In My Kitchen

Food, Faith and all things Family


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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – BLUE {and homemade bubble solution}

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BLUE CLOTHES – These are quite popular around here!  It would be hard to find a day when we aren’t wearing blue clothes.

BLUE FOODS – Not many foods are blue by nature!

Blueberries – eat them plain, make jam or sprinkle some on fruit pizza.

Blue Corn – and therefore blue corn tortilla chips; if you can buy blue corn meal, make some blue corn bread!

Blue Cheese – make some dip for veggies or serve on hamburgers – YUM!

Blue Potatoes – but some would call these purple instead of blue

BLUE CREATURES! – It was fun to consider the number of these God has created; searching for pictures was our treasure hunt for this week.  Here are just a few.

Bluejays

Bluebirds

Blue Herons

Blue-footed Boobys

Blue Whales

Eggs laid by robins (seen above) and other birds

BLUE BOOKS

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey  The best blue book of all! I remember my mother reading it to me.

Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds  What would you do if you had no blue?

Ziggy’s Blue Ribbon Day by Claudia Mills  An encouraging story that recognizes everyone is gifted in different ways.

In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck  What could turn everything in a room blue so a little girl can go to sleep?

Big Blue Whale by Nicola Davies  Non-fiction about the life of a blue whale that flows like a story.

Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell  Follow two blue jays through the process of raising a family. 

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle  Several of  Carle’s multi-colored animals lead up to a brief explanation of the artist who inspired Carle’s colorful creatures.

DSC_0686 DSC_0682BLUE PROJECT – braided denim bracelets from old blue jeans.  Fairly easy but a little too complicated for the little people.  They had fun watching and wearing.  If I can figure out a neater way to finish them I might do a “how to” post someday.

BLUE ART – I’ve been doing these marble paintings with the kids for years; it is probably my favorite painting project. Remember to don your paint shirts; that marble likes to jump out sometimes!**

Start with any type of disposable pan. (You can reuse the same pan for years; don’t bother to wash it out.)

Cut paper to fit in the bottom of the pan.  Cut lots of pieces before you start; watching the marble roll around and create designs is kind of addicting!  Store any unused papers in the pan for next time.

Drop a marble into paint and then place the marble on the paper that is in the bottom of the pan.  Use a spoon to transport the marble if you don’t want too much paint on fingers.

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Tip the pan gently back and forth to allow the marble to roll.  The marble will leave paint “tracks” as it rolls.DSC_0690

Dip the marble into more paint as necessary until you are happy with your piece.DSC_0688

Allow to dry and display.DSC_0698

**I find that one of the best things to keep on hand during painting projects is a package of wet wipes!  They clean up drips and smears quickly before they dry and can remove a great portion of wet paint off little hands before they hit the bathroom sink . . . or toilet seat . . . or walls!

HOMEMADE BUBBLE SOLUTION – this gets in the blue post because of the main ingredient!  I don’t like the smell, but it really did not work well when I tried another soap.  If you have any suggestions or another recipe, please send a comment.

3 cups water

1 cup original Dawn dishwashing liquid (not antibacterial)

6 tablespoons light corn syrup OR 2 tablespoons glycerine**

Gently mix together in a large container.  Try not to stir up bubbles–good luck!  Allow to rest overnight to strengthen the solution.

**I’ve tried both and am not sure that one is better than another, so use what you have on hand.

Ideas for the older ones:

Blue Ridge Billy by Lois Lenski

Blue Willow by Doris Gates

Which state is the Bluegrass State?  If you can figure that out you’ll know where we live!

Why is bluegrass called that when it’s still green?

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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – GREEN {with apple dip recipe}

Creative Commons D Sharon Pruitt

Creative Commons – D Sharon Pruitt

Since we are in the middle of spring we are surrounded by wonderful growing greenery of all shades!  When I am asked what my favorite color is I usually settle on green.  It is nice by itself, but it also accentuates all the other colors nicely.

GREEN BOOKS – These seemed to be in short supply both on my own shelf and in the library.  In addition to the few listed below we checked out books on green frogs and green lizards.  Green sea turtles would be another option.

