Kicking Off Football Season

As football season kicked off last weekend for Colleges across the country and the NFL, my mind naturally turns to tailgating.  For me that is the best part of attending a football game.  In fact, some of my fondest memories from college are of tailgates with my family and friends. The Google definition of tailgating is to host or attend a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium.  At Purdue University, my alma mater, tailgating before a football game was an event.  I was an expert at this before I even got to college as my family has been long time Purdue supporters and tailgaters.  The parking lot behind Ross-Ade Stadium was where we would eat peanuts mixed with candy corn, cold fried chicken and sometimes hot chili.  My grandfather would walk the aisles trying to sell or buy tickets to the game depending on our family’s attendance that week. 

While my family certainly has our own tailgating traditions, here are some of the best from college football stadiums across the country:

Texas A & M – In College Park, Texas the tradition is to arrive well before the game, the night before in fact.  At midnight before a home football game Kyle Field is filled with 40,000 plus fans for the midnight yell.  A cheer practice of sorts before the big game!

University of South Carolina – Before a Gamecocks Game in Columbia, SC you can rent out railroad cars less than 50 yards from the stadium for your tailgate.  Each car is decked out with a flat-screen television and full kitchen.  This is where tailgating dreams come true!

University of California Berkeley- Just east of California Memorial Stadium is a small hill where fans for football climb for a free view of the game.  Climbing charter hill has become a standing game day tradition and a great way to enjoy tailgate snacks throughout the game.

Of course food and drink are a big part of tailgating and what is served varies from region to region.  Check out our recipe box for some great tailgating foods like Chicken Wings with La Boite Ayala Spiced Aioli or Ricks Picks Phat Beets Happy Appy.

What are your favorite tailgating traditions and eats?

Happy Friday,

Julie

Summer Escape

Summer has a whole new meaning when you are a kid compared with when you are a ‘grown-up’. As a child, summer is a break from the norm of the school year, a chance to play more and work less.  As an adult or grown-up summer is pretty much the same… while the attire at the office may be more casual, and if you are lucky, you get to leave early on Fridays, there is still work to be done at the office and around the house.  This summer at my house was no different than past summers… my two older boys had too much fun at camp, my husband went off to work sweating in his suits on the subway platforms and Julie’s Beet continued to grow and evolve.  My husband works in an industry with a mandated 2-week vacation.  Clearly this isn’t any food related industry😊His vacation from work has always provided us with the opportunity to take some time away from the city and really enjoy summer as a family.

This week I have been in Ulster County New York with my family. We recently grew from a family of 5 to a family of 6 so didn’t want to venture too far from home. We are far enough from Manhattan that it really does feel like an escape from the city.  We debated going away at all this summer but I really felt like it would be good for all of us to take a real break from our everyday lives before the kids head back to school and business is back to normal.  We rented a house with a pool and a big yard so we really don’t have to go too far to find entertainment.  What I have found is that there are a lot of really cool things about New York State that I have never experienced until this vacation.

I see a lot of farm names in the supermarket and when I am placing my Fresh Direct order.  Driving down the road the other day I spotted 2 different farms that I recognized.  We really are immersed in the farms of New York and it is great to put a face with a name, so to speak.  On that note there is plenty of fresh produce to find along the side of the road and at local farm stands.  We picked out some local tomatoes and raspberries at the local farmers market which were superb. I am not sure what it is  but everything tastes better when you know where it came from.  There are also a lot of local vineyards, breweries and distilleries. So along with locally grown food products, there is also a lot to drink!

Tomorrow morning, we’ll load up the car and head back to the city.  I hope we’ll return feeling a bit refreshed from the week away. I can assure you we have taken in more sunshine and fresh air than we do on a normal week in NYC.  We’ve gotten used to being a bigger family and working together to make that successful for all of us.  I hope you’re off enjoying the last un-official weekend of summer. I’m not sure about you but I am definitely counting down the days until school starts, just 4 more days until my oldest starts kindergarten!

