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Rice Crispy Bunnies

Rice Krispie treats are so easy and everyone loves them. Rice Krispies can  also be found gluten free and is a great activity for having friends over or just the family. Tailor to the holiday with any cookie cutter: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter or just your child’s favorite thing at the time!

There are other crispy cereals available.  Here is the Rice Krispie Treat Recipe taken from the Kellogg Rice Krispie site:

Everyday Recipes – The classic, original, no-bake dessert that is quick and easy to make

This classic, delicious snack has been making memories for kids and parents alike for generations.

Ingredients(Nutrition Information)

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
  • - OR -
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS:
In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Note

-For best results, use fresh marshmallows.
-1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.
-Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.
-Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.
-To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Fourth of July Watermelon Carving

Fourth of July is such a fun time to gather with friends and family. Are you looking for a fun and creative activity for your family on the Fourth of July?  Watermelon carving is a blast and a unique new tradition or memory for guests and family.  We chose to use small melons that each child could draw and cut,  if appropriate age.  Large melons would be great for a family to do together especially with small children. The rules are the same for pumpkin carving, except have plenty of storage or containers to serve the fresh watermelon. If you plan to have guests participate in this activity, let them know ahead of time so they can wear the appropriate clothing.

You will need:

Melon

Knife

Area set up for a mess

Spoon

Bowl

Place the melon on the side that allows it to stay up without falling over.

Then cut the top off, just like with a pumpkin.

Set the top aside and start to scoop out watermelon into bowl.

Once it is all scooped out, I rinsed out with water to get the stickiness off the outside. Dry.

The drawing and carving begins.

We only had knives, but you could use carving utensils that are meant for pumpkins.

The little ones drew on the watermelons with sharpie markers as the adults did the carving.

It was a blast and they were pretty awesome all lit up!

Now you may have plenty of watermelon, so what can you do with it?

Make watermelon coolers for all of your guests.

You will need:

8 cups of i/2 inch watermelon cubes

1 1/2 cups ginger ale

1/3 cup water

1 (6 ounce) can of frozen limeade concentrate

Freeze watermelon for about eight hours in a freezer bag (single layer.) Thaw at room temperature for fifteen minutes. blend or process the ginger ale, water, limeade concentrate and the watermelon. If you need to do in half batches for size reasons please do! It is possible to substitute honeydew melon for the watermelon and lemonade for the limeade. Either way, you will have a cool refreshing drink!

I found this watermelon recipe from Southern Living, 2007.

Watermelon Kabobs

Another idea is to make kabobs, a perfect treat for gatherings.

Cut watermelon into squares. Use other ingredients such as cheddar cheese, turkey, other fruit and melons.

Place onto coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks. Guests will enjoy the ease of eating these tasty treats.

Baked Kale Chips

If you are looking for another sneaky way to get those green veggies into your child’s diet, this is the recipe for you. These crispy and salty snacks are a perfect afternoon treat or a fun side to a sandwich. Kale is another super food that everyone should be including in their diet. It is high in antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals. The phytochemicals found in cabbage (kale is a cabbage) have been found to have protective effect against breast, cervical and colon cancer. But wait, there is more….kale is also loaded with iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and K. It also has beta carotene. You can get 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber in two cups of kale. This green wonder has much to offer to you and your children’s health and nutrition. If you are looking for a quick way to increase your child’s intake of nutrients and vegetables, just add tiny shreds of kale to the normal salad or even a smoothie.

Kale

Baked Kale Chips

Ingredients: Kale, Olive Oil and Salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use cookie sheet (you can line with foil or parchment paper).

Tear the leaves away from the middle stem and tear into small bite size pieces.

Wash and dry, use a sales spinner if you have one. Dab completely dry and spread onto pan. Drizzle with about two tablespoons of olive oil and dash with salt. If you have helping hands in the kitchen, they can tear and wash the kale.

Bake about 12 minutes. Watch to make sure they do not burn.

You have a crunchy snack perfect for the children.

Baked Kale Chips

How to Make Magic Wand Pretzels

Looking for a fun and magical afternoon with the children?  Frosting dipped pretzels is an easy and fun activity in the kitchen for little hands. These yummy snacks are also ideal for parties, celebrations and gifts. If you want to surprise a teacher or co-worker with a small token of appreciation, these little fun treats would be perfect.  We made our frosting and just dipped the pretzels right into the pan. But, frosting in the container works just fine (maybe even better). You may need to add a little water to make it a bit more smooth.

