May 5, 2016

A Kulinary Kids NYC Dinner for Mom

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A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of (finally!) meeting Daniela of Kulinary Kids NYC. Daniela has come highly recommended to me by a friend for kids cooking classes.

I wanted to work with Daniela immediately so I asked her if we could arrange a class for my boys and their friends to learn how to cook a special dinner for Mother’s Day. She said YES and I said YAY! I mean…Daniela works with the kids in the LMP studio while I remain in my apartment…drinking wine with my friend Ilana? Pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

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I do have a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so I:

a. Had Diane of Diane Hu Photography here to capture every special moment.

b. Got a recap from Daniela on exactly how it all went down.

Here’s what Daniela told us…

We had a great time with your children today making Parmesan Garlic Twists, Lasagna Roll-Ups and Caesar Salad.

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Before preparing our meal, we made some beautiful spin art flowers using paper plates, paint and a salad spinner. The kids loved it!

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Then we began cooking.

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First, we made our Parmesan Garlic Twists. We melted butter and then added garlic powder and Parmesan cheese and mixed to form a spread. The children each had a chance to spread the buttery mixture on to a triangular crescent roll dough. They twisted the dough and had fun shaping it. Some said that it reminded them of playing with playdough. “Gary the Grater” helped with the Parmesan Cheese which we used to make our twists cheesy.

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Once the twists were in the oven, we worked on the filling for our Lasagna Roll-Ups. The children all had a chance to taste the three cheeses that we use for the filling. We mixed Parmesan, Mozzarella and Ricotta together in a bowl. Each child was given two cooked lasagna noodles on a cutting board. They put some of the cheese filling on to the noodle and rolled it tight. Then they set the roll-ups in a  baking dish that had Marinara sauce on the bottom. The roll-ups were topped with some more Marinara and then the children used their “pinching fingers” to sprinkle a bit more Parmesan and Mozzarella on the top.

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The twists came out of the oven to cool and the Lasagna Roll-ups were put in to bake.

Lastly, we prepared out dressing for the Caesar Salad. The children pulled apart Romaine Lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry. (They loved using a salad spinner for two completely different purposes during the class.) Then we made our dressing. We measure, mixed, squeezed and poured all of the ingredients into “Charlie the Chopper” and he helped to combine the flavors. We dressed the lettuce, tossed it well and topped it with some more Parmesan Cheese that we had left over from our other dishes.

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While our meal was being plated, we read Can I Eat That by Joshua David Stein.

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The dinner was a hit!!!

Needless to say, Ilana and I were pretty floored when we walked back into the studio and the table was set (with a Little Miss Party in a Box) with dinner, the kids were jumping up and down with joy over their creations and then got to enjoy this meal all together. What a treat!

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Thank you for coming in to work with our kids, Daniela and Dana! We can’t wait to have you back.

Happy Mother’s Day!

→Daniela said she is happy to share the recipes for the dishes we made for this Mother’s Day Meal. If you’d like to get your hands on these, email us here.←

xx, Seri
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April 21, 2016

A Passover Project Playdate

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Passover has got to be one of my favorite holidays. It might sound strange…but I LOVE Matzo! Matzo bri, matzo with cream cheese and jam, matzo pizza….YUM!! Seriously, it’s my fave. I also love Passover because I’m always the one who gets to host one or two seders. And I think you all know just how much I love to entertain!

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The only issue I sometimes run into is how will I entertain the kids (aka keep them out of my hair) while I prepare for dinner?

This year I asked my friend Deanna of Imagination Lane NYC what she suggests for a fun craft for the kids and she said DIY Afikoman bags. I thought….well isn’t that genius since my kids have been yapping about hiding the matzo (and the prizes they will get if they find it) for weeks now!

