On the Blogs: Yogurt Bars, Cocoagraphs and Pop-Up Grocery Stores

by in Community, July 26th, 2012

greek yogurtAssociated Press: The Greek yogurt craze continues to go strong, with top yogurt makers opening “yogurt bars” in New York City.

Healthland: Pop-up grocery stores may help solve the problem of “food deserts.”

Bon Appétit: It’s all about portion control — and using a colorful plate for dinner just may be the key to your success.

 

Laughing Squid: Obsessed with Instagram? Now you can turn all your favorite filtered snapshots into chocolates aka “cocoagraphs.”

NY Times: What are your Olympic athletes eating this summer? While most people worry about too many calories, they “have the unusual problem of having to work hard to keep weight on.”

Effortless and Elegant Summer Table Centerpieces

by in Entertaining, July 26th, 2012

beach themed table
Summer centerpieces are a great way to add simple elegance to your table. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just sitting down with your family for a meal, the perfect centerpiece can do a lot to enhance the whole experience. Plus, finding table decorations doesn’t necessarily require breaking the bank. There are plenty of ways to create amazing centerpieces using items you can probably find around the house. Here are a few of Food Network’s favorite ideas for tasteful and effortless summer decor.

Beach-Themed Table
If you live near the beach, search for different-shaped shells (this is a great activity to do with the kids) and place them in a nautical-themed pot in the center of your table. If you are far from a beach and no one in your family is a shell collector, shells are inexpensive to buy at craft or design stores. For an added touch, try gluing individual shells on each of your napkin holders.

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Breakfast of Champions: Olympic Ring Pancakes

by in Events, Family, July 26th, 2012

olympic pancakes
I love the idea of using food to help teach my kids about life and culture.

My family recently learned about the history of the Olympics. The symbol of the rings, which is five interlocking rings on a white background, represent the “Five parts of the world, which were won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition” in 1914.

According to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who designed the infamous Olympic symbol, “The ring colors with the white background stand for those colors that appeared on all the national flags of the world at that time.”

I also stressed to my children the importance of eating foods that are good for you and provide energy. After asking my kids what their favorite event was, we talked about how athletes need the best possible “fuel” for their bodies. Wanting to create a special breakfast for them in honor of the Olympic games, I thought all-natural whole-wheat pancakes was a great way to kick off these summer games.

For this recipe, I used an all-natural pure maple syrup and found it to be a great way to talk about the gold, silver and bronze medals.

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Restaurant Revisited: Zandi’s

by in Shows, July 25th, 2012

Zandi's

At Zandi’s in Millersville, Md., sisters and co-owners Evette Aponte and Yvonne Zandi were just a few months from closing down when Robert Irvine showed up. He was discouraged to find not only lackluster food, poor service and tired decor, but a lack of passion on the part of the owners. A few months after their emotional Restaurant: Impossible makeover, we checked in with Evette and Yvonne to see how business is going.

Since Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible intervention, sales at Zandi’s are up 39%. They’ve gone from roughly 30 customers per day up to 70. Evette and Yvonne are slowly catching up on their debt and will soon be able to start paying their mother back.

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Cheesy Summer Squash — Summer Fest

by in In Season, July 25th, 2012

summer squash carpaccio
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today, we’re exploring squash.

Tender and mild, summer squash captures the freshness of the season whether it’s raw, steamed, roasted or grilled. But no matter how you choose to prepare this shapely and colorful member of the gourd family, it seems there’s no better combination than summer squash and cheese — Gruyère, ricotta, Parmesan and much more — for a light salad or a hearty main.

Before you get cooking, be sure to choose summer squash with bright-colored skin free of spots and bruises. Once you’re home, refrigerate it in a plastic bag for up to five days, though it will likely disappear long before then.

When summer squash is at its freshest, eat it raw. Thinly shaved, it needs nothing more than a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil, a scattering of grated pecorino and a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper like in this beautiful Summer Squash Carpaccio (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. If you’re in search of a salad of cooked summer squash, Grilled Summer Squash with shaved ricotta salata and Claire’s Minted Squash-Orzo Salad with crumbled feta are equally as delectable.

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