When I got the invitation to Fairsted Kitchen, it was a given that I would say yes. Every time I drive by it, I remind myself that we need to have dinner there, then I get home and life happens and I forget, again, at least until the next time I drive by. And when I saw that McDonald’s was hosting and Executive Chef Stephanie Cmar (yes, foodie friends, of Bravo’s Top Chef and of Stacked Donuts fame), was going to cook only with McD’s ingredients, I was intrigued. How would this work? What would the menu look like? And most importantly…Would there be fries?!
Pineapple Mango Mocktail
There were fries!
Chicken Croquettes with Cilantro Lime Sauce, Cucumber and Peanut Salad, and Wilted Romaine Puree
Seriously, yum. McNugget get all grown up
Gnocchi with Sausage and Beef Bolognese
And not only were there fries – there was a bar of fries! Everyone talked, laughed and nibbled as we circled the table and there were lots of stories because…fries. And I was so excited that the charming and twinkle lighted exterior of Fairsted Kitchen was a perfect preview to the lovely space within – warm wood tables, lovely vintage mismatched china, and a welcoming staff. What a wonderful antidote to a cold and rainy night.
Dinner was, as expected, fantastic. And made only from ingredients that would be used in a McDonald’s kitchen. The first up: chicken croquettes with cilantro lime sauce, cucumber, peanut salad, and wilted romaine puree and our hosts explained that the fresh produce was the same used in McDonald’s premium salads and McWraps. I learned that McD’s sources from local distributors when possible.
Next up, gnocchi made with actual McDonald’s french fries that were put through a meat grinder. Wow, super clever Stephanie Cmar! The Bolognese made with sausage and 100% ground beef, was delicious! I also learned that McD’s uses 100% beef that is ground, then formed into patties and flash frozen, and made with no additives or preservatives. Good to know.
Dessert was seriously the biggest doughnut I have ever seen. It’s okay though, years of training had prepared me for the challenge and I was undaunted. Doughnuts with Cranberry and Salted Caramel made by Stephanie (McD’s uses USDA grade A fresh eggs and North American grown whole wheat flour).
Served with a perfect cup of coffee (from McCafe) and made with 100 percent Arabica coffee beans. I loved McDonald’s coffee when it was Newman’s Own and I love it now, too. A great price for great coffee.
Photos* were taken by Debbie Grubstein, friend, food blogger extraordinaire, and all around wonderful person. Thanks, Deb!
*except the coffee cup so you can see why Deb is good to have around!
This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. Thank you!
On Sunday, March 1, from 11-2 the Anthony David Salon, Burlington, MA., will host the first annual Cut For A Cure to help raise funds for Sarcoma research. The event was created by Marian Sales, a five year cancer survivor. Marian promised herself that on her 5th anniversary of cancer freedom she would create a fundraiser to give back to the Hospital that saved her life and the lives of many others. To honor her commitment to raise money, Marian enlisted the help of Anthony Vitale, owner of the Anthony David Salon. No stranger himself to raising funds for many worthwhile causes, Anthony immediately signed on and together they created Cut For A Cure with the hope of raising at least $5,000.
Their idea – offer amazing haircuts (valued at $65 and up) for a $20 donation. You can help by getting a great haircut or just donate online if you can’t make the event.
All proceeds raised will support Sarcoma Research.
What’s my connection, you ask? Well, last month I visited this salon to review it ( look for it here) and was so thrilled with the results that I just made another appointment. Fantastic, talented, caring people and a lovely place.
Anthony David Salon is located at 120 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA. 781 272-0002.
This initiative is a registered Mass General Community Fundraiser. Mass General does not enter into direct sponsorship of this effort, provide any financial support, or assume any liability for its conduct. Massachusetts General Hospital is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. To learn more visit giving.massgeneral.org
Although my family may tell you that my idea of No-Cook meals this summer has mostly relied on prepared food from Whole Foods, I have actually made some of my No Cook Meals. Look out, Family! I may continue this trend/lifestyle/into our fall if the weather holds or at least until my Mother-in-law visits. So here are some links to places with good no-cook foods (you can put together a nice dinner from Trader Joe’s, too.
From Real Simple – 25 No Cook Recipes and a bunch of Fake It Don’t Make it recipes, too.