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Deanna sells craft sets that require no prep on your end at all. So if you’re strapped for time like me then click on over to her site to shop. IF you want to DIY this Afikoman craft yourself then you’re in luck because Deanna is sharing the how-to steps for us today! Check it out…

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DIY Afikoman Bags:

Supplies:
-3-4 pieces of felt (we used blue for the bags and white for the stars)
-Fabric fusion glue (to prep the bags for the kids to decorate)
-Fabric glue (for the kids to work with)
-Wax paper
-Puffy Paints (we used white, blue and yellow)
-Assortment of jewels and sequins (find at your local craft store)

Adults to prepare the Afikoman Bags:
1. Cut 1 piece of felt into a 9”x9” square (to fit Matzo), and one piece of felt into 9”x12” rectangle.
2. Using Fabric Fusion glue, glue them together by the bottom and 2 sides of the sheets felt, leaving the longest side as an open flap at the top.

Tips:
A. It’s very important to use enough glue to go through all layers of the felt and then to let it dry thoroughly before use.
B. It’s also helpful to slide a smaller square piece of wax paper between the sheets so that the bag doesn’t close shut where you need to put the matzoh.

 Adults to prepare the Felt Stars:
-Use a 2” Jewish star template (easy to find online) and trace it onto the felt sheets with a marker.
-Cut the stars out and glue them onto the bag.
-Use puffy fabric paint applicator to make the star shape on top.

For the kids to craft:
1. Set out Afikoman bag bases, glue in small paper cups with Q-tips and the felt stars.
2. Using the Q-tips as applicators (you may need to change often), allow the children to begin by gluing on the stars of David.
3. While they dry also set out the assorted jewels and sequins.  They can begin to add these on as well with the glue.
4. When they are done distribute the small bottles of puffy paint and using the fine tips oft the bottles assist them in writing their name and/or “Afikoman bags”
5. Let the bags dry fully before use.  The glue takes several hours and the fabric paint takes about 24 hours to dry completely.  So ideally let it sit for about day before you take out the wax paper.

*NOTE:  The fabric paint is not washable (so it stays nice and secure in the fabric), so extra should be taking in covering up clothing.

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Now of course when I cook I need a little something to sip on. So for a special Passover signature cocktail we whipped up Manischewitz Manhattans. Which ironically for this blog post were made by my not so Jewish friend, Maggie…here’s how…

The Manischewitz Manhattan

Ingredients:
2 oz. rye
1.5 oz. Manischewitz
3 dashes of Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
Orange Slice Garnish (optional)

The Manischewitz Manhattan is a perfect cocktail to spruce up your passover dinner. Plus, it’s super easy. Only 3 ingredients are needed for the beverage. The garnish is totally optional, and can really be any fruit you have around the house to add some color to your cocktail glass. We chose oranges, and it looked AMAZING with the color of the Manischewitz.

Step 1: Fill your glass with ice.
Step 2: Pour the 2 oz. of rye over ice, so it has ample time to chill.
Step 3: add the 1.5 oz. of Manischewitz
Step 4: Carefully add 3 dashes of bitters. Careful not to overdo it, so the taste will not overwhelm the rest of the drink.
Step 5: Garnish with orange slices and your favorite LMP cocktail toppers.

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And last but not least, obviously we need a snack! I was DYING to try Aunt Debi’s Fruit and Nut Matzo crunch after she sent it to me for her blog series this week. And since it looked so easy to make…I asked Harlow and Luke to join me!

Here’s a photo step by step of our cooking session….see the link to full recipe below.

Step 1: break up matzo to fit evenly onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and wax paper. The kids snacked on the pieces that didn’t fit.

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Step 2: Cut up 2 sticks of unsalted butter into chunks.

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Step 3: Combine the butter + 1 cup of brown sugar over low heat and bring to a bubbling point. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and sea salt.

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Step 4: Send the kids to watch the Ipad and pour the hot caramel mixture all over the matzo getting an even spread all around. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.

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Step 5: Once the matzo comes out of the oven, have the kids (carefully) add chocolate chips to the matzo (all over).

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Taste test the chocolate chips as you go.

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Step 6: The chocolate chips will instantly melt, spread them all over the matzo to evenly coat. Then Smile and pose for the next step….

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Step 7: Taste test your toppings. We used dried fruits (cranberries and apricots) plus crushed walnuts and sliced almonds. You can top your matzo with pretty much anything…

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Step 8: Smile and pose with your Best Friend and your beautiful Matzo snack.

