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Guest Muncher

A PERFECT Valentines Day Treat!

Chile-Spiked Chocolate Pots, The Chile Pepper Bible by Judith Finlayson

This is an updated version of classic French pots de crème. You won’t taste the chile, but it adds appealing depth to the flavor of the chocolate. Served with a big dollop of sweetened whipped cream, this dessert is a welcome indulgence.


This makes four 1⁄2-cup servings. If you prefer, you can make 6 smaller servings, reducing the cooking time slightly.

To make these chocolate pots in your slow cooker: You may need to play with cups or ramekins to find 6 that will fit comfortably in your slow cooker. Demitasse cups make a spectacular presentation. I also use taller French porcelain ramekins, which fit nicely in my largest (7-quart) slow cooker. Place them in the stoneware insert and pour in hot water to come halfway up the side of the cups. Cook on High for 1 hour, then cool and chill as directed. If your slow cooker will only accommodate 4 ramekins, they will obviously be fuller, so expect the cooking time to be closer to 2 hours.

What you need:

Fine-mesh sieve

4-cup heatproof glass measuring cup or heatproof bowl with spout

4 to 6 tall ramekins or demitasse cups

Large roasting pan


3 1⁄2 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 

3⁄4 cup heavy or whipping cream

3⁄4 cup whole milk

1⁄4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs 

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp Aleppo pepper, divided

1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

Sweetened whipped cream


1.  In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and cream. Cook over low heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted. Add milk and sugar, whisking well to combine, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, egg yolk, cocoa powder, 1⁄2 tsp of the Aleppo pepper, vanilla and salt. Whisk in 1⁄2 cup of the chocolate mixture until well combined. Gradually whisk in remaining chocolate mixture until blended.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F . Place fine-mesh sieve over measuring cup and strain chocolate mixture into cup. Pour into ramekins and sprinkle remaining Aleppo pepper over top. Cover ramekins tightly with foil. Set in roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

4. Place pan in preheated oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325°F. Bake just until the centers of the custards quiver, about 25 minutes.

5. Remove ramekins from pan and let cool completely. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours. Serve each with a dollop of whipped cream.

Courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible by Judith Finlayson © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Guest Muncher

Macaroni & Cheese for Ryan


1 pound elbow macaroni

6 Tbls butter (plus some to butter dish)

1/3 cup flour

4 cups milk, heated

2 cups SHARP cheddar, shredded

1 cup American, chopped

1 cup Gruyere, chopped

salt & pepper

6 slices white bread, for fresh breadcrumbs


Heat oven 350.  Butter casserole dish, set aside.


Undercook elbows by 2 minutes (until very al dente)

And immediately pour under cold water to stop cooking

set aside.


Melt butter in large pot on stove. Whisk in flour.

Slowly pour hot milk while whisking, until thick.

Remove from heat. Stir in salt/pepper.

Add cheese. Mix well.

Add pasta to pot, stir then pour into casserole dish.

Top with breadcrumbs

Bake covered 30 minutes until bubbly

Uncover last 5 minutes to brown breadcrumbs

**can be assembled the night before, next day bring to room temperature and bake

Expert Muncher

Autumn Stew in a Pumpkin, Pumpkin it up! by Eliza Cross

Makes 8–10 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup water

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 (10- to 12-pound) pumpkin

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat and brown the beef. Drain the grease and add the water, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in the bouillon and tomatoes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You may need to rearrange the racks in your oven so the pumpkin will fit.

Wash the pumpkin and cut a 6-inch circle around the top stem. Remove the top, trim the pulp from the underside, and reserve. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. Place pumpkin on a sturdy baking pan and carefully pour the stew inside. Replace the top and brush the outside with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake just until pumpkin is tender, 1 1⁄2–2 hours. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Serve stew directly from the pumpkin, along with some of the cooked pumpkin.

Photographs by Susan Barnson Hayward from Pumpkin It Up! By Eliza Cross, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith. 

Expert Muncher

Sausage, Kale and Chickpea Soup
 Best of Bridge Family Slow Cooker 

This hot and hearty soup makes for a cozy weeknight supper — serve it with crusty bread.

Vegetable oil

1 lb mild or hot Italian sausages

3 garlic cloves, minced 

1 onion, chopped

1can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, with juice    

1can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained (2 cups)

6 cups ready-to-use chicken broth           

1⁄2 tsp  dried thyme 

Pinch hot pepper flakes 

 Salt and black pepper to taste

1 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped (about 1 lb) 

In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Squeeze sausage out of its casing into the pan and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, for 3 minutes. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring, until sausage is browned and onion is soft. Scrape into a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, stock, thyme, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper. (If the stock doesn’t fully cover the other ingredients, top it up with water.) Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until soup is slightly thickened. Stir in kale, cover and cook for 10 minutes, until wilted.

Serves 6 to 8.

Tip: Change the taste of the soup by varying the type of sausages you use. Sweet Italian sausages or bratwurst will give the soup a mild taste, whereas spicy Italian sausages or chorizo will completely transform the flavor. If you’d like something lighter, try turkey or chicken sausages.

Variation: For an even more substantial meal, cook up about 8 oz of dried penne or other short pasta and add it to the soup before serving.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Family Slow Cooker by The Best of Bridge © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Guest Muncher

Makes 2–4 servings

1 tablespoon canola oil
1⁄3 cup raisins
1 garlic clove, minced
1⁄2 cup pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or raw cashews
2 crisp, sweet apples (such as Gala), cored and chopped into small pieces
1⁄4 –1⁄3 cup cooked mild Italian ground sausage
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
2 teaspoons shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Sauté raisins, garlic, and nuts until garlic
is cooked but not browned. Add apple and sauté until softened, stirring frequently, about
5 minutes. Add sausage to reheat. Add spinach leaves and toss until spinach is slightly
wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Photographs by Susan Barnson Hayward from How d’ya like them Apples by Madge Baird, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith. 

Mommy Muncher

LOBSTER ROLL KIT, Fresh Fish Overnight

SUMMER IS NOT OFFICIALLY OVER YET! And I am LOVING this Lobster Roll Kit - Who doesn't love a lobster roll? For only $89.95 you get the fixins for EIGHT lobster rolls - a serious deal! My mouth is already watering! I would definately serve some Cape Cod chips with this! I think this is a perfeect tailgate treat. Lets not say goodbye to summer just yet....

Mommy Muncher

A friend shared this recipe for me for family-friendly fish and it disappers each time I make it! Im sure your famiy will love it as much as mine does!

Baked Salmon with Pecan Coating


2 Tbs Dijon Mustard

1 Tbs butter

4 tsp honey

¼ breadcrumbs

¼ finely chopped pecans

2tsp chopped parsley

4 4oz Salmon Filets

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine breadcrumbs, pecans and parsley set aside.Mix mustard, melted butter, and honey and set aside. Season filets with salt and pepper. Place filets in baking pan (covered with foil or sprayed with cooking spray). Brush filets with mustard mixture. Sprinkle top with breadcrumb mixture and lightly press into filet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes per inch or until fish flakes with fork. 


Guest Muncher

Blackberry Peach Crumble150 Best Recipes for Cooking in Foil by Marilyn Haugen


Makes 4 servings


When beautiful berries are ripe for the taking and chin-dripping peaches are calling you at the market, it is the perfect time to make this decadent dessert.

Tips: If your blackberries are very large, you may want to cut them in half or crush them slightly.


Preheat barbecue grill to medium heat

4 sheets heavy-duty foil, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray

3 peaches, peeled and thinly sliced 

2 cups blackberries

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄4 cup  large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats

1 tbsp packed brown sugar

1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1.   In a large bowl, combine peaches, blackberries, lemon juice and vanilla. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and gently toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes.

2.   Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until crumbly.

3.   Fold up the sides of each prepared foil sheet, creating a bowl shape. Divide blackberry mixture among packets, dividing evenly. Sprinkle evenly with crumb mixture. Fold foil into tent-style packets and seal edges tightly.

4.   Place packets on preheated grill and cook for 15 minutes. Open packets with caution, allowing steam to escape, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until crumble mixture is golden brown and peaches are softened.


Courtesy of 150 Best Recipes for Cooking in Foil by Marilyn Haugen © 2016 Reprinted
with publisher permission. Available where books are sold
Expert Muncher

Chicken “Drumstick” Fritter, Churrasco, Grilling The Brazilian Way by Evandro Caregnato

This is a great savory snack molded to look like a chicken drumstick. Allegedly, this dish was created during the Brazilian monarchy era to satisfy the voracious appetite of a spoiled noble child for chicken drumsticks. When the cook for the royal family realized that she didn’t have chicken legs, she shredded some leftover chicken, formed it into a drumstick-like fritter, and convinced the boy that it was a boneless drumstick. It worked so well that soon everyone in the court was eating them. Eventually, this snack became a favorite among the common folk. In many parts of Brazil, you can still find street boys carrying baskets of these coxinhas and selling them in front of office buildings or construction sites. Kids love them so much that they are always present at birthday parties. It requires a little practice to fold and fill the dough, but once you have done this a few times, it gets easier and quicker. The drumsticks also freeze well, so you can make an extra batch to defrost and serve for last-minute guests or as a weekend snack for the family.

Makes about 18 fritters

For the dough:

4 cups (960 ml) whole milk

1 tablespoon (15 g) butter

1 chicken bouillon cube, or 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder


4 cups (480 g) all-purpose flour

For the filling:

1⁄2 lb (230 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil

1⁄2 small yellow onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 small tomato, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

For the coating:

2 eggs

1⁄2 cup (120 ml) milk

2 cups breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs 

Vegetable oil, for frying

To make the dough, add the milk, butter, and chicken bouillon to a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium heat. It should taste like a creamy chicken broth. If necessary, increase the amount of bouillon and salt for balance and taste. Reduce to a low heat, slowly add the flour, and stir with a wire whisk for about 4 minutes. The dough is ready when it thickens and you can see the bottom of the pot when scraping it with a spatula. Transfer the dough to a pan or bowl, and keep it at room temperature until ready to use.

To make the filling, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. If the chicken breasts are very thick, cut them in half. Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, and sauté the chicken pieces until golden. Add the onion and garlic, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, and add the chopped tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the chicken pieces and shred the meat finely by hand. Add the chicken back to the sauce along with the parsley and stir, adding salt to taste. o assemble the drumsticks, use your hands to form a golf-ball-sized amount of dough into a small pancake about 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) thick. Place 1 tablespoon of the chicken filling in the center of the dough and wrap tightly around the filling, forming it into the pear-like shape of a chicken drumstick. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling; set aside.

For the fritter coating, beat the eggs and milk in a bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs into a different bowl. Dip a fritter into the egg mixture, letting the excess drain back into the bowl, then roll it in the breadcrumbs, coating evenly. Repeat until all the fritters are coated. Heat 3 inches of oil to 350°F in a pot or electric fryer. Fry a few fritters at a time until the crumb coating turns golden brown. Remove the fritters from the oil and drain on paper towels before serving.

If freezing the fritters for future use, store after coating with breadcrumbs. Let the fritters defrost to room temperature before frying them.
Photographs by Denny Culbert from Churrasco by Evandro Caregnato, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

Guest Muncher

Warm White Bean & Asparagus Salad, GO AVO SPREAD


One bunch asparagus – tough ends removed – cut on diagonal into 
one inch pieces

One 15oz can Great Northern Beans – drained and rinsed

One bunch arugula – washed and spun dry

One medium tomato, cut into chunks

¼ cup chopped red onion

2 garlic cloves minced

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and pepper to taste

2 teas red wine vinegar

¼ cup GoAvo®


Blanch asparagus in boiling water and set aside. In large frying pan, saute onion and garlic with evoo, add beans, continue sautéing and mash slightly with back of spoon. Add asparagus, continue to saute until asparagus is tender (a few minutes) remove from heat. Add GoAvo®, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Toss arugula and tomatoes with 1 teas evoo, and salt to taste. Serve asparagus and beans over arugula salad.

Expert Muncher

Weeknight Chicken and Stuffing
, 200 Best Sheet Pan Meals by Camilla V. Saulsbury

Chicken and stuffing, made in minutes with pantry-friendly ingredients — what more could you want from a weeknight meal? How about easy cleanup, too.

Makes 6 servings

Preheat oven to 450°F , 18- by 13-inch  rimmed sheet pan, lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray

1 large tart-sweet apple (such as Gala, Braeburn or Golden Delicious), 
 peeled and very coarsely chopped  

1 onion, coarsely chopped 

11⁄4 cups  coarsely chopped celery

5 tbsp  unsalted butter, melted, divided

11⁄4 tsp dried thyme

6 cups  plain dry cornbread stuffing (see Tips)

11⁄4 cups ready-to-use chicken broth

1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs), rinsed, patted dry and cut into 
10 pieces

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Suggested Stir-Ins

1⁄2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley


On prepared pan, toss together apple, onion, celery, 3 tbsp butter and thyme. Spread in a single layer. Roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir apple mixture. Stir in cornbread stuffing. Pour broth over top, stirring until absorbed. Spread out evenly over pan.

Brush chicken with the remaining butter. Moving stuffing mixture aside to make room, add chicken to pan, spacing evenly. Season stuffing and chicken with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 35 minutes or until stuffing is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the thickest chicken piece registers 165°F. If desired, stir cranberries and/or parsley into stuffing.


Look for packages (14 to 16 oz) of cornbread stuffing in the bread section of the supermarket.

An equal amount of torn crusty, rustic-style bread or dry crumbled cornbread can be used in place of the cornbread stuffing.

If the stuffing is browned before the chicken is done, loosely cover the entire sheet pan with foil.

Courtesy of 200 Best Sheet Pan Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.


Guest Muncher

Peanut Butter and Banana Rolls, BFREE

These peanut butter and banana rolls are so tasty yet so easy to make, and make a great healthier alternative to sugary snacks. They’re also great as a quick breakfast on the go, as a snack for movie nights or for kids parties.

Vegan / Dairy Free / Gluten Free / Egg Free / No Added Sugar


Organic smooth peanut butter

Banana, peeled

BFree Multigrain wraps


Heat a dry, unoiled frying pan and place a wrap on it for about 10 seconds until warm.

Spread peanut butter evenly on the wrap, place the banana on the edge of the wrap and roll.

Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled wrap into small pieces.


Guest Muncher

Zucchini Noodles with Cherry Tomato Garlic Cream Sauce

Yield: serves 2 to 4

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 4 medium zucchini squash, spiralized into spaghetti-like noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 5  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce with whole tomatoes (mine were cherry!)
  • 1/3 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
  • freshly shaved parmesan cheese

garlic butter breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup torn crusty bread pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil and butter. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, basil and red pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Add in the tomato sauce and stir. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cream or half +half, along with the grated parmesan cheese. Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet and take your time thoroughly tossing them in the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 10 more minutes. Top with the breadcrumbs, freshly shaved parmesan and serve.

garlic butter breadcrumbs

Add the butter and olive oil to the saucepan. Once melted, add bread pieces and stir well to coat and combine. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the crumbs are golden and toasty.

Mommy Muncher

SO anyone who KNOWS me, knows I love a good cocktail or ten. And then there is that whole girl power thing I have going on. So when I tell you I LOVE this book, you have to know it is chock full of drinking stories and chicks that are just so cool and into supporting one another as they YES drink!

Mamrie is HILARIOUS - I love the chapter about her pooping (or lack there of) The phrase LUBE THE TUBE is forever embedded in my sick, childish humour. You have GOT TO get this book then get it for all your immature friends who LOVE you for your insane recipe for jello shots! 

Even better the YOU DESERVE A DRINK is chock full of fabulous drink recipes - like the one below - (and 80s/90s pop culture references!) This is another girl I am DYING to be be friends with so she can hold back my hair the next time I TRULY need a friend.

3 oz Gin
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1 oz Pickling Liquid
3 dashes Tobasco
3 pickled okras

Combine all ingredients, except for the okras, into a shaker with ice. Swirl vigorously. Strain and garnish with one of the okras. The other two are to eat while you make your drink.

Guest Muncher


Chicken Bites with Peanut Sauce by Carol Kicinski


1 Rotisserie Chicken
1⁄2 cup Peanut Butter, creamy or chunky
3 Tablespoons San-J Tamari Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Honey

Serves: 4


In a small saucepan combine the peanut butter, San-J Tamari Soy Sauce, and honey. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is fully combined and smooth. Divide the sauce into 4 small covered containers.

With a sharp knife, remove both sides of the breast meat from the chicken. Save the rest of the chicken for another use. Cut the breasts into 1⁄2 inch slices then cut the slices on the diagonal to get 1⁄2 inch pieces.

The chicken is eaten dipped into the sauce.

For more information on San-J products and to find more great gluten-free recipe ideas, please visit

Expert Muncher

Fig Salad, The Age Gracefully Cookbook


Figs are an excellent source of fiber. One serving of this salad provides about 12–15 percent of the daily requirement, in addition to some benefits from antioxidants, beta-carotene, and potassium. Figs also contain anthocyanins, which help reduce the risk of cancer. Deep purple figs have a greater concentration of anthocyanins than green or golden figs. Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants and helps boost metabolism and regulate blood sugar. Slightly sweet and slightly tart, this salad also works well as an appetizer or dessert.


1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1⁄2 cup water

1 Tbs. honey

10–12 quartered figs

Pinch of sea salt

Mint leaves as garnish

Drain the ricotta overnight in the refrig­erator in a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.  Place the ricotta in a food processor and pulse a few times until smooth. Combine the balsamic vinegar and water in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Add the honey and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat to cool.

To assemble, place a few spoonfuls of ricotta cheese on each plate and spread out the cheese, making a bed for the figs. Distribute the figs among the plates. Sprinkle with the sea salt, drizzle with the balsamic syrup, and garnish with the mint leaves.

Expert Muncher

Spiralized Fruit Tarts, 150 BEST Spiralizer Recipes by Marilyn Haugern & Jennifer Williams



6 pitted soft dates

2 cups raw walnut halves or pieces

1⁄4 tsp kosher salt, divided

3 tbsp raw agave nectar, divided

4 crisp, tart apples (such as Cameo or Cortland), peeled, cored and ends cut flat

1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch ground nutmeg

2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. In food processor, combine dates and walnuts; process until crumbly and sticky. Add a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp agave nectar; process until dough forms a ball.

2. Divide dough into six equal pieces and press one piece into the bottom and halfway up the sides of each prepared muffin cup to form a crust. Refrigerate.

3. Using a spiralizer, cut apples into thin strands.

4. In a medium bowl, combine apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, the remaining salt, the remaining agave nectar and lemon juice. Let stand for 30 minutes or until apples are softened to desired consistency.

5. Remove muffin pan from refrigerator. Remove tarts from pan and discard any liquid. Using tongs, divide apple strands among crusts, twisting them to fit. 


Substitute firm pears (such as green or red Anjou) for the apples. Or use a combination of apples and pears. You will need 4 fruits total.

In place of the muffin pan, you can use four 3- by 1-inch (7.5 by 2.5 cm) mini tartlet pans. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and press one piece into the bottom and all the way up the sides of each tartlet pan.


Courtesy of 150 Best Spiralizer Recipes by Marilyn Haugen & Jennifer Williams © 2015 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Expert Muncher

Golden Beet Salad, Method of Procedure by Thomas Gosney

I like to make many salads using natural citrus instead of vinegar. When golden beets are in season I prepare this salad several times a week. The salt and lemon pull out the natural juices and make its own dressing. You will see a yellow color in the dressing if done correctly. The beets become sweet with the right amount of crunch. Try using red or striped beets. The “method of procedure” is the same, and you will receive the same wonderful result.

2 large Golden beets, peeled, remove any green part, julienned
1 Lemon, juiced
2 tbsp. Olive oil
2 pinches
1 Sea Salt, or Kosher Salt, use 3 pinches
1 Avocado, peeled, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups Arugula, washed
6 whole Grape Tomatoes, or Cherry Tomatoes, cut lengthwise

Place the julienned beets into mixing bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Let sit for 8-10 minutes. The acid and salt will make its own dressing. Make sure you let sit for the appropriate time or the beets will be too crunchy. The natural juices will make the beets sweet and remove any bitter taste. Be careful not to wait too long or the beets will wilt and become limp. While you’re waiting fan out sliced avocado on chilled salad plate. place arugula in the center of the plate. When the beets are finished, taste to correct any seasoning. Place the beets on top of the arugula. Garnish sliced tomatoes around the salad. Spoon the dressing on top of the beets, and drizzle around the avocado and tomatoes. Serve immediately, remember this will wilt quickly. Serves 2 pp. 

Mommy Muncher

Green is Good, by Elizabeth Gorcey

If you have a picky eater, or just want to expose your pre-school age children to what healthy eating is all about, Green is Good is going to be a hit with your family. Written by a mother/daughter (age 8) team, this book travels with "Liv" and her dog to an organic farm. There she has a wonderful adventure that helps her to eat healthier at home - lets hope this book has the same effect on our kids!

The illustrations are adorable and the story is simple but engaging enough for children to read again and again. Green is Good, hitting stores September 20th, should find a permanent place on your child's bookshelf!

Expert Muncher

Spring Vegetable And Goat Cheese Dip, Bon Appetit Test Kitchens


1 cup 3/4-inch pieces asparagus
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated mild white cheddar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1  14-ounce can chopped artichoke hearts in water, drained
1/4 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese, divided


Preheat oven to 450°. Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; let cool. 

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Whisk in flour; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened; remove from heat. Add cheddar; whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold in asparagus (reserve tips), artichoke hearts, peas, chives, mint, flat-leaf parsley, zest and 2 oz. crumbled fresh goat cheese. 

Transfer mixture to a 4–5-cup baking dish; arrange asparagus tips on top and dot with another 2 oz. goat cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 15–20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Photograph by Romulo Yanes


Expert Muncher

Peppercorn Steak

Prep time: 15 minutes   Cooking time: 14 minutes    Yield: 1 serving

7 oz flank steak
¼ tsp whole peppercorns
1/8 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dried thyme
½ cup mushrooms, sliced thin
½ cup green bell peppers, chopped


1.Mix the peppercorn, salt, mustard, garlic powder, and thyme.

2.Rub evenly over steak.

3.Let stand for 10 minutes.

4.Heat a non-stick grill pan over medium heat.

5.Grill steak five to seven minutes on each side, until steak is desired doneness.

6.Grill mushrooms and green peppers until tender; serve alongside steak.

Per serving: 360 calories | 17g fat  | 5g carbohydrates  | 44g protein

Expert Muncher

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos, Vegan Everyday by Doug Nash

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)

Baking sheet, lined with parchment paper



1⁄4 cup grapeseed oil 

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin 

1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt 

Pinch cayenne pepper 

2 cups drained cooked chickpeas

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets (about 4 cups)


2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

1⁄2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1⁄2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1⁄4 tsp fine sea salt


1⁄2 ripe medium avocado

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1⁄8 tsp fine sea salt

8 to 10  small gluten-free organic corn taco shells

Lime wedges

Hot sauce

Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together grapeseed oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne. Add chickpeas and cauliflower and toss well. Spread evenly over prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Slaw: In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, cilantro, red pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Set aside.

Avocado Drizzle: In blender, combine avocado, water, olive oil, lime juice, lemon juice and salt. Process until smooth and creamy. (Store leftover drizzle in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Assembly: Spoon chickpea-cauliflower filling into taco shells. Top with slaw and a liberal amount of avocado drizzle. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce on the side.


Use either chickpeas you have cooked yourself or canned, preferably with no salt added. When using canned legumes that contain salt, be sure to rinse and drain them thoroughly before using.

If cooking dried chickpeas, you can use your slow cooker or cook them on the stovetop.

A hand-held citrus reamer can be used to extract the juice from lemons and limes. Available in most kitchen supply stores, this tool would be ideal to use for the citrus in this recipe.

Choose organic taco shells to avoid GMOs, and check the label to make sure they are gluten-free and do not contain any added wheat.

If you prefer, serve the Avocado Drizzle alongside.


Courtesy of Vegan Everyday by Doug McNish, 2015 © Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Expert Muncher

Tender Ribs Country Style
, Grill Skills - Professional Tips for the Perfect Barbeque

4 servings

Grilling in reverse. Give your ribs color and flavor on the grill before braising them in the oven in a rich tomato sauce until they become wonderfully flaky and tender.


1.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.  Fry the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until the fat begins to melt. Add the garlic and onions and continue to fry while stirring until the onions soften.

3.  Add chipotle, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Set aside.

4.  Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Grill over direct heat on an oiled grill until they achieve a nice color all over, around 8–10 minutes.

5. Transfer the meat to a roasting pan or ovenproof dish. Pour the tomato sauce over. Cook in the oven until the meat feels flaky and tender when you test it with a sharp knife, around 1 hour. Garnish with thyme if desired, and serve with Mia’s Finest BBQ Sauce and a tasty salad, for example Black Bean Salad (page 95).


Mia’s Finest BBQ Sauce

1 substantial batch


1.  Sauté the onion gently with the oil in a saucepan without allowing them to color.

2.    Add the chili sauce, HP sauce, vinegar, tomato juice, jelly, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, cinnamon, cocoa, and allspice. Allow to simmer for a while then season with paprika or ancho, cayenne, and a little salt.

3.    Simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool somewhat, then blend.

4.   Serve cold or lukewarm with grilled meats.

Expert Muncher

Butternut Apple Soup with Swiss Cheese, The Vegetarian Slow Cooker

 Topped with melted cheese, this creamy and delicious soup makes a light main course, accompanied by a green salad. It can also be served as a starter to a more substantial meal. 


Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker

6 to 8 ovenproof bowls

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced  

2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh

1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns  

5 cups vegetable broth  

2 tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled and coarsely chopped

1 butternut squash peeled and cubed

Salt, optional

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese 

1⁄2 cup finely chopped walnuts, optional 


1.  In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Stir in broth.

2.  Add apples and squash and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until squash is tender. Preheat broiler.

3.  Purée soup using an immersion blender. (You can also do this in batches in a food processor or stand blender.) Season to taste with salt, if using.

4.  Preheat broiler. Ladle into ovenproof bowls. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. (You can also do this in batches in a microwave oven on High, about 1 minute per batch.) Sprinkle with walnuts, if using. Serve immediately.

Courtesy of The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson © 2010 Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.


Guest Muncher

Safe Catch Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps, Safe Catch
serves 10 as an appetizer

2 (5oz) cans Safe Catch tuna, drained
2 tbsp Vegenaise or mayonnaise
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
10 kalamata olives, chopped
2 tsp capers, chopped
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 large rib celery, diced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Using a fork, flake tuna into a large bowl. Gently mix in remaining ingredients except lettuce leaves until just combined. Taste and adjust if necessary. Place 2 lettuce leaves on each plate. Place a 2 tbsp scoop of tuna mixture on each leaf so it looks like a dome or a football.

Safe Catch's mission is to provide PURE seafood (100% mercury tested canned tuna) and protet purity in our oceans, lakes and rivers

Expert Muncher

Cornbread, (Proja)
- Serbian Cooking by Danijela Kracun and Charles McFadden

Serves 4-6


5 eggs

2½ cups (20 ounces) olive oil

¼ cup cream

About 2 cups corn flour

1 12-ounce bottle of mineral water

1¼ cups polenta

10½ ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

Salt to taste



Mix eggs, oil, and cream together. Add corn flour, mineral water, polenta, and cheese. Place in a greased 9-inch baking pan in oven and bake at 300 degrees F. for 30-45 minutes.

Photo Credit: Cornbread (Proja). Photo by Tanja.

Expert Muncher

The Art of the Burger, 
More Than 50 Recipes to Elevate America’s Favorite Meal to Perfection

By Jens Fischer, Photogrpahs by Maria Brinkop, Translation by Michael Spieth




4 walnut buns (page 21)

4 duck breasts, about ¹∕³ lb. each

Clarified butter for frying

½ cup celeriac (celery root)

2 apples (such as Granny Smith)

¹∕³ cup walnuts

Juice from ½ lemon

1 TBSP pineapple syrup

½ cup mayonnaise (page 28, but replace

4 TSP oil with 4 TSP walnut oil)

1 pinch of cayenne pepper

1 can pineapple rings

8 yellow endive leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the buns in half and spread the remaining mayonnaise. Place two leaves of chicory greens and a slice of pineapple on the bottom halves, then 1 heaping TSBP of Waldorf salad into each of the interiors of the rings. Place the duck breasts and finish with the burger tops.

Burger Buns:

Makes about 4 BUNS










  1. Roast the walnuts in an ungreased nonstick frying pan.
  2. Warm the milk and dissolve the yeast in it.
  3.  Add the remaining ingredients to the yeasty milk, knead everything to a smooth dough, and let it sit for 1 hour.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Form the dough into four equal dough balls, lay them out on the tray, and again let them sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  7. Bake the buns in the hot oven for about 15 minutes.


Excerpted with permission from The Art of the Burger: More Than 50 Recipes to Elevate America’s Favorite Meal to Perfection by Jens Fischer. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Expert Muncher

Wowie Apple Pancake
, Confessions of a Serial Entertainer by Steven Stolman

Makes one 12-inch pan

Serves 6 to 8


4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1 ⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 ⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 large Granny Smith Apple, cored and sliced

1 ⁄2 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Powdered sugar, for garnish

Maple syrup, warm, for serving

Preheat oven to 450˚F.


In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, and salt. Let rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet. When the foaming subsides, add apples and half of the sugar mixture. Once apples begin to soften, add batter and the rest of the sugar mixture. Immediately place into the preheated oven and bake until the pancake puffs and browns.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Slice and serve with warm maple syrup.

Expert Muncher

RASPBERRY BLONDIES, United States of Cakes by Roy Fares

Blondies are like brownies, but with white chocolate. They’re a bit sweeter, but with the slightly tart berries there’s a nice balance. I am very fond of white chocolate, so this pastry is right in line with my tastes. They can be prepared in advance and stored cold. Serve them at room temperature. Approx. 24 pieces


1¾ cups solid white chocolate

¾ cup salted butter

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

½ tbsp vanilla extract

3 eggs, room temperature

½ cup sugar

½ cup white chocolate chips or coarsely-chopped white chocolate

30 fresh raspberries


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, convection function. Grease the edges of a pan, 12 × 8 inches, and line the base with parchment paper.

Chop the white chocolate and melt it with the butter gently in a water bath or in the microwave. Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Beat the eggs with the vanilla extract until fluffy with an electric mixer in a separate bowl. Whisk in the sugar and stir it into the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Spread the batter evenly in the mold, sprinkle with white chocolate chips and the raspberries and bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes. The cake should only get some light color. Let cool completely and then cut into pieces.

Excerpted with permission from United States of Cakes: Tasty Traditional American Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Baked Goods by Roy Fares. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Expert Muncher

Quinoa Risotto with Bacon and Peas
 of Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook by Camilla V Saulsbury

Risotto is a breeze to prepare, and a fast weeknight meal, when made with quinoa in place of rice. 


3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

11⁄4 cups quinoa, rinsed

1 tsp dried thyme 

1⁄2 cup dry white wine

2 cups ready-to-use GF vegetable broth

1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1⁄4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, chopped

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

 Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1.   In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain off all but 1 tbsp fat.

2.   Add quinoa to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add thyme and wine; cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until liquid is evaporated.

3.   Stir in broth and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.

4.   Stir in peas, half the cheese, parsley and lemon juice; simmer for 1 minute or until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with bacon and the remaining cheese.


Courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook by Camilla V Saulsbury, 2015 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Guest Muncher

Irish Mule Recipe, Pretty Prudent

-1.5 oz of Irish Whiskey
-3 oz of Bundaberg Ginger Beer or any ginger ale
-Splash of Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
-Half of a lime

Mix together whiskey, ginger ale, and juice from half a lime. Pour over ice and top off with 2 splashes of bitters. Garnish with the other half of the lime.

