We’ve Got A New Look!

This is our big sister blog that reviews restaurants (including family-friendly) as well as theater, movies and travel. Check them out. Love the new look, team!

In Good Taste Denver

So, what do you think? Does this new blog make our butt look smaller? Seriously though, after two years, we decided wp_20130111_0082.jpgit was time for the In Good Taste Denver blog to get a little makeover. The new design makes it easier for you to see what we have to offer at a glance, rather than having to do a blog roll and scroll.

Notice that there are new headers at the top (Eat, Go and See) with a drop down menu so you can go directly to what you want to a little faster. We’re mobile too so be sure to take a look from your smart phone when you’re out and about wondering where to go or what to do. The In Good Taste Denver blog will be right there, at your fingertips.

Lastly, check out our background photo. We’ll be changing this periodically, as the mood strikes…

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A Veggie of a Different Color by Edan Goode

This month we are talking about kids and vegetables in a series called Veggie-Eating Kids. Look for tips to help kids get over their veggie fears.

It’s a rare child who will willingly and happily gobble up vegetables.

One way to spark some enthusiasm though is to get kids involved in planting veggies, even if the only space you have is in a pot or window box. Let the child pick out at least one of the items to be grown and have them nurture the seedlings until they are ready to eat.

Another way to get kids interested in veggies is to take them to the farmer’s market. They will be able to meet the people who, just that morning, got up very early and picked the very vegetables that they can enjoy that day. It’s a cool concept (and a strong work-ethic to inspire). Veggies that come from the ground instead of the freezer section. It gives the food an interesting story. And it’s far different from vegetables being just another item on the grocery list, like crackers and toilet paper.

Since kids respond to things that are different and even a little odd, they will probably be excited to find a rainbow of odd veggies at the farmer’s market. At different times throughout the year you might find purple carrots, yellow beans, and red potatoes, oh my! It seems like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. I asked Jennifer Thomas of the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield what differently colored vegetables they grow at their Community Supporting Agriculture (CSA) program (http://www.botanicgardens.org/content/community-supporting-agriculture) . Look for similar veggies at your farmer’s market, in your local CSA, at some grocery stores, or in seed form to grow in your own garden next year:

• Snap Beans in royal burgundy (Purple), Carson (Yellow)

• Carrots Rainbow mix (yellow, purple, red), purple haze (purple)

• Cucumbers Lemon (yellow), Suyo long (long funky shaped)

• Eggplant Snowy (White)

• Lettuce butterhead Nancy (very tender)

• Watermelon moon and stars (yellow specks on the outside)

• Opal basil (purple, not as tender but fun in color)

• Turnips purple top white globe (as in the name)

• Potatoes purple Peruvian (purple fingerling), red cloud (red), purple majestic (purple)

Use the color variety to create a rainbow of summer dishes like salads, pasta salads and grilled veggie mixes that look fun to eat.

Stay tuned for the next post in the Veggie-Eating Kids series for creative ways to let your kids “play” with their vegetables.

Also, read “Kids Can Love Veggies” on page 44 of the July issue of Colorado Parent at www.ColoradoParent.com.

Easy Birthday Party Treats By Edan Goode

A birthday celebration doesn’t HAVE to mean cake, at least not in the traditional sense.  Here is an idea for a tasty treat that the party guests can even help make (that’s one less party activity for you to plan, Mom!) For more ideas, read “Blow Out the Candles On Boring Birthdays” in the July issue of Colorado Parent magazine.

Cake Pops from Betty Crocker 

Recipe and Photo Courtesy of   BettyCrocker.com and Arlene Cummings, CookingwithSugar.com.

1 box Betty Crocker® cake mix (any flavor)

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

1 container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped frosting (any flavor)

1 bag (14 oz) candy melts (any flavor)

1 teaspoon shortening

Craft sticks (flat wooden sticks with round ends)

Assorted candy sprinkles

Block of white plastic foam

1. Line several cookie sheets with waxed paper. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 13×9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

2. With fingers, crumble cake into large bowl. Add frosting; mix well with fingers until dough forms. Shape into quarter-size balls; place on cookie sheets. Freeze about 15 minutes.

3. When ready to assemble, in small microwavable bowl, microwave candy melts uncovered as directed on bag. Stir in shortening until smooth and mixture runs off spoon.

