cooking

Juicey Expiriment

Well it appears that Carly has finally chosen a project to work on. She has discovered the joy of squeezing fruit and turning it into juice! She is using mostly citrus fruits, a little bit of sugar, and a splash of Sierra Mist! It is actually really yummy! She is now hoping to see what other fruits taste like. It will be interesting to see what happens when she has to figure out how to get the juice out of them! My hope is that she will dig deep into the flavors and even how the fruit grows. Who knows, maybe she will even try growing some new things this spring! Here are some pictures of her first batch!

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IMG_2245 IMG_2255So there you have it! This is turning into a very yummy project for all of us! She is so proud to serve her drinks to everyone in the family. She has made two batched today already! We are all going to be drinking alot in the next week or so!  We will see what concoctions she comes up!

Christmas Cookie

Today was our annual Chirstmas cookie baking day at my moms house! We made lots of different kinds and lots of different sizes! 🙂 Everyone was able to be there, even my brother who lives in San Diego. We made Spritz, Gingerbread, Snowballs, Double Chocolate Chip, Nutterbutter Santas, Sugar Cookie cut outs, Turtle Cookies, and Lemon Shortbread. Whew! It was a lot, but boys are they going to be good to eat on Christmas! Another bit of fun we had was giving my mom her gift early! We bought her a new Kitchen Aid mixer. The big professional grade one! So it was decided that she had to have it for cookie day of course! My sister created a Clue like game to make her find it before she unwrapped it. Everyone had a great time with that too!

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Tomorrow is our own mini Christmas! The girls are SOOOO excited because they get to open gifts and go to a fancy dinner with mom and dad! I hope you are all ready and excited about the holidays at your house too! I cant wait!!!!! 🙂

What Really Matters

I have been floundering a bit with the direction of this blog and about even keeping it going. I just feel like we are not doing anything interesting or “blog worthy” and that makes it hard to write posts. I mean, do you want to see the little stuff that is going on here or do you just want to see school stuff? The school stuff is happening, but really sporatically and honestly with so much book work happening here it seems silly to show too many school days posts. After all they all start to look the same! So today I thought that with all the busyness and lack of projects, the grils needed some fun with mom (and I needed a blog post)! I have seem montester cookies all over Pintrest and I just knew that this simple Halloween snack was going to be a hit! 🙂 The recipe that I saw used cake mix (which I didn’t have). So I just made a chocolate chip cookie recipe with out the chocolate chips!  It worked out really well! The girls loved it and we made green and purple monsters!

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After making cookies it was off to bed. While Bunny was getting into bed, she told me that she was just so happy. Happy that we got to make cookies. Hmmmm….she was so happy that we got to make cookies! She got me thinking that this was a really simple, little thing. Honestly it only took a few minutes of time with them, but the impact was much bigger then I realized. She was happy about the cookies. I didn’t need to go anywhere special, or do anything big, just something little. After all that is what we remember most about life. When it all comes down to it, our most treasured memories are simple. A look, a moment, a hug, a walk….all simple things that mean the world to us. The same is true for our families. Why do we torture ourselves to create a perfect moment for our kids, filled with projects, learning opportunities, and a million things? I am slowly learning that kids are going to learn, play, and grow no matter what I plan out for them. So long as they have access to things that allow them to grow, and can come to me with questions, they will learn and be happy. I don’t see each thing that happens, but I do know that things are being thought about. I have been trying to make sure that I am taking more pictures of their daily moments, but I don’t always remember to. That make it hard to share. So how does this connect with my blog thoughts? Well, I don’t feel like I am doing things here that you are going to be interested in reading. I am not making awesome themes, we aren’t taking trips out and about too much, and we have done a lot of crafting or projects. So what is there to share with you? Not much….unless you want to see pictures of kids playing outside, building blocks, or other unrelated things. So while I am not doing anything note worthy by internet standards, we are doing simple things that are going to make memories for my girls. So I am going as you all to send some prayer and good thoughts to little ol’ me while I am working out how the simple things translate into my blog.

