Food and Cooking

Whole Foods Market

Delicious recipes, family friendly dining news, reviews, and resources for families in Marin and the Bay Area. Sponsored by Whole Foods Market

Strawberry Shortcake Is a True Taste of Springtime

April 12, 2016

Strawberry ShortcakeOne of the best things about spring is knowing that you can get fresh, sweet, locally grown organic strawberries at the farmer's market or grocery store. To celebrate, we love to make this easy and delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. This simple combination of lightly sweet shortcake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla flavored whipped cream is a hit with just about everyone, and is suitable for every occasion, from a fancy Easter dinner to a kids' tea party.

These shortcakes are kind of like sweet (but not too sweet) buttermilk drop biscuits, and don't take very long to put together. If you're really in a hurry, you can use whipped cream from a can, but it doesn't take too much time or effort to make some fresh whipped cream with your electric mixer, and it tastes so much better, too.

You can make the shortcakes and whipped cream in advance and let diners assemble their own strawberry shortcake creations at the table, if you like. It's fun for both children and adults. Whipped cream keeps fine in the refrigerator for a few hours, and you can make it extra-thick and rich by putting it in a strainer over a bowl and letting some of the water drain out.

Kick Off Your Spring Break at PIER 39 with Hard Rock and the 7D Experience!

April 7, 2016

7D Experience PIER 39Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Hard Rock Cafe San Francisco at PIER 39.

Kick off your family's spring break at PIER 39 in San Francisco with two great special offers from Hard Rock Cafe and the 7D Experience. The Hard Rock is expanding its great Sunday Fundays kids eat free deal (normally on Sundays only) all weekend for this weekend only. Kids 10 and under dine for free off the Hard Rock's kids' menu all day and night from Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10, 2016. Mom and Dad get to rock out, drink, and eat while the kids enjoy a free meal with every adult entree purchased, 1:1.

In addition, kids also get free admission this weekend to the 7D Experience at PIER 39 with each full-price adult admission. The 7D Experience combines the thrill of a rollercoaster with the excitement of a state-of-the-art laser blasting game in a 20-seat theater with a massive movie screen. There's also the Lazer Challenge, where you compete to make it through a maze of criss-crossing laser beams.

Raspberry Almond Oatmeal Bars

April 5, 2016

raspberry almond oatmeal barsMy kids love to have a sweet treat when they come home from school, and I always try to make them as healthy as I can. These berry-filled oatmeal bars are really delicious, and I sometimes even use whole-wheat flour in them. Use either strawberry or raspberry preserves—they're both equally delicious. Even apricot would work! The sliced almonds can be replaced with chopped walnuts, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces (plus more for greasing the pan)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Tacos al Pastor with Homemade Corn Tortillas

April 4, 2016

tacos al pastorThere's something about authentic style tacos that's so delicious, and one of our favorite variations is tacos al pastor, which consist of pork marinated in a red chile sauce with grilled pineapple. In taquerias the pork is usually cooked on one of those vertical spits (like the ones used to cook shawarma or gyros), but we make a simplified version that we cook on the grill and I think it's a great approximation of the real deal. The enzymes in the pineapple help tenderize the pork, and the sweetness plays off the flavor of the red chile and spices.

It's also fun—and surprisingly easy—to make your own corn tortillas, and there's nothing quite like a freshly made tortilla hot out of the pan. It helps to have a cast iron tortilla press, but you can use a rolling pin in a pinch. The kids love to make their own tortillas, although we leave the cooking to a grownup, since they're baked in a hot cast iron pan. Actually, quite a few of the tortillas never make it to the taco part of the meal, since they're so good on their own.

Healthy Ingredients a Mom Can Trust

April 4, 2016

Whole Foods Market Marin

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Whole Foods Market.

Aspartame? Vanillin? Ammonium chloride? Shopping for groceries shouldn’t feel like reading a chemistry textbook. And once children enter the picture, the stakes are even higher.