Sit back, drink, and enjoy!

Guest Muncher

As a LONG time vegetarian, I am always on the hunt for Great vegetarian recipes. I have found a GREAT website/blog that is one of the most adventurous for us veggie lovers - and every recipe I have tried is DELICIOUS! Cookie and Kate! You have GOT to check it out! Here is their recipe for Lemony Roasted Cauliflower Risotto! Enjoy!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 5 cups (40 ounces) vegetable broth, divided (if your broth comes in 32-ounce containers, feel free to avoid opening another container by substituting 1 cup water for 1 cup broth in step 3)
  • 1½ cups brown arborio/short-grain brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, sliced into florets
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup dry white wine, optional
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon, preferably organic (about ¼ teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
  • Garnish: ¼ cup sliced almonds or a few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems and larger leaves torn into small pieces
  1. Place your ovens rack is in the lower third and upper third positions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add 4 cups broth (or 3 cups broth and 1 cup water), cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake on the lower rack until rice is tender and cooked through, about 60 to 65 minutes.
  4. Immediately afterward, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil on your lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and some freshly ground black pepper and arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the pan. Roast on the upper rack until the florets are tender and the edges are deeply caramelized, tossing halfway. This took the full hour for me, but start checking the cauliflower for doneness around 40 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, toast your almonds in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and turning lightly golden on the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  6. Remove the pot from the oven. Pour in the remaining cup of broth, the Parmesan, wine and butter. Stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Stir in the salt, a generous amount of pepper, pinch of red pepper flakes, lemon zest and juice.
  7. Section off one-fourth of the cauliflower to use as a garnish. Chop any large remaining pieces of cauliflower into more bite-sized pieces before transferring three-fourths of the cauliflower to your pot of risotto. Stir in the cauliflower. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice as needed.
  8. Divide the risotto into bowls and top with the remaining roasted cauliflower and a sprinkling of toasted almonds or fresh thyme.
Guest Muncher

Move over, Ranch—there's a new jar in town. A concoction of garlicky goodness with a hint of grated horseradish, Sepo Sauce's well-balanced flavor and creamy texture pleases any palette and lends itself to endless versatility.

Sepo Wedge Salad

2 heart of romaine, quartered lengthwise and cores removed

¼ cup chopped fresh chives

2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

2 oz crumbled blue cheese

½ cup Sepo Sauce

Place 2 romaine quarters on each of 4 salad plates. Sprinkle with chives, bacon and blue cheese. Drizzle with SEPO and chomp away.

Expert Muncher

Detox Mango Blackberry Smoothie, Grace Foods



2 tablespoons silken tofu

1 cup frozen blackberries

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 cup spinach or kale

1/2 banana

1 cup La Fe Mango Pulp

1 cup Grace Coconut Water


First combine frozen blackberries, 1 tablespoon tofu, chia seeds and spinach in a blender.  Blend until smooth and pour into glass.  Rinse out blender then add in remaining tablespoon of tofu, mango pulp, coconut water and banana. Blend until smooth and pour on top of the blackberry smoothie.  This will give you a beautiful layered smoothie.  Add a few blackberries on top for decoration and enjoy. For extra sweetness, you can add the other half of the banana and more La Fe Mango Pulp.

Guest Muncher

Santa Berries
Sugar-Free, Pyure, the makers of Stevia

1 Box Strawberries | Fresh & Washed
1 Pint Whipping Cream
1-2 T Pyure All-Purpose Stevia
¼ cup Black Sesame Seeds

Wash Strawberries, Dry, and Slice off stems of Strawberries, ensuring the base is flat and balanced stably – stem side facing down.  Note: select Strawberries with one pointed tip (not two), and choose ones that are ripe, red, & firm, without being too gooshy. With a knife, cut off 1” of the tip of each Strawberry; this will serve as the Santa Berry hat.

Make Pyure Sugar-Free Whipped Cream by whipping the Heavy Whipping Cream with either a Hand or Kitchen Stand Mixer.  Add Pyure All-Purpose Stevia and mix until fluffy and fully whipped

In a Large Zip-Lock Bag, add whipped cream and push contents down to one corner of the bag, ensuring to get the extra air out.  Make about a 3mm snip to the corner.  Use this to pipet the face of the Santa Berry, ensuring to keep a flat and stable surface. Place the Top hat of the Strawberry tip on the Whipped Cream face and balance.

Next, carefully place on the eyes of the Santa Berry.  One at a time, using your finger press onto a black sesame seed and then carefully transfer to the Santa Berry face.  You can use a toothpick or other utensil to carefully adjust the sesame seed so the eye is straight and correctly placed.  Transfer the second eye to the face, keeping the eyes at a relatively close distance to each other for optimized cuteness.  Have fun and Play with sesame seed placements and the resultant differences in Santa Berry facial expressions!

For the final touches, add whipped cream into a smaller Zip-Lock bag, pushing contents to one corner of the bag and letting any extra air out.  Make a smaller 1mm scissor snip to the corner. Pipet 2 whipping cream buttons on the base of the Santa Berry body and a whipped cream Santa hat pom-pom poof on top.

Mommy Muncher

Looking for a GREAT last minute stocking stuffer?

These Naja panties are PERFECT for your foodie lover or as a fun surprise for your hubby!

Whats even better - ANY Naja purchase makes a HUGE difference! Through Naja’s Underwear for Hope program, the company donates a percentage of profits to training women in the poorest and most violent areas of the world to sew. Naja then employs them so that they can help themselves and their children. 

Now that is a burger without guilt! 

Guest Muncher

Sweet & Salty Popcorn Bark, G H Organics

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Serves: 12
1 lb. dark chocolate
1/4 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup dried cherries
Line a 9x13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper so it overhangs the edges. Place the chocolate in heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat. Reserve 1/2 cup melted chocolate, for drizzling. Pour remaining chocolate onto prepared baking sheet and spread evenly. Top evenly with popcorn, dried cherries and toffee bits. Drizzle reserved chocolate on top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate is set. Remove from pan and peel off the parchment paper. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Use at least a 70% dark chocolate for best results.
Guest Muncher


Nonna’s Mini-Meatball Soup


Minimum 5-quart slow cooker

1 lb lean ground beef

1 lb lean ground pork

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup fine dry Italian bread crumbs

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely
        chopped (about 1 cup)

1⁄2 tsp salt

1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
        or chopped escarole

2 cups cooked small pasta, such as elbows,
        tubetti, shells or stars

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, Parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Using your hands, roll into 3⁄4-inch (2 cm) meatballs. Place meatballs in slow cooker stoneware. Gently pour in broth.

Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 9 hours or on High for 41⁄2 to 5 hours, until soup is bubbling and meatballs are cooked through.

Stir in spinach. Cover and cook on High for 10 to 15 minutes or until greens are wilted, bright green and tender. Stir in cooked pasta.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.



If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, use ready-to-use chicken broth. I like to keep 32-oz (1 L) Tetra Paks of broth on hand, especially the sodium-reduced variety. They come in handy when you’re making soups and stews. Another option is to use three 10-oz (284 mL) cans of broth and add enough water to make 6 cups (1.5 L). Avoid broth cubes and powders, which tend to be salty.

Courtesy of Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye, 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Guest Muncher

Winter Minestrone

Copyright 2012, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved

Good olive oil 
4 ounces pancetta, ½-inch-diced 
1½ cups chopped yellow onions 
2 cups (½-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots) 
2 cups (½-inch) diced celery (3 stalks) 
2½ cups (½-inch) diced peeled butternut squash 
1½ tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves) 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves 
26 ounces canned or boxed chopped tomatoes, such as Pomi 
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 
1 bay leaf 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 (15-ounce) can cennellini beans, drained and rinsed 
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti 
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves 
1/2 cup good dry white wine 
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto 
Garlic Bruschetta (recipe follows) 
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving 

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. 

Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1- teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the -vegetables are tender. 

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more chicken stock. Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste. Serve large shallow bowls of soup with a bruschetta on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve hot. 

Expert Muncher

Butternut Squash Soup, Prepared by Chef Bill Rosenberg of NoMa Social


4 butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch cubes)
2 spanish onions (roughly diced)
5 pieces celery (rough diced)
1 1.5 inch piece giger (peeled)
1/2 pound butter
chicken stock, just to cover
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar or more or less to taste
salt and pepper to taste


1. Place all ingredients into a large stock pot except sugars and salt and pepper. 2. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, cook until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth. (use caution as soup is hot, cover lid to blender with a hand towel and only fill blender slightly higher than half way full) once finished blending pour into another pot. Once finished blending soup add sugars and adjust seasonings. 3. Garnish with fresh cranberry sauce and crushed ginger snap cookies.

Expert Muncher

Bruschetta Margherita, Bertolli Olive Oil Spray


Makes 24 Appetizers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes


2 loaves of bread cut into ¾-inch slices

2 large clothes of garlic

Bertolli Classico Olive Oil Spray

Tomato & Basil Sauce

24 Thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese

½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves


Broil bread until golden brown in preheated oven. Rub bread with garlic. Evenly spoon unheated tomato & basil sauce over bread. Top with mozzarella and basil. Spray Bertolli olive oil direct to food to your liking.


Expert Muncher

Stuffed Acorn Squash,  South Fork & Spoon + Ango 

Yields:  8 servings


4 Acorn Squash, ideally 1-2 lbs each, halved lengthwise and seeds removed

5 teaspoons or more to taste, Salt

2 teaspoons, Ground Black Pepper

2 cups wild rice

3 oz Grapeseed oil

teaspoons fresh ground pepper

Tablespoons minced garlic

2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (stems removed)

4 cups cleaned and rough chopped kale

Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons chiffonade ( cut like ribbons) mint leaves 


Pre heat the oven to 475. In fine meshed strainer, place rice and run under cold water until clean. In medium sized pot, add rice + 2 t of salt + 4 cups of cold water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil on high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat until rice is simmering.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the water and is cooked.  (Note: rice can be cooked up to two days in advance). On baking sheet, place squash flesh side up and rub with 1 oz  grapeseed oil + 2 t of salt + fresh ground pepper.   Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender.  Use a fork to test for tenderness.
In a separate sauté pan heat 1 oz grapeseed oil on medium-high heat.  Add shiitake mushrooms + garlic + 1/2 t of salt and sauté until mushrooms are cooked but not browned.  Remove from heat and place in large bowl.  In the same sauté pan used for the mushrooms, heat 1 oz of grapeseed oil on medium-high heat. Add kale + 1/2 t of salt and cook quickly using tongs or a spatula.  Keep the kale moving so it doesn’t brown.  Once wilted, remove and place in bowl with shiitake mushrooms. In bowl, add cooked wild rice + sesame seeds and mix together. Taste rice mixture and season accordingly.  Fill the cooked squash halves with the rice mixture. Garnish with mint. 
Expert Muncher

Christmas Morning Wife-Saver, Best of Bridge Holiday Classics

A Canadian tradition — don’t wait for christmas! Make breakfast the night before and enjoy your morning.


16 slices white bread, crusts removed
16 slices of canadian back bacon or ham
6 slices of sharp (old) cheddar cheese
6 eggs  
1⁄2 tsp pepper                                                                                    
1⁄2 to 1 tsp dry mustard                                                                    
1⁄4 cup minced onion                                                                            
1⁄4 cup finely chopped green pepper                                                            
1 to 2 tsp worcestershire sauce                                                          
3 cups milk                                                                              
dash tabasco                                                                                  
1⁄2 cup butter
crushed corn flakes cereal


Put 8 pieces of bread in a 13- by 9-inch buttered glass baking dish. Add pieces to cover dish entirely. Cover bread with thinly sliced bacon. Top with slices of cheddar cheese. Cover with slices of bread. In a bowl, beat eggs and pepper. Add mustard, onion, green pepper, worcestershire, milk and tabasco. Pour over bread, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, melt butter and pour over top. Cover with cereal. Bake at 350°f, uncovered, 1 hour. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh fruit.

Serves 8.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Holiday Classics by The Best of Bridge 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Expert Muncher

Melted Cheese With Spanish Chorizo And Guacamole, Bring the Dip



1 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil

1 small onion (about 1 cup), chopped

1-2 leeks (about 1 cup), chopped white and pale green parts only

1/3 cup dry white wine

8 ounces smoked Spanish chorizo (casing removed), sliced thinly

3 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

1 ½ cup your favorite Yucatan Guacamole, Spicy or Authentic works well

1 baguette, sliced

Heat oil in a large (9-10 inch) skillet over medium heat. Add onions and leeks and sauté until tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes, do not brown. Add the wine and cook another 3-5 minutes, you don’t want onions completely dry. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer onions to a small bowl. Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Put onion mixture in bottom of a gratin dish or other casserole type dish (approximately 7 x11x2 inches) layer with the chorizo and then the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, then spread the Yucatan Guacamole on top of the cheese, leaving space for the cheese to show around the edges of the gratin dish and bake 5 minutes. Serve hot with bread.

Mommy Muncher

Do you ever wonder what is the difference between a cookie press and a cookie cutter? Or what the origin of Earl Grey Tea is? How can you tell the proof of alcohol? Well you have got to get this great resource The Cook's Essential Kitchen Dictionary by Jacques L. Rolland

You will now be able to understand ALL the different types of oil (from Olive to Palm) and impress your dinner party guests on the origin of leeks. Its a MUST have for every kitchen!

Guest Muncher

Hard Rock’s Red Berry Press, HARD ROCK CAFE NEW YORK


3 lemon wedges

3 whole strawberries (hulled and sliced)

3 fresh raspberries

3 oz Svedka Clementine Vodka

7 oz HRC scratch lemonade – (for at-home mixing, purchase your favorite brand)

7 oz Lemon –lime soda


For at-home mixing get a large pitcher or container that will hold 20 oz. Add the fruit to the bottom of the pitcher and muddle about 5 times enough to break the berries apart and release the juice from the lemons. Add the remaining ingredients stir and serve into iced filled rocks glasses. This can be made several hours in advance. The longer the fruit is in the mixture the more flavorful it will be.

Expert Muncher

Champagne and Raspberry Dip150 Best Dips & Salsas

Each bite is like a delightful sip of a Kir Royale. Serve this dip next to a bowl of fresh strawberries for dipping and a glass of Champagne for an excellent brunch or dessert offering.

1⁄2 cup Champagne or Prosecco (see Tips

1 tbsp granulated sugar (see Tips)

1⁄2 cup golden or red raspberries

1 tsp apricot jam 

1 fresh basil leaf

1⁄2 cup whipped cream

In a saucepan, bring Champagne and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until reduced by three-quarters, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add raspberries, jam and basil leaf. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender and purée until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Fold whipped cream, one-third at a time, into raspberry mixture and serve immediately.


If Champagne or Prosecco are not available or to your liking, feel free to substitute your favorite white wine.

If you are a vegetarian, use unbleached organic sugar to ensure it has not been filtered through bone char.

Makes about 11⁄2 cups

Courtesy of 150 Best Dips & Salsas by Judith Finlayson & Jordan Wagman 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Guest Muncher

Back-to-School Berry Blast, CASCADE ICE

To create, mix 1 cup of apple slices, ¾ cup of Greek yogurt, ½ cup of soy or almond milk, a handful of fresh berries and 4oz of Cascade Ice Huckleberry Blackberry in a blender.

Blend until smooth and top with a few more fresh berries.

Cascade Ice beverages are available in stores nationwide – click here for our "Where to Buy" map! 

Guest Muncher

Veggie Frittata Muffins, Jennie O



1 (8-ounce) package JENNIE-O® Uncured Turkey Bacon

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ cup finely chopped red pepper

½ cup finely chopped green pepper

1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

1 cup finely chopped asparagus

2 cups egg substitute or 8 eggs

¼ cup milk

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 cup shredded low-fat Swiss cheese

⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions


Heat oven to 350°F. Mist 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Cook turkey bacon as specified on the package. Cut into ½-inch pieces and set aside. 

In large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil, red and green pepper, mushrooms and asparagus. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked.

In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk and parsley until well mixed. Stir in bacon, cheese, mushroom mixture and green onions. Spoon mixture into muffin cups, filling approximately ¾ full. Bake 20 minutes or until set.

Guest Muncher

Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats,
Servings: 5 • Size: 2 halves • Old Pts: 5 pts • Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 273 • Fat: 9 g • Carb: 25 g • Fiber: 6 g • Protein: 23 g • Sugar: 5 g
Sodium: 437 mg (without salt) • Cholesterol: 49 mg


For the filling:

12 oz 93% lean ground turkey

3/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 hot pickled serrano pepper, chopped (or jalepeño) more to taste

1 large diced tomato

1 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tsp cumin

kosher salt to taste

For the zucchini:

5 medium zucchini (7 oz each), cut in half lengthwise

1/2 cup jarred mild salsa

15 tbsp shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Preheat oven to 400°F.  

Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside 3/4 of a cup to add to the turkey filling, (squeeze excess water with a paper towel) discarding the rest or save to use in another recipe. Drop zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove from water.

In a large skillet brown the turkey and season with salt. When the turkey is browned, add onion, garlic, black beans, cilantro, serrano pepper, diced tomatoes, reserved zucchini and cumin. Mix well and simmer on low, covered for 20 minutes. Remove lid, add corn and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until all the liquid reduces.

Place the salsa in the bottom of a large baking dish (or two medium size dishes) and place the hollowed out zucchini cut side up in the dish. Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats dividing the filling equally, about 1/3 cup in each, pressing firmly. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.  

Guest Muncher

Grilled Eggplant Salad, Ricky Eisen Between the Bread 



1 large eggplant, cut into 1-2 inch cubes (skin on)

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 cup kale, double washed and cut into bite size pieces

3-4 Sprigs fresh mint

1/2 cup Canola or olive oil

Salt & pepper 

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons turmeric 


Cut the eggplant, sprinkle turmeric & salt thoroughly and let it rest on paper towels (about 1 hour)

Heat the oil in skillet and saute the eggplant until edges are charred

Put eggplant on cookie sheet and bake in hot oven under tender (about 1 hour) 

Add the balance of the olive oil to skillet, add kale and char.

Wash mint and take off stem

Wait for eggplant to cool.  Spread yogurt on a platter.

Toss eggplant, kale, lemon juice, mint together, served over yogurt and decorate with lemon wedges

Please note: The grilled eggplant is really a roasted eggplant salad although it looks like the eggplant is grilled. The reason Ricky likes to roast the eggplant is because this process allows with the charring of the eggplant but keeps the eggplant chunks succulent.

Guest Muncher

Strawberry Banana Smoothie,  Just Salad


4 oz Almond Milk
1 scoop Strawberries
1 whole Banana
1 TBSP Greek Yogurt
1 cup Ice
1 swirl Agave

Makes 1 16 oz Smoothie

Blend until Smooth. ENJOY! 

Mommy Muncher

We had the opportunity to check out these YUMMY Cluck 'n Moo Burgers! Part chicken part beef - they were healthy and delicious! My entire family LOVED! Here is a great recipe for these HEALTHY burgers! Get grilling!

Sun-dried Tomato and Blue Cheese Cluck ‘n Moo Burger Recipe


3 pounds Cluck ‘n Moo Ground
1 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
4 oz. blue cheese
½ cup minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon steak sauce
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
12 hamburger rolls

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, sun-dried tomatoes, blue cheese, chives, steak sauce, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, salt and mustard. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Gently form mixture into twelve equally sized patties. Grill burgers for five minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Serve on rolls.

Expert Muncher

Grilled Greek Salad, Woman's Health Magazine

Photo Credit : Zach Desart for Women’s Health

Grilling intensifies the flavor of the veggies in this spin on a classic.

3 zucchini, sliced

1 red onion, sliced

1 tsp olive oil

2 tomatoes, sliced

2 cucumbers, sliced

¼ cup pitted

kalamata olives

½ cup feta


3 Tbsp olive oil

4 Tbsp red wine


1 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried oregano

1. Whisk together all dressing ingredients.

2. Light a gas or charcoal grill. Toss zucchini and onion with olive oil to coat, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Place in a vegetable basket and grill for 3 to 5 minutes, rotating for even cooking.

3. Toss grilled vegetables with tomato, cucumber, olives, and feta. Drizzle with dressing.


Mommy Muncher

I have always been intrgued by smoked meats and how to DIY. 

Well - now I have the 411 thanks to a new cookbook - Home Smoking Bascis by Maria Sartor

Not only does she she you how to smoke meat - but fish and poultry. There are some great recipes inside -even a bunch for us vegetarians (like Peppers Stuffed with Smoked Ricotta) and even moked TOFU!

I am so into this! Yes - I am smokin' this summer! 

Guest Muncher

Happy Birthday Batter Sandwiches, Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches by Kris Holchek Peters


Makes: 12 to 16 sandwiches

Sprinkle Cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup nondairy margarine, at room temperature

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons nondairy milk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ cups rainbow sprinkles (jimmies) or other sprinkles of choice, divided


1} Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2} In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar and margarine. Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk and add to the margarine mixture, along with the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches, stirring until smooth.

3} Using a cookie dropper or tablespoon, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Top each cookie with a healthy sprinkle of, um, sprinkles. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack. Let the cookies cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Cake Batter Soy Ice Cream

¾ cup evaporated cane sugar

2 teaspoons arrowroot starch

2½ cups soy or hemp milk (full fat)

1¼ teaspoons butter extract (believe it or not, it’s vegan!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon maple extract


1} In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and arrowroot starch, and whisk until the starch is incorporated into the sugar. Pour in the milk, whisking to incorporate. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the butter, vanilla, and maple extracts, and whisk to combine.

2} Transfer the mixture to a heat-resistant bowl and let it cool completely.

3} Pour the mixture into the bowl of a 1½- or 2-quart ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for at least an hour before assembling the sandwiches.

To Make the Sandwiches

1} Spread the remaining sprinkles on a small plate. Let the ice cream soften slightly so it’s easy to scoop. Place half of the cookies, bottoms up, on a clean surface. Scoop one generous scoop of ice cream, about ⅓ cup, onto the top of each cookie. Top the ice cream with the remaining cookies, with the cookie bottoms touching the ice cream. Gently press down on the cookies to level them. Roll the edges of the ice cream sandwiches in the sprinkles, coating the sides of the ice cream. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap or waxed paper and return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Guest Muncher

CHEESY HAM AND CHEESE CASSEROLE, eMeals Menu Editor Julie Gunter


8 ounce ham steak, diced

20 ounce bag shredded hash brown potatoes, about 3½ cups

  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, about 1 cup
  • 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Layer half of potatoes in an 8x8” baking dish or 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of onion, half of ham, and half of cheese. Repeat layers.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, egg, salt, and pepper; pour over casserole.

4. Cover dish with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes, or until top is browned & bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Expert Muncher

Jared Koch 

Delicious, Healthy, and Sustainable Munching

Here are my simple strategies to help you make the best choices for your body (and the planet!), while still enjoying the pleasures of dining out.

Eat the right meat. I strongly suggest only eating naturally and sustainably raised animal foods. At a minimum, animal foods should be hormone and antibiotic free. If you eat meat, request medium-rare. 

Get your veggies.  Order several vegetables (especially green leafy ones like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard) with every meal. The more veggies you eat, the more you’ll crowd out cravings for less-beneficial foods. 

Celebrate the season(ings). Look for dishes seasoned with herbs and spices. They not only add flavor but also provide great healing properties.

Expert Muncher

Chicken Medallions, Trace Arnold "The Rib Whisperer"

Whole boneless chicken breasts (cut across grain in 2 inches thick pieces)

Your favorite thick cut bacon

Wrap bacon around chicken medallions and secure with toothpick or pin.

Season with Texas Love Rub

Cook on grill until chicken and bacon are done. Then glaze with either Honey Chipotle.  Remember to remove toothpick or pin before serving.


Honey Chipotle Glaze

One 7.5 OZ can chipotle peppers – puréed

1 stick of butter

1 C honey

Expert Muncher

Summer Burrata Salad, Chef Kathy Fang,


Ingredients: Serves 1
2 heirloom tomatoes, one yellow and one red or orange in color (choosing different colors will make a more colorful salad/presentation)
3 Early Girl Tomatoes (they are smaller than the heirloom and a lot sweeter) This helps add another element to the salad
1 nectarine
1 pack of fresh burrata
olive oil for drizzling
sea salt
black pepper
balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced italian herbs or pesto

1. Slice all your heirloom tomatoes and nectarine into small thin pieces.
2. Place your heirloom in the middle of the plate.
3. Flank the heirloom with the Early Girl tomatoes
4. Place the nectarines on top of the heirloom.
5. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Season with a few cracks of fresh black pepper and sea salt
6. Top with burrata and drizzle olive oil and balsamic on it as well as season it a tiny bit with pepper and salt
7. Dollop one teaspoon with minced herbs or pesto
8. Serve!!!!

Expert Muncher


Spicy potato salad Morgan's Barbecue
4 Yukon gold potato
1 cups thinly sliced red onion
2 cups coarsely chopped bread and butter pickles
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
10 chopped hard boiled eggs
3 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup mustard
2 Tbs. Spanish smoked paprika
1 Tbs. ground cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Wash potatoes thoroughly and cut them in approximately two inch squares.
 Place them in a pot with cold salty water and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, bring down heat to a simmer and slightly overcook.
Place them in a fridge and cool.
Once potatoes are cold, mix all ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste.
Guest Muncher


- Romaine

- Iceberg

- 6 pieces of Cajun Grilled Shrimp (we use a paprika based spice and a little bit of oil to grill our shrimp)

- 1Ž4 of an Avocado

- 3 oz Grape or Cherry Tomatoes

- 1 oz Black Beans

- 1 oz Corn

- 1 tsp Cilantro

- 1 oz Onion Crunch (or Crunchy Onions)

- 1.5 oz Pepper Jack Cheese

Toss them all together and enjoy! Happy Munching!

Mommy Muncher


1 cup hazelnuts (roasted or raw), toasted

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons coconut oil

10 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

1. Toast the hazelnuts: Heat the oven to 350°. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until the nuts are fragrant and slightly golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool.

2. Make the spread: In the bowl of a food processor, grind the hazelnuts with the sugar, cocoa powder and salt until the mixture begins to form a coarse paste.

3. Add the coconut oil and continue to process until the mixture is nearly smooth.

4. Add the slightly cooled chocolate and process until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to a large jar and cool completely (it may be a tad on the thin side until fully cool). The spread will keep in the jar at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Guest Muncher



5 large fresh mint leaves

½ ounce of demerara syrup (1 part demerara sugar to 1 part water, boiled until the sugar dissolves)

2½ ounces bourbon, preferably Woodford Reserve

Crushed ice

Sprig of mint, for garnish


Gently tap the mint leaves against the palm of your hand to release their aroma. Rub the leaves along the inside of a julep cup and drop them inside. Add the demerara syrup, bourbon and some crushed ice; stir until the cup is well chilled. Top with more crushed ice--mounding it on top--and garnish with the sprig of mint.

Expert Muncher

Creamed Fresh Corn–Stuffed Red Bell Peppers, The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook by Jackie Collins

Yield: 4 servings, very good reheated

These make a terrific late-summer entrée, when peppers and corn peak in flavor.

Corn kernels are best removed with a sharp knife: Hold the cob straight up in a bowl that fits into your sink, and cut with an even, downward sawing motion. Then scrape the cob back and forth with the back of the knife to get out the pulp and milk.

If this is to be an entrée, serve it with a side of garlic bread and caprese: a row of tomato and buffalo mozzarella slices garnished with basil and drizzled with superb extra-virgin olive oil.

Prep all of the ingredients before commencing.

¼ pound slab bacon, or pancetta sliced into ¼-inch dice (frozen briefly for easier slicing)
1 medium-large yellow onion,
3 large ears of fresh corn, kernels removed
10 to 12 pimiento-stuffed green olives, thinly sliced crosswise
1 large red bell pepper, roasted or broiled, chopped, and tossed with the corn
4 meaty red bell peppers, shaped to stand comfortably
1 tablespoon Calvados
2 large egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg (about ½ teaspoon)
1½ cups grated truffled  sheep’s milk cheese, or soft goat cheese, such as chèvre


In a medium saucepan, cook the diced bacon until just crisp over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the corn bowl and pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Through peeled the large holes of a box grater, grate in most of the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring every so often, for 3 to 4 minutes. De- glaze the pan with the Calvados. Stir in the corn kernels and bacon, chopped olives, roasted bell pepper, and bacon. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. Then keep mixture just at the simmer.

Slice the tops off the raw bell peppers, scoop out the seeds, and trim off any membranes from the inner walls. Rinse and place them in an 8-inch Pyrex glass baking dish or pie plate. Seal tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fairly tender, but not mushy. (Microwave ovens vary widely in power from 750 to 1200 watts; consult the manual that accompanied your oven for timing recommendations.) Remove the plastic wrap, drain any collected fluid from inside and around the peppers, and keep them warm. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork until light yellow, then blend in the cream. Pour into the hot corn-bacon mixture, and stir over low heat for a few minutes to thicken. Stir in the nutmeg.

Fill the peppers with the hot mixture, divide the grated cheese over the top of each filled pepper, and run the peppers under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and the tops of the peppers are starting to blacken. Serve at once.

Photo Credit: Amy Beadle Roth 

Guest Muncher

Carrot Ginger Soup, Terry and Tracy Paulding, Paulding & Co

6 servings (about one cup each)


  • 1 onion
  • 1 lb. carrots
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 quart water plus 1 Tbs. light miso
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste (or white pepper)
  • Chiffonade of basil or Thai basil for garnish


Peel and coarsely dice onion. Peel and slice carrots. Peel and slice ginger (scrape skin off ginger with the dull back-side of a paring knife). Peel and chop garlic.

Warm olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Add onion, carrots and ginger. Sauté over medium heat until starting to soften. Add garlic, and continue to cook for a minute longer. Add cayenne, water and miso, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down to a simmer and cook, covered for 15 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Continue to cook another 10 minutes, until very soft. Puree in the blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings and add more water if too thick.

Garnish bowls of soup with a chiffonade of fresh basil or Thai basil, and serve.

Expert Muncher

Arugula Pesto, Prosciutto & Mushroom Open Tart, Art de Fete

Arugula Pesto, Prosciutto & Mushroom Open Tart. To save time get store-bought puff pastry and make pesto in advance. Bake the pastry to golden perfection and then just smear pesto on top. Scatter baby greens, such as arugula or kale, slices of savory prosciutto and gourmet mushrooms on top . Here she seared Alba Clamshell and Brown Clamshell varieties which have a mild seafood taste and compliment best this tart. Sprinkle it lightly with some Parmigiano and bake in the oven until cheese start to melt.

This is a great dish for entertaining a crowd.

Guest Muncher

Asparagus Soup, Rae Ann Kelly


2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped

kosher salt & ground black pepper

sour cream to top

basil leaves to garnish

an immersion blender, food processor or blender

In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter and add onion. stir constantly until softened (about 4 minutes). Add asparagus, basil and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until asparagus is tender. Remove from heat and blend soup until smooth using an immersion blender or in patches using a food process or blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and basil.


Expert Muncher

Chicken Chili Macaroni, 125 Best Chicken Recipes

1 lb lean ground chicken
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes, preferably Mexican-style
1 can (14oz) tomato sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup elbow or wagon wheel macaroni
1 cup fresh or frozen cut green beans
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese                                                             

In a large skillet, cook chicken with garlic over
medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni and green beans; bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the pasta and beans are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with cheese.
Courtesy 125 Best Chicken Recipes by Rose Murray © 2014 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission 

Mommy Muncher


You are going to THANK me...We have discovered a FANTASTIC new delivery service that your minis will be waiting for with baited breath...COOKIE DOUGH!

