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Archive for Kids

EVENT: Kids Food Fest In NYC, August 26th-27th

Got kids? Got kids who should learn to eat better—while having fun?

Take the family to the Kids Food Fest, Saturday and Sunday August 26th and 27th.

The Kids Food Fest is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices—choices everyone needs to create wholesome, lifelong eating habits. (Parents: You, too can learn a lot here.)

Festivities include hands-on cooking classes in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, family-friendly entertainment and activities, and more!

There’s no charge for general admission, although hands-on classes require tickets that can be purchased at the event.

This Kids Food Fest is held in its most beautiful space yet: Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, known worldwide for its exciting architecture (we personally call it New York’s complement to the Bird’s Nest Stadium built for the Beijing Olympics).

If you haven’t yet been to the Oculus, you’ll love the soaring bird architecture (photo #1) and the internal beauty of the light-filled, climate-controlled halls (photo #2). [That it cost $3.74 billion dollars might make you want to become more politically active, and insist that proven business people manage government projects.]

The Oculus is easy to get to: Just take the A, C, J, M, Z, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to Fulton Street (directions).

You’re also close to these downtown destinations, including The National September 11 Memorial & Museum and 15 other museums.

 

The Oculus NYC Outside

The Oculus NYC Inside

The Kids Food Fest will be inside the Oculus transportation hub in New York City | World Trade Center (photos courtesy Port Authority Of New York & New Jersey).

 
Kids Food Festival 2017

The Kids Food Fest is proud to support the American Heart Association and their initiatives to improve kids’ health.
  

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TIP OF THE DAY: 3-D Animal Crackers

If you like to bake cookies, try your hand at something different: 3-D cookies.

They’re sold by a British novelty products company called Suck UK (why ask why?), and available on Amazon.

The zoo animal cookie cutter set contains a mother and baby. Each set has four cutters: two bodies and two pairs of legs, large (mom) and small (baby).

Cut out the cookie dough, bake, then slot the pieces together. The larger cookie is 7″ tall by 4.5″ wide. Instructions are included.

For Valentine’s Day, you can affix a candy heart with icing.

  • Elephant
  • Giraffe*
  • Hippo
  • Lion
  •  
    NOTE: For those who pay close attention, we know that these are not 3-D cookies, but 2-D (flat) cookies that stand up. But that’s what the manufacturer calls them, and no one has called them on it.
    ________________

    *We couldn’t find the giraffe on Amazon, but found it on another site, a bit more expensive.

     
    THE HISTORY OF ANIMAL CRACKERS

    Americans grow up on animal crackers. But the concept actually originated in England in the late 1800s, as animal biscuits (the British term for cookies).

    In 1889, when P.T. Barnum toured England with his circus, several manufacturers took advantage of the marketing opportunity and named their animal biscuits “Barnum’s.”

    The animal biscuits were exported to America, inspiring local bakeries to make their own.

    The National Biscuit Co. (today, Nabisco), introduced theirs in 1902 as “Barnum’s Animals” (they added the word “Crackers” in 1948).

    The “circus car” box with the string handle was introduced later in the year, as a Christmas tree ornament for Christmas 1902.

    (Neither P.T. Barnum nor the Barnum & Bailey Circus ever got a cent in licensing fees from any “Barnum’s” crackers or biscuits. Where were their lawyers?)

       

    Giraffe Cookie Cutter

    Elephant Cookie

    Hippo Cookie Cutter

    [1] Giraffe, [2] elephant, [3] and the hippo cookie cutters (photos courtesy Suck UK).

     

    Homemade Animal Crackers

    Homemade Animal Crackers Recipe

    Homemade Animal Crackers Recipe

    [4] Even if you don’t want to take on 3-D cookies, you can make better-tasting animal crackers with this recipe from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen. [5] and [6] Use a toothpick or other implement to make designs in plain cookies (photos courtesy Chicago Metallic).

     

    RECIPE: ANIMAL CRACKERS

    If you have an animal cookie cutter hanging around, here’s a recipe for that animal cracker taste, from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

    They used a set of plunger animal cookie cutters that create the marks on the cookies. Those cookie cutters are no longer available, but we found something similar on Amazon. Alternatively, you can:

  • Make the grooves with a toothpick, ice pick or other utensil.
  • Leave the cookies plain.
  •  
    Prep time is 45 minutes, cook time is 16 minutes. You can make the dough up to two days in advance.

    Ingredients For 20† Cookies

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon mace
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ________________

    †The number of cookies will vary based on your cookie cutter size.
    ________________

    Preparation

    1. SIFT together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and mace over a small bowl. Set aside.

    2. FIT an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater and beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    3. STOP the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been incorporated. Add the remaining flour and beat until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

     
    4. TURN the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Shape each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Place each dough disk between 2 clean, large pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. (If the dough cracks while rolling, let it stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes more.) Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on a floured work surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.