Happy Friday!

Julie 

 

Eating for Energy

Feeding a family of 5 takes real work. I have to be organized enough to have food in the house that everyone likes and plan meals according to those likes and dislikes.  When will all the kids just eat what we are eating?!?! Sunday night is family night at our dinner table and I try my hardest to cook something that will please everyone. Some nights are more successful than others.

Feeding a family of 6 is something I have just begun to contemplate… at the moment I am really working out how to eat properly to be able to have enough nutrients for myself and the baby.

 Here are some tricks I remember from the last time I was taking care of a newborn.

Have Food Ready to Eat: While cutting a few pieces of cheese to go with some sliced apple sounds simple enough to put together for your afternoon snack; it is tricky to do that with a baby in your arms.  Cut up the cheese ahead of time and that snack is much easier to grab.    

Snacks are just as Important as Meals: Being able to grab a handful of almonds is  great way to get some energy through that afternoon slump without having too much sugar. Even better, mix those almonds with some chocolate chips and raisins for a trail mix of sorts. I also buy the snack size bags of my kids’ favorites and keep them in a big tub in the pantry.  They can help themselves and I know they aren’t eating too much with the smaller packages. Getting too hungry is a recipe for disaster for you and the kids.   

Water: Staying hydrated is super important but even more so when your body is creating milk for someone else. If you don’t love the taste add a little something to the water like sliced watermelon, fresh lemon, herbs or cucumber.  It will make the water a little more exciting and keep you going.

Protein:  This a big piece of staying focused and energized when taking care of a little one and a larger family.  I have hard boiled eggs ready to go in the refrigerator along with other high protein items like hummus and sliced deli meat.  A handle full of protein will go a long way.

I hope these tips will keep you going whether you’re taking care of a family of 6 or just yourself.  Let me know if you have any other tips to keep me going through the transition!

Happy Friday,

Julie

 

Tomato Time is Here!

It is tomato season and I am loving it! This time of the year I could eat tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Their flavor is sweet and delicious. There is nothing more juicy and refreshing than a fresh tomato in July or August. I guess that is why prime tomato season is in the summer. While I am very content to simply sprinkle the tomato with some Jacobsen Salt Co Flake Salt, tomatoes are also delicious in recipes. Try this one for a Summertime Frittata with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese. Feel free to add other vegetables you have in your refrigerator but the tomatoes are definitely the stars here.  You could even serve it with a tomato salad on the side!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Summertime Frittata

Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

8 large eggs, cracked and beaten

8 oz baby spinach

½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 oz herbed goat cheese, crumbled

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

-Preheat oven to 375°F.

-Heat a medium non-stick pan over high heat.  Add a splash of olive oil to the pan and sauté the spinach. Drain off the excess water.

-Reduce heat to medium and add the eggs. Let the eggs cook slowly, running a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan to prevent the egg from sticking. Cook for 4-5 minutes.  Top with crumbled goat cheese and tomatoes and place in preheated oven.

-Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the egg is cooking through.  Remove from pan and slice into pie shaped pieces to serve.

 

Grab a cone and some Ice Cream

Ice Cream Selection

We do a lot of celebrating at my house… between birthdays, milestone days at school and the occasional ‘food’ holiday we’re always making a party out of it.  We recently celebrated National Ice Cream Day with an ice cream treat and for half-birthday celebrations in our family we also get ice cream. Since it is summer and lots of you are probably having ice cream as treat, here is a list of some of our favorite places to cool off with a creamy treat. Some are more appropriate for the kids while others are clearly skewed towards the grown-ups in our family.  With the sunshine out this weekend and the weather back in the 80’s we’ll likely find ourselves out for another sweet treat very soon.

Milk Bar: We frequent Milk Bar for their coffee, cookies and their ice cream.  The Cereal Milk Soft Serve is always available, and they have a rotating second flavor.  Currently in NYC  it is Compost Cookie which has all of the flavors of their cookie with the same name… coffee, pretzels, potato chips, oats & butterscotch.  Locations in NYC, LA and in between.

