Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year Food Resolutions For Kids.

A very Happy New Year to all you lovely readers and your little ones. 

Each year I set out some food resolutions for myself. I will be sharing how I fared last year and my resolutions for 2015 with you pretty soon. But before I do that I wanted to share some food resolutions that my little chefling made this year (With her mum's help ofcourse). 

We are very excited about this and would love all you parents and children to join the two of us.


This year I will help Sara:
  • To learn one simple recipe each month: We will master one recipe a month. It could be a simple omelette or putting together her favourite sandwich. A muffin or a salad. At the end of the year she will know 12 recipes. 12 recipes! At the end of twelve years when she goes to college she will know 144 recipes and will not have to eat boring and unhealthy dorm food! Okay clearly I am going a little giddy with all this excitement but the point is that helping our children learn to cook is a very precious gift we as parents NEED to give them. It is a gift for life.
If you'd like to join us: Choose age appropriate recipes for your children,  food that they already enjoy and are familiar with. Depending on their age/interest/ mood they may or may not be able to/ want to cook the entire recipe and that is perfectly alright. Most importantly always be there with them in the kitchen. 
  • To volunteer for one dinnertime chore each night: Each time when we sit around the dinner table, enjoy a home cooked meal and talk about our day there is a very impatient kitchen sink in background full of dirty dishes, there is a refrigerator that is begging us for a clean up every few weeks, there are dishes to be put away after a meal and there are placemats and plates that need to be carried to the table before we begin eating. Our children may or may not realize this depending on how much they enter the kitchen. Sara often helps me with little tasks like taking the cutlery to the table or always putting back her plate in the sink. This year, I'd like her to partner us with a chore she chooses to do for the entire family. It could setting up the table or filling up water, basically something that she can do on her own. Helping  mum and dad with these chores make children realize the hardwork that goes behind each meal. It isn't just about cooking. The little ones also feel proud when asked to do "adult" tasks and when we begin to "depend" on them and they share responsibility.
If you'd like to join us: Talk to your child about what she/he would like to do so that they enjoy doing it and not look at it as a "chore".  Let them do different things for the first few days. It will help them figure out what they like doing. But make sure post that they stick to it. This will help them realize that mum and dad depend on them for "this  task" and also teach them about commitment.
  • To choose and try one new food from a country of her choice each month: Our kids are so lucky to be growing up in a world where food from other countries is easily accessible to them in whichever part of the globe they are in. A lot of them also have friends from different nationalities and that presents them with a great opportunity to taste what their friends eat at their homes. Some of them are also reading and learning about different countries in their geography or history lessons. Picking up a country of her choice each month, knowing a little more about the food that grows there, the recipes that are made in the kitchens there and trying out the cuisine is what learning and growing is all about. Exposing Sara to new foods through this fun exercise that we will play with the globe kept on her bookshelf will help expand her palate.
If you'd like to join us: Help your child choose a country each month. Read about the vegetables and fruits that are grown there, the national dish/es of the country, the recipes that it has shared with the rest of the world. There is a wealth of information/ recipes available online else just give me shout out and I will be there with Sara to assist you. 
  • To start one new food tradition that involves all of us: My parents gifted me some lovely traditions that revolved around the dinner table. Some I still observe for they have become a part of my life and take me back to a very happy place in my head and heart called childhood. After Sara came along we began to have some new ones that we didn't consciously make but became a part of our lives somehow like Friday mornings are for ALWAYS for pancakes. I'd like to start a new food tradition with her this year. It could be anything really, may be homemade pizza night each Thursday that we all make together and eat watching a children's movie. Something to look forward to each weekend and something to look back at once she is a little grown up. 
If you'd like to join us: Do you have any weekend or weeknight traditions revolving around food that you'd like to continue this year and share with us? Any new ideas that you have been already thinking about? 

Sara and I would love you to become part of this. Choose one resolution or two or all four. If we are in this together I can assure you the year will be exciting and we will push each other to do this through the year. 

So how do we do this:
  • Share your pictures on the Orange Kitchens facebook page, on instagram or twitter
  • Remember to use the hashtag #okfoodresolutionskids when sharing so that we can all get inspired and learn from each other. 
  • Share these resolutions with other parents who you think would like to be part of this mini food revolution (feel free to share the image above).
Lets make this happen and raise healthy children who eat well and cook from scratch.

Eat real and stay healthy. 

