Archive for the ‘foodietots reviews’ Category

Dr. Praeger’s Little Bites for Foodie Tots

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

This post is sponsored by Dr. Praeger’s.

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing in the press over a recent study that called the family meal stressful and unattainable. I’ll spare you my complete rant on the matter, but suffice to say that even yours truly takes short cuts when needed to get a healthy meal on the table on even the busiest of school nights. And I’m grateful to have a handful of real food products to fall back on from companies I can trust, like Dr. Praeger’s. I first purchased their Little Bites way back when the foodie boy was first starting on finger foods, and continue to use them when I want a fun way to boost the veggie content of a meal. Shaped in fun dinosaur and star shapes, they have all the appeal of that dreaded childhood favorite, the chicken nugget, but with none of the junk — in fact, the ingredients are 100% pronounceable and recognizable. The Broccoli Littles, for example, contain: broccoli, potatoes, onions, egg whites, potato flakes, expeller pressed canola oil, arrowroot, salt, garlic. Things you would even find in your own kitchen. Imagine that.

Dr. Praeger's Fishies review | foodietots.com

One of my son’s favorite school lunches is something called “fish treasures.” I’m glad to be able to serve fish bites at home that, again, I can feel good about — knowing Dr. Praeger’s are made with wild Alaskan pollock and aren’t full of unhealthy fillers. There’s even a gluten-free, rice-crusted version of the Fish Littles, and all the veggie Littles (broccoli, spinach and sweet potato) are gluten-free. Dr. Praeger’s asked us to create a couple foodie tot-approved “Little Meals” around their Littles, and we were happy to taste-test some new combinations. The sweet potato Littles can stand in for hash browns at breakfast, and to make a super fast dinner, I roast some additional vegetables — sweet carrots, here, orange and purple carrots we found at the farmers market — while the bites are cooking. (The carrots are bubbles, get it?) Edamame, sauteed with olive oil and garlic, is another kid-friendly favorite in our house to round out the plate.

Dr. Praeger's Fish Bites dinner | foodietots.com

I’m not one to hide the fact that we’re eating vegetables, so I like to serve a few broccoli trees along side the broccoli Littles and point out the fact that foods can taste different depending on how they’re prepared. My kids loved dipping the broccoli Littles in carrot soup. (Another tried-and-true trick for feeding toddlers: embrace the dip!) As with the carrots, I simply tossed the cut broccoli with a little olive oil and roasted it on a separate baking sheet for 10 minutes, while the Littles cooked.

Dr. Praeger's Broccoli Littles meal | foodietots.com

{Get our simple, six-ingredient Carrot Coconut Soup recipe here.}  You can find Dr. Praeger’s in many grocery stores, but check their store locator to find a retailer near you.

Disclosure: Thank you to Dr. Praeger’s for sponsoring this post and providing samples for review. As always, all opinions and comments are our own and we only recommend products we eat at home. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make this blog possible!

Plum Organics Mighty Tots Giveaway #sponsored

Friday, July 25th, 2014

This post is sponsored by Plum Organics.

Hello, readers! Hope you’ve been having a fun and delicious summer. We’ve been on the road quite a bit, which has given us a good reason to try out some of the newest kids snacks from Plum Organics. We’re long-time fans of Plum’s all-natural products for little eaters, so we were glad to try out their new Mighty line of pouches, bars and puffs for growing tots.

Plum mighty tots | foodietots.com

As part of the launch of the new products, Plum is celebrating the wild imaginations of toddlers. When my oldest was just three, we set about planning our first kitchen garden. I gave him a sheet of paper and asked him to draw what he’d like to grow in our garden. Here’s what I got:

a toddler's garden | foodietots.com

From left, he drew three sunflowers, a hot dog plant, strawberry and peas. Of course. We couldn’t quite get our hot dog plant to grow, but we did eat a lot of garden-fresh peas and strawberries! I love the creative combinations kids come up with when you give them room to play in the kitchen or at the dinner table.

Plum has some fun “Ask a Toddler” videos on YouTube posing questions like, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” This one got big laughs from my two cow-loving foodie tots.

GIVEAWAY: Plum Organics would like to share a Mighty kit (pictured below) with one lucky reader. The kit contains Mighty 4 Pouches, Mighty Puff ‘Ems, and Mighty 4 Bars. The giveaway is open to US residents only and closes at 11:59 EST Thursday, July 31. Enter below.

plum mighty tots giveaway foodietots.com

I love the creative ingredient combinations Plum’s come up with for these new products, especially the Mighty 4 pouches that contain protein (Greek yogurt), fiber, vitamins and Omega 3s in flavors like pumpkin pomegranate with quinoa and chia seeds. Confession: I’ve been known to grab an extra pouch for myself for a quick breakfast or snack on the go.

