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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Kid Foods

PRODUCT: Dinosaur Cakes

T-Rex and Triceratops in a Jurassic food fight.
Our money’s on T-Rex. Photo by Jaclyn
Nussbaum | THE NIBBLE.

 

We’ve all seen films of massive dinosaurs eating their prey. Although mankind and dinos did not walk the earth at the same time, films like Jurassic Park have remedied that fact: We’ve seen more than a few dinosaurs make a meal of man.

And now, man can eat dinosaurs.

Although we didn’t have anyone’s birthday to celebrate, when we saw this Nordicware Dinosaur Cakelet Pan from our favorite cake pan manufacturer, we knew we had to bake a batch.

The pan yields two each of Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus), Stegosaurus, Triceratops and the king himself, Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Both kids and adults will delight in taking a bite of the ginormous antediluvian reptiles—here, reduced to the size of a large cupcake, or cakelet.

Getting all the tiny details in the mold to come out perfectly is a piece of cake (pun intended): Just follow a few simple baking tips.

Use your favorite cake recipe or a mix. We used White Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Mix from The King’s Cupboard.

  

Nordicware E-Z Deco Icing Pen

As cool as the dinosaurs looked when we popped them out of the pan, we couldn’t leave them unadorned. We used Nordicware’s E-Z Deco Icing Pen to create the fine lines outlining each dinosaur.

For those of us who would never be invited to assist the Ace Of Cakes, the Icing Pen combines a basic pastry bag with a pen-like applicator. Simply fill the bag with icing, insert it into the applicator and start decorating your cake. The easy-to-hold ergonomic handle lets you “write” as if you were using a pen.

It’s easy to hold and to apply pressure evenly. Even if all you do is write “Happy Birthday” on a cake twice a year, this little gadget is worth its drawer space.

One tip: Don’t forget to unscrew the two parts of the plastic coupler before you begin. We didn’t even realize there were two parts until we were finished, but the cakelets turned out just fine.

  • More of our favorite Nordicware cake pans.
  •  

    Nordicware’s E-Z Deco Icing Pen. Photo courtesy Nordicware.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Peas Of Mind “Healthy” Pizza For Kids

    Peas Of Mind is a company that makes products that kids like. And the products—all frozen foods—are good for them.

    Our first encounter with the company was via their Veggie Wedgies: apple, broccoli, carrot and cauliflower sliced to look like French fries. You bake them in the oven. Each serving provides more than half of a child’s Daily Recommended Value of fruits or vegetables.

    The company’s Puffets are kid-style souffles in banana, black bean, carrot and other favorite flavors.

    And now, the specialists in getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies have launched Peas of Pie, a pizza pie with veggies hidden in the crust.

     

    Peas of Pie hides healthy veggies in the
    crust. Photo courtesy Peas of Mind.

     

    They really are hidden. We saw an occasional wee speck of broccoli and carrot in the crust, but nothing kids would notice. The crust, a bready style, will fool every one of them.

    And, those hidden veggies, plus the tomato sauce, count for 1-1/2 servings of veggies.

    The pizzas are available in cheese and pepperoni.

    Learn more on the company website.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Hawaiian Punch Fruit Snacks

    We admit it: We ate all the Hawaiian Punch
    Splashers. Photo courtesy Farley’s & Sathers.

     

    We were never a Hawaiian Punch fan. Even as a child, we found it to be “kid stuff” and far preferred Mom’s homemade punch (a mixture of three flavors of frozen juice: lemonade, grape juice and orange juice—try it!).

    But how about a nice Hawaiian Punch fruit snack? How about gummy-like Hawaiian Punch Splashers,* filled with juice?

    *Credit goes to Gushers liquid-filled fruit snacks, made by General Mills.

    We raised an eyebrow when the new Hawaiian Punch and Mott’s snacks arrived at THE NIBBLE offices. We approach most kid-targeted, mass-produced foods warily.

    But we enjoyed Hawaiian Punch Splashers so much, we hoarded them from the rest of the NIBBLE staff.

     

    The two Hawaiian Punch snack varieties, Hawaiian Punch Splashers Fruit Snacks and Hawaiian Punch Fruit Snacks, include 100% DV of vitamin C and 90 calories per serving. Lowfat (and with no saturated fats), they deliver a big Hawaiian Punch of flavor. Both are equally tasty, but the revived kid in us prefers the splash of juice in the Splashers. Both products are available in nine-ounce boxes of 10 single serve pouches.

    The products are produced by Farley’s & Sathers, a major manufacturer of candies including Brach’s, Chuckles, Heide, Jujyfruits and Jujubes, among other brands. Riding the wave of popularity of fruit snacks, a fast-growing category, the company has licensed the Hawaiian Punch and Motts brand names.

