Posts in the ‘Yummy’ Category

Gingerbread House

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

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Did you make a gingerbread house this year? I think this is the first time I actually decorated one and I loved it. My son and I made this house together at a preschool event and we had so much fun. I will be the first to admit that I ate more of the candy than he did. One piece on the house – one in mommy’s mouth – one on the house – one in my mouth… I know I am probably the last person I know to ever decorate a gingerbread house, but I am already looking forward to making this a family tradition for years to come. If you are looking for something fun to do with your family over the holidays – pick up a kit or make one from scratch and go for it. It is a simple fun way to bring family and friends together.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

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Today my son celebrated his birthday at preschool. He looked so handsome in his glitter crown, standing there as his classmates sang to him. I still can’t believe he is already 4.  His school does not allow sweets so I made these pumpkin muffins (thank you Trader Joe’s for your yummy and super easy pumpkin bread mix!) for the kids.  They are just as good as real cupcakes (okay almost as good, but you feel better knowing you aren’t eating an entire stick of butter). I figured the teachers couldn’t complain about the teeny tiny dollops of frosting either. I even got to use my new Ikea tray that I just love.  I thought they turned out pretty cute so I had to take a picture to share.

If you are shopping for last minute Christmas gifts for a fellow cupcake lover, here are a few cute ideas

Holiday Gift Ideas

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

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Are you ready for the holiday shopping frenzy? I don’t think I am but I must say I had a lot of fun combing through every magazine and catalog I could get my hands on, and spending some time shopping in San Francisco, Los Angeles and around Silicon Valley so I could compile my list of holiday gift ideas. I was kind of all over the board this year and have come up with quite an eclectic list of gifts. I hope you find something you like. At the very least I hope the list helps get you thinking about potential goodies for the lucky ones on your list. Don’t forget to order your holiday photo cards soon!

Books to Gobble, Gobble Up!

Friday, November 19th, 2010

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With Thanksgiving day right around the corner, Susan’s latest installment is all about that yummy food awaiting us next week…

Food can be the best part of Thanksgiving Day. Or the worst.

Let’s face it – the “traditional” meal is darn hard to prepare, especially for those of us who are kitchen-challenged. Who hasn’t wound up eating a turkey that’s dry on top, burnt on the wingtips, or, my personal nightmare, still a block of ice? And I won’t even mention the time I forgot to take the “innards” bag out before cooking the bird . . . .

The meal can also lead to delicate family negotiations. My husband and I are now vegetarians, for example, while my parents are overly-enthusiastic meat eaters. My mother wants to teach my sons to make her famous apple-celery stuffing, but they gag on anything green. And if someone is on a diet, well, the feathers start to fly.

This Thanksgiving, if I can’t stand the heat, I can at least get my kids out of the kitchen with these books.

Turkey Trouble, by Wendi Silvano, illustrated by Lee Harper. When Turkey realizes it’s Thanksgiving Day on the farm, he disguises himself as a cow, a pig, and a rooster to avoid becoming the main course. The farm animals’ pop eyes and oversized teeth are just as laugh-inducing as Turkey in a sheep wig. But it’s Turkey’s final costume that saves his day, and his skin – he dresses up like a pizza delivery man. The book doesn’t shy away from the fact that animals are eaten, but there’s no axe in sight.

A Plump and Perky Turkey, by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Jeff Shelly. The people of Squawk Valley are facing a Thanksgiving of shredded wheat – unless they can trick a turkey into jumping into the pot. But “The birds have gotten smarter,/and they all seem quite aware/that it’s best to disappear/when autumn leaves are in the air.” Pete the turkey does answer their ads for a turkey model for a pretend “arts and crafts fair.” But just as the townspeople are licking their lips, Pete escapes. The final scene shows Pete vacationing on the beach with the other “doggone clever” turkeys.