Images: If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission.Just ask!  Please feel free to share the image in this post.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Looking back at 2014.

2015 is three days away. Before we make new year resolutions let us look back at 2014. Wish you a 2015 full of magic, memories and madness.


Images: If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission.Just ask! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Food Revolution Ambassador Monthly Challenge: December 2014

Time for my favourite post of the month where I get to share the monthly challenges that we as Food Revolution Ambassadors look forward to doing each month.

If you are new here: At the beginning of each month the challenges are announced. These challenges are for inspiring the entire team and to make deeper connections with everyone (fellow food ambassadors, friends and family, anyone who wants to be a part of this challenge too), share our stories , whether we failed or conquered and more. The idea is to complete as many challenges as one can (Read about the October and November challenges).

For December:

Challenge One: Join #JamiesChristmas. Join Jamie and our global community in getting into the festive season, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we can all celebrate the food revolution today! Look out for tips from Jamie and the team and some fun and games to join throughout the month!




Christmas is always a special time of the year. I studied in a convent so though we didn't celebrate Christmas at home initially, as I grew older and learnt more about Christmas I became very very fond of everything connected to Christmas and mum dad became part of this new tradition at home. 



When my little chefling came along she joined us in the festivities. Each year we work on an advent calendar for her, she makes Christmas cards, we make edible gifts, we sing carols, we play Christmas games, write a letter to Santa and she invites her friends over for Christmas festivities. 



This year we did the same and just like the twinkling fairy lights on the tree little eyes sparkled, just like the glowing baubles their faces lighted up and we celebrated Christmas.

I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas yesterday.

Challenge Two: Share your greatest Food Revolution moment from 2014. Whether conquering a certain recipe, getting your picky eaters to try new foods, or joining FRD 2014 we want to know your best food revolutionary moments from this year - send us your quotes, images, achievements and favourite photos. 



Early this month, I had the opportunity of putting sixteen little children, red juicy apples, a couple of really really funny songs and a story in a room. In return I got giggles, grins, sparkling eyes that went wide, crunching and munching,millions of questions, amusing tales and a lot of fun.

This and more was exactly what I took back home with me from the Apple Workshop that I put together for the little ones as part of my Food Revolution Diaries (The workshop was for the children between the ages of 3-7 and was free for everyone who wanted to attend).

This for me would be my Food Revolution moment of the year. I joined the wonderful and very encouraging team of Food Ambassadors very recently (third month here so technically not the moment of the year type of a moment but hey it is the drop that counts!) and I am so happy that we enjoyed our apple story and biting into apples. Post the workshop even if a handful of kids out of the group of sixteen who came that day end up including apples in their diet and in turn convince their friends to try a bite from theirs I think we may have a little proud moment here.


2015 is almost here and it is going to be my goal to connect with more and more children this year through cooking, telling stories, getting parents and kids to be in the kitchen together, writing and more.

Then there is the big day on the 15th of May that I can’t wait for and together we will bring about a Food Revolution at Dubai.

To the little changes. To the big ones. To healthy eating. To real food. To Food Revolution.

Read the complete post here

Challenge Three: Festive cooking. Share your favourite festive recipes from your home country, what food gets your friends and family together to share the love and enjoy time together?



I come from India where every festival, celebration, special occasion like so many other cultures translates into making and eating some Meetha (sweets). We take our "meetha" so seriously that "kuch meetha ho jaye" is like a national anthem (Let us have some sweets). 

India is a pretty large country where food habits change every few kilometers but what is interesting is that across the country we all have our very own rice pudding and that is what I'd like to share with all the other ambassadors who come from so many different countries for the third challenge. 

Our rice and milk meetha is something we all like to make to mark our special days.  Kheer,Khiri,Khir, Payasam, Payasa, Payesh, Payoxh, Phirni,Gil e Firdaus and more. Each state has its own variant. 

It is made by boiling rice with milk and sugar (sometimes jaggery); it is flavoured with cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashew nuts, pistachios or almonds. Ghee (clarified butter) / cream are added at times to up its richness quotient. 

With 2014 coming to an end and a promising 2015 almost here, I'd like to share this "meetha"with all you lovely ambassadors and my awesome readers. 

