Food & Wine Fest: Fun & Fit Family + Recipes

This weekend, we did some fun Food & Wine Festival outings, one of which was a great family affair at Jungle Island.  The “Florida Blue presents Fun and Fit as a Family Sponsored by Carnival featuring Kellogg’s Kidz Kitchen” (I guess they couldn’t find any sponsors).  Long title aside, the event was well done.

The main area had little tents with snacks & food activities (see my son’s first-ever macaroni bracelet), with information about each product.  There was also a fun obstacle course – my son did it four times in a row, and the super-buff dudes leading it served as great cheerleaders as well as nice eye candy :)

The only down side was that I started to get that  “where should we go – are we doing this right? Did we start in the right place? Am I missing something” anxiety, but that’s just the vestige of my crazy New York days inside me…

The best part of the event was the Kelloggs Kidz Kitchen, where celeb chefs showed off a recipe, discussed food,  and played with the kids.  We saw Robert Irvine, who was specifically discussing eye health as he works with Transitions Lenses and talking about is show, “Restaurant Impossible” (I’ve never seen, but want to now).  The array of KitchenAid products spread over the area were quite enticing as well…I need a bright red cake mixer, right?!?

Irvine was adorable – funny and engaging with some real information.  He talked about his general mission, “my job in life is to educate parents and children” and did some serious name-dropping, “I’m working with the first lady. I don’t care about your politics, I’m all about good health!” He also showed that it doesn’t matter what you grew up on, anyone can turn things around – and if all else fails, go for Corn Flakes, “my mom was a terrible cook- I grew up on two boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes a day”.

The team also shared all the eye-healthy/kid friendly recipes from the Chefs with me, which I’ve included here.  Click link SOBEWFF RECIPES

Recipe Time: Healthy Pasta with…Anchovies!

I’m very surprised this is my first recipe entry, as food and health is something I spend a lot of time reading about.  Partly because I think much of the food/grocery industry is trying to kill us all (especially our kids), and partly because I’m obsessed with food and love any excuse to look at it and imagine eating it.

My family is, naturally, a group of picky eaters and we mostly don’t like the same stuff.  I’m a relapsed vegetarian who never eats red meat/pork and eat poultry rarely (organic only).  I also love bread and chocolate.  My husband is a steak and potatoes guy with a foodie edge. My son is a picky 3.5 year old who likes about two foods in the whole world (and NOT Mac & Cheese or grilled cheese or normal “kid” stuff). And my baby is…well…one.  He’ll eat most items, and gives me the most pleasure to cook for.

That said, cooking dinners (and lunches for the babe) are always a challenge – like it is for every mom. So, I’m really into one-dish dinners that cover all the bases. One such recipe I’ve used quite a bit is this Mark Bittman NY Times Pasta - it incorporates veggies (Arugula), protein (anchovies) and yummy/crowd friendly pasta.  Also, you can keep all of it on-hand in the pantry other than the greens. AND IT’S EASY AND QUICK! The link even includes a video.

Before you gag, keep in mind I never ate anchovies before either. But I kept hearing they were so good for you – protein, low fat, and they contain among the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids of any food. Omega-3 fatty are supposed to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer; lower your blood pressure and cholesterol; and even reduce period cramps! Also, they are a plentiful fish – so eating them doesn’t deplete our fragile environment.

Best of all, when you cook them this way – they break down completely, you don’t see any trace of fishiness in the final product; they just create a salty, flavorful sauce for the pasta.  I PROMISE IT’S NOT GROSS. See recipe below taken from the NY Times.  One important trick – I chop the arugula very finely beforehand so the kids don’t see long strands of green “leaves”, and then the bits are too small to pick out.  

Pasta With Anchovies and Arugula

  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
  • 8 anchovy fillets, or more to taste, with some of their oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups arugula
  • 1/2 pound linguine or other long pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it.
  • 2. Put the oil in a deep skillet, and turn heat to medium. A minute later, add the garlic, and then the anchovies and red pepper flakes. When the garlic sizzles and the anchovies break up, turn the heat to its lowest setting.
  • 3. Cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid, and drain. Add pasta to skillet, along with enough reserved cooking water to make a sauce. Off the heat, combine the pasta with the greens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.


Shop Miami!

Raise your hand if you need a good excuse to go shopping.  Ok, put your hand down, every single woman I know.  Good news – It’s Shop Miami month!

February 2013 celebrates Greater Miami and the Beaches’ leading retail destinations.  Here are a few reasons you can justify your J Crew dollars this month:

  • You can win money and cool stuff – Consumers who spend $500 or more over the course of the month of February at participating Shop Miami Month malls, marketplaces and retail establishments will receive a $20 Shop Miami Month Reward Card.*  Ok, it’s not the BEST cash back reward, but if you’re gonna spend $500 anyways, at least you can say you only spent $480?!?
  • Also, consumers who spend $500 or more will also be entered automatically to win great prizes such as airline tickets, MSC cruise for two and hotel stays (that part is cool!)
  • The Retailers are good – not random or sucky (Aventura Mall, Bloomies, etc.)

