Category: Food + Recipes

Easy dumpling recipes for Chinese New Year that kids can help make. We predict a very tasty Year of the Sheep.

What better way to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year than with a crafty project that you can easily do with kids? And, yields dumplings! If you hit the kitchen with the kids to make one of these six  easy dumpling recipes for Chinese New Year, the results of your labor will not only be delicious, but dinner will be done too. Now that’s a fortuitous start to the new year. Oh, and none of them are lamb dumplings. We want to honor the sheep here, not necessarily eat one. Of course all of the recipes here can be made with...

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7 sweet, non-candy Valentine’s Day treats for Candy Meltdown Avoidance. (C.M.A.)

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about sugary sweets, of course. Though kids do clamor for those conversation hearts and pink jelly beans, they may get enough of them elsewhere this week. So I’ve put together ideas for non-candy Valentine’s Day treats that make a sweet surprise for your little ones without the sugar of candy—and hopefully without a major letdown. I think they’re all deliciously cute. In other words, your kids will definitely feel the love, just not the massive sugar rush.   Serve up the color of the day with this naturally pink Strawberry Applesauce spied on Lemon Tree...

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3 ideas for family-friendly Valentine’s Day dinners: How to adapt them from kid-friendly to adult-friendly later on.

Every time we parents make dinner, family cooks work to strike a balance between what the kids are willing to eat and what the grown ups actually want to eat. Sometimes holidays make this balancing act even harder. Ever make a heart-shaped pizza and call it dinner on Valentine’s Day? Yeah, me too. This year, if you’re staying home for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a better idea. With the help of Ashley Rodriguez, a favorite family cookbook author and a top food blogger to follow in 2015, we’re offering up 3 great ideas for Valentine’s Day dinners that will make all of your loved ones happy, even if you...

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8 decadent Nutella breakfast recipes for any special, extra indulgent morning

Recently, there was a whole lot of controversy about marketing Nutella as a healthy breakfast food. Apparently, someone thought that the kids of the world need help eating toast by slathering it in a chocolate-hazelnut spread. But on World Nutella Day, I’m giving everyone a pass.  I’m happy to limit my daily dose of Nutella to snack-time the other 364 days of the year, but I think this weekend, we may celebrate with one of these Nutella recipes for breakfast. Or hey, maybe hold the ideas for Valentine’s Day. It does fall on a weekend this year after all, which leaves plenty of time...

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8 easy homemade Valentine’s food gifts, because you know what they say about the way to someone’s heart.

We’re suckers for easy DIY Valentine’s Day crafts that make thoughtful gifts, especially when they’re deliciously edible. So I’ve put together some ideas for homemade Valentine’s food gifts that are easy to make with the kids—even little ones and those not gifted in the craft department—and can be churned out in big batches to take care of a whole classroom. They’re also inexpensive to make, so that you can save the decadent store-bought chocolates for you and your special Valentine. Or just you.   My name is Stacie and I cannot decorate a cookie for my life. Yet even I can make...

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5 beer cocktail recipes that are a step up from a bunch of bottles in a bucket of ice

I admit it: I’m the cliche food person for whom the Super Bowl is all about food. I love anything with guacamole, nachos of all kinds, and even get excited about trying t make healthy game day recipes for our crew. But for me, the buck stops at beer. Or at least it used to; ever since I realized that even my wine snob husband opts for a cold bottle of brew on game day, I’ve been trying to keep an open mind, and these creative beer cocktail recipes are helping me. It’s just what it sounds like: Beer and liquor mixed into one...

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7 DIY Valentine’s Day candy recipes that you can make with kids.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about candy, of course. But I don’t see why it shouldn’t be, if you make the candy from scratch, with love. Okay so maybe I’m justifying. but still, these DIY Valentine’s Day candy recipes–all of them easy enough for your kids to make along with you–are a fun project for the givers and a delicious treat for the receivers. My goal: to be both.   Turn plain conversation hearts into something special with this recipe for Conversation Heart Marshmallows from Passion 4 Baking. (Manuela has her blog set up to translate from...

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10 awesome kitchen projects to do with kids when you’re stuck indoors. Especially on a snow day.

