oldest is definitely at the point where I can offer something and have him turn up his nose. When someone else offers it, it’s suddenly magical. And if it comes in a “treasure box” in the mail? Jackpot! Our sample box contained firecrackers (sweet chili flavored), dried cherries, Sunshine vegetable chips (in yellow, green, orange and purple!), nutty granola and honey fig bars. We loved the carrot and taro in the Sunshine chips in particular. My son wondered, “Why would someone give a kid a firecracker to eat?” But then ate them, all. At $19.95 a box, which contains 4-6 different snacks, it’s pretty in line with the high-end snacks at Whole Foods. They share the same criteria we do: no HFCS or artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors. Visit their website to learn more. If you’d like to try it out, the promo code HEALTHY may be used for 25% off your first month of subscription (if choosing month-to-month — 6-month subscriptions receive 1 month free and 12-month subscriptions receive 3 months free).

DW's Unicorn Adventure

PLAY: Within the first ten days of summer vacation we made one round-trip drive to New York and promptly followed that with an unplanned road trip to North Carolina (after the crazy DC storms knocked out our power during a 100-degree heat wave). So new iPhone games were definitely deployed to help keep the kids happy on the road. And a new offering from PBS Kids was right up our alley: DW’s Unicorn Adventure. In the game, Arthur’s little sister D.W. must find healthy foods to fuel up (the rainbow of fruits and vegetables), while avoiding bad foods that zap your energy (soda, doughnuts and chips). Yes, it’s a bit simplistic, but I have to admit to smiling when I hear my 5-year-old exclaim, “Oh no, a doughnut!” And while it’s just challenging enough to keep him interested, my two-year-old finds it easy enough to play around with, too.

eat local first dc

GO: There are *so* many food festivals and parties this summer in DC. Tomorrow, the Think Local First folks cap off their Eat Local First week with a Farm-to-Street Block Party, 1:00-7:00pm on V Street NW between 13th and 14th. The foodie tots enjoyed the event last year (especially the blueberry lemonade from Busboys and Poets); those 21 or over will enjoy the beer garden featuring local brews from DC Brau, Chocolate City and 3 Stars Brewery. Visit the website for details, or just purchase tickets at the event ($15 includes food tickets; kids enter free).

Disclaimer: I received a sample NatureBox and a free download of the DW game for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions, as always, are my own and/or that of the foodie tots.

FRESHFARM Week: Meet The Mushroom Stand

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

I’ve written about mushrooms a lot, but haven’t properly introduced our source: The Mushroom Stand, or Mother Earth Organics from Pennsylvania. Ferial Welsh, better known as The Mushroom Lady, can be found each week at FRESHFARM Penn Quarter or Dupont Circle patiently explaining the difference between her numerous mushroom varieties and offering cooking instructions. I first seek out the stand in early spring for those coveted wild morels, but the cultivated mushrooms are available nearly year-round. More frequently, we buy my son’s favorite, tiny honey mushrooms. But shitake, maitake and others make an occasional appearance on our dinner table as well.

the mushroom stand freshfarm markets

Try The Mushroom Stand’s mushrooms in some of these favorite recipes:

Find The Mushroom Stand at FRESHFARM‘s Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter markets, and at the Falls Church Farmers Market.

PS Obviously that is not a recent photo… but I couldn’t resist a flashback to cooler times as we suffer through 100 degree days here in DC this week.

Happy 15th FRESHFARM Markets!

Monday, July 16th, 2012

We had such a blast at the FRESHFARM Markets’ 15th anniversary bash yesterday at Dupont Circle. There were scrumptious eats from some of our favorite farmers and restaurants — the foodie tot was especially pleased to catch up with her personal pickle purveyor, Sarah of Gordy’s Pickle Jar. The boy loved watching the giant paella created by Jaleo/Think Food Group. There were crab cakes picked on the spot by the Hyatt Chesapeake. Fabulous Pleasant Pops to keep cool — their blueberry pancake was every bit as awesome as it sounds. And the kids loved rocking to local bluegrass band Newgrass Effect, too.

During the cake cutting ceremony, local politicians, including Councilmember Jack Evans and a representative from the DC Department of the Environment, lauded FRESHFARM Markets for their impact on the community. Chef Nora Pouillon, founder of the first certified organic restaurant in the country who inspired the creation of FRESHFARM Markets, remarked, “We never imagined it would be so big and so wonderful, and have so many farmers.” Chef Ris Lacoste, of Ris, noted that she spent $30,000 on market produce for her restaurant last year. Founding market farmers Bev Eggleston (Eco-Friendly Foods) and Mark Toigo (Toigo Orchards) were among the farmers on hand, too.

But enough chit chat, here’s a slideshow of the fun. The FoodieTots look forward to spending the next 15 years with you, FRESHFARM! (And hey, they’ll be old enough to volunteer for the 30th anniversary party.)

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{Giveaway} Are You Ready for Summer Canning?

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

We take a brief intermission from our FRESHFARM Markets Week to share the news of National Can-It-Forward Day, sponsored by Ball. Today, experts from Ball are sharing canning tips on live WebTV and on Twitter (search: #canitforward). While I’ve averaged just one or two batches of preserves each of the past couple summers, I can assure you that the preparation really is the hardest part. If you’re new to canning, Ball offers a Canning Discovery Kit with the items and instructions you need to safely preserve at home. Once you have your equipment (large pot, sterilized jars and lids, and a jar lifter), find the freshest local produce you can and set aside a block of time — you do need to attend to the jam while it cooks, and will want to avoid distractions while processing the jars.

jars ready for canning

And yes, it is possible to can with kids. You’ll want to keep them away from boiling pots and hot jars, of course, but little helpers are perfect for the preparation phase — rinsing, de-stemming, pitting, etc. I’ve even employed a child-safe-knife-wielding toddler to dice tomatoes for our tomato jam. (Since they’re going into the jam, preciseness of the cut doesn’t matter.) And kids love to see their hard-earned produce (in the case of picking it ourselves, or even better, home grown) turned into something that they can enjoy later in the year.

micro-batch plum vanilla jam

If you don’t have time to pick your own produce, farmers markets of course are the perfect place to source produce at peak flavor — and many farmers will gladly offer a discounted price for a flat of “seconds,” the slightly blemished fruit that is perfect for jam and preserves.

GIVEAWAY: Ball has generously offered a case of jars to one lucky reader. Just comment below with something you have canned (links to posts welcome!), or the first thing you’d like to, and be sure to include a valid email in the comment form (no need to put it in the comment itself). Comments will be open until 11:59pm Eastern on Friday, July 20. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Additional canning resources:

Disclosure: I received a Canning Discovery Kit from Ball for review purposes, and Ball is providing the giveaway prize to a reader. No other compensation was received and all opinions, as always, are my own. Please always follow safety instructions and professional recipes when canning.