 

Farmers Market Day

Today we headed out to a local farmers market! My girls have been wanting to go and they were SO excited to go. It was all they talked about yesterday and this morning! I wasn’t sure if they were going to love it as much as they thought they would, but they did! We got some amazing peaches, a watermelon, some eggplant, raspberries, and of course some sunflowers! Here are some pictures I managed to grab while we were there!

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It was a lot of fun to stop and take the time to really look at the produce that we eat. Bunny was so excited to look at all the fruits and veggies. I think that she even wanted to try to make something special with all the things there. Pup knew exactly where she had seen some raspberries and was determined to but them. It was so interesting to see how much they like buying things that they normally would never even ask for (like eggplant). It makes me think a lot about trying to get there more often and letting them put some ideas together of things that they could make out of the produce. I mean, lets face it, what is more practical then learning to make good food out of what is in season? There is a beauty to this shopping local grown food. You see shopping for food as something fun, not just a mission to accomplish and get home as quick as you can. It become a way to be creative with meals, not just cooking to live. It becomes a bonding experience with the people you are around somehow. It is as if you are all there looking for the beauty of eating together, even though you may not know anyone at all. And unlike shopping in a store, it was fun for me and my girls together. No one was begging to leave and upset about being there! If it were closer and easier to get to, I may do it more often. But for now, we will go when we can and soak up the nobility of the food. Do you take time to shop at a farmers market? What do you think about the experience?

PS. Lest you think I went all super mom and became a responsible local eating wonder woman, I will say that my darling ate corndogs with all the fresh fruits and veggies for dinner! 😉 It kinda balanced out right?

Cooking With Books~ Pinkalicous

Pinkalicious

Today was our second Cooking With Books day! Last year my friend and I decided that each month we would get the kids together to do a craft. This year we thought it would be fun to read a book and cook something from that book! Last month we did Soup Day, this month it was Pinkalicious! I love this book and so do my girls! If you dont know the story, a girl and her mom make pink cupcakes and after eating a bunch of them, the girl turns pink! The doctor tells her the her pinkatius can only be cured by eating green food! Since she hates green food that is a problem. I wont tell you what happens though! 😉 I found some fun idea for decorations online, so we put some simple things together to make it pretty!



 So after reading the book, we made pink cupcakes! I didnt use a cake mix and it took me a long time to find a recipe that looked good. I finally found one and it was pretty good. I wanted to make them from scratch since we were baking! All the kids got to help and they loved it! When they were baking, the kids got to play and I got to get things together to make frosting.





For the frosting, we made a basic buttercream. I dyed most of it a light pink and made a pipping bag of darker pink for making pretty swirls. Then it was time to frost! Oh Yes….this is what everyone was waiting for! Time to taste frost the cupcakes! Everyone cupcakes looked great and everyone ate them right after they were done! Who needs lunch?!



I made lunch all green to cure our pinkatitus! 😉 We had green mac and cheese, green grapes, celery, cucumbers and pears. Plus we had green juice to drink. Food coloring is an amazing thing! The kids thought I was a little crazy, but they all agreed that it tasted just like normal! I love messing with their heads a little bit! 😉

 
Pinkalicious is a great book and a fun one to cook with! I cant wait to see what we have planned for March! Happy Schooling and cooking everyone!


Montessori Monday~ Baking as School Work!

Today was….umm…interesting! Bunny was tired and cranky. She didnt want to work and anything she did start, quickly ended with tears and yelling. *sigh*. She did manage to get some math problems done and some reading, but I dont know that it was productive in anyway. I asked her to choose a work and she wouldnt. So I told her if she couldnt choose a work, I would choose one for her to do. She wouldnt choose, so I pulled out the division board (Which she loved the other day). It was not good. Have you ever felt that moment where work was done, but under such resistance that it was probably a waste of time? Well today with Bunny that is how it went. Pup thankfully did great work while this was all going on! At lunch time (Bunny was still working), Pup and I made pancakes! She helped measure, mix, and sprinkle sprinkles on them while they baked! Let’s just say she LOVED it! 🙂 I always have such a hard time working cooking time in with dinner. But maybe lunch would be a good way to get some kitchen time in together. Those little moments seem to mean the most to them.