Yes - Chloe Doughy HAS ARRIVED IN NYC! For just $29/mo you get two ready-to-bake cookie dough projects each month, along with illustrated tutorials and tips. Its SOOO easy and SO delicious! The all-natural, premium cookie dough is prepared in small batches using the freshest ingredients and carefully packaged and delivered by hand.

We got to try the chocolate chip cookies and the February Special....Caramel Mexican Fudge - both were so delicious raw (don't tell your mom) and cooked! Perfection! You HAVE GOT to try it today! Sign up now!


Expert Muncher

Tomato-Carrot Soup,  Dog-Gone Good Cuisine by Gayle Pruitt



1 (15-ounce) can diced organic tomatoes           

3 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped    

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 4 to 5 slices

½ cup red lentils, rinsed and drained              

1 quart water or vegetable broth (no onions)

3 medium carrots cut into ¼ x 2-inch sticks

12 grape-size tomatoes, halved

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus 5 whole basil leaves, cut into chiffonade, for garnish 

Dash of Celtic sea salt

1 table extra-virgin olive oil


Add the tomatoes, carrots, potato, lentils, and water to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft.

Using a handheld immersion blender or food processor, purée the soup until silky smooth.

Blanch carrot sticks in boiling water until barely soft. Shock in ice water and reserve for garnish. Add the tomatoes, chopped basil, and salt, stir, and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in the olive oil.

Cut the whole basil leaves into a chiffonade. Stack the basil leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut across the ends of the rolled leaves to make little ribbons. Garnish the top of the soup with the blanched carrot sticks, sprinkle a few “ribbons” of basil over the carrot sticks, and serve. 

From Dog-Gone Good Cuisine by Gayle Pruitt; photographs by Joe Grisham. Copyright © 2014 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

Guest Muncher

Spinach, Chickpea and Feta Pasta, 250 Meals in a Mug by Camilla V. Saulsbury

The salty, creamy, slightly briny flavor of feta adds an assertive edge to this
Greek-inspired pasta, though milder cheeses (such as shredded Monterey Jack
or Swiss) are also fine.


16-oz mug

1 cup frozen chopped spinach

1⁄2 cup ditalini or elbow macaroni

1⁄8 tsp salt

2⁄3 cup water 

1⁄2 cup canned diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, with juice                             

1⁄3 cup rinsed drained canned chickpeas

2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

Salt and ground black pepper


In the mug, microwave spinach on High for 1 to 2 minutes or until thawed and warm. Using the tines of a fork, press down firmly on the spinach and drain off excess liquid. Transfer to a small plate or bowl.

In the mug, combine ditalini, salt and water. Place in the microwave atop a doubled paper towel. Microwave on High for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave on High for 3 minutes. If the mixture appears dry, add 1 tbsp water to the mug. Microwave for 11⁄2 to 2 minutes or until ditalini is tender.

Stir in spinach, tomatoes and chickpeas. Microwave on High for 60 to 90 seconds or until heated through. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir in feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Opt for bags, as opposed to boxes, of frozen chopped spinach, as it is easier to remove small amounts at a time.

Add 1⁄4 tsp of your favorite dried herbs or herb blend (basil, oregano, Italian seasoning) with the feta.

Freeze the remaining tomatoes and chickpeas in separate small sealable freezer bags. You can freeze the entire amount in one bag, or portion out 1⁄2 cup per bag (for the tomatoes) or 1⁄3 cup per bag (for the chickpeas) so that they are recipe-ready. Be sure to label the bags with the contents. Store for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator or microwave before using.

To make this recipe gluten-free, use quinoa macaroni in place of the ditalini and decrease the final cooking time in step 1 by 30 seconds.

Prep Ahead Option

Measure the spinach into the mug; cover and refrigerate (decrease the cooking time in step 1 to 30 seconds). Measure the ditalini and salt into a small airtight container; cover and store at room temperature. Measure the tomatoes and chickpeas into a small airtight container; cover and refrigerate. Measure the feta into a small airtight container; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Courtesy 250 Best Meals in a Mug by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2014 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.



Guest Muncher

Crazy Cups

Do you have a keurig machine?  Then you HAVE to try Crazy Cups!

We have become addicted to the unique flavours they offer - from Jamaican Me Crazy and Spiced Gingerbread to Peppermint Chocolate Mocha and Pumpkin Vanilla Creme - they are nothing short of delicous! And SO easy because they are K-cups - just perfect for a decadent mommy night alone or a family dinner.

You have GOT to try these delicious coffe flavours - you will become addicted too!

Guest Muncher

Traditional Margarita, Rosa Mexicano


1 ½ ounces 100% Agave Silver Tequila
¾ ounces orange Liquor, such as Citronge or Cointreau
¾ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
¾ - 1 ounces simple syrup* (to taste)

To make a margarita, shake all ingredients vigorously with ice. Serve up neat (no ice) or on the rocks (with ice) in a glass with an optional salted rim. To salt the rim, rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass and dip it into a plate of sea salt.

*To make simple syrup, dissolve 1 part sugar to 1 part hot water.


Guest Muncher

IPA Battered Onion Rings, Rave Review!

Serves 6

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, separated
1 cup Rave Review!™ Original Culinary Hops™
4 tbsp. butter, melted
Salt, to taste
3 large onions, sliced into rings
2 quarts oil, for frying


Sift flour into a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk egg yolks. Mix in Culinary Hops, butter and salt. Set aside 1 cup of flour for dipping the onion rings. Slowly stir the egg yolk mixture into the remaining flour and mix well. Allow the mixture to stand 30 to 60 minutes. Heat oil to 375 degrees . In a small bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Coat each onion ring with flour and dip into batter. Deep fry the battered rings, several at a time, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve. 

Expert Muncher

Gluten-Free Meat and Veggie Pizza, Cibo Verde


Gluten-free tortilla

1 oz cooked steak (diced)

1 oz yellow onions

2 oz red and green peppers (julienne cut )

2 oz pizza sauce

3 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese 


Place the gluten-free tortilla on a baking sheet/pan, add marinara making sure to spread evenly on crust, followed by cheese, onions, peppers and steak. Place baking pan with the tortilla pizza in the oven for 5 minutes just to allow the cheese to melt.  The entire process will take no more than 10 minutes and you’re ready to eat! BON APPETIT!

Expert Muncher

INTERVIEW with cofounders of In'Box: Stephanie Rubin and Ingrid Calvo

Tell us a little bit about your company:
In'Box is the new lunch box delivery service in Manhattan providing  
well balanced and tasty meals for kids in the city. Our meals are  
freshly prepared daily by our chef using only the best ingredients,  
free of conservatives.

Why did you start your company?
Preparing lunch boxes for children every day is a real challenge!  
Having done so myself for 4 years with my own children who are picky  
eaters, I know from experience that you need to be very organized: go  
food shopping in advance and have lots of good ideas for healthy well  
balanced meals that the kids will love.

What do you think is the benefit that families will get from using  
your service?
Peace of mind, With free delivery of tasty and yet healthy meals to  
your door, parents can relax knowing that their kids' meals and  
nutrition have been taken care of.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I am a French woman who has been living in New York for the last three  
years. I myself have two children, 10 and 8 years old, who are picky  
eaters and I am very interested in nutrition. Teaching our children to  
eat well and getting them into good habits is the key to healthy  
eating and living.

Why do you think NY is ready for your company?
Nutrition is of great importance in New York. When you consider that  
childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in  
adolescents in the past 30 years because of junk food, readily  
available even in school cafeterias, it is important to react. Moms  
and dads in New York are very concerned about what their children eat  
and are involved in a number of programs to promote healthy eating,  
they are aware that they need to educate their children from a young  
age about the importance of nutrition.

Why do you think every family should use your service?
Every family should try In'Box, our meals are healthy and the kids  
love them! Let us help you make your life easier!

EVERY NEW CUSTOMER gets a FREE BOX! Visit their website now to give it a whirl! 

Expert Muncher

Sweet Paul's Lemon & Feta Dip, Sweet Paul Magazine

Serves 4


8oz feta cheese

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 clove garlic

6 tablespoon olive oil plus 2TB for serving

fresh thyme 


1. Place feta, lemon zest and juice, garlic and olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with 2TB olive oil and sprinkle with fresh thyme. 
3. Serve in a bowl with a side of grilled tomatoes and grilled pita bread drizzled with olive oil, salt and thyme.

Guest Muncher

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Pudding, Vegan Desserts in Jars



2∕3 cup evaporated cane sugar, divided

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 cups non-dairy milk of choice

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups cubed cinnamon raisin bagels, in 1-inch cubes (about 5 large bagels)

Makes 6 puddings


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease six 4-ounce canning jars. Place the jars on a rimmed baking sheet.


In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Coat the inside of the jars with a thin layer of the cinnamon-sugar. Set the extra cinnamon-sugar aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1∕3 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch until any clumps are broken up. Add the milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Stir in the bagel chunks until they are well coated with the milk mixture. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Divide the bagel mixture among the prepared jars, filling them to the top. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar on top of each jar. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, until golden brown and the sides of the jars look a little bubbly.

Let cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes before serving. 

Guest Muncher

Chicken à la King with Asparagus, Livin Lean - Healthy Trader Joes Recipes

Smooth and creamy with the addition of asparagus, this childhood dish for many is remade with much lighter ingredients. Adapted from a recipe from the American Heart Association.

Serves 4


TJ’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray

1/3 teaspoon TJ’s Crushed Garlic, or 1 clove, minced

¾  package (8 ounces) frozen TJ’s Asparagus Spears, cut on the bias in bite-size pieces, or use fresh

10 ounces low-sodium chicken broth

¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 (12 ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 cups (8 ounces) TJ’s Just Chicken or 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

2 cups frozen TJ’s Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions

Salt and pepper

2 pouches frozen TJ’s Brown Rice, heated; or 4 cups cooked brown rice


1. In a large nonstick skillet, spray with olive oil spray; add garlic, asparagus, broth, and thyme and cook over high heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

2. Wisk together the flour and half of the evaporated milk in a medium bowl. Stir it into the asparagus broth. Add the remaining evaporated milk and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

3. Add sherry, chicken, bell peppers and onions and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve over brown rice.

Mommy Muncher

Inspired by Family Fun Magazine, I gave these brownie christmas tree cookies a whirl. HOW CUTE are they? 


I used:

Two boxes Betty Crocker Brownie Mix

Vanilla Frosting - dyed green with food dye

Candy Canes

Green gel frosting

White candy balls

Gold sprinkles

After cooking the brownies according to box, I waited until they were completely cool. Then put frosting over the entire pan. I then cut into triangles, make sure to clean knife so it is a clean cut each time. I then put on a platter and decorated each. The candy canes had to be broken into smaller pieces and smooshed on the bottom.


Guest Muncher


Buffalo Cauliflower
Serves four

1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Frank’s RedHot Sauce
1 c. Sriracha
2 sticks butter, cubed
1 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Cut the end off cauliflower and leave the rest whole.

3. Coat cauliflower in 2 tbsp. canola oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Place cauliflower on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until whole head is browned.

5. Remove from oven and let cool, then cut the head into small florets and set aside.

6. In a saucepan, add Frank’s RedHot Sauce and Sriracha and bring to a boil.

7. Turn heat down to a simmer, then slowly whisk in butter until everything is incorporated. Let sauce cool.

8. Heat a separate saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. canola oil, then add the cauliflower and salt and pepper to taste.

9. Saute the cauliflower until warmed through, spoon enough sauce to coat the cauliflower, and saute until hot, about 1 minute.

10. Place cauliflower on a plate. Finish with blue cheese.

Guest Muncher

I must admit, I am KNEE deep into holiday parties. Always looking for a new cocktail - this one looks like a winner - DEF not for the minis...
Santa’s Secret Cocoa, NIGHTUP

2 oz. Peppermint Schnapps

6 oz. Hot chocolate

4 oz. Tequila

Pour the peppermint schnapps and tequila into an Irish coffee cup/mug, add the hot chocolate, and stir. Top with whipped cream, garnish with some peppermint candy, and serve.


Guest Muncher

Swiss Chard Au Gratin

A PureWow Original Recipe


2 bunches Swiss chard

4 tablespoons butter

1 small sweet onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1¼ cups whole milk, at room temperature

¼ cup heavy cream, at room temperature

Kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup bread crumbs

⅓ cup grated pecorino cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a large casserole dish or six individual casserole dishes with butter.

2. Prepare the Swiss chard: Remove the base of the stems and discard. Slice the stems about ½-inch thick and roughly chop the leaves. In a large bowl, prepare an ice-water bath. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the stems until they’re nearly tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the stems to the ice water. Repeat with the leaves, cooking for just 1 minute before transferring to the ice water. Drain the Swiss chard well and set aside.

3. Make the white sauce: In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in the flour and cook until the mixture has a slightly toasty smell, 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Add the milk and cream, whisking well to ensure no lumps form. Cook until the mixture comes to a simmer; it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Add the blanched Swiss chard to the white sauce, tossing well to coat the greens evenly. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish or dishes.

6. Prepare the topping: Toss the bread crumbs with the melted butter and mix well to combine. Stir in the pecorino cheese. Top the Swiss chard mixture with the bread-crumb mixture.

7. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are toasted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Note: This dish can be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Guest Muncher


Turkey Crudite, First For Women


1 yellow squash

Curly leaf lettuce

Red and yellow endive leaves

Red, yellow, orange and/or green peppers, sliced

Seedless cucumbers, sliced

1 radish

Cream cheese

Olive slices



Slice off half a yellow squash lengthwise and place on lettuce-lined platter to create head. Place cucumbers, peppers and endive leaves around head for feathers. Using cream cheese, attach an orange-pepper piece and a radish half for beak and wattle. Add olive slices and peppercorns for eyes. Finish with red-pepper feet.


Mommy Muncher

There is a NEW Snack Bar that is coming your way - Be Real Bars. They unprocessed snack bars made with real ingredients – like gluten-free oats, almonds, cashews and quinoa. Not only that - they are Non-GMO, gluten and dairy free, lower in sugar than other leading kids’ snack bars and provide a good source of protein – a winning combination for on-the-go snacking!

I had the opportunity to try these new bars - in BOTH flavours - Chocolate Brownie and Oatmeal Raisin. They were yummy, the perfect size for an adult or kid snack. They crowd favorite in our house was DEFINATELY the Chocolate Brownie - it was such a treat and only 7 gm of fat/140 calories - WHOOHOO! NO GUILT!!!

Check out their Kickstarter for more info.

AND stay tuned to WIN FREE Be Real bars on our buddies page SOON!!!

Guest Muncher

Creamed Cauliflower Soup, The Lemonade Cookbook

Makes 8 Cups


2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), coarsely chopped, including stems
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for serving
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
11⁄2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup heavy cream 


Coat a soup pot with the oil and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, cauliflower, and bay leaves. Cook and stir until the vegetables begin to soften but do not brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour in the broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and continue to cook until fork tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in the cream, and gently simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

Working in batches, ladle the soup into a blender filling it no more than halfway. Puree for a few seconds until completely smooth; be sure to hold down the lid with a kitchen towel for safety. If you have an immersion blender, this is a great time to use it.

If desired, pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a terrine or other pot, pushing the solids with the back of a wooden spoon. Discard the vegetable pieces. Repeat with the remaining soup. Divide among soup bowls or coffee cups. Season each serving with a pinch of salt and pepper. 


Guest Muncher

Lynnae’s Hot Mama Fried Pickle

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat 8 cups of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a large pot. Drain pickles in a colander and then place into a bowl with the 2 cups of buttermilk. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Take about a handful of the pickles out of the buttermilk and dredge into the seasoned flour. Shake off excess flour, and place battered pickles into hot grease. Be careful not to place too many pickles into the hot grease or the pickles won't fry up crisp. Fry pickle slices until golden brown. Continue cooking pickles until all are done.
Serve with Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce
Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce
1 bottle ranch dressing
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder.
Mix together then chill in fridge.

Mommy Muncher


Andre Agassi changed tennis with his uique style and flair and NOW he has entered into the snack arena with the same finesse and originality!

Box Buddies is a new snack line from the tennis legend that includes granola bars, milk boxes, fruit pouches and cheese sticks. They are the perfect size for minis and 100% of the proceeds goes to children's education! SCORE!

We had the opportunity to try the  chocolate chip granola bars, the fruit pouches (dairy and gluten free) and the milk boxes. The minis (and mommy) LOVED! Yummy and nutritious! 

Box Buddies are sure to be an ACE with your family! 

Mommy Muncher

If you have Minis in school - then you will KNOW the pressure of creating fun treats for Halloween.

This is what we have been cooking up this week....
Duncan Hines Brownies with Chocolate Dipped Peeps, Gummy Worms and Spider Rings.

Ghost Bruschetta!
Toasted Italian bread with olive oil, GHOST Mozzarella and tomato pieces mouths!



Guest Muncher

Candy Corn Blondies, Safest Choice Eggs

There's nothing spooky about these baked

goods! Try this blondie recipe from Laura

of Pies and Plots.


2 sticks unsalted butter

1 c white chocolate baking chips

3/4 c granulated sugar

3/4 c packed light brown sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 Safest Choice™ pasteurized egg(s)

2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 c candy corn


Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan and line it with parchment, going up the sides of the pan. Do not butter the parchment.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and white chips in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring vigorously in between to promote melting. Be sure the mixture is fully melted, but it will separate. That is okay. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together sugars, vanilla, and eggs with a spoon or spatula. Add melted butter and white chip mixture, mixing until fully incorporated and mixture has lightened in color slightly. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined. Stir in candy corn.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 32-37 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the Blondies comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars and serving. May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in a 350° F oven for about 15 minutes.

Mommy Muncher

Anyone that knows MY family knows we LOVE a good party. And no party is complete without an outdoor fire and of course S'Mores. So when we recieved a package of VAROUS Halloween Peeps - one of my Minis FAV treats - we KNEW they would have to be integrated into our outdoor festivities.

We really didn't think S'mores could get any better - but when you nestle a slightly toasted Peeps Chocolate Diped Orange Chick (on a stick) between two squares of a chocolate bar and push them into two grahm crackers - the result is just INSANELY delicious!


Guest Muncher

Halloween cheese fingers,

what you’ll need

string cheese sticks
cream cheese
red and green bell peppers

let’s do it

cut red and green bell peppers into fingernail-shaped squares. slice each string cheese stick in half. attach bell peppers to uncut end of string cheese using a tiny dab of cream cheese as glue. use back of butter knife to add knuckle lines

Expert Muncher

Ciabatta French Toast
Postino WineCafe

3 eggs

¼ cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup 2% milk

¼ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. sea salt

Fresh ciabatta bread 

¼ cup sliced strawberries

1 oz. vanilla crème fraiche

1 tbsp. sliced, toasted almonds

sprinkle of powdered sugar

1 oz. fresh berry preserves

maple syrup


Combine eggs, sugar, heavy cream, milk, and spices to create batter.

Dip 2 slices of ciabatta bread into batter.

Place on a hot griddle and brown for 2-4 minutes on each side depending on the heat.

Place the two slices of toast stacked on top of one another and garnish with fresh strawberries and a dollop of vanilla crème fraiche. Finish with a sprinkle of toasted, slivered almonds, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Serve with fresh berry preserves and maple syrup.

This recipe was from a featured chef at the Devoured Food + Wine Classic in Phoenix, Arizona.

Mommy Muncher

Blueberry Sparkling Ice Pops, Sparkling ICE

Have you seen the Sparkling ICE drinks around? They are so yummy, ZERO calories AND contain B & D Vitamins and antioxidants! I was lucky enough to get a sample to try these YUMMY pops - my Minis LOVED them too!


Ice Cube Tray (or your favorite ice pop making molds)

Toothpicks or Popsicle sticks

I bottle Pomegranate Blueberry Sparkling ICE

1 container of fresh blueberries, chopped 


Fill your trays or molds with Sparkling ICE, topping each with a scoop of chopped blueberries.  If using ice cube trays cover tray tightly with tin foil. Poke a Popsicle stick through the foil into each cube. If using an ice pop maker place the handle sticks into the molds. Place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until frozen. Enjoy!

Guest Muncher

Minestrone Soup

Makes 8 to 12 servings (about 17 cups)


1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

4 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery heart with leaves

2 oz  savoy cabbage, finely shredded (about 2 cups)

4 oz  green beans, halved (about11⁄4 cups)

3 oz  small cauliflower florets (about 1 cup)

1⁄2 cup thinly sliced fennel

2 tsp kosher or coarse sea salt

6 cups vegetable stock

4 cups water

1 can (14 oz) diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1 can (19 oz) romano beans,  rinsed and drained

1 cup elbow pasta

1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 leaves romaine, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

Freshly grated Parmesan-style cheese, optional


1.    In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil until shimmery. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add carrots, celery, cabbage, green beans, cauliflower, fennel and salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add stock, water and tomatoes. When mixture comes to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp.

2.    Stir in beans, pasta, zucchini, parsley, oregano, basil and pepper. Increase heat to medium and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir in romaine. Season with salt to taste. Ladle into serving bowls. Sprinkle cheese overtop, to taste, if using. Serve hot.

Credit to accompany below recipe/image:

Excerpted from The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook by Susan Sampson © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

Guest Muncher

Brussels Sprout, Cauliflower and Shiitake Fusilli, De Cecco


1 pound De Cecco Whole Wheat Fusilli or Spinach Fusilli
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed
12 ounces cauliflower florets (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup De Cecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil 100% Italian Olives, divided
4 medium shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced

7 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Cook pasta and Brussels sprouts according to pasta package direction, adding cauliflower during last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 15 to 30 seconds, stirring constantly, or until fragrant. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned. Remove from the heat.

3. Return hot cooked pasta, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower to pot; add reserved pasta water and mushroom mixture. Set aside 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and reserved parsley.

Mommy Muncher


2 oz. Sobieski Espresso Vodka
2 scoops chocolate ice cream
2 oz. Irish cream or milk
chocolate syrup (optional)
Blend until smooth. Top with whipped cream.

Mommy Muncher

Peanut Butter Berry-Wich

2 slices whole-wheat bread or Banana Bread
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon softened Neufchâtel (reduced-fat) cream cheese
2 medium strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 teaspoon honey


Lay the bread slices on a work surface. Spread the peanut butter on one slice and the cream cheese on the other.

Arrange strawberry slices in an even single layer on top of the peanut butter. Drizzle the honey on the berries and then place the other slice of bread with the cream cheese on top. Cut into halves or quarters.

Guest Muncher

Cheezy Vegan Raw Kale Chips, The Complete Idiots Guide - Greens Cookbook

You’ll need a dehydrator to make this raw, vegan answer to nacho cheese chips. These spicy, cheesy-tasting chips are so savory and delicious, you’ll have a hard time believing that they’re actually good for you! Curly kale is the best choice for these chips, as you’ll want to capture as much flavorful topping as possible.


6 cups curly kale, tough stems removed, torn into large pieces

12 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, liquid discarded

14 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked for 2–4 hours, liquid discarded

14 cup raw sesame seeds, soaked for 2–4 hours, liquid discarded

14 cup nutritional yeast

2 TB. lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

2 TB. Bragg Liquid Aminos

2 TB. filtered water

1 tsp. Anaheim chile powder

1 tsp. smoked paprika

12 tsp. kosher salt

12 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Wash kale, and spin in salad spinner until completely dry. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.

2. In the large bowl of a food processor, combine cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, liquid aminos, water, Anaheim chile powder, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and black pepper. Run processor until mixture is smooth and well combined.

3. Pour cashew mixture over kale, and mix well with your hands, rubbing the topping in to coat evenly. 

4. Set dehydrator to approximately 100°F. Spread kale evenly on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate for 8 to 10 hours, until crisp and dry, but still somewhat pliable.

5. Serve immediately, or store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Mommy Muncher


Every once in a while I am sent something that is great for both my MINIS & Me - and Zego is that. 

What is a ZEGO? They are these fabulous allergy-friendly, healthy energy bars that actually TASTE YUMMY! I love them my kids love them (especially the sunflower) and I feel really good about giving my kids them knowing they are high in protein and LOW in sugar. What REALLY makes me feel good is 20% of their profits go to charities dedicated to improving children's nutrition.

What more could you ask for? Hmm - check out our Goodie Bag for MORE for your $$! WHOOHOO!

Thanks Zego for introducing me to a great snack for moms on the go (like me) and my Minis who are ALWAYS going...


Guest Muncher

Chocolate Caramel

Yields: 6 servings


6 graham crackers

18 Rolo candies

24 mini marshmallows

The perfect size for snacking! Mini marshmallows, Rolo candies, and a single graham cracker combine to make bite-sized deliciousness! 

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F. Organize ingredients by type: Place the graham crackers on a platter and the Rolo candies and marshmallows in bowls for ease in assembly.

2 Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the graham crackers onto the parchment. Top the crackers with 3 Rolo candies each, then 4 mini marshmallows. 

3 Bake until the marshmallows begin to brown and the candies soften, about 45 seconds to 2 minutes. Remove and serve.


Have a few brownies? You’re in luck! Instead of starting your s’more with the graham cracker, begin by placing your brownies onto the parchment paper. Add a heaping spoonful of Marshmallow Fluff, a graham cracker, then the Rolos. Bake at 400°F until the fluff begins to brown. Yum!

Excerpted from The S’mores Cookbook by Suzan Whetzel,Copyright © 2013 by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Guest Muncher

Avocado, Beet & Olive Oil Salsa

Serves 4


¼ cup Carapelli Premium 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for coating

1 avocado

½ lime zest and juice

½ cup roasted red beets, peeled and juice reserved

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced

¼ cup charred green chilies (like hatch, pablano or jalepeno)

Salt and pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, beet juice, and Carapelli Premium 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Toss the avocado with lime zest and juice, and a gratuitous sprinkling of salt. Be as generous as you’d like – there’s always room for more zest at a party. Combine all the ingredients, and toss and taste for seasoning. Enjoy this salsa with tacos, crispy nachos, or simply add some lettuce for a tasty salad.

Guest Muncher

Creamless Corn with Cilantro and Lime 

By Michael Symon


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, minced (1 cup)

1 large clove garlic, minced (½ teaspoon)

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (1 ½ tablespoon)

3 cups fresh sweet corn cut off the cob (about 4 ears)

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Zest of ½ lime

3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro

½ cup whole milk

½ cup Dannon Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt (or nonfat Plain) 


  1. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the butter along with the onion, garlic and jalapeno and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften and you start to smell the garlic.
  3. Add the corn and continue cooking for 10 minutes, adding more salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Stir in the cayenne then lower the heat to medium low.
  5. Stir in the milk and the Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt and mix to combine.
  6. Add the lime zest and cilantro and serve!                                
Guest Muncher


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • red bell peppers (12 oz. total), rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves 
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Holding each ear of corn upright in a deep bowl, cut kernels from cobs. Rinse scallops and pat dry; sprinkle lightly all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in each of two 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pans over high heat. Add corn, bell peppers, garlic, and cumin to one pan; add scallops to the other. Cook, stirring both pans often, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, and scallops are browned on the outside and barely opaque in the center (cut to test), about 5 minutes.
  3. Just before serving, stir basil into the vegetable mixture and cilantro into the scallops. Add salt and pepper to taste to both. Mound vegetables in a wide, shallow bowl; top with scallops (and any pan juices).


Expert Muncher

An App that teaches SAFETY for OUTDOOR eating!

The Perfect Picnic app for iPhone and iPad is a new game that allows kids to be the master of their own park! Players build a picnic park with grilling stations, picnic tables, trees, flowers, fountains and more. The game teaches valuable food safety lessons by awarding and taking away points based on how well players practice and help others follow proper food safety rules.

 The app is available to download for free from the iTunes store.

Guest Muncher

Crab Cake with Corn Salsa

• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 2 shallots, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon SAAS hot sauce
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice plus wedges for garnish
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
• 1/2 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
• 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
• 1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) save some a side to coat the top when cooking
• 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 head Bibb lettuce
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preparation for the crab cake:
• Whisk first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add crab; fold to blend. Stir in 3/4 cup panko, chives, salt, and pepper. Divide into 6 equal portions. Form each into 1″-thick patties. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Line a platter with lettuce leaves.
• Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place remaining 1/2 cup panko on a plate. Coat cakes with panko. Fry until golden brown and crisp, 3-4 minutes per side. Arrange atop lettuce serve with lemon wedges and corn salsa a top

Roasted Corn Salsa
• 5 ears of Corn Shucked
• 1 red Peppers chopped
• 1 green pepper
• 1 red onion chopped
• 1 green Peppers chopped
• ¼ Cup Lemon Juice
• 1 tablespoon SAAS onion and garlic hot sauce
• 1 cup rice wine vinegar
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Husk the corn. Brush the corn lightly with melted butter or olive oil. Grill the corn uncovered on medium heat for 20 minutes turning on all sides to cook evenly. Remove the kernels from the corn. Add peppers and onions. Combine lemon juice and rice wine vinegar and add the level of liquid to salsa for your preference. Cover and refrigerate. This makes a great side to meat, fish, chicken or vegetables.

Guest Muncher

Balsamic Lamb Kabobs


Servings: 8 servings
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Marinate time: 6 to 8 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes


3 to 4 pounds boneless Cedar Springs Lamb leg, butterflied, cut into 1-1/4- inch cubes

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 firm cantaloupe or pineapple, peeled and cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces

16 green onions, cut in 2-inch pieces

16 twelve-inch bamboo skewers soaked in water


1. In bowl, combine vinegar, oil, water, rosemary, garlic, cumin, salt, peppers and coriander. Reserve 1/2 cup for basting. Add lamb cubes; toss to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 6 to 8 hours.

2. Drain meat cubes; discard marinade. Thread lamb, cantaloupe or pineapple and green onion onto skewers. Brush with reserved marinade.

3. Grill lamb kabobs over medium coals or medium heat gas grill grate; turning frequently 8 to 12 minutes until desired doneness. Medium rare cook to 145F, medium cook to 160F, for well-done cook to 170F.

Recipe and image provided by the American Lamb Board

Cedar Springs American Lamb is offering MiniMunchers readers the chance to "Test Drive a LAMBorghini." Click to enter .


Guest Muncher


Small watermelon, preferably seedless (1 whole)

Basil leaves, chopped (3 leaves)

Feta or goat cheese, crumbled (1 C.)

White balsamic vinegar (3 tbl.)

Champagne vinegar (3 tbl.)

Extra virgin olive oil (¼ C.)

Salt (½ tsp.)

Freshly ground pepper (½ tsp.)


Step 1: Slice the watermelon into half-inch wedges

Step 2: Fan the wedges out on a tray in rows with the watermelon “flesh” exposed

Step 3: Sprinkle the vinegars and oil onto the watermelon, one at a time

Step 4: Crumble the cheese and sprinkle onto the watermelon

Step 5: Sprinkle salt and pepper

Step 6: Stack the basil leaves, roll tightly and slice thinly

Step 7: Garnish with basil leaves 

For additional tips…read more

Expert Muncher

Lobster Grilled Cheese courtesy of Marc Forgione and T-fal

Makes 4 whole sandwiches


For the Chili Lobster:

·         2 cups Lobster Stock (If you can’t find Lobster Stock, get seafood stock, which should be available at Whole Foods or Fox & Obels)

·         4 (1 ½ pound) lobsters, claws removed

·         ¼ cup Sriracha

·         2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

·         Juice of 2 limes

·         6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided

·         4 tablespoons canola oil

·         Kosher salt

·         Freshly ground black pepper

·         2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

·         8 slices of fontina cheese

·         4 slices Pullman Loaf or other high-quality thick sliced white bread (1” thick)


1.       Cut the tails off the lobster bodies, and into 1-inch pieces while the tails are still in their shells

2.       Bring the Lobster Stock to a simmer and add the Sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice. Piece by piece, whisk in 6 tablespoons of butter until emulsified. Reduce the remaining sauce until it slightly thickens, about 2 minutes.

