Posts tagged ‘kids’

April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Decorating

Here is a great egg decorating idea that I would like to share with you. I got the idea to marble the eggs and using olive oil from Food Network.

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Food coloring (I used the neon colors for these eggs)

1/2 cup boiling water for each color

1 t. vinegar for each color

10-20 drops of food coloring for each color

(Note: we followed the directions on the food coloring box and also mixed colors to make turquoise and raspberry for the marbling)

eggs (however many you want to color)

olive oil

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Color your eggs the base color – you will want your lightest colors to be the “base” color.

Once you have colored all your eggs and they are dry, mix your dark or “marble” color. (This is where we made turquoise and raspberry.

Drizzle just a little olive oil in the color and using tongs or a spoon, break up the oil just a little bit.

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(I’m not sure how well this works for the store bought coloring kits because the dye in those kits doesn’t seem to color the eggs nearly as fast as food coloring)

Roll your egg in the dye-oil mixture and then remove to a rack to dry.

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The oil also gives the eggs a little sheen!

December 19, 2010

Gingerbread House 2010

This is our very first attempt at a homemade Gingerbread house. My daughter wanted to make people, but I wasn’t that ambitious this year – it being my first year and all. So while this house is NOT perfect with crooked windows, bent sides, and short pieces, I’d say this was a relatively successful house.  I definitely have some experience to apply for next year. My mistake was that I forgot to photo copy the template that was given to me, so I freehanded some of the cut outs (that is why we had some crooked and short parts…oops).

Mix the dough and roll it out (according to the recipe below).

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Lay out your templates and cut then pieces out of the dough. The recipe said to roll the dough out on cookie sheets, but I have a tapered rolling pin and it didn’t work well. So I rolled it out and transferred the pices to the sheet – not a great idea!  

Once you roll out your dough use a sharp knife to cut out the templates. We cut out windows and put some crushed life savers in the middle to make “stained glass” windows. It worked very well.

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Bake and cool completely.

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Stained glass windows…cute huh? (check out my uneven bottom – that is what serrated knives are for!)

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Now it’s time to decorate. Advice from my friend Linda (who is a seasoned gingerbread house maker, and the one who provided this recipe) says decorate all panels of your house including the roof and allow the decorations to dry completely so things do not start to slide off when you assemble the house. I think only an hour or so is necessary, the icing (if you use the recipe I will post below) dries pretty fast. We waited overnight, only because by the time we were done decorating it was dinner and bath time…

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After you decorate your house and let it set, comes the tough part. It is time to assemble your house. More advice from Linda – put up the 4 walls and allow those to dry overnight before assembling the roof. This way your structure is solid before adding the weight of the roof and all it’s decorations. You don’t want your house collapsing at this point because you’ve worked very hard up to this point to ruin anything…

 

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For your base I suggest using a piece of cardboard covered in foil. Then you can move your house around if you need. 

Just a note before I explain assembly, I put icing on the bottom of the house while I was assembling to add extra stability. So as you set up your house, add a little icing ot the bottom of each of the walls on the base.

Start assembling with the front or back panel, and one of the side panels. Add icing to the “inside” part of the front or back panel and press the side wall into the icing. Use containers to help hold up your panels as you work and as the icing dries. (see my photos above for holding up the roof…).

Once your 4 walls are up allow the icing to harden over night.

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Once your walls and the roof are assembled you can start creating your scenery…We used ice cream sugar cones for trees and put some icing on them to look like snow.

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At the end I added some powder sugar for “snow” effect. I also saw some fake (non-edible) snow at Pier One that would have been really cute, too.

