Archive for November, 2013

Our Thanksgivukkah Table

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Every once in a while I stumble upon a reminder that I haven’t been fully practicing what I preach and welcoming the kids into the kitchen. The busier our days get, the more tempting it gets to shoo them into the other room with an art project or television to keep them out of the way. With holiday cooking taking even more effort than every day meals, it’s easy to forget that this is the best time to create positive memories around food.

handprint menurkey placements | foodietots.com

A post by Mayim Bialik on Kveller about her mother’s hand-written holiday menus prompted me to bring the kids into this part of our holiday meal. I asked them one evening what we should include, and I plan to type and print out two copies to let them decorate while I’m, yes, busy cooking. I confess I was a little surprised — maybe even slightly disappointed — there weren’t any off-the-wall requests. (C’mon, kids, mama has a blog to write here. ;) ) The boy suggested broccoli for the green vegetable but was willing to accommodate my suggestion of green beans instead. He wouldn’t back down on his insistence for pumpkin pie over pumpkin cheesecake, but it’s a win I was willing to let him have.

There are just seven of us, so we pretty much stick to the classics with a few twists. We’ll have latkes on the first night of Hanukkah, but this is the Thursday evening menu:

FoodieTots Thanksgivukkah Menu

American Farmstead Cheese
Orange Sage Roasted Turkey

Challah Stuffing with Bacon and Apples
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Marshmallows
Cider & Maple Cranberry Sauce
Challah Rolls

Green Beans with Lemon Zest
Pumpkin Pie
Assortment of NYC Desserts

Of course decorating the table is another easy way to include children in preparing the holiday meal. We made handprint “Menurkey” place mats (pictured above) to complement my fancier centerpiece.

thanksgivukkah table | foodietots.com

I wasn’t sure how to decorate in a way that tastefully blended the two holidays, but then I stumbled upon this beautiful peacock at West Elm and decided hints of teal and gold would be a nice way to blend the blues of Hanukkah with the browns of Thanksgiving. I also am a big fan of centerpieces that double as dessert, and placed a tiny Seckel pear, crimson pomegranate and trio of rust-hued persimmons on my vintage cake platter with a handful of gelt — those chocolate coins that are essential for playing dreidel after the meal.

How are you including your kids in your holiday meals? Please share your ideas — and happy Thanksgivukkah to all who are celebrating!

PS Visit our Thanksgivukkah Potluck post for last-minute recipes, including our Turkey & Sweet Potato Latkes … Thanksgiving is just one day, but there are eight nights of Thanksgivukkah!

Squash Farro Salad {#MeatlessMonday}

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Have you been to the farmers market lately? So many colors and varieties of winter squash are on display at ours right now. When I came home with the Kabocha squash I used for tacos a few weeks ago, the boy was disappointed it was not an acorn squash. So we’ve been getting acorn squash once a week, and I decided to use this week’s in a warm grain salad. I discovered quick cooking grains at Trader Joe’s recently and wanted to give the farro a try. I simmered it in water with a pinch of salt and splash of olive oil and it was ready in just 15 minutes — not bad! If you have regular farro, though, be sure to cook according to the package directions.

Squash Farro Salad | FoodieTots.com

Recipe: Squash Farro Salad

This warm grain salad can be made with barley or rice if you prefer. We used acorn squash, which is easier to peel after cooking. If you’d rather use butternut, peel and cube it before roasting. And cranberries add a nice color contrast, but golden raisins are equally tasty in a pinch!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon champagne or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

1. Prepare farro according to package instructions. If using quick-cooking farro, place farro and two cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for another 5 minutes, then drain any excess water. Keep covered while preparing the remaining ingredients.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook 25 to 30 minutes, until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove and let cool slightly before cutting off peel and cutting into small pieces.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together salt, maple syrup and vinegar. Drizzle olive oil, whisking until smooth. Set aside.

4. Combine farro, squash, cranberries or raisins and dressing in a large bowl, stirring to evenly distribute dressing. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve warm.

squash at Homestead Farm | FoodieTots.com

Looking for more squash inspiration? Savory Simple has a round-up of dozens of food blogger recipes using all types of squash. I can’t wait to try these three, in particular:

cheesy pumpkin quinoa stuffed peppers from What Jew Wanna Eat
Asian peanut spaghetti squash stir-fry
from Snappy Gourmet
winter squash pies
from Adventures in Cooking

This post has also been shared with Meatless Monday blog hops hosted by Recipe Renovator and The Midnight Baker.

FoodieTots Finds: Holiday Cards from Minted

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

It might seem odd for a blogger to say, but I love paper. Print magazines, real books, and stylish stationery are things I just can’t imagine giving up. And so I am a firm believer in sending holiday cards, though admittedly not always organized enough to do them early. With Hanukkah coming a full month before Christmas this year (we celebrate both), though, I’m feeling a little more pressured to get them out earlier. And, there are usually great deals from the online stationery sites to reward you for planning ahead. Minted.com is one of those sites, and has just launched this year’s holiday collection.

Minted holiday cards | foodietots.com

They asked us to take a look, and I quickly found a dozen or so photo card designs that I love. And unlike other places that offer a token one or two Hanukkah cards, Minted offers 75 designs, from the sophisticated to the casual.

Minted holiday cards

How cute is that holiday cookie exchange invitation?