Phirni (makes 4-6 servings)

Ingredients

  • a few saffron  strands
  • 1 litre milk (full cream)
  • 4 tbsp long grained (basmati) rice
  • 6 tbsp sugar

To finish

  • a few chopped almonds
  • A few saffron strands

Instructions

  1. To the saffron strands add 1 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside.
  2. Soak the rice in water for about 1 hour.
  3. Drain the rice and grind it in a mixer to a coarse powder.
  4. Add ½ cup of cold milk and mix to make a paste. Keep aside.
  5. Boil the rest of the milk and stir in the rice paste.
  6. Cook for about 20 minutes on a low flame, stirring continuously.
  7. Add the sugar and saffron milk and simmer for another few minutes.
  8. Pour into individual containers and let it come to room temperature. Refrigerate. 
  9. Serve chilled garnished with almonds and saffron strands.

p.s I added some cardamom pods to the milk as well.

Wish you all a sweet, sparkly and a shiny New Year. May 2015 be filled with magic, memories and madness. 

See you in 2015.

Images: If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission.Just ask! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We tasted apples. To little changes.

What do you get when you put sixteen little children, red juicy apples, a couple of really really funny songs and a story in a room?

Giggles, grins, sparkling eyes that go wide, crunching and munching,millions of questions, amusing tales and a lot of fun.

This and more was exactly what I took back home with me from the Apple Workshop that I put together for the little ones as part of my Food Revolution Diaries (The workshop was for the children between the ages of 3-7 and was free for everyone who wanted to attend).


Last Wednesday a couple of us gathered for a story telling session.

That evening began like a lot of stories do; once upon a time. Only this time the protagonist was a tiny apple seed and it was R-E-A-L-LY long time ago. It was the story of the first apple seed on the earth.


As the evening progressed the rain fairies and the sun fairies also visited us so that the apple seed could grow into a beautiful and big apple tree with red, round and mouth-watering apples. The children sat on the floor cross legged, all eyes on me, eyes that clearly had many questions and eyes that grew wide each time the apple seed grew.

A tiny worm also wiggled out to help. It made the earth soft for the seed to break free. But the apple seed was still asleep.


Then two chirpy birds came and whispered “wakey wakey” into the apple seed’s ear and the apple seed kind of heard them. She rubbed her eyes, opened one eye just a tiny bit and then the other, stretched her arms and whoosh got out of “bed”. The children smiled and laughed for that is how “we get up each morning when mum/dad wakes us up to get ready for school”.

The apple seed began to grow from a seed to young sapling to a tree full of blossoms. Just like my engrossed audience had become “big and tall from the babies we were some years back”. The storm fairy came to test the young tree’s strength just like sometimes “we fall in the park and mum tells us to be strong and brush off all that dirt” they told me.

In between all this a woodland fairy dropped by, some stars were wished for, those wishes were granted, the little scientists carried out some truly serious apple research, they sang and danced with apples on their heads and then on their ears and a little later the apples were on their noses, the junior food critics tasted two different types of apples and rated them on taste, texture, yumminess quotient, scribbling, coloring and with that the workshop came to an end.


Honestly speaking I wasn't sure if that day when we walked out had we just had fun (which isn't bad either:)) or had the session made any little difference and opened their minds and palates to eating more apples. It was only later when the parents began to message me I was smiling.


One was surprised because her child had never eaten a whole apple. She usually makes a face after eating a few wedges I was told, one mentioned mine her child had never tasted green apples and she was happy about it. Another one was amused that with friends around the child had eaten the apple with the peel where as at home he always requested her to remove it.


Some of them wanted to do this tasting exercise with more varieties of apples for scoring it made them feel important and a lot of them are waiting eagerly for the next workshop I hear. One even tried the apple recipe I shared that day. I haven’t stopped grinning ever since. They explained the lifecycle of “our” apple seed to their parents. Grin just became wider.


Children are so receptive to new foods they have never tasted or food they have previously rejected in another form when you make it enjoyable and with peers isn't it?  They all had an apple experience to tell me and each other. “My mum makes applesauce and I like that”, “mine gives me apples but they turn brown at school and I like only white wedges (with the experiment they now knew what causes browning and how to stop that :) YAY!), “I going to check for bruises on apples when I go shopping with my mum” and so much more.


My little chefling wanted to give the opening speech at the workshop! “You are my mum and are conducting this workshop which means I am the hostess too”, she said and wrote out the cutest opening words ever!


