Mealtime Mama: Great food ideas for a “nautical” baby shower or birthday party

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By Shannon Magsam, nwaMotherlode

I had so much fun recently hosting a “nautical” baby shower for my neighbor, Jenn.

Jenn and Brian are decorating the baby’s room in a sea-worthy theme, so it was only fitting.

I thought you might enjoy seeing a few pics in case you want to throw a party this summer with the ocean as your inspiration. It would make a fun birthday party as well, with a few modifications.

First, we start with our beautiful mama-to-be, Jenn, and the adorable wooden sign I bought from Riffraff for the baby’s room (it was on the food table surrounded by sea shells):

baby shower, jenny

The biggest hit on the food table was the fruited chicken salad in croissants. These weren’t just any croissants, though. These were special “crabby” croissants:

baby shower, crabs

Cute, huh?

Click here to see the fruited chicken salad recipe. I cut down on the raisins and left out the onions.

How-to: To make the crab’s eyes, I just used mini marshmallows and sliced black olives. The juice from the olives was sufficient to make them stick to the sugary marshmallows, so I didn’t have to use anything to “glue” them together. I then just inserted a toothpick for the final touch.

Following the nautical theme, I was also PINspired to add an octopus to the spinach dip. Like him?

baby shower, dip

Click here to read more about how to make your own bell pepper octopus.

I also served some delicious treats that our other awesome neighbors brought (thanks Sandra, Christie and Carolyn!) plus multi-colored goldfish crackers, blue cupcakes covered with cream cheese icing and “sand” sprinkles and brownies (not nautical-related. Moms and mamas-to-be just need chocolate).

My Aunt Joyce’s special occasion punch was served to wash it all down. This punch has been served as all the baby showers, wedding showers and birthday parties in our family forever. Click here to see the fruit punch recipe.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few shots from the shower. Good luck hosting your own By the Sea Party!

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Mealtime Mama: Quick side dish for your Memorial Day gathering

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Happy Memorial Day, mamas.

We hope  you enjoy this recipe, which is tasty and healthy:

Roasted Green Beans & Asparagus

green beans 21 pound whole green beans (fresh)

1 bunch asparagus (fresh)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions: Wash and drain the green beans and asparagus. Trim the stems of your green beans, but keep them whole. Trim asparagus if needed. Stir together olive oil, black pepper, salt, garlic powder and balsamic vinegar together in a large bowl. Place the beans and asparagus in the bowl and mix well, coating all pieces.

Spray a large cookie sheet with olive oil spray and spread out a single layer of the beans/asparagus. Cook for 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees.

 

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Mealtime Mama: Info on a local farms tour event + a recipe!

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Are you interested in learning more about where your food comes from? How far it traveled to make it to your local grocery store’s shelf?

Well, Ozark Natural Foods has scheduled a tour so you can meet your local farmers and find out the answers to those questions as well as to learn what sort of processes the food went through to grow, and more about the people are who grew it.

At Ozark Natural Foods, they focus on having great relationships with local farmers. ONF supports over 70 local farmers/vendors and carry over 200 local products throughout the year.

tour de farmsBecause of these partnerships, ONF is able to host the first annual Ozark Natural Foods’ Tour de Farm, a weekend where our owners and the community of Northwest Arkansas can visit nine local farms, meet the farmers, view different demonstrations at each site, taste products grown on the farm and literally tour de farm!

Many of the ONF customers place a premium value on being able to buy local produce and this is a way to connect people more closely with local producers.

The tours will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 17 & 18. Each farm will be open for two hours and the visits will include a tour, demonstration, snacks, and a time for questions and discussion. You can visit as many farms as you would like.

Tour de Farms is a free event but anyone wanting to participate will need to register by May 3rd at the Owner Services Desk inside the Co-op.

