How to Host a Harry Potter Dinner for Kids
When it comes to getting your kids to eat, I’ve been a big believer that you shouldn’t force things. I have likes and dislikes, and I know my kids do too. For example, I remember having lunch with a friend. She had made peas. I hate peas. I mean, I really hate peas. The texture, the taste, the idea of balancing them on a fork, everything! Yet, the polite adult I am, I took a few, planned on playing with them just a little to make it look like I ate them. I said I was polite, not self-torturing. My oldest on the other hand, just about to turn three at the time, couldn’t wait to eat the peas. He had been eyeing them. They were something he had never seen before; they looked great—green and round. They were going to be fun to eat. Or so he thought.
It turns out that they didn’t have that same green color once they were cooked. He then discovered he had a hard time getting them to stay on the fork. When he finally decided to switch to a spoon, he happily and greedily pushed a heaping spoonful into his mouth, and promptly spit it out. He is neither self-torturing nor polite. He couldn’t stand the taste and texture. Yes, he looks almost exactly like my husband, but when it comes to personality he is my mini-me. We all have likes and dislikes. We are now a family of five, and we all hate peas. So, I’ve never believed in forcing children to eat. I know they won’t starve themselves. Serve healthy foods; they’ll eat what they like and have a generally well-balanced diet in the end. And one pointless battle avoided—one no parent can win (much like potty training).
Yet, that not-so-inner mommy voice, usually from my mother’s mouth, a misguided talk show I hadn’t turned off, or some parenting magazine I made the mistake of picking up in the doctor’s office, will come through and tell me I should do a better job of getting my kids to eat more at dinner. It leads to me browsing The Sneaky Chef cookbook at the bookstore when I really want to look at the cookie cookbook, or 1001 different margaritas. I am glad to announce I have not yet succumbed to purchasing a copy of The Sneaky Chef, but have found ways instead to bring new and different foods to our table in a fun and exciting manner.
Every three to five weeks, I sit down with one of my kids and let them choose a theme. Together, we do some research—browse cookbooks or the Internet—and plan a menu. We will do the shopping together and cook the dinner together. The theme could be race cars, trains, dinosaurs, music, or anything else that interests one of my children. I place no limits on their imaginations, and only ask they do the same. When it is time to eat, we usually have found plates and napkins to match the theme in some way and fully decorate the table. One favorite theme has been a wizarding world theme, along the lines of Harry Potter.
Every meal at Hogwarts is a royal banquet and so are wizard meals at our house. We eat off golden plates (disposable from the dollar store) and drink from goblets; mine come from Oriental Trading. If you don’t want to put any money into the goblets, you can go to the party store and purchase plastic wine glasses and decorate with “jewels” from the craft store.
In addition to a nice, big glass of milk, we serve a couple of Hogwarts’ favorites.
Pumpkin Juice— This is one you might want to play around with a bit to get exactly the right taste for you.
- 2-3 cups apple juice
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 2 cups pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and/or allspice (optional)
Combine the apple juice and pineapple juice. Juice the pumpkin. Add the pumpkin juice to the apple and pineapple juice mixture. Put it all in the blender. Add the honey. Blend. You may add ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and/or allspice to taste. Serve very chilled.
Butter Beer—You may wish to serve this one with dessert, or as dessert.
- 1 pint real vanilla bean ice cream, softened (completely melted is fine too)
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup teaspoon butterscotch extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 quart sparkling apple cider
- Garnish with butterscotch chips, butterscotch candy sticks and/or apple slices (optional)
Blend together ice cream, butter, brown sugar, spices, and butterscotch extract. When very smooth, re-freeze mixture. This can be done the day before. When ready to serve, heat apple cider in a saucepan until steaming hot. Scoop ice cream into mugs made for hot beverages. Pour apple cider over the ice cream. Garnish with butterscotch chips, butterscotch candy sticks and/or apple slices.
This is one I like to keep simple.
Mini Magical Cheese Sandwiches—Roll out crescent dough flat and bake or make a bread (I like Tastefully Simple’s Beer Bread) in a bread tube (I have several from Pampered Chef). You may also prepare phyllo dough. If using a bread tube, slice into thin rounds. If using a bread tube, slice into thin rounds. Take a mini star cookie cutter and cut the bread and cheese. Layer cheese on top of the bread and serve open faced.
Troll Toenails—More grossly named than it tastes. I find that this is an excellent way to introduce new foods.
- Tortilla chips, crushed for toenails
- Shredded cheese for toe cheese
- Jalapenos or green olives for toe fungus (optional)
- Refried beans for mud (optional)
Place chips on a pan. Place a layer of cheese on the chips. Sprinkle other toppings on chips. Layer again lightly with more cheese. Bake in oven until cheese melts.
I’ve given you a couple to choose from, but there are many options that are served in the Harry Potter novels.
Bat Wings—take a package of chicken wings and baste in a flavored BBQ sauce. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Dobby’s Minced pie—Something the elves cooked up.
- 2 cups green tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped apples
- ½ cup seedless raisins
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons viniger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 nine inch pie shells
Mix all ingredients well and boil in saucepan for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill one pie shell with mixture when it is cooled. Cover with second pie shell. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.
Broomstick Salad—Lettuce and all your favorite toppings. Simple, quick and easy.
Herbology Fruit—Slice and dice your favorite foods and serve on sticks
Mrs. Weasley’s Onion Soup—It’s amazing what kids will eat when it comes to their favorite things.
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 mince gloves garlic
- 6 cups beef stock
- 3 cups half and half
- Shredded white cheddar cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon or so of oil. Add onions and cook until wilted and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and beef stock. Simmer until onions are softened, about 30 minutes. Add half and half and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted thoroughly. Thicken with a roux of flour and water -- pouring roux into pot and stirring constantly so that lumps do not form. Season with salt and pepper once the soup is thickened to your liking.
Chocolate Frogs—Melt chocolate and fill into a chocolate frog mold (can be found at Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or purchased online from Wilton).
- 2 ounces fresh white bread crumbs
- Finely grated lemon rind (to equal about one lemon)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 6 table spoons treacle, golden syrup, light molasses OR honey
- Unbaked pie crust
Place all ingredients but the pie crust into a pan and heat until just melted. Allow to cool. Roll out the pie crust and line a pie pan. Pour in mixture. Take extra pie crust and line over top of pie in a lattice or basket shape. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Whatever you do to introduce new foods to your children, make it fun. When they have fun eating foods, they enjoy foods. Plus, it will make wonderful memories. Don’t reserve the special meals for special occasions. Every day you are a family and spend time together should be special.