The Children’s Museum of NH is now selling raffle tickets for its annual car raffle fundraiser. Only 750 tickets are being sold at $100 each, giving purchasers the odds of 1 in 375 to win a prize. This year, the first place winner can choose between a 2016 Nissan 370Z sports coupe valued at over $30,000 or they can choose the $20,000 cash prize. Second place winner will win a custom African Safari for 4 (airfare not included) form A-Way-To Africa Safaris valued at $9,000.
“The car raffle began in 2012 and has become an annual event our supporters look forward to,” said Jane Bard, President of the Children’s Museum of NH in Dover. “As a non-profit organization, we need to be creative in raising funds for our educational programs and exhibits, as well as for our commitment to providing subsidized museum visits for schools and families in challenging circumstances. The 'Adventure' theme works well for both prizes and we hope to sell every ticket to support our mission.”
Tickets can be purchased online via the Museum’s website: www.childrens-museum.org or by calling 603-742-2002 during regular business hours. The raffle drawing will take place at a date to be determined in the spring of 2016 at Port City Nissan on the Spaulding Turnpike in Portsmouth, NH. Winners need not be present at the drawing to claim their prize.
Motortrend.com says the 2016 Nissan 370Z sports coupe offers “a great combination of straight-line speed and agility.” “This is not a family car,” notes Jane Bard “and that’s the appeal! You can get into this sports coupe and drive to the beach, the mountains…wherever! With this car, you can literally pick an adventure, and it will take you there in style!” In this raffle, the prospect of winning the second place prize is just as enticing as the first place prize. “This African Safari is completely customizable,” shares Jane. Winners can choose to visit Lake Manyara National Park, which Ernest Hemingway called “the loveliest I had seen in Africa,” or spend more time in Serengeti National Park, which to the Maasai means “the place where the land moves on forever” and whose ecosystem is one of the oldest on Earth.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire thanks Port City Nissan, A-Way-To Africa Safaris, Manchester Regional Airport, NH1 News, Rock 101FM and Z107.1 FM for supporting this fundraiser. Purchasers of car raffle tickets must be 18 years or older, possess a valid driver’s license and provide proof of insurance. The winner is responsible for registration, title and all applicable federal, state and local taxes resulting from the award of this prize. A maximum of 750 tickets will be sold. If less than 375 tickets are sold, the raffle grand prize will be 50% of proceeds; the second prize will the African Safari. First place car or cash are not transferable. Second place African Safari can be transferred. Raffle tickets are not tax deductible.
We're on the precipice of 2016 and the Children's Museum of New Hampshire can't wait to share with you all the fun we have in store for the coming year. But first - let's take a look back at the fun that stretched across all of 2015!
January is here, with eyes that keenly glow, A frost-mailed warrior striding a shadowy steed of snow.
- Edgar Fawcett
- CMNH Educators Jenaya & Sarah meet Governor Maggie Hassan at the Inaugural Open House at the State House in Concord
- CMNH Volunteer Barbara gets into the silly spirit in the Muse Studio for our Abstract Art workshop
- The Dover Chamber of Commerce awards CMNH the Non-Profit of the Year award at Rivermill
- Steampunk Octopus Bike Rack is happy that he's standing up on all 8 tippy-toes as we receive several feet of snow in 48 hours
Without Valentine's Day, February would be . . . well . . . January. - Jim Gaffigan
- Lucas isn't a fan of the Tooth Fairy
- Our visitors learn brushing tips from visiting dentists and dental hygienists as part of Dental Health Month
- CMNH Educators Crystal, Jenaya, Meghan & Meredith find their inner superhero for a Make It OR Break It Club all about digital manipulation
- It's Mardi Gras time at CMNH
- Protect your heads, because the Queen of Hearts came to visit CMNH in February for a tea party
- Our visitors get ready for the SuperBowl with New England Patriots face painting
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens
- Our Mosaic Unit for 2015 begins with a visit to Egypt with sand art, hieroglyphs, instruments, jewelry making, pyramid building . . .
