Posts Tagged ‘review’

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 — 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

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.

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.

Southern Comfort at Evening Star Cafe

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We may live in (Northern) Virginia, but aside from my occasional, tongue-in-cheek “y’all,” we haven’t adopted too many Southern mannerisms. But every once in a while, you just get a craving for something artery-clogging, particularly on a cold, snowy January day. Rather than channeling Paula Deen and deep-frying something at home, we opted to head out to one of our neighborhood restaurants, Evening Star Cafe. I was eager to try their new Saturday breakfast dishes — the fried chicken and waffle, to be precise. Though I will admit it was a tough decision between that and the biscuits and gravy, something I learned to love when visiting my grandparents in Florida many years ago. (The trip that ended my vegetarian phase, coincidentally … just couldn’t resist Grandmom’s daily bacon.)

Despite its casual neighborhood restaurant vibe in the kid-filled neighborhood of Del Ray, Alexandria, Evening Star doesn’t have a kids’ menu. On past brunch/lunch visits, we’ve been offered choices like chicken tenders and pasta off the secret menu, and I’ve even seen patio patrons order hot dogs for their dogs. (It was one of the pooches’ birthday, their owner explained. I can only assume they topped off their meal with puppy pops from the Dairy Godmother.) Anyway, I was able to order a plain waffle and scrambled egg for the boy today, which worked out perfectly. The husband had the huevos rancheros, a colorful and flavorful dish, artfully arranged and kicked up with another Southern nod, Andouille sausage.

Back to my meal, I never really understood the appeal of fried chicken and waffles — chicken for breakfast? — but I have to say I get it now. A touch of sweet honey butter on succulent, savory chicken wrapped in the warm carb embrace of a waffle, it really is perfection.  When I was pregnant with the boy, I had a freak KFC craving one night. I regretted indulging the craving for days after… now that I’m pregnant again, it’s nice to have such a delightful alternative should the fried chicken craving strike again. (And to assuage any guilt over the calorie-heavy meal, Evening Star uses local and organic ingredients “whenever possible,” according to their website.)

Evening Star is open for brunch from 10am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday. The fried chicken and waffle is only available on Saturday, while Sunday has the more traditional eggs benedict, French toast, etc.
2000 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1310
703.549.5051

Spreading Fair Trade Holiday Cheer (a Giveaway!)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Happy December! It’s been a little quiet around here, but I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and are enjoying all the holiday preparations. We’ve lit our (organic, real) Christmas tree and visited New York, now we’re counting down the days to Hanukkah and Christmas. Phew. As we get down to gift-giving business, I have a little holiday gift for you. Read on for the giveaway instructions.

I always have great intentions to make hand-made holiday treats, only to run out of time and have to buy something in a rush. Instead of combing the local mass retailer for something semi-natural (please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t even buy a tiny bottle of hand lotion without reading the ingredient list?), Equal Exchange offers the perfect fair-trade gift baskets for anyone on your list — gifts the recipient will love and that you can feel good about. (Think daycare teachers, the milkman, the boss, etc.)

gift_FTMixer50110_mediumEqual Exchange’s Fair Trade Mixer Gift Basket, for example, includes a variety of coffee, chocolates and nuts in a fairly traded kaisa grass basket imported by Ten Thousand Villages from Dhaka Handicrafts, a non-profit that works to improve the lives of children and rural families in Bangladesh. The gift basket is on sale  for $47 until December 15th. Also find other fair trade gifts that support small-scale farmers, ranging from $27-$75. Order online and get 10% of your order and receive free shipping on orders over $75. Use coupon code: giftme10 during checkout. Coupon expires 12/31/09. Visit www.equalexchange.coop today to order!

And here’s my gift to you, courtesy of Equal Exchange. One lucky reader will receive a FREE Fair Trade Mixer Gift Basket.* Just leave a comment below sharing your favorite holiday treat to give or receive, by midnight (Eastern time), Sunday, December 13. A winner will be selected randomly on December 14. One entry per person, please, and please help spread the holiday cheer by telling a friend! Please enter a valid email address when commenting (it will not be posted) so that I can contact you if you win.

The Fair Trade Mixer Gift Basket includes:

• Organic French Roast Coffee – 10oz, drip grind
• Organic Hot Cocoa Mix – 12oz
• Organic Very Dark Chocolate – 3.5oz bar
• Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds – 3.5oz bar
• Organic Milk Chocolate with a Hint of Hazelnut – 3.5oz bar
• Organic Tamari Roasted Almonds – 5oz
• Roasted Salted Pecans – 5oz

*Please note the fine print: All shipments are sent via United Parcel Service (UPS). Orders will be shipped within the contingent United States only. We do not ship to PO/APO/FPO’s, American Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or Virgin Islands.

And the FoodieTots.com disclaimer: all reviews are the opinions solely of myself and the FoodieTots family, and are not financially compensated in any way. Equal Exchange is providing the winner’s gift basket.