Archive for the child friendly category.
An egg is an egg is an egg…………..not so fast!
When I was growing up, on Easter morning, we would rush downstairs to raid our Easter baskets. In the center of the basket was always a large chocolate egg. You know, an egg, made out of chocolate, shaped like an egg. An egg as an ovoid, not simply an ellipsoid. …..impressed? Actually I needed to look those words up! Simply stated, an ovoid is a fully shaped egg and an ellipsoid is an oval, slightly egg shaped, which can be flat in form.
Do you want an egg in your Easter Basket or an ellipsoid?
Today, I have my own children and I, uhh, *cough* the Easter Bunny rather, has a preferred egg; Asher’s coconut cream. Asher’s chocolates has been making chocolate Easter eggs in Pennsylvania since 1892. Recently however, I noticed a change in the eggs from ovoid to a hockey puck like ellipsoid. It appears that for the mass market, the eggs have been flattened like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg. Don’t get me wrong, I love a peanut butter egg, but they are accessories to the basket, usually left in their packaging, not the centerpiece.
Retailers need to produce as much revenue per square foot as possible, especially in today’s economy. I understand that more than anyone. Flat packaging can pack more inventory into every square foot. It appears, however, that packaging has dictated the product. That is completely counter intuitive to everything I believe in as a former merchant and a current consumer. A flat egg is no longer a centerpiece, but an accessory. Would you want to be the bride or always the bridesmaid?
Thankfully, there is one place I have found where you can buy the original, old fashioned, Asher’s chocolate Easter eggs. That place is The Pennsylvania General Store in The Reading Terminal Market. The Pennsylvania General Store is an eclectic mix of products and specialty foods made in the great state of Pennsylvania. They also have a mail order company which ships Asher’s Easter Eggs, as well as, many other Pennsylvania goodies all over the country. The company has a great story.
The good news is that not only does The Pennsylvania General Store carry ORIGINAL Asher’s eggs, they are also on sale! Check out their online sale here. They are also offering free samples of the eggs in their Reading Terminal Market location on Saturdays between 11AM and 1PM from now until Easter.
I use apples and oranges as candle holders on our mantle
My grandfather made the mold from wood.
Sugared Fruits are MY FAVORITE and a great activity with the kids!
Assorted fruits such as red and green apples
ornages and clementines
Roll the fruits first in egg white using a basting brush to cover
Then add to a bowl of sugar
Use a spoon to coat and lightly roll in sugar.
Let the fruits dry on wax paper.
Sugared fruits look beautiful in a crystal bowl or scattered amongst greens.
We love Halloween in our house, I mean who doesn’t? I have 3 children and have always considered having a traditional costume party for Halloween, but never got it done. As many of you may already know, we are big bakers in our house and I always made Halloween cookies with my children at Halloween. That really means the children lasted 10 minutes, gave up, and I baked alone for hours. So, eventually I stopped making cookies at Halloween.
We are very social and spend a lot of time with friends throughout our community. A problem arose when my youngest was around 4 or 5. Every family we “hang” with has a son and daughter the same age as my oldest two children, which left my youngest out of the loop. So, I decided to have a Halloween cookie party and invite only families with children my youngest daughter’s age. Unlike my normal affairs, I kept it simple: Appetizers, Chili w/ fixings, hotdogs w/ fixings and salad. (recipes for dinner under separate posts.)
The concept for the party is simple. We bake the cookies in advance, make icing and the kids go to town. This has become my second favorite night of the year, next to Thanksgiving, and I had to share this concept with all of the other moms out there. The little ones look forward to it all year long!
Flavoring (option) I use orange or lemon
Pour confectioners sugar into large bowl. Slowly add small amounts of milk. Be careful not too add to much or it will be liquid. The consistency should be thick, yet spreadable. If it becomes too this, add more sugar. Divide desired portions into new bowls and add food color and flavoring.
I spread the cookies out across table, along with orange, white, black, green, yellow, and purple icing, paper plates and lots and lots of paint brushes.
The cookie decorating lasts about 30 minutes, and then they are off! My son hosts a haunted house while I clean up and prepare for dinner. Needless to say, with each year the party gets a little larger, and a little larger. The children are getting older, and yet a good time is had by all! I believe at last count, I have 35 children attending next Saturday night! YIKES!