3.       Toss the lobster tail pieces in oil with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Place the lobster pieces in a bowl and transfer to the fridge until cooled. When the lobster pieces have cooled, pop the meat out of the tails and set aside.

4.       For each sandwich take two slices of bread. Place one slice of fontina cheese on top of the first slice, cover the cheese with some lobster meat, sprinkle ½ tablespoon of tarragon, cover with a second slice of fontina cheese, and then top with the second piece of bread. Brush the outer sides of each slice of bread with melted butter and season with salt. Grill the sandwich on the T-fal Mini Grilled Cheese Griddle and serve with a small bowl of the chili sauce on the side.

Guest Muncher


Pica Flor

  • 2 oz. Maestro Dobel tequila
  • 2 Strawberries
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 ½ oz. club soda
  • Salt for rim (optional)
  • Ice cubes
  • Muddle strawberries and the juice of ½ a lime with some fresh cilantro
  • Add tequila, ice, and top with club soda
Guest Muncher

sticky chicken drumettes

¾ cup tomato sauce

¹⁄³ cup plum sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

16 chicken drumettes (2 pounds)

prep + cook time 35 minutes


nutritional count per serving 12.4g total fat (3.7g saturated fat); 329 cal; 28.1g carbohydrate; 25.4g protein; 1.1g fiber

1 Preheat oven to 400°F/375°F convection.

2 Combine sauces in large bowl; add chicken, toss to combine.

3 Place chicken on oiled wire rack over large baking dish. Roast chicken about 30 minutes or until cooked through, brushing with marinade every 10 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from Delish Just Four Ingredients Fast! © 2013 by Hearst Communications, Inc.

Guest Muncher

Macaroni Kid Lower Manhattan's Hidden Gems the neighborhood
(Battery Park City) -Teardrop Park- tucked away in a hidden oasis in Battery Park City, Teardrop park has some great water features to keep the kiddies cool this summer, a huge sandbox, and extra long slide. (Warren & Murray Street)
(Battery Park) -Robert Wagner Park- this enormous lawn provides families with plenty of space to set up a weekend picnic in the summer and boasts an ice skating rink and hot coco station in the winter. During the week (Monday-Wed) the Battery Park Conservancy hosts PreSchool Play with free storytime, lawn games and toys. (Battery Place) 
(Tribeca)-Pier 25 reopens with a brand new playground after suffering major damage from Hurricane Sandy. With great swings, water activities/sprinklers, a mini golf course and beach volleyball there's something to entertain kids of all ages! (North Moore & West Street) 
(Financial District/South Street Seaport) - Imagination Playground- this incredible playground designed by famous architect David Rockwell, is an interactive playground that offers more then just monkey bars and swings! With plenty of loose "parts" -large foam blocks, wagons and crates, this playground was built to encourage unstructed free play.(Front Street & John St.) 

Macaroni Kid-Lower Manhattan  is a website and weekly e-newsletter that gives the scoop on the best events for kids and families in our community. From outdoor music festivals to arts n' craft classes, Macaroni Kid focuses on all of the great things that Lower Manhattan has to offer. Subscribe now, to get our weekly newsletter and never miss an event again!


Guest Muncher

Carrot Salad with Goat Cheese, Super Sprowtz


3 medium-sized carrots, thinly grated

2 medium-sized beets, thinly grated

Orange zest

1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

Juice of one orange

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup sliced almonds

4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled



In a food processor or with a box grater, grate the beets and carrots. Save the juice that comes out since it is yummy and good for you. Mix the grated vegetables and their juices with the orange zest and parsley in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice and honey until combined, then whisk in the olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing into the bowl with the vegetables and mix to coat. Add your nuts and cheese, top with additional parsley and serve!

You can prepare this salad a little bit ahead of time if you’d like the flavors to get to know one another; doing this will also give the carrots and beets a bit of time to soften, if that’s something you’re looking for.

TIP: Toasting nuts brings out their flavor by releasing the oils and gives them more crunch – and we all know that crunch is a great addition to any salad!

To toast nuts, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake in a 350 oven for about 7-10 minutes, stirring as necessary to ensure even cooking and checking early and often to make sure they don’t burn. This can also be done in a dry skillet over medium heat until nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted. Allow the nuts to cool before using in a recipe. 

Guest Muncher

Horseradish Turkey Burgers with Pickled Onions and Jalapeño MayoRECIPE REHAB: 80 Delicious Recipes That Slash the Fat, Not the Flavor

Recipe by Chef Scott Leibfried

Serves 4

Pickled Onions:

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 bay leaf

1 fresh thyme sprig

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

Jalapeño Mayo:

Nonstick cooking spray

2 jalapenos, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded

2 tablespoons fat-free vegetarian mayonnaise, such as Nayonaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 


½ cup whole wheat panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

½ cup skim milk

1 pound lean ground turkey, such as Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey

2 (2-ounce) links sweet Italian turkey sausage, such as Jennie-O Lean Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed

2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

2 tablespoons jarred grated horseradish, drained

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Nonstick cooking spray

4 whole grain hamburger buns, halved and toasted

¼ cup crumbled light blue cheese

4 pieces iceberg lettuce

To make the pickled onions, combine the vinegar, agave nectar, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns in a medium pot. Slowly bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the agave. Put the onions in a heatproof container; pour the hot vinegar over the top. The onions should be completely submerged in the liquid; put a small plate on top to weigh them down if necessary. Cover and cool to room temperature. Allow the onions to pickle for at least 15 minutes, or up to overnight (the longer, the better).

To make the jalapeno mayo, coat a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill and get it very hot. Put the jalapenos, cut side down, on the hot grill and cook until the chiles are charred on all sides, turning with tongs, about 5 minutes total. Remove the jalapenos from the grill (keeping it hot for the burgers); coarsely chop and put into a blender or food processor. Add the mayonnaise substitute and mustard. Blend until smooth. Set aside. 

To make the burgers, in a small bowl soak the bread crumbs in the milk and set aside for

5 minutes to allow them to absorb the liquid.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey and turkey sausage. Add the wet bread crumbs, scallions, horseradish, and mustard. Mix gently by hand to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Gently hand-form the meat mixture into four burgers.

Spray the grill pan or grill with another coating of nonstick spray and make sure it is still hot. Grill the burgers for 5 minutes per side, or until no longer pink in the middle and juices run clear. The burgers should turn easily without sticking. Remove them to a clean side plate so you have enough room to toast the buns. Toast the hamburger buns, cut side down, for 1 minute.

To assemble, smear 1 tablespoon of the jalapeno mayo on the bottom half of each bun. Set the burger on top, followed by the cheese and the pickled onions. Lay a lettuce leaf on top and enclose with the other half of the bun.

Mommy Muncher

Simple, Perfect Peas with Butter and Salt, 101 Cookbooks

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. While the water is heating, remove the peas from their pods and place in a bowl. When the water reaches a boil, add some salt and the peas. You are just going to cook them for a very short time. Don't leave the stove. Somewhere between ten and thirty seconds. You want them just barely tender, so they still pop in your - mouth, no mushy overcooked peas please. Quickly drain. Return the peas to a bowl with a dollop of butter and a sprinkling of salt.


Guest Muncher

Juicy Pesto Fish Fillets, Fresh from the Farm 365


  • 4 fish filets or fish steaks

  • Juice and grated peel of one lemon

  • ¼ cup mayo

  • ¼ cup pesto

  • Salt and pepper

  • Herbs of choice (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with vegetable spray. 
3. Salt and pepper the fish. 
4. Mix together the mayo, pesto, lemon juice and rind, and herbs. Spread mixture on both sides of fish fillet.

5. Bake until fish flakes and topping is bubbly.

Guest Muncher


Serves 4

Carrots make wonderful raw noodles that are sweet and delicate. I have paired them with a carrot walnut cream sauce that adds enzyme-rich carrot juice and healthy fat from walnut butter. Enjoy this raw vegan entree with a wonderful soup and salad for a filling, energy-filled vegan meal.

5–6 large organic carrots—washed and peeled

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt


½ cup fresh organic carrot juice

½ cup sprouted or raw walnut butter

1 medium orange—peeled and white pith removed

1 pinch fresh nutmeg

½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley


Slice carrots into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler and stop before you reach the core. Save cores for stock or smoothies. Mix together orange juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Place carrot ribbons in a bowl and toss with this mixture. Cover and set aside to soften for at least 1 hour. Make the carrot walnut sauce after the carrot ribbons have had a chance to soften. Place all the sauce ingredients in a blender with the exception of the parsley leaves and puree until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drain liquid off the carrot noodles and toss with enough carrot walnut cream sauce to coast noodles. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately. 

These recipes were pulled from Deliciously Holistic: Healing Foods Recipes and Lifestyle Tips to Help Increase Your Energy and Immunity! by Shelley Alexander, CHFS.

Guest Muncher

Crispy (Addictive) Kale Chips, Gardening for Geeks

Serves 4, or 1 addict

“What are kale chips?” That’s the question that is usually asked when a bowl of oven-crisped kale is put down in front of newbies. They eat one out of curiosity and are surprised to find kale can taste so good. That’s all it takes to get hooked.


12 ounces kale, stems removed (curly kale works best, but you can use several varieties for diversity)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup nutritional yeast (or more to taste)

Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Tear kale into 3" pieces (they shrink). In a large bowl, combine kale, olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Use your hands to massage the leaves until coated evenly. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and salt and toss to combine.

Place leaves in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake in batches for 15–17 minutes until crisp, rotating trays halfway through. Curly kale takes longer than Dinosaur/Lacinato kale. Try not to eat them all at one sitting, or at least share with friends. 

Mommy Muncher

One of the cool things about a group trip is meeting some cool peeps. I am always inspired by moms that do it all...are beautiful, have healthy and happy kids and actually do something else :)

I met a great girl like this on my recent Kentucky Derby trip - Rachel Kelley. Yes - she is cool - and she has a LOT to say - check out her thoughts on her cool blog...Stanton Undefined!

Mommy Muncher

Grey Goose® Oaks Lily®

1 oz. GREY GOOSE® Vodka 
1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
3 oz. Cranberry Juice
Splash of Triple Sec 

The Offical Drink of the Kentucky Oaks

Once the ingredients are mixed, place the Grey Goose® Oaks Lily® in a tall glass with crushed ice, add a straw and garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.

Mommy Muncher

Derby Cheddar Pecan Torte, Cheddar Box Gourmet Restaurant

1 12 oz package grated sharp cheddar cheese at room temp
1 c pecans chopped
1 med onion
2 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 mango chutney (or any jam like mango spread)
1/2 c frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t oregano
1 T beef granules
1/2 t basil
dash pepper, celery seed, cumin and nutmeg

combine cheddar cheese with pecans and onion. place half of the mixture in an 8″ round souffle dish.

combine 8oz cream cheese with the chutney blend thoroughly. spread over cheddar cheese mixture.

drain spinach completely, squeeze (really squeeze) out all excess moisture. add seasonings and remaining 8oz of cream cheese. blend thoroughly.

Top with remaining cheddar cheese mixture. refrigerate until serving time.

To serve invert on a plate and serve with crackers.


Guest Muncher

Morning Time Breakfast Granola Cups, Mommie Cooks!


4 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Molasses
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats (Not Quick Cook)
1/2 Cup Wheat Germ
1/4 Cup Flax Seed
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries


To a small sauce pan, add the butter, honey, molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.

Heat until butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together the oats, wheat germ, flax seed, almonds and cranberries.

Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir until completely coated.

Place the mixture into the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool.

When ready to bake, grease up a muffin tin and fill each opening about 2/3 full.

Using your fingers press into the center of the hole and then work your way around the edges to form a bowl. If the dough is sticky, wet your fingers with cold water, shake them out, and proceed. Repeat as necessary.

Place the bowls into an oven preheated to 325 degrees. For regular sized muffin cups, cook about 15-17 minutes. For mini muffin cups, cook about 10-12 minutes.

Let cool completely before removing from the tin.

Store in an air tight container. When ready to eat, pull one out and fill with the yogurt of your choice. Top with fresh berries.

Guest Muncher


3 tablespoons oil, olive, extra virgin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons oregano, fresh - chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
pepper, black ground - to taste
4 cups cucumber(s) - peeled and diced
14 ounces peas, black-eyed, canned - rinsed
2/3 cup pepper(s), red, bell - diced
1/2 cup cheese, feta, crumbled
1/4 cup onion(s), red - slivered
2 tablespoons olives, black - chopped 


Whisk oil, lemon juice, oregano and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add cucumber, black-eyed peas, bell pepper, feta, onion and olives; toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Guest Muncher

Pesto Pasta Salad, The Pioneer Woman


8 ounces, weight Short Fusilli Or Rotini (corkscrew) Pasta
1/3 cup Prepared Pesto
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Milk, More For Thinning
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 head (large) Romaine Lettuce, Sliced Into 1-inch Pieces
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, Halved
1/2 cup Black Or Kalamata Olives, Halved
4 ounces, weight Mozzarella Cheese, Cut Into Cubes
4 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (optional)
8 Extra Parmesan, For Sprinkling


Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Then drain it and rinse in cold water. Allow pasta to dry slightly, then toss in a bowl with 4 tablespoons pesto. (Add more if you want the pasta to be more coated.) Add Parmesan and toss. Cover and refrigerate pasta until cold.

Make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and milk with the rest of the pesto. Add salt and pepper, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed. The dressing needs to be somewhat thin and pourable in order to coat the lettuce and pasta later. Set the dressing aside.

If you're using pine nuts, toast them over medium-low heat in a small skillet until they brown slightly. Set them aside.

To assemble the salads, make a bed of lettuce in a large bowl, then add a generous layer of pesto-coated pasta. Add tomatoes, olives, and chunks of cheese. Spoon a good amount of dressing all over the top; it should be thin enough to seep down into the salad, not so thick it will stay on top of everything.

Sprinkle salads with pine nuts and a little extra Parmesan and serve!

Guest Muncher

Avocado Ice Pops


1 cup chopped ripe avocado
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsps freshly squeezed lime juice
pinch salt
2/3 cup water
3 tbsp extra-rine sugar or granulated sugar


Place avocado, condensed milk, lime juice and a scnat pinch of salt in blender. Sitr together water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add to belnder. Puree at medium high speed.

Pour into molds, tapping them on work surface to remove any air pockets. Insert sticks and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. If you are using an ice pop kit, follow the manufacturers instructions.

Excerpted from 200 Best Ice Pop Recipes by Andrew Chase © May not be reprinted without publisher permission

Guest Muncher

Plank-Grilled Sweet Soy Salmon,


1/4 cup soy sauce, less sodium

1/4 cup wine, rice, sake - or dry white wine

1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons scallion(s) (green onions) - coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons ginger, fresh - coarsely chopped

4 fish, salmon steaks, wild - or fillets, 5-ounce, 3/4-1 inch thick, skin on

1 small lemon - thinly sliced



1.       Soak a grilling plank in water for 2 to 4 hours.

2.       Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, sake (or white wine), mirin, sugar, scallions and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

3.       Place salmon in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Place lemon slices on top. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours, turning the fish once or twice.

4.       Preheat grill to medium-high.

5.       Place the soaked plank over direct heat on the grill and heat for 2 minutes. Move the plank so it’s over indirect heat (see Kitchen Tip, above). Remove the salmon from the marinade, place it skin-side down (if using fillets) on the hot plank and replace the lemon slices on top.

6.       Close the lid and cook until the fish is just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Use the plank as the serving platter, if desired.

Mommy Muncher

Oscar de la Renta children's wear

Linen blazer & searsucker tie - Oscar de la Renta

The folks that work with Oscar were generous enough to lend us some FABULOUS clothing to try on for the holidays. OH MY - are my kids spoiled! How beautiful are these threads!

Pink dress, white linen dress with blue flowers & pink coat - Oscar de la Renta

It is Oscar at his best.

Pink dress, pink searsucker tie, blue blazer, White linen dress & pink coat - Oscar de la Renta

Children's wear will NEVER be the same (nor will my kids after putting on such beautiful outfits!)

Linen blazer, searsucker tie, pink dress - Oscar de la renta 

Expert Muncher

Cherry Berry Smoothie, 150 Best Desserts in a Jar


Credit for photos: Philip Jourdan

This has to be the best creamy cherry dessert you’ll ever enjoy. Be aware, the yield will vary depending on the berries used. You may get three very generous servings or four that don’t quite reach the tops of the jars.  


Substitute an equal quantity of low-fat milk for the almond milk.

Ground almonds are often called “almond flour.” They are available in well-stocked supermarkets or natural foods stores.


Four 12-ounce (375 mL) tall jars


1 cup  frozen mixed berries

1 cup  frozen pitted cherries

1 ripe banana, peeled

1 cup  cherry-flavored yogurt

1⁄2 cup almond milk (see Tips)

2 tbsp liquid honey

2 tbsp plain yogurt

2 tbsp ground almonds (see Tips)


1. In blender, purée berries, cherries, banana, cherry yogurt, almond milk and honey. Blend at high speed for 2 minutes. Pour into jars, dividing equally.

2. In a bowl, mix plain yogurt and almonds. Top each jar with a dollop of the mixture and serve immediately.

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Excerpted from 150 Best Desserts in a Jar by Andrea Jourdan © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Mommy Muncher

We have discovered one of the coolest websites/iPhone apps out there -!

It is ONE stop shopping for recipes and their nutritional information! The best part of it is - you can access the best 4-5 recipes from the ENTIRE internet in ONE place!

We love it because you can search for recipes using all sorts of We love it because you can look for recipes YOU want using all sorts of search characteristics, from gluten-free and low sugar to # of calories and also LOW CARB (we are still on that kick!)

They have done all the work - and all you need to do is get on the site and choose what you want to make for dinner (no they aren't cooking it too!).

Guest Muncher

Roasted Savoy Cabbage with Black Bean-Garlic Sauce,


 head(s) cabbage, savoy - cored and cut into 1-inch squares

4 teaspoons oil, canola

2 tablespoons wine, rice - Shao Hsing, or dry sherry

4 teaspoons black bean garlic sauce

1 bunch(es) scallion(s) (green onions) - minced

2 teaspoons vinegar, white - distilled

2 teaspoons oil, toasted sesame

5 dashes hot sauce - or to taste 


Preheat oven to 500°F. Toss cabbage and canola oil in a large roasting pan and spread out in an even layer. Roast until beginning to wilt and brown, about 15 minutes.

Combine rice wine (or sherry) and black bean sauce in a small bowl; drizzle over the cabbage and toss. Continue roasting until tender, about 5 minutes more.

Toss with scallions, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce until combined.

Guest Muncher

Green Apple Guinness Melt, US APPLE ASSOCIATION

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 baguette, cut into thirds, then each piece cut lengthwise in half (6 pieces total)
2 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces dry stout, such as Guinness
14 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices

Turn broiler to high and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Arrange the baguette pieces, cut side down, on the sheet and broil until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the pieces over, and use your fingers to scoop out enough bread to make a channel in the center of each piece. Set baguette pieces aside, still on the tray.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until bubbling and golden brown. Add flour and whisk it in until the mixture is smooth and chestnut brown. Add the beer and whisk until smooth, then reduce heat to medium and continue stirring until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to low and add cheese, mustard and Worcestershire, stirring continuously until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon a generous amount of cheese sauce into each baguette piece. Lay a few overlapping apple slices over the cheese, then transfer to the oven and broil until browned and bubbling, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

Guest Muncher

It pays to have FABULOUS friends that live all over the City! 

BFF Mara B in TriBeCa brought her daughter and friend to Cricketeers Arms this past week and LOVED it!

(sorry you have to turn sideways to see how CUTE THEY ARE!)

They said "Fun spot for kids, cool booths, good music"...AND since it is a bar, Mom and Dad can enjoy a well deserved beer or glass of wine while kids dine on the delicious food!

Thanks for being there girlfriend!


Guest Muncher

Tomato-Meatball Soup with Grilled Cheese

For soup:  

  • 1 (28oz) can Dei Fratelli Crushed Tomatoes
  • 28oz  Chicken broth
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper 

For meatballs:      

  • 1.5 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Salt, grated
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Panko breadcrumbs 


 1. For the soup: Saute the onion and garlic in some olive oil. Add the tomatoes, broth, lemon, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Let this simmer for 20 minutes. 

2. Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender and mix until smooth.

3. For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until just combined. 3. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with non-stick spray. These meatballs are pretty sticky, but that's OK because they're turkey and you need the extra moisture to ensure they don't dry out. 

4. For the grilled cheese:The more cheese, the better. White cheddar, fontina, or mozzarella work well here.

Pan: Frying pan and 14x14 baking sheet

Servings: 6 

Guest Muncher

Single Serve Microwave Rice Krispy Treat Recipe, Prudent Baby


4 large marshmallows
About a tablespoon or two of butter
About a cup of crispy rice cereal
A bowl of ice

How to Make A Microwave Rice Krispy Treat
1. Put the butter and marshmallows in a cup, jar, mug, or bowl.
2. Microwave for about 30 seconds, check if the butter is melted and the marshmallows have puffed up and sunk. If you need to, blast it in the microwave a few seconds at a time until done. Stir.
3. Add crispy rice cereal. Stir to coat.
4. Eat hot, or stick in a bowl of ice to cool quickly. You can also trade out your cup/jar for a cold one to make it cool quicker.

Guest Muncher

What’s the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? By cooking together!
Here is a sneak peak of a NEW cookbook coming out in March by Robin Miller, host of The Food Network's Quick Fix Meals....

Walnut-Fudge Torte – From The Newlywed Cookbook by Robin Miller

For the torte:

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, separated

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

For the filling:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

1 cup heavy cream, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

To make the torte:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place walnuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until finely crushed. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and process until blended. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and beat until stuff, shiny peaks form.

4. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale. Beat in melted butter and vanilla extract. Fold one spoonful of egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Fold in flour mixture.

5. Pour batter into two 9-inch round cake pans that have been coated with non-stick spray.

6. Bake 25 minutes, or until top is golden and cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Invert and cool completely.

To make the filling:

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or medium bowl over simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Scald 1/2 cup of the heavy cream (keeping the remaining 1/2 cup chillded) by heating in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edges. Stir scalded cream into chocolate and whisk until blended. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Transfer mixture to a medium mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds (although the ganache is firm, it still beats up light and fluffy).

4. In a small mixing bowl, beat remaining 1/2 cup of chilled heavy cream until stuff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture with vanilla.


To assemble the torte:

Spread chocolate filling on one cake layer. Place second cake layer on top and press down slightly. In a small bowl, combine confections’ sugar and cocoa. Transfer mixture to a fine sieve and sift over top of torte (for a pretty presentation, sift a little confectioners’ sugar-cocoa mixture around the edges of the plate, too).

Mommy Muncher

Valentines Day Cupcakes,


1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
8 drops red food coloring
2 drops raspberry candy oil


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Beat the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and egg whites together on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium for 2 minutes, until smooth. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with white batter; set aside.

Stir 4 drops of red food coloring into the remaining bowl of batter to make the batter pink, stir in the raspberry oil. Pour 1/3 of pink batter into a resealable plastic bag and set aside. Mix more food coloring into the remaining bowl of pink batter until it is an orange/red color and pour the batter into a resealable plastic bag. Cut a corner off the bag, stick the open tip into the center of each cup of white batter and squeeze in about two tablespoons of red batter. Cut the corner off the bag with the pink batter, stick the open tip into the center of the red batter and squeeze about 1 tablespoon pink batter into each cup.

Bake the layered cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.



Mommy Muncher

Sweet Andy's Cookies

First of all, I have to tell you I am NOT a sweets person. Give me a good chip and I will pass on a cookie ANY day. But given the Sweet Andy's Cookies people sent me a HUGE box of their cookies, I HAD to give them a try...I AM SO PISSED as I AM NOW AN ADDICT! Seriously, these cookies must have something in them - they are nothing less then amazing!

My kids, my husband, my best friend - we all are now clamouring for these cookies. Sweet Andy's has EVERY flavour you would want: Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Sugar Cookies, Mint Chocolate Chip and MY personal favorite TRIPLE Chocolate Chp (with peanut butter, white chocolate and milk chocolate chips).

Honestly I WANT you ALL to try them not only because they are the most FABULOUS MOIST and TASTY cookies you will EVER have but also because of the story behind the cookie.

Andy, was in the financial world and after leaving it to pursue work with his chuch he couldnt make ends meet. After so many of his friends helped his family (5 kids) in their struggle to survive, Andy baked them cookies as a "Thank You". These cookies were so good - that people suggested he do it for a living...and to make a long story short... Andy has opened a small bakery in Westhampton Beach, NY.

If you can't make it there - you can buy them HERE! I AM SO GOING TO!!!!


Expert Muncher

Karen Hatfield's Brown Butter Roasted Pecans
Makes six to eight small portions

2 oz. butter
2 c. pecans
1/8 c. honey
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground sumac or paprika (optional)
1 lg. sprig rosemary, destemmed

Get It Done

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. In a large saute pan over moderate heat, melt butter and begin to brown.

3. Once the butter is browned and smells strong and nutty, add the rest of the ingredients; stir to coat everything evenly.

4. Transfer mixture to oven-proof pan; bake for about 10 minutes or until completely toasted.

5. Drain onto a paper towel and serve once cool.

The Sycamore Kitchen, 143 South La Brea Avenue, between West First and West Second Streets, Mid-City (323-939-0151 or

Expert Muncher

Celebrity Chef George Duran and IMUSA’s Recipe for Crunchy Herbed Guacamole:


2 Ripened avocados, halved and pitted
3 Small red radishes, diced
¼ Cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ Cup snipped fresh chives
Kosher salt or table salt, to taste 
Juice of ½ lime
Bottled Chipotle Hot Pepper Sauce (optional)


Scoop avocado flesh (for best results, inside an IMUSA Molcajete) and add the cilantro, chopped chives, lime juice, and chipotle hot pepper sauce. Gently mash with until the desired consistency is reached. Fold in diced radishes and season with salt to taste.

Guest Muncher


1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Corn Syrup
4 Tablespoons Butter 
3 Eggs (beaten lightly)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pinch salt 
1 9-inch Wholly Wholesome Pie Shell (White, Whole Wheat, Spelt, Gluten Free) 
2 Cups broken pecans (broken into small pieces)
60 whole pecan halves for the topping 


Combine sugar and syrup in a fry pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Melt butter into mixture. Set aside to cool (if you’re in a rush, put the pan on a bed of ice in the sink). Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Fill pie shell w/broken pecans. Pour syrup mixture over pecans until it’s just below the rim. Arrange pecan halves on top starting with the largest pecans around the outside in a circle and using progressively smaller pecan halves as you circles move towards the center. Be sure to save some nice small ones for the center. Place on a piece of foil on top of a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Reduce oven to 350 deg F. and bake for 50 minutes or until pecans are nicely toasted, but not burnt.

Guest Muncher

Neighborhood Treats: Gramercy - Mama One To Three


I have a confession--I have not-so-acidentally instilled in my older daughter the joyful love for dining out that I have always had. So when she asks--every day--if we can go out to dinner, I reluctantly--but happily--often agree that we should.

Our go-to place--for coffee, lunch, dinner, waffles, and ice cream cones--is Petite Abeille on 20th Street and First Avenue (they have four locations in the city). My husband and I have tried just about everything on the Belgian menu--and we have ordered every dish, at one time or another, off of the children's menu. My three kids quickly grab the crayons and paper are brought the table as we are seated. We appreciate that we can have a beer or glass of wine (or both!) with our meal, the kids can be themselves (which sometimes means running up and down the aisle), and we always meet neighbors and friends with their children while we are there. Service is friendly and kid-understanding (meaning they don't freak out when they see us barrel in with our enormous stroller and squirmy little ones). Stroller parking is available but not plentiful--weekend brunch times are a little too busy for our comfort. We often enjoy an early dinner with the kids, and we are frequent visitors to the take-out counter.

Molly's (at 287 Third Avenue) is an obvious restaurant of choice for us. Our oldest is named Molly. And now she reads. So we have to go there. A lot. Before we had kids--here comes another confession--we also went there. A lot. Because it's a fabulous, low-key Irish pub with a romantic and mysterious New York history--and a great place to meet for a drink and an awesome burger. Luckily for us, there are many options on the menu that will please even our picky kids. We adore the dark, traditionally Irish atmosphere and the privacy afforded by the booths. My kids' favorite part? The sawdust covering the floor of course!

This weekend we went to Wildwood Barbeque (Park Avenue South between 18th and 19th Streets) to celebrate my husband's birthday. The five of us were spent Saturday afternoon there--with about 200 avid football fans. And we still had fun. I can't tell you what teams played, who won, or how long the game went on. But there are many, many, many large televisions to keep both little and big people happy. We had spent a family-focused New Year's Eve there and were really happy with the menus (adult and children's) and the kid-friendly service. And the huge booths. We had a great time going back, even through my attempts to answer my daughters' questions about the game: Why are people yelling at the television? Why are they screaming? If you can handle one more confession, I will tell you that I don't regularly eat meat--but I finished off most of the double-cut bacon my husband ordered. It was that good.

Guest Muncher

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese, Paula Deen

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1/4 cup butter
1 cup minced onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 (16-ounce) package pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed 
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) package cavatappi pasta, cooked and kept warm

Garnish: cooked, crumbled bacon or 
shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender.

Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly.

Add cubed cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, parsley, dry mustard, salt, and pepper; cook over low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.

Add cooked pasta, stirring gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Garnish with crumbled bacon or shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired.

Mommy Muncher

Monkey Bread,



3 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated
biscuit dough
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube/Bundt® pan.
2. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the prepared pan. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in pan. If using nuts and raisins, arrange them in and among the biscuit pieces as you go along.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the biscuits.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Do not cut! The bread just pulls apart.


Mommy Muncher

So I went to a family gathering recently and this dip was the HIT of the party. Since it is so simple and the person who created it had really no name for it - we'll just call it by her name, Carissa's Dip. You are going to call it "crack" and HATE/LOVE me for it! Its so simple yet, SO tasty! 

Carissa's Dip

Ingredients (she had no quantity so you will have to go by taste!)
Boiled Shredded Chicken
Cream Cheese
Ranch Dressing
Franks Hot Sauce

Put all in a a mini crock pot and keep warm for the party! Serve with tortilla chips.

(I would even sprinkle blue cheese on top and celery sticks but Carissa mentioned she hated both so its up to you :)


Expert Muncher

Need a New Years Eve Recipe? ANYTHING with Champagne I LOVE!!

Champagne Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta
(serves 2)

•    1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
•    8 oz of angel hair pasta
•    2 cups of your choice of Champagne
•    1 cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced
•    1 cup of heavy cream
•    3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
•    2 tablespoons of minced shallots
•    2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
•    ¼ teaspoon of salt

Cook the pasta as directed; drain afterwards and coat with a tablespoon of olive oil. White the pasta is cooking, heat the other tablespoon of extra virgin oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Cook the mushrooms in the olive oil until tender; then remove and set aside. Combine the shrimp, Champagne and salt in the pan, and cook over high heat. When the liquid starts to boil, remove the shrimp and add the shallots. Boil for 8 minutes; until reduced to about half a cup. Stir in 3/4 of the cream and boil for an additional 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and the mushrooms to sauce, heating through. Toss the hot, cooked pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup of cream and the freshly chopped parsley. Spoon the shrimp with sauce over the pasta and serve.

