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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,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Kid Foods

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

  • 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


    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 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


    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 See 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

    RECIPE: Dirt Cake With Gummy Worms

    Oops: National Gummy Worm Day, which was yesterday, flew by before we had a chance to post this recipe.

    The dessert, “Dirt In A Box,” was created by Ruby Foo’s restaurant in Times Square, New York City. It’s a no-cook “dirt pudding” or trifle, decorated with Gummy Worms.

    You can make the recipe more elaborate, or turn it into a dirt cake, by preparing it in a small casserole or cake pan. Our preference is to use a small, clean flowerpot (we ran ours through the dishwasher).

  • Get the recipe and plan to surprise your family. Just don’t wait a year until the next official Gummy Worms Day.
  • You’ll also learn the history of Gummy (Gummi) Worms.
  • Find our favorite products in our Kids’ Foods Section.
  • Find more dessert recipes in our Desserts Section.

    While we’d prefer a flowerpot, a box
    works just fine. Photo courtesy Ruby Foo’s.


    PRODUCT: LunchSkins Reusable For Kids’ Lunch Bags

    Disposable plastic food bags were introduced in 1964. Overnight they changed the way people carried their sandwiches and carrot sticks to lunch. (The prior options were aluminum foil, paper bags and wax paper.)

    Baggies and the variations that followed made it easy to transport food and keep it moist. But flash forward to the present: Every day, more than 20 million sandwich bags from school lunches alone end up in landfills.

    Three green moms with a mission designed an alternative kids’ lunch bags. Their solution, LunchSkins, are a fine work of engineering: The plastic-lined bags are made from pastry bag material and go straight into the dishwasher for cleaning. The colorful designs have a velcro closure. There’s even a place to write the owner’s name with a permanent marker.


    Reduce landfill waste: Pack sandwiches
    and snacks in LunchSkins.

    Reduce landfill waste, save money, eat healthy and look stylish while you’re doing it: LunchSkins kids’ lunch bags are the answer to plastic baggie pollution. Buy them at

    Find more of our favorite kids’ products.


    PRODUCT: Zoku Ice Pop Maker

    You can become the most creative glacier in town with the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Williams-Sonoma.

    It’s easy to create your own customized frozen pops, including cream-filled varieties, in as little as seven minutes.

    Use your favorite juices and other beverages (coffee, tea, kefir, smoothies) or fresh fruit purées to make the gourmet pops of your dreams.

    Designed to be very user friendly—quick freezing, easy release from molds, reusable plastic pop sticks that have drip guards—Zoku looks to be the best pop-making option we’ve seen.

    Why should you give up storage space to a pop-making machine?


    It’s easy to make gorgeous ice pops with
    your favorite flavors and add-ins. Photo
    courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

    • You can make gourmet pops in the exact flavors you want, and express yourself artistically in flavors, colors and patterns. (One of our favorites is to freeze cocktail mixes into Margarita Ice Pops and savory Bloody Mary Mix ice pops. Alcohol doesn’t freeze well, but you can try a teaspoonful per pop.)

    • You have something new and special to serve guests.

    • Things you’d normally drink for health can be turned into pops—from pomegranate juice to probiotic peach kefir.

    • You can control for dietary needs—reduced sugar, no sugar or kosher, for example—and allergies.

    • Ice pops have fewer calories than ice cream and are fat- and cholesterol-free (unless you elect to make cream pops).

    • It’s a fun way to teach the whole family that they can enjoy preparing their own food.

    • And thanks to the plastic sticks, there’s no yucky wood flavor that we so dislike with commercial ice pops.

    Find more of our favorite frozen treats, plus recipes, in our Ice Cream Section.


    PRODUCT: Pink Princess Cupcakes

    Like cupcakes? Have young daughters, nieces, grandkids? Pink Princess Cupcakes may be a festive activity for you.

    The Pink Princess Cupcakes Kit is one of a series of cupcake mixes (along with Fancy Fairy and Magical Mermaid) that provides an adult-child baking-and-bonding opportunity.

    There is unusual fun in making these cupcakes: A special blend of ingredients for both the cake and the icing magically changes the batter and frosting colors from white to pink when mixed (hot pink for the cake, pale pink for the frosting). This is sure to delight young participants, and was a treat for us older folks, too.

    As far as baking goes, this is a good opportunity to demonstrate to kids how to use a mixer to combine wet ingredients (supplied by you) and the dry ingredients from the kit, and turn them into yummy cupcakes. The lavender paper tote box contains enough Pink Vanilla Cupcake Mix, Pink Princess Pink Vanilla Frosting Mix and Enchanted Confetti Sprinkles to make 12 cupcakes.