- . . . followed by cheery blossom art in Japan . . .
- . . . and Leprechaun traps and the wearing of the green learning about Ireland
- CMNH Media Producer Zach films one of scenes for the museum's STEM Video Series
April is a promise that May is bound to keep - Hal Borland
- Clifford the Turtle arrives for the opening of the new Naturalist Study
- The mind-bending fun of the Rubik's Cube is part of our exploration of Hungary during our Mosaic Unit
- Curious George and The Man With the Yellow Hat meet our visitors in the Muse Studio
- Junior Science Classes learn about the five senses - can you guess which one they learned about in April?
- CMNH Exhibits Director Mark spreads the resin on the new wooden Naturalist Study table in time for the opening
- Port City Nissan hosts the drawing of the Joyride Raffle with a Nissan Quest S Minivan up for grabs
"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May."- Edwin Way Teale
- One of our Homeschool Scientists brings a spotted salamander to class - just because
- More Mosaic: School children learn how to make lotus flower fans, how diverse the wildlife is, and how to do traditional dances of the country of Thailand
- The Horta Brothers return to CMNH to show off their talented woodworking and mask making skills
- Monty & C.J. of the Dover Mounted Patrol join our volunteers at the annual CMNH 5K Road Race
- CMNH Director of Visitor Services Doug and Lead Educator Meredith prepare for Pirate Day
- Current Wee Ones participants are joined by alumni for our first Wee Ones Weeunion
If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance - Bernard Williams
- Jess Michaud is named CMNH Volunteer of the Year
- WMUR covers the installation of free sunscreen dispensers in Henry Law Park
- Make It OR Break It Club explores the wonder of Cyanotypes
- It's time for psychedelic sponge paint turtles at Wee Ones Wednesdays
- CMNH hosts our first ever Beatles Day
- Stonyfield partners with CMNH once again on our Anyone Can Grow Food garden and programming
- CMNH Educators Crystal, Sarah, & Riley join Visitor Services Supervisor Zach on a trip to the Boston Children's Museum for off-site exploration and learning
- CMNH Educators Emily, Sarah and Jenaya open up for the first Monday of the summer
- CMNH is open 7 days a week all summer long
- The Dover Police Department visits CMNH as part of our Exploring Our Way program for children on the spectrum and their families
July - She will fly . . . - Simon & Garfunkel
- Members of our monthly Alzheimer's Cafe program hold their annual summer picnic in Rye
- CMNH Educators Crystal, Sarah and Jenaya get cosmic with NASA to celebrate Pluto Day
- This little guy takes a big bite our of Shark Week
- Bubbles, bubbles everywhere at CMNH Bubble Day
- CMNH launched our first ever Superhero Week in July
- Sponsored by Jetpack Comics in Rochester, NH, Superhero Week was a great success that involved tons of super-powered activities and events
- Including: Costume making with award-winning designer Khepera Von Stitches, Superhero Team Improv with local artist George Demosthenes, Mini Comic Book creations with local teacher Tom Bonello, not to mention a visit from the friendly, neighborhood Amazing Spider-Man himself!
Summertime . . . and the living is easy. - George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward
- CMNH staff helped work this year's Seacoast Congress of Sound Festival in North Berwick, ME, with all proceeds being generously donated to CMNH
- CMNH Sculpture Camp was a big hit
- Broadway critics are still talking about our original production of "The Little Red Echidna"
- Teddy Bears and all other stuffed friends were welcome for our annual Teddy Bear Clinic and Picnic, made possible by partnerships with Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Trader Joe's
- All hands on deck! It's time for the Dover Mini Maker Faire!
- Maker Faire featured hands-on workshops including one on how to make your own Biodegradable Seed Balls!
- Vendors and Makers from around New England, like Nemo Equipment, showed off their wares
- There really was something for everyone at this year's Maker Faire
- Kids could make their own stomp rockets and then test them out in Henry Law Park
Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul! - Peggy Toney Horton
- One World Language School taught guests how to speak Chinese during Toddlerfest
- Northeastern Ballet Theatre gave special performances and taught guests some dance moves
- C&J Bus Lines gave families a chance to touch a bus during Toddlerfest
- A new addition to Primary Place were these light switch flower gardens
- We were closed for the first two weeks of September to do a little cleaning and maintenance. It's really our only chance to get the pieces that get stuck up high from the Build It, Fly It exhibit!