Serves 2. Happy Munching!

Guest Muncher



2 pounds Brussels sprouts - trimmed and halved

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon oil, olive, extra virgin

3 tablespoons broth, chicken, less sodium

3/4 cup fresh chestnuts - coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons sage, fresh

1/2 teaspoon salt

pepper, black ground - to taste


Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Melt butter with oil and broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add brussels sprouts, chestnuts and sage and cook, stirring often, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Guest Muncher


1 whole acorn squash
1⁄4 white onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp celery, chopped
1 1⁄2 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup Dannon Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt 1/2 cup whipped yogurt (page 2 for recipe) optional 1⁄4 cup chorizo, crumbled
2 tbsp cranberry canned jelly
3 leaves cilantro
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
Lime for garnish


  1. In a stockpot, cook the onion, bay leaf, garlic and celery in some olive oil until garlic releases aroma.

  2. Add the chopped acorn squash and then the chicken stock and simmer. When the acorn squash is cooked, swirl in Dannon Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt and remove from the heat.

  3. In a separate pan, cook the chorizo and paprika.

  4. When the squash is cooked thoroughly, purée the soup and pass through a sieve so it is smooth.

  5. Garnish with the crumbled chorizo, the cilantro, pomegranate seeds, a squirt of lime and cover with the whipped yogurt, or alternatively just add a dollop of Dannon Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt.

Guest Muncher

Baked Spinach Dip Bread Bowls, Picky Palate


13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread loaf,  ex. Simply Pillsbury

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

3 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 Cup light sour cream

2 Tablespoons fresh shredded parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper

1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Garlic Salt

1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 10 muffin cups with non stick cooking spray.  Unroll package of french bread loaf and slice into 10 equal size slices, about 1 inch thick.  Press each slice into about a 3 inch round.  Press into the bottom and up sides of the muffin cup.  Set aside.

2.  Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes then add garlic, cook and stir for another minute then turn heat off.

3.  Place cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Ancho Chili Powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls.  Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes until just turning brown on edges.  Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from oven.

10 mini spinach dip bread bowls

Guest Muncher

How many times have you run out of a dire ingredient, only to realize it smack in the middle of preparing a major meal? With Thanksgiving coming up, one can’t afford to take those chances! 

Sharing a lowdown of clever substitute ingredients for cooking emergencies, WearEver Pure Living’s expertise in all things cookware.

Check out the below tips from WearEver Pure Living for whipping up a large meal successfully and efficiently with everyday pantry items. Not only does Pure Living present safe advice, but they present safe, toxin-free cookware that leaves food healthier, not to mention professionally cooked. 

WearEver Pure Living’s Thanksgiving Rescue Tips

 Cooking Emergency 411:

1 cup honey = 1 1/4 cups sugar + 1/4 cup liquid

1 cup whole milk = 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water

1 tsp. lemon juice = 1/2 tsp. vinegar

1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine or 7/8 cup vegetable oil

1 cup yogurt = 1 cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp. flour (for thickening) = 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch or 2 tsps. quick-cooking tapioca

1 cup buttermilk = 1 or 2 Tbsps. lemon juice or or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup

1 Tbsp. fresh herbs = 1 tsp. dried herbs

1 square unsweetened chocolate = 3 Tbsp. cocoa plus 1 Tbsp. shortening

1 tsp. baking powder = 1/3 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar plus 2 Tbsp. molasses

1 egg = 1 heaping Tbsp. soy flour plus 1 Tbsp. water

1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon of dried minced onion = 1/4 cup raw minced onion

Mommy Muncher

Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts!

How YOU can HELP

Highlands restaurant fundraiser and silent auction on Saturday, Nov. 10th 1-4pm. Money raised will go to the charity New York Cares. The silent auction will include Chloe handbags, a signed Annie Leibovitz print, various items from Marc Jacobs, Lanvin, Dom Pérignon, and a weekend getaway at the Surf Lodge in Montauk.

Download "Hard TImes" by New York bad Buke and Gase for $5. All proceeds to go to the Red Hook Initiative.

Text to donate - Red Cross: "REDCROSS" to 90999, Salvation Army: "STORM" to 80888, Humane Society Of the United States: "ANIMALS" to 20222

Photographer LenaAntaramian of LIve Love Laugh photography is donating 100% of the profits from her beautiful prints and canvases from Ocean City, NJ. Visit her blog to check them out.

Wear an "I Still Love NY" Tee proudly! All proceeds to benefit NYC Sandy Reclief efforts.

Mommy Muncher

Are we going to have a repeat of last year - NO HALLOWEEN due to weather? If so, were having a party! Here is a FUN recipe that both adults & kids are sure to enjoy!

Witches Fingers,


  • 5 tablespoons butter 
  • 1/4 pound (about 1 cup packed) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • large egg 
  • Kosher salt
  • 30 sliced almonds


  1. 1. In a food processor or bowl, whirl or rub together butter, cheese, flour, and cornmeal until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Add egg and whirl or stir with a fork until dough holds together.
  2. 2. Scrape dough onto a sheet of cooking paper or parchment, 12 to 14 in. wide and about 14 in. long. Top with another equal-sized sheet of paper and pat dough into a 1/2-in.-thick circle. Wrap in plastic and freeze 15 minutes, or refrigerate up to 3 days.
  3. 3. Roll dough into a rectangle about 8 in. wide and 10 in. long, working carefully to avoid creases in paper. Return to freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.
  4. 4. Peel off top paper and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 30 strips, each about 1/2 in. thick and 5 in. long. Place each strip on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt to taste, then use your fingers to round the top of each strip into a fingertip shape. Use a sharp knife to score shallow "knuckle" lines in each finger, then press an almond "nail" into the tip. If you like, bend each finger in places to make it look knobby.
    5. Bake the fingers until an even light brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.


Mommy Muncher

Ellas Kitchen

You all know how much I LOVE squeezable baby food! My littlest Mini has basically LIVED in the stroller and car, picking and dropping off her older siblings, and "to go" meals have truly fed her almost every day!

You can imagine my excitement on becoming a "Queen Bee" for Ella's Kitchen - basically getting a FREE box of samples every so often and using my kids as guinea pigs to see what they think about the meals in a pouch!

Our littlest is now 18 months and still LOVES almost every Ella's product - even the Broccoli, Peas and Pears (which I think might even be her favorite)! The newest flavour - Cheesy Potatoes with veggies - is a great way to pack in protein and dairy for Minis from 7 months on! 

You can check out ALL the flavours on HERE!

WANT TO WIN A 10-Pack of Ella's? Like  MiniMunchers on Facebook by Friday 10/26

Happy Munching! 

Guest Muncher

One Charming Party

 Owl Cupcakes.

Supplies: chocolate cupcakes in brown cupcake wrappers (0r white–your choice), chocolate frosting, Oreo type cookies, Reese’s Pieces, plastic knives or something else to frost cupcakes

Directions: Let each child make their own owl cupcake. You might want to have one made ahead of time as an example. Each child will need: a cupcake, frosting, two Oreos, two brown and one orange Reese’s Pieces. Have students frost their cupcake. Next, untwist two Oreos then carefully push two brown candies onto the white part of the Oreos. Place the Oreo eyes onto the cupcake. Then put an orange candy on its side between the eyes to make the owl beak.


Guest Muncher

Cream Filled Cookie Cups, Paula Deen

1 (16.5-ounce) roll chocolate chip cookie dough
48 miniature cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Divide cookie dough in half. Press about 1 teaspoon dough into bottom of each muffin cup. Top each with 1 miniature cookie, and cover with remaining cookie dough.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks.

In a small saucepan, combine chocolate morsels and cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Spoon mixture evenly over cooled Cookie Cups. Top with remaining miniature cookies.


Mommy Muncher

Just when I think I have my kids ALL figured out they go and actually LIKE no LOVE something that I thought would take some convincing!

We received a big box of snack size Beanitos in 4 different flavors, Chipolte BBQ, Cheddar Cheese, Pinto Bean and Black Bean, and I must admit I thought my family would be weary of trying these darker color chips.

Let me rewind, these chips are actually GOOD for you - they are free of corn, wheat, soy, potato, trand fat, cholesterol and are verified non-GMO, gluten free, lab tested and certified low glycemic & kosher! All of the above would signal a RED flag in my house and definitely come BACK in the lunch box, but how I was wrong! My son gave both the black bean and pinto bean flavors a thumbs up, my husband is now addicted to the chipolte bbq and I am sneaking the cheddar cheese. The latter two flavors are a little too spicy for my minis (6, 3 and 1.5) but they pack some great taste for adults.
They are definitely worth buying for the WHOLE family! They are HEALTHY, I'm talking omega 3s, pure protein and high fiber, not to mention the snack size is perfect for lunchboxes!

Happy Munching! 

Guest Muncher

Keith Rudolf's Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Terrain

2 pounds Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 pounds thick cut bacon, cubed
1 pound peeled pearl onions
1 tablespoon sage, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Prepare a pot of boiling, salted water. While your water is boiling, clean outer layers of the Brussels sprouts. When the water is boiling, blanch sprouts for about four minutes, then move immediately to an ice bath. Ere on the side of small batches -- too many sprouts in the water at one time may slow down cooking and make the sprouts soggy. Once sprouts are cool, cut them in half and set aside.

In a large bottom pan, begin to cook the bacon. Once the bacon has rendered its fat and is cooked, take it out of the pan and set aside.
Add the pearl onions to the pan with the bacon fat and cook onions on medium low until they begin to caramelize. Return your bacon to the pan and add Brussels sprouts, stirring until they begin to caramelize. Then, add vinegar and reduce. Once the vinegar is gone, add your stock and bring it to a boil before turning the flame down to a simmer. Simmer until the stock is mostly reduced and the sprouts are soft.

Finally, add butter, sage, and season to your liking with salt and black pepper. Carefully pour onto a serving dish, sprinkle with parmesan, and enjoy.


Guest Muncher

Mom a la Mode’s Mini Turkey Meatballs

The sweet surprise, literally, is shredded carrot inside the meatballs themselves, as well as the secret weapon veggie infused into the thick sauce.  Serve over whole grain or veggie-fortified mini wagon wheel pasta for a healthy and delicious meal!

Mom a la Mode’s Mini Turkey Meatballs Marinara©
(enough to serve a family of 4)

Meatball Ingredients:

approx 1.5 lbs. ground turkey
approx ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 TBSPS parsley (fresh is better but dried is ok, too)
1 egg
approx ½ cup breadcrumbs (I prefer plain)
grated carrot (I use the side of a box grater that produces a very fine grate)
cooking spray
olive oil


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash your hands and combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix with your hands.  You are going for a consistency that is slightly tacky/sticky.  Too wet?  Shake in a few more breadcrumbs.  Too dry?  Add half an egg (or a tiny bit of sour cream if you have it in your fridge.)

Spray a baking sheet or baking dish with cooking spray. Form ping pong-sized balls and place about an inch apart from one another on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and bake in oven for about 10 minutes.  Using tongs, carefully turn the meatballs and cook on other side for another 10 minutes. They should be crispy and slightly shrunk in size once cooked completely. 

{Tips: Grate enough carrot for both your meatballs and your marinara sauce ahead of time. Also, you can freeze the un-sauced, cooked meatballs for future use by letting them cool completely, and either store them in an airtight glass container or a slider bag in your freezer.  I often pop one or two out for Roc’s dinner alongside whatever starch I’m serving that night.  Your child may also like to dip them in barbecue sauce or ketchup, when served alongside baked fries.}

Mom a la Mode’s Marinara Sauce©

Sauce Ingredients:

1 TBSP olive oil
½ small onion, finely chopped
approx ½ cup grated carrot
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 large can crushed tomatoes with basil (I like Tuttorosso brand)
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt and pepper


Heat the oil over medium high heat in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and sauté onions for about 2-3 minutes until they become opaque.  Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about another 2-3 minutes.   Add the grated carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes longer.  Pour in the can of tomatoes, and fill the can with a little bit of water to get remaining sauce out of can. Add the sugar, salt, pepper and stir together.  Let sauce come to a low boil and turn heat down to a simmer.  Let simmer for at least 15 minutes before adding meatballs. Once meatballs have been added to sauce, let simmer (covered, but with a wooden spoon keeping the pot slightly opened) for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Best served over pasta, with lots of freshly grated Italian cheese.  Or try the meatballs in the form of a hero, on toasted wholegrain club roll/Italian bread. 


-mom a la mode

{This is an original recipe of Mom a la Mode’s. Please feel free to share with others, but kindly include credit to Mom a la Mode ( if printing, posting via social media, sharing electronically, etc.}

Guest Muncher

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe, Snack Girl

(makes 2 servings or 3 cups)

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup plain yogurt

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 banana

maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar (to taste)

lots of ice cubes

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy! Pour leftovers into drink container for later consumption.


For one serving with lowfat yogurt and no syrup added = 142 calories, 1.4 g fat, 28.6 g carbohydrates, 15.7 g sugar, 5.5 g protein, 5.3 g fiber, 50 mg sodium, 4 PointsPlus

Mommy Muncher

Easy Crockpot Breakfast, Red Tricycle

Mornings are crazy enough with new back-to-school routines. Why not make it one step easier by prepping breakfast the night before? Use your imagination when making this crockpot egg recipe and tailor it to your kids tastes. Try Canadian bacon or sausage instead of ham. Use Mozarella or Swiss cheese instead of Cheddar. Throw in some tomatoes, mushrooms or whatever veggies your kids will eat. Have fun!

32 ounce bag frozen hash brown potatoes

1 pound cooked ham, cubed

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

12 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In small skillet, cook onion and green pepper in olive oil until crisp tender. Let cool about 10 minutes. Place one third of the frozen hash brown potatoes in the slow cooker. Add one third of the ham, onion, green pepper and cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the cheese.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk and seasonings until well mixed. Pour over the ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and turn on low. Cook for 8-10 hours on low or until casserole is set and eggs are thoroughly cooked. Garnish with shredded cheese.


Mommy Muncher

Uncle Bubba's Key Lime Pie



1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup clarified butter, melted (see note)


2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup store-bought key lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh key lime zest

Juice of 1 key lime (about 3 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and almonds. Pour in melted clarified butter and mix well. Gently press in bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate.

3. In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, egg yolks, store- bought juice, zest, fresh key lime juice, and vanilla extract; stirring to mix well. Evenly spoon mixture into pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 1 pie

Note: To clarify butter, gently heat butter until melted. Once butter has separated, use a spoon to remove white foam from the top. Carefully pour off golden liquid, leaving behind milky solids without mixing back into butter. Discard solids. About three-fourths of the original amount will remain. Clarified butter is ready to use. Store in refrigerator.

Clarified butter can also be purchased at specialty food and or kitchen stores.


Guest Muncher

New York Loves Kids - Fun Before The Summer Ends

Laurie Mackie, founder of New York Loves Kids, a family friendly online resource to finding fun with your kids in NYC, has pulled together her top 5 things to do with your kids before the end of summer.

As quick as summer started, we are fast approaching the end of this break and as New York is bursting full of fun things to do with your kids, we have narrowed down a few places and activities that are must.

Skate Truck NYC

If you can skate or would like to try, then Skate Truck NYC is for you. They operate at the weekend throughout the summer and use different parks throughout the City. They have skate hire if you don't already have your own and have professional skate instructors on hand to assist.

Skating is suitable for children on any age and this is a great way to build their confidence on wheels, along with being a fun way to exercise! 

Spiders Alive! at American Museum of Natural History 

If your little ones are fascinated by all things creepy crawley then this exhibtion is for them. Spiders Alive! will explore spiders silk, venom, and little-known defensive mechanisms such as mimicry. The exhibition will also include larger-than-life models, videos, interactive exhibits and fossils. Fascinating spiders facts will be learned! 

Kayaking on the Hudson 

If you have water babes then spending time kayaking on the Hudson is the perfect pastime! Join the Downtown Boathouse for 20-minute instructional paddles, and explore the Hudson River first-hand. To participate don't forget to bring a bathing suit or shorts and a t-shirt, and you must already know how to swim. Kayaks and life vests are provided.

Please note that children under the age of 16 must be accompanied on the boat with a suitable adult.

Le Carousel at Bryant Park

Le Carrousel was specially created to complement Bryant Park's French classical style, featuring brightly colored animals and French cabaret music. At just $2 per ride (or buy a discount card to enjoy 10 rides for $15) this whimsical and romatic carousel will not only bring joy to the kids, it will also bring back joyful childhood memories to the parents!

Field Station: Dinosaurs, New Jersey

Billed as 9 minutes from Manhattan and 90 million years back in time, this new dinosaur park is certainly not to be missed. With 31 full sized animatronic dinosaurs you kids will be blown away by the sheer size and number of dinosaurs to check out - especially the 90 foot Argentinosaurus (which can be seen from the top of the Empire State Building!). They will also take away with them some new knowledge on dinosaurs along with the geology and history of the area. This makes for a great fun day out! 

At New York Loves Kids, we know how busy life as a parent can be and our website takes the strain out of planning ahead for a fun family day. See our events calendar for daily listings and never be short of a place to visit again!

Mommy Muncher

Grilled Squash Pasta Salad,

So this recpe inspired me to work WITH my hubby and make a FAB side dish for grilled chicken. Instead of pasta - I did a half box of Israeli Cous Cous and I also added a half cup of crumbled goat cheese. It was AMAZING! I hope you enjoy as much as we did!


  • 16 ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1 pound yellow summer (crookneck) squash, cut into 1-in. chunks
  • 1 pound zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-in. chunks
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar (I used aged balsamic)
  • About 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (I used jar)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives 
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender to the bite, 9 to 12 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until completely cool.
  2. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium heat (you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). Thread squash and zucchini chunks onto 10- to 12-in. metal skewers and place on a baking sheet. Brush vegetables with 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil on all sides and sprinkle with salt to taste. Transfer to grill and cook 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, or until vegetables are very tender.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining olive oil, the vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl.
  4. With a fork, push vegetables off skewers back onto baking sheet and toss them in oil left there. In a large bowl, toss together pasta, vegetables, oregano, pine nuts, and olives. Add dressing and salt and pepper to taste; toss. Serve warm or col
Guest Muncher

Eggplant Dip "For Dummies", Snack Girl

Obviously stay away from this recipe if your minis have any nut allergies...But I LOVE how Lisa improvised and used peanut butter instead of tahini!

1 small eggplant (1 pound or less)
1 garlic clove
½ lemon
1 tablespoon peanut butter (no sugar added)
salt to taste

Heat oven to 450F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and slice your eggplant in half lengthwise. Place the white side down (purple side up) and poke with a fork. Cook for 20 minutes or until the skin is blackened.

Peel garlic and eggplant and add to food processor. Squeeze in lemon juice, peanut butter, and salt and blend until smooth.

Serve this eggplant dip with carrot sticks, red pepper slices, or chips. It is also a great sandwich spread (bye-bye mayo).

Happy Munching!


Mommy Muncher

Creamy Dijon-Dill Potato Salad, Dave Lieberman (Food Network)
I made this dish this week while at the beach as a side with our lobster rolls and it was just as good the next day (although there was hardly any left). Happy Munching!


  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I only used a half cup)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed chopped fresh dill
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon grainy or regular Dijon mustard (I used 2 tbsps)

Put the potatoes in a big pot with enough water to cover by 1-inch. Season with salt and bring the water to a boil. Cook just until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the uncovered pot off the heat. Let them sit until almost room temperature. (Cooling them in the warm pot will get rid of any excess water in the potatoes, and that's good.)

Meanwhile, cut the white parts off the ends of the celery stalks. Cut the stalks in half lengthwise, then across into 1/4-inch slices. Stir the celery, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the remaining ingredients together in a serving bowl large enough to hold all the potatoes.

When they're cool, cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces, add them to the bowl as you go. Stir gently until all the potatoes are coated with dressing. You can make the salad up to a couple of hours in advance. Keep covered at room temperature. Don't refrigerate or the potatoes will lose their rich, smooth texture.

Guest Muncher

Lobster Rolls! - THANK YOU DAILY CANDY & Island Creek Oyster Bar!
8 Servings

4 1¼-pound lobsters, steamed
1 c. mayonnaise 
½ c. pickles, diced small
½ c. celery, diced small
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. celery salt
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. white pepper
6 tbsp. butter
8 hot dog buns

1. Remove all meat from the lobster and dice the meat into medium-size pieces.

2. Mix the mayonnaise, pickles, celery, lemon juice, celery salt, kosher salt, and pepper with the lobster. Reserve.

3. Melt the butter in a nonstick pan or on a griddle. Lightly toast the hot dog buns on both sides.

4. Fill the buns with lobster salad and serve.

Island Creek Oyster Bar, 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Kenmore Square (617-532-5300

Expert Muncher
Chilled Spicy Strawbery Soup - Nicole Chaszar, Sea Bean Goods, Brooklyn, NY

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)

1 small sweet crisp apple,
such as McIntosh, peeled and
cut into ½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

Cayenne pepper (Im going to OMIT this so I can share with my Minis!)

1½ pounds strawberries
(about 2 pints), hulled

1 teaspoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon mint leaves, finely chopped

½ cup water

¼ cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted


1. In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the apple, ginger, cinnamon, salt and a pinch of cayenne. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened, about 10 minutes.

2. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment, combine the apple-onion mixture with the strawberries, cilantro and mint. With the motor running, add the water and puree until smooth.

3. Transfer the soup to a large metal, glass or ceramic bowl and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. (If chilling longer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and use within 3 days.)

4. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Garnish each serving with a tablespoon of crème fraîche and a tablespoon of toasted almonds. Serve immediately.



Mommy Muncher

These potatoes sound bizarre but they are INSANE...TRUST ME! They will become your go-to for family BBQs!

Sullivan Potatoes

24 ozs thinly sliced small red potatoes

1 onion thinly sliced

6 Tbsp butter cut into pieces

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 Tbsp soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup chicken broth


Preheat grill for high heat.

On a piece of heavy foil (approx. 20x20), place the potatoes and onion, dot with butter. Sprinkle the soy sauce, salt and pepper next. Then sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.  

Fold the edges of the foil so it makes almost a square bowl. Cover potatoes with chicken broth. 

Seal foil tightly and place on the prepared grill. Cook 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.


Guest Muncher

Lisa Cain, Snack Girl

Watermelon Feta Bites Recipe

1- 6 ounce block feta cheese
½ pound watermelon
fresh basil leaves (optional)

Slice feta into very thin square slices. One ounce should equal about 4 slices. One 6 ounce block should make 24 slices or more of cheese.

Cut watermelon into 1 inch cubes and lay slice of feta on watermelon. Use toothpick to pin cheese and watermelon together (and optional basi). Serve cold and enjoy!

You can make these up to four hours in advance of serving.

For one bite = 22 calories, 1.5 g fat, 1.0 g carbohydrates, 0.9 g sugar, 1.1 g protein, 0 g fiber, 79 mg sodium, 1 PointsPlus


Mommy Muncher

Red, White and Blue Ice Pops,


  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • 1 cup blue sports drink, such as Gatorade


  1. Arrange 8 3-oz. paper or plastic cups on a baking sheet and divide cranberry juice evenly among them. Place baking sheet in freezer and freeze until juice is almost firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Insert craft sticks into center of slightly frozen juice. (If sticks won't quite stand up straight, you can repositions them when the next layer starts to solidify.)
  3. Divide lemonade evenly among cups to make a second layer. Freeze until hard, about 2 hours. Pour Gatorade over lemonade layer and freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Gently pull each ice pop out of its cup (it helps to squeeze the cup lightly from bottom) and serve immediately.


Guest Muncher

I am Delicious


Delicious Avocado & Cherry Tomato Salad (in Polish: Smakowita salatka z avocado i pomidorkami koktajlowymi)

Another option of a great salad. Avocado, corn, cherry tomatoes and coriander go so well when mixed together. Perfect option for a starter or even lunch when you add grilled chicken breast. Takes very little time to prepare. Fresh and full of vitamines. Not sure if you know but already one-fifth of medium size avocado contains approx. 50 calories but at the same time contributes to almost 20 different vitamines and minerals making avocado a great nutrient option. Vegetarians should love it!!! 

Prep Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 medium size avocados - peeled, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 285 g corn from the can
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes: red, green and yellow
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh coriander - finely hashed
  • 1 red pepper - de-seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbsp sliced green olives
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Combine avocado, corn, tomatoes in quarters, red pepper, green olives, red onion and coriander. Stir a bit but make sure you won't mash avocado.

2. Now prepare sauce for avocado: mix extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, sea salt and pepper. Pour into the salad and stir carefully.

3. Serve refrigerated as a starter or lunch option adding grilled chicken breast in chunks. 


Guest Muncher

Snack Girl
Yum - do these look amazing? And at just 17 calories a pop - I am in for at least two!

Strawberry Chocolate Bombshells
(makes 10)

10 fresh strawberries, hulled
16 chocolate chips
coarse salt (optional)

Slice tip of strawberries and place on plate. Melt chocolate and spoon into top of strawberry (where the leaves have been removed). Sprinkle on a wee bit of coarse salt and refrigerate until hardened. Enjoy!

Guest Muncher

Crazy Carrot Pops, Betty Crocker

If I can get my kids to eat their veggies this way - SO be it! I might even convine my husband to give these a try:)

2 containers (6 oz each) French Vanilla Yogurt
2 cups chopped ripe mango
1/2 cup carrot juice
1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves

In blender, place yogurt, mango and carrot juice. Cover; blend until smooth. Reserve 1 cup mixture; cover and refrigerate. Divide remaining mixture among 6 (5-oz) paper cups, about 1/3 cup in each. Cover cups with foil; insert craft stick into center of each pop. (Or fill ice pop molds according to manufacturer’s directions.) Freeze about 2 hours or until frozen.

Meanwhile, in blender, place reserved mango mixture and spinach. Cover; blend on medium-high speed 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth. When first layer is frozen, remove foil from pops. Pour about 3 tablespoons spinach mixture in each cup over frozen layer. Return foil to pops to support sticks. Freeze about 6 hours or until frozen before serving. Store remaining pops covered in freezer.

Makes 6 pops 

Mommy Muncher

For some crazy reason, my 2 year old is ADDICTED to pumpkin muffins - I guess one of the preschool mom brings them for snack (while I treck to whole foods for some non-peanut easy boxed treat...) Anyway, I am now obsessed with making her the perfect pumpkin muffin and these from Smitten Kitchen look amazing....let me know - I have yet to dust off my muffin pans! 

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from the American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature. 

Mommy Muncher

Do I have to remind you of our childhood favorite - Ants on a Log. The best part about this trashy treat is that it is actually HEALTHY for the Minis, not to mention they can HELP make them! Win/Win!

Ants on a Log – 8 servings


4 tablespoons of Jiffy creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons of currants or raisins

4 stalks of celery hearts


Spread peanut butter on celery

Place currants on peanut butter

Cut celery in half


*Recipe courtesy of Can Do Street 

Guest Muncher

Bacon Deviled Eggs 

(From June/July Issue of Fine Cooking via Chrissy Teigen, So Delushious! )

  • 4 peeled hard-cooked large eggs
  • 3 Tbs. mayo
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Hot sauce, to taste
    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Paprika for garnish

Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks, transfer them to a small bowl, and mash them with the back of a spoon. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard,  the parsley and hot sauce. Mash until smooth. Stir in the chopped/cooked bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill the egg whites. Sprinkle with little pinches of paprika -- smoked paprika if you can find it!

Mommy Muncher

Nations Birthday Nachos,

I don't know about you, but my Minis LOVE to help me in the kitchen! Here is a fun & easy recipe that everyone will enjoy making and eating for the Memorial Day holiday!

1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
Cooking spray
Aluminum foil
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Sour cream


1. Place blue corn tortilla chips on a foil-covered baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

2. Sprinkle the chips with shredded Monterey Jack, then bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes.

Top the nachos with salsa and sour cream.

Guest Muncher

Paula Deen

Show that special mom in your life that you care by whipping up a batch of these delicious mini strawberry cheesecakes.

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
Makes 2 dozen miniature cheesecakes


2 1/4 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg white, lightly beaten


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons strawberry extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

Garnish: whipped cream, strawberry heart cutouts 


To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 350°.

In a small bowl, combine crushed cookies, sugar, melted butter, and egg white, stirring well. Press mixture into bottom and halfway up sides of 24 (2-inch) miniature cheesecake pans. Bake for 8 minutes.

To prepare filling: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and strawberry extract at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream, flour, and, if desired, food coloring.

Spoon batter into prepared crusts, and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until centers are set. Cool completely. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days. Garnish with whipped cream and strawberry heart cutouts, if desired.


Guest Muncher

The Pioneer Woman

I ADORE this woman! Her blog is so spot on, creative and her joie de vivre is so refreshing! And when she says you HAVE to make this recipe, I hopped to! It is great and my Minis LOVE!

Chicken Florentine Pasta


         1 pound Penne

         4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

         Salt And Pepper, to taste

         2 Tablespoons Butter

         2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

         4 cloves Garlic, Minced

         ¾ cups Dry White Wine

         ¾ cups Low-sodium Broth, More If Needed

         1 bag Baby Spinach

         2 cups Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise

         4 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Shaved With Vegetable Peeler

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain and set aside.

Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle on salt and pepper.

Heat butter and olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken chunks in a single layer and do not stir for a minute or two in order to allow the chicken to brown on the first side. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side. Cook until done, then remove chicken from the skillet.

Turn heat to medium. Add garlic and quickly stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Allow the liquid to bubble up, then continue cooking until it’s reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point.)

Turn off the heat. Add spinach, tomatoes, chicken, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the spinach will wilt as you toss everything. Add plenty of Parmesan shavings and toss to combine.

Serve with extra Parmesan shavings.


Mommy Muncher

Looking to DO SOMETHING with your leftover Jelly Beans? Try this yummy recipe for Jelly Bean Biscotti by Lindsey Sperlo, Recipe Contest Finalist on

3 Eggs
1/2 cup Canola oil

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup Jelly Beans
2 tablespoons sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand-held mixer, cream oil and sugar together; add vanilla and eggs and mix well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and jelly beans and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.

Divide batter in half and shape half into a log, about 13" long and 2-3" wide; sprinkle each log with sugar and place approx. 3 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 35 minutes; remove from oven and cut logs into 1" wide slices. Turn each cookie on its side and sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for an additional 12 minutes; repeat with other side of cookie. Cool completely before serving and HAPPY MUNCHING!

Guest Muncher

Hillary Irwin, RD-  Simply Beautiful Mom

Blueberry Banana Muffins

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

¼ Cup unsalted butter, room temperature

½ Cup applesauce

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 ripe bananas

            1/3 cup reduced-fat (2 percent) milk

            1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

            1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Add applesauce and beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, mash bananas with a fork, then stir in milk and vanilla.

With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in frozen blueberries.

 Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 20 minutes.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes; transfer muffins to a rack to cool 10 minutes more.


Guest Muncher

Ghada, Mama Goes BAM

Apple Choc Milk Bites – Lactation Mini Muffins

If you are breastfeeding and are about to return to work or need an extra supply for some other reason, these Apple Choc Milk Bites are a great way to increase your milk supply.Full of galactagogues (substances that increase milk supply), and tasty flavors, these yummy mini muffins are better tasting than they look and will ensure that your milk supply is steady.  


