A Millie Favorite

A Millie Favorite

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food co-op

In my never-ending quest to save money and find new and exciting foods, I have come up with an idea that is a twist on the old fashioned potluck. I have been talking to other people about what foods they like to feed their babies and children. I get a few interesting responses. Of course you hear the traditional things, like bananas, carrots and peas. But the more I delve into other cultures and lifestyles, I get some fascinating responses.

So, here is my idea. What about a food co-op amongst your friends, family and co-workers? People who you trust or just want to get to know better. I like the idea of hosting a night where my friends come over with their little ones and bring big batches of their homemade baby foods and other goodies. Enough food that it could last a couple of days. Almost like going to the store, but instead of spending all that money, you get a different spin on culture and diet. How lovely would it be to have your friends and family over for a nice evening of food and recipe sharing.

Once a week, someone will host the food co-op in their home or in some cases, stores like Whole Foods will let you have space for free. When people arrive, you can have them place the foods with little recipe cards on a table for an interesting night of food sharing. Especially if someone comes from another culture, learning about how they feed and nurture their little ones can be such a rich experience.

A since of community and sharing can be so important to the development of your child, but it also gives the adults a since of peace and comfort knowing that there are other parents around that share the same sense of community.

As a test, I am going to start my own food co-op and report back on my findings in a couple of weeks on this same topic. I am wondering how it will go over. I hope you do the same.


Thursday, January 20, 2011


Snacks can be one of the most entertaining things we can consume in our day-to-day lives. They are usually the most crunchy, salty, sweet, colorful, beautifully packaged food of our day. We eat the candy bar as a midday pick me up. We snack on the chips after school or work in front of the television and we eat the popcorn late at night when the kids are asleep on the couch cozy and warm.

Yet, as we all know, most if not all of these snacks are also some of the worst things we put into our bodies. I am in no way trying to create diet blog or preach diet living. No in fact, I hate the word diet. I think it does nothing but contribute to the obesity problem. I just want to address the simple fact that we can be making amazing snacks on our own, even more colorful than the shiny packaging that your kids eat after school. It takes no time at all to create snacks and in fact, there is a good chance that your children will take the reigns on this one and start to put together their own snacks for the week.

Here are some of Millie’s favorite snacks (snackums as she calls them). Check it out and see if this does not make a huge difference in the way your kids perform and act. That saying, “food is fuel for the brain” is no joke.

Enjoy and cheers!

Fruit salad and granola:

  • 1 apple diced
  • 1 kiwi diced
  • 1 orange sliced into half moons
  • Handful of dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup of plain granola

Mix into bowl for an afternoon snack that will feed at least three hungry little ones after school or for whenever!

Cheerio Trail Mix:

·         1 cup cheerios (which ever flavor your kids like the best)
·         Handful of raisins
·         ¼ cup of mini dark chocolate chips
·         1 tsp of pumpkin spice or cinnamon and nutmeg

Mix and serve. Will keep for a week and is great in lunch boxes, in the car or for whenever your little one is wanting a little munch.

Mini pizzas:

  • 1 package of mini pitas
  • 1 package of fresh organic spinach
  • 1 roma tomato
  • Italian blend cheese
  • Tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp of oregano
  • ½ can of black olives
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Place min pitas on baking sheet. Spread a little tomato paste over pita then sprinkle your oregano on top of the tomato paste. Place cheese, spinach, tomato and then olives in the order you find desirable. Drizzle olive oil over the baking sheet and mini pitas for added moisture. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes. I prefer the cheese to go on the top so you can have a nice golden brown crust.

Serve after school to a hungry group of soccer players or to your family during the big football game. Or just whenever the mood strikes. No need for sports references I guess.

These are some of my favorite snacks that take no time at all, are very cost affective and give a punch of flavor to your average midday snack. I hope that you will try it and see the difference it makes when you get into the kitchen, get creative and involve your kids in the snack making process.

A nice thing to remember… if it is sold in a gas station, go ahead and avoid it.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Turn your favorite adult meal into an affordable gourmet meal for your little one.

I took last week off from posting, to celebrate my birthday. Yes, I turned 31 on Wednesday Jan 5, 2011. Man, how did that happen? 31?! Well in any case I did get to have a fabulous “foodie” dinner. I went to Restaurant Iris, which is hard to get into and is right up there with anything you can get in Chicago, NYC or Boston. I am extremely proud of this place and for a chance to eat there for my birthday was very special. It is far and beyond the bbq joints here in Memphis. 

Well, this got me thinking… How can I translate this amazing and very “grown up” meal in to something that a small toddler or child could enjoy? Here was the menu that night: Cheers!

  • Brussels sprouts cooked in butter and Sherry
  • Crosstini’s with bone marrow and tomatoes
  • Lobster knuckle on baked bread
  • Red snapper
  • Crème brulee with chicory

Obviously this menu can be a little extreme for your little one. I have done some experimenting this week to see what I could do to make it more “toddler friendly” while keeping the integrity of the menu. So here it goes!

Brussels Sprouts:
  • One package of frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • In skillet bring oil to a high heat and put in sprouts. Let sprouts caramelize in pan; slowly move them around to brown on all sides for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • When they have cooled, slice into quarters and serve to your toddler.

  • Okay lobster! This is some serious prep work and it is expensive. Save yourself the time, money and hassle of killing the expensive crustacean and buy lobster knuckle, already shelled.
  • Cook the lobster in a small amount of butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Cube and serve to your little one
  • (Note) If your child is a little afraid or intimidated by the lobster, you can do lobster balls. (See previous entry on salmon balls. Same recipe.)

Red Snapper:
Red snapper can be over-cooked fairly easily. So, when preparing, you are going to have to commit to watching the fish.

·         Place snapper filet's in over at 400F for 15 minutes
·         Drizzle with olive oil and lemon. (Olive oil is good for brain development)
·         Let cool and serve with some yogurt. Once again, if your little one is a little scared of the cooked fish, you can flake the snapper into the plain yogurt with a little salt and pepper.

Crème Brulee:
Crème brulee can be difficult and can take a while. It involves a blow torch and really if your set up is off, you end up with soup. Try this alternative.

  • Half pint of heavy whipping crème
  • One cup sugar
  • One tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • One vanilla bean, split open and placed into crème
  • Whip in mixer until stiff
  • Serve with mint leaf

While this is not a brulee, it is a great vanilla desert option. Millie LOVES this one!

***These recipes are for older toddlers. I would recommend trying these for young ones over 15 months old.