    6. LINE several baking sheets with parchment paper. Dip the cookie cutters into flour just before using and cut out the shapes. With plunger cookie cutters: Hold each cutter over a prepared baking sheet and lightly depress the plunger to remove the cutout; the plunger will also imprint the tops of the cookies. With regular cookie cutters: Place the cut-out shapes on the baking sheet one at a time and decorate as desired with a toothpick.

    7. FREEZE the baking sheets for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out more cookies.

    8. BAKE the cookies until very light golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool to room temperature.

      

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    FOOD FUN: “Eyeball” Meatball Sandwiches Or Subs

    Eyeball Meatball Sandwich Recipe

    French Rolls Recipe

    [1] Here’s looking at you! Eyeball meatball sandwich from BBQ Bob Trudnak | BBQ Guru. [2] French rolls are crusty on the outside, with an elegant crumb on the inside. They can be round dinner rolls, oblong or square sandwich rolls; the artisan versions have a dusting of flour. They’re easy to make at home with this recipe from DineAndDish.net.

     

    You don’t need a grill to make these captivating eyeball meatball sandwiches from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak.

    We made them in a skillet on the stove top. Everyone—children and adults alike—wanted more.

    We love nouvelle surf and turf ideas of any kind. So to this recipe from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak, we added some “gourmet” flavor lists:

  • Anchovies (we had stocked up on cans from Cento).
  • substituted the more flavorful puttanesca sauce for the marina sauce.
  • Exchanged the blander Italian rolls with crusty French rolls (you can substitute lengths of a baguette instead).
  • Added some arugula we had on hand, which gave the sandwich a bite of “bite,” along with some fresh basil leaves (refreshing!).
  •  
    RECIPE: SPOOKY HALLOWEEN EYEBALL
    MEATBALL SANDWICHES

    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 2 pounds ground meatloaf mix (veal, pork, beef) or your preferred blend
  • 1/2 cup of grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dried basil
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Sliced black olives
  • Deli-sliced provolone cheese
  • Fresh short Italian rolls or substitute (we used the crisper French rolls)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Optional: anchovies, fresh herbs, arugula, roasted red peppers
  • Optional: salad or crudités
  • Optional: beer for the adults, soft drinks for the kids
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the grill to 300°F direct; or for stovetop cooking, heat a skillet when ready to cook the meatballs.

    2. MIX the ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs, spices and water by hand in a bowl until well blended. Add ¼ cup of grated cheese and mix once more. Divide into 8 equal portions and oll the meatballs to the size of golf balls and set aside on wax paper.

    3. SET the meatballs in the fridge for 30 minutes while the grill comes up to temperature or the skillet heats. (a) Grill the meats balls over a direct fire turning them to brown all sides and take them to an internal temp of 165°F, or (b) similarly cook them join the stovetop. While they cook…

    4. WARM the marinara sauce. When the meatballs are done, remove them from the heat.

    5. LIGHTLY BUTTER each roll, and toast for a minute over the coals on the grill (we toasted ours plain in the toaster oven, then buttered them.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Place 2 meatballs on each roll and pour a little warm marinara sauce over them. Lay out two slices of provolone over the meatballs and place the sandwiches back on the grill in a pan to allow the cheese to melt. Place a sliced black olive on the top of each meatball so they look like eyeballs, then drizzle a little more marinara sauce between the meatballs.

    If using the arugula, anchovies, etc.: We put the on the arugula and basil on bottom half of the roll and the anchovies on top of the cheese, creating some nicely creep “hairy eyeballs.”

    WATCH THE PROCESS with this video:

     
    ABOUT “BBQ BOB” TRUDNAK

    Robert “BBQ Bob” Trudnak of Lansdale, Pennsylvania has been grilling and smoking barbecue professionally for more than 13 years. He has amassed over 200 awards and prizes at national and international competitions. An entrepreneur and inventor, he helped launch the world’s first BBQ temperature control devices for the company BBQ Guru, which develops and sells high-tech cooker accessories.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Ice Pops In A Snap

    July is National Ice Cream Month. Since there’s no Ice Pop Month or Ice Pop Day (and none for ice cream cones, either), we’re folding them in.

    We thank PeanutButterLovers.com, the consumer website of the Southern Peanut Growers for this recipe. It makes a dozen creamy pops, with hardly any effort.
     
    CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER-BANANA POPS

    Ingredients For 12 Pops

  • 4 large very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 12 ounces frozen whipped dessert topping
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds or substitutes. Freeze until firm. How easy is that?

    2. TO REMOVE: Run the mold under warm water as needed to release the pops.
     
    Find more peanut butter recipes—from appetizers and soups through mains and desserts—at PeanutButterLovers.com.
     
    NO ICE POP MOLDS? TRY THESE SUBSTITUTES:

    If you don’t want to invest in ice pop molds, how about Zip-A-Pop disposable plastic sleeves (third photo at right). We love them!

