Tidbits: Healthy 'Better Bites' snacks available for camps

Herald-Leader food writerMarch 20, 2013 

Sharon Thompson

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF — mcornelison@herald-leader.com

The Better Bites: Snack Strong program of the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition is going to camp.

The program, which provides healthy snack options such as fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits and veggies at recreational venues, is now available for camps, said registered dietitian Melanie Johnson.

If your camp is interested, contact Johnson at Baptist HealthwoRx Fitness and Wellness Center, (859) 260-6438.

The Better Bites program is now offered at Southern Middle School's Yum Yum Shop, an after-school concession stand that raises money for school clubs. It has transformed from a candy and chip shop to Better Bites, offering smoothies, veggie dippers, grapes, apples, oranges, string cheese and yogurt parfaits.

Derby parties

The Derby is more than a month away, but plans are under way for some of Kentucky's most lavish parties and fun events.

■ Kentucky's beef farmers and the Kentucky Derby Festival are holding their second annual Derby burger challenge. The entry deadline is April 2, and finalists will be announced April 4. The winning recipe will be featured as the "local legendary burger" at Hard Rock Café Louisville in April and May. Samples will be available at the Kentucky Derby Festival's new BeerFest presented by American Founders Bank. To submit a recipe, go to Kdf.org/beef.

■ Sign up for a class at the Distilled Spirits Epicenter in Louisville and learn how to throw your best Derby bash yet.

"Out of the Gate" is a two-hour course on Derby entertaining, sponsored by the Epicenter's educational division, Moonshine University. The class is designed to show how to plan and execute a bourbon-themed Derby party, Oaks Day brunch or a reception to entertain out-of-town guests.

Moonshine University's in-house bourbon connoisseur Colin Blake will demonstrate cocktails and present a segment on in-home track-themed games.

The appetizers will be from the Derby party menu in the Junior League of Louisville's newest cookbook, Bluegrass Gatherings. The class also will include a tour of Moonshine University's working distillery.

The class, 3 to 5 p.m. April 13, will be at Distilled Spirits Epicenter, 801 South Eighth Street. Cost is $29. Call (502) 301-8126 or go to Moonshineuniversity.com.

■ The Scott County Woman's Club annual Derby party will be at Shady Breeze Farm on Cynthiana Road in Georgetown, the home of Don and Debbie Dyer.

The club's Derby gathering distributes funds to local agencies and charities including the A.M.E.N House; Quest Farm; Hospitality House, also known as Elizabeth Place; and Georgetown Child Development.

For tickets, which are $75, contact Judy Rush, (502) 863-0204 or Jrush1114@gmail.com.

■ If you prefer a simpler Derby celebration at home, serve a menu created by the South's most trusted test kitchen.

Southern Living's Feel Good Food cookbook (Oxmoor House, $24.95) suggests serving grilled peach salad, Kentucky hot Browns, bakery cookies and a mint julep bar.

Set up the mint julep bar with assorted flavored syrups. Start with the basic julep, and make a variety of syrups ahead of time so you may enjoy the party with your guests.

Derby julep

3 to 5 fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons desired julep syrup

Crushed ice

¼ cup bourbon

1 fresh mint sprig

Place mint leaves and syrup in a chilled julep cup, and muddle. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; add bourbon and mint sprig.

Julep syrups

Mint syrup: Boil 1½ cups sugar and 1½ cups water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add 15 fresh mint sprigs, and cool completely. Cover and chill 24 hours. Strain syrup; discard solids.

Grapefruit-honey syrup: Prepare mint syrup as directed, reducing sugar to ½ cup. Stir into sugar mixture with mint: ¾ cup fresh grapefruit juice, ½ cup honey, 3 grapefruit rind strips that are 2 inches by 4 inches, and rind from 1 lime (cut into strips). For julep, muddle with 1 small grapefruit rind strip.

Peach-basil syrup: Prepare mint syrup as directed, substituting basil for mint and stirring 2 cans (5.5-ounces) of peach nectar and 1 split vanilla bean into sugar mixture with basil. For julep, muddle with 1 peach slice.

Blackberry syrup: Prepare mint syrup as directed, adding 6 ounces fresh blackberries, halved, with mint. For julep, muddle with 2 fresh blackberries.

Pineapple-lemongrass syrup: Prepare mint syrup as directed, reducing granulated sugar to 1 cup, adding ½ cup light brown sugar to granulated sugar and water, and stirring 1 cup pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 3 pieces (3 inches) fresh lemongrass into sugar mixture with mint after removing from heat. For julep, muddle with 1 small fresh pineapple chunk.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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