What you need:

Pretzel rods

Frosting or melted chocolate

Sprinkles to decorate

Wax paper
What to do:

Lay out the wax paper ahead of time to place the frosted pretzels on after they are decorated. I placed mine in a small pan that would fit into my freezer for a quick way to harden the frosting. Have the children swirl the pretzel into the frosting and shake off any extra frosting lumps. Sprinkle and decorate as you wish and then set onto wax paper. Place into freezer for the frosting to harden. After they harden in the freezer place them upright into a mug to serve. The extras were placed into a container and kept in the refrigerator.

A perfect kitchen activity for little hands.

The frosting can be any color to match a theme, birthday party or holiday. We made ours just for fun, so I used white frosting and whatever was in the cupboard. these would be great for football parties and decorated in your favorite team colors, birthday parties, Easter celebrations and much more. Enjoy!

Simple and Yummy Chocolate Cake

I came across this recipe from a cookbook I found at the local library.  As a mom I am often at the library, but this time I actually got to the “big person” section and I walked by a lovely looking book called Organic and Chic by Sarah Magid. Without looking I put it in the “me” pile and took it home.  I am never really sure how many books we have at home and therefore I was just hoping it did not say DECLINED after the tenth dog book (my little girl loves animals.)  I like to read cookbooks? The question mark is meant to be there since I just have no explanation of this problem. I found a recipe titled….Easiest Chocolate Cake!  Best thing is when you are out of eggs, butter and milk, you can use this recipe.   Do you have someone in the family or friends visiting that cannot eat dairy or are vegan? This is the recipe for you to try.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup organic all-purpose flour

2 cups organic cane sugar

1 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract

2/3 cup organic canola oil

2 teaspoons organic white vinegar

2 cups cold water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  Butter and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, or place liners in 2 muffin pans for 24 cupcakes.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the vanilla extract, oil, vinegar, and cold water.

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix.  The mixture will be wet, but this is all right.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  For cupcakes, the baking time is 24 to 26 minutes.

Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool down.

*In her book she recommends a whipped buttercream. frosting.

Now I am showing our photo which looks nothing like the beautiful pictures in the book.  But, ours had a lot of love.  My daughter and I made the cake and then she decorated it for our father’s day dessert.  She is six years old and loves to bake and decorate cakes.  It was easier for us to fill the frosting into a sandwich bag and then cut a small bit of the corner off so she could squeeze out the frosting. She was hoping for flowers, so next time I will have her use the tips.

There were many other delicious looking recipes to try, looks like I will have to buy the book!

Chocolate Lover’s Month

February is National Chocolate Lover’s Month.   I looked on-line for all the official holidays.  If these are real, then I have been missing out on all these fine days this first part of my life.

Here is the list for February. Take your pick and celebrate!

February
African-American History Month
National Sweet Potato Month
National Boost-Your-Self-Esteem Month
National Canned Food Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
National Snack Food Month
Berry Fresh in the Sunshine State Month
National Dental Month
Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
Chocolate Lover’s Month
Bake for Family Fun Month
Great American Pies Month
North Carolina Sweet Potato Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Cherry Month
National Bird Feeding Month
American Heart Month
American History Month
Creative Romance Month
Human Relations Month

Chocolate Covered Bananas

Chocolate Lover’s Celebration Shake

-taken from Hershey’s website

Ingredients

1/4 cup warm water

2 tablespoons HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 cups chocolate or vanilla ice cream
Directions

1 Place water, cocoa and sugar in blender container. Cover; blend briefly on low speed. Add milk.

2 Cover; blend on high speed until thoroughly blended. Add ice cream. Cover; blend until smooth.

Serve immediately. About three 6-ounce servings.

POOH BEAR DAY January 18

Did you know that there is a day just to celebrate Pooh Bear?  The day is in honor of the English author, A.A. Milne.

Choose a story and read aloud as you munch on some Pooh Bear Treats!

Pooh Bear Sandwiches

Children can cut their own bread with a bear shaped cookie cutter. Mix peanut butter and “hunny” and have children spread on their bear shaped bread. Yum.  we toasted our bread first, and then cut out. I have heard you can freeze the bread before cutting.

Pooh Bear Tasty Treats

    Ingredients:

    1/4 cup crushed wheat flake cereal
    3 tablespoon honey
    1/4 cup peanut butter
    1/4 cup nonfat dry milk solids
    Non-stick cooking spray

Reserve two tablespoons crushed cereal. Mix honey and peanut butter. Gradually add nonfat milk, mixing well. Spray hands with non-stick cooking spray (or butter)and shape into 1/2 inch balls. Roll in reserved cereal. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Store in refrigerator. Adult help may be needed and makes about 24 treats.

