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.

 

 

 

 

Fairway Market – Review of the New Latin Table Line

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It’s no secret that Fairway Market is one of our favorite stores; we mention it often here at House of Bedlam. So when I got an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing their new product line, Latin Table, I was thrilled to do it. 

What is the Latin Table Line?

The Latin Table Line consists of tamalas and empanadas, available in the deli pack-out section. Precooked, fresh food, that only needs to be reheated and are ready to serve. Available in the following flavors:

Tamales: beef, chicken and black bean

Tamales

Empanadas: Argentine-spiced beef, chicken and spinach-Portobello mushroom

empanadas 2

When I got to the store to pick up the food samples, the manager mentioned that the line had literally just hit the shelves that day. In fact he hadn’t even had a chance to see it yet. When we got to the section, the empanadas were already almost sold out. As we were in for a major snowstorm that night, I took the one flavor left (Argentine-beef). Although I was disappointed about missing out on the spinach-Portobello mushroom, I had a feeling my little crew wouldn’t mind since it had spinach in it.

Both the empanadas and tamales are packed in a convenient portable container, which includes two sauces, a chipotle dip and an avocado-tomatillo sauce. The empanadas, priced at 4.99, are medium size, and come two to a package. The tamales, priced at 3.99, come four to a package but are smaller. Each would be a perfect amount for lunch or dinner, with a side of veggies.

What are they made of?

I was very happy to see the ingredient lists on both the tamale and empanada were all-natural and free of any preservatives. If you would rather not serve your kids processed foods these are a great option for a quick easy dinner. Plus, the overall price was less than we would typically spend on take-out for our family of five.

Are they hard to cook?

The cooking instructions on the tamales were easy and fairly straightforward. They can either be micro-waved or steamed. We did both and if you have the time I would recommend steaming them. I don’t have a steamer so I just put them in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water and covered them. The microwave dried them out a tiny bit but it was a lot easier and meant no pan to clean. Always a positive in my book.

The package of empanadas did not list any cooking instructions. I chose to microwave them but regretted the decision as it made them soggy. I would definitely recommend popping them in the oven on a baking sheet to reheat them.

Overall, both items are super-easy to reheat and serve.

The Tasting

The kids were very excited about tasting these. They’ve had empanadas before but tamales were new for them. Of the three tamale flavors the beef and chicken were their favorites. I thought the bean was delicious but they did not agree. As for the empanada, the Argentine-spiced beef was a huge hit.

The spice level was pretty mild on both the tamale and empanada but the sauces made up for it. Before I could stop him, Matthew took a huge taste of the chipotle dip. Much to the amusement of his brothers, this caused him to jump up from his chair and run from the room. Even I had trouble with this one but Brian didn’t even flinch. I much preferred the avocado-tomatillo dip which was spicy but in a good way. After Matthew had fled the room it was a losing battle to convince the younger boys to try either one of the dips.

Next time I would serve separate dipping sauces for the kids, probably a mild salsa and some sort of creamy avocado dip.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “The empanada is the best” “ I don’t like the seaweed on the tamale”

Liam (age 4): “Too spicy, no thank you”

Dylan (age 4): “This looks good! Chicken best, not eating the bean, too yucky”

It might seem obvious but if your child has never had a tamale, it is best to remove the corn husk for them! How was I to know they would actually try to eat it?

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Would we buy these in the future?

Absolutely. Based on my children’s verdicts I would stick with the chicken and beef varieties. But for Brian and myself I would purchase all flavors. I would also buy these to serve at a dinner party as a fun appetizer. And the empanadas are the perfect size to pop in a lunchbox. Since they are precooked, it would be fine to eat at room temperature in a lunchroom setting. Anytime I can find something for my kid’s lunchbox that is quick and healthy, I am sold!

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