Van Leeuwen:  This Brooklyn ice cream shop expanded to my neighborhood a little over a year ago and has been a hit ever since.  They specialize in vegan flavors so if that is something that entices you, this is the place to go.  Van Leeuwen has some very creative flavors like Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle and Vegan Toasted Coconut Blondie and they also have classics like mint chocolate chip and plain old vanilla. They have locations and trucks all over NYC and LA.

Mister Softee Ice Cream Truck: The local ice cream truck is great for a quick fix if you like chocolate and/or vanilla ice. They’ll even top it with sprinkles if you ask.  Trucks are typically in and around New York City.

Screme Gelato: We ended up at this local kosher neighborhood gelato place for National Ice Cream Day.  They make their own gelato using the best ingredients around.  Their presentation is great with heaps of gelato topped with some of the ingredients. We had cookies n screme which was topped with lots and lots of oreos!

Shake Shack: My kids love their milk shakes and my go-to is a root beer float.  The frozen custard at Shake Shack is as good, if not better, than their burgers. Try one of their concretes which is sort of like a Dairy Queen Blizzard but much better.  Locations across the country and around the world.

Where do you like to go for ice cream on a warm summer day?

Happy Friday,

Julie

No Big Dill!

July is very appropriately National Pickle Month.  Who doesn’t want a dill spear on the side of their sandwich or a bread and butter slice on top of their burger or a pile of relish on top of their grilled hot dog? With these summer staples, pickles are the perfect accompaniment as they are crisp, fresh, light and add a lot of flavor.  Pickling began as a way of preserving foods for out-of-season use and also to keep foods fresh for long journeys.  With refrigeration, we don’t have to worry so much about keeping foods fresh for long journeys, but pickling is still used for keeping out-of-season foods fresh for the off-season. I have memories of making five-gallon buckets of pickled ramps in the spring when working at db Bistro Moderne.  They were served with a duck pate and we had to have enough to last until the following spring. It was not easy feat but somehow, we made it work.

We can’t talk about National Pickle Month without talking about Rick’s Picks.  Their Phat Beets are my favorite… I love beets for obvious reasons, and these are made with just the right amount of rosemary and garlic and are just delicious.  Their recipe for Phat Beets Happy Appy makes lots of appearances when I entertain. While Ricks PIcks Classic Sours are delicious, you cannot go wrong with adding some Mean Beans or Hotties to your Bloody Mary.  Homemade pickles are a great way to use up that load of vegetables you got from  your CSA and can’t possibly eat before they go bad, but pickling isn’t just for cucumbers and vegetables anymore.

Pickle juice has become as popular as the pickles that are inside it.  A few years ago the pickle back, a shot of pickle juice, paired with a shot of whisky became extremely popular. And this recipe for pickle-brine chicken is so delicious and flavorful.  Pickling liquid could also be used as part of a vinaigrette on a salad.  I’ve also read that a few sips of pickle juice could relieve heartburn or make that hang-over go away. The good news is that pickles aren’t going anywhere so let’s celebrate them in all of their glory this month and beyond!  We’re offering 10% off our collection of Rick’s Picks Pickles through the end of the month with code PICKLEMONTH10

Happy Friday,

Julie

The Thrill of the Grill

I just got an email from the management company of my building reminding us that it is illegal to have a propane or charcoal grill on your terrace or in your apartment.  While having an open flame grill inside your apartment sounds crazy having one outside isn’t so crazy.  But rules are rules and when we renovated our apartment we tried really hard to get the building to allow us to have a legal gas line barbecue but, in the end, didn’t succeed.  So we have our indoor grill on top of our range and it does a pretty good job.  The email got me thinking about why grilling has such an appeal that people are breaking these rules to have grilled food.