 
Bunny didnt finally recover her normal happy self! In fact this afternoon, she wanted to cook too. She asked if she could make her own bread. She wanted to create her own recipe to make one small loaf of bread. We talked for a moment about what she would put into it. She suggested water and flour. I asked if it would need salt or sugar. She said yes and that she wanted to let it rise. I asked her what she could add to make it rise and she said yeast. So I gave her the go ahead. She got everything out and I told her that she needed to add the yeast to warm water so that it would rise better. She added everything in, mix it, kneaded it, and let it rise! She decided to make a round loaf instead of putting in a pan! It was still cooling at bead time, so we are having bread for breakfast! She was SO PROUD of it!
 

 
 
 After she finished making it, was in a really great mood! In fact she started to clean things in the house afterwards! It was amazing to see that deep contentment that Maria Montessori talks about when a child finished meaningful work. It has me thinking not only about cooking more together, but also about finding and having some practical life in the classroom for Bunny to do. I have been seeing a need for it for a while, but today really confirmed it. She seems to feel better, work harder, and stay more focused when she does things like that. So I am on a mission. A mission to cook more with the girls and to make some practical life work for Bunny!
 
All of you homeschoolers out there weigh in! Have you found that sometimes book work just doesnt cut it, and the simple moments prove more educational?
There is a TON more great Montessori posts over at the Montessori Monday Link up! Stop by there and Happy Schooling! :)

Cookie Decorating Party

Who doesnt love cookies? We sure do, and after our successful gingerbread making, I thought it would be alot of fun to have some friends over to make some cookies! Everyone was invited to bring their favorite sprinkles, their rolling pin, and come to ready to play!



 
I set the table with a gingerbread house, and small cookie sheets for each guest. Around the gingerbread house, I spread out the sprinkles in some vintage tart tins that were my grandma’s. I also made a bunting banner that said Bakery and some pretty printable for my frames. To add some pizazz to the decor, I took some ribbon and strung some muffin cups on them. I hung these on the ceiling! They were super cute!

The night before the party, I made some sugar cookie dough using a recipe from my mom’s neighbor! These were amazing! The dough was soft enough for the kids to roll themselves, but firm enough to pick up. They weren’t too sticky to roll and held up just beautifully! Another thing I did that I think made thing really great was to roll the dough in powdered sugar instead of flour. It seemed to help avoid that toughness that the dough gets after being rolled, and re-rolled, and re-rolled! The kids loved it and after rolling their dough, they cut out the cookies and placed them on their trays. Then it was time for the fun part~ Decorating the cookies! The kids were able to pick out the sprinkles they wanted and added them to the cut outs! Finally it was time to bake and eat! 🙂 Yummy!

 
Now I know you are just dying to have the recipe for the cookies so you can have your own party at home! It really is the best one I have ever tried! Here it is!
 
Sugar Cookies
(Recipe from my mom’s neighbor)
 
1-8oz. Block of Cream Cheese
3/4 cup Butter Softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 1/4 cup of Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
 
Cream together Cream Cheese, Butter, and Powdered Sugar in mixing bowl until blended. Add the flour and baking soda to butter mixture and blend! Cover and chill for 15-20 minutes (or overnight in my case). Take chilled dough and roll out to 1/4 in thickness on a powdered sugared surface. Place cut out cookies on a greased tray and bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
 
 

 Now I know that you all would just love to have my printables as well for these adorable party things, so hear they are! Just click the link underneath to get to the page! Feel free to share a link to this post if you know someone else who would want them! After I printed these, I added some baking stickers that I thought were just too cute! Since they are only about a $1 a sheet, it was simple, inexpensive, and pretty addition!