Apparently, there are places in the U.S. right now where the sun is shining, the air is warm, and the kids are where they should be: in school. If you live in one of these glorious places a) I’m jealous, and b) bookmark these super fun kitchen projects to do with kids for a weekend or a rainy day. But for anyone in a snow zone like me, these kitchen activities for kids will help make your day inside a little more fun (and delicious, too). Related: The ultimate guide to snow day activities: 20+ indoor ideas to keep you sane   1. Make...

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Mistobox: A coffee subscription box for the indecisive, or the very very decisive.

If you have yet to catch onto the whole coffee subscription box trend, you must have been living in a yurt in some remote location for the past few years. In which case, welcome back! Also, I bet you missed coffee you didn’t have to cook yourself over an open fire. So I’ve got a coffee subscription box to tell you about that makes a fantastic gift, if only for yourself. Not that it wouldn’t be great for Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or new parents desperately in need of caffeine. You know Mistobox is different the moment you hit the website and they you to take...

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Healthy game day food: 9 skinny Super Bowl recipes that bench the guilt

I’m not much of a football fan, but I am a sucker for game day eats. Nachos, chips and dips, wings–you name it, I’ll eat it. This can be a problem since I’m also trying to maintain a healthy diet, so instead of giving up on my favorite tailgating foods, this year I looked for lighter versions that are big on flavor and lower in fat and calories. Healthy game day food for the win!   This Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip from Gimme Some Oven brings all of the flavor of hot wings without all of the calories. I’m not...

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7 fantastic food blogs to follow for family food inspiration beyond the usual

I recently tried to figure out how many food blogs populate the internet. The answer: A lot. I couldn’t find an exact number—not a recent one, at least—but it’s big enough to demonstrate that yes, there can be too much of a good thing. With so many food blogs to follow out there, it’s hard to know which you can count on for great writing and reliable recipes, especially for families. To help, I’ve combed all my favorious resources, and put together a list of some of my favorite food blogs to follow in 2015, with a particular focus on...

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Possibly the best ice cream in the country

  I’ve been fortunate to travel to many states and try the so-called best ice cream in each–Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, Maine; Capo Gelateria in Salt Lake City; Richardson’s Ice Cream (correction) in Middletown, MA; and in my own neighborhood, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory overlooking the Manhattan Skyline from DUMBO. So when I received a package this Christmas from my brother and sister-in-law, who called it “the best ice cream in the country,” I was skeptical, but very (very) open to giving it a fair assessment. Um. Whoa. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream started with a single shop founded by Jenni Britton Bauer in Columbus, Ohio,...

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The Blender Girl Smoothies app: Healthy eating inspiration right on your phone.

A peek into our food archive shows that we’re big into smoothies. But no matter how many awesome smoothie recipes we track down for you, nothing will compare to having a constantly updated collection in your back pocket from the smoothie master herself, Tess Masters of The Blender Girl. Her new The Blender Girl Smoothies app is making that one delicious reality. My kids and I are smoothie junkies. I love creating them, finding new recipes for them and we all love drinking them, so this app was meant for me. That said, I’m picky about apps, and don’t stick with them if the nav is frustrating and if...

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Sponsored Message: Healthy school lunch inspiration that’s easy, too.

This is a sponsored message on behalf of Rock the Lunchbox It’s halfway through the school year and plenty of parents are finding themselves in a school-lunch rut. If you’re nodding your head, or just want to make your kids’ lunchbox a little healthier, you’ll want to check out Rock the Lunchbox, a new resource for parents that provides lots of healthy school lunch inspiration you can put into action right now. Brought to you by four brands beloved by parents–Annie’s, Applegate, Honest Kids, and Rudi’s Organic Bakery–Rock the Lunchbox features more than 300 simple ideas, including gluten-free and vegetarian options. There are also video tips,...

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Mouthwatering stuffed sweet potato recipes let you stuff your face and keep it healthy

This is that time of the year that I’m still totally dedicated to super healthy eating (seriously!), but also craving hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals because, well, winter is in full swing. Every year, my answer to this conundrum is the same: baked sweet potatoes. Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, sweet potatoes can be topped—no, stuffed—with nearly anything to make a delicious meal. If you don’t believe me, check out these 8 stuffed sweet potato recipes—and just try to resist stuffing your face with them.   What happens when you make a simple black bean taco using a baked sweet potato in place of...