I asked her later that evening about the most memorable part of the workshop. It wasn't anything to do with the workshop if that’s what you are thinking. She bit into an apple that evening and a tooth that had been tickling her nearly came off! That was the biggest thing for her that evening! The tooth fairy will be visiting me soon and I am very very excited (a first for her!)

Later that evening she asked me if we could taste strawberries at the next workshop (If you'd like to see more snaps from that day the complete album is available here).


The workshop was made possible with the help from a lot of people who came forward because they wanted to be a part of creating Food Revolution here at Dubai.


The lovely ladies, Cecilia and Anette from DinnerTime were really kind and got the children the apples from the Greenheart Organic Farms. Tina, the lady behind Splash n Bounce generously offered the space to conduct the workshop. Big thank you ladies for being a part of my Food Revolution Diary and for getting our little ones to eat fresh and eat real.

This for me would be my Food Revolution moment of the year. I joined the wonderful and very encouraging team of Food Ambassadors very recently (two months old here so technically not the moment of the year type of a moment but hey it is the drop that counts!) and I am so happy that we enjoyed our apple story and biting into apples. Post the workshop even if a handful of kids out of the group of sixteen who came that day end up including apples in their diet and in turn convince their friends to try a bite from theirs I think we may have a little proud moment here.

There is a beautiful post by a fellow Ambassador Mardi Michels here and when I read it I found myself nodding in agreement. It is also about those little changes.

2015 is almost here and it is going to be my goal to connect with more and more children this year through cooking, telling stories, getting parents and kids to be in the kitchen together, writing and more.

Then there is the big day on the 15th of May that I can’t wait for and together we will bring about a Food Revolution at Dubai.

To the little changes. To the big ones. To healthy eating. To real food.


 Images:  If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission. Just ask! I have taken the liberty to share the snaps of the children who attended the workshop that day, should any parent want me to remove their child's picture please let me know and I will do it immediately.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chocolate Fondue and Christmas.

'Tis The Season to Be Jolly and that means my little chefling will have her friends over for an evening of fondue and Christmas card making. There will be Christmas carols in the background, sparkling fairy lights, the Christmas tree standing tall and proud with ornaments both store bought and handmade, warmth of the vanilla candles, cider simmering on the stove and big smiles and fuzzy hearts.


She and her tiny friends will together “make” the fondue and then share it. Fondue is such a communal way to eat. The children will eat from a common bowl of chocolate, picking their favourite things to dip but taking care that they leave enough of everything for their friends. They will learn  that they need to be fair and equal and will go back home with the kind of happiness that only sharing can give them.




Plus the abundance of lots of tiny platters make it just the Christmassy thing to do.




Chocolate Fondue

Ingredients:
For the sauce:
100 grams of dark chocolate broken into pieces
100 ml thick cream
50 ml milk
For dipping & coating use whatever you have on hand. Here are some ideas:
  • Fruits of your choice: apples, grapes, pears, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, etc
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate curls
  • Pretzels
  • Marshmallows
  • Dessicated Coconut
  • Edible glitter
Instructions:
  1. In a double boiler or heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate with cream and milk stirring, until smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot and light a candle (If your children are old enough this task too can be given to them, under your supervision). Teach them if it gets too runny, simply put more chocolate.
  2. Depending on the age of the kids ask them to help you peel the banana, wash the rest of the fruits, separate the grapes from the stem.
  3. Give them a child friendly knife and ask them to slice the bananas, chop/slice the apples and the pears and cut off the strawberry tops
  4. Next ask them to fill all the little plates/bowls with the rest of the fondue accompaniments.
  5. Pick up the skewers and dunk everything into the warm chocolate and enjoy. 
  6. Little children with chocolate all over their faces and sticky fingers come free with this recipe.
Add some zing to the sauce by adding a splash of vanilla, a bit of orange juice, grated lemon /orange zest or mint extract.

Do you have more ideas on things that would be fun to dip?

Merry Christmas everyone.

Before I end this post, I wanted to share that a couple of us have gotten together for a Christmas Festival of sorts on our blogs. One post a day to inspire you to make Christmas cards, decorations, read Christmas  books, try out Christmas  recipes and make Christmas goodies with your little ones (Yes, that would be me:))

Hope to see you guys drop by everyone's blogs and share the love.

Images: If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission. Just ask!