Minted offers special touches, like pressed foil for a glittery touch, and allows you to use multiple pictures if you just can’t narrow it down to one. They have a unique “Find it Fast” tool that lets you upload a photo and quickly see it in multiple designs.

Minted find it fast | foodietots.com

And Minted designers personally review your cards and send a digital proof to ensure they look right before being printed — a definite advantage over those self-serve photo machines. I love their mini-books, too, for those times when you have a lot to share.

If you order from Minted.com by Monday, November 11, you can enjoy $25 off + free ground shipping on holiday card orders with code JOY25FS. Or check out their offers section for the latest discount.

Disclosure: I received a credit from Minted to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own. I have ordered and received Minted cards in the past and they are truly high quality and well designed.

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Cranberry Applesauce

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

My maple syrup and cider-sweetened cranberry sauce is a favorite on our Thanksgiving table, but for Thanksgivukkah I decided to give it a new twist, and make a cranberry applesauce to top those turkey and sweet potato (Thanksgiving leftover) latkes. I liked the cranberry so much that I may serve it as a latke topping every year, not just for Thanksgivukkah. It’s super simple to make with kids, too — especially kids who are old enough to peel and chop apples.

Maple Sweetened Cranberry Applesauce | FoodieTots.com

Recipe: Maple-Sweetened Cranberry Applesauce

Makes approx. 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 large apples, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Note: For a less chunky sauce, peel the apples first.

1. Place all ingredients in a heavy, medium-sized pot. Place over medium low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples and berries cook down to a chunky sauce, about 20 minutes. Cool before serving.

maple syrup action shot | cranberry applesauce by foodietots

Turkey and Sweet Potato Latkes {#ThanksgivukkahPotluck}

Monday, November 4th, 2013

For the past eleven years, I’ve celebrated two winter holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas. When the boy was born, we added a third, Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes), in honor of my Jewish husband’s Puerto Rican heritage. Yes, it gets a little confusing. This year, though, Hanukkah is exceptionally early — falling on Thanksgiving, instead of in December. A rare occurrence — in fact it won’t happen again for over 70,000 years — it’s certainly worthy of commemorating. My mother-in-law has already ordered a Menurkey, and to get into the holiday mash-up spirit I’m joining some blogging friends in a virtual Thanksgivukkah Potluck. Read on for my recipe, and be sure to stick around to the end for links to nearly two dozen other fun holiday recipes.

I typically make latkes, the traditional fried potato pancakes, several times over the course of Hanukkah’s eight nights. The first night is always traditional Russet potato, and another time I might make sweet potato or other experimental varieties. While the first night this year is actually the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, there’s no reason not to re-purpose some turkey leftovers into a batch of these Turkey and Sweet Potato Latkes later in the week. They’d make a great day-after brunch, in fact. They’re essentially a turkey and sweet potato hash, fried in rounds. And you know I had to top them with a cranberry apple sauce.

turkey sweet potato thanksgivukkah latkes | foodietots.com

Recipe: Turkey and Sweet Potato Latkes

Makes 8 latkes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, preferably dark meat, diced
  • 1 baked sweet potato, diced
  • 1 shallot, grated
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying (I prefer olive or peanut oil)

Instructions:

  1. Place diced sweet potato in a large bowl and mash it a little with a fork. Mix in diced turkey and shallot.
  2. Lightly beat egg in a separate bowl, then fold into turkey mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.
  3. Pour oil to coat bottom of frying pan. Heat over medium heat until shimmering. Use an oiled, shallow measuring cup to shape turkey mixture into 1/2-inch thick pancakes and gently place into frying pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until edges brown, then very carefully turn over with a large thin turner. Cook another 2 minutes, then remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
  4. Serve warm with cranberry applesauce and/or sour cream, and additional thinly sliced shallots.

thanksgivukkah blogger potluck

Please visit these blogger friends for more Thanksgivukkah recipe inspiration — even if you don’t celebrate Hanukkah, you may find some ideas to jazz up your usual Thanksgiving menu! Have I mentioned there are doughnuts? ;)

Thanksgivukkah Tzimmes (Tsimis) Pie from Parade Magazine

Potato Latkes Topped with Turkey and Cranberry Chutney from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

Chocolate Cranberry Cake with Gelt Glaze from What Jew Wanna Eat

Candied Sweet Potato Latkes from Everyday Maven

Butternut Squash Puree with Honey and Smoked Paprika from The Lemon Bowl

Sweet Potato Noodle Kugel from Rhubarb and Honey

Pumpkin-glazed Cronuts from MotherWouldKnow

Flamingo’s Mulled Wine Cocktail – Hot & Cold from Flamingo Musings

Thanksgivukkah Decorating from Sucre Shop

Onion Bagel and Bacon Stuffing from Very Culinary

Sweet Potato Pie Doughnut Holes from Cooking for Luv

Challah Cranberry Doughnuts from Food is my Love Language

Challah Stuffing with Turkey Sausage, Leeks and Cherries from The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Pumpkin Cranberry Maple Kugel from Farm Fresh Feasts

Pumpkin Challah from Labna.it

Thanksgivukah Pumpkin Tsimmes from {fork & swoon}

Homemade Manischewitz-flavored Marshmallows from Cupcake Project

This post also shared at Tidy Mom’s I’m Lovin’ It Fridays.