Verdi by Janell Cannon  Fun story of a young python’s growing pains.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss  A classic of course!  None of my kids are fans of eggs dyed to a green color, but a quiche stuffed with kale or spinach that’s been finely diced in the food processor and sautéed with onion, salt and pepper suits them just fine.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger A beautiful book that illustrates numerous shades of green in the world; small cutouts on some pages incorporate a portion of one painting into another.

The Giving Tree  by Shel Silverstein  Has a lovely green cover!

GREEN FOODS are abundant.  I could begin naming them, but the list would quickly get overwhelmingly long.  Since we already eat green foods on a nearly daily basis I decided to make a treat out of this dip to eat with green, i.e. Granny Smith, apples.

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1 cup yogurt cheese**

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

honey to taste, I used 1-2 tablespoons

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Enjoy with apples of your choice.  Amount of honey used would probably vary depending on the sweetness of your apples.

DSC_0660**Greek yogurt will work if you don’t want to make yogurt cheese.  Cream cheese could also be used, but you may need to thin the dip with some milk.  If you do want to make yogurt cheese, line a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filter and place over a bowl.  Fill strainer/filter with about 2 cups plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt.  Allow to sit for a couple hours until a cup or more of whey has been strained off.  You will need to pour the whey out of the bowl periodically if it is not large enough to keep whey level below strainer.  Use the remaining thick yogurt “cheese” for your dip.  Don’t throw that whey out!  Use it as a base for a smoothie or in place of milk or water in any pancake or bread recipe.  My bread (either sourdough or yeast risen) always turns out best when I use equal portions whey and water for the liquid.

GREEN ART PROJECT

We used various greenery (and a few flowers) collected from the yard to create plant poundings.  The kids loved using the hammers!

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We placed the plant pieces on sheets of corrugated cardboard, placed the fabric squares over the plant pieces and pounded away.  Everyone was happy with their creation regardless of wether the full impression of the leaf came through clearly or their efforts simply resulted in a lot of green circles!

Since Mother’s Day was approaching, we used the results to create cards (that I neglected to take pictures of).

For the older kids:

Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys by Patricia Lee Gauche

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

What state is known as The Green Mountain State and why?

The Green River What state(s) does it go through?


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Noticing the Rainbow Around Us – YELLOW {with recipes}

The kids found a few yellow accessories to wear.

The kids found a few yellow accessories to model.

We did do a YELLOW TREASURE HUNT  with homemade lemonade as the “prize.”

LEMONADE RECIPE

1 generous cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium lemon washed and sliced thinly

2/3 cup organic crystallized cane juice (sugar); you could also use rapadura or maple syrup, but the lemonade won’t be yellow!

4 cups water

Macerate sliced lemon in sugar in the bottom of your pitcher.  Let the kids squish it around really well (a potato masher works great) to release all the juice and start dissolving the sugar.  Add lemon juice and mix well to continue dissolving the sugar. Add water and mix again.  Fish out all the lemon peels and seeds if you wish and serve.

DSC_0541Other YELLOW FOODS included pears, yellow squash and peppers, pineapple and pomelo–if you’ve never tried one, please do; they taste like sweetened grapefruit juice!

Our YELLOW OBSERVATION WALK turned up a few flowers, road signs and school busses.

YELLOW BOOKS

Curious George by H. A. Rey  George may not have come to us without the “big yellow hat”!

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack  Classic tale set on the “beautiful yellow waters of the Yangtze River.”

Red and Yellow’s Noisy Night by Josh Selig  Short story about considering others and mutually beneficial compromise.

In My New Yellow Shirt by Eileen Spinelli  A young boy’s imagination lets him experience many “yellow” adventures.

Yellow Umbrella by Jae Soo Liu  An unusual wordless book accompanied by an enjoyable instrumental CD.

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni  The story that started Mr. Lionni’s writing career!

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger  One leaf joins another to encourage it on it’s new adventure.

One Yellow Lion by Matthew van Fleet  Fun, colorful counting book; good for guessing on the first read through and remembering on subsequent reads.

YELLOW CRAFT

Potato prints and apple prints may be common . . . we made lemon prints.  These were very simple and a lot of fun.

