Posts Tagged ‘giveaway’

Baking with Plum Organics {and Giveaway}

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

It’s amazing how many new products for kids have been developed even just in the four years between the births of my son and daughter, particularly in the natural and organic category. Take baby food — the first time around, there was only one organic alternative on the market. This time, there are all-natural and organic options everywhere you look, at health food stores and mainstream retailers alike. I still made most of my daughter’s food, but we also found ourselves picking up the new organic pouches for meals on the go — like these from Plum Organics. Because pouches allow the food to be heated to lower temperatures than traditional jarred food, the food tastes fresher and retains more nutrients (without additives or preservatives). Most importantly, they taste more like homemade and blend flavors I might not have thought of, like blueberry, pear and purple carrot.

baking with plum organics

While the youngest is a toddler now, and eating whatever we eat, purees can still provide an extra boost of nutrition at meal time. They can be mixed in to soups or pasta, used as a dip for veggies and crackers, or used like you would applesauce to reduce the fat (butter or oil) content in baked goods. Take these Carrot Oat Cakes I developed for Plum’s Little Foodies Cookbox campaign. Full of fiber and a little sweet, they’re perfect for a quick breakfast or after school snack.

plum organics carrot oat cake

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GIVEAWAY: Plum Organics has provided a “Yum Kit” for one lucky reader, which contains coupons, stickers, and a variety of Plum pouches. To enter, leave a comment below sharing your little one’s favorite early food. The giveaway closes at 11:59pm Eastern on Sunday, May 6. Please include a valid email in the comment form. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Three ways to increase your odds of winning (must leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done them):

  1. “follow” @foodietots AND @plumorganics on Twitter
  2. “like” FoodieTots AND Plum Organics on Facebook
  3. “pin” this post to Pinterest

Good luck!

Disclosure: I was compensated by Nest Collective, parent company of Plum Organics, for developing a recipe as part of the Little Foodies Cookbox campaign and received products for the purposes of hosting this giveaway. All comments and opinions are my own.

Julia’s Child {Book Review and Giveaway}

Monday, February 13th, 2012

{Admin Note: Voting is now open in the DC Lamb Pro-Am. I’d be oh-so-flattered if you’d take a moment to vote for FoodieTots’ Lemon-Mint Crusted Leg of Lamb. Thank you!}

It’s not often I find myself in the kitchen, a novel in one hand, sautéeing apples with the other while steering the toddler towards her refrigerator magnets and out from underfoot. And I’m pretty sure this is the first adult fiction book review I’ve done here on FoodieTots. But when I read the description of Sarah Pinneo’s Julia’s Child, I couldn’t resist: “A delectable comedy for every woman who’s ever wondered if buying that six-dollar box of organic crackers makes her a hero or a sucker.”

Julia's Child

I did have a little apprehension, though. Those of us on the whole foods-local food-organic food bandwagon can be a little, well, sensitive about our food choices. But I follow Pinneo on Twitter (@Julias_Child) and was reasonably certain she was on my side. Sure enough, the novel was an enjoyable read about a woman out to “save the world one bite at a time.” It’s good to laugh at ourselves once in a while, and I found myself laughing out loud at the main character, Julia’s, conversation with her husband about recycled toilet paper. Let’s just say we may have had that exact conversation in the FoodieTots’ house.

In the novel, Julia is a mother who leaves behind a corporate paycheck to launch an organic toddler food business, and moms of all types will relate to her struggles as she attempts to balance the needs of her own family with the demands of her growing business. Even better, a few recipes from the fictional business are included, and it was the Apple and Cheddar Muffets that I found myself baking first. A “muffet” is a savory muffin, the primary product Julia is producing and, at the start of the book, selling to the stereotypical moms of Brooklyn (of course). Aside from the cutesy name, I liked the “muffet” concept and appreciate that they are a low-sugar but still full-flavored kid-friendly snack. (With whole milk, butter and sour cream, they are not a low-fat snack, which is fine for the toddler crowd but may make you feel a smidge guilty after polishing off two in a row. Hypothetically speaking.) As I write this, the kitchen smells amazing, and just look how lovely they are.

julia's child apple cheddar muffets

If you own a Bugaboo (er, “Frogaboo”) or are a perky blonde co-host of The View (er, The Scene) the satire may hit a little too close to home, but otherwise I think many foodie mamas will appreciate this funny and engrossing read.

The author has also offered one lucky reader a free copy of Julia’s Child, along with a basket of mom-made food products. (Not sure if that includes the muffets…but once you have the book, you can bake them yourself.) Leave a comment below telling us one of your children’s favorite after-school snacks, and I’ll select a winning commentor at random. Comments are open until 11:59 pm Eastern time this Friday, February. 17.

Learn more about Sarah Pinneo on her own blog or Facebook page. And of course, look for Julia’s Child at your local bookseller or online.

Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes {and Macy’s Giveaway}

Friday, November 18th, 2011

One of my favorite things about the holidays is learning the stories behind treasured family recipes. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to holiday meals, and yet I can’t resist the occasional tinkering or experimentation. While our Thanksgiving menu generally resembles the meals I had growing up, I’ve taken a few liberties with some dishes. We rarely spend the holiday with my own family, so I make the sweeter cranberry sauce we prefer instead of my aunt’s cranberry-orange relish, and add blue cheese to my mom’s green bean amandine. Other things, like sweet potato casserole, have made their way to our menu even though I don’t recall having had them as a kid.

For one of the first Thanksgiving meals my husband and I hosted, I decided to add a Southern twist to that ubiquitous sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. (This Oregon girl and New York boy now reside in Virginia; though just slightly in “The South,” there are a few Southern favorites we’ve embraced, like bourbon.) A splash of bourbon and crunch of pecans counters the sweetness, and the result is a fully-loaded crowd pleaser of a casserole that’s earned its place on the table every year. The kids go nuts for the marshmallows while the grown-ups like the sophistication of the bourbon. I’m kidding of course, the grown-ups go just as nuts for the marshmallows as the kids. After all, at what other meal of the year can you get away with topping the vegetables with candy?

southern candied sweet potatoes with bourbon

Recipe: Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large potatoes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/8 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 2 cups marshmallows

Instructions:

1. Wash, peel and cut potatoes into large chunks. Place in a large pot and fill with cold water to one inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Drain.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread potatoes in an 9×12-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, brown sugar, pecan pieces, and bourbon. Place marshmallows on top.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until marshmallow tops are golden brown. Makes 6 servings.

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macys recipe contestWhat’s your family’s favorite holiday dish? Macy’s wants to know: Macy’s is cooking up a storm at its Facebook page and asking fans to share their most-loved recipes here. Then, fans can vote for their favorites for a chance to win fun prizes! The Facebook contest is open until November 30.

And, you can enter to win a prize right here: Macy’s is offering one lucky FoodieTots reader a choice of one of four products:

-          Martha Stewart Professional Cookware Ceramic Covered Casserole Dish (perfect for sweet potato casserole!)

-          Martha Stewart Professional Cookware Hard Anodized Fry Pans (set of 3)

-          Martha Stewart Professional Cookware Stainless Steel 15” Roaster with Roasting Rack

-          Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving and Holiday Cookbook

To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing which item you would choose and what you’d cook with it. The giveaway ends Friday, November 25 at 11:59pm, Eastern time. The winner will be notified by email so be sure to leave a valid email when you comment (will only be visible to me). For additional entries, tweet or share the contest on Facebook, then leave an additional comment here letting me know you’ve done so. Good luck, and happy cooking!

Update: Thanks everyone for entering our holiday giveaway — the contest is now closed and the lucky commenter is #13, Sara. Check your email, Sara!

Lunch Box Lessons {and Giveaway!}

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

The foodie boy began kindergarten yesterday (sniff), and now that I’ve successfully packed my first two brown bag lunches I thought I’d pass on my expert advice. Kidding — but I am employing a couple strategies learned from our summer experimentation. And I welcome any tips from those of you with more experience than I!

3 Strategies for a Successful School Lunch

1. Ask your child. Whether it’s asking them for a list of approved items or letting them select ingredients at the grocery, buy-in is key for ensuring they’ll eat what you pack. (Just take care to avoid the junk food aisles if you can.) And if your kids are old enough, have them help prepare their lunch, too.

2. Embrace comfort foods. I wouldn’t call the boy a picky eater, but he does tend to go through phases — particularly in times of change — where he may ask for macaroni and cheese each night. (He even requested it for his birthday party.) We’re taking things easy this first week and using his favorite snacks as building blocks — nuts, berries, cheese, etc.

3. Think outside the bread. We don’t eat a lot of sandwiches at home (aside from grilled cheese), so I shouldn’t have been surprised that the boy is slow to warm up to the idea of a cold sandwich. More appetizing, in his opinion, have been almond butter on rice cakes and cream cheese on cinnamon raisin English muffins. Meat and cheese roll-ups were also a hit.

He ate every morsel of his lunch yesterday, so I think we’re off to a good start. What have you packed for lunch this week?

I’m also pleased to share a giveaway and special offer to help you pack all-natural lunches for your kids:

Annie’s Homegrown, Stonyfield YoKids, Honest Kids and Seventh Generation have teamed up to help families toss their brown bags this back-to-school season by offering a free Kids Konserve lunch sack with the purchase of participating products through September 30, 2011.

Consumers are invited to visit Annies.com/bts11, print out the form then mail in proof of purchase of all four brands. Eligible products include:

  • Any Annie’s Homegrown item
  • Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt 6-packs or Squeezers
  • Honest Kids Organic Drinks 8-pack carton or 64-ounce bottle
  • Seventh Generation Disinfectants (sprays or wipes)

BACK-TO-SCHOOL GIVEAWAY: FIVE FoodieTots readers will win a free lunch sack with coupons from each of these brands. Simply leave a comment below telling us something you’ve packed for your child’s lunch, before 11:59pm on Sunday, Sept. 11. Winners will be selected at random and notified by email on Monday.