Cheese steaks from Pudge’s Steaks
“Cheesesteak” is one of the most searched terms in the Philadelphia area. Visitors of the area are always in search of the BEST! Sadly, for most visiting the Philadelphia area that means a trip to the famous corner in South Philly. Don’t get me wrong, I myself have visited 9th and Passyunk after a Flyers game or at 4 AM on New Years Eve, but when folks ask my opinion, I do not send them there. I think visiting South Philly is essential when visiting the city and I have 2 favorites there (neither are located at 9th and Passyunk)!
Because I live in the burbs, I also encourage people to come outside of the city and see what our other local communities have to offer. While every sandwich shop in the Philadelphia area serves steaks, there is one stand out that anyone in Montgomery County would agree has the BEST cheesesteaks, and that is Pudge’s Steaks in Blue Bell, PA.
There are some notable differences in the steaks served here verses those in the city. First, the size is significantly larger, not in length only, but in girth. These are fat sandwiches! The cheesesteaks and the hoagies are ginormous! The next significant factor is the roll. The roll makes the sandwich. Personally, and maybe it’s just me, I will NOT eat a sandwich on one of those mass produced “Philadelphia” rolls. (Name withheld to protect the guilty.) I won’t. I can’t. In the burbs there are 2 types of sandwiches, those made on those mass rolls, or those made on the king of rolls from Conshohocken Italian Bakery.
The third factor for my family, in a cheese steak, is that the high quality steak is chopped and chopped well. Pudge’s chops its meat perfectly, cooks it perfectly tender and evenly distributes the cheese. *Mouth Waters*
While I live in the burbs myself, I live closer to the city that Western Montgomery County, so I don’t get to Pudge’s as often as I would like. Recently, I took my children for their 1st Pudge’s experience. They are hooked!
Until a few weeks ago, Pudge’s closed at 3PM on Mondays, but has now just announced new hours and will remain open until 8PM for Monday Night Football! They do not yet deliver, but based on recent facebook posts, it appears they are considering it! Have never had a “Pudge?” Do it!
1510 Dekalb Pike
Blue Bell, PA
Back by popular demand……….
The Grotto at Spamp’s
Yappy Hour at The Grotto at Spamp’s
The Royal Wedding is the buzz of the world this week! The Outbound Station in Conshohocken will celebrate by serving FREE Wedding Cake to all of their customers this Friday, April 29th.
Stop into Outbound Station on Friday between 6:30 AM and 4:00 PM, have breakfast, lunch or coffee or beverage and receive a free piece of wedding cake, while supplies last!
2 Harry Street
Conshohocken, PA 19428
(located at the base of the Conshohocken bridge)
The Outbound Station in Conshohocken is introducing a line of pastries from pastry chef, JoAnn Settles Landon, of Settles Sweet Specialties in Limerick, PA. If you read my previous post on Outbound Station, you already know how impressed I am with this quaint cafe. I worked with owner Mary Shaffer on her charitable work in meatball wars, and then discovered her coffee shop in the fall. Her genuine concern for providing healthy cuisine, supporting local purveyors, and creating “green” initiatives makes her incredibly endearing.
When she called to ask for my input on a new line of pastries, I jumped at the chance to sample the treats! I was surprised and delighted, upon arrival, to see the fondant masterpiece that JoAnn Settles had created and had waiting for me.
The Best of Food Logo in Fondant
I brought my 8 year old daughter, a little foodie in her own right, with me for the tasting. She was equally thrilled with the “cake boss” style logo. We went about the business of tasting cupcakes, pastries, and chocolate desserts and found everything to be absolutely delicious. For me to love a dessert is a big deal. I am actually a salty, more than sweet person, as a general statement. The apple cranberry tart pictured above was especially good because it was not too sweet. We also sampled Kahlua sticky buns. They were so off-the-hook delicious that I ate them faster than photographed them! The only photo I have does not do them justice, but I was told that they they will now be available on weekends at Outbound Station. So I HIGHLY suggest you try one.
