A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘kid’s food’

Pirate Ship Fruit Bowl

In Baby Love, Food on January 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

A friend is planning a princess and pirates birthday party, which reminded me of Tiny G’s pirate party this past summer. I kind of geeked out making a pirate ship fruit bowl from a watermelon. My husband wanted no part of it. Carving it out was the worst, but the portholes were easy enough thanks to an apple corer.

For the fruit salad, I took a page out of Mark Bittman’s book and chopped up watermelon, pineapple, banana and drizzled with a couple tablespoons of maple syrup. For the masts, I used bamboo bbq skewers and for the sails, a scull & bones stamp on mottled paper. My sister made these fantastic shark cookies:

That went into these muslin treat bags I made for Tiny G’s friends:

Which made for one happy pirate.

Kid Food: Organic Chicken Panko Tenders

In Baby Love, Food, Recipes on May 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm

As much as I’d love to tell you that my toddler will eat anything we put in front of him, that is so, so very far from the truth. Like most kids, his comfort zone at restaurants is chicken tenders—those crispy fried sodium bombs kids love to drown in ketchup. Getting him to eat good, healthy protein can be a challenge. So I thought I’d try my hand at chicken tenders at home, where I could control the quality of the ingredients. These are baked, not fried and 100% organic. I use Mary’s organic chicken tenders from our local Whole Foods, Edward & Sons Organic Panko breadcrumbs, and unsalted organic butter. (Yup, that’s ketchup on the side and the fact that it’s “organic” hardly constitutes a health food, but it’s better than the alternative.) They couldn’t be easier. You just need to plan about 1/2 hour ahead to get the oven to come up to temp, but assembly takes 2 minutes and baking an additional 15 mins, then allowing them to cool for another 5 mins.

Chicken Panko Tenders


Strips of organic chicken tenders

Softened organic butter

Organic panko breadcrumbs

Freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, brush chicken tenders on both sides with softened butter. Sprinkle panko on a separate plate and crack a little fresh pepper over. Stir to blend. Dredge buttered chicken in panko until evenly coated.

Place on baking sheet and bake (turning once) until crispy and golden, about 15 minutes total. Optional: serve with organic ketchup and steamed sweet potato.

Swimming with Sharks

In Baby Love, Food on May 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Like most little boys, my own little boy is obsessed with sharks. Sharks and dinosaurs. Most mornings this is what breakfast looks like:

He comes by the obsession honestly. His grandfather was college roommates with Peter Benchley, who wrote Jaws, and one of the book’s characters is named after Tiny G’s grandfather!

But what really sealed the deal was a recent visit with my in-laws in Gulf Stream, Fla., during which Tiny G went to see the daily shark feeding at the nearby Sandoway House. He went bonkers every time one of the nurse sharks came up to the edge in search of a snack.

A couple weeks ago at Sur la Table, I saw a shark cookie cutter for $1. Cookie cutters are great for adding a little intrigue to a kid’s sandwich. I made three different shark sammies. Two of his favorites: one peanut butter, one hummus. And then a third decoy, what we called “shark attack.” This one was cream cheese and red pepper tapenade, which on ordinary bread would have been rejected. But, when billed as a shark attack

…. Tiny G gobbled it up faster than you can yell SHARK!

Homemade Soft Pretzels

In Baby Love, Food on March 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Tomorrow is my turn to bring a snack for my preschooler’s spring camp—we’re on spring break, hence the dearth of posting—and we’re bringing homemade pretzels. My friend Susan makes these with her two sons, who are old enough to help roll out the dough and shape the pretzels. The technique is a bit beyond Tiny G’s abilities at the ripe old age of 2 1/2, but I thought he could handle sprinkling on the sesame seeds. Made with love, these pretzels were a huge hit here tonight. Let’s see how they play out at camp tomorrow.

Soft Pretzels

Based on a recipe from Cooks Illustrated

Makes 12 pretzels [Foodinista Note: I made 16 smaller pretzels since they were destined for tiny hands.]

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface

1 cup warm water (110 degrees)

3 tablespoons baking soda

2 tablespoons coarse salt or sesame seeds

Mix together the yeast, honey, salt, flour and water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the dough hook, knead at low speed until a smooth, elastic ball forms (the dough will be quite stiff), about 5 to 7 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours. Punch the dough to deflate, cover again and let rise again until double its size, another 30-40 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F with the rack at the middle position. Pour 6 cups of water into a 12-inch skillet, adding the baking soda, and bring to a boil. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray generously with vegetable cooking spray.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2 ounces each). Roll each piece into a 20-inch long, 1/2-inch-wide rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel and place on prepared baking sheet.
Using a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, gently place the shaped pretzels into the boiling water (you should be able to fit 3 or 4), top side down, and boil for 30 seconds. Use tongs to turn the pretzels over and boil for another 30 seconds.
Using slotted spoon, remove from water draining well and then place them onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pretzels. The pretzels will not rise very much in the oven so you should be able to fit them all on one large baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt or sesame seeds.
Bake for 12-16 minutes, until the pretzels are well-browned.
Transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. These are best on the day they are baked, but can be stored for two days in an airtight container.

