From Lisa Barnes
What did you do for New Year’s with small children and no babysitter? We had a family party to celebrate the New Year on East Coast time. Although you can use Australian time, or any other time that suits your needs and bedtime. We were hoping to celebrate with friends and their kids, however we were getting over the flu and didn’t want to spread the “cheer”.
However the good thing about kids (at least little ones) is that they really don’t know much about time. So blowing a noisemaker and putting on silly hats at 8:30 p.m. works for them. This can be effective for any celebration or get together with little ones. A few festive foods and decorations and it doesn’t matter what time it is. Plan for all ages to be awake and be able to celebrate with sparkling drinks and party snack foods for your next celebration. With Tivo and other recording devices the New Year’s Eve ball drop can happen anytime – day or night (or more than once a year).
Our menu (recipes below) was fun because we ate our New Year’s dinner with our fingers – like a real h’ors d’ouvre party. Some other easy and kid fun “bites” include threading things on toothpicks like cut sausage (serve with mustard or ketchup dip of course), or grilled shrimp or chicken pieces. Happy 2009!
Organic Juice Sparkler
This is a fun and healthy way for children to join in on a fancy toast with a sparkling drink of their own. This recipe is really simple and can be made with any kind of fresh, organic juice such as orange, pear, or apple. At holiday time I like pomegranate juice because of the bright and festive color. Pomegranates are a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids. The juice can be found year round in the fresh refrigerated juice section of most supermarkets.
Makes 1 cup
¾ cup sparkling mineral water
¼ cup fresh pomegranate juice
Combine water and juice in a glass.
If serving a crowd, combine three parts sparkling mineral water with one part fresh pomegranate juice in a pitcher. Serve over ice cube cuties for older children and adults.
For a really festive drink, add a few cranberry ice cubes (just add cranberries when freezing water in trays) and a straw. You’ll be surprised how much those touches will excite your child.
Kids’ Crab Cakes
Just because “kids” is part of the title, don’t be hesitant to share these with adults, too. They are simply shapes for smaller mouths, or a single hors d’oeuvres bite for mom and dad. These are festive and special for a holiday appetizer or dinner with family, and made healthier than the usual crab cakes with yogurt substituting for mayonnaise.
Makes 16 to 18 (1½-inch) crab cakes
1 large cage-free organic egg
1 tablespoon organic plain yogurt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
½ teaspoon grated yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup soft bread crumbs
8 ounces fresh or canned lump crabmeat
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs or panko
2 teaspoons expeller-pressed canola oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, mustard, dill, onion, and pepper. Stir in soft bread crumbs until combined. Stir in crabmeat until combined but do not overmix.
In a small bowl, combine dry bread crumbs and oil. Set aside.
Using your fingers, shape heaping tablespoonfuls of the crab mixture into 1½-inch rounds and flatten. Press each side of cake into dry bread crumb mixture to stick.
Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden on bottom and cooked through.
Zucchini is a tough name to pronounce for little ones and zuke sounds much more fun. These are a good snack food, side dish, or party food to serve with other veggie sticks. A side of marinara sauce or ketchup is good for those little dippers.
Makes about 50 sticks; about 6 servings
¾ cup dried bread crumbs or Panko
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup organic unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup organic milk
3 medium organic zucchini, cut lengthwise into 3 × ½-inch pieces (peel if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Place the flour on a plate. Pour milk into a shallow bowl.
Dip each zucchini stick in flour until lightly coated. Then dip in milk. Finally roll in bread crumb mixture until covered, pressing so mixture sticks.
Transfer zucchini sticks to prepared pan and bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until zucchini is tender and coating is crisp and brown.
Enlist older children to help by rolling sticks in flour, milk, and bread crumbs. This may become a messy job as mixture can stick to fingers. A child that does not like messy hands will pass on this task.
See also Lisa’s Happy New Year! Lobster vs. Pizza – Don’t Ask
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Roberto Giovannini | Dreamstime.com
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