Luvo Flatbreads – Product Review

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could get food from a box that was not filled with preservatives and chemicals? Believe it or not a company called Luvo has developed a line of convenience foods that accomplishes just that. Normally, boxed frozen food leaves much to be desired, in my opinion, and I prefer to limit our intake of processed foods as much as possible. (That being said I won’t pretend there aren’t a few boxes of mac and cheese in my pantry.) So I was excited to try Luvo and see if they delivered on the promise of healthy, great-tasting, and convenient food.

ABOUT LUVO

Luvo was founded on a simple idea: people should love their food – how it tastes, how it encourages a healthier lifestyle, and how it supports a more sustainable planet. Part of their mission is to support farmers and suppliers with people-, animal- and planet-friendly practices. The company uses anti-biotic free meat and poultry, and non-GMO ingredients whenever possible.

THE TASTING

Our shipment of Luvo flatbreads contained six varieties: Apple Cinnamon Ricotta, Mushroom & Egg w/Spinach Ricotta, Market Vegetable w/Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion & Mushroom, and Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella.

We decided to sample the breakfast flatbreads the very next day. I was looking forward to simply turning on the oven and just popping the flatbreads in. No buttering toast or cutting fruit! I envisioned a peaceful morning with time to linger over a cup of coffee before getting the kids off to school.

The Verdict is:

Although cooking these breakfast flatbreads was convenient I’m not sure if they would work in our house during the school week. Between the cooking and heating and cooling phase, it took a little over 20 minutes. A lot longer than it takes for toast. However, they would make a great option for the weekend and I did get to enjoy my coffee while they were cooking!

Apple-Cinnamon w/Apricot Ricotta

Apple-Cinnamon w/Apricot Ricotta

The Apple Cinnamon was a little too sweet and the boys thought it would be better suited as dessert instead of a breakfast choice. But everyone loved the bread and ate most of the crust edges.

Mushroom & Egg w/Spinach Ricotta

Mushroom & Egg w/Spinach Ricotta

I really liked this one but I was in the minority. Too much green for breakfast was the consensus. Again, it was all about the wood-fired crust which crisped up beautifully in the oven. So far I was sold but the boys were not yet convinced…

Next up were the appetizer flatbreads:

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom

Market Vegetable w/Roasted Eggplant

Market Vegetable w/Roasted Eggplant

Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella

Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella

These got much better reviews and some of the comments were:

“I like the pizza one”

“Too many little vegetable parts”

“Bread is best part”

“Pizza is my favorite”

“Did Derek Jeter really cook these?”

The Tomato and Mozzarella was the clear winner. I thought all flavors were delicious and I would definitely serve them as an appetizer at our next party. I plan on keeping a few in my freezer on hand for the holidays. They were so easy! Just simply cut them up and drizzle with the balsamic glaze for a great presentation.

Where can I find Luvo products?

Luvo products are sold in major supermarkets. Visit Luvo Inc. to find a store near you. Price for flatbreads range from $4.99 to $5.99 for a box of two. Besides flatbreads, the company also makes burritos, breakfast and dinner entrees.

And if your kids aren’t convinced try telling them about Luvo’s latest partnership with Derek Jeter, who joined the company as Brand Development Officer. My boys were definitely impressed and I believe it was the reason they were willing to try the Market Vegetable version!

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive complimentary products to sample.

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The Leftovers

After weeks of planning, days of shopping, and hours of prepping, pureeing, chopping, sautéing, roasting, boiling, basting, mashing, stirring, whisking, and swearing, the big day has come and gone. I’m happy to report Thanksgiving 2014 was a success!

A few things I learned for next time:

  1. Don’t stress about the turkey- It was sooooooooooooooo easy. For the most part you put it in the oven and it takes care of itself. Just make sure to have someone on your guest list who is a master carver and can handle that part for you. Thanks Keith!
  2. Make half the amount of food -Since it was our first time hosting we got a little ambitious. Next time I will go for smaller quantities and have more vegetables instead of so much mashed stuff. Sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, completely redundant.
  3. Use paper plates – For more than eight people paper plates is the way to go. And those fancy plastic forks, they practically look real so I’m definitely buying those next time.
  4. Try not to flood the basement at the end of the night – And if you do make sure to have a WetVac so your husband can swiftly take care of it while everyone is happily eating their apple pie à la mode.

Remember those sweet potatoes we made last week. Well, they became pancakes for breakfast. The extra mashed potatoes are going to morph into gnocchi. And the plan for leftover turkey is a green curry salad that can be used for lunch tomorrow. And maybe the day after that too…

SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

Ingredients

1 cup leftover sweet potato (with crumb topping)

1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups whole milk (or 2%)

2 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp baking powder

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Butter for pan

Directions

Combine sweet potatoes, milk, and eggs in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. In a separate large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just enough to combine. If the batter is too thick add a little more milk.