Play Date

In Baby Love, Food on January 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

As it turns out, Tiny G is something of a ladies man. Today he hosted three of his gal pals for a play date. Since I don’t have a daughter, I may have used G’s play date as an excuse to girl out. Using a monogram template, some pink construction paper, and these great little paper totes from Target ($.49 ea), I put together personalized bags filled with stickers and a bracelet for each of G’s friends. Only after I assembled them did I realize I was having flashbacks from working in fashion years ago. But then, I’ve always loved a good swag bag.

And because my little munchkin is the sweetest, I made his favorite cornmeal strawberry muffins to share with his friends. The cornmeal recipe (which is sweetened with diced pineapple as well as pineapple juice) is from Macrina Bakery in Seattle. They’re a good alternative to cupcakes as they’re not too sugary sweet and won’t have kids bouncing off the walls. While the muffins are cooling, you make an indentation on top using a spoon and then fill with a dollop of your favorite preserves. Tiny G requested strawberry, so I used some of my Aunt Margaret’s coveted strawberry jam. I’ll probably get in trouble for posting this last bit because my aunt didn’t make all that much of it this year and only a few of us got jars. (Expecting a prickly phone call from my mother any second…)

And really, the last thing I want to do is upset my wonderfully generous mother, who sent me a care package containing a bunch of anodized aluminum cups and bowls my dad got at Steve’s Hardware in St. Helena when I was a kid. They are a nontoxic and eco-friendly alternative to plastic and kids love the bright, jewel-toned colors. And they’re pretty much indestructible (to wit: they survived the 80s)—which make them ideal for a roomful of toddlers.

The Foodinista on Taster Tots

In Baby Love, Food, Media on October 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Today over on one of my favorite new blogs, Taster Tots L.A., founder Jessica Ritz has posted an interview with The Foodinista! It was so much fun to do, and I love her site with all of the great tips on eating out around town with young kids. She goes bravely where others (namely myself) fear to tread. Thank you, Jessica! And we hope to get her in the interview hot seat over here on The Foodinista soon. Stay tuned…

Arts for NexGen LACMA

In Baby Love, Design on September 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm

A few years ago, an acquaintance said to a then-pregnant me, “I couldn’t in good conscience raise my kids in Los Angeles.” Well, here’s the thing. Given the choice, I couldn’t in good conscience NOT raise my kid in Los Angeles. There are few cities I know that offer as much culture, diversity and kid-friendly activities as L.A. From all the great parks throughout the city, to the bike paths, beaches and tidepools, there is plenty to do outdoors—year round. And when it comes to food? Check out Jessica Ritz’s wildly popular Taster Tots LA blog as she navigates the LA restaurant scene with two toddlers. “I’m interested in eating where children are welcome and where us adults actually WANT to go,” she writes. “If there’s a kid’s menu, great. If not, we’ll work with what they got.” Turns out Vietnamese crepes are a huge hit with the kiddies. As is the pizza at Patsy’s. And the food trucks throughout the city.

From Catherine Opi's Figure and Landscape Exhibit © LACMA

Also, as Angelenos we are particularly lucky to have perhaps one of the best community programs for kids in the country: LACMA’s Arts for the NexGen project. It’s the only free youth membership program of its kind in the U.S. and it ROCKS. There are art classes and camps for kids of all ages, and the Boone Childrens Gallery is where kids and families can learn about brush painting and Korean art. It’s pretty great. Tiny G just got his NexGen pass today! And he can’t wait to go check out the Sports and Art program this Sunday and perhaps try his tiny hand at creating his own sports-inspired art in the artist-led workshops.

So, yeah. I love LA.

Sugar-Free Granola

In Baby Love, Food, Recipes on September 2, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I’m not one of those meanie moms who never lets her kid eat ice cream or popsicles, but I do make every best effort not to give those treats to Tiny G myself. Which makes me only a little bit mean. At school and other people’s homes what are you going to do? (And seriously, what’s childhood without sugary fun?) But at home, we try to limit his sugar intake and at breakfast that can be something of a challenge. I discovered this sugar-free granola recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery. It’s a compendium of recipes from the rustic Rose Bakery in Paris. I’m not going to lie, Rose Bakery’s honey granola is extra delicious, but for sugar-free I don’t think you can beat this one. Tiny G likes it sprinkled over plain yogurt. So does his mama.

Rose Bakery’s Sugar Free Granola

Adapted from Breakfast Lunch Tea, by Rose Carraarini

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup whole almonds (I chop them in a mini Cuisinart so they’re easier to manage for Tiny G)

3/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds (I substitute golden flax seeds)

1 tablespoon wheat germ

1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice

4 tablespoons sunflower oil

pinch of cinnamon

dried or fresh fruits such a figs, apricots or blueberries

plain yogurt, to serve

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix oats, seeds, wheatgerm, apple juice, sunflower oil and cinnamon in a bowl, then spread out evenly on a baking tray.

Bake, turning often, for between 45 minutes and 1 hour.

