Category: Foodie For Thought

Happy Earth Day!

Feed Your Soul With Planet-Friendly Dishes

by Kirsten Harrington

Earth Day is April 22, so why not take time to celebrate Mother Nature by trying some fun, new recipes? From green smoothies to tempting yet healthy desserts, there are plenty of ways to please your taste buds and the planet.

Veggie Lovers

Incorporating more vegetarian or vegan recipes into your diet is a sure way to reduce your carbon footprint. Try going meatless one or two days a week or using smaller portions of meat to flavor your meals. Buying local seasonal products will add a flavor-boost to meals and leave less of an impact on the planet.

Sensational Strawberries

Florida’s Season Is in Full Swing

by Kirsten Harrington


According to Haley Veilleux, retail manager of Scotts Country Market at Long & Scott Farms, the best strawberries are those that are red all the way to the tip (photo provided by Long & Scott Farms.)

There are so many benefits to living in the Sunshine State. Florida strawberries are just one of them.

Destination Dining: Winter Garden

Sample, Sip & Savor Your Way Through This West Orange Gem!

by Kirsten Harrington

With a weekly farmers market; lively festivals; numerous restaurants; and artisan shops selling gourmet goods like craft beer, chocolate and olive oil, Winter Garden is a food-lover’s paradise. The following is just a small peek at what the area has to offer:

Upcoming Events

• This weekend is a great time to head to Winter Garden for the sixth annual Blues & BBQ (Feb. 18, from 4–10 p.m., at the Downtown Pavilion, 104 Lakeview Ave.). Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the sounds and flavors of the South, with all profits benefiting the American Cancer Society.

Game Day Treats That Will Leave Them Cheering for More

For a Super Super Bowl Sunday!

by Kirsten Harrington

The best Super Bowl parties offer plenty of game-day food.

Food, friends and football — there’s nothing quite as American as gathering for the big game. With Super Bowl right around the corner, we’ve put together a game plan of satisfying side dishes and tempting treats that will have your friends and family cheering!

MetroWest resident Nicole Gower and her family have been hosting Super Bowl parties for years. It’s a great excuse to hang out with friends, play some flag football, and watch the game. Nicole suggests providing a hearty dish, which could be as simple as ordering pizza, and then asking guests to bring a side dish.

Fantastic Flavors From Around the Globe

Food Traditions that Ring in the New Year!

by Kirsten Harrington

Many Americans believe eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck.

From lucky lentils to tempting tamales, people from around the world welcome the new year with a mixture of tradition and superstition. Danes ring in the special day with boiled cod and lemon caper sauce, and some Mexican families gather for traditional tamales. In Greece, the savory-sweet vasilopita takes center stage, and the person who finds the coin or trinket hidden in the cake receives good luck.

As Easy as Pie!

by Kirsten Harrington

Apple pie with cinnamon on retro wooden background texturePies are the centerpieces of most holiday gatherings. 

From all-American apple to pleasing pumpkin, pies are the centerpieces of many holiday gatherings. Have you always wanted to make your own from scratch but had no idea where to begin? We’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to wow your guests, so relax, grab a rolling pin, and get started.

“It’s definitely worth the effort,” said Joel Ramjohn, an accomplished home chef from Clermont who has been baking pies for years. “A home is not a home unless the aroma of a freshly baked pie fills the air from time to time.”

Chill Out

“Don’t be afraid — start with a simple apple pie,” Ramjohn said.

A Full, Delightful Feast

Round out your holiday meal with mouthwatering courses

While the turkey typically receives all the attention at holiday gatherings, rounding out your meal with the perfect snacks, sides and desserts is the key to a successful feast.

Start your guests off with NYC-Style Pita Chips with Herbed Ricotta and Arugula to keep big appetites at bay then serve Slow Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows alongside the main course as the ideal complement to any meat. Finally, top off an evening of delicious food with Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream Pie to send everybody home happy.

Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Is the Perfect Addition to Any Meal

by Kirsten Harrington

Pumpkin Pumpkin is a healthy and flavorful addition to almost any dish.

Making an appearance in everything from doughnuts to dog treats, lattes and peanut butter, pumpkin is arguably America’s favorite fall flavor. We aren’t the only ones who love this glorious globe — pumpkin appears in savory dishes across the world from Italian ravioli to Thai curries to Moroccan tagines. It’s incredibly versatile and can be incorporated into just about any dish.

Axum Market Café Makes Its Mark at the Dr. P. Phillips YMCA

For Global Poverty & a Healthy Southwest!

by Kirsten Harrington

Whoever thought that eating a Southwest Breakfast Pizza or sipping a hazelnut latte in Orlando would help orphans in Ethiopia? Or that savoring a spoonful of banana ice cream could calm an aching hip? Both goals — addressing global poverty and fighting chronic disease through healthy eating — are at the heart of the new Axum Market Café in the Dr. P. Phillips YMCA.