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6 chicken soup recipe variations to warm your bones and excite your palate

’Tis the season for chicken soup, a magical elixir said to be good for the soul and known to boost your immune system. You can never go wrong with a classic chicken soup recipe, especially when you’re feeling under the weather (the chicken noodle soup we spied on Smitten Kitchen is my idea of a perfect cold and flu remedy), but it can get boring over the course of a long winter. When you need a big bowl of soup to warm your bones and excite your palate, go for one of these fresh and flavorful chicken soup recipe...

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How to make a smoothie deliciously sweet without tons of added sugar: 5 smart tricks.

Smoothies can be a tasty way to take in—or feed your kids—a hefty dose of fruits and veggies. They can also be packed with sugar. The natural sugar that comes from whole fruit is definitely preferable to added sugar from juice, sweetened nut and seed butters, sweetened milks, flavored yogurts (which tend to have loads of refined sugars), honey, and other sweeteners that are called for in many smoothie recipes. So here are my 5 tips for how to make a smoothie that tastes great without tons of added sugar. 1. Swap in coconut water for juice. Coconut water contains...

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Detox recipes for every meal that aren’t extreme, make you full, and taste really, really good.

I’ve always been wary of detox diets. I’m an everything in moderation kind of eater, so the idea of fasting, juicing, and otherwise keeping my caloric intake to a minimum in hopes of flushing my body of toxins strikes me as extreme. My idea of detox is nothing more than “clean eating” with a focus on whole foods without a lot of processing. These detox recipes are all about fruits and veggies, grains and lean proteins that can help kickstart deliciously healthy eating, three meals a day.   Breakfast Detox Recipes Last year I stumbled upon a juice joint...

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How to make a fancy cheese plate with not-so-fancy supermarket ingredients

If you ask me, the most important aspect of throwing any cocktail or dinner party host to know is how to make a cheese plate. And not just any cheese plate, but knowing how to put one together that looks fancy, even when it’s made with affordable supermarket ingredients. Because we don’t all happen to have Murray’s Cheese Shop in our hoods (mmm…)  I’ve put together this simple primer on how to make an elegant, people-pleasing cheese platter without the help of a top cheesemonger and definitely without spending a ton of money.   1. Start with a variety of cheeses. As in, a...

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The best cookbooks for families: Editors’ Best of 2014

Another year, another pile of cookbooks. I’ve added some amazing titles to my cookbook collection this year, but eight in particular are in heavy rotation in my family kitchen, which I think makes them among the best cookbooks for families–indispensable resources especially for parents. Because hey, we aren’t just home cooks; we’re time-crunched, picky-busting, budget-watching home cooks who are constantly trying to feed multiple tastes. There are many fabulous cookbooks from this year, but it takes special cookbooks like these eight that I’ve narrowed down, to provide parents just what we need to get the family cooking job done right. In no particular order,...

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5 crazy easy Christmas cookie recipes that make a perfect last-minute treat for Santa.

Santa may have a team of elves working for him (not to mention a name-taking Mrs. who pretty much keeps the whole show together), but the rest of us are running on fumes by Christmas Eve, and with little back up to boot. Still, cookies must be made. Because once every gift is finally in order, right before the lights go out, Santa (ahem) needs a snack. Any one of these 5 easy Christmas cookie recipes can be made without stress at the very last minute for a perfect treat for Santa.   Gingerbread Cookies I was not born with the cookie...

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How to make the best ever mulled wine. Because winter is coming.

Knowing how to make mulled wine is at the top of my holiday season skills list, along with pie making, gift wrapping, and secret keeping. (I score 2 out of 4. Can you guess my failures?!) Mulled wine is one of my favorite winter drinks. Like a warm version of sangria, it is packed with citrus and boosted with holiday spices. Make a big batch of this mulled wine recipe and keep it warm all day to keep the wine-drinkers in your family happy.   To make this mulled wine, you’ll need: 4 750ml bottles of red wine (see...

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4 easy, semi-homemade pasta dinners that taste great, save time, and don’t have a single artificial ingredient.

As someone who develops recipes professionally, you’d think that I’d always have a plan for feeding my family dinner. Just like everybody else, though, the busier I get, the harder it is to get dinner on the table. Thanks to natural brands like Three Bridges (who is our newest, awesome sponsor — yay, welcome Three Bridges!) being time crunched doesn’t have to mean relying on take-out or heavily processed foods loaded up with preservatives. Their natural and organic pastas (including gluten-free raviolis!) plus ready-made pasta sauces make it possible to throw together fresh, simple meals like these easy pasta dinners. These four meals...