- Mark Cuddy worked on some new exhibits during closing weeks
- Staff could be seen everywhere touching up the paint throughout the museum
- Media Producer, Zach Foote visited the Maple Suites Retirment Community to give a presentation on social media to seniors
- Train day was another huge success
I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. - L.M. Montgomery
- October brought costumes, crafts and...Mad Scientists? The Not-So-Spooky spectacular was...well...spectacular.
- The augmented reality sand table made it's debut and it's been a huge hit with guests of all ages!
November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces. - J.K. Rowling
- Books Alive featured a Wild Thing named Moishe and a Wild Rumpus provided by the kids
- PizzaFest was another fun and tasty fundraiser made successful by all the great pizza joints in town and Smuttynose Brewing Company
- Master Woodcarvers Ventura & Norberto Fabian from Oaxaca, Mexico showed our guests how they transform simple hunks of wood into amazing animals and figures
December, being the last month of the year, cannot help but make us think of what is to come. - Fennel Hudson
- Our first annual Jingle Bell Express was a lot of fun and a great collaboration between DeMeritt Hill Farm and C&J Bus Lines
- The Naturalist exhibit gets a seasonal upgrade
- Christmas trees were donated to several Festival of Trees in town, decorated b CMNH kids of course
- Sam Paolini is the newest artist to grace the entrance of CMNH with her art
- Workshops galore happened at the end of the month featuring holiday treats, Minecraft game design, and poetry
- And we said farewell to another wonderful year and welcomed 2016 with our recycled paper hats and a lot of smiles
Thank you everyone for joining us in 2015. We hope to see you again soon and wish you all health, joy and peace in 2016!
Name: Mark Cuddy
Title: Director of Exhibits
How long have you been at CMNH? 4 years, since 2011
What is the most fun part of your job? The most fun part of my job is seeing children and families play with the exhibits I have designed and built.
What is something people might not know about you? I helped my Dad build our own Clubhouse when I was a kid. That may not be that surprising, but he could never understand why I spent more time climbing on the roof than I did playing inside of it.
What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why? My favorite exhibit is Pattern Palace. I think it is a really fun exhibit and it does a great job of teaching people about geometry and Math without them realizing it. It is certainly not a 'boring math exhibit.'
Name: Meredith Lamothe
Title: Lead Educator
How Long at Museum? 3.5 years! I started in May of 2012.
What is the most fun part of your job? I love teaching. I look forward to Thursdays because I get to teach both Junior and Homeschool science classes. I also absolutely love doing Baby Storytime—nothing is a better start to the day than seeing and reading to a bunch of smiling, giggling babies!
What is something that people might not know about you? My bachelors degree is in Theatre Performance. I really enjoy performing and try to be in a couple plays a year.
What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why? I like the post office. I love the number of different ways that visitors can experience the exhibit and that it facilitates exploration of the rest of the museum.
The Caldecott Medal in the 1960's
Welcome to Four & Twenty Blackbirds, CMNH's blog series on the history of the Caldecott Medal and the children's book illustrations that have been fortunate enough to be honored and awarded by the Caldecott committee.
Let's look at a decade full of tumult, triumph and exploration. A decade just as easily defined with "Free Love" as "Endless War." Ferocious. Regimented. Freewheeling. These are not adjectives that one typically uses in concert to describe the same thing. They serve to describe the 1960's - politically, musically, sartorially - and the children's books published at the time were no different.
Who: Maurice Sendak (born in Brooklyn, NY, 1928)
Book: Where the Wild Things Are / Harper & Row / 1963
Plot: Max dresses up as a wolf. Max misbehaves. Max is sent to his room without supper. Max sees his bedroom transform into a jungle environment and grant him access to the land of the Wild Things. Max so impresses these wild beasts that he becomes their King. Will Max stay with the Wild Things and rule over them and their rambunctious ways? Will he ever return home?
