Archive for October, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Crackers {#KidsCook}

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

As luck would have it, I was assigned preschool snack duty on the day of the kids’ Halloween parade. Obviously no ordinary fruit and crackers would do, so I decided it was time to make some homemade cheese crackers. The tot and I headed to the store in search of Halloween cookie cutters, but came home with these adorable woodland animals instead. I used the owls for Halloween, and, as her class is the Penguins, you can bet there will be a batch (or several) of penguins in the near future!

healthy preschool halloween snack | foodietots.com

I tweaked a couple recipes to make a simple version, using part all-purpose and part white wheat flour. (White wheat is a lighter whole wheat flour made by King Arthur flour.) I might try all white wheat next time, but for now these turned out light, cheesy and crisp. Lots of homemade cheese cracker recipes call for cayenne pepper, but I skipped that since I was serving them to three-year-olds. A dash of ground mustard powder was enough to boost the cheesy flavor. Try them and see what you think!

Kids Cooking Tip: All the mixing is done in a food processor, so be sure to enlist the little ones to press the button on and off. Older kids can help grate the cheese. And of course, rolling and cutting is always a fun task for little helpers.

Cheddar Cheese Crackers | FoodieTots.com

Recipe: Homemade Cheddar Cheese Crackers

Makes 3 dozen small crackers

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • optional: sunflower seeds or pepitas

Instructions:

  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. Place first six ingredients in food processor and pulse a few seconds at a time, until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Add milk and pulse a few more times until dough begins to stick together.
  4. Press dough together and chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. On a lightly floured cutting board, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 1-inch squares or use a small cookie cutter to cut shapes. Use blunt end of a wooden skewer to poke eyes, or if cutting into squares, poke each in the center. If using seeds, press firmly into the dough.
  6. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes, until edges are golden. Cool completely on cooling rack, then store in airtight container.

Slow Cooker Carnitas {#Crocktoberfest2013}

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Now that we’re back into the thick of school and after-school activities, I find myself falling even more in love with my slow cooker. Frankly, I’m a little embarrassed it took me so long to get on the bandwagon. But now that I’m here, I’m always looking for more ideas and recipes that make use of real, whole food ingredients — rather than the instant-soup-packet-based casseroles that have long given slow cookers a bad name. Today, I’m sharing a super easy recipe for Slow Cooker Carnitas as part of #Crocktoberfest. Read on for the recipe and stick around to to the end for more delicious links.

Slow Cooker Carnitas #Crocktober | FoodieTots.com

These pork carnitas take just 15 minutes to prep in the morning and last for two meals in our house — tacos one night, then with rice and beans or even on sandwich rolls (a la pulled pork) to mix it up a little for the next night. These are mild, but you could easily add some peppers to spice it up.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Carnitas
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 3- to 4-pound pork shoulder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1 bottle dark Mexican beer (e.g. Modelo)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • cilantro and additional salsa to serve

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper and sear, 4 minutes on each side, until browned.
  2. Place pork shoulder in slow cooker. Cover with sliced onion, salsa verde and beer.
  3. Set slow cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions, typically 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.
  4. When cooked through (should fall apart easily when prodded), remove pork to cutting board and use two forks to shred. Serve atop tortillas for tacos or however you prefer.

…..

Crocktoberfest Main Dishes Collage

I’ve teamed up with some of my friends to bring you a great list of slow cooker main dish recipes today! There are 17 delicious recipes to check out today. If you love slow cooker dishes then check out #crocktoberfest2013 on facebook, twitter, and instagram to find all the other recipes that will be shared this week.

Baja Chicken Soup from Around My Family Table

Crockpot Pot Roast from Eat Drink Love

Crockpot French Dip from White Lights on Wednesday

Chicken Enchilada Soup from {I Love} My Disorganized Life

Grammy’s Crock Pot Turkey Legs from Dizzy Busy & Hungry

Beef & Barley Soup from Peanut Butter & Peppers

Beef Stew from Curry & Comfort

Sweet Potato Cheddar Slow Cooker Soup from Homemaking Hacks

Crock Pot French Onion Soup from Cookie Monster Cooking

Crock Pot Green Chili Chicken from Mom Endeavors

Italian Pork Chops with Parmesan Noodles from Pink Cake Plate

Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup from 365 Days of Crockpot

Slow Cooker Tomato & Brown Sugar Pork Chops from Brie Brie Blooms

Slow Cooker Sesame Beef from Slender Kitchen

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches from Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts

Pumpkin Chili from Celebrating Family

Refried Beans without Lard from Kitchen Treaty

Happy #Crocktoberfest!

Kabocha Squash Apple Tacos with Chèvre {#MeatlessMonday}

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Did you know the Meatless Monday campaign celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall? To celebrate, I wanted to make some vegetarian tacos — and I just happened to have a beautiful Kabocha squash on hand. I spiced and roasted the squash for a warm, fall flavor and then added a sweet apple to balance the spicy squash. This roasted squash and apple combo is a great kid-friendly side dish on its own, but it was especially delicious atop warmed corn tortillas with cilantro and crumbled chèvre. This will make a repeat appearance on our Taco Tuesday menu very soon!

Kabocha Squash Apple Tacos with Chevre by FoodieTots

You can use butternut or acorn squash if you prefer, but I loved the green-orange hues and rich flavor of the Kabocha. I went a little lighter on the spices for the kids, so I’ve given a range below — cumin is a great early spice for babies and toddlers as it adds flavor without too much heat, so you could even mash up the roasted squash and (peeled) apples for your littlest eaters.

Recipe: Roasted Squash Apple Tacos with Chèvre
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Kabocha squash (approximately 2 1/2 cups peeled and diced)
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • fresh cilantro to garnish
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • salsa verde and/or Sriracha, optional if you prefer your tacos hot

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place diced squash in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add cumin, paprika and salt and toss to coat evenly. Spread in an even layer on baking sheet and roast 15 minutes.
3. Stir squash gently and add apple. Return to oven and roast an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until squash is tender and apples are lightly browned.
4. Warm tortillas and serve with a spoonful of squash-apple filling, pinch of cilantro and tablespoon of chèvre.

This recipe is linked to the Meatless Monday blog hop at Recipe Renovator.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary, a Meatless Monday Scientific Symposium will be held Thursday, Oct. 17, at 4 pm — get details and watch the live stream from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health here.

Arcadia Farm Fallfest {Support School-to-Farm in Virginia}

Friday, October 4th, 2013

What’s even better than bringing farm-fresh foods to schools? Bringing school kids to the farm! The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture is doing just that at its working farm on the grounds of the historic Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, Virginia. The non-profit arm of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, produce grown at the Northern Virginia farm is sold via a converted school bus, the Mobile Market, which travels around DC providing access to fresh produce in under-served areas.

chickens on Arcadia Farm, Virginia | FoodieTots

I had the privilege of attending a summer dinner on the farm earlier this year, and toured the beautiful farm. Just take a look around the Children’s Garden:

Children’s Garden at Arcadia from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

Arcadia hosted kids farm camps over the summer, but now that school is in session they welcome schools to visit on field trips and offer family education programs on weekends. They’ve recently launched a brand new membership program to support all the good work they do. Members are given first dibs to sign up for culinary classes with master chefs and bakers from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group and others in the local food scene. To see upcoming classes and join the cause, visit their website

Arcadia Farm Fallfest 2013

You can visit Arcadia Farm this Sunday, October 6, for their Farm Fallfest Family Frolic Funtacular. It will be held from 12 to 4pm at Woodlawn, 9000 Richmond Highway, Alexandria.