For more information check out the link –

Boat Show: Bring out the Waaaaambulance

A moment to complain.   I’m not one of those “life is rosy, kids are perfect, here is how my every day is beautiful and productive” bloggers.  Nor am I one of those “parenting is crap, our city is crap, just curl up in a ball and give up” bloggers.  I think I’m somewhere in the middle, hopefully leaning towards “mostly upbeat, somewhat witty, with helpful and relatable suggestions” bloggers.

BUT once in a while I need to take a moment to just complain.  If you can’t whine on the digital diary you’ve created, when can you whine? (To your husband as soon as he walks in the door? Guilty).

For one whole month, the boat show (specifically, the yachting portion held outside) has been an inconvenience to locals.  The city literally made a sign, “boat show – expect delays 1/31-2/28″ at the 63rd street bridge (which I cross numerous times a day).   Is it just me or is that statement RIDICULOUSLY RIDICULOUS?!? Literally ONE MONTH, or 1/12 of the year, we are supposed to be cool with waiting 10, 20, 30 extra minutes for the bridge to come up so fancy yachts can show themselves off for a few days.  Yes, the argument is always “but it brings revenue to the city”, but I wonder how much of this revenue would be hurt if they limited the boat-travel-inconvenced locals time to say, five days?

The event’s website says, “The show is Florida’s largest annual event and boasts an economic impact of nearly one billion dollars.”  Economic Impact.  Hmmm.  Does that mean it includes sale of boats & yachts from all companies and brokers, which Miami benefits from zero? Community Newspapers states, “The Miami Boat Show generates $817.8 million annually in gross sales and wages and supports more than 9,000 full-time jobs in Florida. Additionally, more than 45-percent of visitors that travel to the Miami Boat Show are from outside the state of Florida.”  Again, gross sales, nothing to do with us but I admit, those jobs and potential tourism dollars are nothing to sneeze at.

If I had more time/thought any of you really cared about a deep investigation, I’d seriously look into those 9,000 jobs.  Full-time?! Does that mean working as a yacht broker, for a boating company, for sponsors, etc. Out of state? Does that mean they traveled here ON THEIR BOAT, which brings us zero tourism dollars, or could have driven from, say the Carolinas, or are people who have second homes here (which doesn’t count as a primary residence)? Who knows.

My Bottom line: if they could find a way to somehow do the majority of bridge raising/yacht traveling over night, it would be great not to waste an extra 40 minutes of my time every day for a month sitting and watching people ride away on their gorgeous yachts while I listen to my kids screaming in their car seats. I’m guessing a few other people feel the same way.

Thank you, I’ll put my cynicism on hold for a bit now.


WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL – One for the Fam

Wine & Food Festival is coming up – which is always a fun time of year for Miami.  While the festival does bring some extra beach traffic (not as much as the boat show, but more on that complaint another time), I do love the energy and excitement it brings to our city.  I don’t love the extra four pounds it always brings to my ass, though…

I’m covering a few events and will report back with fun details, but for those who aren’t budgeting hundreds of dollars to wait 45 minutes for a hamburger, and can’t get a sitter to watch our kids for 5 hours in the middle of the day while we get drunk at a “tasting” (and come back the next morning), I wanted to share this event that involves the whole family and isn’t too expensive.

On Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th, Jungle Island will play host to The Fun & Fit Family Events.  Join your favorite chefs and culinary talent for two fun-filled days of food, fitness and learning at Florida Blue presents Fun and Fit as a Family sponsored by Carnival featuring Kellogg’s Kidz Kitchen at Jungle Island. Children will have the chance to explore the food garden, play sports on the beach, get their hands messy in the interactive kitchen and explore the animals of Jungle Island while learning the basics of preparing nutritious meals and having fun doing it. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TICKETS. 

I’ve been to this event before and it’s definitely fun.  It has been getting more popular each year, so ARRIVE EARLY.  Another tip – if you want to watch the cooking demos – Giada, Robert Irvine, Rocco, etc. get a seat at least 20 minutes before the start. It fills up fast!


Crafting Adventures

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really bad at arts and crafts.  And not in a self-depricating “look at my toilet paper roll turned into Mt. Rushmore…isn’t it horrible?” way, but in a – this stuff really sucks way.

Luckily, I find my kids don’t care about the results, they just love the process.  So, last weekend we were up really early and found ourselves at Michaels buying supplies at 9:30 a.m.  Yah, I’m that cool.  M wanted to make a spider, of course, and we had just finished a carton of eggs, so I researched egg carton spider crafts. Literally.  Luckily, a lot of results came up.

Our efforts produced the below.  The scene: Our craft/snack/breakfast-while-watching-TV-when we’re being bad parents table….and graffiti painted wall in the background.  My kids are trendy like that.

I’d do a step by step but I think it’s pretty self explanatory. You need – paint, egg carton, glue and pipe cleaners. We also got some cute little googly eyes, which added a lot of fun. You also need to be smarter than I am and poke holes for the legs BEFORE you’ve painted the egg carton, making it wet and flimsy.


So, again, not the coolest craft ever but the kids really enjoyed the process (including the trip to Michaels), and even played with the spiders and lady bug for a while!