Pancake Fun

A yummy in the tummy way to practice letters for the little ones!  Using your favorite pancake recipe, look at mine below, make the letter of the day or the child’s initials on the griddle.   Or, as a class focuses on the letter “P” have a pancake snack and serve up letter P pancakes. Yum!

In the younger grades it is fun to read “If You give A Pig A Pancake” and have pancake snacks that day, as well as other literature activities. If you are in a school, please check your policies. As when I taught, we brought the griddle in the class.

One way is to write a letter on the pan let it cook until you see bubbles. Then pour batter over letter to make a “normal” pancake.  The image is in the pancake. Have fun with this, you can make smiley faces etc.  Also, note that you will need to write the mirror image for letters like “L”  or they will be backwards!


Or, just write a large letter to be the pancake itself. A turkey baster works well, but I just used a spoon for mine.

The whole family agrees that this recipe is the best so far.   Hope you and your family or class have a yummy in the tummy pancake experience!

Basic Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred or sifted before measuring
  • 2  teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Preparation:

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk; add to flour mixture, stirring only until smooth. Blend in melted butter. If the batter seems too thick to pour, add a little more milk. Cook on a hot, greased griddle, using about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until bubbly, a little dry around the edges, and lightly browned on the bottom; turn and brown the other side. Recipe for pancakes serves 4.

Recipe For Friendship Writing Activity

The beginning of the school year is the perfect time for children to discuss and write about what friendship “looks” like.  This is a great writing activity and a way for classroom teachers to start creating the community of friends and learners they desire for the rest of the year. In a classroom, these pages could be collected and copied into a recipe book for each to take home or just to keep in the class library. The same thing could be done for a family, small group organization such as Girl Scouts etc.

Spring Party Food Ideas and Recipes

CATERPILLAR SANDWICH

Celebrating our one year old’s birthday we used the “spring” theme for decorations and food.  It was much more for family and friends, so we ordered a submarine sandwich and shaped into a caterpillar on a green tablecloth.   For the legs, speared pickles stuck out from the body and sliced green peppers made the antennae  and as you cam see green olives were used for the eyes!

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BOWTIE PASTA RECIPE

“Butterfly Pasta”

12 ounces (340g) farfalle, (bowtie shaped pasta), uncooked
4 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 Tbsp (15mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (40g) basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup (115g) shredded lowfat mozzarella cheese*
1/4 cup (30g) Parmesan cheese*
Directions
Cook pasta in boiling water until tender. Drain pasta in a colander but reserve about 1 cup (240mL) of cooking water.
Slice zucchini lengthwise into slices about 1/4-inch (1cm) thick. Place several slices on top of each other and cut into little sticks, about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) by 1/4-inch (1cm) each. You should have about 4–6 cups (1–1.4L) of zucchini “matchsticks”.
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch (30cm) nonstick skillet and add garlic and zucchini pieces. Cook over medium heat until the zucchini pieces are tender and light brown in color. Add about half of the basil and stir for a minute or two. Add salt and pepper. Pour the cooked pasta into the skillet and stir so that the juices coat the noodles. If the mixture seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Finally, add the rest of the basil and the shredded mozzarella, and stir once more. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Butterfly Pasta Recipe #2

Cold Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 package farfalle (bowtie) pasta

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbs. chopped garlic

1 sweet onion – coarsely chopped

2 Tbs. Italian seasoning

1/2 Tbs. fresh ground black pepper

1 14.5-oz. can basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes – lightly drained of juice

1 14.5-oz. can diced golden roma tomatoes – lightly drained of juice

1 5-oz. jar pine nuts 
1 can quartered artichoke hearts – thoroughly drained and coarsely chopped

3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar 
salt to taste
Prep. time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10 side-dish servings

Boil farfalle to al dente texture. While boiling farfalle, sauté garlic, sweet onion, olive oil, black pepper, and
Italian seasoning over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Stir frequently until garlic is slightly browned
and onions are just starting to become caramalized (clear). Then add both cans of tomatoes,
reduce heat a little, and allow to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
After farfalle is done cooking, drain and shock (run cold water over pasta, then drain again).
Mix all remaining ingredients, farfalle, and sauteed mixture in large mixing bowl. Salt to taste. Chill.

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