1 cup regular oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 TBSP of flaxseed meal

3 TBSP of Nutritional/Brewer's Yeast

2 tsp of baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup of yoghurt (flavor of your choice)

1 egg

2 large mashed bananas

1/2 cup of coconut water with the pulp

3-4 crushed raw cacao beans (optional)

Ingredients for Apple mixture

2 large apples

1 TBSP cinnamon

1 lemon

1/2 cup of water


Peel and core the apples, then chop finely. Add them to a saucepan over medium heat. Add cinnamon and squeeze lemon to the apples. Add at least 1/2 cup of water. If the mixture starts to stick to the pan add more water. Let the apple mixture stew while preparing the rest of the mix, stirring occasionally. Add all the dry ingredients together in one large bowl, making sure everything is all mixed together properly.

 Mash the bananas and mix together with the liquid ingredients. After about 20 minutes the apple mixture shout be tender. Remove from the heat and add the liquid ingredients. Combine the dry and liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly. The final mixture will be quite thick. Using either a mini cupcake baker (like I have) or mini cupcake trays, use a tablespoon to scoop out the Apple Choc Milk Bites.

 Whatever method you use to bake, you'll know these are ready when they are lightly brown on the outside.

Guest Muncher

Young Married & Chic

If you haven't heard/checked out this blog - shame on you! It is full of great ideas and RECIPES that you can translate for the kids or just to have a great time in NYC! This recipe is from a year ago but still worth re-visiting! ENJOY & Happy Munching!

Apple Pie Smoothie

½ of an apple cut into pieces (honeycrisp, honeycrisp!)
8 oz container of non-fat yogurt (plain or vanilla)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
4-6 oz almond milk (or whichever kind you prefer)
Dash of nutmeg
A few ice cubes

Blend it up!


Mommy Muncher

This is a YUMMY recipe that was served at a recent bookclub and DEVORED! Its great for kids AND to impress at a dinner party! HAPPY MUNCHING!

Cannoli Dip

2 cups ricotta cheese

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup mini chocolate chips

waffle cookies, strawberries, or other dippers


In a mixer combine ricotta cheese, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate. Serve with dippers


Guest Muncher

Paula Deen's Crunchy Peanut Butter-Yogurt Dip

Makes about 3 cups

1 (8-ounce) container honey-nut cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup vanilla-flavored yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1 cup granola cereal
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Fresh strawberries, grapes, sliced
apples (optional) 
Garnish: granola cereal

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and peanut butter; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add yogurt and honey, mixing to combine. Stir in cereal, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Serve with strawberries, grapes, and apples, if desired.

Garnish with granola cereal, if desired. 

Note: Dip can be stored, chilled, in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Mommy Muncher

Can you BELIEVE the OREO cookie is 100 years old! Not only have they release an AMAZING limited edition birthday cookie but there are some GREAT recipes on their website that you HAVE to try. Here is our family's new favorite!

Oreo Party on a Stick


12 OREO Cookies
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate, melted

1 tsp. canola oil

1/4 cup multi-colored or chocolate sprinkles


INSERT wooden pop stick into filling in center of each cookie; place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Freeze 10 min.

MIX melted chocolate and oil until blended. Dip cookies, 1 at a time, in chocolate mixture, turning to evenly coat both sides of each. Return to baking sheet. Top with sprinkles.

REFRIGERATE 30 min. or until chocolate coating is firm.


Guest Muncher

Paula Deen's Best Ever Broccoli-Cheese Casserole 
serves 6-8 people

14 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 4 heads)
¾ cup chopped onion
 4 cloves garlic, minced
 1 tablespoon salt
 1 (10¾-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
 1 cup sour cream
 1 large egg
 2½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
 2½ cups crushed saltine crackers, divided
 ¼ cup butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
 In a stockpot, place broccoli florets, onion, garlic, and salt; add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high, and simmer for 6 minutes or until tender. Drain immediately, and cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together soup, sour cream, and egg. Add drained broccoli mixture, 2 cups cheese, and 1 cup crushed crackers. Pour into prepared dish.

In a small bowl, stir together butter, remaining 1½ cups crackers, and remaining ½ cup cheese. Sprinkle over broccoli mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 


Expert Muncher


Chef Marc Murphy

Landmarc (Time Warner Center & TriBeCa) & Ditch Plains 

Green Eggs and Ham

"This is one of my favorite kids' recipes," says Chef Marc Murphy of Landmarc, Ditch Plains and Ditch Plains Drop In. "After we read the Dr. Seuss book with our kids, we decided to make our own version of it at home. Needless to say it was a huge hit and we put it on the menu." Green Eggs and Ham is just one of the many great options for kids at Landmarc and Ditch Plains. 
green eggs and ham

(serves 1)

2 eggs beaten

4 slices black forest ham

2 tbs pesto

1 tbs butter

heat a sauté pan on medium heat and add the butter.  add the eggs and stir until they start to come together.  add the pesto and combine thoroughly.  warm the ham through and serve next to the eggs


2 cups basil leaves

1/4 cup roasted garlic

1/3 cup toasted walnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

 place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth

Expert Muncher
Chef Jose Andres, Jaleo - Courtesy of
Chicken and Vegetable Paella 
  • ¼ cup Spanish olive oil
  • 3 cups diced seasonal vegetables such as green beans, zucchini, baby squash, cauliflower
  • 1 cup seasonal mushrooms
  • 2 pounds organic chicken legs and thighs, cut up
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 cup grated fresh tomato
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 4 cups mineral water
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 2 cups Spanish bomba or calasparra rice

Heat the olive oil in a 15-inch paella pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the vegetables until they get a nice brown color. Remove vegetables from the pan and reserve. Add the chicken in small batches to the pan and sear until skin is golden and crisp. Remove the chicken and reserve. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the grated tomato and cook for 1 minute making sure to scrape up all the browned bits from the chicken. Pour in the wine and let it reduce by half, about 2 minutes. 

Return the vegetables and chicken to the pan and pour in the mineral water. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes to flavor the water. Then stir in the rice. Season to taste with salt and boil for 10 minutes. Do not stir the rice again, as this can cause the rice to cook unevenly. 

Crumble the saffron across the top of the paella and sprinkle the pimenton evenly. Do not stir the rice. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the paella from the heat, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the paella rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Guest Muncher

Liza Huber, Sage Spoonfuls

Roast Chicken

7-9 Months and Up

Serves 2 adults and 2 children:


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 carrots, washed, peeled and sliced

2 potatoes, washed and cubed

1 yellow onion, cut into wedges

1 4 lb whole organic chicken

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Lemon, cut into quarters

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Kosher or coarse sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper


*Preheat oven to 425

*Place onion, carrots, and potatoes into a large roasting pan and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Push veggies to the side and place the minced garlic in the middle of the pan.

*Unwrap the chicken.  If present, remove and discard the insides (you can always ask the butcher to do this for you). Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with a towel.

*Place chicken on a cutting board, place the lemon and rosemary inside, tie the legs together with butcher’s twine; then brush the outside of the chicken with the remaining olive oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

*Place the chicken in the center of the roasting pan with the veggies around the sides.  Place the roasting pan in the oven on the center rack; roast for 45 minutes, then baste the chicken and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes.

*Using oven mitts, remove the chicken from the oven, place on a separate dish and let stand for 10 minutes; remove veggies from the pan and set aside; squeeze the lemon into the pan and mix well.

*Serve or store.

*Roast chicken can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.


This dish is best served warm, however, leftover roast chicken makes a delicious sandwich.  For a baby, place some chopped chicken and pan juices in a food processor with the roasted veggies and puree to a consistency he can handle.  For toddlers, cut the chicken and veggies into bite size pieces and serve with pan juices.  For an adult, spoon pan juices over the chicken and serve alongside the roasted carrots and potatoes.

All About Roast Chicken

A roast chicken with veggies is comfort food at its best.  This meal will fill your home with the most delicious aroma you could imagine.  The thought of roasting a whole chicken can be intimidating, but you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. The oven does most of the work, but you will get all of the praise! 

Mommy Muncher

Target has done it again! If you weren't impressed by the Missoni or Jason Wu lines - how about The Healthy Living Recipes by Target? I can't wait to try this one out with my minis!

Mukimame* Hummus

Makes 3 cups

2 cups Archer Farms Frozen Mukimame, cooked
3 cloves garlic
1 (6-oz.) carton Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. salt

1. Process cooked Mukimame and garlic in food processor until finely ground.
2. Add remaining ingredients; pulse to mix.
3. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with pita chips, on toasted bagels or in smoked turkey sandwiches.

*Mukimame are edamame out of the shell


Mommy Muncher

Stop N Shop

I'm on the mailing list for Stop N Shop. Had no idea they were so kid-friendly! Love the recipes that actually SPELL out how to best get the Minis helping in the kitchen!

Mini Fruit Basket Treats

5-6 large shreded wheat biscuits
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Maragarine, melted
1 pkg. fruit or mixed berries, thawed
Vanilla low fat yogurt
Cinnamon or Nutmeg

CHILD: Crumble shredded wheat biscuits. Mix with brown sugar. ADULT: Drizzle melted margarine over mixture. Toss to coat. Line 12 6 oz. custard cups or muffin tins with foil. CHILD: Press mixture onto bottom and sides of 12 lined cups. ADULT: Bake in a 350°F oven about 10-12 minutes or until crisp. Cool in cups. Remove from cups by lifting foil. Peel foil off baskets. CHILD: Fill baskets with fruits. Top with vanilla yogurt and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired. 


Guest Muncher

Disney's Family Fun

Mini Football Subs

Spaghetti sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Individual-size rolls

To make a batch, first prepare your favorite meatball recipe shaping each meatball into a mini football before cooking.  Once they're cooked, add the meatballs to a skillet of spaghetti sauce and warm them through.
For each sub, cut a V-shaped notch from the top of an individual-size roll, place a meatball in the roll, and top with cheese shred laces. Finally, get the sandwiches in a huddle on a cookie sheet and place them in a warm oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Expert Muncher

Missy, The Sneaky Chef

Speedy Chicken Parm Pops (from The Speedy Sneaky Chef)

Chicken nuggets on a stick get lots of smiles (and gives you a chance to sneak in a few more nutrients). They are equally yummy whether you use my super-fast One Step Nuggets (page xx) or your favorite store-bought ones.

1 package (about 14) fully cooked chicken nuggets
1/2 cup store-bought tomato sauce
1/4 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead #2) or baby food squash or carrot puree
1 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese 

14 skewers or craft sticks, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with oil. 

 In a mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce and puree. Dip one side each nugget in the sauce mixture, place on the prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle with about a tablespoon of cheese. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. 

If using, insert a skewer or craft stick into each nugget and serve.


Expert Muncher

Paula Deen's Chicken Chil

Makes 10 to 12 servings

1 (1-pound) bag dried great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
3 cups chopped cooked chicken 
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
poblano pepper, seeded and minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
Garnish: sour cream, shredded Cheddar 
cheese, chopped fresh cilantro

In a large Dutch oven, combine soaked beans, chicken broth, water, chicken, onion, and peppers. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.

Add tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro, if desired.

Mommy Muncher

Carla Sullivan, Mommy Muncher

What mom doesn't like a deal? With three minis, I am always looking to save a few dollars, although I have stopped short of clipping coupons.

It is my New Year's resolution to buy as much as I can on sale or at a discount and these mom/mini websites are sure to help me on my path to fortune, or at least savings!

Brought to us by Kidville, this new-ish site has some great local and on-line deals for Minis AND Mommies. I just picked up some cute t-shirts for myself and adorable melamine plates for the kids.
This is a very cool "design" site that has everything from housewares to jewelry to pet accessories. The site boasts up to 70% off retail prices. You are sure to score something VERY funky for the Minis or yourself on

Created by moms for eco-minded families, this site offers one deal a day that is sent to your email or twitter at 9am EST. All the products arenon-toxic, eco-friendly and raifly traded baby or mommy products. I have gotten some cute toys on this site and the shipping is lickity split!


Guest Muncher

Super Sprowtz

Although everyone is gearing up this week to celebrate the best time of year, that doesn’t mean that your health has to suffer. Yes, there are many treats which might be tempting to you and your family, but for every fat-rich favorite snack, there exists a healthy and equally delicious alternative. 

If you are hosting a New Years Eve party on your own, or bringing something over to a loved one’s house, here is a creative and yummy substitutions for classic holiday munchies.

-Instead of chomping away at those mixed cocktail nuts sitting on the table 
@ 599 calories for 2/3 cup,


Homemade snack mix
1/2 cup kettle corn, 
4 cups asian rice crackers 
2 cups dried cranberries 
1 cup almonds 
1 cup wasabi peas 
1/4 cup sesame seeds 
1/4 cup olive oil mixed into bowl 
@ only 169 calories for 2/3 cup!

Visit Super Sprowtz website for more healthy recipes and fun activities for kids!

Guest Muncher

Samantha, OMGmother
Not sure what to get your niece, godson, or best friend’s kid for the holidays? The experts at OMGmother have screened the web and picked out the most unique, age appropriate gifts that aunts, uncles, & godparents can gift this holiday season. You don’t have to be a parent to know what kids want – just trust OMGmother to help you out!

0-2: OMG I'm musical

3-6 yrs: OMG I love cooking 

7-12 yrs: OMG I'm a rockstar 

Guest Muncher

Bitzue Top 5 

With only a couple weeks left until Christmas, Bitzue - the coolest, online gift registry for kids - can make your holiday shopping easier. We’ve compiled a short list of the most popular toys (that are still available!) requested by Bitzue users this holiday season. Grab ‘em while you still can!


Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo ($35)

This interactive playset incorporates 4 habitats: grasslands, artic, jungle and water. When your child places any animal on any peg, it recognizes that specific animal and responds with that animal’s name and sound. Fun and educational! Perfect for ages 18 months+


Fijit Friends ($49-$70)

This year’s “IT” toy can still be found! This squishy, interactive robot will become your daughter’s BFF as it entertains with 150 built-in phrases and jokes. Kids can choose from Willa, the trendsetter; Logan, the sporty one; Sage, who has a sense of adventure; and Serafina, the sweetie-pie. Just squeezing their tummies, poking their sides or saying one of 30 commands can make a Fijit Friend spring to life. And, when the music starts, these robot toys become dancing machines! 


Air Hogs Hyper Actives Pro R/C Vehicle ($39)

This awesome R/C vehicle runs a 2.4 Ghz controller so kids can race against friends without worrying about interference.  And thanks to its rubber and foam tires, it can be used both inside and out. This toy defies gravity, reaches insane speeds and thanks to its self-righting functionality, always returns to its upright position giving kids maximum racing time.


Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 ($29.99-$49.99)

Who doesn’t love Harry Potter? And now kids can enjoy adventures in the Muggle and wizarding worlds from his last three books and final four films. This fun romp with Harry is rated E for “everyone” and can be played on Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.


Leapfrog Tag Reading System ($35)

The benefit of the LeapPad’s popularity is that there are more Tag reading systems available! This ingenious, easy to use system brings stories to life as kids touch the pages of the specially printed storybooks. The Tag library includes more than 40 book, games and maps featuring favorite characters from TV, movies and classic tales. Perfect for kids ages 4+.

Expert Muncher

The Recipe Project
began as a simple idea: take the recipes of today’s top chefs, set them to music, and sing them word for word. The result is a quirky, remarkably catchy CD-book combo that poses some timely questions about music and food. If chefs are the new rock stars, why not celebrate them as exactly that? And how loudly can David Chang play The Kinks before his restaurant patrons walk out?

Here, in one totally unnecessary collection, you get it all: the album of songs, the brilliant recipes, plus personal interviews with the famed chefs about everything from childhood violin lessons to teenage Van Halen haircuts. Along the way, some of the most noteworthy culinary writers in the country—including Melissa Clark and John T. Edge—weigh in on how food and music have helped them survive screaming newborns, religious fundamentalism, and dinner with grandma.

The Recipe Project is sharing Mario Batali's Recipe for Spaghetti with Sweet 100 Tomatoes

Kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pint sweet 100 tomatoes, or other tiny tomatoes
1/2 bunch garlic chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
12 fresh lemon basil leaves, finely shredded
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound spaghetti

1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.

2. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the garlic cloves. Cook for 2 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned. Add the tomatoes, chives, and basil, and cook over high heat until the tomatoes are just beginning to burst. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water according to package directions until it is tender, yet al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the tomatoes. Toss over high heat for 1 minute, then divide evenly among four warmed pasta bowls and serve immediately.

Serves 4 

Expert Muncher

Here's a great & fun recipe to make with the Minis for CHOCOLATE COAL LUMPS, from the genius' at Betty Crocker.

Naughty or nice, everyone will love these easy cho-coal-late treats. Cocoa Puffs® cereal dipped in melted chocolate and marshmallows create these tasty stocking stuffers.


1/4 cup butter

1 bag (10 oz) large marshmallows (5 cups)

8 cups Cocoa Puffs® cereal (from 11.8-oz box)

3 bags (12 oz each) semisweet chocolate chips or 36 oz (from two 24-oz packages) chocolate-flavored candy coating

3 tablespoons shortening

Black sugar and/or black jimmies sprinkles


1. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray. 

2. In 4-quart microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 1 minute or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave about 2 minutes, stirring after each minute, until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add cereal; mix well.

3. Spoon cereal mixture into pan. Spray hands with cooking spray, and press mixture firmly in pan. Cover with waxed paper; press second 13x9-inch pan on top to compress bars. Remove pan and paper. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Remove bars from pan; peel off foil. Using sharp knife, cut bars into 8 rows by 6 rows to make 48 squares. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper.

4. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave 12 oz of the chocolate and 1 tablespoon of the shortening uncovered on High 1 minute 30 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 15-second intervals until melted and smooth. Using 2 forks, dip and roll each cereal square in coating. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat twice to use up chocolate, shortening and squares 


5. Sprinkle coated squares with black sugar and/or sprinkles. Place in freezer 15 minutes or refrigerator 30 minutes until chocolate is set. Store in airtight container or sealed storage bag.

Makes 48 squares 


Mommy Muncher

My Munchers love arts & crafts. Last year, the first week of November, we started making these GREAT turkey placecard holders.  It took us until Thanksgiving but every member of our family had an adorable turkey (not as adorable as the photo but pretty close) at their place. Added BONUS we intend to use them again this year!



assorted colored feathers

tiny goggle eyes

small and extra small pompoms



Place your pinecone on the table and turn it around a few times to find a spot where the pinecone will naturally stay put and not roll around.

If the feathers have been packed tightly in a bag, fluff them out by running your fingers down the length of each one from the end of the feather to tip. Spread the feathers out in a fan, moving each one until you have a pleasing arrangement of colors.

Begin gluing the feathers into the spaces of the pinecone about 4 per pinecone – like a fan.

Glue the small pompoms on for the heads.

Glue the goggle eyes on the pompoms close together.

To finish your pinecone turkey, glue on two extra small pompoms for feet.

Once they are dry, you can wedge in a small 2x3 place card between the head and the tail. Enjoy! 

Guest Muncher

Amie Valpone, Easy Eats & The Healthy Apple

Oven-Roasted Chicken Tenders
Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Gluten-free nonstick cooking spay
2½ cups gluten-free Corn Chex cereal
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper
1 large egg or equivalent egg replacement
¼ cup milk or nondairy milk
1 pound chicken tenders (or skinless, boneless breasts cut into thin strips)

 Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse the cereal and dried basil, salt into coarse crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and transfer crumb mixture to a shallow dish or pie plate. In another shallow dish, whisk together the egg and milk.

Dip each chicken strip into the egg mixture to coat thoroughly, then roll in the cereal crumbs. Place on the prepared baking pan. Repeat with all the chicken pieces. Spray lightly with cooking spray and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. 

Guest Muncher 

My name is Maggie da Silva and I live with my husband and three kids in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, where everyone goes a little crazy on Halloween. I blog about that and other family lifestyle topics on 

I also write family lifestyle ebooks – my latest is Real Family Halloween Fun (LINK: ) , a fun eGuide to getting the most out of Halloween while doing as little as possible! 

On Halloween I try to get some real food into my kids before they fill up on candy, and I do that by serving them something that seems like a treat but is secretly nutritious… like these Pumpkin Cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes turn out great! Your kids will suck on the cupcake papers. Well, mine did, anyway.

Makes 18 cupcakes


16 oz. canned, unsweetened pumpkin

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 c. vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

2 c. sugar

2 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. white flour

1.5 t. salt

1.5 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

1 t. nutmeg

1 t. allspice

1 t. cinnamon

½ t. cloves

2/3 c. water


1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Put muffin papers in the muffin tins. (Use muffin papers! Life’s too short to clean muffin tins.)

3. Stir together the sugar and oil.

4. Stir in the eggs and pumpkin.

5. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

6. Mix the dry ingredients and water into the wet mixture, alternating. Don’t overmix.

7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins.

8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

9. Let stand 10 minutes.

10. Remove from the pans and cool. 

Frost with cream cheese frosting: Cream together one 8 oz. block of cream cheese and ½ cup of softened butter. Blend in 1 t. of vanilla extract. Then slowly mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar.

I don’t use food coloring in food, so I just top these with a Halloween doodad. Plastic spiders work nicely because they look like they’re crawling all over the cupcakes. Eww!


PS. (shh..) These are really Pumpkin Muffins, but your kids will never know.

Guest Muncher


Menu By Mom

My name is Sandi Cohen, I have two great kids and a fabulous husband! I’m studying nutrition presently and always have been a very healthy cook. 
Menubymom focuses on healthy and delicious school lunches and new and exciting dinner choices too. Interesting and thought provoking articles will keep you updated all year long. Enjoy this site and keep cooking!

Delicious Banana bread


Here is a healthy, moist and wonderful banana bread that your family will love!  I have constant requests for this dessert, my family can’t get a enough.  Serve either for breakfast or as a dessert.              


3 ripe bananas

¾ cup brown sugar

1  1/2 cups of whole wheat flour

½ cup applesauce

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

In food processor puree bananas.  Then add in all other ingredients and process until smooth.

Pour batter into a greased loaf dish and bake for one hour.

Let cool then slice.  Enjoy!

Guest Muncher

If at first you don’t succeed… Fish Sticks!


Over at Will's Kitchen we are always trying to get Will to taste new foods... This time we tried Fish Sticks and we are happy to announce that YES, Will ate them! He actually tried a bite of each one to see which was the yummiest! It was only a few months ago that he did an about-face rejecting the frozen fish sticks — needless to say, we are really happy to see fish back in his diet again! Just goes to show how important it is to TRY TRY AGAIN!

Canola Oil – 2 Cups
Flour – 1 Cup
Salt – 1/2 Tablespoon
Baking Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon
Sparkling Apple Cider – 1 Cup
Fish — Flounder, Cod or other White Fish – 1 pound
Lemon – 1/2 to squeeze

You will need – Mixing Bowl; Measuring tools; Whisk; Knife for Cutting – watch little fingers!; Rubber Spatula; Deep Pot for Frying; Slotted Spoon

Start by pouring the oil into your pot and heat it over medium/low heat and then whisk together the Flour, Salt and Baking Powder in your mixing bowl. Pat down the fish with a paper towel and then trim while looking for any bones to remove and then cut into strips. Slowly pour the Sparkling Apple Cider into the flour mixture and stir with the spatula until smooth.

Once the batter is combined, use your fingers and dip the fish into the batter piece by piece and add to the hot oil. Only add in a few at a time making sure that they aren’t touching — otherwise they will stick together. Let one side cook for approximately 4 minutes and then use the slotted (or holed in our case) spoon to turn each piece over. Cook both sides until the color is golden brown and then remove to drain. Repeat until all the fish is cooked, give a good lemon squeeze over the whole lot and then GO FOR IT!
Guest Muncher

Paul Antico,

Adrienne's Chicken

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch fresh thyme

1 lemon, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.


Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and toss the onion slices around it. 

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve.

Guest Muncher

Thalia & Jessica, NY Mom's World

Hey mom . . . what’s for dinner?!?!" Sound familiar? I’ve been getting this question nearly every night at around 5:30 pm because for some reason, I keep forgetting to actually make something for my kids to eat. This summer has been so hot, humid, and downright exhausting, that the last thing I want to do is cook. Merely imagining the searing burst of air from a pre-heated oven is enough to send me to a cold shower. I have mastered the art of alternating appetizers from a gourmet food shop, take out from my local Chinese place, hand-delivered pizza, and even using dairy in creative ways, but sometimes chowing down at your local chain restaurant does the job. Here are my top picks for kid-friendly chain restaurants on Long Island.

Cheeburger Cheeburger (locations in Plainview and Farmingdale)

With bright lights, pink walls, and 1950’s décor, a child walks in feeling instantly welcome . . . and then they see the menu. Heaven. Small hamburgers served in paper Cadillac cars, grilled cheese (their choice of bread, their choice of cheese), and even fried macaroni wedges. There’s also the option to create their own flavored soft drink or milk shake. What more could a kid want? And parents will be happy too. There’s quite a comprehensive menu from burgers dressed your way, to the most amazing create-a- salad. The choices are endless.

Bertucci’s (locations in Hauppauge, Melville and Westbury)

My kids love going to Bertucci’s because each time they go in, they are handed a piece of dough that they rough-house with, make into some indescribable shape, and then are somehow convinced (maybe it could be because I tell them) that their dough is what was actually used to make their pizza. They love the brick oven and watching the chef as he pulls pie out, puts pie in. Totally mesmerizing. I love Bertucci’s because of their sophisticated adult menu, and the option to make what could be a highly caloric Italian child’s meal into a nutritious one by offering whole wheat dough, multigrain pasta and juice or milk instead of soda.

Moe’s Southwest Grill (Locations in Woodbury, East Meadow, Garden City, Greenvale and Oceanside)

Children’s palates have become quite refined. Growing up, I thought a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish was manna from heaven, but my own kids (thank goodness) are more interested in learning about what country their meal is coming from rather than what kind of oil their fries were cooked in. My 6-year-old loves Mexican food, but not how you’d expect – he loves beans, guacamole and plain grilled chicken over a salad as opposed to fluorescent cheese slopped on top of nachos mixed with some unrecognizable meat-like substance. Thank goodness for Moe’s Southwest Grill. Priding itself on using only wholesome ingredients grown with sustainability and the environment in mind, Moe’ s menu is suitable for even the pickiest eaters. There are gluten-free, vegetarian, and low-calorie options all highlighted on their very varied menu. And kids aren’t limited to beef or chicken, like they so frequently are. Moe’s offers beef, steak, chicken, tofu and pork to your little one, making for a realhappy meal.


Expert Muncher

Rule the school with great nutrition

Well it’s that time of the year, back to school! We know that it can be hard to ensure that your child is getting a balanced meal at school but this year make sure that healthy eating remains a priority. Many studies show that good nutrition is crucial to keeping your child focused and alert throughout the school day. Enough sleep and physical activity will also help prevent your child from getting restless. The easiest way to make sure that your child is eating a well-balanced meal at school is by packing a homemade lunch and snack. This allows you to control not only what your child is eating but the portion size as well.

1) Lunches should include something from all of the food groups.

2) When purchasing lunchmeats buy ones that are low in fat and sodium and include whole grains when possible.

3) Make sure you send something you know your child likes to eat, so they don’t end up buying something instead or are left running on an empty stomach all day!

4) If time is an issue for you in the morning, make a little extra dinner the night before and send the leftovers for lunch the next day.

5) Avoid sending your child pre- packaged meals as they are often high in sodium, fats and contain a lot of preservatives.

Guest Muncher

Jenn Goonan, Two Chicks Dishin'

One of my dearest friends, and one of the coolest chicks I know, started an amazing website called Two Chicks Dishin'. It is your newest go-to site for what you NEED to know about fashion, beauty and celebs! She is also a mom of two, has a full-time GLAMOUROUS job AND is a great cook - HATE HER Wink Here is her recipe for Spaghetti Pomodorini.


olive oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 package of spaghetti, salt, to taste
1 pint of sweet cherry tomatoes
fresh black pepper
a pinch of peperoncino (optional/dried chili peppers)
handful of chopped basil leaves
Parmesan cheese


Boil water for pasta. Pour one to two inches of olive oil into a saucepan and heat up. Place spaghetti in pot to cook, stir regularly. 

Gently fry the garlic and peperoncino (optional) on low to medium heat. Don’t let garlic burn. Add tomatoes and turn up heat. Do not stir initially, but allow oil to bubble around the tomatoes. After five minutes, give tomatoes a good stir, breaking them up and blending to make a creamy consistency. I like to use a potato masher to slightly crush the tomatoes. 

Drain pasta. Pour tomatoes over pasta; add basil leaves with black pepper and mix. Add parmesan cheese if desired. Serves 4. 

This recipe originated in Palermo, Italy. Enjoy!

Guest Muncher

My kids love turkey chili from an easy recipe shared by their aunt, Elena Chang. It’s delicious hot from the crock pot and yields yummy leftovers, too. 

Turkey Chili 



1 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 lbs. ground turkey

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

3 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes in juice

3 cups chicken broth

1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped


 Sautee the onion, peppers, and garlic until they are soft. Add turkey until it is no longer pink. Mix in chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and stir for a minute. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, approximately an hour. Season the chili with salt and pepper.

Pari Chang is an attorney and single mother of two. She is the lead writer for the Law Offices of Daniel R. Rosen, a personal injury law firm in Denver. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, SELF, Glamour, Redbook, and the anthology, Behind The Bedroom Door, and she is at work on a book, Notes from the Basement.

Mommy Muncher

Coloring Pages

Disappointed by restaurants that don't supply crayons/coloring pages?

Since I refuse to let my minis turn to electronics to pass the time at a restaurant, I have discovered two great sites to print out FREE coloring pages that all ages will love. has cars, animals, learning pages (letters, numbers, etc.), even Disney favorites including fairies, princesses and pirates! has more mature offerings including superheroes, Star Wars, movies (Harry Potter, How to Train your Dragon, Shrek, etc.) and even famous people (Kate & William, the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift to name a few)

I usually carry a zipup bag of crayons and if I forget to printout my kids favs, an old school mini-notebook always comes through in a pinch!


Guest Muncher

Heather Gibbs Flett
Publisher, Rookie Moms (TM)

Taking your Toddler to a Grown-up Restaurant

There are fancy restaurants with linen tablecloths and eerie, romantic silence and there are groovy, funky, cool restaurants that make you feel like an adult again while being a sensory treat for your older baby. I’m talking about taking your highchair-sittin’ baby to the latter. Even so, go out with a big noisy group when you can. Or at least with understanding, kid-loving people (who will want to give you and your spouse a break and take the kid to look around) and the meal will seem that much smoother...

For TIPS on how to handle your Minis from the experts at Rookie Moms click HERE

Guest Muncher

Savoring Meal Time
By Jocelyn Chia

Imagine you and your family sitting down to a long, leisurely meal and simply savoring it? How divine is that? In our modern, fast paced, activity filled lives, we often forget the simple practice of enjoying our meals. We eat on the run or in a hurry and tend to leave the relaxed, decadent meals for that vacation to Italy we plan to take "someday". We've all been guilty of it and at, our goal is to remind Moms that joy and enjoyment is a necessity! These are the top two life vitamins needed for a happy soul.

1. Take a moment before you eat to remember how lucky we are to be able to put delicious food on our table.

2. Breathe in and savor the smell of your food.

3. Take the time to really connect at meal times – institute a no phones at the table policy.

Want more life-enhancement resources, as well as strategies on how to save more time and money? Visit for deals for both you and your family that help you save time, money and indulge in your inner goddess every now and then! We look out for the things that will give you that needed boost to make your life easier, better and give you the much needed time to have that languid meal with a heaping extra side of joy.

Bon Appétit!

Guest Muncher

Afternoon Tea, My Mini & Me
Angelique LeDoux,
Jade’s ToyBox Inc.