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Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Scoop a heaping tablespoon onto griddle or pan. Wait until bubbles appear on surface of pancake and then flip to brown opposite side.

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Extras can be frozen and popped into toaster to reheat. Cool completely before freezing.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “These are the best”

Liam (age 5): “I’ll take ten of these”

Dylan (age 5): “Just terrific”

***

SIMPLE GNOCCHI

Ingredients

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

About 1 ½ cups of flour

1 egg

Pinch of salt

¼ cup of olive oil

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped

Directions

Place mashed potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Sprinkle one cup of the flour onto the potatoes and mix together with your hands until the flour is incorporated. Make a well in the center and add the egg. Combine the egg with the potato mixture until a smooth dough forms. Keep adding flour and gently kneading until the dough is no longer sticky.

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Break the dough into about six pieces and roll out into snakes the width of your finger. Cut the dough into 1” pieces. Place on a large baking sheet and score the gnocchi with a fork.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi to the boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon a minute or two after they rise to the surface. Drain well and toss with olive oil, sprinkle with grated cheese and garnish with the fresh sage.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “I really like this”

Dylan (age 5): “I love it”

Liam (age 5): “There’s a wild flavor in here”

***

GREEN CURRY TURKEY SALAD Mini Sandwich

Ingredients

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 ½ tsp green curry paste

1 ½ cups leftover turkey, chopped

Cranberry sauce, leftover

3-4 small rolls or croissants

Directions

In a medium mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise and green curry paste. Add chopped turkey and mix until combined. Spread a small amount of cranberry sauce on the bottom side of croissant or roll. Add a heap of the turkey mixture. Enjoy!

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “A little too sweet with the cranberries”

Liam (age 5): “Uh, no”

Dylan (age 5): “Don’t like that red stuff”

What did you make with your leftovers???

Happy Belated Birthday to Us!

House of Bedlam turns 2 this year! We’ve been so busy with soccer and hockey we almost forgot to celebrate. We’ve jumped many food hurdles this past year and I’m looking forward to concocting more recipes for my little crew to sample. So far this year, we’ve mastered broccoli, tackled carrots, dabbled in tofu, made our own ice cream and cooked many stellar chicken nugget recipes. Our goals for the year ahead will be banning the words “yuck”, “disgusting”, and “eewww” from the dinner table. Still a serious work in progress but I’m hopeful it will happen one of these days…

In keeping with tradition this birthday post will be a recipe using, you guessed it, apples. Fall is picking season so we’re flush with fruit from our annual orchard excursion. And since my kids have begged me to stop giving them apples in their lunchboxes I have many to spare. As always, I face the same challenge; what to do with all this fruit before it rots? There are only so many apples you can bring to teachers. And our attempts to give a few to our neighbors did not go well – they have their own bushels to get rid of.

Instead of sweet, I went savory. And in the process I learned that hot fruit is not so kid-friendly. Although, in my opinion, this recipe is worth trying again, it was yummy. Maybe less apple though….

Pork & Apples Sausage

Ingredients

I medium sized apple, finely diced

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

1 lb. ground pork

1 ½ Tbsp. fennel seeds, finely chopped

1 ½ Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp black pepper

Method

Heat a large skillet on medium to high heat and add 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Sauté the apples until soft but not mushy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove apples from pan, set aside to cool. Wipe out skillet.

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In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, fennel, sage, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and apples. Form into 1” balls and then flatten into patties.

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Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. In small batches (don’t crowd the pan) add the patties and brown on both sides. About 5-6 minutes per side depending on the thickness.

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Remove cooked patties and drain on paper towels. The pieces of apple that fall loose from the cooked patties will caramelize and are delicious. Scoop those up to garnish the sausage. Enjoy!

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “Don’t like it”

Liam (age 5): “It’s too squishy”

Dylan (age 5): “Don’t like the onion part”

If your kids don’t like these, not to worry, save them as leftovers for Sunday breakfast, they are great with poached eggs!

To our followers, old and new (all 600 of you!), a big thank you for following along with us this past year. We appreciated every comment, Facebook like, and retweet!

Funny Food – Book Review

I’m always screaming at gently reminding my children not to play with their food. But that was before we met Bill and Claire Wurtzel, authors of Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts at their recent workshop at Fairway Market.

Author Bill Wurtzel displays his art

Author Bill Wurtzel displays his art

Bill and Claire Wurtzel have discovered a unique way to get kids to eat a healthy breakfast. And they have documented their creative approach in a colorful book worthy of the coffee table. Besides the stunning photography the book is filled with nutritional information, tips on healthy cooking and fun food facts. Can you guess what arachibutyrophobia means?

