April Fools’ Dinner Ideas (Guest)

guest, holidays, kids, picky eaters | March 14, 2013 | By

(Today’s post is brought you by guest poster Barbara.)

There are few things quite as much fun as April Fools’ Day. Filled with practical jokes and hoaxes on every scale, it’s hard to imagine a year without this kind of fun. Interested in creating a bit of April Fools fun at your house? These dinner ideas can help.

Eat the Meal in Reverse

Sometimes the easiest concepts can make for a good April Fools’ trick, and this is certainly one of them. While you typically serve your meal followed by dessert, try to go in reverse instead. Eat your dessert, then the meal, then the appetizer. Your little ones are sure to think it’s the best day of the year.

Serve Faux Food

Easily one of the most popular April Fools’ Day meal ideas, there are many different ways to tackle this. There are also a variety of different recipes that fall into this category. If you want to stay on the easy side of things, go with premade stuff like “peas and carrots” candy. They’re small candies that are made to look like frozen peas and carrots might.
Want to take things to the next level? Get ready for some real fun. Make a “hamburger” for dinner. Simply make cookies into the shape of hamburger buns, complete with the sesame seeds, and then add a peppermint patty to the middle for the meat. You can even add food coloring to coconut to turn it green so you’ll have the lettuce to go with your burger. A bit of red icing can make the ketchup. Other similar ideas include a meatball sub with a pound cake bun and ice cream meatballs, a “cake” that includes pizza sauce, Italian sausage, and pepperoni topped with a biscuit mix to make it resemble cake, and even a pudding dessert that looks like dirt from your garden instead of dessert.
You could also go with a cake that looks like a pizza, pound cake coated in graham cracker crumbs to resemble chicken nuggets, taco salad made from ice cream, coconut, and maraschino cherries, or even berry sodas that are really jello, making them tough to suck through a straw. There’s quite a bit of fun to be had with these faux food ideas, and you’re likely to surprise anyone who sits down to your table.

Go With Whimsical Names

A great idea if you have little ones in the house, simply renaming a few of your own favorite dishes can be a perfect way to create a meal for this amusing day. For example, for breakfast, you could serve ostrich eggs, which are simply canned peach halves surrounded by whipped cream. For your beverage, you could serve dragon blood, which is really just fruit punch. Coming up with fun names or presentations for your food is the best way to serve your typical meal while still incorporating the holiday spirit into things.
No matter what you decide to serve this April Fools’ Day, it’s certain to be a memorable treat they’ll look back on fondly in the days to come.

Barbara Petersen is a writer with an interest in family, food and fun. See more of her work at the Holiday Gifts & Baskets Blog, put on by http://www.holiday-gifts-gift-baskets.com.

Fun kids’ foods of the past (Guest)

Today’s post is brought to you by guest poster, Sally.

Everyone remembers the food that they ate when they were young. These are the foods that weren’t always the best things around or the healthiest – but the most fun! Most adults forget about what they used to go crazy for as their tastes change, but it’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane.
So if you have ever tried to eat a full packet of popping candy in one go or loved the huge sizes of the old Monster Munch (which are now back!) here are some of the so called “kid’s” food that you will probably have feasted on and loved in the past.

Crispy Pancakes
What was not to love about Crispy Pancakes? These favourites from Findus were a fast tea with chips and beans and had flavours like mince and onions, chicken and mushroom, chicken and bacon and cheddar cheese. These fillings were slipped between a folded pancake that had been coated in breadcrumbs. Cook them for too long and they are like cardboard, don’t cook them for long enough and they taste like soggy cardboard – but as a kid everyone thought they were amazing!

These were some of the most popular sweets that kids would run to the shop to buy with their 20p in their hand. Jawbreakers were (or should I say are as you can still find them) massive gob stoppers that have loads of layers. Each layer is a different colour and flavour and it was so exciting seeing which one would come next. Most kids couldn’t manage the full jawbreaker in one go so they would leave it and go back to it later – by putting it on a plate, worktop, desk etc!

Pop Tarts
Pop Tarts are the ultimate in kids food – stick one or two into the toaster and wait…..when it pops out you have a slice of sugary heaven with a super hot filling. Not only were these a favourite of kids and plenty of adults all over the country they were the cause of a lot of burns. Hands up anyone who hasn’t grabbed a Pop Tart fresh from the toaster and bitten straight into it and suffered the agony of hot jam burning their mouth! It might have hurt but we went back for more. One of the best things about Pop Tarts was they were marketed as a breakfast snack, so we could munch them thinking we were being good.