4. Remove cake pop balls from freezer. Dip tip of each craft stick into melted candy, then halfway into 1 cake ball; place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.

5. When all cake balls have sticks, gently swirl 1 cake ball in melted candy to coat well; allow candy to drip back into bowl. Dip ball into candy sprinkles to decorate; place in plastic foam to allow candy to harden. Repeat with remaining cake balls and melted candy.

Make-it-yourself peanut butter fudge By Edan Goode

When I was eight, I attended summer camp and, I’m sure did many activities.  However, the only thing – and I mean ONLY – thing I remember from my that summer was making Peanut Butter Fudge with just three ingredients.  It was the first thing I’d made by myself and I was so proud.  I continued to make this fudge many-a-time over the years and happily taught my own children to make it.

It’s practically fool-proof and sorta kinda healthy and a very rewarding thing for kids to make by themselves. It’s pretty free-form in terms of quantity so since you use equal amounts of everything, just make sure you have enough of each ingredient to measure out equally.

Ingredients:

Equal amounts of –

1. peanut butter

2. honey

3. powdered milk

Mix all three ingredients together, in that order, with a spoon or fork. Using a spatula, spread it evenly into a pan or even on a plate, depending on how much of the mixture you made.  Put it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up. Cut into small squares and eat up.

Pizza Round-Up By Edan Goode

Pizza Round-Up

Pizza plays a big part in my family’s life. During the cold weather months, when heating an oven to 425 degrees is a welcome thing, we have Pizza and a Movie Fridays.  I whip up a food-processor batch of dough, clean out the fridge of bits of meat, chicken and veggie leftovers, smother it all with cheese and turn out a delicious pizza. We lay out a big blanket on the family room floor, turn on a movie and have a pizza picnic.

On occasion though (like when I can’t fathom heating up the kitchen), we go out for pizza.  In honor of our readers who live all over the city, I’ve picked a few of our favorite pizza joints from all over the city.

Mattie Soprano’s Ristorante & Pizzeria (Green Valley Ranch)

I bless the day my daughter had a soccer game out near Green Valley Ranch. Starving, we headed north on Tower Rd. in search of lunch. We found pizza bliss that we have been more than willing to drive out of our way for many-a-time. The atmosphere is campy Italian but the pizza is so good. The crust is perfect in texture and flavor. You can create your own pizza from lots of toppings or order one of the gourmet ones. Our favorite is the Tuscany with alfredo sauce, sausage, spinach and roasted red pepper but the humble pepperoni is delicious too. All pizzas are made from scratch, to order, so be willing to wait 20-25 minutes – totally worth it! They also have calzones and Stromboli for those who like their pizza rolled up. Prices vary, depending on the toppings and size.

CiCi’s Pizza (multiple locations)  

My husband was a bit aghast when the kids and I raved about CiCi’s. You see, it’s a chain, and a buffet and it’s raucous, filled with families, celebrating youth sports teams and birthday gatherings – all things that make him a bit tense. No, you won’t find a peaceful meal here unless you go at off-times. But anytime, you will find really good pizza with a huge variety including pepperoni, ham and pineapple, vegetarian, buffalo chicken and spinach alfredo. If you don’t see the pizza you like on the buffet, ask them to make the one you want, all for you, delivered to your table and they’ll do it! There is also a modest salad bar, pasta bar and dessert bar with sinful cinnamon rolls. Prices vary by location but are around $5 plus change, per person. Kids under 3 are free. It’s a bargain.

Woody’s Wood-Fired Tavern (multiple locations)

Whereas my husband glazes over at the CiCi’s experience, he lights up over Woody’s. Their website address kind of says it all:  PizzaAndBeer.us.  Like CiCi’s, Woody’s also has a buffet with an extensive salad area, yummy cheese/beer soup and a variety of pizzas coming fresh out of the oven. Here too, you can also request that they make a certain pizza. My husband loves Woody’s pizzas, every one. Frankly, I find Woody’s lacking which is surprising given the intoxicating smell coming from the wood-burning stoves that envelope you in the parking lot. The dark, shellacked atmosphere inside is depressing and the service is either great or non-existent. They have great chicken wings plus other non-pizza items like burgers. $8.99 for the pizza/salad/soup buffet, per person.