Misc: Perhaps you're familiar with this book? It's quite likely, as it's sold over 20 million copies in the 52 years since it was first published. For those that haven't read the story for many years, it's easy to forget just how little text Sendak uses to tell the story of Max and his new WIld Thing co-horts. The amount of words used to describe the plot above is more than 20% of the words Sendak used for his entire story. The lighter reading requirements took a book that many critics found too scary and full of violent imagery that much more attractive to younger readers. According to Sendak, many libraries banned the book until, finally, by 1965, they realized that children continually asked for the book and its absence made them want to read this forbidden curiosity even more. The Caldecott committee awarding Wild Things the medal in 1964 likely helped to quicken the critical turnaround by librarians and critics alike.
Sendak felt that the book (in addition to 1970's In the Night Kitchen and 1981's Outside Over There) show, "how children master various feelings – danger, boredom, fear, frustration, jealousy – and manage to come to grips with the realities of their lives."
Short animated films were produced in 1973 and 1988. A children's opera was commissioned and first performed in London in 1984, followed by it's U.S. premiere in St. Paul, Minnesota the following year. Despite these pre-existing adaptations, the book was long considered to be "unfilmable". That didn't stop Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Her) from directing and Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) from writing the screenplay for the 2009 big screen adaptation - all with Sendak's blessing; something that so many other potential Wild Things potential big-screen suitors could never seem to obtain.
Sendak was often asked about the potential for a sequel to his most famous work and he was consistently against it. Sendak remarked to Stephen Colbert that the thought a sequel to the tale of Max and his Wild Things would be, "the most boring idea imaginable!"
From 1954's A Very Special House through 1982's Outside Over There, Sendak was recognized by the Caldecott committee a staggering eight times - honored seven times and receiving the medal once, for Wild Things. Despite this enormous achievement, Sendak does not hold the record for most recognized by the Caldecotts. That honor belongs to Marcia Brown, honored six times and medaled thrice.Availability: The book - not to mention plush figures, t-shirts with Sendak quotes, the film soundtrack, posters, etc. - continue to be available both online and through your local bookseller/toy store.
Who: Ed Emberley (born in Malden, MA, 1931)
Book: Drummer Hoff / Prentice Hall / 1967
Writer: Barbara Emberley
Plot: Seven soldiers help assemble a cannon and, once assembled, fire it. (That's it. It's as simple as that. Or . . . is it?)
Misc: On the surface, the book written and drawn by the Emberleys is a simple semi-nursery rhyme. Ed Emberley has explained that Drummer was an adaptation of the early 19th Century rhyme "John Ball Shot Them All". The names of the soldiers have changed, but the conceit of rhyming their last names to their responsibility remains, e.g. "General Border gives the order, Sergeant Chowder brings the powder . . ." The illustrations, which are unmistakably Emberley, have been praised for somehow conveying the feel of American Colonial art and the more psychedelic tendencies of the late sixties. It's certainly two styles of art that don't seem to naturally intersect, and yet Emberley makes it seem like the most natural of marriages.
While many critics were quick to label Drummer Hoff as an anti-war poem/book, the Emberleys were always careful to never spell out an explicit message for the book. Ed Emberley, who had received a Caldecott honor for his previous collaboration with wife Barbara for the art on 1966's One Wide River to Cross, spelled out exactly what he thought the take away from Drummer Hoff would - or should - be, in his 1968 Caldecott Medal acceptance speech:
The book’s main theme is a simple one — a group of happy warriors build a cannon that goes “KAHBAHBLOOM.” But, there is more to find if you “read” the pictures. They show that men can fall in love with war and, imitating the birds, go to meet it dressed as if to meet their sweethearts. The pictures also show that men can return from war sometimes with medals, and sometimes with wooden legs . . . The book’s primary purpose is, as it should be, to entertain.
