Friday, July 25, 2014

Time for Kids: Kids in the Kitchen... Granola! Yum!

Good morning! Have you had breakfast yet?

Last night, after a thunderstorm had finally cooled things down a bit, I was able to turn on the oven.... Yeah! : )

Although porridge is usually our breakfast of choice during the winter, granola is preferred during the summer months and I needed to make a new batch. This time I picked a kids' recipe from Time for Kids, KIDS IN THE KITCHEN Cookbook.

Apricot – Almond Bits 'n' Pieces Granola

2 3/4 cups regular oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup butter, melted

Combine liquid ingredients until well mixed.
Add to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Spread mix in a jelly-roll pan.
Bake for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for 10 more minutes.
Cool completely, stirring every so often.

Note: I didn't have dried cherries so I added in some coarsely chopped prunes. Don't over bake! The granola will continue to cook after it's out of 
the oven because of the heat of the fruit.

I'm thinking of picking up a copy of this book for a young man I know who's just learning to read. It would make a great birthday or Christmas gift for anyone in the 6-12 year old age group.

As a teacher, I learned that being exposed to (and reading) as many non-fiction as fiction books is important for young readers if they're to develop good reading comprehension skills. Cookbooks are an excellent start. In fact, two of my three kids started reading early partially because of cookbooks. Nothing like food for motivation! Cooking together is also a great bonding experience for parents and children. Great talks happen in the kitchen. : )

If you search for this book on Amazon, click on the picture to see the index of recipes, today's recipe and another one for Maple-Pecan Granola Crunch.

Happy weekend!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Carrot Clarinet : )

Have you seen the fellow make and play (!!!) the carrot clarinet?

Linsey Pollack was a Ted Talks presenter this year in Sydney, Australia.

Five minutes.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Maggie's Sugar-Free Banana Muffins

Maggie's Sugar-Free Banana Muffins

It's about the sugar. The little people toddling around my kitchen have not been told about sugar yet.

And that presents a problem. Come for brunch. Come for coffee. Most likely, I'll offer you a muffin.

Since mid-May, I've been experimenting, tweaking and tasting. I think I may have a sugar-free muffin solution.

Maggie's Sugar-Free Banana Muffins

2 very ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk

Peel, slice and blend bananas in mixer.
Add egg. Beat well.
Add oil and milk. Beat well.

1 cup oatmeal (quick oats)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Stop mixer.
Sprinkle oatmeal, then flour and baking powder
over liquid ingredients. Mix until just blended.

1 cup raisins (optional)

Mix into batter. Divide into muffin cups.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
Makes about 15 muffins.

Notes: Add your ingredients in this order and you'll only have one bowl to wash. If you make some small muffins, shorten baking time to about 20 minutes.

Now, the first time YOU try these, you'll notice they're not very sweet. Be patient. You'll adjust.

As for the little people? They're impressed!

Just thought I'd share,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Knitting Projects: Baby Hats!!

Hello there! What's in your knitting basket?

Despite the sweltering heat, I'm all about hats these days - tiny baby hats for a precious baby girl due in October! Yes, another grandbaby!

If you're looking for hats, blankets, etc., (knitting and crochet) there are oodles of free patterns at Mama's Stitchery Projects. Directions are clear and well set out.

Basic Ribbed Baby/Child Hat
pattern from Mama's Stitchery Projects

So far, I have two newborn hats tucked away. The Basic Ribbed Baby/Child Hat has instructions for Preemie to Toddler. The Basic Baby Hat is written for sizes Preemie to Teen. For both hats I used Loops and Threads “Snuggly Wuggly”, a machine washable/dryable yarn available at Michaels.

Basic Baby Hat
pattern from Mama's Stitchery Projects

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"How to" Crochet: Maggie's Sunflowers and Daisies

It's a welcome break from my other knitting and needlework projects when I pull out my bowl of Little Bonbons cotton yarn.

For a number of months, I've been experimenting with little flowers I've discovered on other blogs. They're sweet when turned into baby barrettes and a nice little touch when making a card or decorating a gift. I even used a few to upcycle a school frame.

My latest little experiment? My own little version of sunflowers and daisies!

Here's my “how-to” for making a sunflower.

Yarn: You can use any weight yarn and the appropriate sized hook. I used Little Bonbons cotton yarn and a very fine hook. Terms used are American: single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc). If you're not sure, google the terms. There are multiple sites and youtube videos that explain them well.

To begin: With brown yarn, chain 4 and slip stitch together to form a ring.

Round 1:
Work around the ring... 10 sc stitches. Finish by slip stitching into your first sc. Cut the yarn and darn in loose ends.

Round 2:
Switch to yellow yarn. You'll make one petal in each of your 10 brown, single crochet stitches from round 1.

Crochet 1 sc to attach the yellow yarn. Chain 6.

Crochet back down the chain you just made: 1sc, 1hdc, 2 dc, 1hdc. Finish petal with a slip stitch into the same brown single crochet stitch you started from. First petal finished!

Make nine more petals: Single crochet into next (brown) stitch. Chain 6. 
Crochet back down the chain: 1sc, 1hdc, 2dc, 1hdc. Finish with a slip stitch. Repeat, repeat, repeat... : )

My little daisy follows the same pattern.

When finished, I pin my little flowers upside down to my ironing board. I then hover my iron over each one and give it a shot or two of steam. Be careful not to touch the yarn. Leave for five minutes or so before unpinning.

That's it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Canada...performed by Chris and Dave Hadfield

Yesterday – what a wonderful beginning to July and summer!

Heat! Oh, my!

Sun! Amazing! Welcome here as we've had so much rain and cool weather!

Of course, we Canadians were celebrating Canada's birthday. Festivals, music, fireworks...

Circulating today is an ode to Canada... a gift from Dave and Chris Hadfield. Chris is a retired Canadian astronaut and the first Canadian to walk in space.