Food, Life, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Saved by Sardine

For Memorial Weekend, we decided to take a last minute trip to Madison, WI.  We have good friends that live there with children of similar ages.  It is far enough for the kids to feel like they went on a “road trip” but close enough that we could get there and back easily.   We had one full day in Madison and it was filled with good conversation, the smelling of lilacs and tree climbing at the Arboretum and the ever popular hotel swimming!  970919_10200604586431440_243949331_n

After swimming, we were HUNGRY!!!!  Thankfully, our hotel was right near the Capitol so our Madison hosts said that there would be lots of options within walking distance.  Unfortunately, we kept striking out!  The restaurants we were finding were either closed for the holiday, closed for a wedding, or not optimal for four hungry, tired kidlets.  Desperation and crankiness were beginning to take hold, and it was beginning to rain.  We see a restaurant that looks okay and is open… we start to turn in, when our friend (who are even more foodie minded than ourselves) says… “You know, Sardine is only another few blocks…”  It is where he works and I was a little skeptical knowing how he rolls foodie wise,  I KNEW that it would be delicious, responsibly raised food, doled out by super skilled waitstaff.  My fears were the kids in this place and what kind of reception would 8 weary, and soggy diners with no reservations get…  He called ahead and excitedly informed us that the Harvest Table would be waiting for us.  His son was clearly happy about the decision, so we started off!

sardine

I have to say, it was a little slice of crazy pie getting settled, but we were greeted with smiles and a few crayons.  One of the waitstaff brought over a large sheet of butcher paper for the kidlets to color on and after three trips to the restroom, we were able to finally look at the menu!  YUM! Such delicious options, it was very hard to choose but I finally went with the Sardine burger which had carmelized onions, fig jam, arugula and gorgonzola (I subbed gruyere due to allergies) on a ciabatta bun.  Sardine does NOT have a menu dedicated to kids, but they do have bar and appetizer menus with great options.  All of the kids chose to have the bistro hot dog… it is a hot dog served on a toasted roll with melted gruyere cheese, the hot dog also comes with both a side of fries and greens.  TONS of delicious food… we definitely didn’t eat all of the sides but the hot dogs and burgers were  demolished quickly.  One of our hosts also ordered the mussels… heavenly!   I was very happy that he was willing to share and so was June.

You know, as far as kid friendliness goes… I am not sure if we experienced more because we were with an employee, but this is definitely a place that I would feel comfortable bringing them to again.  It was lovely, and delicious.  My only suggestion would be to add a children’s menu with smaller portions so there is less waste.   Both Elliot and June gave two thumbs up!

sardine-interior

By the time we were done with our meal, it had stopped raining and we able to enjoy a much less frenzied walk back to the hotel.  The kids even got to play on the Capitol grounds for a bit.  It was a wonderful weekend!

Thanks to Sardine for being friendly to even the smallest foodie and to our friends for being amazing hosts!

 

Advertisements
Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Whew, it has been awhile! Future Foodies Friday-Corn Chowder

I have to be honest, with the dreariness of MN these days… I have been feeling uninspired.  So instead of forcing myself to do a post, I decided to wait until I was ready to post something worthwhile.

It is May 3rd, and yes, it is snowing… again.  So we are making soup this afternoon.  Turning to my favorite soup book for a recipe we decided that Corn Chowder would be tasty on this cold day.

We just finished prepping the corn and in a bit I will start rendering the salt pork.  I will try to get a decent picture of it after it is done!

For this recipe, we like to add crab meat.  Get the good stuff, it is worth it.  Stir it in with the reserved kernels.  We also used frozen organic corn unless it is corn season in MN.  I do NOT want to be feeding the kidlets pesticide soup.  Tonight we will be eating it with a crusty rosemary olive oil boule.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

10 ears corn (medium), husks and silks removed
3 ounces salt pork , trimmed of rind and cut into two 1-inch cubes (note: I used regular bacon, which worked out fine)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion , preferably Spanish, chopped fine
2 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces), scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 small red bell pepper (optional, my adaption)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
teaspoons table salt
Ground black pepper

Directions

1. Stand corn on end. Using chef’s knife, cut kernels from 4 ears corn (you should have about 3 cups); transfer to medium bowl and set aside. Following illustrations below, grate kernels from remaining 6 ears on large holes of box grater, then firmly scrape any pulp remaining on cobs with back of knife (you should have 2 generous cups kernels and pulp). Transfer to separate bowl and set aside.

2. Sauté salt pork (or quality thick-cut bacon) in Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, turning with tongs and pressing down on pieces to render fat, until cubes are crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, stir in butter and onions, cover pot, and cook until softened, about 12 minutes. If using, add the chopped red bell pepper in the last five minutes of cooking the onion.

