Montclair Academy for Culinary & Hospitality Excellence Kicked Off Series at MHS

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 25, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Academy for Culinary & Hospitality Excellence

Anthony Bracco and Bryan Gregg

Yesterday, MACHE (Montclair Academy of Culinary & Hospitality Excellence), a cooperative extracurricular club at Montclair High School, kicked off their new series of interactive seminars with “Cooking CSA Style.”

Montclair Academy for Culinary & Hospitality ExcellenceForty Montclair High School students attended the presentation by Bryan Gregg, chef and owner of Escape Montclair, along with Anthony Bracco, proprietor of Bracco Farms. The discussion focused on the benefits of locally sourced produce, as well as how and why this produce is being sought by local restauranteurs, like Gregg.

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Food Allergy Families Rejoice! Sneaky Chef Chocolate No-Nut Butter Has Arrived

BY  |  Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Sneaky Chef Chocolate No-Nut Butter

Missy Chase Lapine, who parents may know from her Sneaky Chef Method and series of books, has developed a new Sneaky Chef Chocolate No-Nut Butter that is so damn good I almost cried when I tasted it. Crying over a chocolate spread? Let me explain…

We found out my oldest daughter, age 10, had a severe peanut allergy and slight hazelnut allergy when she was two years old. Since then, this peanut loving, Nutella addicted mom hasn’t been able to eat the stuff. And neither has my daughter, until Lapine made this delicious, and safe, chocolate no-nut butter.

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Breakfast For All At Montclair Public Schools

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (18)

Montclair Public Schools

One of the new initiatives and investments beginning this school year at the Montclair School District is a Breakfast Program at all schools.

Before this year, the District operated a compliance-driven school breakfast program, offering a morning meal where required by law.  Last year, 1,457 students qualified for free or reduced-price meals in the district, 22% of the overall student population.

Now all Montclair Public School children can get breakfast at school. 

Studies show that many children go to school without breakfast. They also show that children who have eaten a nutritious breakfast are better behaved at school, have longer attention spans, score higher on tests, and are more interested in the educational program.

There’s no question that breakfast is important, but how will this program affect the budget?

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What’s for Dinner?: Freekah Salad

BY  |  Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)


Freekah Salad

Please do not adjust your internet or send a complaint to the editor at Barista Kids. That headline contained no cuss words, I promise, because this week’s What’s For Dinner? recipe features an ingredient called freekah (although you may occasionally see it listed as “frik” or “frikah”).

But what the frik is Freekah anyway? (See what I did there? Again no swearing!) Well, freekah is a healthy whole grain — in fact a super-grain, no less — and is part of the “ancient grain” food and health trend that includes quinoa. Essentially, it is a young, green wheat that has been toasted (or fire roasted as it say on the packet) and that means it makes a tasty, nutty, hearty, smoky base to salads and side dishes.

Even better than faux-foul language, this Freekah Salad recipe is designed to give you room to breathe: you’ve survived two hectic days of preparing school lunchboxes and you deserve to relax, so here’s a salad that you can make today and it will last a few days in the fridge: it is versatile enough to eat it on its own, or you can make more of a meal of it by throwing in some chicken, feta or shrimp for successive dinners.

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Back to School Inspiration: School Lunch Gallery

BY  |  Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)


Most of the school lunches I make are not worthy of Pinterest. However if you are seeking inspiration there are dozens to look at here — my favorite is the shark sandwich.

If you want to check out some real school lunches from around Baristaville take a look at the Barista Kids Facebook page. Share your school lunch photos with us and we’ll upload on our Facebook page to help other parents out. Email them to

Don’t forget to use our School Lunch Planner!



Easy School Lunch Planner

BY  |  Friday, Aug 22, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

School Lunch Planner

While many of us are rejoicing about the start of school in two weeks—i.e. the peace and quiet of having the kids out of the house—the dark side looms: school lunches.

Mornings are chaotic enough without having to come up with a Pinterest-worthy lunch for our children.

Now, wind back the clock to before the summer break. By last June I was in a lunch rut: I was giving the girls the same-old sandwiches because I knew the same-old sandwiches were the ones they would eat. So to stop myself getting in that rut again, I’m mixing it up this school year. Each day I will provide them with a different base and then the options are limitless, depending on what I have in the fridge and/or freezer!

After a few minutes planning, I came up with enough options to cover the school week and created an easy School Lunch Planner.