This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story, by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by Mark Buehner. Kids can follow Pilgrim and Native American children as they help prepare for the Thanksgiving Feast. Modern kids will be intrigued not only by the type of food the children eat, but also by the amount of work they do — gathering nuts and turnips, hunting fish and rabbits, carrying water, and making baskets. The book counts up from one sleeping boy to twelve tables filled with people eating. The scenes have a serene, archaic feel, beautifully painted in an unusual palette of muted autumnal colors and brighter blues. And the book might even give mom and dad some new ideas for chores . . . .

Harvest Year, by Cris Peterson, photographed by Alvis Upitis. Although this book doesn’t mention Thanksgiving, it’s a fascinating way to introduce kids to how their Thanksgiving dinner makes its way to the table. Each two-page spread features several foods produced in the U.S. during a single month. The same map appears on each page, with different states colored in to show the foods’ origins. There’s something for all ages here – big machines and familiar fruits for the younger kids, more unusual foods and facts for older children. The photographs are brightly-colored, and although the pages are information-packed, the white space and clear drawings keep the subjects accessible.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

Bake It in a Cake

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

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Richard, one of my closest friends, just sent me a link to this fabulous website, Bake It in a Cake, and this even more fabulous recipe.  This is nothing less than a mini pumpkin pie baked into a cream cheese vanilla cupcake, topped with cinnamon cream cheese buttercream and a little disc of cinnamon-sugar pie crust! Does that not sound like the most insanely delicious thing ever?!?! Here is the complete recipe for this utterly phenomenal pumpkin pie cupcake from master baker, Megan Seling. Richard and his friends are baking a batch tonight – I hope they save one for me!

If this has you in the mood for cupcakes or foodie goodness – I’ve got a lot of more ideas waiting for you…

Art Party for Kids

Friday, September 24th, 2010

We’ve got another fabulous children’s birthday party idea to share with you. Amy, of Amy Nichols Special Events, was originally inspired with the simple idea of putting different color frosted cupcakes together on a round platter to look like “paint” on an artist’s palette. From there her idea grew and grew. From cute invitations from Sarah + Abraham to decorated palatte cookies, and jumbo wall post-its so the kids could paint their own masterpieces – she didn’t miss a beat. Check out her blog for more details and adorable pictures.

If you are looking for a special new outfit for your child’s party, more party invitation ideas, thank you note cards, or toys and gift ideas – I’ve got you covered.

Mention Sweet Peas & Stilettos and you will receive 25% off planning & styling services.

Pizza Party

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

I have asked Amy Nichols of Celebrate Life by Amy Nichols Special Events to keep me posted as she comes up with creative birthday party ideas. Her latest is a pizza party – a great idea that can work for kids of all ages (and for moms who don’t want to spend a fortune). Here are a few of the highlights.

1) Every birthday party starts with a great invitation. Amy found some really cute pizza theme invites at TomKat Studio.

2) Buy some plain aprons at Michael’s that the kids can decorate.

3) Let the children make their own pizzas with lots of yummy toppings.

4) Make a delicious fruit pizza pie instead of a birthday cake.

5) For party favors, everyone can take home a delicious pizza slice cookie. These cute cookies (see photo) are from little laura’s sweets.

For all of the details and a lot more cute pictures – check out Amy Nichols Special Events blog.

Solage Calistoga

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I took at little detour on my Silicon Valley spa tour this weekend and headed up to Solage Calistoga with one of my best friends from college, Marlena. We spent the day relaxing poolside after our perfect pedicures and it was sheer bliss! They have these incredible geo-thermal pools that were so relaxing. I have a pool at home, but this water was so soft – we didn’t want to get out. The snacks and drinks served poolside were so yummy too. Who knew that flatbread could taste so good?  The place is gorgeous in that casual, modern hipster kind of way, but not too over the top. The only thing that convinced us to leave was the thought of running back to our house so we could change clothes and come back for dinner. Solbar (their phenomenal restaurant) received a Michelin Star Rating and I can tell you, they deserve it. It was one of those meals where you cherish each and every bite. We sat outside in their gorgeous patio overlooking the main pool and it was the perfect setting to enjoy such a delicious meal.