It's difficult to ignore, however, the final page of the book. After the eager soldiers happily build the royal cannon (affectionately named "SULTAN"), and after the aforementioned, and explosively illustrated, "KAHBAHBLOOM", comes that last page. Time has passed. The cannon is in ruins. But the scene is not one of desolation. In place of the medals and finery of the soldiers is grass, overgrown and winding over and around the cannon with wild, wayward orange and yellow flowers shooting up between the blades of grass. Life goes on and thrives in this future scene. A grasshopper and butterfly play on and near the weapon formerly known as SULTAN. A spider has spun his web atop the old armament and a mother and father bird have built their nest in the mouth of the cannon where the are shown feeding their baby birds. Emberley can profess all he wants that Drummer Hoff is meant simply, "to entertain", but the inclusion of the final image makes the story and its art a timeless book that can launch thoughtful discussions among readers of every age.Availability: Drummer Hoff can still easily be found in hardcover, paperback and as a board book at most local bookstores or online purveyors of books.
Who: Uri Shulevitz (born in Warsaw, Poland, 1935)
Book: The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship / Farrar, Straus and Giroux / 1968
Writer: Arthur Ransome
Plot: This adaptation of a Russian folktale sees a Czar announce that whoever in the Kingdom can bring him a flying ship will be given the hand of his daughter the Princess. A peasant family sends two of their three sons on a journey to complete a quest that will see them wed to the Princess. But they discount their third son, the titular "Fool" whose fantastical journey sees him deliver a flying ship to the Czar only to have the Czar continue to challenge his promise with more and more outlandish requests. Will the colorful cast of characters find that their outlandish abilities (the power to drink or eat unimaginable volumes, super vision, inhuman speed, etc.) are suddenly quite practical?
Misc: Why aren't more people familiar with the work of Uri Shulevitz? There's no easy answer for why a writer/illustrator of Shulevitz's immense talent isn't more of a household name. Shulevitz, currently living in New York City, celebrated his 80th year by releasing his 40th book, the transportation themed Troto and the Trucks. Shulevitz was first recognized by the Caldecott committee at the close of the 1960's with the Caldecott Medal for his work on Fool. He continued to change his style while capturing the eye of the committee with Caldecott honors for his work in the 1970's through the 1990's. On the fortieth anniversary of Shulevitz receiving his Caldecott Medal, he received a Caldecott Honor for his work on 2008's How I Learned Geography.
Cult film lovers will recognize pieces of Terry Gilliam's 1988 box office failure "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" are almost directly adapted from some of Ransome/Shulevitz's adaptations.Availability: Hardcover and paperback versions of the book are still in print and are relatively easy to find.
The Caldecott Medal in the 1950's
We're taking a look back at the history of the Caldecott Medal. This series of blogs, titled "Four & Twenty Blackbirds", receives its name from one of the engravings on the actual prize Medal given out for the best children's book illustrations.
Join us now as we enter a decade where Live Comedy was King on (the suddenly ubiquitous) Television Set, Chevrolet was King of the Road and Elvis was just simply, "the King" . . .
Who: Atsushi Iwamatsu, under the pen name Taro Yashima (born in Nejima, Kimotsuki District, Kagashima, 1908)
Book: Umbrella / Viking Press / 1958
Plot: Momo is a Japanese girl, born in New York City, who desperately wants to bring her umbrella (and new red boots!) to school with her. Momo's mother says she cannot, as it has been a long, dry autumn and there is no need for an umbrella. Momo disagrees and insists the umbrella can still help to shield her from the bright sun and strong wind. Momo's mother still says she cannot bring her umbrella with her. But one day, the rains come. Will Momo be ready for them?