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Step 9: Drizzle with melted chocolate and place into the fridge to set for about 20 minutes.

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Step 10: Smile and pose with that gal who’s been behind the lens all day: Maggie Antalek.

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Click on over to our blog post yesterday for Simply Beautiful Eating’s detailed recipe for this delicious Passover treat.

And to see Harlow and Luke cooking live…here’s a little video…

Happy Passover, friends!

xx, Seri
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  1. Aunt Debi @simplybeautifuleating

    This was seriously cute! Loved the crafts and what happen those little Matzah Crunch makers? Beyond amazing. Happy Passover ! Xo

  2. Marissa

    I love Harlow and Luke’s chef hat style!

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March 31, 2016

Turning 6 with a “Pink” Carpet

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How fun is a birthday party that includes candy, popcorn and a movie? Pretty perfect right?

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We had so much fun planning this party for sweet Elizabeth who turned six and invited all of her friends to watch a movie screening of Sophia Grace and Rosie at the Core Club.

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When the kids arrived they hit up our “red carpet” photo backdrop that we customized with Minted and where we had Dave Robbins playing Paparazzi taking pics of the kids and parents as they dressed up with fun props.

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Because Elizabeth is such a vibrant, fun little gal we wanted her party to be bright and playful. We set each table with a different color linen. AND…guess what? We used our Little Miss Perfectly Pink Party in a Box for the tableware. How fab?! Pink + white stripe napkins, pink square dinner plates, silver star dessert plates, silver heart stamped bamboo forks…it all coordinated so well with our set up and color scheme.

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We customized menus for the buffet dinner from Minted and attached them to popcorn boxes that we styled on the table so the parents knew what the kids were eating.

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Of course there was a superfly dessert table with cupcakes, brownies, cookies and a FAB “pink” carpet cake.

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And our favorite part of the party was our popcorn + candy table. After dinner the kids were invited to fill up bags of candy and grab a box of popcorn. No better way to watch a movie, right?!

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And last but not least, each child was sent home with a favor bag including a DIY Marquee initial.

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Oh to be six. GOOD TIMES!

Photos by Dave Robbins Photography

xx, Seri
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  1. Abby

    One of my favorite parties yet :)

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March 28, 2016

I miss my Pirate room in Legoland

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A few months ago Adam says “Let’s take a trip for Easter”. I said, GREAT! Where should we go? “How about Legoland!” says Adam.

Hmmmmmm. That’s not what I was thinking.

You see, I’m not really a theme park person. Correction. I detest theme parks and everything about them.

BUT….

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I schlep my kids all over the place. And our trips are never really geared towards them. I am always trying to get in beach time or go to places to visit my friends!

SO…

I thought, Ok. Let’s do this. Let’s do it for the little guys!

WELL….

Guys….

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I really enjoyed it.  I mean really. Don’t get me wrong there were some dark moments with the kids and their sometimes lack of gratitude (I know it’s not their fault but it still blows), some touchy moments where I saw some inappropriate behavior by other parents and some very poor eating habits that Michelle Obama would not have approved.

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We booked a room in the Legoland hotel which was 100% lego themed. Talk about a genius design. Whoever thought of this place, Bravo. The level of detail was uncanny. Almost everything was made out of lego. AND…it’s a pretty new hotel…so it was VERY new and clean. Just how I like it.

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We reserved a pirate room. Each floor is themed with pirates, princesses, knights. You choose upon booking.

When the boys walked in, they didn’t know which way to turn first. Honestly? Neither did I. And with every new sight, there was a squeal. It was so cute it was heart wrenching!

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When it came to the food, it was garbage. And I mean garbage. Fried potatoes, fried chicken, ice cream and juice. But obviously you’re not going to this place for the food. Though I wish I was. And it’s a shame. They need a famous chef in there and then BOOM you’d have heaven on earth.

At any rate, you get past the crap food pretty quickly and just embrace it because your kids are having a blast which means they are out of your hair.

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So now comes the park. Oh, the park.

This is where the specials come out to play. And I don’t mean the kids…I mean those special parents out there…

Let’s not get into it.