Old Chicago Pasta and Pizza  (multiple locations)

Although the ever-present sports playing on screens every where you look get annoying and make my eyes glaze over, Old Chicago is a good standby for us. Just last weekend, when we were in Boulder for our annual tradition of seeing the tulips on the Pearl Street Mall, we ended up at Old Chicago because we knew we could count on it to be good.  The kids’ meal menu has all the favorites with decent portions, especially for the individual pizza. I was expecting something oh, english muffin size, which I’ve seen other pizza places turn out (none of the ones mentioned here!).  The rest of us ordered our favorite combo of pepperoni, sausage and mushroom, thick crust of course.  I appreciate that the meats were well-done,  not sopping in grease.  The crust is buttery and a treat all on its own.

Where do you like to go for pizza? Post it here so that we can all discover some new favorites!

Feel the Love By Edan Goode

The cereals

Congratulations to a sweetheart of a local company, Love Grown Foods, for reaching the impressive benchmark of national distribution. Good for them and good for us.

I first became aware of the company and its various tasty granola variations when my health-nut husband brought home a variety of the bags. Compared to his health-nuttiness, I’d say I’m a health- supporter. Our kids, well, let’s just say they are works in progress on the healthy eating front. All of us gobbled up Sweet Cranberry Pecan and Apple Walnut Delight with Raisin Almond being our favorite so far, especially for adding to steel cut oatmeal. We have yet to try the new Simply Oats or the eagerly anticipated-by-my-kids Cocoa Goodness.

Getting the kids to eat truly healthy cereals is a feat so I was compelled to reach out to the company to see what they are all about, which turns about to be love, love, love.  I spoke to founder, Maddy D’Amato, who, with her boyfriend Alex,  started the inklings of the company while students at University of Denver. While living in Aspen, Maddy’s hometown, the venture began to really take hold. From being present in just a few Aspen stores, they have now grown to spreading the love nationwide. Locally, they can be found at King Soopers, City Markets and Vitamin Cottages to name a few.

Love Grown Foods and E.A.T. developed a little mutual admiration society. We love what their product was made of, and Maddie loved what E.A.T. stands for – both literally and figuratively – everyone around the table.

Maddy & Alex, the founders of love

“I was raised in a household where we ate homemade dinner with seasonal foods and enjoyed one another’s company every night. Alex, my boyfriend, is the business mind, and my passion is in cooking healthy foods. My background is in nutritional counseling, Pilates, and massage therapy. Cooking is my form of therapy…I simply LOVE it! (Plus, everything tastes better when it’s made with LOVE!)”

“We believe you should be able to pronounce every ingredient in your food and know what it is. My goal is to make health less of a privilege and more of a right. I have a HUGE soft spot for kids, because I know that health starts at a young age.”

Maddy & Alex are clearly very excited to launch their cereals nationally

I couldn’t agree more. Love Grown Foods cereals are free of all the nasties including refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

Maddy was kind enough to provide you, my dear readers, with some recipes that use the Love Grown cereals. Thanks, Maddy!

Love Grown Coffee Cake with Cranberry Icing

Love Grown Encrusted French Toast

Love Grown Peach Crisp

Bake up some fun with this contest

Because I have loved that plump, little dough boy since I was a child, I couldn’t resist posting this contest from Pillsbury. You only have until December 20 to enter:

Pillsbury People Essay Contest                                                                                                                                        

  • Enter at www.PillsburyBaking.com from October 20 through December 20, 2010
  • Submit a short essay on your favorite sweet treat and a reason why you love to bake it
  • One lucky person will win $10,000 towards a kitchen makeover
  • Additionally, three runners-up will receive a digital camera and a Pillsbury Gift Basket with Pillsbury Baking products and branded items.

I’ve made the following holiday treat since I was a kid. Use Pillsbury bread sticks and follow their directions for temperature and bake time.

Soft-Pretzel Wreath
1.    Take one can of soft bread sticks, separating each  bread stick.
2.   On a greased baking sheet, form each bread stick into a pretzel, placing each one almost touching in a circular shape with an open space in the middle (you’ll be placing a small bowl there later).
3.   Whisk 1 egg until blended, and brush it over the pretzels.
4.   Sprinkle coarse salt over the pretzels.
5.   Bake according to  bread stick directions.

For the dip/spread, mix softened (but not melted) butter with a little pesto sauce OR spicy mustard to your taste. Place the mixture in a bowl in the center of the wreath and serve. Let guests pull apart the wreath and dip or spread the butter mixture on the soft pretzel.