Remove salt pork and reserve.

Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Whisking constantly, gradually add stock. Add potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, milk, grated corn and pulp, and reserved salt pork; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add reserved corn kernels and heavy cream and return to simmer; simmer until corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf and salt pork. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Wonder-37-Corn-Static-Image

Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodie Friday- Pineapple Muffins

We have been on Spring break for 3 weeks!!! Lots of eating, baking,  sleeping, playing and adventuring as happened which is why I have been a been MIA here on Yoga Mama.  Here was our favorite baked good from our break, we also experimented with making granola but I think that I will save that for next week.

IMG_1402

In the first week, there was a request made by June to bake muffins.  It was an unplanned baking venture so I had to take a moment to take stock of our kitchen before agreeing.  We had the usual necessities and in addition we had greek yogurt and a fresh pineapple that needed to be eaten STAT.  So I started searching for a recipe and while I didn’t have the perfect ingredients for any one recipe, we enough to make a go of it.  This is the recipe that I used as my base.  http://www.madeinmelskitchen.com/2009/02/pineapple-muffins/

Pineapple Muffins

  • 6 oz Greek Gods Strawberry with Honey yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup of chopped fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Butter/grease muffin pans (or line with paper liners).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cartons of yogurt and egg.  Mix until combined.  Add the oil, brown sugar and pineapple to the bowl and mix until combined.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Fill the prepared muffin cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

They turned out delicious even without the glaze!  Both June and Elliot gave them 2 thumbs up.

IMG_1412

 

Enjoy!

 

Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Soft Pretzels

I love baking with the kids!  Cookies, breads, cakes… all of it.  Baking gives them many opportunities for them to  actually do the work.  It is fun to let them get their hands dirty and create something delicious.  It is also a good opportunity for me to practice, letting go!

410943_10150655944168567_1166590777_o

One of our more recent favorites is Soft Pretzels.  The kids help with the mixing, the kneading and have a great time making the pretzel shapes after I get them rolled out.

We have made them now three times… the first time following this recipe exactly.  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Buttery-Soft-Pretzels/Detail.aspx

They were delicious, but then I started reading the comments, where there are always good hints on tweaking the recipe.  This is the version we have landed on and loved!  If you have your own favorite pretzel recipe I would love it if you would share it… we love to try new things!

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
4 cups of flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the melted butter and yeast mixture.
Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each
piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the
baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.

305684_10150692495888567_575740134_n

After they are baked, we brush them with melted butter and sprinkle a couple of them with powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon for an extra special kitchen helper treat!

Enjoy!

 

Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Woe “pho” ly Obsessed

11514_10151430114353567_372861011_n

We are obsessed with Pho.  My husband and I have been for years and now our children are…. it is a pretty delicious addiction though, and I am not ashamed!

Our kids really like having some control over their food so Pho is great because they can create their own flavor.  LBL also likes that his soup can develop through the meal.  Starting it as it is given, then maybe adding some lime and basil and finishing with the rich brown broth of too much hoisin.  LL right now is more of a purist and typically only adds a bit of basil.   I love that they are also learning to use chopsticks!  Something I didn’t master until I was an adult.  A favorite beverage to drink with their noodles is coconut water with shaved young coconut in the bottom.

We have found that there typically is not a “child’s portion” but Pho is usually served in such a large bowl that we just share a bit of ours and it is PLENTY.

For those of you that are local, our current favorite is Quang’s  on Eat Street.  They have plenty of high chairs for the littles and don’t need to be asked to bring the smaller bowls.  LL and I typically share the Pho Tai which is fresh sliced beef.   My son and husband switch it up more often.  A little hint… Pho makes a delicious breakfast and weekend mornings is when Quang’s is at their finest.  The steaming, rich broth is a beautiful wake up and you are surrounded by families starting their day together.

We used to make this at home as well, but lately with the kids it has just been easier to go someplace.  Here is a recipe that we have enjoyed in the past.

http://www.steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html

Thank you to Quang’s for being awesome and family friendly!

Bye Pho now!

S

Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Red Stag Supperclub

Happy Friday!

The other thing that I am very excited to do on Future Foodie Fridays is to review restaurants for Family Friendliness.  We have always made it a point to take our kids out, it is a good way to practice manners, try new foods and have a fun time as a family.  We have noticed in our experiences that there is family Friendly, there is family Tolerant…and there is plain Uncomfortable. 