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Now our happy little crooked Gingerbread house is complete for this year! I am happy with our first homemade house…

 

GINGERBREAD:

These recipes below came from Linda Marrone
6c. all purpose flour
2/3c. shortening
1 ¾c. sugar
1t. vanilla
1 8-oz container sour cream
2 eggs
1T cinnamon
1T ginger
2t. baking powder
1 ¼ t. salt
1t. baking soda

In a large bowl mix shortening sugar, sour cream, vanilla, eggs. With mixer at low speed, beat until well mixed. Whisk together 3 ½ cups flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mix into wet ingredients. With hands, knead in remaining 2 ½ cups of flour to make a soft dough. Divide dough and shape into a disk, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or until dough is not sticky and is of easy kneading consistency.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough on greased and floured cookie sheet. Cut out patterns.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 – 18 minutes. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

ORNAMENTAL ICING:

1 16oz. package confectioner’s sugar
½t. cream of tartar
3 egg whites at room temperature
½t. vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. With mixer, blend until smooth, then beat at high speed until very stiff.

Keep the icing covered as it dries quickly. (3 cups).

 

DECORATIONS (ideas create your own)

You can use a variety of items for decorating the house.

For the roof you can use vanilla wafers, necco wafers. Life savers for wreaths. Ice cream sugar cones for trees. Cinnamon candies, peppermint candies, candy canes, gum drops, M&Ms, rock candy, runts, and any other creative ideas you come up with. You can also opt to get the gingerbread house candy assortment from Wilton or King Arthur Flour or from a craft store.

 

 

December 9, 2010

Pancakes

 

Cinnamon Chocolate w/Powdered Sugar

My 4 year old daughter loves pancakes on Saturday mornings. It’s a ritual in our house. She likes to help mix the ingredients and then patiently waits while the first hot pancakes come off the griddle so she can add butter and syrup all by herself. She’s Ms. Independent these days, you know. Since we make pancakes so often I have tried many different recipes. So many pancakes come out super cakey and I like mine a little thinner. When I was younger and lived with my friend Kim she would make the best pancakes. She and her kids would butter up the pancakes sprinkle some powdered sugar over them then roll them up and eat them. That has been my favorite way to eat pancakes ever since. So the cakier the pancake, the more difficult it is to roll it up! So for this recipe I have noted some adjustments to make those cakey thick pancakes, if you like. This recipe is an adaptation of a Food Network kitchen recipe that was in a pull out booklet in a Food Network magazine.

My Basic Pancake Recipe

1 1/2 c. flour

1T. sugar (my regular recipe has 3T but we are adding so much sugar already)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 c. milk

2 tsp. vanilla

3T. melted butter

Mix first 4 ingredients. Then mix milk, eggs, and vanilla together. Then mix the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix about 10 strokes. Then add butter and mix briefly just to combine. (over mixing the pancake batter will result in flat tough pancakes).

Cinnamon Chocolate Batter

1.            Heat a griddle or large pan over medium high heat.

2.                  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside

3.                  In another bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla

4.                  Stir the milk mixture and melted butter into the flour mixture. Do not over mix you will end up with flat tough pancakes there will be lumps resist the urge to get    them out.    

5.                  Using a ladle pour pancake batter onto the griddle and allow to cook until the pancake is bubbly and drying around the edges. Flip and cook another minute or two.

6.                  Serve with butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, preserves, jam, fresh fruit, or any of your favorite toppings.

 Creativity!

Now to show off your own creative side and add combinations you like such as raspberry and chocolate, fresh fruit chunks, mashed banana and blueberries or any of my tested recipes below. Like cupcakes, pancakes are fairly easy to alter with your favorite flavors. Think oatmeal too! (that is another flexible breakfast item you can add flavor to with pretty healthy ingredients.

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes: Add ¼ cup of pumpkin puree, 1tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. Decrease the milk to 1 1/4 cup. 

 Cinnamon Chocolate Pancakes: add 3T of your favorite unsweetened coco powder and a 1tsp of cinnamon to the flour. (****these are my favorite****)

 Maple, Cinnamon and Pecan: 3T real maple syrup to the wet mixture and 1 tsp cinnamon to the flour, toss in some finely chopped pecans.