Eating Well has a great list of No Cook Recipes, too. Both of these resources also list the nutritional information, in case you need to know.
Entertaining? Still don’t want to cook? Me, either. Bon Appetit has a nice slideshow of good (a bit fancier) recipes, too.
The answer in our house is always decidedly not! I love summer (crazy carpool schedules notwithstanding), the slower paced days, the fun activities and the family time and since everyone’s schedule is more relaxed, we get to see more of our cousins and grandparents and that is always good.
But I also love the crisp air of autumn, the spring in your step it gives you and knowing that another year of school (I know my children agree) is around the corner. Plus, it is really, really fun to go Back to School shopping (I know my husband does not agree)!
How do you get it together – exchange sandals for shoes, beach reads for textbooks and beach bags for backpacks? How do you cope with first day excitement/nerves?
Transition can be tough and here are some ways to make it easier.
Visit the school
For the young ones, make the school a familiar place. If possible, visit it several times before school starts – go to the orientation, use the playground, visit an older friend who already goes to the school, even just walking by it and talking about it makes it a more familiar place.
Read all about it
There is no shortage of great books about Back to School for all ages. Pragmatic Mom is my go to for this and she kindly added some books to my Pinterest Board. Personal Fave –
The Kissing Hand
by Audrey Penn
Talk about what a typical day will be like. I still remember being told I could read all day in Kindergarten – I was on board with that! My mom did not tell me that she would be leaving (Lasting visual – looking up to see my pretty pregnant mom sprinting by the window and my sister almost flying out behind her. Seriously Mom, I remember that. You were wearing that lavender maternity dress), and that there would be other activities and, this was another surprise, children I did not know. I’m over it, though. Really.
Go to school with a friend or two, meet them and walk in together. The bustle of the first day can be overwhelming.
This is where your back to school shopping pays off. The shiny new lunch box, the pretty pens, the new backpack and you don’t have to spend a lot – and crayons are the best and least expensive back to school item.
Most backpacks and lunch boxes are washable (I do it all the time), but check the label first.
Spruce up and personalize a backpack with add on decorations (key chains and buttons are a cute inexpensive way to change up the look).
Let your child help with lunch choices and add when they aren’t looking add a little note and for older kids I add a word of the day – it is a win-win. You get to write a note, they learn a word.
Make it special! Have a family dinner the night before with a reasonably early bedtime – this is admittedly tough to do – everyone is so excited!
A good breakfast is key but it doesn’t have to be fancy or huge or made to order if that is not your thing. Unhurried is best. Cut up fruit, whole wheat toast (peanut butter or avocado for protein) or granola bars and yogurt.
I’m all about the food (yes, healthy food, too). Check out 10 Get Healthy Tips from Massachusetts General Hospital for Children for some great ideas.
Take pictures – You’ll love looking back on all the first days of school memories.
Relax and Have Fun
We had a great Wayfair Back to School Twitter Chat #HomemakerHappyHr – with Wayfair giving away a $25 gift card every ten minutes! Here are some great tips from our super mom friends:
Transition by moving bedtime earlier a few weeks ahead of school start date. Get into a routine to help settle back to school nerves.
Take a picture at the beginning of the first day of school and the end of the day! Expand that to the first and last day of school – really have a record of how they have grown!
Have a special snack together and get the details of the day – Keep communication lines open. (Pizza, anyone?)
Keep their artwork and papers in bins and display them on a pin board or in inexpensive frames. Send “older” works of art to family and friends to make room for the new.
Healthy favorite foods: Peanut butter and jelly, the classic (soy nut butter is a great alternative if you have a nut-free classroom) and hand’s down fave, followed closely by turkey or ham and cheese. For snacks – granola bars, fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese and crackers.
Set a routine and keep it up – it helps everyone! Set up a quiet place to do homework (I like mine close to the kitchen for those homework questions that inevitably come up while I’m making dinner).
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Twitter Chat – Great suggestions and ideas! Many thanks to Wayfair for making this happen and giving away great gift cards – Time to shop for Back to School!
Wayfair is kindly giving away a $50 gift card as part of this post. Enter by liking Wayfair’s Facebook Page. What is Wayfair? Check out them out (their tagline is a zillion things home), and they do have almost everything you need for back to school (just maybe not the PB & J, but I think you’ve got that).