Picnic Time: Greek-Inspired Sandwich

Greek Inspired Sandwich by A Little Yumminess

Our picnic series continues with some our top tips for successful picnics and a sandwich inspired by Greece!

Make a checklist. There is a lot to bring, so a list will help you get organized. Don’t worry if you forget something—as long as it’s not the food!

Make finger food. The fewer utensils you need, the better. Lay out containers of food on your picnic blanket and call it a “garden buffet” so children can pick and choose what they like. Kids love to just pick up and eat their food.

Buy food. If you don’t want to wake up and cook before you head out, stop at your favorite deli or supermarket, and pick up your picnic. Purchase prepared sandwiches or wraps, some fruit, cereal bars, nuts and water, and you will be all set.

Bring plenty of cleanup supplies. You will need more of these than you think Bring a whole roll of paper towels or several dishcloths and perhaps even some wet wipes. Also, bring hand sanitizer if you are going to be somewhere you cannot wash hands. And don’t forget extra bags to collect your trash.

Bring safety items. Make sure you have a first-aid kit in the car or in your basket/backpack. Scrapes and cuts are inevitable, and it is best to be ready for them. Sunscreen is also essential, as are hats and bug repellant.

Bring games or toys. You can spend your time exploring nature, or bring some toys and games along. A travel-size board game or deck of cards will be easy to carry. Or bring a bat and a ball or football for some more active fun.

Select an enclosed space. To reduce your stress level, find a park or area that is enclosed. That way you won’t have to worry about your children wandering away.  Particularly helpful when you have younger kids in your picnic party.

With July 4th coming up – head doors on a fun picnic!

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Picnic Time: Italian Panini

Italian Panini by A Little Yumminess

Summer is here and in most places it is the perfect time to get out have a picnic.  The weather is not quite as agreeable in San Francisco during summer – so either we brave the fog and picnic anyway (because we are tough people who are used to cold summers) or we head a short distance outside the city to better climes for our picnic.  However, don’t let the harsh SF weather mean no picnicking for your family.  Some of my fondest memories from childhood revolve around picnicking and the idea of eating a packed lunch outside still brings a big smile to my face.

Though I have learned over the years that picnics on the beach are generally a bad idea, no matter how glorious it sounds.  Sand in sandwich is not such a good idea.  Get your kids to help with the packing of the picnic and think about what you could need.  You will invariably forget something – that’s a given and part of the fun.  The outdoors are beckoning and what better way to enjoy them then to share a meal outside.  The next few posts are going to feature some international sandwich recipes that you can make with your kids before you head out for some fun.
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Snack Time: Quick Cheese Straws

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Store bought puff pastry is one of those things that makes cooking so many dishes so much easier.  We always have some in the freezer to turn into a variety of dishes like these portable stuffed puffs we love,  the best homemade chicken pot pie, and tarts of all kinds.  Our latest snack time addition, are these quick cheese straws that the little ones can make almost entirely by themselves.  I am loving that as the kiddo gets older, I can give her a simple recipe and she can work on it by herself.  I am not ready to let her handle the oven, but perhaps over the summer we will make that leap as well….

After the kids are in bed these are great with some bubbles or a cocktail.  A friend of mine makes a yummy version of these with prosciutto. Yum.  Who needs dinner?

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Tarta de Santiago (Spanish Almond Cake)

Spanish Santiago Cake by A Little Yumminess

Santiago Cake_A Little Yumminess

This super traditional Spanish cake first caught my eye because of its short list of ingredients and the fact that it uses no flour, just finely ground almonds, as the base. Another example of how a couple of simple ingredients can transform themselves into something special. This cake is moist, deliciously not-too-sweet, delicate and crumbly which makes it great with a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Simran and I and our friend Rachel happy nibbled away on this during a recent afternoon of recipe testing… and the fact that I wasn’t nice enough to save any for my family to try will give you an idea of how much I liked it.

In addition to being a lovely accompaniment to afternoon coffee this is a cake also has a long history. It dates back to the 16th century where it has been enjoyed by Santiago locals and pilgrims making their way to the Cathedral of Santiago Compostel (the burial place of St. James, the patron saint of Spain.). This recipe also happens to be gluten-free which comes in handy as well. Continue reading

Bay Leaf Kitchen & Elianna’s Minted Spring Pea Dip

Elianna's Minted Spring Pea Dip

Image: Bay Leaf Kitchen

Simran and I have found a foodie soulmate in Elianna Friedman. In addition to being the woman behind CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program, she’s an inspired chef, seasonal food goddess and a wonderful teacher. She’s doing some really, really cool stuff to engage kids in learning about where food comes from and eating with the seasons which we wanted to share …. and she also passed along this tasty recipe to celebrate spring: an easy dip that combines pea shoots, mint and cool tangy yogurt. I’ve got some enthusiastic dippers in my family and we can’t wait to make this one!

