Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kitchen Activities

Here are some simple and fun ideas for involving kids in the kitchen... or just some yummy snack ideas! :) 

1. Snail Snacks (from Big Backyard Magazine, which we love!): 
Lay a tortilla flat. Layer cream cheese, turkey, lettuce, or anything else you can think of. Roll the tortilla, leaving a bit at the end un-rolled (this will be the snail's head). Add a small dollop of peanut butter for the snail's head, then add pretzel sticks for the antennae and/or raisins for the eyes. We also used a toothpick to keep our snails from unrolling... 

2. Honey Milk Balls 
A quick, no-bake, relatively healthy snack? My MIL gave me this recipe, remembering that Matt used to love them (he still does!). 

3. DIY Play Stovetop 
What I used: small cardboard box, decorative paper, 1 plastic yogurt lid, 2 milk lids, 2 screws, glue, and sharpie marker. No real method here... just tried to make it look like the original I saw. Even though I made it for Daria, she wasn't exactly sure what to do with it. Neven, on the other hand, was anxious to play! 

4. Milk --> Yogurt --> Cheese! 
I go in and out of phases where I make our own yogurt. We haven't made it for a while, and I figured this was a good time to talk to Neven about how it happens. BINARY FISSION was used in conversation between Matt and Neven at the breakfast table this morning... 
To make yogurt in your crock-pot (original recipe here, but I've tweaked it a bit)
Turn crock-pot on low and pour in 1/2 to 1 gallon whole milk (supposedly you can use lowfat milk, but I haven't tried yet). Heat on low for 2.5-3 hours, or until the temperature is 180 degF. Turn the crock-pot off. Let the milk cool for 3-3.5 hrs, or until the temperature is 110 degF. Remove 1-2 c of the warm milk and place in a bowl. To that, add 1/2 c of yogurt with live active cultures (I find Greek yogurt works best) and mix well. Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the crock-pot and whisk thoroughlyPlace lid back on crock-pot, wrap entire crock in a few thick towels, and let stand overnight 10-12 hrs. In the morning, spoon off any excess liquid pooled on the surface. Stir yogurt, then place in containers. For best texture, refrigerate for 8 hrs before using. This recipe usually yields 2-3 quarts of yogurt, which can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. 
To make thicker yogurt
Follow the instructions below for cream cheese spread, but only drain for about 1 hour. 
To make cream cheese spread
Line a colander with 2 layers of paper towels (or paper coffee filters) and place over a large bowl. Add yogurt and cover. Let drain, refrigerated for 4-6 hrs. To collect the cream cheese, I used a wooden spoon to scoop most out from the middle, then the rest will peel away from the paper towel. Discard liquid. Store in a container with a lid in the refrigerator. Add some honey and a dash of salt for a very yummy fruit dip! 
Watching the water drip out the bottom. 
Does the yogurt on Daria's forehead count as her stamp of approval?
Makes a great dip!

5. Blueberry Scones (from Parenting Magazine)
A recipe written to be kid- and dad-friendly, what could be simpler? This past weekend, not only did I get to sleep in until 8 am, I woke up to coffee brewing and fresh-baked scones! (For anyone interested... I bought the ingredients at the store, mentioned the idea of making scones to Matt, and left the recipe on the counter - still, they were YUMMY and VERY appreciated!!)

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