    We found less flavor in the Mott’s Medleys Fruit Snacks, although we did enjoy the teeny, cube-shaped Motts For Tots Fruit Snacks. They’d make a fun garnish for ice cream or frozen yogurt.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Invent Healthy Recipes

    Two of our index cards combine in this
    salmon-avocado salad. Photo courtesy Whole
    Foods Market. Get the recipe.

     

    Over the last month, one million people searched Google for “healthy recipes.”

    You can search, and you can buy healthy recipe cookbooks.

    But you can also invent your own recipes; and use the occasion as a teaching game for the family. (Plan now to start playing next weekend.)

    Here’s the game:

    1. Announce the rules: First, each family member develops a list of healthy foods. (If your children are old enough, they also need to know why it’s a healthy ingredient—as do adult participants.) The person with the most gets a prize, to be determined by you. The family will gather on [date] and [time] for the next leg.

    2. Next, everyone brings his or her list to the dinner table (or other place and time you designate) and take turns reading them out. You place each new food item on a separate index card. (For example, only make one card for brown rice, even if everyone has it on his/her list.)

    3. Here’s the hard part: You have to know if an ingredient is healthy so you can keep it or reject it. For example, cacao, the base of chocolate, has great health properties; but not when mixed with sugar! If you don’t know, make looking it up part of the game.

    4. Now that you have ingredients, it’s onto the next leg: creating recipes from them. Spread the cards out on the table so everyone can see them. Go around the table, asking each person in turn to suggest a combination of ingredients and a recipe (for example, grilled fish, grape and red onion tacos). Write the suggested recipe on a pad, along with the name of the person who suggested it.

    5. Finally, you get to make the recipes. Print out a calendar and place the recipes on specific days of the month (it’s easier to plan the meals).

    6. After each healthy recipe is made, vote on whether it goes, stays or needs to be revised. Take the time to reinforce why the recipe is healthy, and which ingredients are the healthiest. Mark on the calendar which recipes are “winners.”

    7. At the end of 30 days, tally the winning recipes and declare a winner. Now, you can start the process over again.

    Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY #1 ~ Cupcake Molds From My Little Cupcake

    My Little Cupcake’s cupcake molds make mini cupcakes on a stick. They’re irresistible.

    Six lucky winners will each receive a set of four My Little Cupcake molds—guaranteed to become the most popular molds in the house. For a kids’ project, there’s a no-bake cupcake recipe (simply make a dough from cream cheese and ground chocolate sandwich cookies—it’s delish) and push the dough into the mold. There are other recipes as well.

    Once popped out of the mold, a lollipop stick can be added (we dipped pretzel sticks in chocolate) and the cupcakes can be decorated with sprinkles, mini chips, etc.

    The little cupcakes make charming ice cream toppers. We decorated a whole layer cake with mini cupcakes. Learn more at MyLittleCupcakePop.com.

     

    The mini pink mold on the left produces the
    mini cupcakes the right. Photo courtesy My Little Cupcake.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Cake, Cupcakes & Cake Mix Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. Approximate Retail Value Of Each Prize: $24.00. This contest closes on Monday, January 17th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Baseball Shortbread Cookies

    Your favorite slugger will be delighted to receive a box of baseball-shaped shortbread cookies from Cooperstown, New York—home of the National Baseball Hall Of Fame.

    Delicious, buttery shortbread is packaged into a tin representing the recipient’s favorite team, or in this National Baseball Hall Of Fame commemorative baseball tin, for as little as $14.95.

    Many gift variations, including gift towers, are available. If you’re a shortbread lover, you’ll want to get some for yourself (a cellophane Bag O’ Bunts with a team sticker is just $5.99).

  • Purchase from CooperstownCookie.com.
  • Find more of our favorite cookie and brownie gifts.
  •  

    A commemorative tin full of baseball-
    shaped shortbread. Photo courtesy
    Cooperstown Cookie Company.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Stop Apples From Turning Brown

    How do you keep a sliced apple from turning brown?

    Our grandmother dipped the slices into a solution of lemon juice and water. But the experts at the U.S. Apple Association recommend fortified apple juice, a better alternative not available to Granny (or to Mom, either).

    The vitamin C that is used to fortify apple juice contains the same ascorbic acid as lemon juice. And it maintains the flavor.

    So toss those apple slices into a bowl of fortified apple juice until you’re ready to serve or use them. There’s no need to toss out the apple juice: Drink it!

