When the kids have pals over, why not have a fun, youth-friendly buffet at mealtime? Variety can indeed be the spice of life, and when you involve young eaters and encourage food participation, you are also changing your routine, a much-needed self-love exercise. Your mealtime workload will be lightened, shared love of food can be explored and valuable bonding time naturally occurs. Try one per season so you can explore local bounties.  Take a trip to the farm market together and meet the food producers — the food will taste even better.

 

Watermelon + Blueberry Sticks

Alternate bite-sized pieces of seedless watermelon with fresh local blueberries on bamboo skewers. This is a good one for the kids to help with while you make the hot food. Pile skewers onto a fun platter for service.

Grilled PB+Local Strawberry Jam Sammys (cut into quarters)

Use your kids’ favorite peanut butter and a good dollop of locally made jam. Close the sandwich and spread each outer side with a thin layer of good butter. Heat a cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan and “grill” your sandwiches until the bread turns golden and has a slight crunch. Remove from pan, place on cutting board and cut into 4 pieces. Make 6 sammys total; you will have 24 pieces. Serve on a platter next to small plates with lots of napkins available.

Zucchini Stars topped with Cream Cheese and Peach Salsa

Slice a zucchini into ½ inch thick rounds then use a small, star-shaped cookie cutter to make star shapes from the round slices. Bring an 8 oz. package of cream cheese to room temperature and place into a pastry bag. Pipe a tiny dollop onto each star. On top of the cream cheese, place a ½ teaspoon of mild peach salsa. Place on platter; do not stack. Try this with other foods, too.

Corn-off-the-Cob with Butter Cups

Taking the kernel off the cob is easy to do and makes eating less messy. Cut raw corn from six cobs and heat gently in sauté pan with as much butter as you feel comfortable adding. Add a generous sprinkling of local sea salt. Serve in small bowls or cups, with a spoon, on a platter.

Peach Lassi Sips (Peach-Yogurt Smoothie)

Remove the pit and skin from six ripe peaches. Place in blender with 2 cups plain yogurt. Blend until smooth. Divide equally into six fun juice glasses, add colorful straws and place on a platter on the buffet table.

These can be for adults, too!

Recipe courtesy of Outer Banks Epicurean

(we try to use all organic/natural/real ingredients)

www.outerbanksepicurean.com

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