Lemon – Add lemon extract instead of vanilla and a 1tsp of lemon zest (the peel finely grated)

September 22, 2010

Make Your Own Flatbread Pizza

Homemade pizza is a great weeknight meal which the kids can participate in making. Kids take pride in making things on their own and helping to make the food they will eat is also a great way to get them interested in food and will be likely to eat a larger array of foods. Sometimes it is hard to come home from work and get time in with the kids, dinner made, homework, baths, and bed time routines.  Cooking is such a great way to get in one-on-one time with your kids, plus you all have to eat! Plus I think it is really important to involve your kids in preparing the food they eat. They have to learn how to cook anyway and the more you cook together the more you can teach your children how to eat well, while bonding with them.

Flatbread pizza is a great fast weeknight meal. While looking at a baking blog I saw a recipe for flatbread, I will attempt to make it and share it with you. Otherwise just buy some Naan bread from your local grocery store. (Savemart carries it in the bakery).

White Sauce (Or use your favorite pizza or marinara sauce)

2T butter

1T flour

1 clove garlic, halved

1/2c. heavy cream (room temp)

1 c. milk (room temp)

1/4 t. salt

1 t. oregano

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a pan and saute the garlic in the butter until fragrant.  Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes.  Slowly pour in cream and milk and whisk, while adding cayenne, salt and oregano. bring to a boil and add the parmesan cheese and whisk. Allow to thicken and boil a few minutes.

Spread the sauce on the flatbread. Top each flatbread with 1 cup of shredded mozzerella cheese.

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Add your toppings. My daughter choose “marshrooms” and “salami” (pepperoni). Her two favorites.

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I put tomatoes and red onion. My other Favorite is sundried tomatoes and artichokes.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes on the top shelf. I actually have an oven stone so I cooked the pizzas on my stone for 10 minutes (which crisps the bread) and finished them off on the top rack for 5 minutes to finish cooking the toppings.

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Alternative: saute a clove of garlic cut in half in olive oil until fragrant. Brush the oil on the bread. Add shredded Fontina cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion.  (Superb!)

June 16, 2010

Fairy Flower Salad

If you have kids, you know the novelty of the food they eat is probably more important to kids than what they are eating! Thanks to a co-worker (thanks Tarah) I came up with this salad for my daughter and neice…I’m sure eating flowers would be fun for boys too, for those of you with boys let me know if you come up with a name to appeal to the boys.

Most of these ingredients I got at the Farmer’s Market. Including the edible flowers. The strawberries and cucumbers were from the Market as well. I could have purchased greens from the Market, but I was too late and it was all sold out. So the lettuce is organic mixed baby greens from TJs and goat cheese was from TJs too.

Fairy Flower Salad

You could grow your own edible flowers and as long as you are careful not to get chemicals on them.

To make enough for 4 people:
1/2 bag of mixed baby greens (or 3 cups or so of your favorite lettuce)
1/2 cup of edible flowers (I got mine at the Farmer’s Market last weekend)
1/2 cup of diced cucumber
5 or 6 strawberries thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese
Strawberry Vinaigrette

Cut large pieces of lettuce in bite-sized pieces. Wash lettuce and flowers individually and then lay on a paper towel to dry off. Dice cucumbers and slice the strawberries. Place lettuce in a bowl toss with the vinaigrette dressing. Top with flowers and spread the cucumbers and strawberries over the salad. Top with feta cheese (or goat cheese is a good contrast to the sweet dressing).

Isn’t it the prettiest salad ever! What girl wouldn’t eat that!!!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
5 strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1/4c olive oil (Grapeseed oil is nice and clean tasting and would work really well)
1T Honey
1/4c balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Place the strawberries in a blender and coarsely chop. Add honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pulse the blender until mixed. Then with the blender running add the oil until the dressing is emulsified. Toss the dressing with the greens then top with the rest of your ingredients. (This dressing was really good with a salad with apples and goat cheese too!)