Five Fun Soups

With the weather turning a little cooler recently we have started pulling out our soup recipes. Soups are fun ways to get a lot of good ingredients into one bowl. And the girls love making them. However, with any liquid and young children, they can be messy. Be prepared but enjoy!
  1. Monster Soup. This amazing recipe tastes like guacamole soup. For the grown ups I make sure to add tortilla strips to the top and a little chopped tomato.
  2. Stone Soup is a current favorite. The best parts about this recipe are the literature tie-in and the versatile ingredient list.
  3. Split Pea Soup. I have to admit, this one is hit and miss. Sometimes they eat it and other times it is not the best received meal. But we have it several times during the winter as I love it. Best after the holidays with the leftover ham bone.
  4. Apple Soup. This one goes really well with grilled cheese sandwiches. We have this more in the fall but it is a great winter soup as well.
  5. Popcorn soup. This is usually a corn based soup but since the best part is the addition of popcorn at the table you could use any base. Give the popcorn trick a try as it is fabulous. The girls love to hear it sizzle into the soup.
What are your favorite child-friendly soups? We could always use more for our rotation.

Pink Porridge

Audrey asked for porridge one time a little while back. I told her I would be happy to serve her some. We were in the car at the time and she had time to ask a lot of questions. She finally asked if porridge was oatmeal. I told her yes and she was happy. The next time I had oatmeal for breakfast she asked for a bowl. A small bowl was enough to satisfy her curiosity.

In the winter I have oatmeal for almost every breakfast. It is warm and filling. Oftentimes Audrey asks for her own bowl. I still just give her a small serving and she usually eats it all. That is why when I found a Pink Porridge recipe I knew the girls would love it. And there are no beets in this meal!

We cooked a serving of oatmeal in the microwave with twice as much liquid. Next time instead of 2 cups I will use 1 1/2 for 1/2 cup dried oats. Cook 2-4 minutes and let sit for five. Make sure it is cooked or cook for a few more minutes, if needed. Once cooked and slightly cooled place in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup raspberries. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowls and top with additional raspberries. Or blueberries if you are out of raspberries.

What's For Lunch Wednesday, Caterpillars

The girls love grapes. A friend pinned a really cute caterpillar idea using green grapes so I decided to share it with the girls for lunch. They added fruit, crackers, and cheese to the container for a simple yummy lunch.

I cut in half a bamboo skewer for the girls to use as a caterpillar body. A little cream cheese held on the raisin halves they used for eyes. Maurene said caterpillars like cheese so she placed hers on top of the cheese.

Valentine's Frozen Banana Ice Cream

The girls and I made Mummy Cones for Halloween during Eat Dessert First Month. Audrey still speaks fondly of that month and we still eat dessert first on occasion. Recently Audrey asked if we could make Mummy Cones again and I decided that they should be red for Valentine's Day. 

The girls love anything pink or red. They have been known to try food simply because it is a pretty color. We took our regular Frozen Banana Ice Cream and added a 2 tbsp frozen cube of pureed beets.

They loved it. The ice cream came out the prefect color and there is no beet taste. We added 1 tsp of cocoa powder to give it a little more than banana flavor but not enough to color it.

Audrey helped me make the banana ice cream and then decorate the mummy. Maurene had to be called to the table to enjoy her snack as she was too busy playing with her new train tracks.

For decorating I made a simple frosting with plain yogurt and powdered sugar. We had candy eyes left over from the first mummy we made. The girls loved eating pink ice cream and devoured the entire cones. I felt good feeding them a treat made with much less sugar and (other than the mummy eyes) no artificial dyes.

Muffin Tin Monday, Frozen Banana Ice Cream

I wonder how long I will be able to serve frozen pureed bananas to the girls and call it ice cream. So far they still love it. We add a little unsweetened cocoa powder and it is chocolate ice cream. Even in the winter they love this treat.

You can add any fruit you want to flavor according to your child's tastes. Try strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry for a fun twist.

Here are the girls helping make the ice cream. We add about 3 cups of frozen banana chunks and 2 tbsp of milk. For flavor a tbsp or two of powdered cocoa will do the trick.

Check out what the other families are enjoying for Muffin Tin Monday. It is always a treat to see the fabulous meals.