I find myself getting annoyed when eating at a fantastic restaurant known for creatively well crafted food … the kids menu is received, we see cheeseburger, chicken fingers and man n cheese.  Come on!  The same thing happens sometimes when eating at different ethnic restaurants… we are eating roti and are expected to give our kids easy mac?  If we wanted to eat burgers, we would go somewhere where we would get  Good burgers.  This is, to me, a missed opportunity to grow your future business.  It is so sad!  We wouldn’t be bringing our children to your establishment if we didn’t care about teaching our kids to eat delicious food that is made well and gives them variety in their diet!  Obviously, I am pretty passionate about this…

So, I would like to start documenting and sharing our restaurant adventures.  Calling out those that are lacking and giving mad props to those that appreciate even the smallest of foodies.  I will also be including LBL and LL’s opinions and favorite dishes.  They will be giving the restaurants either a thumbs up, a thumbs sideways or a thumbs down.

Family Friendly: They provide comfortable seating, a delicious and varied children’s menu, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Family Tolerant: Half hearted attempt at comfortable seating, a children’s menu, maybe not as welcoming.

Okay, but YOU have to do the work: They may have one high chair hiding in the basement, it needs to be dusted and may not buckle, no children’s menu but “you can order an appetizer!” , your arrival is greeted with surprise, but you don’t necessarily feel unwanted.

Don’t take your Kids here: No seating available for families, no menus or even options, they just don’t want you here and it is their loss.

I want to start our reviews off with a shiny bright star!

Red Stag Supperclub

RedStag

Located in NE Minneapolis.  An area that considering the amount of young families there, isn’t always super friendly, but it is getting there.  We have been here many, many, many times!  The first time we took a kid there was LBL’s 2nd birthday.  We had always hesitated, not sure if we would be welcome in this newer hipster atmosphere, but we loved the food and were craving it that night.  When the server found out that we were celebrating his birthday she sweetly brought him a small pumpkin to decorate (his birthday is Halloween)  Score!

We are always greeted here with smiles and no surprise.  They provide both boosters and high chairs.  They do a great job of trying to get families either by the open kitchen or the large windows facing the street… providing visual entertainment and a bit of noise barrier.  I especially like to be close to the kitchen as they like to watch the action and it is close to the restrooms.  They provide crayons and their Children’s Menu is also a pretty nature scene that they can color.

This is a supperclub so their Children’s Menu is pretty classic american, but well crafted.  I don’t mind letting LBL order a restaurant Pb&J when it is on freshly baked bread, includes restaurant made jam and is served with a side of freshly made potato crisps.  Unfortunately, I noticed too late that their Children’s Menu was not online so I will have to add that this weekend.

When we go to Red Stag, we go in the early evening… probably no later than 6:30.  I would love to hear anyone’s opinion if they have gone at a later time.  It just seems like more of “adult time” after that and frankly my kids are usually asleep by 7.  They take reservations but also save tables for walk ins.  Red Stag also offers a delicious brunch on the weekends and this is definitely a wonderful time to take your kiddos there!  Best part, they give samples of their coffee cake right away which gives mommy and daddy a moment of quiet to drink some coffee.  They do not have a kid specific brunch menu, but have always been very willing to work with us.  We usually split between the two of them fresh berries(brought out right away), a pancake(they are large) and sausage.

We LOVE Red Stag Supperclub!!!

LBL’s review:  His favorite is the PB&J, described above… he usually orders this unless gnocchi is on their app menu.  He loves the gnocchi!  He is also a big fan of the buffalo plaid attire and watching the kitchen.  Thumbs up!

LL’s review: She really likes the fish bites and if there for brunch I have to hide my lobster egg salad sandwich from her lest she eat it all!  She really appreciates that she can flip her coaster and receive bubble water instead of still and she is also fond of the fish art in the entryway.  Thumbs up!

thumb_27737

Thank you Red Stag for being awesome and welcoming!

Food, Life, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday #1

I love the idea of adding some food posts to this blog.  It is a big part of the health and happiness of a family.  Alas, I am not a food professional or a fantastic photographer of food… so I don’t think I could do just a food blog.  I DO however, have many opinions about food, a love of cooking and eating and have a strong desire to teach my children how to appreciate (even if they don’t like) all foods.  So, I have decided to do Future Foodie Fridays… one or two posts a month talking about favorite recipes and rating the Family Friendliness of restaurants.  I would also like to say, these are the opinions I have for how MY OWN family eats, it is what we like and what works for us.  I don’t judge others for their own choices.

My sister would probably disagree, but food and how my children eat it is one of the few topics I am pretty openly opinionated about.  (notice I used the word “few” so that I won’t be called out in the future)  As stated in my About section, I am uncomfortable in extremes… this includes how we eat.  We will never be just a vegetarian, carnivore,  paleo or strictly local & organic.  I love it all and see the benefits in most.  What I feel strongly about is that our diet is diverse.  That my children know where it is from, and appreciate how we came to have it on our table.  It is also important to me that my children know what they like about food, why they don’t like a food, and how to eat foods that they don’t love.  Tall order right?