Grilling outside is a social way to cook. The stereotype is mostly true that men love to grill. I think a big part of that is the fact that they can stand around with a drink in their hand while ‘manning’ the grill.  There are obviously varying ways to ‘man’ the grill. I have memories of grilling with my grandfather where he would set a timer on his watch so we would know when to turn the steaks so they were evenly cooked and also had perfect cross marks on them.  On the other end of the spectrum is the set it and almost forget method where you simply watch for a lot of smoke or flames and then check in on what is cooking.   Both ways are satisfying for the grill master and also produce delicious food.

Cooking over an open flame also provides sense of adventure.  A gas grill is pretty easy to turn off and on, but you still have to watch out for flames firing up onto your meal.  Lighting a charcoal grill or even cooking over wood is something that requires skill and should be rewarded with a delicious meal.  The charcoal chimney is an amazing invention but there is still an amount of skill and luck to getting that fire going.  Unless you grew up as part of the boy scouts or girl scouts, starting a wood fire is tough.  Having the challenge of starting the fire and creating the environment to cook is one of the appeals of grilling.

Finally, there are the health benefits of having your food cooked over an open flame.  First off, you actually eat less fat because the fat is dripping off of the meat through the grates on the grill.  Foods retain more of their nutrients when cooked over an open flame.  This includes vegetables and proteins and happens because of low water content in the food.  You also eat less fat because you only need a little oil to keep the food from sticking to the grill but otherwise most of your flavor comes from the smoke of the grill and not from adding fats to your food. 

With summer in full swing, grilling season is also in full swing. I hope you are able to enjoy the social and health benefits from grilling. Most importantly be safe when you grill and certainly don’t have an open flame grill inside the house!  

Happy Friday,

Juliie

Food Trends from the Fancy Food Show

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Summer Fancy Food Show here in New York City. The show can be overwhelming as it covers most of the Jacob Javitz Center with literally 1000’s of booths.  With the right game plan, I was able to see what I wanted to in just a couple of very productive hours. One of my strategies is to visit the show on Tuesday, which is the final day.  The number of visitors is far fewer making it easier to breeze up and down the aisles.  On the flip side, the vendors have been talking and talking for two days already and some are just plain tired!   At the end of the day, the Fancy Food Show is a great opportunity to connect with some of our current artisans and also to look for new products for our marketplace.  On top of all of that I also enjoy poking around to see what the current trends are in the gourmet food world. 

Here are the trends I found most prominent at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show:

Plant Based Everything: From oat milk to almond milk to cauliflower pizza crust and even some ‘meat’ products, there was a BIG emphasis on eating from foods we can grow.  While we know this type of diet has many health benefits including reduced risk of some cancers, I am a purist is most areas. I want my milk to come from a cow and my beef too for that matter. I do try to keep a low-carb diet so am on board with things like cauliflower pizza crust and pasta made from chickpeas. It is good to know these products are available for those who choose this lifestyle and also opens a lot of options for people with allergies to certain foods.

Allergy-Free Items:  To my last point, there is an increased awareness to allergies and more products are available to benefit allergy sufferers.  It doesn’t surprise me that these products are often created by parents who are looking for something delicious to feed their child who has a gluten/nut/dairy/soy allergy.  While my children, luckily, don’t have any food allergies I find these products have a place in our home because schools are super sensitive to allergies and a lot of packaged items are not allowed due to the allergens they contain.

Cold Brew Coffee:  I remember it like it was yesterday… making batches of cold brew coffee at Bouchon Bakery almost 10 years ago.  We had to let the coffee sit in the water overnight to brew to the proper strength.  It was not an easy feat.  Clearly times have changed as cold brew is becoming very main stream and in a good way.  A great bottle of cold brew in your refrigerator means fewer trips to the local coffee shop and for those who don’t live near a coffee shop, you can still have your gourmet coffee.

While most of these trends don’t align with the philosophy around the products selected for our marketplace, it was great to see how the food scene is changing.  I did find some wonderful products from smaller producers t that I hope to bring to our marketplace in the fall. I look forward to telling you more about the products and the stories behind them soon!