Well there you have it! An awesome party with awesome fun! Plus it is fun and easy to do with kids! Cant beat that! If you use any of these idea, add a link in the comments to let me know how it went! I would love to hear about your favorite parties! Happy Baking!

 


Cooking with Grandma!

Today we went to my mom’s house to make some Christmas cookies! I years past we always went to my Grandma’s house to bake for Christmas, but after she died 7 years ago, we didnt continue on with it. However, today we did and it was wonderful (ok at little tiring too, but defiantly fun)! We made 6 different types of cookies, and they are all good! 🙂 Here is what we made this year!

Sugar Cookies

Snowball Cookies

Cinnamon Roll

Double Chocolate Dipped Cookies

Saltine Cracker Toffee

Lemon Glazed Shortbread
 
Yummy right? We had a great time making all of these. Some were new recipes, some were my grandma’s and some were ones my mom makes every year. It was a mix of the new and the old and it was great!
 

 
So the holiday fun continues! I hope you are enjoying the season of traditions and family. I want to send my love and prayers to all the families in Connecticut who were a part of the shooting. I know that they will never be the same, but I pray that they find love, support, and comfort during this time. My heart is with you all and everyone who is grieving during this time. May the peace of the Baby Jesus fill your hearts.
 


Applesauce Day!

Today was our annual applesauce making day. The girls and I rolled up our sleeves and got to work! They thought it was so much fun to help wash and cut the apples! It was good practical life and alot of fun for them! After the first bunch of apples was in the pot cooking, they started doing other stuff. Bunny helped a little bit more during the rest of the day, but other then that I was pretty much on my own! 😉 As always it was a HUGE mess, a lot to wash, and a yummy, yummy, yummy! We made 23 quarts and they are all ready to eat all winter!

 
Do your kids help in the kitchen? What is your favorite autumn food to make?


Bunny’s Recipe for Dinner!

Today Bunny told me she had a an idea for dinner. She wanted to make chicken with pepperoni and a cream “whip” (sauce). I asked what that was and she told me that she wanted to put the chicken in a pan and add the cream sauce and put pepperoni on it and them top it with cheese. Now I thought about it and realized that it sounds like it might actually be yummy! So since we were off to the store anyway, I helped Bunny pick up the ingredients. She was very excited to make dinner, and since she thought of the recipe herself it was even better! Here is what we did.

Here is her finished Pizza Chicken

We started off with making the cream sauce

Then lined the pan with pepperoni

Next we added chicken and put the cream sauce on it.

Topped it with more pepperoni and some mozzarella cheese.

Here it is all baked up. There was a bit of grease from the pepperoni, but I used a slotted spoon to serve it, so no one ate bunches of grease!

It was actually yummy! I wasnt sure how it would turn out, but the chicken was tender, the sauce wasnt too thick, and everyone liked! It was rather rich and not the healthiest meal. But when Bunny makes up a recipe, I love to try and see how they will turn out (provided it isnt something I know will be not good and use alot of ingredients. I just cant let her do that quite yet! Its a learning process!)
If you want to make this, here is the recipe. I added measurements even though we eye balled everything.
 
Pizza Chicken
 
3/4 cup of Sour Cream (softened)
1/4 cup of Ranch Dressing
2 Tablespoons of Cream Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
7-8 Chicken Tenders (or 3-4 Breasts)
Pepperoni
Mozzarella Cheese
 
Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Line 8×8 with pepperoni, and add chicken. Pour cream sauce over chicken, and top it again with pepperoni. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 325 for about 30- 40 minutes until bubbly and chicken is cooked through. If you are using large chicken breasts the time maybe longer! Let it sit for a few minutes before serving to let the sauce thicken up a bit and cool off. We served it with salad on the side! Everyone loved it!
 
Let us know if you made Bunny’s Pizza Chicken! We would love to hear what you think! Happy Cooking!

wildman_ernestine