For additional chances to win:

* “like” FoodieTots on Facebook, and leave an additional comment below telling me you did so (or already do),

* “follow” FoodieTots on Twitter, and leave an additional comment below telling me you did so (or already do), &/or

* “subscribe” to FoodieTots via RSS or email, and leave an additional comment below telling me you did so (or already do).

Thanks for entering — and I hope you’re having a smooth transition back to school if your kids started this week!

Disclosure: I received a free lunch sack in exchange for hosting this giveaway, but these brands are well-loved by the FoodieTots family. As always, all opinions expressed in this post are our own.

FoodieTots Review: The Whole Family Cookbook (and giveaway)

Monday, April 18th, 2011

If there’s such a thing as a family food superhero, my friend Michelle Stern surely is one. Founder of a certified-green cooking school in the San Francisco Bay area and author of the What’s Cooking with Kids blog, Michelle was invited to the White House for the launch of Chefs Move to the Schools and is leading the charge for school lunch changes in her own school district. Somehow she also found time to write The Whole Family Cookbook — a hands-on guide to getting kids into the kitchen. Her no-fuss recipes have a color-coded guide to which steps are appropriate for different age groups, and special green boxes geared to kids provide interesting facts and explanations about ingredients and sustainable eating. (And answer the question, how do those seedless watermelons reproduce, anyway?) A seasonal recipe index is a nice starting point if you’re looking for ideas for what to do with this week’s CSA or market haul. My favorite part about this book is that its recipes are simple, real food — not overly cutesy or filled with sugar. Michelle shares my philosophy that kids can get excited about healthy food, too — really!

We made the A-B-C Frittata (recipe reprinted below). He’s been very excited about learning his letters at preschool, so it was a natural choice. (For extra fun, ask your kids to think of other A-B-C combinations … like avocado, banana and coconut!) It was the boy’s first time using the box grater — grating cheese is my least favorite cooking task, so I think I may need to invest in one of the circular graters Michelle mentions in the book so he can more easily do it on his own. He also peeled the apples and cracked eggs. I made a few adjustments to the recipe, noted below, but it is definitely one we’ll be making again. The boy loves quiche, and frittatas are a little faster to put together (no crust) — also Passover-friendly for those of you observing this week, though of course you’ll want to omit the bacon if you keep kosher.

foodie tot cooks frittata

Read on for the recipe. If you’d like to win your own free copy of The Whole Family Cookbook, comment below with your kids’ favorite way to eat eggs. For an extra entry, “like” FoodieTots on Facebook and leave an additional comment here letting me know you have (or already do). Entries will be accepted until midnight (Eastern time) Thursday, April 21. Update: Congratulations to Miriam, the lucky commenter as per the random number generator. Thanks all for your comments and for joining us on Facebook!

(Can’t wait? Buy The Whole Family Cookbook on Amazon or at your local bookstore.)

Recipe: A-B-C (Apple Bacon Cheddar) Frittata
from The Whole Family Cookbook, reprinted with permission

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites**
  • 8 whole eggs**
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 slices bacon
  • Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 2 apples, Fuji or Gala
  • 1 Tablespoon butter**

Instructions:

Put the rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.

Crack the eggs, one at a time, over a small bowl. After checking for stray shells, pour each egg into a medium bowl. To separate the egg whites, crack the egg over an egg separator or someone’s clean hands. Carefully let the egg white slip through the fingers into the bowl, with the yolk remaining. Discard the yolk or save for another recipe. Using a whisk, beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are thoroughly combined.

Grate the cheese. Younger children can help you use a rotary cheese grater (which protects their skin). Older children can use a box grater. Add half of the grated cheese to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to your liking.

Cook the strips of bacon. You can fry them in a skillet (watch out! They can splatter.) Or, you can bake them in the oven on a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. We like this method because we don’t have to turn the bacon over and the kids stay safe.

Once the bacon cools, crumble the strips with clean hands. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the apple. If you have an apple corer, you may use it. Or, simply cut up the apple, leaving the core behind. Slice the apple pieces very thinly. As you are cutting, be sure to put the flat side of the apple pieces down, so the chunks don’t wobble on your cutting board.

In a medium cast-iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.** Add egg mixture to the skillet. Sprinkle the bacon crumbles evenly over the eggs. Gently arrange the apples on top of the egg mixture, in a circular pattern. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Move the skillet from the stovetop to the upper rack of your oven. Bake until frittata is firm in the center and cheese is browned, about 20 minutes. Use a flexible spatula to loosen the frittata from the pan. Carefully slide it onto a cutting board. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing into wedges.

Serves 4.

apple bacon cheddar frittata

** FoodieTots notes: I cooked the bacon in my cast iron skillet, and reserved about a tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan instead of using butter. I didn’t want to have two extra egg yolks leftover, so I used 9 whole eggs. And of course I used cage-free eggs from the farmers market.