Misc: Umbrella was not Yashima's first recognition from the Caldecott committee and it would not be his last. In addition to the tale of Momo and her umbrella, Crow Boy (1955) was named as an Honor book as well as his later work Seashore Story (1967). There are various reasons why writers/illustrators use pen names, but Yashima had a very specific reason for not going by his birth name of Atsushi Iwamatsu. Yashima and his wife Tomoe had been harassed and briefly imprisoned during the 1930's for their opposition to the increasingly militaristic Japanese government. Yashima, who, after attending the Imperial Art Academy in Tokyo and achieving a degree of fame in Japan for his cartooning, fled the country with Tomoe in 1939 for the United States. Unfortunately, their son, Mako, had to be left behind. After Pearl Harbor, he joined the U.S. forces during WWII as an artist for the OSS and changed his name to Taro Yashima, fearful of what would happen to his family still in Japan if the Japanese government found out "Atsushi Iwamatsu" was fighting for the Allies instead of against them. Allowed to finally return to Japan and retrieve Mako in 1949, Yashima began to write and illustrate children's books after the war and decided to keep his adopted name for any published work he produced. Umbrella, despite taking place in New York City, was singled out for the strong influence of Yashima's Japanese culture in the illustrations as well as its strong use of color.Availability: Available online and from your local bookseller
Who: Marcia Brown (born in Rochester, NY, 1918)
Book: The Steadfast Tin Soldier / Atheneum Books / 1953
Writer: Hans Christian Andersen (adaptation)
Plot: A one-legged tin soldier falls in love with a beautiful paper ballerina. After being separated from her he faces many trials and tribulations in his quest to return to her, almost never in control of his journey but forced into new directions by the hands of other toys, animals and humans. Will he ever see his ballerina again? Will there be a happy ending?
Misc: Hans Christian Andersen is rightfully known as a magnificent writer of children's classics. Like his contemporaries, the Brothers Grimm, a multitude of his works have been adapted - often in the form of animation - since they were first published almost 200 years ago. Also like the Brothers Grimm, Andersen's tales were often far more bleak, dark and devoid of a happy ending than their Disney-fied versions. To say that a happy ending is not found by the conclusion of the Tin Soldier's story is putting it mildly. The capricious and fiery fate of the Tin Soldier and his true love makes the denouement of The Velveteen Rabbit look like The Three Little Pigs. There's no question that this story might be too emotionally difficult for early grade school children. There is no questioning, however, Brown's inclusion as a Caldecott Honor Book for her work depicting the tragic tale of the titular tin soldier. In fact, during the 1950's, Brown dominated the Caldecott awards in a way no illustrator had done before or since. From 1948's Stone Soup through 1983's Shadow, Marcia Brown, and her unmistakable line work, were recognized by the committee nine times. The Steadfast Tin Soldier was the sixth book of Brown's to receive the Caldecott honor, with her next three books that were recognized all walking away with the Caldecott Medal. Brown, a clear holder of several Caldecott records, also lays claim to the most Caldecott recognition in consecutive years, with one of her works selected for six straight years in a row from 1950 through 1955. Any conversation concerning the Caldecott Medal during the mid-20th Century - or in its entire history - is not complete without an understanding of Marcia Brown's incredible artwork. More than Seuss, more than Sendak, more than McCloskey - Marcia Brown is truly the King, ahem, Queen of the Caldecotts.Availability: Used library copies and online sources seem to be the easiest way to obtain this version of Tin Soldier, though it's always worth checking with your local bookseller.
Symposium on popular Alzheimer’s Café
Children’s Museum of NH collaborates to share lessons learned
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has hosted a free monthly Alzheimer’s Café program for the past four years for families who have a loved one with dementia. With generous support from AARP, the Museum was able to conduct a research project to determine the benefits of attending the Café. The findings will be shared at a free symposium at the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Conference Center (789 Central Ave) in Dover, NH on Monday, November 16 from 1- 4pm.
A report highlighting the results of the study, done in collaboration with Keene State College’s nursing program, will be available to anyone attending the symposium. “We conducted interviews, observed, and surveyed our Alzheimer Café participants,” says Paula Rais, Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. “All of the data was compiled and revealed the benefits of the Café from the perspective of those who attend. We also learned what improvements we can make to help us plan for the future. It’s been an invaluable process and we’re excited to share the results with the community.”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire launched the first Alzheimer’s Café in the Eastern United States in October 2011. It has since attracted widespread attention from families affected by dementia as well as healthcare professionals. In 2012, the Museum’s Alzheimer’s Café program received the Leaders In Innovation award from the New England Museum Association. Held the third Thursday of each month from 2-4pm, people living with Alzheimer’s disease are welcomed, along with their family members and caregivers, to gather in a supportive, non-clinical setting to relax, enjoy refreshments and socialize.