Five Fun Kitchen Crafts

On occasion we use our kitchen to make stuff that is not edible. The girls love these activities almost more than projects that involve yummy food. 
  1. Crazy Crayons. We made these a while back but I have seen them on Pinterest recently in smaller form as Valentine's gifts. Cute either way.
  2. Sidewalk Paint. I got this idea from Pinterest as well. No, I am not addicted. We used it recently when the weather was nice. I might even let the girls do it inside the garage with the door down when it is cold. They loved it.
  3. Play Dough. I got our recipe from our Parents as Teachers coordinator. I love all of their ideas. My girls had so much fun when our coordinator would visit.
  4. Bird Feeder. Audrey loves animals. All animals. During the winter she wants to feed the birds and the summer she loves the Farmers Market with all of the visiting dogs. It keeps her happy so I do not have to have a furry creature in my home.
  5. Bath Crayons. So simple and my girls love to draw on the tub. They go through the store bought ones so fast I started making these with them to keep up with the fun. Now they can have loads of bath time fun.

Valentine's Juice Jigglers

I wish I was a better photographer or even a better cook. These would look so cute if I could get them to square off and set on the plate smartly. 

It did not matter to Maurene, she still loved making them. The girls also loved eating them. I was a little uncertain as they have turned their noses up to Jello before. This is the first time I have made anything from scratch instead of using a pre-flavored box. It was a success! You should try this for a fun Valentine's treat. Maybe you will have better luck making Jiggler Squares.

Juice Jigglers
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 4 cups juice
  • 2 cups cut up fruit

Pour gelatin into a pan and add 1 cup juice. Let set for 2 minutes so the gelatin can plump. Add remaining juice and heat on medium for about 6 minutes or until gelatin is clear. I used cherry juice so I just cooked for the 6 minutes. Place in a bowl and set in the fridge for 1 hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Add fruit after gelatin is set up a bit and pour into a 8 x 8 dish. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Serve and enjoy!

Maurene's Tasks:
  • Pour gelatin into pan
  • Help measure and add juice
  • Stir pot
  • Pour fruit into bowl
Mom's Tasks:
  • Gather ingredients
  • Cut fruit
  • Assist Maurene
  • Stir gelatin

What's For Lunch Wednesday, Summer Snowman

Maurene helped me make lunches with snowmen cut out of watermelon. We were willing the snow to come through our use of warm weather fruit, and it finally did. Although, it was not of sufficient depth to play with and the wind was bitter cold. Maybe we will make snowmen lunches again and get enough snow for the girls to actually make a real snowman.

 This lunch contains a watermelon snowman, whole wheat butter crackers, dried apricots, red grapes, pretzel sticks, and raisins. The girls loved this lunch although Maurene simply nibbled the snowman a little. She is hit or miss with watermelon and cantaloupe. 

Valentine Natural Red Dyed Cake Balls

The girls helped me make fun red cake balls. Red was my choice. They love coloring anything and have no idea the holiday of love is approaching. So I got out the ingredients for our favorite muffin recipe to see if it would work in Audrey's new cake ball maker. Mostly I was curious if we could bake healthier treats in 4 minutes. Our muffin batter is half whole wheat and only contains 2 tbsp of added fat.

It worked. In order to cover the taste of the beet we tweeked the recipe slightly by using pineapple juice in place of milk and adding 1 tsp of vanilla extract. To our basic muffin recipe we added 3 tbsp of pureed beets. Once she saw the pineapple juice Audrey got thirsty while stirring in the beet puree. 

We also baked some in our mini muffin pan for 13 minutes at 350F. I have to admit that is was fun making the muffin balls because they baked up so quick. They are not the most beautiful treats but after you decorate them they pass just fine.

Next time I think we will just roll these in a little glaze and add some chopped nuts to keep them from being sticky. The candy coating made the muffin ball too sweet. With the candy coating these would be good as a nice treat for Valentine's Day.

Sorry about the quality of the photos. The finished product pictures were taken at 10pm after the girls were in bed. I need studio quality lighting somewhere in my house for taking pictures when it is a good time for me. I know many people only use natural lighting and I wish I could be one of them. I have young children. Maybe someday.


Local Edition, Good Food

I found this unpublished post when going through the drafts folder. I have no idea why it was never published. This is from the Kaw Valley Farm Tour last October. We only had time to visit two farms because Audrey and Maurene's grandma was visiting. I made sure that one of the trips was to the dairy. 

The girls finally were able to visit with the cows at the Iwig Dairy. Audrey named one of the numbered cows after herself. And she was able to feed a calf.

This trip filled a wish of Audrey's to visit the dairy cows. She had wanted to see them milked but once she was able to feed the calf she was happy. She still speaks of the dairy cow, Cocoa, she met last summer in Minnesota.

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