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Snack Time: Chilli Cheese Toasties

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We are currently addicted to this “Indian” variation of a simple grilled cheese sandwich.  It’s always fun to take something familiar and mix it up just a little bit.  We enjoyed these cheese toasts recently before a family hike and they kept us satisfied as we got some exercise and fresh air.  It was also a fun little cooking project with the little one.  For kids, feel free to omit the chillies altogether – the tomatoes, onions and herbs are enough of a twist.  Another thing we like about this recipe is that you can make multiple cheese toasts at one time by using a sheet tray and the oven, versus slaving over each grilled cheese over the stove.  This is the perfect after school snack for a playdate.

Next time we make these, we are going to try different types of cheeses – goat cheese, gruyere, mozzarella or perhaps even some fontina.  Or maybe even a variety of leftover cheeses that seem to always languish in our fridge.  Another yummy addition could be finely chopped colorful bell peppers.

A throwback to my childhood that I had forgotten all about…excited to have it back :)!
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In Love with Egyptian Koshari

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When we first discovered Koshari, we were thrilled, as the promise of this dish is great.  It comprises some of our favorites – lentils, rice, macaroni and spices.  Bye-bye “mac and cheese” – hello “koshari”.  Plus, trying the cuisine of a new, “as yet undiscovered country”, is always an opportunity we gladly welcome.

This Egyptian dish is an intriguing and flavorful combination of leftover rice, macaroni, lentils which are topped with tomato sauce.  Other optional additions are chickpeas, crispy fried onions and of course, hot sauce, if you so desire.  This dish is from around the mid-19th century and it’s origin is a creation of necessity.  At the end of each month, working class Egyptian families would have a little bit of everything left in their pantry, and they would use it up by making this yummy dish.  This is totally the style of cooking we love – open up your pantry/refrigerator, see what you have left and make some magic. 🙂 Continue reading

Swedish Crackers: Linnéa Thomsen’s Knäckebröd

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Scandinavian Knackebrod - A Little Yumminess.jpg

Scandinavia Knackebrod_A Little Yumminess.jpg

By now you know I am obsessed with the book “Edible Selby“, a super stylish, globe-hopping, sketchbook tour of some of the world’s tastiest eateries. I’ve been staring especially longingly at the feature on Linnéa Thomsen and her gorgeous bakery nestled in the equally gorgeous Stockholm Park, Rosendals Trädgård. Everytime I see those photos, I want to jump right into the pages and grab a cardamon bun and a hunk of one of her wood-fired breads. Heaven! But until my family makes it to Sweden, we can at least make these lovely crackers. They’re super light and crisp and perfect with any sort of cheese, jam or cracker topping you can think of…. or do as the Scandinavians do and have yours with a bit of good butter. Continue reading

Healthy Snack: Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

crunchy chickpeas

This is an awesome snack for kids and grown-ups.  Except the grown-ups should have it with some ice-cold beer. 🙂 You can vary the spices as you desire, leaving out the “spicy heat” elements if you so prefer.  Or pull some out for the kids, before you add the cayenne or paprika. I added cumin to mine, because it is a favorite and I can never really follow a recipe completely.  You can probably make these with any spices that you or the kids fancy.  Experiment away to find your favorite combo.

We made a batch a few weeks ago, and it was all consumed within a day!  Next time, to make it more economical, we are going to used dried versus canned beans.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food and they have several suggestions on what you can do with these yummy chickpeas aside from just eat them on their own.

  • Sprinkle over a salad or stir into a stew
  • Puree with lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs for a sandwich spread
  • Saute with onions and cherry tomatoes
  • Boil and mash in with your mashed potatoes, to make them a bit healthier

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, paprika, or cinnamon (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas and scatter on a paper-towel-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Let stand 15 minutes.
  4. Remove towels and toss chickpeas with olive oil.
  5. Roast until crisp and golden, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Toss with salt and ground coriander, paprika, or cinnamon, and serve.