Chocolate frosted pop tarts

Um Bongo
Um Bongo they drink it in the Congo! This was the drink that had more tropical fruits than you can shake a stick at. It was fruity, sweet and addictive for kids. Most parents hated it but nearly everyone had this in their lunchbox at school. It came in boxes which were easy to keep in your bag 9and pop once you had drunk it) and the advert jingle was sung in playgrounds all over the country.

Um Bongo 100% tropical fruit juice

Angel Delight
You might have forgotten about Angel Delight but it if you try it again it will probably be a new guilty pleasure. Making Angel Delight took a few minutes (mix the powder with milk) then put it in the fridge to set. Some people would eat it runny before it set, which was good, but others would be forced by their mum to eat it ‘properly’. The only question with this sweet and smooth combination of a sauce and mousse was which was your favourite flavour? Was it chocolate, raspberry, strawberry butterscotch or banana? Mine was butterscotch.

Micro Chips
What could be better than chips that cooked in the microwave? For plenty of kids nothing! Check a packet of microchips in your microwave and three minutes later you could be eating scolding hot chips that tasted as though they were fresh. Well they didn’t but they were fun and they were quick to make as soon as you got in from school!

Author bio: Sally Lindsey, kitchen designer for London based kitchen company Nicholas Anthony. She focuses her effort on kitchen paraphernalia and design trends that adds life to this place of the house, including optimal use of space for big families, cooking recipes and light fixtures.

Trendiest Desserts Of 2013 (Guest)

chocolate, dessert, desserts, guest | February 22, 2013 | By

Today’s post is brought to you by a guest poster, Betty, via MyBlogGuest.

Image by zigazou76 on FlickrDesserts are often the ultimate indulgence. In a world where people are more health conscious than ever before, desserts seem like a nice treat now and then. Wondering what you might see on the dessert menus of 2013? Here are a few hot tips on what the trends might be.

Ethnicity Matters: It seems that on main menus an ethnic flavor of the year tends to appear, and this trend has moved toward the world of desserts, too. Southeast Asian flavors are moving to make quite a dominant presence this year, even in the sweeter treats, but don’t be surprised to see a mix of ethnic influences in your desserts. From fruity Italian influences to Asian ginger flavors, you may see several surprising pairings from around the world.

Individual Diet Matters: People are moving toward a gluten free world now more than ever before. Some are headed toward lactose-free, too. There are even some who are going sugar free. Expect to see all of those trends on your dessert menu. As these diets pop up all over the culinary map, there are chefs thinking about how to get around them at every course. One walk down the grocery store aisle will tell you that there are gourmet cookies that seemingly have nothing in them because they’re gluten free, lactose free, nut free, and sugar free. One taste, though, will convince you that they’re the single best baked good in the entire world. Chefs are paying attention to the health needs of many these days, and this year’s desserts may prove that to be the case.

Milk Matters: As much as you may see milk free dessert options on the menu, many foodies have suggested that milk will be a key ingredient in many of the top desserts this year. A San Francisco spot has patrons enjoying the World Peace Peanut Muscovado Milk. It’s milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, and roasted peanuts in a shot glass. Uchi in Houston has fried milk on their dessert menu. It’s hard to tell what other milk-based desserts will hit menus across the U.S. this year.

Portability Matters: You’d like to sit down and enjoy dessert, that’s not always possible in our on-the-go society, so you may see more choices that are made to help you get moving. This is as much a continuation of the cupcake trend as it is of the smaller portions trend, but it has managed to roll itself into one package this year. From grab and go cheesecake to the ever-present, ever-creative cupcake flavor of the week, many menus will have portable treats that help you get up and go, even with dessert in your hands. You may even see dessert machines, like cupcake dispensers, in various locations to help you have your cake and eat it too no matter where you are.

Kids’ Foods Matter: The popular news site, The Examiner, recently reported that foods once relegated to the kids table like the push pop will get a gourmet dessert makeover this year. If you’ve never had one, a push pop is typically a frozen treat in a plastic container with a stick at the bottom. As you enjoy the treat, you push the ice cream or sherbet toward the top to have more. The plastic tubes this year, though, will be filled with much more than a frozen treat. From cheesecake to layered classics, it’s going to be childhood all over again this year.

Featured images:

Betty Ann Sherman is a baker and a writer. She also regularly contributes to the Cookie Gift Baskets Blog, hosted by http://www.cookiegiftbaskets.com.