Come join a set of fabulous bloggers sharing their Christmas moments - Easy Holiday Crafts, DIY ideas, Recipes , Decor ideas and book recommendations with you .

http://www.artsycraftsymom.com/?p=4396


Starting from today till Christmas and beyond, each one of us will be writing a post related to Christmas.
Participating blogs
ArtsyCraftsyMom - munniofalltrades - hfareensspace - roohiscollections - hellomommyhood - attachedmoms - totschooltotallyawesome - Themomviews - bumpsnbaby.com -
rugsoflife - oneandahalfminutes - shishuworld - ruskandtea - aspoonfullofideas - orangekitchens - obsessivemom - rachnaparmar - parentingmantras -
onboardthemommyship - kwikdekoblog - thekeybunch - momzspace - whatscookingmom - coloursdekor - happypeopleevents - fantastic-feathers - beingzoesmom

So sit back, relax and check out all the fabulous Christmas Bonanza posts from our participating blogs in the linky. Support us by sharing our posts using the hash tag #ChristmasBonanza


This Linky is for participating blogs only, but We would love to see your Christmas Crafts too. Come and link up your Christmas post at ArtsyCraftsyMom.com


Monday, December 8, 2014

Kids in the Kitchen : The Artsy Craftsy Mom.

I am so happy to have Shruti as our first guest for a new series on the blog, Kids in the Kitchen. 

You must have gotten bored of hearing the following lines (and for the nth time) on why I think it is important for us to lead our kids to our kitchens because that is how we can give them the opportunity to know and love food. 

Through Kids in the Kitchen series I'd like all us to meet parents and children who bond, have fun and make life long memories in the kitchen.

Meet Shruti and her daughter Lil P. 


She is the heart and the mind behind the very popular blog, The ArtsyCraftsy Mom. She is the kind of mum who goes crazy in a craft shop and is super creative both at home & at work. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, and has 11+ years of experience in the corporate world as a Quality Lead & Analyst. She is a certified PMP and love organizing & estimations.

Please tell us a little about you Lil P?
Lil P  is the centre of our existence. Our darling princess. She is a girly girl…loves pink, fairies, princesses, play acting, memory games & Barbie movies.. She loves bear hugs and is constantly giving us kisses (sic). She an active 8 year old who is mighty inspired by Master Chef Kids. 

Does Lil P “cook” with you? How do you involve her  in the kitchen/during meal times/ grocery shopping?
I am lucky to have a cook at home who comes in during weekdays to help me out. I love cooking for my family over the weekends and naturally Lil P has to get involved. She is my little helper at home. She helps set & clear the table, wash vegetables, cut fruits & make salads. 

We bought her an induction stove and she loves to "cook" on that. She makes garlic bread, pizza, dosa and other simple stuff under our supervision. She also knows how to use the cooker & makes a mean coffee. 

How do you think her getting involved in the kitchen has brought about a change in her food habits?

Being a working mom I rarely get to spend a whole day chatting with her, so on weekends I make it a point to have her involved in a lot of kitchen activities. We discuss her tiffin menu for the next week since we follow a weekly menu plan. Getting her involved in menu planning has helped me immensely. Earlier we would both get frustrated with food; me with her not finishing her food and she was getting upset at not getting enough choices. With a weekly menu, she knows the "healthy" choices and we throw in a few "junk" items.

For example our Monday menu looks like this:
Early morning at 7.30 a.m.: Fresh fruits (she is allergic to milk)
Breakfast at 9 a.m.: Two stuffed mini dosa + nuts
Lunch at 1 p.m.: Two mini palak paneer paranthas + cucumber + cheese
Bus snacks at 4.30 p.m.: Junk, finger foods like a chocolate cupcake or biscuits
Dinner at 7.30 p.m.:  Rice + sambar + veg salad + curd
Post Diner at 9 p.m.: Fruits. As a rule we don't give her any artificial sugary stuff after 7.30 p.m. 

Friday is a fast food day and she gets to plan the menu. It could be anything; mini burger, pizza or noodles. Letting her have a choice in menu planning helps to get her interested in trying healthy foods she might normally turn her nose up at. I also see a greater appreciation towards how & where we get our food from, making healthy choices and the effort it takes to cook. 

How do you deal with mess/chaos that comes with her being in the kitchen? More importantly how do you maintain your sanity?