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One thing about kids and art is that if they really like the project they want to make another . . . and another . . . and another . . . and soon we run out of paper!  For some reason I had a stash of small pieces of cardboard saved from the sides of thin cardboard boxes (kleenex, tea, etc.).  These made great, sturdy art boards that took paint well.  I will be sure to keep recycling these treasures in the future!

For the older kids:

Yellow Fever  Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing by Suzanne Jurmain Fascinating reading about the team who worked in Cuba to determine the cause and cure for a mysterious disease.

Goldfinches

The Yangtze River

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

The Yellow House Mystery (Boxcar Children #3) by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Yellow Star by Carmen Agra Deedy

An extra YELLOW PROJECT (some say that yellow makes one hungry . . . apparently it made us creative!) was making naturally dyed yellow play-dough.

PLAY-DOUGH RECIPEDSC_0600

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar*

3/4 teaspoon turmeric**

1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

Measure first 4 ingredients into medium, thick bottomed pan.  Mix briefly to combine.  Combine water and oil and pour into dry ingredients.  Cook on medium heat, stirring with a whisk to get out all the lumps.  It will thicken as it cooks; you may need to switch to stirring with a wooden spoon.  It is finished cooking when it all stirs together into a lump.  Remove pan from heat and dump play-dough out onto a sheet of wax paper, parchment paper or foil.  Carefully knead the play-dough (it will be very hot–I like to use something under it that is large enough to fold over the top and make it slightly easier to touch) to remove any remaining lumps.  Divide among the kids when cool enough for them to handle.  Recipe will double easily.  Store in an air-tight container or zippered bag.

*Don’t be tempted to skip this unless you want moldy play-dough!  It has a preserving effect and will allow you to store the play-dough for months.

**Turmeric is a ground spice that naturally gives the play-dough a dark yellow color.  I don’t think the turmeric stained anyone’s hands or clothing, but it will leave a yellow stain on your counter if you spill it there.  A couple days’ worth of washing the counters will remove it.  Another natural alternative is to soak a few saffron threads in the water before adding the oil; remove them before adding the oil and mixing with the dry ingredients.

If you want to color your play-dough with ordinary food coloring, add it to the water and oil mixture rather than the dry ingredients.


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Any Season Raw Vegetable Salads

In the summer we have plenty of fresh, local, in season produce readily available.  In the winter, however . . . until we set up a greenhouse of some kind, we have to rely on readily available grocery store fare.  Two of our favorite salads are easily made with vegetables widely available any where any time of the year.

Carrot Slaw

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1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (increase or decrease according to the heat of your cayenne and your family’s taste!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 medium to large carrots

1/2 cup fresh cilantro**, chopped and loosely packed

1/2 cup raisins

2-4 tablespoons diced red onion, optional

Combine first 7 ingredients in a measuring cup to create dressing.  Wash and/or peel and grate carrots into medium size serving bowl.  Add cilantro, raisins (I like the golden ones best for this recipe but any will work.)  and onion to carrot and mix briefly.  Pour dressing over all and mix thoroughly.  Can be served immediately but flavors will meld if allowed to rest for half an hour or so.

**Fresh cilantro is wonderful!  If you have extra you don’t know what to do with, add it to green salad, serve it with tacos or add to any mexican dish.

recipe adapted from Abundant Harvest Organics, a wonderful CSA type produce delivery in central and southern California

Celery Slaw

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1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons dijon mustard (we prefer smooth over grainy types in this dressing)

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 – 1 teaspoon sugar, optional but does help to balance the acidity of other ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup sour cream

1/4-1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1 bunch celery, thinly sliced (somewhere between 4 and 6 cups)

Thoroughly combine first 8 ingredients in large measuring cup to create dressing.  (This does make a lot of dressing.  I often use 1/2 a recipe of dressing on about 4 cups celery.) Slice celery, including leaves, as thinly as possible and place in medium size bowl.  You want somewhere between 4 and 6 cups of sliced celery.  Fold dressing into sliced celery and mix thoroughly.   Can be served immediately but flavors will meld if allowed to rest for an hour or so.  The original recipe recommends marinating in the refrigerator for at least three hours.  If you remember to make it that far ahead of time, great!  Otherwise, it is still very good.

recipe adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook, a great resource for what to do with many vegetables