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7 easy, holiday chocolate bark recipes. Because candy made in minutes is the best gift of all.

Chocolate candy is a must over the holidays. Festive sweets make a special treat to have around the house, serve as part of a holiday dessert spread, or give as a gift. Store bought is great—we love supporting local chocolate shops—but it can get expensive, and who needs that when homemade takes 5 minutes to prep? These 7 delectable holiday chocolate bark recipes are a cinch to make, totally affordable, and look absolutely gorgeous. Now if only gift wrapping were this easy.   If you’ve never made bark before, you’re in for a treat. This basic chocolate bark recipe from Martha...

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The chocolate gift so good, I bought one then ate it myself.

Well here’s a first. I ordered what looked like a really awesome chocolate gift for a chocolate-loving friend–a box of assorted cake truffles from Red Envelope, and kind of forgot about it. Because when they arrived with a card from Shari’s Berries, I had no recollection at all of ordering anything from Shari’s Berries so I figured they were a gift for me. And I ate them. Oh my gosh, did I eat them. It was only after I got a follow-up email from Red Envelope asking me to rate my chocolate gift purchase (uh…my purchase?) that I realized the...

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Our favorite cocktail party foods to have on hand for easy entertaining.

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be a blockbuster affair. In fact, some of the best holiday gatherings are small, impromptu get togethers and relaxed gatherings with easy cocktail party foods, festive snacks and, of course, seasonal drinks. During the holidays especially, I stock my pantry with these snack foods so that I can invite people over whenever the whim strikes. With these goodies on hand, I know my guests will be well fed—without any hard work.   Lesley Stowe Crisps Crackers are a must at any gathering, and I’m not talking about everyday butter crackers. Don’t get me wrong, those...

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Easy Christmas cookie shortcut: Walkers shortbread. Really!

If you would love to decorate cookies with the kids but have a to-do list as long as mine, my new favorite, and delicious, shortcut to easy Christmas cookies may work for you. It’s those amazing, pure butter shortbread cookies from Walkers, the Scottish company that you can find all over the place. Unlike some other store-bought cookies, Walkers’ aren’t made with a bunch of preservatives or ingredients like hydrogenated-or-high-fructose anything. If you’ve never looked at the label, there are only four ingredients: wheat flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Just like I’d make, if I didn’t have that pesky to-do list. So for easy cookie decorating, I...

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8 of the best jelly donut recipes for Hanukkah. Or for anybody, anytime. Because donuts are non-denominational.

If you’re not Jewish, get ready to wish that you were: Jelly donuts are a traditional Hanukkah food. As in, you must eat them to celebrate the holiday or you get kicked out of the tribe. Okay, you don’t really have to eat them, but you can and should, and these delicious jelly donut recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers and editors are proof. By the way: no judgments if you make one of these jelly donut treats and don’t celebrate Hanukkah. If anything brings us together as one, it’s donuts.   These Blackberry Jam and Custard Donuts (above &...

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7 skinny holiday drinks: Because skinny cocktails mean more cookies.

I’d like to think that calories don’t count over the holidays. In fact, that IS what I think while indulging in classic holiday treats like decadent hot chocolate and gingerbread desserts. Cocktails, though, are a place where I can skimp on calories without missing out on taste, too—these 7 skinny holiday drinks are proof. And, hey, the fewer calories I use on cocktails, the more I’ll happily enjoy Christmas cookies.   This seasonal Apple Spiced Martini created by Chef Marcus Samuelsson and found in Redbook is packed with warm holiday spice. The simple syrup used to sweetened this drink is made...

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9 of the best creative hot chocolate recipes for snowy days. Because calories don’t count over the holidays, right?

Hot chocolate goes with all winter activities at my house, whether we’re picking out a Christmas tree or going out to see the lights. Making homemade hot chocolate is so easy that I kind of feel guilty using the powered mix from the grocery. Even though there are some very very good ones. Besides, we’re making memories, mamas! So trying out some of these super creative hot chocolate recipes for ourselves is part of the fun.   First off, you must try the thick, spicy concoction that is the Aztec Hot Chocolate recipe (above) from A Beautiful Mess. It’s dark and a little bit bitter and...

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