Remove from oven and leave until cool. Add dried or fresh fruits and serve with yogurt.

Preschool Packed Lunch: Week in Review

In Baby Love, Food on July 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm

With the first week of preschool behind us, I thought I’d share a week’s worth of lunches since figuring out what to pack for Tiny G had given me a fair amount of angst. Which is silly. I mean, he turned TWO last week. How hard can this be? To get started, I polled a bunch of savvy parents, who shared great ideas like my friend Selena who cuts her son’s sandwiches into cute shapes using cookie cutters. I also consulted this handy pdf from Whole Foods about packing a balanced lunch. The challenge is to get protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and calcium into your toddler’s lunch each day. Hummus is my secret weapon as it hits the protein, healthy fats and calcium categories all at once! Other ways to sneak in healthy fats—cook ground chicken or drizzle vegges w/ a little olive oil. For more info on the lunchbox itself, click HERE.

Monday lunch: Red-pepper hummus on whole grain bread, organic blueberries, Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles (available in frozen section at Whole Foods). I got a heart-shaped cookie cutter from Sur la Table for $1 to make the sandwich.

Tuesday lunch: Pumpernickel bagel from Sam’s on Larchmont, garlicky hummus, organic blueberries and strawberries. [This lunch was missing veggies, so we made sure to eat extra broccoli at dinner that night. Subbing in red-pepper hummus for plain would have done the trick, too.]

Wednesday lunch: Whole wheat macaroni with whole wheat flour roux, ground organic chicken cooked in olive oil and organic cheddar cheese—baked together in silicone muffin liner (microwave safe for reheating), edamame, organic blueberries and strawberries. This one takes a little extra doing so I made a batch of six individual servings of macaroni and cheese. They keep well covered in fridge and can be used for dinners and lunches throughout the coming week/weekend. I like to use the generic brand of whole pasta from Whole Foods. [For a more balanced lunch, the edamame should have been swapped with a carrots or green veggie.]

Thursday lunch: Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles and Sweet Potato Littles, Edwards & Sons Purple Rice & Black Sesame crackers (avail at Whole Foods), organic string cheese, organic blueberries.

Friday lunch: Organic ground chicken patty cooked in olive oil, sliced organic apple, and red-pepper hummus mixed with whole wheat couscous pressed into a pig shape using these awesome farmyard ice cream sandwich molds made from BPA-free/dishwasher safe polypropylene that I picked up at Target. Tiny G was still talking about “pig” and “doozdooz” (ie, couscous) when I picked him up from school that day. These molds will offer lots of fun possibilities. Am thinking about mixing puréed steamed broccoli with mashed potato and cheese in the cow-shaped mold for tomorrow’s lunch. Would love to hear other ideas!

Green My Lunchbox

In Baby Love, Food on July 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm

I’m just going to apologize up front for a weepy week of “firsts” ahead. While last week marked Tiny G’s first day at preschool, it was only for an hour a day and either his mama or daddy was there with him. Today was the first day we left him there on his own, and the first day I sent my little guy to school with a packed lunch. And here it is, packed with love—quite literally, in the form of a heart-shaped sandwich of La Boulangerie whole grain bread and roasted red pepper hummus. (I got a heart-shaped cookie cutter for $1 at Sur La Table.) Organic blueberries loaded with antioxidants and all-natural Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles on the side.

And the gear?

I spent hours and hours and hours researching different lunchbox options, my goal being to have a totally waste-free lunch with eco-friendly, reusable containers and no plastic baggies. (For more info on the subject, check out Green My Lunch and Waste-Free Lunches.)

What I quickly found is that most of the eco-friendly stuff is a pain in the neck. You can’t microwave it or put it in the dishwasher. Like you don’t already have enough to do with a two year old but to hand-wash his dishes. Who needs it? I finally went with my own riff on the bento box. The container is the Lunchbots Duo (above)—a food-grade stainless steel box with a lead-free powder-coated orange top that is dishwasher safe. And if you order thru GreenMyLunchbox.com, there is a 10% discount. Granted, I can’t put this in the microwave so if I ever need to pack a warm main course, I also grabbed a Thermos Foogo Leak-Proof Stainless Steel Jar that’s BPA-free.

For the colorful little dividers inside the Lunchbots Duo, I found a set of Le Creuset pinch bowls that are about 2.5 inches in diameter and hold 2 fl oz. Perfect for keeping fruits and veggies separate! They are made from nontoxic, BPA-free silicone and are microwave and dishwasher safe (read: LOW maintenance).

And finally, I love the Kids Konserve company. I have a couple of their stainless steel snack containers, which get heavy use and are up to the challenge. I also picked up one of their nontoxic sweat-free ice packs to keep Tiny G’s lunch from spoiling, as well as some handmade cotton caterpillar napkins with plant-based dyes. A napkin fits snugly between his “bento box” and favorite Sigg bottle in an old-school LL Bean lunchbox made of sturdy packcloth with a BPA-free lining. Tiny G goes green!

Would love to hear your favorite lunch ideas for wee ones!