Archive for the ‘holiday’ Category

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!

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.

The Foodie Tot Bakes Challah {L’shana Tova 5774}

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

It’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and this year I had a new helper to make the traditional celebratory round challah. We watched a great video to learn the braiding technique (watch here) and the foodie tot begged to help. It looks like a tangled mess when you finish, but then you flip it over and …. voila! A beautiful round braid. Or, a squid, as the tot called it. What can I say, we keep semi-kosher around here. ;)

20130905-163906.jpg

In the past I’ve just made a regular braid and twisted it into a circle, but the resulting loaves always came out a little lopsided. Here’s this year’s beauty fresh out of the oven:

20130905-164551.jpg

I use the challah recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, with double the sugar to make it extra sweet for Rosh Hashanah. Looking for more Jewish holiday recipes? There’s a great group board on Pinterest. L’shana tova to those celebrating!

Jack O’ Lantern Grilled Cheese #KidsCookMonday

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

This was intended to be a quick post about a healthy and fun pre-Halloween lunch, but of course my six-year-old had other plans. Oh, he was amused enough by the first sandwich, but then he asked for a second. And then he said it wasn’t scary enough. So I told him the jack o’ lantern was saying “Boo!” — to which he replied that he needed to see the word bubble to believe it. You can see how that went below…

Jack O' Lantern Grilled Cheese

First, though, the recipe — though it’s pretty simple. Whole wheat sandwich bread, a touch of pumpkin butter, and a blend of shredded cheese. A large pumpkin cookie cutter shapes the sandwich, and small cookie cutters are used to cut out the face. The cheese does ooze through while cooking, though, so the face won’t look quite so perfect when you’re done. *I* think that adds to the charm, but it depends how tough your critics are…

Recipe: Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices wheat bread
  • butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar and gouda)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin butter

Instructions:

  1. Cut bread into pumpkin shape. Use small cookie cutters to cut out a face in four of the slices.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium low heat.
  3. Spread 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin butter on the bottom slice of bread and place in pan. Cover with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and the face side of bread. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side until golden bread. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

Note: Straight pumpkin puree can be substituted for the pumpkin butter — a good way to use up any leftover puree after baking.

And, as promised, here’s my first “Boo!”…

pumpkin grilled cheese sandwich

… but he said it had to be ON THE PUMPKIN to count. No pressure or anything.

halloween grilled cheese sandwich

Needless to say, next time he’ll be in charge of “carving” his own sandwich. ;)