Even my big kid, now age 7, has been enjoying the Puff ‘Ems — Cheesy Pumpkin Sage has been the favorite, and I like that it’s a cheese puff I can feel good about them snacking on, packed with whole grains and veggies. The bars are also full of nutrition, made with fruit/veggie blends like strawberry-spinach and a touch of yogurt and chia seeds, too.

Be sure to check out the Plum videos with your tots and encourage them to tell you how they’d answer the questions, too — I guarantee you’ll share some laughs!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Plum Organics. As always, all opinions are our own.

A Trip to France via Olivia Macaron

Monday, July 14th, 2014

In preparation for Bastille Day (July 14), we took a field trip to learn the secrets behind our newest favorite treat, authentic French macarons. Olivia Macaron opened in Georgetown in 2013, just off of M Street across from Dean & DeLuca.

clay macarons at Olivia Macaron | foodietots.com

The foodie tots love to check out the latest window display, featuring macaron trees in the colors of the season. (We learned a secret: the macrons on display are filled with royal icing so they’ll hold up longer — so don’t bother trying to pinch a taste, as they won’t taste very good!)

Olivia Macaron | macaron trees | foodietots.com

Inside, they are easily tempted by the rainbow of cookies in the case.

macarons at Olivia Macaron | foodietots.com

We met with store manager Joelle, who told us a little more about the shop and the process of making macarons. Unfortunately, Chef Michel Giaon does the baking at a commercial kitchen in the suburbs, not on site, so we didn’t get a true peek in the kitchen. (You can, though, by following @oliviamacaron on Instagram.) The macarons are delivered fresh each morning.

choosing macarons | foodietots at olivia macaron

There are 13 signature flavors available year-round, and three new featured flavors each month. We stopped by in June, so we got to sample the spicy chocolate bacon macaron created for Father’s Day. This month, look for a special strawberry — blue, white & red for Bastille Day — mojito, s’mores and champagne mango.

olivia macaron tasting | foodietots.com

So how do macarons differ from macaroons, the standard Passover dessert? Macaroons with two o’s are made with coconut, while the French macaron is made with almond flour. Olivia grinds almonds down to flour, then mixes them with egg whites and sugar. Those three ingredients are the base, which are then flavored, piped on baking sheets and baked. The fillings can be a cream cheese or buttercream frosting, ganache, or jam.

Olivia Macaron is named after the owner, Ana Claudia Lopez’s daughter, a three-year-old who, much like the foodie tot, tends to prefer the pink macarons in rose and raspberry.

A few more tidbits:

The most popular flavor they sell is salted caramel, and they offer mini packages of two that can be customized to match your event’s colors. (We thought about macaron pops as a party favor for the Foodie Tot, but were afraid they’d crumble too quickly.) Did you catch the clay macarons in the top photo? They were made by local preschoolers after their own field trip to the bakery.

From the Foodie Tot:

favorite part of the visit: tasting the flavors!

favorite flavor: bacon and cassis

flavor she’d like to create: blueberry bacon

From the Foodie Boy:

favorite part of the visit: Getting to taste the June flavors.

favorite flavor: piña colada (another June special)

flavor he’d like to create: red licorice

fun at olivia macaron | foodietots.com

We have plans to attempt to bake macarons at home this summer, but in the mean time, it’s nice to have Olivia Macaron nearby! After a visit (they also offer coffee and espresso for mom and dad), it’s an easy stroll down to the canal or waterfront park.

Olivia Macaron
3222 M Street NW
Washington DC
Monday to Thursday: 10AM-8PM
Friday-Saturday: 10AM – 9PM
Sunday: 11AM-7PM

In the Kitchen at Cava Grill

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

We recently went into the kitchen at one of our favorite local eateries to learn how to make falafel. The foodie tot and I frequently lunch at Cava Grill on her days off from preschool. When I was explaining to her recently that both hummus and falafel start out from the same ingredient, chick peas, it seemed like a cooking lesson was in order. Fortunately, the kind folks at Cava Grill welcomed us into the kitchen to learn their secrets.

foodietot loves cava

Cava Grill makes their falafel and most other ingredients fresh in house each day. They work with a number of local farms to source their ingredients, including naturally-raised lamb, beef and chicken, and are working to ensure every item is GMO-free by the end of the year. Later this year, they’ll transition to baking pita in-house as well. Cava’s hummus and spreads are made in a central commissary and delivered to the restaurants three times a week; you can also find them at local Whole Foods, MOMs Organic Market and other natural grocers to enjoy at home.

But back to the falafel. It turns out their recipe is the result of a miscommunication when they started testing recipes. A cook didn’t mash the chick peas first and when the falafel were mixed, whole beans remained in the balls. This happy accident results in falafel that isn’t as dense as many others, and tastes fresh and flavorful.

fresh-made falafel at cava | foodietots.com

The foodie tot was eager to get into the kitchen and mix things up. There’s just seven ingredients: chick peas, salt, cumin, parsley, cilantro, onion and flour. The Mosaic District location, where we were cooking, goes through 100 pounds of chick peas each day — just making falafel!