So if you are looking for an all around perfect mommy getaway – this is your place. From yoga and a ‘mud bar’ to bocce ball and cruiser bikes and the best food around – you will undoubtedly be able to unwind and recharge.

photo: Solage Calistoga

The Monovore’s Dilemma

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

My friend Susan is back with more great book ideas for all the foodies out there. Enjoy!

My two boys have the taste buds of Wisconsin linebackers. In other words, they’ll eat anything, so as long as it’s cheese. Yellow cheese. Pasta’s acceptable, too, and so are tortillas. Some fruits, especially white ones, are okay. But put a vegetable in front of them? Get ready to duck.

For a vegetarian, hot-chile-and-Thai-food-loving person like myself, their pickiness makes mealtimes torture. What’s worse is that I seem to be surrounded by foodie kids. “My daughter just loves chervil,” one mom coos to me. “Can’t keep little junior away from the sushi!” another mom raves. I love my friends dearly, but please! Are they just trying to make me feel bad?

That’s why it was such a relief to discover these children’s books about mealtimes. Not one of them – not one – is about a child who trails after his mother at the farmer’s market, pointing out which radishes are just perfect for a salad. No, these books are all aimed at children just like mine. The ones who will eat about four things.

What I like the most about these books is that they are realistic. Just like me, they resort to lies, trickery, and sneaky reverse psychology to get kids to eat a balanced diet. I think of them every time I try to hide cauliflower in mac and cheese, or explain that the green in the spinach pasta means it’s from Mars.

I don’t think these books will actually persuade my children to eat something new. But they do give me something to laugh at when yet another plate of delicious, nutritious food goes uneaten. They also remind me that the most important thing I can do, besides offering vitamins, is to feed my children’s brains.

Little Pea, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Ah, the joys of reverse psychology. Poor Little Pea has to eat candy every night for dinner just to get his favorite dessert – spinach! The simple illustrations and text might be perfect for younger children, but the “lessons” will probably be needed until your kids are in college. Little Hoot and Little Oink, Rosenthal’s next books, explore characters with similar dilemmas – they hate having to stay up all night or mess up their rooms.

I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, by Lauren Child. A big brother gets his picky little sister to eat all the foods she claims to hate by describing them in magical ways – carrots are orange twiglets from Jupiter and mashed potatoes are cloud fluff. At the end, she even eats the “moonsquirters,” which are really – you guessed it – tomatoes. The illustrations are abstract but understandable, even for younger children. This book is part of the British Charlie and Lola series, which is also a fabulous cartoon.

The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee. When her first child will only drink milk at the perfect warm temperature, Mrs. Peters just chuckles. But as additional children arrive with their own finicky – and completely different – appetites, Mrs. Peters works herself into a tizzy trying to keep them all fed. I won’t give away the ending, but let’s just say it’s a mother’s dream come true. The story is told in understandable rhymes that actually scan. The length, however, may make this book better for slightly older children.

The Incredible Book-Eating Boy, by Oliver Jeffers. While his parents eat a regular dinner, Henry bites into a book. He’s soon devouring entire stacks of them, and getting smarter with every nibble. But after Henry outstrips his father and his teacher, all his new knowledge gets mixed up and makes him ill. He soon discovers that reading is the best way to digest books, after all. The illustrations are probably better for older children, as they have a dark flavor, but the overall message—and the “bite” out of the back cover—are nicely whimsical.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

Fred & Friends Face Plate

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I am happy to tell the world that my son happily ate his broccoli, tuna, hummus, green beans and noodles without a fuss at all tonight. I am very lucky I know. Tonight I must thank Wow Wow Wubzy for distracting him while I slid those greens right in… I stumbled upon these really fun food face plates today from Fred and Friends. I know my son will love them, and I might just need to get a set for me and my husband too. Just in case I don’t have Wubzy around – these might just do the trick.