Happy Friday,

Julie

How to host a party, fun for kids & grown-ups!

Yesterday was the last day of school for my two oldest boys. It has become a tradition that we host a party  to mark the occasion, inviting all of the children from each class as one last get together as a group.  While it may sound daunting to host 22 children and their families with enough planning and preparation it can be a breeze.  Here are some tips on hosting an event that can come together easily and is enjoyable for both grown-ups and children.

  1. Plan an appropriate menu for the age groups – For us this means having choices that are approachable to children while also having something fancier for the grown-ups. I always follow the rule of making at least one home-made dish and fill in the rest with open and serve items.  I’ve been looking for an excuse to make this Chicken Alfredo Ring so that was my home-made dish.  We also had a cheese tray, pretzels, chips, a fruit tray, veggies and hummus and home-made cookies for dessert.
  2. Have a special beverage station – Keeping the drinks separate from the food makes people move to different rooms in the house. Having a special drink makes the party more fun for kids and grown-ups. At this age, the kids get pretty excited about juice boxes or lemonade.  We have wine and beer for the grown-ups because they deserve to relax a little as well!
  3. Plan a menu that can be made ahead – Everything we served could be prepared ahead of time and set out on the buffet for all to enjoy. This meant that during the party I didn’t have to be working in the kitchen to heat something up and could chat with the other grown-ups or keep the kids out of trouble.
  4. Have an activity to engage the children so they don’t destroy your home – We had a cookie decorating station set up where the children could frost and decorate their own cookie to take home or enjoy on the spot. This kept their attention just long enough that the selection of toys that were out were interesting and kept my home relatively clean.
  5. Prepare your toy selection – I highly recommend putting away toys your kids don’t want to share to prevent any arguments. We also put away noisy toys(think musical instruments) and toys with lots of pieces(legos!). This keeps the noise level down and makes clean-up a little bit easier.

I have always enjoyed entertaining and while it has changed since having kids in the mix, there is a way to still make it enjoyable.  The next time you find yourself overwhelmed by a big event look at my tips and you’ll surely be able to sit back and enjoy at least a glass of wine!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Running for a Cause

This weekend I’ll be participating in my 7th race with Moms in Training.  Moms in Training is a group of Moms that train together to run a 10K while also raising funds to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I started with this group in the fall of 2014 when my son was 4 months old.  He would sleep in our running stroller while I trained in Central Park.  I’ve always loved running but once I became a mom it became more difficult to find time to run.  By participating in Moms in Training, I have an excuse to go for a run each week and can feel good about it since I am supporting a great cause at the same time. With three boys now, I am finding it even more difficult to find time to run. I upgraded a few years ago to a double running stroller so now can push two of them while I train. That leaves my supportive husband with just one to look after.

This season has not been an easy one for me as far as running is concerned. I was formally diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis the week before the Moms in Training Season began. That didn’t stop me from going to the team kick off where we met this season’s team honoree, Jackson.  There wasn’t a dry eye among the crowd gathered there listening to Jackson’s father tell the story of Jackson’s battle with cancer.  Jackson is now 11 and has been cancer and treatment free for 5 years.  The one comment that resonated with me with was when Jackson’s father said that beating cancer was one of the easier challenges Jackson had to overcome.  Jackson was already challenged with numerous health and development issues that accompany Down Syndrome nonetheless Jackson persevered and overcame the challenge.  What I am facing is far less severe compared with Jackson’s story and it puts it all in perspective.  I’ve been going to physical therapy to work through the heel pain and it has helped. I have been running a little ahead of the race but not as much as I would have without the heel issue.

As I head into the race tomorrow, I’ll remember what Jackson’s father said and think about the millions of people who are affected by blood cancers.  I’m not likely to win the race, but I do hope to have a good time running it.  If you’d like to support my run with Moms in Training you can donate through this link, https://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/mit19/JRosenberg

Go Moms!

Happy Friday,

Julie