    Otherwise, take a look around. Most likely, you have one or more of these:

  • Paper or plastic cups. Small (or large, if you want to go for massive pops) disposable paper or plastic cups are an easy and inexpensive stand-in for popsicle molds
  • Ice cube trays (example)
  • Loaf pans (example)
  • Silicone cupcake molds
  • Small cupcake/muffin tins (example)
  • Three- or 6-ounce yogurt containers (a great recycling opportunity)
  •  
    If you don’t have ice pop sticks, here’s another great recycling opportunity:

  • Plastic spoons (we’ve used plastic knives when testing recipes)
  • Stainless steel teaspoons or espresso spoons
  •  
    If you’re not a peanut butter or banana lover, here’s a recipe from Pom Wonderful that trades the PB for pomegranate juice.
     
    Prep time is 20 minutes, plus 4 hours freezing.

       

    Peanut Butter &  Banana Ice Pops

    Ripe Bananas

    Zip Pops

    [1] PB-Banana pops: fruit and protein in an ice pop. What could be better (photo PeanutButterLovers.com). [2] Overripe bananas are an invitation to make banana pops (photo © Luso Images). [3] Zip Pop bags (photo courtesy ZipPops.com.au).

     

    Doubly nutritious: bananas infused with
    pomegranate juice. Photo and recipe
    courtesy Pom Wonderful.

     

    RECIPE: POMEGRANATE-BANANA ICE POPS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils (from 1 large pomegranate, or buy a bag of arils and skip Step 1.)
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup simple syrup (buy it or make this recipe)
  • 4 ice pop molds or substitute
  • 4 ice pop sticks or plastic spoons
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCORE 1 fresh pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (the seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Strain and place the arils in a clean bowl. Refrigerate or freeze any extra arils for another use.

    2. PREPARE the simple syrup (recipe).

    3. PLACE all ingredients except the arils in a food processor; process until smooth. Then stir in the arils and divide the mixture evenly among the molds/cups.

     
    4. FREEZE slightly; then insert an ice pop stick or plastic spoon into the center of each cup to be used as a stick. Freeze until solid.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Fish Bowl Or Shark Tank Punch

    Fish Bowl Punch

    Gummy Sharks

    [1] Sip the punch, eat the fish (photo and recipe courtesy CocktailsDetails.com). [2] Prefer to swim with the sharks? Use shark gummies instead. Or make a statement by using four fish and one shark (photo courtesy Amazon.com).

     

    Last summer we presented Pool Party Punch, a cocktail as blue as a swimming pool.

    This year, it’s Fishbowl Punch from CocktailDetails.com, with our own variation, Shark Tank Punch.

    You can also make a non-alcoholic punch (recipe below).
     
    RECIPE: FISHBOWL PUNCH OR SHARK TANK PUNCH

    Ingredients For 64 Ounces (1/2 Gallon*)

  • 5 ounces vodka
  • 5 ounces Malibu rum
  • 3 ounces blue Curaçao
  • 6 ounces sweet-and-sour mix (make your own)
  • 16 ounces pineapple juice
  • Half-gallon goldfish bowl
  • 1/2 cup Rainbow Nerds candy or other gravel-like candy
  • Optional: fish tank plant
  • Ice cubes†
  • 16 ounces Sprite
  • 4 Swedish Fish or Gummy Sharks
  • Garnish for the bowl: lime slices
  • Garnish for each glass: a fish or a shark
  •  
    __________________
    *1/2 gallon= 64 ounces = eight 8-ounce servings = ten 6-ounce servings = or sixteen 4-ounce servings. Serving size includes ice.

    †Use large ice cubes, if possible. The larger the ice, the slower it melts, the less dilution of the drink.

    Preparation

    1. COMINE the first five ingredients in a pitcher and stir to blend. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    2. SPRINKLE the Nerds on the bottom of the fish bowl to create “gravel,” and anchor the optional fish tank plant.

    3. ADD ice to the bowl; then add the the chilled punch and the candy fish/sharks. Top off with lime slices.

    4. LADLE the punch into glasses and garnish with a fish. Alternatively, you can provide the ladle and glasses for self-service.
     
    NON-ALCOHOLIC VERSION

    Ingredients

  • 1 package Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 12 ounces bottled Piña Colada mix (no alcohol)
  • 1 two-liter bottle of Sprite or other lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • Garnishes per above
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the Kool-Aid powder and sugar in a large pitcher. Add half the water and whisk thoroughly to dissolve, making sure that the powder and sugar dissolve.

    2. ADD the remaining water and the Piña Colada mix. Stir and chill for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    3. CONTINUE with Step 2 in the alcoholic version.

    4. ADD Sprite to fill the pitcher, stir gently and serve.
     
    PLANNING A WEDDING OR OTHER SPECIAL EVENT?

    Take a look at CocktailsDetails.com.
     
      

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