The holidays are approaching — time to brush up on manners with a special pre-holiday “Tea with Mrs. B” this Sunday, November 11, at The Fairfax at Embassy Row. In this two-hour event, Mrs. B will offer holiday etiquette advice, while The Fairfax’s Chef Ferrier will share healthy holiday eating suggestions. There will be a full kid-friendly tea service and even a photographer on hand for family photos while everyone is dressed in their fancy tea attire.
We had such a fun time at a “Tea with Mrs. B” event at the Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria last year. If you can’t make it to Sunday’s event, the Morrison will also host holiday story time teas on November 17 (Thanksgiving) and December 15 (Christmas/Hanukkah). Visit Mrs. B’s website for additional details.
Holiday Etiquette and Tea Party for the Entire Family
with Mrs. B Sunday, November 11, 2012
1:00-3:00pm Fairfax at Embassy Row
2100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Adults: $49 per person; Children: $29 per person
Purchase tickets online here or call 202-736-1459.
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…
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
8 slices wheat bread
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar and gouda)
2 tablespoons pumpkin butter
Cut bread into pumpkin shape. Use small cookie cutters to cut out a face in four of the slices.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium low heat.
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!”…
… but he said it had to be ON THE PUMPKIN to count. No pressure or anything.
Needless to say, next time he’ll be in charge of “carving” his own sandwich.
I know some of you are back to school already — we have a few more weeks, here, but it’s never too soon to start filing away new, fast and healthy breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack ideas. The National Mango Board helped get our creative juices flowing with a box of ripe mangos and a cookbook full of ideas. Mangos are high in vitamin C, which is important to keep our little ones healthy throughout the school year.
My soon-to-be first-grader laughed out loud when we came across the mango nacho recipe, so I knew we had to make that first. I made a few tweaks to the recipe, including adding mango puree to the caramel sauce to boost the fruit content and reduce the added sugar. (Plus, the mango makes the caramel sauce more orange — closer to “real” nacho cheese.) We’ll definitely make this again for an after-school treat.
Recipe: Sweet Caramel Mango Nachos source: Mango Eats & Treats by Mango.org
makes 4 servings
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 flour tortillas
nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup caramel sauce
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
To prepare cinnamon cream, beat cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl with a mixer until stiff peaks form; transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while preparing nachos.
To prepare the nachos, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each tortilla into 6 wedges. Working in batches, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray both sides with nonstick cooking spray. Bake tortillas for 10 minutes until browned, turning halfway through until crisp. Stir together sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl; add tortillas and toss well to coat. Pile onto a decorative platter (or individual plates for kids to assemble their own).
Process half of the mango in a blender or food processor until smooth. In a medium bowl, pour caramel sauce and heat for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir in mango puree. Drizzle mango-caramel sauce over tortilla chips, sprinkle with diced mango and top with cinnamon whipped cream.
Check out the foodie boy explaining how simple this recipe is. The foodie tot tried to get in on the action, too (her job was whipping the cream — she loves to work the buttons on the mixer).
You can get some fresh ideas for cooking with mangos by visiting Mango.org.
The National Mango Board challenged me to spend a week creating healthier eating and snacking habits for my family. Join the conversation and one of my readers will receive a cookbook and a chance to win a shipment of mangos and $200 gift card to Williams-Sonoma.
We had a fabulously delicious weekend, including our Food Revolution picnic at the Washington Monument — before participating in Yoga on the Mall.
Taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather, we had another picnic with friends on Sunday, for which I made my favorite summer salad — my asparagus version of Heidi Swanson’s “Mostly Not Potato Salad.” Sunday morning I had the rare shopping trip with only my five-year-old in tow. Having recently caught (and released) his first fish with his grandpop, he was especially interested in the fish on display at the grocery. After chatting with the fishmonger for a bit, he asked if we could bring home a yellow tail snapper for dinner. We nearly always eat salmon at home, so I was happy to branch out. He then noticed the June issue of Bon Appetit nearby, with a picture of fish on the cover, and added that to our cart — “So I can learn how to cook our fish.”
We flipped through the magazine later in the day and came across halibut and cherry tomatoes baked “en papillote” — or, in paper. He was intrigued so we decided to try the technique on our snapper. We used thin lemon slices, olive oil and a pinch of salt to flavor our fish. Neatly wrapped packages go into the oven for just 10 minutes, and are then placed on a serving plate to be unwrapped at the table. Fun, so easy, and a successful technique to get the kids to try something new. Even if he ate one bite and declared, “I’ve had enough fishiness for one day.” It’s a start, right?
Recipe: Baked Snapper in Parchment Paper
Makes 4 servings
4 6-ounce snapper filets
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear off four 12-inch lengths of parchment paper. Fold each in half, then trim corners into a (half) heart shape. Open and lay flat on baking sheet.
2. Drizzle one-half tablespoon olive oil on one side of each parchment sheet. Lay 2-3 lemon slices on each and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place fish fillet on top and sprinkle with another pinch of salt.
3. Fold the empty half over the fish. Beginning at the top, fold and crimp edges a little bit at a time, continuing all the way around to make a tight seal. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove packets to a serving platter. Carefully cut a slit in the top of each to allow steam to escape, then unwrap to serve.
I’m a firm believer that comfort food can also be healthy when made with wholesome ingredients and slight tweaks. Take this pumpkin and caramelized onion mac-and-cheese, which doesn’t hide the vegetable addition but celebrates it. Pumpkin or butternut squash puree is a natural addition to macaroni as its creaminess blends right in to a rich cheese sauce.
This recipe is part of the “30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni and Cheese” series hosted by the Wisconsin cheese folks — hop on over to check it out and find other ways to get creative with this kid-favorite dish.
This post was sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) who compensated me for developing this recipe. I have a relationship with the WMMB through my cheese blog, through which I was able to travel to Wisconsin to visit some of the state’s finest cheesemakers in person — read more about it at Cheese and Champagne.