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t always eat “adult” gourmet and kale at home, far from it.  There is a time and place for mac and cheese, corn dogs and frozen pizza.  When we are at a restaurant or when everyone else is eating something else, is not it.  Often times, our lunches are “kid” food and they eat what we are eating at dinner time.  When we take them to restaurants with different ethnicities, I don’t want them eating $6 easy mac or a microwaved burger.  So, we don’t give them the option.  We are trying to teach them how to develop a palate for more.

I will never forget how embarrassed I was at myself the first time I ate with my mother in law.  She made a lovely Succatash but it had mushrooms… (my longtime foe)  I at age 19 told her that “I don’t like mushrooms.”  and proceeded to pick them all out (they were tiny)  and eat around them.  My mother in law being who she is, informed me that it was rude and her children were not picky.   Which was true on both accounts.  I started to learn that day that I needed to grow up taste wise and that what I had done was really insulting to her.  If someone honors you by sharing their meal with you… you eat the damn food.  That is why I would love for them to learn the skill of eating foods they don’t love and be thankful.  Plus, our palates are always changing and who knows, maybe someday I will actually LIKE eggplant… not just appreciate the preparation of  it.  I wouldn’t want to miss that occasion by never trying it again.

Okay, my food rant is done for today.  For Today.  On to my little future foodies.  Little Boy Loes (LBL) is my maybe vegetarian.  This kid will eat platefuls of raw veggies and rice, but meat is more of a struggle.  For some reason he prefers formed meats which is okay, just eating a little more snout to tail right?  He also LOVES asian foods and is happiest in a chinese or indian restaurant (if not eating american).  His favorite indian dish is malai kofta and he is a big fan of sesame chicken.

Littlest Loes (LL) is my carnivore.  For her birthday this past December she requested meat lollipops.  AKA Lamb chops.  Getting her to eat her veggies is our puzzle with her… although lately I have been finding that if it is juiced, she will drink it.  I think it is the magic word “juice”.  LL is more into American and Italian fare.  Her favorite foods are smoked fish, cheeseburgers, mac n cheese and pizza.  She also loves soup and chose this week’s recipe.

A couple of weeks ago my mother in law had a hip replaced so we are taking her some soup this weekend.  LL chose clam chowder.  She loves eating it and really loves going to the fish market!  We try to go to Coastal Seafoods usually.  She likes to see the pretty scales on the whole fish.  Today she was especially enthralled with a whole Atlantic Salmon and asked, do I eat that fish?  We then walked to the cut section and I showed her the salmon fillets.       She responded with oh, the pink one!  I love the pink one.  Awesome!  So we bought our 7 lbs of clams and were on our way.  We will scrub the clams this afternoon and make the soup tomorrow.   The recipe however, I will share today!  I especially love making soup.  There are lots of opportunities for the kidlets to help and it is such a  warm, rich, and delicious enjoyment when it is done, and soup, only gets better the next day.

(This recipe is from my FAVORITE soup cookbook.  The only thing that we change with it is we use a little less of the clam juice and substitute with chicken stock.  Using all clam juice made it a bit strong for the kids’ taste.   Also, the clams that we are able to get here are Countneck instead of Cherrystone.  Enjoy!)

countnecks_cropped

New England Clam Chowder

From Cook’s Illustrated. Published March 1, 1998.

Serves 6 (about 2 quarts).

During spring and summer, shellfish spawn, leaving them weak, perishable, and off-flavored. Although clams recover from their spawning phase more quickly than mussels and oysters, they should be avoided from late spring through midsummer.

Ingredients

7 pounds medium-size hard-shell clams , such as littleneck, topneck, or small cherrystone, washed and scrubbed clean
4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large Spanish onion , diced medium (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 medium boiling potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and diced medium
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Bring clams and 3 cups water to boil in large, covered soup kettle. Following illustration 1, below, steam until clams just open, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer clams to large bowl; cool slightly. Following illustrations 2 and 3, remove clams from shells by opening clams with a paring knife while holding over a bowl to catch juices. Next, sever the muscle from under the clam and remove it from the shell. Reserve meat in bowl and discarding shells. Mince clams; set aside. Pour clam broth into 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup, holding back last few tablespoons broth in case of sediment; set clam broth aside. (Should have about 5 cups.) Rinse and dry kettle; return to burner.

2. Fry bacon in kettle over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion to bacon; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour; stir until lightly colored, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved clam juice. Add potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add clams, cream, parsley, and salt (if necessary) and ground pepper to taste; bring to simmer. Remove from heat and serve.

Step-by-Step

Preparing the Steamed Clams

1. Steam clams until just open, at right, rather than completely open, as shown at left.

2. Open clams with a paring knife, holding over a bowl to catch juices.

3. Sever the muscle under the clam and remove it from the shell.