Below is a list of the farms and the schedule for the tours. But first, a recipe from Pauline at ONF:

Mandarin Orange Arugula Salad

1 bunch arugula, rinsed and torn or cut into bite sized pieces
2 mandarin oranges
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
½ red onion, thinly sliced
Blue cheese crumbles
½ cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: First mix the vinegars, olive oil and a little salt together and let it marinate with the cucumbers and onions slices for about 10 minutes. I sometimes also like to add a squeeze of lemon juice here. Next toss with the arugula and top with the walnuts, blue cheese, and mandarin orange slices. Serve for a great spring salad. And now is the perfect time to try this as the fresh mandarin oranges are in their peak flavor.

Now, the list of tours:

Saturday, May 17th

 9:00-11:00am: Herbal Simplicity with Bean Mountain Farms 317 E. Huntsville Rd, Fayetteville Learn about herb gardening and cold frame construction.

 10:00am-12:00pm: Harmony Gardens 8779 W Forest Hills Dr, Fayetteville Learn about structured water, paramagnetic rock, and brix nutrition.

1:00pm-3:00pm: Tri-Cycle Farm 1691 N. Garland Ave, Fayetteville Learn about composting, container gardening, soldier flies and chemical-free community farming.

4:00pm-6:00pm: Ozark Alternatives Learn about straw-bale greenhouses, community supported agriculture, hoop houses and four season farming.

Time to be announced: White River Creamery 11701 Arkansas 16, Elkins Learn about dairy goats and fresh cheeses.

Sunday, May 18th

9:00am-11:00am: Across the Creek Farm 3106 W. Pear Lane, Greenland Learn about pasture poultry.

9:00am-11:00am: Cobblestone Farm 5298-5526 W Wedington Dr, Fayetteville Learn about their farm-to-school program.

11:30am-1:30pm: Ansel’s Produce Pear Lane, Greenland Learn about starting a farm and the next generation of farmers.

1:00pm-3:00pm: Ames Orchard 18292 Wildlife Rd, Fayetteville Learn about backyard fruit production.

Each participant will need to pick up their Tour de Farm passport the week of the event, which will include a map and a place where you can get stamped when you visit a farm. After you’re done with your tour, you will be able to turn in the passport at the Co-op. People who visit at least five of the farms will be entered to win a $100 shopping spree, and the person who visits the most farms will win a $150 farm and gardening kit with tools, seeds, soil amendments and other goodies.

About our Sponsor, Ozark Natural Foods: Ozark Natural Foods is a locally owned consumer cooperative dedicated to healthful living and sustainability by providing our owners and the Northwest Arkansas community with natural and organic products and related services, located at 1554 N. College Ave., in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center.

For information about Tour de Farms online, CLICK HERE!

Mealtime Mama: Broccoli Salad

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This salad is sweet and savory — perfect for the next potluck or as a side dish with dinner tonight. It’s delicious!

Broccoli Salad

Dressing:

broc1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (I use a little less)

Salad:

2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

4 pieces crisp bacon, crumbled

Directions: Mix the dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the salad ingredients and mix the whole thing together well. Refrigerate overnight (or just a few hours if that’s all you’ve got!). Stir and serve cold.

P.S. — I (Shannon) made this for a recent potluck and there were only a few lonely sunflower seeds left in the bowl within about 10 minutes of guests loading up their plates :)

Check out the co-op’s current deals through Feb. 4 by clicking here!

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Mealtime Mama: Hobo Soup

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My family and I went to a holiday cookie decorating party a week or so ago and the host, Robert Williams, served this soup.

It was just perfect for a cold day and when Robert said it was super easy, I (Shannon) had to ask for the recipe, of course. I’m all about yummy and easy. If you’re having a low-key New Year’s Eve party, this might be a good fit. You can make it in the Crockpot, heat through, then leave it on simmer while the party’s in swing.

Hobo Soup

Two pounds ground beef

2 cans Ranch style beans

3 cans minestrone soup

2 cans Veg-All

1 can Ro-tel

1 can Italian-seasoned tomatoes

1 tablespoon Greek seasoning (Cavender’s)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Brown ground beef, add to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and heat through on low. Turn down to simmer to keep warm.

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