Growing up in the Deep South, every bridal shower and fancy soiree seemed to have the same delicate bite-sized staples: southern chicken salad, egg salad and cream cheese and cucumber tea sandwiches, with super sweet iced tea or even better, a slightly frozen southern strawberry punch and petit fours that have the potential to be the next cupcake craze.

To this day, afternoon tea sends me right back to Alabama and I compare every tea to that formative experience. Now it’s my turn to pass on the tradition to my little girl, and luckily New York City has some great options for sharing the afternoon tea experience with your little ones, and no crayons or distractions are necessary. 

 My NYC Afternoon Tea Bucket List

 I’ve had amazing afternoon tea at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town and the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul, but I’m still looking for the perfect afternoon tea experience. Whether you're introducing a family tradition or using tea time as an opportunity to teach meal manners or expand your kiddos culinary curiosity, consider these must visits in NYC.

Eloise Tea at the Plaza 
With names like Eloise Tea and Chocolate Tea, there’s no question that kids will enjoy the famous afternoon tea at the newly renovated Palm Court at The Plaza. For starters, sandwiches are sure to please with a sampler of no-brainers like grilled cheese, organic peanut butter and jelly, cucumber and buttered bread and strawberry and cream cheese. The scones are a nice size and served warm with double Devonshire cream and preserves, and the pastries and sweets are perfect: a pink jello shot (no, not the adult version), lemon tea cake, chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate cupcakes and cookies. Kids may choose either cold pink lemonade or peppermint iced tea. The Chocolate Tea is a chocolate lovers dream- essentially chocolate fondue in tiers, plus a champagne add-on for mommy to boot. And a warning ladies, do not dress the girls in that new white sweater like I did.

 Palm Court at The Plaza. Afternoon tea is served from 2 pm -5 pm daily.  5th at Central Park South. For reservations: 212-546-5300.

  Madeline Tea at the Carlyle Hotel
Even if the Madeline Tea isn’t available until the holidays, it’s still worth a visit to Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel to experience afternoon tea. The adjoining room serves up fairly standard tea fare with a selection of familiar choices: cucumber and cream cheese, ham, smoked salmon, turkey and egg salad. And while my 5-year-old went to town on the bite-sized rectangles, I thought the cucumber sandwich on white bread was slightly soggy; the egg salad not discernable; the ham had what tasted like horseradish, but my daughter liked it; and I thought the turkey was chicken salad. The mini raisin scones are traditional tea staples, served with Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves. This is where all etiquette lessons were lost, and sopping up preserves with morsels of scone was allowed. Mini pastries included a strawberry tart, a lemon curd treat and a layered chocolate coffee flavored pastry.

  As afternoon tea goes, it wasn’t the food that made the Bemelmans Bar experience onto my tea bucket list, it was the history of the bar itself, the four cups of perfect cinnamon tea and a special mommy daughter outing. But as we headed out the door, my daughter gave Eloise the better score. (See The Plaza for the Eloise Tea)

Around the holidays, make reservations for the Madeline Tea at Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel. Other times of year, walk-ins are fine while Afternoon tea is served from 3 pm- 5 pm daily. 
35 E 76 St between 5th and Madison. Reservations: 212-744-1600.

The Peninsula Hotel, NY
The Peninsula Afternoon Tea is another personal favorite with a fancier assortment of tea sandwiches for the adults, like Maine lobster on a mini brioche, beef sirloin, roasted turkey with cranberry on a pretzel roll and chopped ham on mini Pullman bread. But the kids afternoon tea is kid-friendly, with chicken fingers, pb&j, a cheese sandwich triangle and desserts galore like a mini cupcake, a rice crispy treat, fruit parfait and hot cocoa. As evidenced from my 5-year-old, it really doesn’t matter what order they eat the food, since at this place it will all be eaten, so pick your battles.

The Peninsula Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula Hotel, 700 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street. For reservations, call 212.903.3918.

 Tea & Sympathy
Though this tiny Greenwich Village staple has no place for strollers or a changing table, no afternoon tea list of NYC would be complete without it. It’s still one of my favorite afternoon teas since nothing comes closer to replicating the taste I grew up with down to the strawberry preserves and chicken salad sandwiches. While the desserts taste like they use the same ingredients of the scone tier- strawberry preserves and clotted cream, Tea & Sympathy’s sandwich selection, cinnamon tea and overall experience keep me coming back, despite the wait, strict seating rules or lack of kid features beyond the kid-friendly food. Oh, and seeing Johnny Depp sitting behind my mom one day didn’t hurt either.

Tea & Sympathy, 108 Greenwich Avenue near Jane Street and 9th Avenue.

Home Sweet Home… as in at YOUR home
Consider making your kid's next tea party, school lunch or after school snack a special etiquette and culinary experience with a sandwich sampler in different shapes and bread choices. Here’s your chance to try something new like hummus with yellow, green and orange bell peppers.  Make a dessert sampler too with old favorites and new flavors like homemade coconut macaroons. And for the thermos, try the strawberry punch...

 Southern Strawberry Punch

2 packages of frozen organic strawberries  

1.5 bottles of caffeine-free organic ginger ale

3 cups of fresh pineapple juice

Let strawberries thaw (you can cut and freeze fresh strawberries, but you want frozen for texture) then add to a freezable pitcher or bowl. Add ginger ale and pineapple juice. Mix and freeze. Thaw 4 hours before using. 

Optional, for tea parties: Freeze gingerale in a bundt pan with strawberries, chunks of pineapple, lemons and edible flowers for garnish. Add frozen ring to the punch bowl just before serving.


Mommy Muncher

There is nothing better then a homemade (or semi-homemade as Sandra Lee would say) dessert to impress mommys (and Minis) at the end of a playdate. The folks at Pillsbury sent me over this amazing Key Lime Cooler Min Ice Cream Pie that will be sure to do the trick this summer!

1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1 cup lime sherbet
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whipped topping
Grated lime peel, if desired

Heat oven to 450°F. Remove pie crusts from pouches; unroll on work surface. Cut six 4-inch rounds from each crust. Firmly press each round in bottom and up side of each of 12 ungreased regular-size muffin cups. Prick with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Gently mix sherbet and ice cream. Divide mixture evenly among pie crust cups. Freeze uncovered until firm, about 3 hours.

Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with whipped topping and lime peel.


Mommy Muncher


Ok - before I had THREE kids in NYC, I thought leashes for kids was cruel and inhumane. But now I can see how SOMETHING to corral the kids when crossing the street or street fairs, etc. could be useful. As my mom always said, NEVER say NEVER...

Mom of NINE (yes 9!) Robin Pellei of MompreneurPlus9 has invented the Gripsterz Stay Along for moms who want/need to control their kids in the City or Burbs (malls, amusement parks, etc.). Obviously drawing on personal experience, this product is adorable (kids hold onto a little monkey) that can either be held by another person or attached to your stroller.

There are also some other great products for families of multiple children that can make everyday like simpler, in fun and pretty ways: toothbrush bands, cup bands, bottle bands (that can all be personalized with a pen)and even a "spot" that is a take-a-long Time Out location (I know I could use that for weekends and holiday travel!)

Visit our Facebook Page THIS WEEK to WIN your own Gripsterz Stay Along - I LOVE MINE! 

Guest Muncher

Carrot Coriander Dip

Gluten-Free and Vegan

Serves 4


6 large carrots, shredded
2 Tbsp. raw cashews
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup hemp milk
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/3 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender; pulse until smooth. Transfer to the stove top, cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes or until thickened. Enjoy atop grilled tofu, eggs, fish or as a dressing on salads. 

Guest Muncher

Meredith Levy, pint size social

Summertime is by far the the most favorite time of year for my family.
Everything seems a little more special. Relaxed schedules, ice cream after most meals and endless time at the beach.

Our must-haves for this summer?

The pumpinator
Invented by an 8 year old, this perennial favorite is a hit among mixed ages. Easily fills balloons oh-so-fast with either water or air.

Haba beach bucket with valve
A bit pricey for a bucket, but it is collapsible (perfect for travel) and has a working valve. Pretty genius and a must-have for us on the beach

Pewi bike
A great “walker” that eventually becomes your childs first balance bike- teaching them to quickly feel so confident and gets them ready for bike riding.

Crocodile Creek Playground balls
By far the best playground balls we’ve found- they come in so many different patterns it’s easy to spot yours when leaving the playground

Geyser Baseball
Perfect for the hottest days, dunk the foam ball in water and watch it spray when you throw it. We’ve yet to meet a kid ( or adult ) who doesn’t love it

pint size social is an online lifestyle destination for the entire family. Designed for stylish, in-the-know parents, pint size social keeps them plugged in to all things cool and kid-friendly. Proving you can still keep a sense of style with wee ones around. 

Guest Muncher

Going for brunch or dinner with your little one can be challenging at times. We need to remember to pack all the necessities that will keep them occupied while you try to enjoy a meal- a meal you’re not actually cooking.

These five things I never leave home without…

Makie’ blue town bib – Why spoil your little fashionista’s clothing when you can messy up this trendy bib. 

Ella’s kitchen drink  – Just in case my little munch doesn’t like what’s on the menu, I always carry one of Ella’s Kitchen fruit/veggie combo.  One of these can always hold him over.

Babyganics Germinator Hand Sanitizer Alcohol free hand sanitizer! I use this about a hundred times a day! 

Dwell Place Mats with dry erase markers included – I find these easy to travel placemats are a creative and fun way to keep them busy.

Iphone/Ipad app – Monkey Preschool Lunchbox - 
For the real emergencies (meltdowns), I whip the big guns- my iphone. This is a great app for kid’s ages 2-5, and very educational. 

Brianne - 

Guest Muncher

Adam Cohen, DadaRocks

DadaRocks is one of the best resources for REAL advice on raising kids, marriage, products for kids from a dad's perspective. Adam Cohen - the "dad' behind the site, has shared his top 5 picks for kid-friendly restaurants in the City.

1) Shake Shack: this is like the beatles vs elvis type debate youre either a fan or not. 

2) Brother Jimmy's BBQ: You dont have to worry about the mess your kids make on the floor they've seen worst and bonus is kids eat free (with adult meals purchased).

3) California Pizza Kitchen: Chains are good for kids and even better then they offer up a great kids meal.

4) Bubby's: this place rocks - great food that any kid will eat - just remember its cash only on the weekends.

5) Patsy’s Pizzeria: There are a few around the city - but they still make great food and the family friendly vibe wont have anyone giving your an evil eye when a baby starts to cry.

Mommy Muncher

Review - Phyliscious Gluten Free Muffins

Before I begin, I have to admit, I am not an EXPERT by any means on gluten free food or baked goods. But after sampling the Phyliscious Treats, I think there is hope for my mini gluten-free friends.

After my mini WOLFED down a sample of the chocolate muffins, I had to ask the ladies from Phyliscious if we could sample all the flavors. The gluten-free varieties are banana walnut, double dark chocolate and blueberry and the family owned business emphasizes that all the ingredients are fresh and healthy. From omega-3 rich extra-virgin olive oil and whole grains to flax seeds and fresh fruit and spices - the muffins also exclude all additives, genetically modified ingredients and preservatives.

I was actually surprised that my minis preferred the banana walnut over any of the others and Mommy enjoyed having her minis actually EAT a healthy breakfast without a fight in the am.

For more information or to order Phyliscious Treats visit their website or call 917-224-3100.


Guest Muncher

Jodi Greebel, DinDins

To celebrate the launching of DESSERTS on DinDins, NYC's premiere delivery service for NATURAL and ORGANIC toddler food, we are so excited to feature this fabulous recipe for Cranberry Raisin Oatmeal Cookie - HAPPY MUNCHING!

                           CRANBERRY RAISIN OATMEAL COOKIES                             

Makes 20-25 toddler-size cookies


1 stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. water

1 extra large egg

1/2 c. flour

1/4 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 c. old fashioned oatmeal

3/8 c. raisins

3/8 c. cranberries (dried)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Beat butter with sugars, vanilla, and water until fluffy.  Add the egg and beat well. Mix together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add this flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix only until combined.  Add the oats and then the raisins and cranberries. Using a measuring teaspoon drop on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool on baking rack.



Guest Muncher

Anna Sandler,

Three great UWS places for dining outside with your kids

The warm weather days of summer are the perfect time to dine outside with your kids.  Here are my favorite kid-friendly Upper West Side restaurant s to enjoy with family and friends.

Boat Basin Café - West 79th Street and The Hudson River. This is a great place to grab a casual meal of burgers and hot dogs with the kids, and with big tables and a loud din it’s also the perfect place to dine with other families. With a general din of diners and drinkers, you don’t need to worry about your kid being the loudest person in the joint. There’s also plenty of room for the little ones to run around without attracting the glares of waiters.  Just try to go at off-peak hours – it does get crowded, and there can be waits for tables.

Le Pain Quotidien This Belgium chain can be found all over the City, including four locations on the Upper West Side.  In addition to their signature breads and chocolate spreads, there are also many kid-friendly choices from baked goods to sandwiches. In a big group? Head inside to dine at one of the communal tables. I love to make it a fun day out with the kids by eating first at the 84th and Amsterdam location, then taking a visit to Upper West Side Kids, the toy store right next door. 

Sarabeth’s This is one of our family’s favorite places. We go early (at exactly 8 am when it opens) for breakfast year-round and it’s a top-choice to take out-of-town visitors.   With eggs, pancakes, and their legendary preserves, there is plenty to enjoy for even the pickiest of the pint-sized. Both of the UWS locations (80th and Amsterdam and Central Park South between 5th and 6th Avenues) have outside seating, but the CPS location offers the extra enticement of a fantastic Central Park view including the horses, which my kids just love. When you’re done eating, you can take the kids to one of the park’s fantastic playgrounds or walk just a few blocks to the Central Park Zoo.

Guest Muncher

Tips for Dining out with Food Allergies by Jessica Murphy - Macaroni Kid Downtown

Eating out, ordering food or eating at somebody's house is something most people do on a regular basis. However for anyone suffering from or who has a child with food allergies these experiences can be extremely stressful. At home, as long as you are diligent when shopping, preparing meals that are allergen free is pretty simple. In our case our son has severe allergies to nuts, soy and sesame so we avoid having those products in our home. Eating in all the time would definitely be simpler, but we don't want our son to miss out on birthday parties, family events or other social get togethers plus it is important that he learns how to eat out in a safe way as he gets older. Though there is no way to make eating out 100% safe here are some tips from our personal experience:

Check the menu in advance . Stay away from places with a huge number of allergens and if you are looking for a restaurant in advance check the website and reference online resources. Try to avoid crowded restaurants when the staff may be too busy to properly address your order.

Tell the hostess and your server about your allergies. This can be uncomfortable initially for some people, but it is essential. OK. Allergies are so prevalent nowadays that some restaurants even train their servers about food allergies and it is unlikely you are the first person to alert the servers to a food allergy. Unfortunately many people still don't comprehend how high the stakes are. If you do not feel confident that they are listening or understand then talk to a manager or find another restaurant if possible.


Provide a description of your allergies. Explain your allergies and alternate names plus make it clear that cross contamination is a concern. Providing an allergy card can help prevent mis-communication. Double check when the food is delivered and examine your meal carefully.


If you must attend an event where you are not able to confirm the safety of the food bring food or eat before you go. No matter where we go desserts are tricky so we always bring a treat just in case others get dessert. Luckily our son understands that it is better to be different then to experience a reaction.

Always bring an Epi-pen. Make sure someone is present who knows how to handle and adverse reaction and administer the epinephrine if necessary. Keep an Emergency Medical Plan with your medicines.

Mommy Muncher

The CUTEST and COOLEST means to keep your Mini Muncher clean

Colby Lane Designs Whimsical Baby Bibs

Ok - I might be a crazy mom but I like my littlest one to look CUTE with a bib, especially when we are out to eat. The most adorable I have found are from Colby Lane Designs.

I found these adorable bibs on etsy (a great place to find homemade goods of all kinds - not just for the Minis...) and I love that they are from a "mom and pop" shop!

They are a GREAT size for Toddlers 91/2 by 13 inches - with two snaps at the neck to adjust with their size - and machine washable. 

Most importantly, the are ADORABLE (have I already mentioned that?) On one side they have the most fun retro-fabrics (animals, food, graphic patterns, holidays, etc.) and the other chenille that is great to wipe the little-ones faces and hands while they are getting messy.  

My only caveat of sharing this find, is giving away my little secret but with the over 400 fabric selections - we can all custom order our bibs and never see a duplicate!

Expert Muncher

Gilda Mulero, Natural Foods Chef & Cooking Instructor

Carrot Chips


6 large carrots  

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sea salt to taste


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  With a Kuhn vegetable peeler, peel carrots so that you remove the outer peel.  Continue peeling carrots lengthwise into strips.  Place strips into a bowl and toss with the olive oil and ground cinnamon.  Place strips onto baking sheets and bake in the oven for approximately 40-50 minutes or until crispy.

Note: Using a Kuhn vegetable peeler is like using a mandoline, but more convenient.  The same method of shaving the vegetable to make chips can be used on sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, plantains.  Chips are fun for kids and adults too!


Naturally-Tasty ( is a Personal Chef service dedicated to providing wholesome meals, dinner parties and cooking instruction for families throughout New York City. 

Expert Muncher

Tyler Florence, Chef & Co-Founder Sprout Baby Food

Tyler Florence (NEED I SAY MORE??) is a 15-year veteran of the Food Network, author of six cookbooks, and  Co-founder and Executive Chef for Sprout Baby Food, which he designs using 100% organic, all-natural ingredients to create flavorful combinations to develop a healthy relationship with food from the start. 

MiniMunchers is SO excited to feature Tyler & Sprout Baby Food's recipe for Banana Brown Rice for Baby

Banana Brown Rice for Baby

2 cups cooked brown rice
3 bananas
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Filtered water

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake bananas in skins on roasting tray for 30 minutes. Skin will  darken.  Use large scoop to remove flesh, then puree with brown rice, cinnamon and filtered water until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Immediately cool in the refrigerator.
Cooking time:  40 min.  Yield approx 3 cups. 

Copyright Sprout Foods, Inc. Sprout, Sprout Baby Food and the Sprout Clover are registered trademarks of Sprout Foods, Inc.

Guest Muncher

Katy Osborne,
Queens Restaurant Picks

While Queens isn't known as THE most youthful and hip borough, it does have a few bright spots when
it comes to dining out with your wee ones. Here are some places I would recommend:

The Manor Oktoberfest - This German-influenced pub is located between
the two main dining districts of Forest Hills, Austin St.and Metropolitan Ave. The bright and spacious
atmosphere has plenty of space for restless young 'uns to burn off a little steam between courses.
The booths are large so your kids will have plenty of space to spread out their crayons AND their
cheeseburgers. The menu offers a variety of Bavarian fare along with steak and seafood classics. Service
is incredibly friendly and the music and chatter is loud enough to ensure that your amateur karaoke
artist won't disrupt anyone's schnitzel.

Bare Burger - Astoria features this rare treat for Queens dwellers searching for
a trendy and tasty green-themed menu. All of their ingredients are organic and local when possible. As
the name suggests, burgers (from beef to bison to veggie and more) are their specialty, but there are
salad and sandwich options as well. TVs are tuned to The Cartoon Network for little eyes. The adorably-
titled Cubby Meals include an entree, fries, apple slices, and finely sliced carrot sticks. The staff is young,
enthusiastic, and accommodating. Space is a bit tight, but they will find a space for your stroller if

Press 195 Bayside is home to this innovative sandwich joint. The menu boasts
more than 50 hot and cold sandwiches, most for under $10. Belgian fries will be a hit with munchers of
all ages! When the weather is nice, be sure to take advantage of their outdoor patio.

Tortilleria Nixtamal - Craving deliciously fresh tamale? Get thee to Corona
and check out this simply delightful Mexican joint. The menu is short and sweet, featuring tamales and
tacos. Everything is house made and locally sourced when possible. Kids will love the bold colors, picnic
bench seating, and seeing the in-house tortilla factory. This neighborhood is shared by The NY Hall of
Science, Queens Zoo, and The Lemon Ice King of Corona, so make a day of it!

Guest Muncher

Erica, ShopLittleGifts

Restaurant Ready Toys

You've been there, we've all been there - the kids at the next table are either tired and grumpy or playing with clanky toys or chopsticks. This got us thinking, what kinds of toys out there promote quiet and civilized interactions without disturbing others. Here are a few we found:

1) Sea Collection by Wee Gallery
Printed from hand-drawn illustrations, these sturdy cards are great for kids to use as flash cards and art inspiration. Whip a deck out on the restaurant table and challenge your kids to creating their own illustrations based on any one of them while you wait for the entrees or desserts to arrive. Available at WeeGallery. Price: $12.95.

2) Create Your Own Pop-Up Books
Kids love pop-up books, especially when they can make one themselves. Get your kids to know that dining out is a special experience. Use this pop-up sketchbook only at memorable events such as birthdays and celebrations. Encourage them to use each page fully and record what they are celebrating, tasting and feeling. Available at CreativityforKids. Price $19.99.

3) Make Your Own Pizza Sticker Activity Book
Entice your kids to try different types of food by learning about what they eat. This sticker book includes 80 different toppings for your kids to put together their own creation as they wait for the real melty pie coming out from the stone oven. Available at Amazon. Price: $1.50.

4) Story Cubes
Ever notice how your kids are coming up with their own stories about their favorite toy characters? You will be surprised by the clicking of their imagination with these story cubes. Whether you have one child or baby-sitting a mini soccer team, roll the dice and let the story unfold. With 9 cubes and 54 images, the possibilities are endless. Available at Price: $7.82.

5) Hidden Pictures
With more than 450 hidden objects, your kids will be mesmerized by the illustrations and fully synced into identifying the hidden objects within the pictures while you sip an ice tea and savor a few relaxing moments. Available at Mindware. Price: $19.95.

About ShopLittleGifts
Shop Little Gifts is a blog about trendy, fun and meaningful gifts that will make you look smart, thoughtful and in-the-know. Tired of mass market products? Here’s a place where you will find just the right thing, for everyone you know. 

Guest Muncher

Heather Walsh,

Charm City… Like a Local

So, you’re thinking of trekking to Charm City aka Baltimore, MD for spring break. Fantastic! 

Like all major cities, Baltimore has the typical family-friendly attractions. If you pick up any guidebook, the ‘kid’ activity section would likely include places like The Maryland Zoo, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Inner Harbor, or The Maryland Science Center.

 Since you’ve got that info in your Fodors, Lonely Planet or AAA (you did pick up a guide, right?), we’re going to give you the 411 on where you’ll find the ‘local families’ on any given spring weekend.

Port Discovery Children’s Museum is probably in your guide. What’s probably not mentioned is their brand new Tot Trails exhibit. Specially designed for infants and toddlers, this exhibit features unique landmarks and landscapes of Maryland. There are mirrored "tidal pools" and "dune walks” for infants.  Young toddlers can climb through the mountain trail, play in the sand, and ‘splash’ in the computer-generated stream. Older children will love the three story urban tree house. A word to the wise? Bring a second pair of clothes if your children are planning to make a stop in the Wonders of Water exhibit.

In a city known for unique neighborhoods, Hampden just might be the most distinctive.  The inspiration for John Waters’ film Hairspray, Hampden is consistently touted as the best shopping neighborhood in Baltimore. The Avenue (also known as 36th Street) is a stroller thoroughfare on the weekends. A must see? Trohv. Fun and funky items for kids, parents and the home. Drop by the studio at WhollyTerra to chat with the artists (be careful - - it is one of those look but don’t touch places!), or watch potters in action at Wild Yam Pottery. Comic book lover? Be sure to stop at Atomic Books. Don’t worry if your stroller doesn’t fit through the door or you don’t want to take it up a flight of stairs. Most locals just leave them unattended outside.

Hampden is flanked by several parks and is within walking distance to our favorite city kid spots – Linkwood Playground. On warm days, this is definitely a local family hot spot. Never a swing shortage and multiple slides. Playground perfection.

 The Red Canoe Bookstore Café in Lauraville is one of the city’s best kept secrets. Arguably serves up the best muffins in a 50-mile radius. Select a new picture book and enjoy a bite out on their tiered deck, or cozy up in their small café. If you’re a mom who’s a little crunchy, you’ll be happy to know that Red Canoe prides themselves on using local, fresh and healthy ingredients.  Another great Lauraville eating option?Clementine’s. In addition to their delicious food, they have a toy corner that will entertain your kiddos while you decompress over a cool cup of mint tea. On the weekends, Clementine’s mixes their own cream cheeses for bagel shmearing and fries up their own house-made sausages.

If you’re planning to stick closer to downtown, The Papermoon Diner  has something for everyone – to eat and to look at. The suspended toys, pez dispensers, dolls, airplanes, action figures and nostalgic memorabilia covering every nook and cranny of this Charles Village-area restaurant will mesmerize your kids almost as much as the menu. They offer “tv dinner” style specials, phenomenal pancakes served hot off the griddle all day, and homemade chunky applesauce. Come for the crab soup. Stay for the deep dish apple pie a la mode.

There is no shortage of art museums in Baltimore. Some of our favorites include The American Visionary Art Museum (right now they have a glitter Sesame Street scene and whoopee cushion bench that shouldn’t be missed), the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art. The BMA is free, and each Sunday hosts family-friendly art workshops and tours from 2-4 PM. While you’re there, grab a Maryland-shore style bite at Gertrude’s. The crab cakes are phenomenal. The mimosas are heaven. And if you’re lucky enough to nab an outside table, your pint sizers can run around the sculpture garden while you wait for your entrees.

- - -

Heather Walsh is editor-in-chief of (cool) progeny (, a Baltimore-based blog about raising fun, fashionable, active little thinkers in the city. She’s mom to one adorable Bug, wife to one construction manager, and a wrangler of two dogs.

Guest Muncher

Courtney Adamo, Babyccino Kids
Planning a trip to London with the kids for Spring Break? MiniMunchers is LUCKY enough to be friends with one of the coolest chicks over the pond who also happens to have one of the hippest mommy websites around - offering daily family-friendly tips from recipes and craft ideas to hot clothing lines and travel destinations. Courtney knows what is "IN" for the tot dining scene in London and has graciously shared her picks with us!  

1.) Inn The ParkIf you’re spending the day sight-seeing and need a little pit stop (breakfast, lunch or dinner), Inn The Park is the perfect place to refuel. It’s smack in the middle of all the sights (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament) and located in the beautiful St. James’ Park. The modern British food is good and the setting is simply unrivaled. Save some bread to feed the ducks!

2.) The River CaféThe River Café hardly needs an introduction. This well-known restaurant is both a celebrity hang-out and a favorite brunch locale for London families.  The prices are high, but the food is so good it’s worth it.  I once read somewhere that the best Italian food in Europe can be found at the River Café — meaning even better than Italy itself! Book well in advance.

 3.) The Borough Market The Borough Market is not for the crowd-fearing or for the buggy-pushing —it can get very busy! But, if you’re a food lover (and who isn’t?), it is definitely worth visiting. It is London’s largest and most renowned food market with more than 130 food stalls and culinary experts – such fun for the kids to see and try all the fresh food. It’s probably best to visit on a Thursday or Friday – it’s busy on Saturdays.

4.) Kenwood HouseKenwood House is located at the top of Hampstead Heath Park and is one of my favorite places to go for brunch on a weekend.  Not only does Kenwood House boast sumptuous interiors and important paintings by many great artists (Rembrandt, Turner, Vermeer, etc.), it also has an impressive café/restaurant with one of the best ‘English Breakfasts’ in London.  On a sunny day you can sit outside in their beautiful garden.

5.) The Orangery Restaurant If you’re looking for a good, kid-friendly option for afternoon tea, then pop into The Orangery in the beautiful Kensington Gardens. Located adjacent to Kensington Palace and right next to the Princess Diana memorial playground, it’s an obvious stop for some tea and cake. No reservation needed – just queue up at the front door. 


Guest Muncher

Lara Paul, iKidNY
www.iKidNY.comNew York City has some of the neatest kid friendly restaurants anywhere.  As a Harlem resident, I have made it my mission to find fun, tasty, kid friendly restaurants on the North end of the island.  Here are some of my favorite uptown kid friendly eats:

Kitchenette 1272 Amsterdam Avenue (at 123rd) - Make your way uptown for some of the best kid friendly brunch in the city.  Enjoy old school comfort food and dessert treats at this cozy restaurant made to feel like your grandma’s kitchen.  Everything here tastes homemade including awesome pancakes and other kids favs like hole in the bread.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que 700 West 125th Street (at 12th Avenue) - Delicious ribs, chicken and brisket along with favorite sides like mac n cheese, collard greens, baked beans and carrot and raisin salad, plus a dedicated kids menu.  Kids will have lots to look at in the new space, which is bigger and better than ever, including motorcycles and live blues.

Miss Maude’s Spoonbread Too
366 West 110th Street (at Columbus) - The whole family will enjoy the super casual atmosphere with fun checkered tablecloths and special menu for young soul food lovers.

Sylvia’s 328 Lenox Avenue (between 126th & 127th) - Kids will love one of Harlem’s staples and its unbeatable Sunday gospel brunch.  Southern home cooking made by Sylvia since 1962 features a dedicated kids menu.

Patsy’s2287 First Avenue (between 117th & 118th)- Everyone loves pizza! Kids get to taste some of New York’s oldest and best pies in town at the original mafia hangout founded in 1932.  Parents and kids love the thin-crust pizza from the original coal-fired oven, as well as family-style pastas and yummy salads.

Mama Mexico 2672 Broadway (at 102nd Street) - Nightly fun at this festive Mexican nonstop party.  The large portions are great for sharing and the marriaches will have your kids begging to come back.

SMOKE 2751 Broadway (at 106th) - One of the city’s only weekend jazz brunches for kids, SMOKE’S Saturday Sandbox, features an interactive jazz show for kids and tasty brunch fare.

Find nearby kid friendly restaurants, changing tables, subway stations with elevators, indoor and outdoor playspaces and more at iKidNY, the ultimate parents’ iPhone, iTouch, iPad app for NYC parents.

Expert Muncher

Amie Valpone, The Healthy Apple

Nut n’ Seed Bars with Almond Butter Sauce (Gluten-Free Recipe)

1 stick butter
¾ cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
cup sunflower seeds
½ cup golden raisins
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. chili powder
Almond Butter Sauce (recipe below)
½ tsp. olive oil


Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottom and two sides with parchment paper. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the honey and sugar and cook over moderate heat, for approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sea salt and chili powder; cook for approximately 2 minutes. Transfer batter into the prepared baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven; set aside to cool.

Remove the entire square from the pan by lifting the parchment paper.  Slice into bars.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip the bottom half of each bar into the almond butter sauce (twice to ensure a thick coat) and set the bars on the baking sheet. Refrigerate until the almond butter is set.

Almond Butter Sauce Ingredients
¾ cup almond butter
¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 Tbsp. warm water
¼ cup cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon


In a food processor, combine nut butter, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, honey and water; pulse until smooth. Add cilantro, garlic, ginger, chili powder and cinnamon; continue to pulse until mixture forms a smooth and creamy consistency.

Guest Muncher

Ellen Schmidt, Baby Meets City

Review: GustOrganics

Like most New Yorkers, my husband and I dine out often.  Well, we used to.  Since having a child, our lives have changed in all manner of ways, not the least of which includes our eating (out) habits.  Translation: we've gotten to know our kitchen again and have our local Chinese restaurant on speed dial.  Needless to say, I was very excited to learn that the certified green & organic restaurant, GustOrganics, has a special menu just for babies.  Count us in! 

I must say, I felt cleansed & healthier just stepping inside GustOrganics. The bamboo/green/raw materials theme is somewhat spa-esque, not usually the aesthetic you find in a bustling space such as this one. Mellow tunes playing overhead seemed in direct contrast to the surprisingly packed restaurant we found on a late Saturday afternoon pop in.