I think the turning point in my life was once I kept a cook. Earlier, I would get really stressed about the daily chaos that comes with getting dabbas (tiffin boxes) ready, getting ready for work & getting her ready for school. When my daughter wanted to help me I couldn't really find the energy or the enthusiasm to get her involved. But that's just me. For my mom, cooking for family was a way to de-stress, for me, it’s the opposite. I enjoy cooking only on special occasions & weekends at my leisure. Also what helps keep the chaos under control is to plan well & plan ahead and always laying some basic ground rules. 
1. Safety comes first. There will be no compromise on that. 
2. If there is mess, everyone helps clean the mess no matter who created it. 

Is there any recipe that Lil P would like to share?


Get the recipe here.

Thanks Shruti & Lil P for visiting Orange Kitchens.

Did you enjoy getting to know Shruti and Lil P? I'd love to hear.https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Images: If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission.Just ask!  The two pictures in this post are from Shruti.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Farmers' Market and what it gives our children.

As parents we are forever planning, creating, teaching and doing things for our children. Some fall into our comfort zone and some require big sacrifices that we happily make. Today I am going to ask you do one more thing for your little ones. 

All it requires of you is to get up from bed, pick up your bags and walk/drive down to a farmers' market with your children. We need to do this for them for simply by taking them down there we are giving them much more than you can imagine. 




Take your children to the farmers' market and give them the following:
  1. Give them an opportunity to meet real food and see what it really looks like: Real apples and brinjals don’t always have to be shiny and sparkly (not everything shiny is magical :) yes my little chefling that one is for you, beware they have been wax and oil coated), real okra doesn't have to deep green (they have been dipped in copper sulphate), real water melon isn't necessarily a ruby red ( it could have been injected with gulal ), real mangoes, bananas and chickoos do not carry within them calcium carbide (that the fruits have been exposed to hasten the process of ripening). If they don’t see real food they won’t know it from all the fluff and the shine in the stores.
  2. Give them a chance to understand & appreciate the concept of seasonality: Growing up I would relish mangoes with their juice dripping all over my bare arms in summers and squeeze the juice from the orange peels into my sister’s eyes (sorry mom) in winters. We ate according to the season. Things are different now. Especially here in Dubai when most of the produce is imported and strawberries are available throughout the year. When our children begin to visit the market often they will being to notice that some fruits and vegetables that are available throughout the year in a supermarket are not available and we as parents and the local farmers can help them understand this better.
  3. Give them a world to make relations:  My dad knows his barber. They are friends. He knows exactly what my dad wants to be done to his hair. Dad knows his car mechanic too. My dad, the mechanic and the car know each other well. Doctor too. Butcher, milkman, vegetable seller too. Our kids today have wings. They are not going to be living at one place for long. But what we can gift them is the gift to know the farmer who grows their food for whatever little time they are in a particular city. Isn’t it so much better than the walking down the aisle of a store the size of football stadium and picking up the vegetables in your list. Give them faces to remember not aisles.
  4. Give them a chance to say hello to new foods: Never seen a turnip or some kale. Shall we pick this since we’ve never tried it before? Ask your child. Involve the farmer selling it for he/she may have a good recipe in the family. They grow it after all. The kids will be more willing to try something new if their new friend, the farmer tells them to. But don’t get upset if they don’t like it after the first bite. Be prepared for that. At least they tried. May be the next time with a new recipe they will like it better or revisit that fruit/vegetable after a few weeks.
  5. Give them the knowledge that food doesn't come with hundred ingredients: I saw an interesting video the other day. The voice over was something like this: “Food is stuff that grew in the ground, swam, it was planted, nourished, had a hand to it. Food isn't something with a hundred ingredients”. The farmers' market is also a place where they will meet bakers, cooks, food artisans who are not willing to compromise on the quality of food. Show them that the baker at the market is using only flour, eggs, nuts and butter. There aren't a hundred chemicals, preservatives and additives in her list of ingredients. The juice has ONLY fruit. Ask them to compare that with what is written on a juice tetrapak. They will remember this lesson for life and thank you years later.
  6. Give them values of community support and pride: Going to the farmers' market will instill in them values of supporting local groups who work so hard to get a healthy meal on to their tables. They are honest, sincere and hardworking people and need a platform to sell what they create. The bigger stores are too big for the smaller quantities they may be producing and this is where we can help them. We get real food. They get work. Plus there is this sense of pride that comes with eating what your country/city is producing.
  7. Give them a chance to suggest what they’d like cook what you've chosen together: Let them choose some veggies and fruits and discuss what you want to make with it. You will be amazed at some of the ideas your kids will have. May be they heard that from a new friend they made at the market or they saw it in one of your recipe books. May be grandma told them about it the last time they visited her. Or it could be their good friend, the farmer.
  8. Give them a chance to experience outdoors: A lot of our kids are busy with school and activities during the week, during the weekends there are errands to run or a movie to watch or a dinner to go to (most within a mall), interests to be pursued (indoors or if outdoors within a controlled environment) intercepted by a rare picnic or a visit to the beach. Too few and far in between. By taking our kids to the farmers' market each weekend we are gifting them the chance to run around in the garden come Friday. They will feel the grass under their bare feet, smell the fresh produce, see saplings being exchanged, bite into a juicy red tomato and hear the stories behind the produce. It is a picnic for all of their senses.  
  9. From farm to table is a lot of work: I keep telling everyone that showing our kids the way to the kitchen means that they get a chance to see how we prepare a meal (it is okay even if they don’t want to help). They see the amount of work that goes getting their dinner ready and begin to appreciate the value of a home cooked meal. There will be days when they don’t like what you put on the table but may agree to try it out because they saw how much time & skill it took to cook it. The same holds true for the farmer’s market. Taking them to the market where they will get a chance to understand the life cycle of the vegetables/fruits and how hard the farmer worked to get it from his farm to our table will make them think twice before leaving a half eaten apple or throwing overripe bananas into the bin. They will ask you to make banana bread instead.
  10. Give them a place to gather and grow: The market is so much more than sellers and buyers coming together. It is a place where will gather with our families, exchange a smile with a familiar face, wink at the farmer who knows he needs to save that last bunch of greens for us for he is our friend first (others will give dirty looks, just give them your biggest smile and ignore), meet people with similar food interests, make new friends, share a muffin or two over a picnic mat and more. This kind of learning is what our kids deserve. Allow them to learn, gather and grow.
If I have managed to convince you to go to the Farmers' market even once then I am sure you will want to know where in Dubai that is possible.