Gorgeous Frozen Granitas!

Traditional Italian-Style Icy Treat Is a Breeze to Make

by Kirsten Harrington

Looking for a cool, icy dessert you can make at home, but don’t have an ice cream maker or Popsicle molds? Why not make luscious frozen granitas?

Not to be confused with that slushy drink from your favorite coffee bar, an authentic granita is a fluffy, fruity shaved-ice dish originating from the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean. Similar to sorbet but with more texture, this sophisticated Italian version of a snow cone is easy to make at home, with no fancy equipment or hot ovens involved. So put your freezer to work, and in a few short hours you will …

Egg-citing News for Winter Garden – Backyard Chickens

Residents Flock Together to Gain Approval for Backyard Chickens

by Kirsten Harrington

First it was victory gardens, then composting and now backyard chickens. The latest do-it-yourself urban trend is sweeping the country, and Winter Garden is not going to be left behind. Joining the cities of Orlando and Maitland, Winter Garden recently approved a pilot program allowing a limited number of permits for residents to raise backyard chickens, following certain guidelines …

Summerport Village Farmer’s Market

A New, Delicious Destination for the Whole Family

by Kirsten Harrington

On a recent breezy Sunday afternoon in Summerport, families practiced yoga on the lawn, selected books from the Little Free Library, and waited in line to visit with Rommy the therapy horse. This is not your average farmers market, and that’s exactly what Summerport Village market manager Shanny Rios intended.

“Because Summerport Village is a community, I wanted to feature vendors that come from …

Quality Time in the Kitchen: Recipes for Kids

Cooking With Kids Yields Tasty Dishes & Memorable Moments 

by Kirsten Harrington

Some of my fondest memories of time spent with my children are in the kitchen. When they were little, measuring ingredients for cookie dough turned into a lesson about fractions; as they grew we talked about food safety and nutrition. They also learned the importance of taking time to prepare and eat real, wholesome food. These days, …

First Celtic Festival in Winter Garden

-by Kirsten Harrington-

If you haven’t yet visited the Plant Street Market in Winter Garden, this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Festival is a great reason to stop by. The event is being co-hosted by the market and Crooked Can Brewing Co. to celebrate the microbrewery’s first anniversary.

“We are releasing our new Irish Red Ale for …

Winter Garden Family Reinvents Historic Farm

U-Pick Hydroponic Farming Paves Way to Their Future by Kirsten Harrington –  “I vividly remember last January,” said John Bekemeyer, strolling through his family’s 20-acre farm on East Story Road in Winter Garden. “This was all dead orange trees. This was all mud in September. We didn’t even plant strawberries until October.” The nearly century-old…

Give the Gift of Good Taste

Easy gifts for food-loving friends Do you still have a few names left on your holiday list but can’t stand the thought of another trip to the mall? Why not roll up your sleeves, head to the kitchen, and prepare some mouthwatering gifts? We’ve got no-fuss ideas that are sure to please. Hand-shaped marzipan candies…

Get Your Plate in Shape

Roper YMCA Offers New Healthy Cooking Classes by Kirsten Harrington It’s not everywhere that you can indulge in a taste of quinoa curry chicken salad or pumpkin oatmeal after a good workout or pick up local zucchini following a Zumba class. Those tasty treats are just part of Winter Garden Roper YMCA’s new effort to “Get…

Enough Fun to Raise the Dead

How to Plan a Bewitching Halloween Block Party Halloween is right around the corner, so why not celebrate with a spook-tacular neighborhood party? A Halloween gathering doesn’t need to be an elaborate affair. Gather the kids and order pizza, or invite the neighbors over for a glass of wine. The point is to take a…

Get Grilling!

Cooler Weather Leads to More Grilling Fun by Kirsten Harrington If you’re looking for a fun way to entertain, why not fire up the grill and enjoy happy hour on the patio? It beats heating up the kitchen, and the dishes will have a delicious smoky element that adds to the flavor. Pizza is always…

Back to School Lunch Ideas

Back-to-School Edibles Kids Will Love by Kirsten Harrington It’s that time again. As we head into a new school year, many parents let out a collective groan about the challenges of packing a lunch that their children will actually eat. We’ve compiled a few ideas that may help to make things a little easier at your…

Trader Joe’s Opens in Dr. Phillips!

Southwest foodie visits specialty grocery store on opening day by Kirsten Harrington Trader Joe’s celebrated its second Orlando-area location last month with the grand opening of its Dr. Phillips store. Banners of balloons, steel drum music and free samples were just part of the festivities offered to customers who braved the opening-day crowds. A party atmosphere prevailed as Trader Joe’s…