The public and press are welcome to attend the symposium and are asked to RSVP to Paula Rais at email@example.com or by calling 603-742-2002.
Bring us some figgy pudding!
By Sarah Terry
So it's that time of year again... holiday season is upon us! Personally, Halloween is my favorite holiday, but I'm also a dedicated caroler and mulled cider aficionado, and those are just two of the many reasons I'm excited for the coming winter months. Holidays mean food, family, friends! Food again! And with that in mind, what better time to talk about our Foodworks program? With generous help from Hannaford grocery store, I've been working on a whole slate of upcoming events, including one all about healthy food for the holidays!
Now, healthy eating during the holidays can seem pretty much impossible. I come from a big family that has a habit of making enough food to feed the entire block, and still have enough for leftovers the next day. I mean, I can remember Thanksgivings where we had a turkey, a ham, stuffed shells, and still made mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, the works! And that was before I became vegetarian, so now I always make a vegetarian entree too! I'm surprised our table didn't sag in the middle! Plus, family parties are only the start throw in cookies swaps, and office parties, treats for school... it feels like you're navigating a mine field full of gravy boats and candy canes! But there are actually a lot of small choices you can make that will help you have a healthier holiday (or at least a healthierthan-eating-an-entire-bowl-of-mashed-potatoes holiday, as I may have done once or twice...). One of my favorites? Bring a healthy, delicious dish for everyone to enjoy!
Holiday desserts aren't usually the pinnacle of health food. So many cakes and pies and cookies and candies! You definitely don't have to resist every pie, but you can bring some awesome desserts to your next holiday party that won't make you feel like falling into a food coma after dinner!
For the Healthy Holidays Foodworks program, our dessert of choice is...
Meringues are tasty, simple, fun, and nearly fat free! Now, there are actually two versions of meringues that I'm going to talk about – one traditional and one not-so-traditional. The traditional version is made with egg whites. These are beaten until they form a stiff foam, then sugar and flavorings are mixed in, they're piped out, then finally baked at a low temperature for several hours. These guys are less than half the calories of a chocolate chip cookie! Awesome, right?
Here's a Hannaford recipe for raspberry flavored meringues!
What about the not-so-traditional way? I love to experiment with food, and fairly recently, I came across something called aquafaba. What exactly is aquafaba, you ask? Have you ever bought a can of chickpeas? As a person who occasionally subsists on hummus alone, I can tell you that I go through a ton of them! Well, aquafaba is the liquid in the can that you usually drain and throw away! Little did I know that I should have been saving it! You can actually treat aquafaba just like egg whites – put it in a mixing bowl, whip it with a hand mixer, and you'll soon get beautiful foamy peaks, just like you would with eggs! This version of the recipe is cool because it's also vegan! If you're ever searching for something to make when the crowd has a lot of dietary restrictions, this recipe is perfect, because it's egg-free, dairy free, nut-free, soy free, AND gluten-free.
Does it come out as good as the traditional version? Just take a look at this photograph I took when I first tried out the recipe! Waiting for them to finally come out of the oven is definitely the hardest part...
They were delicious and my family couldn't even tell the difference between these guys and the egg-version!
Here's the recipe I used – these are plain vanilla meringues but you can add all kinds of flavorings! When I made these, I substituted mint extract for vanilla extract and added some vegan chocolate chips, and that's only one possibility! Either version is a healthy, tasty treat that would be a welcome addition to any dessert table!
Now... ready, set, BAKE! (and please tell me I'm not the only one obsessed with the Great British Bake Off!) Let us know if you take a shot at these recipes, or share some of your own healthy holiday tips with us!
Most importantly, have a lovely, family-and-friends-filled holiday season!