There are now more than one markets at Dubai but the one that I would highly recommend is The Farmers' market at the Terrace by Baker and Spice for the simple reason that they are the only ones who are really connecting the farmers to our tables. There are no middlemen involved so you get local organic and good quality produce at the lowest prices.

The first ever Farmers’ Market  on the Terrace was founded and organized by Baker & Spice in April 2010 at Souk Al Bahar. They identified local and organic farms to supply ingredients to their kitchen and soon after wanted to share it with the community and that is how Yael Mejia the heart and the mind behind it brought it to all of us. Come November the market is open each Friday (till May).



I was invited for a gathering over breakfast last Friday when the market returned for its sixth reason.  Over a gorgeous spread of ka’aks with sesame seeds , labneh made with leftover coffee milk, clementine and fresh ginger syrup, homemade pomegranate syrup, muesli with fruits, English muffins with three different combinations of  chicken, lamb and wilted spinach all topped with a fried egg, Russian tea breads, mince pies and more together we welcomed the farmers for this season.



I also had the pleasure of meeting UAE’s first woman farmer, Shaikha of Organic Oasis, Anastasia who produces olive oil on her family grove on an island, called Samothrace and hear the lovely and enterprising Yael Mejia talk.






I have always been the type of child who always paid attention to what the teacher told me(read:boring) so when Yael both demanded and scolded all of us for not helping her enough in spreading the good word and increase awareness the good child will do exactly what the teacher told her to.

People get out of your bed, the weather is beautiful, pick up your bags, pick up those naughty kids too and come down to the farmers' market. I demand. There is a gorgeous, green world waiting for you.

The market is open from 8 a.m to 1 p.m each Friday at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers’ Ballroom Garden. See you every Friday.



Like Yael said, lets gather and grow together.

Read more about the farmers' market : Here is what Carla at Memoirs of a taste bud, Debbie at Coffee, cakes and running, Dima at DimaSharif, Francesca at Kitchen in the sand, Ishita at Ishitaunblogged and Sally at My Custard Pie had to say about it.

Disclaimer: I was a guest at the opening but all the views and why I think our kids should eat real are my own.

Images: If you like any of the pictures on the blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if  use those without my permission.Just ask!  Also this calendar is only for personal use.
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