Here are five days of kid-friendly lunches with a few options thrown in:

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What’s for Dinner?: Perfect Steamed Lobster

BY  |  Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

 Steamed Lobster

Time to celebrate! I finally overcame my fear of cooking lobster. People are often amazed to discover that I had never cooked one before. I think I was scarred by the lobster scene in Annie Hall. Watching Annie and Alvy chasing the lobster around the kitchen with a wooden paddle made a big, bad impression on me. Alvy (Woody Allen) sums it all up when he says “I told you it was a mistake to bring a live thing into the house.” His words stayed with me for years.

This week, we were on vacation in Cape Cod with friends and the reality of me having to cook lobster was inescapable. The darned things are everywhere out here and such is my reputation, our friends expected that I would be serving lobster at every meal. I was cornered…

Now, I’m never one to show weakness or failings so I fibbed a little -— “yeah sure lobsters, no problem, I cook them all the time.” So, with much trepidation I bought my first live lobsters: four of the creepy crustaceans to be precise.  Even though the claws were secured with rubber bands I could hear the bag rustling in the trunk of the car and had visions of losing one along the way. I drove home very slowly, taking every bend in the road smoothly in order to avoid having an Annie and Alvy situation on my hands. In a Volvo. A mistake to bring a live thing into a car? I should never have left Baristaville…

Once I was home I relaxed a little (the glass of rosé helped) and I was able to reflect on the conversation I had with the good people at Mac’s Seafood who had sold me the beasts in the first place. As it turns out, cooking lobster is pretty easy. The key to serving successful lobster however comes down to three things: storing, steaming and equipment:

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What’s for Dinner?: Pea, Feta, Mint and Barley Salad

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Pea, Feta, Mint and Barley Salad

Pea, Feta, Mint and Barley Salad has one of my favorite food combinations — peas and mint. The sweetness of the peas contrasts with the freshness of the mint. This salad takes that combination and adds the salty tang of feta, with barley providing the backdrop. Apart from the time it takes to cook the barley, it is incredibly simple. It will also last a few days in the fridge, so there you have it — dinner and lunch! Continue Reading

What’s for Dinner?: Chard and Garlic Scape Tart

BY  |  Sunday, Jul 20, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Chard and Scape Tart

I love picking up my CSA veggie box: my two-weekly bounty of just-picked produce. However, the last two deliveries have been abundant in both chard and garlic scapes and as much as I love all things green, both of these seasonal anomalies can be a bit challenging. Kale is still the rockstar vegetable in our house so like an old Spandau Ballet record, the chard tends to get overlooked and forgotten about.

Chard and Scape TartAs for garlic scapes, well, their novelty soon wears off. I was so excited the first time they made an appearance in my veggie box I eagerly made some scape pesto, which was good, but not great. There is a reason that pesto is traditionally made with basil – it has an amazing flavor with which garlic scapes just cannot compete, so now, I just use them as a green onion substitute.

Until now…

This Chard and Garlic Scape Tart combined with some robust cheddar and Parmesan cheese takes these two vegetables to a whole new level.

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SB&J: Superbutter Offers Another Peanut-Free Butter Alternative

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

SuperbutterChances are you love or know someone with a peanut and/or tree nut allergy. And your child’s school classroom and summer camps may be a nut-free environment to protect those children. Having a peanut and nut-free alternative to the old standby PB&J is so great for those with allergies and those who can’t brings nuts to school or camp.

I know, because my oldest daughter has a severe peanut allergy. She was diagnosed at the age of two and since then, our home has to be completely peanut-free. After we found out about her allergy, I searched for a peanut butter alternative. Not so much for her, because she hasn’t found one she likes at all, but for me and her little sister. I was a PB&J fanatic. I ate it several times a week because of its convenience, taste and nutrition. After trying many alternatives, I found sunflower seed butter is the closest thing to peanut butter. My favorite brand is Sunbutter, which is available at all of our local supermarkets.

When I was asked to review a new peanut-free butter, I jumped at the chance. Every allergy-alternative product is helpful.

SuperButter is another seed butter using sunflower seeds, like Sunbutter, but it also includes flax and sesame seeds, making it chock full of protein, fiber and antioxidants like Omega 3′s and vitamin E. It’s also made from real, whole ingredients and produced in an allergen-free environment.

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