Inhaling our edible art

Inhaling our edible art

The chapters are broken down by food groups that are easy to cook and recognizable to children of all ages. But there are no rules – use your own favorite foods, as long as they are healthy and nutritious. You’ll be surprised when you see your kids eat their edible creations with gusto. Spinach hair or cucumber buttons will no longer be a dreaded vegetable but a thing of beauty that they made!

Goofing around at the workshop

Goofing around at the workshop

After attending the workshop we were anxious to put our book into practice and create our own silly art at home. We started with the egg section (anyone can boil an egg, right?) and things got off to a fantastic start. As with most things around our house, breakfast spun a little out of control, (our edible art made it to the floor as well as the plate) but in the end they did have a healthy meal.

Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head

Egg & Bread man

Egg & Bread man

I would highly recommend this book to any parent looking for ways to get their kids into the kitchen and excited about food. Check for a Funny Food workshop being held in your neighborhood and meet the duo behind this wonderful book or visit the website to purchase a copy.

 

 

 

 

The Great Breakfast Salad Experiment

Why is it that parents all over the world struggle with mealtimes? It seems an endless war is raging between toddlers determined not to eat vegetables and parents persisting on them having their peas and carrots. In most households with kids five and under, the dreaded dinner hour is filled with threats of no dessert, followed by responses of flying broccoli. Moms everywhere (including yours truly) are pureeing, disguising, and chopping vegetables to try make them more appealing to their little soldiers, only to sit down to a battle zone at the table.

This week I decided to try something completely new and unexpected. I wanted to turn the tables on the boys and take them by surprise. Instead of roasted vegetables at dinner I am going to be serving salad for breakfast. What’s that you say? Salad for breakfast!? Bad idea? Maybe it is… but I was very curious to see how this science experiment would go.

My findings were completely unexpected…

The Great Breakfast Salad Experiment

Hypothesis: Serving vegetables at breakfast rather than dinner will result in higher consumption rates amongst children six and under

Materials: Sliced cucumbers, mini-carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, pickled onions

Method: Every morning a different vegetable was added to the usual breakfast fare. Other than the pickling of the onions, all vegetables were served raw with no added dips or sauces. There was no prodding, begging, threatening or pleading. The decision to eat the vegetables was left completely up to the individual.

Data:

Day 1 – cucumber slices – consumption: 3 1/2 pcs.

Day 2 – carrot sticks – consumption: 5 sticks

Day 3 – bell pepper strips – consumption: 1/2 strip

Day 4 – cucumber slices – consumption: 5 pcs.

Day 5 – pickled onions – consumption: hard to calculate since most got picked off, guesstimate: 3 pcs.

Conclusions: Left to their own devices my kids mostly ignored any food on their plate they considered yucky. But, in the morning hours the revolt against the “healthy” stuff was almost non-existent and there were no flying vegetables. They hardly even reacted to seeing something green or orange on their plates (maybe they were still half asleep). As the week progressed consumption on one vegetable (cucumbers) did go up which leads me to believe my hypothesis might actually be correct! Feeding your kids vegetables in the morning might just be the way to go.

The recipe I served on the last day of the experiment follows below. It is more of an assembly rather than a recipe but if your kids like lox this is a great breakfast option.

BLA  (Bagel Lox Avocado) w/pickled onions

Ingredients

2 shallots cut into small rings

3/4-cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp sugar

1 ripe avocado

8 pcs. of lox (4 ounces), about 2” strips

4 mini bagels, lightly toasted

4 lemon wedges (optional)

 

Method

In a small mixing bowl combine the rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix well until salt and sugar is dissolved. Place onions in a glass container or bowl and pour rice wine mixture over them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

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Note: Not many people have time to pickle vegetables in the morning rush so this step could be done in advance. The onions will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Place bottom halves of bagels on a cutting board. Scoop out some of the bread for the avocado mixture. This is so the avocado won’t squeeze out when your kids bite into it. I learned this the hard way!

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In a small bowl, scoop out the avocado, mash it a little bit but leave it with a very chunky consistency. Add salt and pepper taste. Place two heaping spoonfuls on each bagel.

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Note: If you plan to do this step ahead of time, add some fresh lime to the avocado to prevent browning and make sure to refrigerate. However, I would recommend not doing this more than a few hours ahead.

Top the avocado mash with some strips of lox.

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Garnish with pickled onions and serve with a lemon wedge on the side. Add top of bagel or serve open face. Enjoy!

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “Lox, AWESOME! It’s like a little salty and sweetness”

Liam (age 4): “Never give that to me again”

Dylan (age 4): “Thumbs up for me!”

The dinner battle still rages on but it is nice to know we can have a truce at breakfast.

Try this experiment with your own kids. And let me know if your conclusions are the same.