    As with all fruits and vegetables, each cultivar (variety) has unique properties. In the case of apples, some varieties brown more quickly than others. So the second part of the tip is to look for “slicing apples” with better browning qualities.

     

    If you want to serve apple slices, or keep
    them from browning as you prepare a pie,
    use this tip. Photo courtesy U.S. Apple
    Association.

  • Faster-to-brown apples include Delicious, Fuji, Gravenstein and McIntosh.
  • Slower-to-brown varieties include Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady.

    As a fun “snacking game” for kids, purchase several different varieties of apple, slice them and have the kids make a time sheet and record exactly when they start to turn brown. As soon as that happens, they can eat the just-turning-brown slices and keep monitoring the rest.

    This may become moot in the future. Okanagan Specialty Fruits, a biotechnology company in British Columbia, has genetically engineered apples so the flesh won’t brown. However, as a genetically modified organism (GMO), the cultivar is currently seeking USDA approval, which can take years.

    Although some consumers steer clear of GMOs, there is overwhelming evidence that GMOs are safe. GMO tomatoes and grapes, for example, are already in supermarkets.

  • Here’s why apples turn brown.
  • Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Kids’ Cooking Set

    Help turn your favorite kid into a curious
    chef. Photo courtesy CuriousChef.com.

     

    As the Chinese proverb so wisely states, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Hand a kid a meal and he never learns to cook. Teach a kid to cook and spare him from a lifetime of unhealthy take-out and salt-and-sugar-laden processed food.

    Even preschool children can be given safe and simple tasks, learn the love of cooking and take pride that the whole family is eating “their” food.

    It may take a small investment of time up-front to teach a kid how to stir seasonings [neatly] into a yogurt dip or tear lettuce into the right-size pieces. But you may end up with a teen who loves to cook the family dinner.

    Start a young’un out with this kid-size cooking set from Curious Chefs. It includes 27 pieces the child can call his or her own:

  • Chef’s hat
  • Apron
  • Pair of oven mitts
  • 3-quart mixing bowl set
  • Kitchen timer
  • 6-piece measuring cup set
  • 6-piece measuring spoon set
  • Kitchen tool set: spoon, rolling pin, whisk, spatula, pastry brush, nylon turner, bear cookie cutter, flower cookie cutter and butterfly cookie cutter
  • The set is $59.99 at CuriousChef.com. Other combinations of items are available.

  • Find more of our favorite holiday gifts for kids.
  • Check out our favorite all-purpose kids’ foods.
  • Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Food Face Dinner Plate

    It’s fun to play with your food. Photo
    courtesy WorldwideFred.com.

     

    If your kids won’t finish their food, at least let them play with it.

    Food face, available with a man’s or woman’s face, is a ceramic plate that gives children (or the child within) free reign to play with his or her food.

    The 8-1/2-inch plate is $12 to $13. If you give one to every member of the family, there can be nightly food art competitions. It’s also a fun party activity.

  • Buy online at Amazon.com. See WorldwideFred.com for a complete list of online retailers.
  • See our entire list of holiday gifts for kids.
  • See 10 more holiday gift lists—from Diet Gifts and Kosher Gifts to Stocking Stuffers.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Trop 50 Apple Juice

    Apple juice without sugar guilt. Photo
    by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We love shopping at farmers markets in the crisp fall air, loading up on our favorite Honeycrisp apples (the texture is the best!).

    And when we see fresh-from-the-farm apple juice, we can’t help but take home a jug.

    Unfortunately, that half gallon of sweet apple juice, our version of Proust’s madeleines, disappears all too quickly—at about 120 calories per eight-ounce glass. It’s refreshing, but so is Trop50 Farmstand Apple juice drink, a better choice for people who like to drink tall glasses of juice.

    Thanks to Tropicana, apple juice lovers can have an eight-ounce glass of crisp-tasting apple juice beverage for fewer than half the calories of conventional juice. Trop50 Farmstand Apple has 50% less sugar and calories, and no artificial sweeteners. (It uses Pure Via stevia, an added sweetener that comes from a South American herb and is totally natural.)

    At 50 calories per eight-ounce glass, Trop50 Farmstand Apple “squeezes in” a full day’s supply of vitamin C and is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E. In addition to pleasing adult calorie-counters, it’s a great product for kids.

    “The taste of Trop50 Farmstand Apple doesn’t fall far from the apple tree,” says Tropicana. We agree!

    The 59-ounce bottle has a suggested retail price of $3.59 and can be found in the chilled juice section of the supermarket.

    The redesigned, curvy plastic bottle is so sleek, we’ve repurposed the empties in the fridge as water bottles.

  • Find more of our favorite beverages plus recipes.
  • Comments

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