The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “dessert”

S.O.S. – Selecting an Orange Squash!


Recipe of the Week

The days are getting shorter. The leaves are falling. And, there is a crisp chill in the air. All this can mean only one thing…

Time to pick the perfect pumpkin!

Whether your family is getting yours at the grocery, heading to a local farmers market, or you have found the “most sincere pumpkin patch”, here are a few tips on selecting a supreme orange squash for your fall festivities.

For Carving the Perfect Jack-o-lantern:

  1. Pick a pumpkin with a firm skin. Tap it with your knuckle and listen for a hollow sound.
  2. The heavier the pumpkin, the thicker the wall, and the more you have to carve through.
  3. The taller your pumpkin the stringier the flesh. This can also make it harder to carve.
  4. Make sure it has a flat solid base. Nothing is worse than a rolly-polly pumpkin with a candle inside!
  5. Smaller pumpkins are great for younger kids. They can even paint their pumpkin instead of carving.

For Your Culinary Delights:

  1. Smaller varieties, about 2 to 6 pounds, are preferred for cooking.
  2. Unlike above you want a dense, fleshy, thick walled pumpkin to cook with.
  3. Look for a smooth surface with a dense flesh indicating higher sugar content.
  4. Like with any fruit or vegetable, watch out for bruises and blemishes on the surface.
  5. Figure on getting about one cup of puree for each pound of pumpkin.

After you have carved your jack-o-lanterns and baked your pies, don’t forget about the seeds! Roasted pumpkins seeds make a great fall snack for everyone in your family!

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

How Do You Like Them Apples? Five Ways To Enjoy Those Fabulous Fall Fruits


Recipe of the Week

With fall upon us it is time to talk about one of my family’s favorite seasonal fruits, apples. And, there is nothing my kids love more than heading out to our local orchard and picking peck after peck of fresh red, yellow, and green apples. From Granny Smiths to Fujis, this time of year it is not hard to find apples of every variety. It’s like those things grow on trees!

Sometimes with all that is available it can be hard to decide what to do if you happen to get too many of them (besides, of course, just eating them as a quick and easy snack). Here are five quick and easy ideas to help you get your creative apple juices flowing. As a bonus, with the sweetness built into the apples, all of these have little or no added sugar!

  1. Apple Crisp
  2. Applesauce
  3. Apple Butter
  4. Fried Apples
  5. Apple Salad

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

Tip of the Week: Fondue with the Family


This Week’s Featured Recipe

One of my favorite family table activities has been our fondue night. Recently, we introduced the concept of fondue to our four year old son, Gentry. Fondue is the delicious art of dipping different types of food into a sauce. The great thing about fondue is that you can get very creative with the sauce and types of food you dip.

As I explained this to Gentry, you could just see him light up with excitement. So after dinner, I set up our little fondue pot at the table and got all the fruit out to prepare. I let Gentry help wash the fruit and pick out his favorite color skewer. That night we melted chocolate and peanut butter. Peanut butter seemed to be a big hit and something besides the traditional chocolate. There are many other options for fondue out there. See this week’s recipe for some ideas for your fondue night.

As I try to create more family activities, I am starting to see amazing results. As we were talking and having fun with our fondue that night Gentry said, “We are a family. I love our family! I love family time fondue!” Family activities show us a side of Gentry that we love so much.

Another one of my favorite things to hear my son say when we sit down to eat together is, “So, Mommy, how was your day?” In these moments I know we are teaching him the importance of family time and he gets it! I know this will benefit him in his social skills, peer pressure, eating habits, and education. Recently CNN provided some great tips on improving your family time at the table.

Our family is very busy, but that short amount of time at the dinner table together benefits our family in so many ways. There is nothing I love more than seeing our family have fun and enjoy conversation together!

Visit for more information about the benefits of eating together as a family.


Hannah Keith 2012

Hannah Keith, Marketing Assistant, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Together, We Eat

This Week’s Featured Recipe

Following last week’s festivities, it can be said, “Together, we eat.”

Yet, the family table project, in its second year strives to make it, “together, we eat better.” But how do we transfer from one to the other? It is no secret that we snack together over football and the holidays, or we sit down together for a meal several times a week – that’s great. But, it is just the beginning.

Several years ago, another couple, my husband and I went out for dinner to a popular Italian restaurant. As we were sharing our salad, and later splitting our dessert, we turned to one another and made a joke that, years later, still stands. I honestly do not eat at that restaurant, to this day, without thinking about that meal.

Yes, the food was good. But it was the sharing and the conversation that made that night. And this same sticking power is reinforced at your dinner table with the meals you have with family and friends. Conversation starts with shared interests, and time investments. Need some ideas? Try our list of conversation starters.

Share your most memorable meal with us on Facebook and entered to win a delivery and $100 gift card to Waiter on the Way.

Tip of the Week: Leftovers Improve with Dessert

The family table has always been a priority at our house, but finding time to prepare the meal is a challenge, especially when you have carpool to Scouts, band, dance class, or (fill in the blank.) So I prepare a large amount when I can, counting on the leftovers to get me by on a busy night. My children aren’t picky eaters, but they do get bored with the same recipes, and especially with leftovers.

My solution is to make a really cool dessert. I think they eat the meal without paying much attention to it in anticipation of the dessert. I made a large pot roast last week and knew it would serve a couple meals. I printed the strawberry mousse recipe found on a link in last week’s Family Table Tip of the Week. It is so easy that older grade school kids could prepare it on their own, and best of all, it tasted great! Light and refreshing after the heavier pot roast.

Do you have any tips for making leftovers a more appealing dinner for your Family Table?

– Laura, Sr. Director of Finance & Operations, wife and mom of 4

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