Take a look at the video to see the foodie tot — and Cava’s director of operations, Rob Gresham — in action.

FoodieTot Loves Cava from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

While I couldn’t entice her to write this blog post herself, the foodie tot did consent to a post-visit interview.

Q.  What did you enjoy about making falafel?

A.  Putting everything in!

Q.  Were there any surprises in the kitchen?

A.  How big the cans of beans were. (6 pounds each!)

Q.  What’s your favorite thing to eat at Cava?

A.  Fawaffle! (i.e., falafel ;) )

In addition the the tasty falafel, we love Cava for its healthy and customizable kids meal. The meal comes with a mini pita, choice of brown or white rice, choice of proteins, carrot sticks and hummus. The girl gets her falafel, while the foodie boy prefers the lamb meatballs. Kids can choose fresh toppings too — the foodie tot gets either the cucumber or cucumber-tomato salad and kalamata olives. I love the “super greens” salad blend, myself, which includes kale and brussels sprouts; I get it fully loaded with toppings and usually go for the spicy harissa or sriracha greek yogurt dressing. Perfection. Drink-wise, kids can get organic milk or choose the freshly-made juice. It’s strawberry season right now, which means strawberry mint lime juice is our beverage of choice.

cava grill healthy kids meal | foodietots.com

Just look at that colorful, fresh, veggie-loaded meal!

A casual spin-off of the original Cava Mezze restaurants, there are currently 5 Cava Grill locations in the metro DC area, with five more on the way within the next year. The newest location, Chinatown, will open early this fall. Visit their website to find the location nearest you. They have a fun Tumblr, too.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored review, but we did receive a free lunch. As always, all opinions are our own, and we really, really love Cava! Many thanks to Nikki, Liz and Rob at Cava Grill for welcoming us into the restaurant.

Baked Maple Doughnuts {Crown Maple Review}

Friday, February 7th, 2014

There’s nothing like a snow day to get one craving something sweet, and making baked doughnuts lets me feel like it’s a slightly healthier choice than the fried versions. Even if I top it with a rich maple glaze. I hadn’t realized that maple bars were a West Coast thing until reading about an article about them a couple years ago. I can’t recall eating many doughnuts as a child, but realizing that something isn’t available where you now live has a way of spurring a sudden sense of nostalgia. Of course you can get maple doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts, but I’m not a fan of that chemical aftertaste that artificial maple extract imparts. So it’s safer to make my own maple glazed doughnuts at home. As I’ve said before, baked doughnuts are really just muffins in the shape of a doughnut, but the glaze transforms them into a special occasion treat.

Maple Doughnuts | FoodieTots.com

We were recently sent some maple syrups and maple sugar from Crown Maple, and I was eager to try out the maple sugar in some baked goods. Unlike the maple sugar crystals I’ve used before, Crown maple sugar is very fine in texture and gives the baked doughnuts just a subtle maple flavor while baking up light and moist with a great crumb. Just take a peek inside.

Baked Maple Dougnuts with Maple Glaze | FoodieTots

Recipe: Baked Maple Doughnuts with Pure Maple Glaze

Adapted from Shutterbean
Makes 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the maple glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure maple extract*
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk

*Note: If you don’t have maple extract, use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. It won’t have as rich a maple flavor, but will still be delicious.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease doughnut pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and maple sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined.
  5. Scoop the batter into a plastic sandwich bag. Snip off a corner and pipe batter into doughnut pan.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until top bounces back when poked. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.
  7. While doughnuts are cooling, whisk together the glaze ingredients using just enough milk to make it smooth but not so much that it’s runny. I made it slightly thinner and dipped the doughnuts in it, but you risk getting crumbs in the glaze that way. I’d recommend keeping it just thin enough to drizzle with a fork and drizzling it over the doughnuts.

Crown Maple Sugar Review | FoodieTots

About Crown Maple Syrup: Crown Maple Syrup is certified organic syrup produced from 25,000 sugar and red maple trees on an 800-acre sustainably-managed estate in New York’s Hudson River Valley. They use a unique reverse osmosis system to remove 90% of water from the sap before the evaporation process, resulting in an extraordinarily pure syrup. The syrups, available in light, medium, dark and extra dark amber, are pure and delicious drizzled on pancakes and waffles; I also like to use them in vinaigrette over salad and even in cocktails. You can visit Madava Farms, home of Crown Maple, on the weekends for a tour and tasting — and March is the peak tapping season to see it in action.

Disclosure: We received product from Crown Maple for review purposes; no other compensation was received and as always, all opinions are our own.