Please have time when you visit - Gustorganic's fresh baby food takes an average of 30 minutes to prepare.

While we waited, I shared my soup with her, a fall-themed squash flavor that was pretty tasty. When her food arrived, we were nearing the end of our wine. Excellent timing as we took turns feeding her, both of us armed with spoons pointed in her direction. For her main course, I ordered the "chicken breast made with zucchini, carrot, one bay leaf, and salted water." She seemed to enjoy it, though the real hit was dessert -- a puree of "peaches, sugar and GustOrganics pure water." 

My "two thumbs up" rating is two-fold, first, because they even HAVE baby food on the menu (fresh & huge portions!) and secondly, we were able to easily stash our stroller in the corner upon arrival.

Guest Muncher

Francine, owner

Sanity Saving Solutions

Dining out with kids can be a challenge. As a mom of 3 boys, an orderly lunch or dinner out is a huge undertaking. As the owner of Give Wink, I am always on the look out for practical solutions. Here are a few of my favorites....

Bibs are the perfect creation for keeping baby clean and neat. Without them we'd be forced to pack the entire closet into the diaper bag. Though taking out the stains from the bib your baby used while enjoying spaghetti and meatballs is not fun. Bibs to Go By Dwell Studio are the answer.  20 disposable bibs tear out like the pages in a coloring book. The designs are "bold and witty" and will attract the most fashion conscious. They are coated on the front to help repel liquids and lined with an absorbent material on the back. When dinner is over so is the mess. 

If mealtime with your child makes you feel like an army sergeant instead of nurturing mom then these Get Set Placemats might be the answer. Each pack includes 8 themed reversible paper placemats and 8 sheets of repositionable stickers.  One side teaches kids the proper placement of utensils and the other has activities that will keep your little one so engaged they will not realize they ate all of their veggies. 

This is one of my all time favorite things, silicone placemats by Kidz Placemats.  The kit comes with a box of washable markers. When drawing and eating time is over, simply wipe the coloring clean by using a wipe or rinsing under a sink. 

If you have ever been tempted to take your kids to dinner to a more adult oriented restaurant be sure you take a Buddha Laptop for each of the kids. They will be so transfixed with this gadget you will hardly notice they are there. It opens and closes like a computer laptop and comes with a calligraphy-like paintbrush. Simply add a little water to the reservoir and the kids can create temporary masterpieces. When the water dries the drawing disappears.
Now that we have talked about things to take out when dining out, there has to be way to lug it all. The Bento Ultimate Diaper Bag by Skip Hop is the perfect bag for on-the-go families. It has all of the bells and whistles as most diaper bags like compartments and comfortable carry straps. In addition tough, it comes with an insulated Mealtime Kit. " The perfectly sized containers store snacks and more while the insulated cooler bag and perfect-fit freezer pack keep food fresh." If you are the type of mom that believes in a place for everything and everything in its place then this might just be the bag for you. 
Expert Muncher

Madeline Lanciani, Chef/Owner Duane Park Patisserie

Expert Muncher

Chef Neil Kleinberg, Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant

Looking to make your ordinary pancakes EXTRAORDINARY!
The experts at Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant have shared this recipe from their new cookbook to add some dazzle to your morning routine! Your Minis will LOVE you for it!

Chocolate Chunk Pancakes
makes 6 servings

½ cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Chocolate Sauce

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup light corn syrup

½ cup half-and-half

1 ounce unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Stud the pancakes with the chocolate chunks before flipping or top each stack with a scattering of chunks.

2. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve  chocolate on the side.

Expert Muncher

Waldy Malouf, Chef/Owner, Beacon Restaurant

Thin Crusted Pizza with Four Cheeses and Basil

By Chef/Owner Waldy Malouf, Beacon Restaurant

Serves 4 to 6

1 Pizza Dough (can be purchased at most markets)

Unsalted butter, softened, for brushing

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup basic Tomato sauce

2/3 cup grated Bel Paese cheese

2/3 cup grated Asiago cheese

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 cup diced fresh Mozzarella

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips


1. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. or light the grill.

2. Press the risen pizza dough down and turn it onto a flat surface. Lightly knead the dough a few times. Divide the dough into two equal balls. Roll out each round on a piece of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thick (they will be about 10 inches in diameter). Slide the rounds, on the paper, onto cookie sheets or upside down rimmed baking sheets.

3. Brush the pizza dough with softened butter and olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the crust. Sprinkle the cheeses over the sauce.

4. Trim the parchment paper, leaving a narrow border around the pizza. Slide the pizzas and parchment paper, one at a time, onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet. Cook until the crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbling, about 7 minutes.

5. Scatter the basil over the pizza, slice, and serve.

Appealing and inviting, that's the great open fire cooking served
up by acclaimed Chef Waldy Malouf at Beacon Restaurant. Located in the heart of midtown
, Beacon's open kitchen lets guests in on the action- and with a

seat in "The Pit," you'll have the ultimate view of kitchen activities.

Guest Muncher

Sari Nickelsburg is Founder & President of, a daily deal site for NYC moms. You can spot this mama running around the East Village with her husband and one year old son.Look for a lot of frizzy hair, and three cases of totally unintentional bedhead.

These are some of our favorite places to eat as a family.  I consider myself one lucky mama that many of them are also my neighbors!

Danal I go way, way back with Danal. The owner used to operate out of a sliver of a space on Tenth Street where we’d duck in for cozy dinners pre-baby. They’ve since moved to the corner of 13th Street and 5th Avenue where the space is substantially bigger. The food is still great, and the staff takes their cues from the owner who is warm and accommodating to families of all ages and sizes. While they don’t have a children’s menu, there are plenty of dishes they’ll enjoy such as croissant french toast, chocolate chip pancakes, and hamburgers. If it’s dinner time, then kick back with a glass of wine, a fresh plate of fish or pasta, and gaze out on lower Fifth Avenue through the floor to ceiling glass windows. A changing table that will accommodate smaller babies is available in one of the bathrooms. Staff will park the stroller for you.

Banjara We live just a stone’s throw from Little India, but Banjara is our family favorite.  Very family friendly, wonderful food, and the kids will love watching them pull bread hot out of the oven through a huge window in the back! Staff will park the stroller for you. Again, no changing tables.

La Palapa Tuck into a plate of chilaquiles verdes for brunch, or drop in for early dinner with the whole family. Waiters keep the little ones entertained with crayons that they thoughtfully pass out for their entertainment. The restaurant will whip up a small order of French Toast on request for children, and…the holy grail for mothers…THERE’S A CHANGING TABLE IN THE BACK! Just make sure you get the right bathroom – there’s only one.

I Coppi  I’ve lived in the East Village for several years now, but only first stumbled upon I Coppi this past summer when our in-laws were visiting. It’s tucked away on 9th Street between 1st and A , and at first glance – it doesn’t look like much of anything, so you’re going to be really blown away by what you see when you step inside. We were absolutely transported by this beautiful restaurant which has the most incredible covered outdoor space. The food is top notch, the staff is great, and they do have high chairs on hand as well. If you have a special occasion, this is one is a no brainer. When you book a table, please be sure to ask them whether the outdoor space is open as it’s only available weather permitting. Unfortunately, no changing tables.

Veselka This Ukrainian diner is an East Village institution. If you come during prime-time, you should be prepared to wait. Steer clear with small children during brunch hours on Saturday or Sunday. However, the restaurant is a wonderful place to come with families at all other times.  Staff will hand out a little package of swizzle-stick things for kids to play with, and they have special plastic cups with straws for younger children who can’t quite fit their little mitts around the larger glasses. Pancakes, piergoi, blintzes and a range of fare for lunch and dinner including turkey burgers, soups and salads.  They also offer a range of sweets as big as your head for dessert. Seriously, check out theRice Krispie treats when you walk in at the front counter. However, Veselka is no greasy spoon. The food here is fresh –you can feel good about feeding your family here - not a spot of grease to be found.

Guest Muncher

Pam Kirkbride, Triple Threat Mommy

Follow me @triplethreatmom

A new restaurant has opened up in the Financial District called The Bailey Pub & Brasserie on 52 William Street and the corner of Pine.  We had read about their $7 kid menu – which comes with complimentary ice cream – and we just had to try it for one of our weekly Friday Family Dinners.  

The Good:

  • The $7 kids menu is fantastic.  They offer pasta & meatballs, grilled cheese, sausage & chips, pigs in a blanket, pasta with red sauce or butter, kid’s (cheese)burger and of course chicken fingers.  All meals come with a complimentary ice cream, which is a plus and the $7 price tag is easy on the wallet.
  • They offer plastic cups for the girls (instead of a real glass).  This gesture always makes me feel like management is paying attention to their family customers.
  • The waitresses are attentive and the hostess came back at the end of the meal to see how we were doing.

 The Bad:

  • Don’t go on a Friday Night Our first trip was at 6:00pm on a Friday night.  Well, so was every under single guy and girl under the age of 30.  Remember, The Bailey is in the Financial District, where there are young, single people who actually work down here and on a Friday  night, are looking for some Happy Hour cocktails (remember that?).  It was loud, and getting to the tables in the back is like salmon swimming upstream.

The Verdict:

  • Go on a SATURDAY night.  Since the meal itself was a great experience, we decided to try The Bailey Pub & Brasserie on a Saturday night at a very family friendly time of 5:00pm.  It was quiet and there were no crowds, so our waitress was even more attentive.  By the time we left, two other families had come in.  All in all, with the great kids menu, and attentive staff, This Triple Threat Mommy would definitely recommend The Bailey Pub & Brasserie.

And, another thing,  for those of you who are early risers, The Bailey Pub & Brasseriedoes offer breakfast – starting at 7am on the weekends!  Hurrah!


Guest Muncher

Monica Storch
Editor & Publisher, Macaroni Kid UES

There's nothing my daughter Sadie likes more than shaking her groove thing, and there's nothing I enjoy more than watching her bounce around to music with a huge grin on her face!  That's why we both love the SalsaBaby brunch at Ideya Latin Bistro.

Ideya is this awesome little restaurant in Soho that serves a mean Cuban sandwich and a killer mojito and that just happened to be one of my favorite restaurants even before Sadie came along.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that Ideya hosts a monthly SalsaBaby brunch designed especially for babies and toddlers.  One Sunday a month, the restaurant brings in an army of high chairs, decks out its tables with crayons and shakers and serves up a dizzying array of delectable brunch fare for parents and kids to munch on as they enjoy two live performances by Jose Conde and his band.  The band puts a Latin twist on favorite children's songs and inspires even the most reserved of kids to get up and dance.  This really is a true New York City gem that should not be missed!

The next SalsaBaby brunch will take place in January - call for exact date.  Be sure to call for reservations because the brunches fill up quickly!  For more information, visit  

Mommy Muncher


OK - - we have all played BINGO but the folks at Knock Knock have taken it to another level - one that your kids will enjoy, and more importantly keep them entertained while out to dinner. 

Mini Munchers will stay busy looking for servers, water glasses, bathrooms, placemats, etc. - either alone or the whole family can join in (there are 12 cards per set).

Genius you might say - ah yes and the price, only $8...BINGO! 

Guest Muncher

Amanda de Beaufort 
Coos & Ahhs’ Picks for Eating out in Brooklyn with Kids

Before I had a baby, my husband and I would eat out at least three times a week. Needless to say, we go out much less now, but when we do dine out, we want to eat well and feel relaxed. It can be such a conundrum to find a great menu and a place that doesn’t give you looks when you roll in with a stroller—that is why MiniMunchers is such a treasure! Here are a few of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn (meaning excellent food) that also welcomes kiddo:

Egg, Williamsburg

Egg is a farm to table southern-style restaurant. The place is small and gets crowed for brunch, but if you get there early or go on a weekday for dinner there is no wait. They have highchairs and a big table in the back that can accommodate a stroller. The menu features some of the best fried-chicken in the city and they serve breakfast all day—try the pancakes-yum! Bonus: the tables are set with paper and crayons!

 Radegast, Williamsburg

This is a true gem. It’s hard to fine a place that mom and dad can have a drink with baby in tow, but on a Saturday afternoon it hard to tell if there are more adults or kids at this massive Hungarian beer hall. Radegast features big picnic-style tables with plenty of room for multiple strollers and it’s open and loud, so kids can get rowdy, baby can scream or you can breastfeed with out feeling like your nips are in everyone’s face. They have a full menu but I recommend ordering at the grill, which features German sausages, sauerkraut and fries. I also love the huge fresh baked Bavarian pretzel from the kitchen. Not to mention the delicious beer for mommy and daddy.

Franny’s, Park Slope

Franny’s serves delicious artisanal pizzas and fresh pastas. The restaurant is too little for a stroller but they have plenty of highchairs and the friendly staff is delightful. The menu is very kid friendly, but the kitchen will also make kids pasta or any other special request. It does get crowed for dinner.

 Fort Defiance, Red Hook 

This quaint little restaurant features a tasty menu—try the sandwiches!— and great handmade cocktails. They have highchairs (from Ikea down the street) and it is usually pretty chill on a weekend afternoon.

Bubby’s, Dumbo

The Brooklyn outpost of the kid-friend Bubby’s, offers incredible views of the river and skyline. The spacious dining room is perfect for kids and the menu is awesome.  Bonus: just steps away from the restaurant is a gigantic nautical-themed playground with a ship and sandboxes. **if you plan on going on a Saturday night, call ahead, they have loads of private events at night.

Guest Muncher

Gina Mancuso, Concierge for Moms

The holidays are fast approaching which means lots of parties and holiday cheer.  It is hard to ignore all the desserts and cookies, let alone stay away from them.  Children love sugar and seem to be drawn to it this time of year. After hours of resistance and non-cooperation many times we end up giving them what they want anyway.  I mean what is one cookie? Is it really that bad? Well the problem is that the one cookie turns into a spoonful of ice cream, which then leads to some candy the next day and then eating the candy canes off of the Christmas tree, etc, etc.  So how can we stop this vicious cycle this year and keep our kids from ingesting too much sugar?

 10 Ways to Lower Your Child’s Sugar Intake

 1.     Switch fruit juices for water  Try adding apple slices, cantaloupe, strawberries, or other sliced fruit to the water and let it sit in the fridge for 30 mins before serving. This will sweeten the water naturally, plus add natural nutrients to the water.  Sugary drinks can add up to 10% of calories that come from added sugar.

2.     Switch Sugary Cereals For Homemade Oatmeal  Thanks to instant oatmeal you can have breakfast on the table in less than 5 minutes. Cook oatmeal in 2% milk, and then add a tablespoon of natural peanut or almond butterpumpkin seeds, and a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup.  Honey and maple syrup are filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are great for kids- plus they will be fueled for school until lunch. That will make them less likely to grab a sugary snack!

3.     Have Healthy Dips On Hand Hummus, Pumpkin Hummus (recipe to follow), salsa, and guacamole are wonderful things to have in your fridge around the holidays.  When people stop by or your children have friends over, these are great nutritious go-to snacks that everyone will enjoy.  Have carrot sticks, celery, apple slices, and whole-wheat crackers on hand. 

4.     Use Dark Chocolate When baking holiday cookies substitute antioxidant rich dark chocolate for semi sweet and only use half the amount. 

5.     Switch To Sucanat  This sugar can be found in regular super markets and stores like Whole Foods.  It is a great substitute for baking and cooking.  It is less processed, which makes it higher invitamins and minerals, such as potassium, then typical sugar.  Because it is less processed it will not have the same effect on your children’s blood sugar levels.  Excellent in cookies, cakes, oatmeal, and other meals. 

6.     Portion Everything Out  It is the holidays after all and depriving your children can be as harmful as over eating sugar.  So when you arrive at a party, head right to the dessert table and make a plate for your children. When dessert comes they know exactly what and how much they are getting. Make sure desserts are out of reach and site in the house so they do no get tempted. If they are going to a friend’s house, speak with the mother and tell her how many cookies they are allowed. Make it a rule that they finish all their vegetables before they can think about dessert. The fiber in vegetables will fill them up so they will want less.

7.     Use Fruit Try being creative with fruit for dessert.  Make a snowman out of cantaloupe with a cookie cutter. Then use raisins eyes and buttons.  Not only will the children have fun but also they will be eating nutritious foods.

8.     Cook From Scratch This holiday season make a deal with yourself to cook as much as you can from scratch. This will keep out unwanted fillers and let you control what goes in the meal.  Let your children help and educate them on the nutrition of each food. Not only will it be a learning experience for your kids but you will appreciate what you eat more as well!

9.     Sit To Eat Even at snack time, have everyone take a couple minutes and sit down.  This can help over eating and unconscious nibbling, there tends to be more food around during the holidays.  But make it a plan to sit down at every bite so that you and your children are aware of what you are eating and how much.  So much of weight gain is from mindless nibbling.  This is a great habit to keep year round!

10. Be Merry The holidays are a wonderful time for children and they should enjoy it- take them out for nature walks and other outdoor activities.   The most important thing you can do for your children this holiday season is to keep them moving.  Just because it is cold does not mean you cannot go outside.  Since we tend to eat more over the holidays it so important to keep moving and stay active!

 Here is a recipe for your Holiday Season that is low in sugar and kid approved!

 Pumpkin Hummus

  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp pumpkin oil
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • Ground pepper (to taste)
  • 15 oz pumpkin (canned or baked)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cilantro (optional)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Expert Muncher

Rachel Thebault, TriBeCa Treats

Including your children when you cook or bake is not only a fun activity, but it can also be a valuable way to get them to become better eaters.  It doesn't matter their age or your skill level, you can find lots of fun things to make together for your family, just keep in mind these tips:

1.  Teach them food vocabulary - Give your kids the words they need to describe why they may or may not like a certain dish.  When kids know the difference between salty, sweet, bitter, sour, spicy, mushy, crunchy and other descriptors, they can more accurately explain how they feel about a particular dish, rather than making a blanket statement that they don't like a certain food.  (ie, "I don't like carrots" becomes, "cooked carrots are too mushy for me, but I like raw carrots because they're crunchy."

2.  Let them taste along the way - If you and your children are tasting the ingredients and food during different stages of the recipe, they'll better understand how they change through the process and when mixed with other ingredients.  Noticing the changes throughout the process will also get your kids more excited about the finished product.

3.  Choose recipes that give them freedom to create - We all know that giving kids control by presenting them with options can be an effective way to get them to do what you want.  It's the same in cooking.  Chili, stews and gazpacho are three popular dishes in my house, and all of them are recipes that easily allow my kids to decide "more tomatoes" or "more garlic" and still result in a tasty dish.  Along those lines, we do a lot of dinners where the final dish is assembled individually (make your own pizzas, fajitas, fish tacos), and our kids get to choose all their own toppings.  When your kids have had a direct hand in the decision making, they'll feel more pride in what they'd cooked.

4.  Don't dumb-down their food - It's easy to fall into the trap of heating up chicken fingers or a box of macaroni and cheese, because it's convenient and you know they'll eat it.  But don't assume those are the only things kids eat.  Before they get in the habit of only eating "kid food" give them exposure to the foods you like to eat and see what interests them.  Also, try to think of ways to turn typical kid dishes into something parents will eat with them (instead of grilled American cheese on white bread, think country wheat with aged cheddar and sliced apples.)

Just remember, all kids are different, but the power over what they eat (and what they wear, for that matter), is one of the few areas where our little ones can control us. Instead of turning it into a battle, include them in the preparation to make it a team activity.  It will help them form better eating habits early on, and set them on a path for a great lifelong hobby! 

Guest Muncher

Kat- SoHo Mom/NYC KIds Food Blogger (under lists)

Popbar – handcrafted gelato on a stick at 5 Carmine Street in the West Village


This wonderful new addition to the City’s gelato choices is perfect for kids. The popbars of all flavors sit beautifully and symmetrically in a giant display case so kids can visually experience the entire array (unlike some other gelato places where you have to lift up a kid to see the selection). Once your child picks a flavor they like they can have it dipped in chocolate and add "poppings" like granola, pistachios, nuts etc. 

The menu is simple: popSorbettos are $3.75 and popGelatos and yogurtPops are $4.50. Unlimited Dippings and toppings and extra $0.50.

Their Healthy Kids Facts are as follows and I especially love #4!:

popbar Healthy Kids Fact #1: popSorbettos have no sugar and are made with lots of real fruit.

popbar Healthy Kids Fact #2: all our popbars are free of artificial colorings and artificial flavorings.

popbar Healthy Kids Fact #3; all our popbars are PRESERVATIVE-FREE. Yup, absolutely no preservatives in our popbars!

popbar Healthy Kids Fact #4: ALL our poppings are natural: pistachios, hazelnuts, granola, almonds, coconut and biscotti. NO sprinkles, gummy bears, M&Ms or oreos!

popbar Healthy Kids Fact #5: Made FRESH daily in small batches of 24, popbars don't sit in supermarket coolers for months before they are consumed!

This place is great for kids and they love it (mine do!) 5 stars! (OR AS THE MOMMY MUNCHER WOULD SAY - "4 CRAYONS!")

Expert Muncher

Samuel Branch:

Chef Samuel Branch owner of Taste 1 Inc. personal chef services is the proud father of two little girls, one with several food allergies and another who will gladly eat whatever is set before her. Consequently, preparing organic and allergy free foods is equally essential and enjoyable for him. Although Chef Samuel offers a range of services from cooking classes to intimate dinner parties, he is most passionate about finding exciting and healthy meal options for all children. This recipe is a special one for him and his girls in that it incorporates his Caribbean flavors, is fun to prepare and is gluten free!


Coconut Crusted Tofu Nuggets w/ Mango Ketchup

Makes 12 Tofu Nuggets

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

½ block Extra Firm Tofu

½ cup Coconut milk (egg if not allergic)

½ cup Brown Rice crisp cereal (ground in the food processor)

½ cup Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)

1 tsp Lime Zest

Salt to taste

Freshly Ground black Pepper to taste


1. Drain the tofu thoroughly and press out all the liquid.

                   2. Cut the tofu into 1 inch squared cubes and season with salt and pepper.

       3. In a small bowl add tofu to coconut milk, coating evenly and leave for a couple minutes.

       4. Take another bowl and mix cereal, coconut flakes, and lime zest together.

       5. Dredge tofu one by one in the cereal mixture and place on a sheet pan.

      6. Let the breaded tofu sit in refrigerator for about 30 minutes and then repeat each step for a second cereal coating.

      7. Heat sauté pan with canola oil and pan fry on each side until golden

      8. Serve with mango ketchup

Mango Ketchup

1 Tbsp of Olive Oil

½ small Red Onion, finely diced

1 large Ripe Mango, peeled and diced

1 Tbsp Agave Nectar

1 ½  Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

ground All Spice, pinch

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste
 1. Heat small pan with olive oil and sauté mango and red onions until soft.
2. Add remaining ingredients, stir and remove from heat.
3. Cool and puree in blender
4. Enjoy!

Expert Muncher

Jessi Walter, Founder, Taste Buds

Eating Out With Kids

Cooking with kids is the best but we all need a break every now and then! The next time you don’t want to tackle the kitchen, grab your kids and hubby and head out for a night on the town. With MiniMunchers great database of kid friendly restaurants and a rating systems for those that really do it right, your on your way to a fun night. When little tots get antsy at the table, use these simple tricks to make your meal out more fun for all.

 1.  Prepare - Many restaurants will provide coloring place mats or other crafts for kids to doodle on while waiting for dinner. If however, they run out (or don’t provide anything), always be sure to have a sticker book and a few crayons on hand.

 2.  Wash Hands - Make washing hands a fun event. Check out the bathroom at each restaurant and compare them - kids love noticing different colors and seeing all of the cool sinks.

3.  Try Everything - Once the food comes, let kids taste new ingredients. Go beyond “yummy” and “yucky” and talk about what tastes they like and which ones they don’t.

4.  Tot-Sized Menus - Don’t think that kids need to order from the kids menu all of the time. Most restaurants offer child-sized (or appetizer) portions which are wallet friendly and help expose kids to a wide variety of ingredients and culinary styles.

Hopefully these tips will help ensure that going out to eat as a family is always a special and fun-filled time to share with your children. 

Expert Muncher

Jodi Greebel, MS, RD

Top Things to Do to Have a Less Picky Eater

1. Offer familiar foods with unfamiliar foods. Children are wary of new foods and seeing a lot of unfamiliar foods at once can be intimidating. Offer your child a few foods you know he/she likes with one unfamiliar food.

2. Let your toddler be involved in cooking. Children are much more likely to eat something if they help make it. Just make sure to choose age appropriate tasks like washing carrots, scrubbing a potato or helping toss a salad with dressing.

3. Model good eating habits.
If your child sees you eating candy bars, don’t expect him/her to ask for an apple. Set a good example by snacking on healthy foods like cucumbers and hummus.

4. Don’t give up!
It can take children 15 – 20 times to try and like a new food, so don’t give up after 1 or 2 times. Be persistent. It will pay off. 


Expert Muncher

Alicia Kachmar, author, Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More!

Halloween has been my favorite holiday ever since I can remember, probably due to the fact that I have a November 2 birthday and I got to combine both of these days into one when it came to party-planning.

When we were collecting some of the projects for the book, I was convinced we needed something cupcake-related. Much to my surprise, I am convinced that my best chocolate cupcake recipe to date is a vegan one, and one not made with any hard-to-find or unfamiliar ingredients.

Make some Halloween cupcakes today!

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes (makes 12):

1 1/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup warm water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar

For the Chocolate Glaze:

 1/2 cup sugar

4 tbsp margarine

2 tbsp soy milk

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

Sprinkles (optional—not necessarily vegan!)

Note: if you don't care to make it vegan, or don't have soy milk or margarine, you can use butter in place of the margarine, and whatever milk you prefer in place of the soy.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl or mixer, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar, and mix thoroughly. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary.

Place 12 cupcake wrappers in a cupcake pan. Divide batter between them and place in oven, baking for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed up and a knife comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes.

For the glaze: in a small saucepan, bring sugar, margarine, milk, and cocoa to a boil. Stir frequently; then reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It’ll look gloppy, but it’s just the bubbles! Remove from heat.

Add vanilla, stir, and immediately spoon on top of cupcakes. The glaze dries really quickly, so spread it immediately and add any sprinkles now.

Guest Muncher

Bethenny Frankel, author Naturally Thin & The Skinny Girl Dish and reality show star 


As the go-to expert for all things reality and lifestyle, Bethenny Frankel wields her pen (and blackberry) like a sword, ensuring that her fans will get the unvarnished truth along with common sense, expertise and a healthy – always healthy – dose of humor.  She is on a mission to democratize healthy living, making information available to everyone she can reach through her appearances, books, columns and blogs.  

Boo Boo Banana Bread:


1 cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon butter (regular or nondairy)

1 cup mashed over ripe bananas (2 or 3)

1 egg1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1 cup oat flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips 

 Cooking Directions

Preheat  the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix  well.

Cut a  piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a loaf pan.

Put it in the bottom  of the pan and spray it with cooking spray.

Pour in the batter and cover it  loosely with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil, then bake for another 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean (moist crumbs are fine).

Cool completely, then slice and serve.


Expert Muncher

Chef Daniel Angerer
Klee Brasserie

The Seventh Day Diet

Eating should be fun so on the seventh day we enjoy not so organic and natural foods.

I remember growing up in Austria one of the popular dishes for us kids was Kaiserschmarren which is a shredded Austrian-style pancake with a royal history.  It was the emperor’s favorite breakfast or lunch dish, which actually was created accidentally by one of the kitchen apprentices in the emperor’s kitchen.  When the apprentice ruined the perfect spherical pancake he tore it up to make it look like it was intentional and the emperor (“Kaiser”) loved it.  And so the dish earned the named “kaiserschmarren” which translates to “emperor’s mess.” It’s a kid friendly (my nine-month old loves them!) heavenly fluffy pancake with the torn up mess already built into the design! 

Kaiserschmarren (Austrian pancake)

(recipe yields one large pancake)

½-cup unbleached flour

1/3-cup sugar

a pinch salt

1 cup milk

5 yolks eggs                       

5 egg whites                        

 1 tablespoon butter

powdered sugar for dusting the pancake

1.     Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.

2.     In a bowl mix flour and milk with a wire whisk then add egg yolks.

3.     In a kitchen mixer bowl beat egg whites, sugar and salt until stiff peaks have formed.

4.     With a pastry spatula fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the milk/egg yolk mixture then fold in remaining egg whites.

5.     On medium heat setting melt butter in a skillet (9 to 11-inch diameter) add batter and cook for four minutes, then transfer into hot oven. Bake pancake (10-12 minutes or until cooked in the middle when pierced with a toothpick)

6.     On top of stove tear pancake randomly into mouth sized pieces. 

7.     Transfer torn pancake onto large plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Chef’s note: Fold whipped, sugared egg withes carefully with flour/egg yolk mixture –this way lots of air will get trapped into batter and result in a heavenly airy pancake.

Chef’s tip: serve with cranberry jelly.

Expert Muncher

Catherine McCord 

Catherine McCord
launched Weelicious in 2007, providing a solution to parents' hectic lives by showing them how to cook recipes that are kid-friendly, quick and nutritious. With a background in culinary arts from New York City's prestigious Institute of Culinary Education, and a passion for food, Catherine has developed recipes that appeal to a range of ages. Weelicious focuses on educating kids and involving them in the process with how-to cooking videos featuring Catherine's own two children. 

(Makes 18 Muffins)

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/4 Cups Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Honey
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Ham, chopped fine

Accompaniments: Honey or Butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the first 5 dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil and maple syrup and stir to combine.
4. Add the buttermilk to the egg mixture and stir.
5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and stir until just combined.
6. Fold in the cheese and ham.
7. Spoon the batter 2/3 of the way up into greased muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes (15 minutes if using mini muffin cups).
8. Cool on a wire rack and serve.


Mommy Muncher


For us moms with toddlers, it is not always easy to feed the littler ones at a restaurant – UNTIL NOW! As of posting time – at least three companies (that I know of)  have introduced squeezable food bags for the younger (and older if you can get them to eat them) Munchers. They are convenient and most importantly easy to pop in your bag to bring to any dining establishment (no spoon required!)!

Best news – many of them hide, spinach, broccoli, peas carrots and even parsnips in the yummy mixtures (not to mention the strawberry, peach, apple and sweet potato versions) – so it is easy and NUTRITIOUS!

Plum Organics
–  Great combos like Spinach, Peas and Pears & Blueberry, Pear and Purple Carrot! MM orders them from but you can also get from

GoGo Squeeze – Apple sauce with a twist (either cinnamon, banana, peach or strawberry) Our MiniMuncher LOVES these – I buy in bulk from Whole Food

Ellas’s Kitchen
 –MM was able to find at Whole Foods and Food Emporium (Strawberries and Apples & Carrots, Apples and Parsnips are favs in our house!)

Happy Munching!

Expert Muncher

TRACEY STEWART - Founder of Moomah

"Eating out was always my favorite thing to do...and then I had kids. It took me some time to figure out how to keep eating out from turning into hell on earth. My solution- The Big Bag of Fun. I always pack a big bag of paper, crayons, action figures---you name it. I'll bring small plastic animals in my bag and then have my kids play 20 questions trying to figure out what animal I have in my hand. Having a cadre of games in my arsenal is always a lifesaver.We play "What would you rather" where we come up with two awful scenarios and we have to pick which one we would rather. Story telling is always a great distraction when the food is taking too long. At Moomah, we try to save parents from having to pack the big bag of fun by having tons of different things to engage a child's eye and imagination -coloring sheets, toys, animals on the tables and walls and even a puppet named Supertryer who tries to encourage kids to try new foods."

For all inquiries, please email