Probably the most significant addition to Outbound Station’s new items is the cake ball. Prior to my arrival, I saw on twitter that local residents were already reacting to the scrumptious mini dessert. While the flavors will change weekly, a cake ball is a mini ball of cake, in this case vanilla, covered in butter cream and then coated in semi-sweet chocolate. Last Saturday was their first day on the shelf and they sold out completely, possibly because in addition to being delicious, they are far more reasonable here than in the Neiman Marcus catalog. Based on the success of their first weekend, the cafe is now taking orders for them in advance, decorated for your themed event (super bowl, birthday, bachlorette parties.)
Mary Shaffer likes to change things up daily, so there is no telling what will be available from day to day. JoAnn Settles’ specialty desserts will be available throughout the week, with a larger variety available on weekends, for now. Other fabulous goodies which will be available are cupcakes, brownie pops, cookies and tartlets similar to the ones below.
I imagine that another hugely popular item will be the brownie pops. After announcing on twitter that I was headed to the coffee shop to taste new desserts, I heard from someone to ask for smaller brownies for “when you just want a taste.” I bet these are just what she was looking for…………..
The brownie pops are coated in chocolate ganache, and adorned with different casings such as nuts, chopped candies, toasted coconut and cookie crumbs.
To special order any of the mentioned treats call: 484-351-8235 or visit
2 Harry Street
Everyone loves a gingerbread house! I don’t know about you, but the houses that I make at home with my kids, are usually a big FAIL, but they love the thrill of the “build.”
This year, why not let the experts at the Royal Pantry at A Taste of Britain help you create the perfect holiday house while having a wonderful family day at their Gingerbread Workshop. Their fabulous bakers will lead the activities, and they supply the gingerbread, creative decorations and candies plus beverages and snacks for all to enjoy!
When: Saturday, December 11th ~ 11:00 or 3:00
Where: A Taste of Britain ~ 503 West Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, PA
What: Build a gingerbread house in this lovely British shop and enjoy seasonal refreshments.
$45 per house
Winter Wonderland Holiday Tea
On Sunday, December 12th they will be holding their Full Service ~ Winter Wonderland Holiday tea from 10:00AM – 6:00PM.
$28 Adult includes a complimentary mimosa or Champagne Spritzer and $18 Child
Full Menu HERE
For either event~ Call for reservations:
Smoked Fish Platter
Wayne Tea Room turns British Gastropub (BYO) after dark!
A Taste of Britain in Wayne has opened 3 nights a week for dinner! The British tea house now hopes to attract all age groups, men and woman and families for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. They have designed a traditional British menu and their BYO policy allows you to bring your favorite ales, stouts or wine to compliment your meal.
I recently went to try out some of the dishes. As I reported in an earlier post, their focus is on utilizing local purveyors. Sugartown Smoke House provides the fish for the Smoked Fish Platter above. All of the dishes we sampled were very good, but the biggest surprise of the evening for me were the minty peas that were served with the Sheppard’s Pie. They are visually not that appealing, and I tried them because I felt the need to, more than I wanted to try them. I could not stop eating them. They were bizarrely addicting! The other major note is the homemade gingerbread with home made lemon curd. Oh. My. God. ( I hear Usher in my head!)
Here is the full Menu:
Soup of the Day
Carrot Ginger Soup
English Stilton, Apple and Candied Walnut Salad Tossed with Balsamic
Chef’s Selection of Flatbread
Smoked Fish Platter
Sugartown Smoked Salmon and Smoked Trout- Prepared on Pumpernickel and
Potato Rosti, Served with Traditional Accompaniments
Served over Basmati Rice and Paired with a Crisp Apple Salad
Salmon En Croute
Atlantic Salmon Nestled in Homemade Pastry with a Spinach Mascarpone Dill
Prepared with Toasted English Crumpets,
Tavern Ham, Gruyere Cheese and Topped with a Fried Egg. Served with a Side
of Heinz Baked Beans
English Sticky Toffee Pudding with Whipped Cream
Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce
Warmed Baked Cookies with Milk
Comfort food is served in a comforting setting. Add your own libations, and you’ll have a perfect evening on The Mainline!
For reservations: 610-971-0390