    At $5.95 apiece, you can also use the totes as party favors. They’re available at


    Throw a Pink Princess Cupcake tea party.
    Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

    Although the icing was a bit sweet for us, kids will like it. And this product is all about the kids.

    In fact, the Pink Princess Cupcakes Baking Kit is part of a series of products from Barbara Beery, bestselling children’s cookbook author and founder of Batter Up Kids Cooking.

    Her latest Pink Princess cookbook, The Pink Princess Cupcakes Cookbook, has creative cupcake decorating ideas with beautiful full-page color photography. You don’t have to be a pastry chef; the decoration ideas are all within the reach of the typical mom. The volume serves as a “menu options book” to let your little princess pick out exactly what she’d like to have at her party.

  • Also check out the Pink Princess Cookbook and the Pink Princess Tea Parties.
  • If you want additional decorating ideas, possibly for another theme party, check out Ms. Beery’s Pink Princess Cupcakes Cookbook. Each of the recipes outlines a different theme—mermaid, fairytale and s’mores to name a few—but all are suited for little princesses.
  • Find more cupcake ideas in our Gourmet Cakes Section.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Caviar For Kids Gift Set

    It’s Earth Week, so how about some caviar to teach your kids about sustainability?

    Only in America—or perhaps wherever there are people with too much cash on their hands—would someone market a “Caviar Kid” kit. It seems so Hollywood.

    The kit is sold by Calilfornia Caviar, “Purveyors of Indulgence,” in San Francisco. According to the manufacturer, it’s:

    “A perfect way to make eating caviar fun for kids…spoon some crème fraïche into the puff pastry fish bowl and top with trout caviar for a fun, delicious and nutritious snack.”

    The brightly colored box includes trout caviar, a kid’s caviar spoon and napkin packed in a 100% recycled box that includes games and fun facts to teach your caviar kid about ocean conservation and sustainable seafood.



    Will your kid eat caviar? Here’s one way
    to find out. Photo courtesy

    Another option, “Fish and Chips,” declares:

    “Sustainable seafood and ocean conservation at its best, this snack pack has sustainably raised Hackleback Sturgeon caviar, organic crème fraiche and Whale Tails organic corn chips, which donates 10% of proceeds to conserving Blue Whale breeding grounds.”

    Gosh, how about a can of sustainable tuna—pole-and-troll caught, no FADs (Fish Aggregation Devices)—for the kids, and send the caviar to us?

  • THE NIBBLE has lots of ideas for caviar lovers. Take a look at our Caviar Section, with recipes, Q&A and entertaining tips, plus our Caviar Glossary to help you roe, roe, roe your caviar boat.
  • Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Mad Hectic Oatmeal

    Mad Hectic Oatmeal is for people who don’t like a bowl of healthy oatmeal. And it’s for people who love it.

    Many people just don’t like plain oatmeal, although they buy into its health benefits. That’s why the best-sellers include the fruit-flavored, sugary instant oatmeals.

    Alas, those packets do not contain healthy food. They’re full of sugar, and many of the nutrients have been stripped in the processing.

    Mad Hectic Oatmeal provides a solution. Improving on the concept of those instant oatmeals, Mad Hectic Oatmeal is flavored and alluring. But it’s also organic oatmeal mixed with nutritious whey protein powder and flaxseed meal with Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans (which have antioxidants and fiber).

    Antioxidant, nutritious and heart-healthy sesame seeds are also added, topped off with whole freeze-dried berries, nuts and some cane sugar. It emerges hot from the microwave in just 60 seconds. That’s fast and tasty oat nutrition for your mad hectic life (and for you folks who have it easy, too).

    Mad Hectic Oatmeal is more like hot pudding (think Indian pudding) than hot cereal. With fruit and nut combinations—and chocolate oatmeal—you’ll be feeling your oats soon after (translation: you’ll be energetic and playful).



    Strawberry Pecan Oatmeal lets you feel your
    oats in a delicious new way. Photo by
    Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

    Flavors include Almond Pecan, Raspberry Almond, Red Raspberry and Strawberry Pecan plus the very kid-friendly varieties: Chocolate Raspberry and French Chocolate. Read the full review below, including the health benefits of oatmeal, to see why you should make Mad Hectic Oatmeal part of your daily meal plan.

  • Read the full review to see how we enjoyed the flavors, and discover the health benefits of oatmeal.
  • Comments

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