Let’s just say….the kids were AH-mazing at the park. Walked all day, minimal whining, tons of fun. Gavin went on 10+ roller coaster rides, Luke made friends with every human who looked at him and Adam and I got to watch them smile all day long. I have to say, it was pretty satisfying.

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Now let me highlight a few of the details that really impressed me about this place…

1.) Everywhere you ate, there were Legos to play with but designed in a way that was strategically educational without the kids knowing. For example the restaurants in the main hotel (there were two of them, one was a buffet, the other had a bar) were separated by a giant plastic lego castle that the kids could play in. And there were pits of legos everywhere. So the adults could sit back and have cocktails while they just watch the kids play.

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2.) In the park all of the benches were made with recycled jugs. I thought this was the coolest thing ever as did the kids. They pointed it out at almost every bench we walked by.

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3.) There were safety and recycling signs EVERYWHERE. Always sending the message.

4.) The most amazing things were made out of Lego. EVERYWHERE. Truly in the most brilliant ways you could think of. Like…um…this car….!!

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5.) The Lego themed rides were incredible.

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6.) The Water Park was awesome and full of activities for ALL ages. Oh…and they serve WINE at the Water Park BAR!

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7.) There is an incredible water ski pirate show that runs 3 times a day AND a 4D movie that runs every hour.

8.) Every evening there was entertainment for the children. PJ Parties, dancing and building contests. I sat back and sipped on wine. Again.

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9.) They offer Master Builder classes for the kids were are VERY SERIOUS.  Great discipline for the kids.

10.) My absolute absolute favorite part of this hotel was the elevators. They play typical elevator music when you walk in and when the doors close it transforms into a disco with strobe lights and beats. Un.Real.

Overall, I highly recommend Legoland as a family getaway. And this is coming from a gal who is very judge-y, snobby when traveling and who had to run out to buy a $17 pair of flats because I just didn’t feel cool enough in running shoes.

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So am I theme park enthusiast now? Absolutely not. I still have no interest in going to Disney but Legoland was certainly the right choice for our family and worth the trip.

For more on Legoland in Orlando, Florida you can click here.

This post was not sponsored. All photos are my own.

xx, Seri
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  1. Marissa

    What an awesome trip!!!

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March 24, 2016

Easter Bunny Ear Cookie Fail

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When it comes to crafting with the kids, I don’t always have the time to brainstorm new, creative ideas. SO…sometimes I have to cheat and grab ideas from Pinterest. BUT…I have no patience. SO…often me + crafts + kids = FAIL.

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I do however happen to be really good at setting up the supplies and making the whole idea LOOK really pretty….

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Now any way you cut it, when a Jew attempts an Easter craft…you’re taking a gamble.

Last week we had Mazzy and Harlow over for a playdate and I wanted all 4 kids to make these bunny cookies and milk.  How hard could this be, right? And it would make for an awesome 3 in 1: craft, snack and drink!

Turns out….this little project was VERY HARD!

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I whipped up a “no fail” recipe of sugar cookie dough. Guess what?  I FAILED. I mis-measured the flour, don’t ask (!!) and ended up losing count of how much flour I used. The dough was too sticky and when I cooked it I couldn’t get an even golden color. The cookies were turning out very brown in spots.

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With the bunny ear cutters that we found on Etsy I thought, well OK. At least the bunny ears will look adorable on a mug! They would have…but the opening would expand with the heat in the oven….and when I tried to put a cookie on the rim of the mug and the cookies broke. I found 4 cookies that worked. That was it. I made about 100!!

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Ok moving on…the icing? Forget it.  I don’t even want to talk about how ugly my frosting looked. I’m not an artist.

What I did find cute….and EASY….was:

a.) Cotton balls hot glue gunned to the rim of the mug.

b.) Draw on a cute little bunny face.

c.) stick a straw in it.

Happy Easter crafting! Hope your creations are way cooler and easier then this bomb!

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xx, Seri
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  1. Jessica Johnson

    I feel your pain! I always see beautiful iced cookies and think I can do it. Turns out, I can’t! Lol! I made gingerbread man cookies in December and the icing looked like I massacred them. I kept eating the bad ones so no one would see it and ended up with very few that still looked bad. Ha!

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