At Whole Foods Market, we stock our shelves with products we buy for our own kids. We carry the widest selection of organic foods of any retailer, but it doesn’t stop there. What goes on your little one’s body is just as important as what goes in it. Looking for diapers? Ours don’t contain synthetic fragrances, inks, or chlorine. We offer lotions, soaps, sunscreen, and baby powder that don’t contain irritating preservatives, artificial colors, or scents.

Spring Vegetable Pasta is a Dinnertime Hit

March 28, 2016

spring vegetable pastaAfter seeing all the fantastic spring produce at the Marin Civic Center Farmer's Market, I've been determined to create a recipe that showcases some of the season's best vegetables. I made this spring pasta dish this weekend, and my kids loved it. It's built around the organic English peas that I picked up, and is fresh, light, and delicious. I also found the first of the season's white corn, which I usually think of as a summer thing, and I decided that would go well in this dish too (and it did).

Put the kids to work in the kitchen shelling the peas and shucking the corn. It's always fun for them to get involved in cooking a meal. If you don't have the time or inclination to deal with the fresh peas and corn, frozen would work fine, too.

Serves: 6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb farfalle or other pasta shapes
  • 1 lb English peas in the pod (or 1 cup frozen peas)

Classic Coconut Mini Cupcakes for Easter

March 26, 2016

Coconut cupcakesOld fashioned coconut cake is an Easter favorite. We decided to give this classic treat a kid-sized spin and made a fun mini cupcake version.

These light and sweet little cakes with a marshmallow-like frosting are great for parties, playdates, and get-togethers, and of course as dessert on Easter! Sure, you can use fresh toasted coconut on the outside, but we love the old-school white flaked sweetened coconut from the grocery store's baking aisle.

This recipe makes about three dozen mini cupcakes. You can use it to make regular-size cupcakes, too, but of course you'll need to increase the baking time by a few minutes.

Inside-out Chicken Pot Pie with Buttermilk Biscuits

March 21, 2016

inside-out chicken pot pie with buttermilk biscuitsThis dish subverts the traditional chicken pot pie and makes it into an easier but no less delicious weeknight meal. Make a chicken pot pie filling, with plenty of chicken and vegetables, then spoon it over buttermilk biscuits. It's a dish that everyone in the family loves!

You can use either homemade or refrigerated biscuits to make this—it's great with either. Feel free to mix up the vegetables in the "filling"; broccoli and mushrooms are great additions. This recipe makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken (leftover rotisserie or roast chicken works great)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bird's Nest Cookies for Easter

March 20, 2016

birds nest cookiesThese cute and clever bird's nest cookies are the perfect treat for Easter. Light and airy coconut-filled meringues really look a lot like birds' nests—you can complete the illusion by adding a few egg-shaped Easter candies. We like the Cadbury mini eggs, but malted milk eggs or even jelly beans will work equally well.

The kids love to help make these, and of course love to eat them. These treats are a great addition to Easter baskets, too. Give them a try, and you'll probably find that they earn a spot in your spring baking repertoire.

Ingredients

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie for St. Patrick's Day

March 13, 2016

Shepherd's PieWith St. Patrick's Day coming up this week, my kids have been asking me to make Irish food for dinner. Since corned beef and cabbage is not exactly something you throw together after school, I've been trying other appropriate dishes from the British Isles, like this rib-sticking, easy-to-make, and kid-friendly shepherd's pie. It's essentially a beef-and-vegetable stew topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven until golden brown. I topped this version with a little grated Irish white cheddar cheese for a bit more authenticity.

This pub-grub favorite is more correctly known as "cottage pie", since it's made with ground beef instead of leftover roast lamb, but it's delicious no matter what it's called. I always try to bulk up the stew part with extra vegetables to make it a one-dish meal. My kids love this and even my picky-eater daughter asks for a second helping. Feel free to substitute ground turkey or ground lamb for the ground beef. You can also use chopped leftover roast beef or lamb in the filling.

This recipe serves 6 to 8, so we usually get two dinners out of it, reheating the leftovers on a weeknight. It actually tastes better after sitting in the refrigerator for a day or two! You can make this either in a casserole dish or in individual ramekins. The kids like the ramekins because each person gets his or her own little shepherd's pie! Watch out, though—the ramekins will be hot.