Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Midweek Moments-Edible "Play Clay" Cookies

Of all the food art "tricks" I know, this one is my favorite. Edible chocolate dough is very versatile, it can be used for so many different things and in many ways. Today I'm using it to make "play clay" cookies like in the book "Mmmmm Cookies" by Robert Munsch, only these clay cookies are good enough to eat. Children love this book about a young boy that tricks his parents by feeding them "play clay" cookies and then gets a trick of his own. This dough is easy to make, but does require a little bit of "wait time" before it can be used.

To make this edible clay you need:

1 12 oz package of candy melts (in the color of your choice)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Sprinkles as desired

That's it! Just melt the candy melts. I use the microwave (stirring well every 30 seconds until there are no lumps, it usually takes a minute to a minute and a half).

Pour the corn syrup into the melted candy melts, stirring well. You will see the mixture start to thicken and pull away from the side of the bowl. Keep stirring until the mixture turns into a "lump". Cover the dough and refrigerate at least an hour.

Take the clay out of the refrigerator. It will be very stiff! Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and easy to work with-just like play clay.

Here's where the fun begins. This clay can be used to make things like cupcake toppers, or detail work for cakes (when it hardens it keeps its shape better than fondant or frosting). Today we are just making clay "cookies". This can be done by rolling the dough and cutting out with cookie cutters, or, like in the book, you can just make circles by rolling the dough and smashing it flat. Add sprinkles, or use a plastic knife to add details. Anything you can do with regular clay, you can do with this edible clay. Put it out and let your children use their creativity to make cookies, or anything else they can think of.

When you have things how you like them, simply let them sit to set up, or put them in the refrigerator to speed up the process.

Tips and Tricks-
*The time in the refrigerator is important. If you try to use the clay too soon, it gets oily and sticky.
*Want to change what you made? Simply knead the clay again, using the warmth from your hand.
*This dough can also be made with chocolate chips. If you use white chocolate chips, you can color the dough after it has set up. DO NOT add liquid food coloring right to the melted chocolate.
*And as always remember-You're making MEMORIES NOT MASTERPIECES!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Midweek Moments-Whipped Cream Ghosts

When my girls were small, I always had big plans for Halloween. A yummy holiday themed dinner with no stress or hurry before we headed out Trick or Treating. Reality was much different! Dinner was usually chaos and hurried, and dessert was often half finished or not even started when it was time to head out. I learned to simplify and adjust my expectations. From then on, dinner was often a pumpkin shaped pizza from a local takeout joint and desert became this super easy whipped cream and pudding ghost. The book I chose was "Ten Timid Ghosts", but there are a lot of ghost stories to choose from.

For each ghost you will need:
*a pudding cup or small bowl of pudding
*whipped cream of your choice (about 1/4 cup per ghost) in a zip top bag
*Mini M&Ms, chocolate chips, junior mints or other small candies

Squish all the whipped cream into the corner of the zip top bag. Remove the air as much as possible and zip the bag shut. Cut the corner off of the bag (a little less than a half of an inch from the corner). Open the pudding (or put some pudding in a bowl). Twist the bag close to the whipped cream and squeeze whipped cream onto the pudding. Start by squeezing hard and taper off as you get to the top of your "ghost" (I know, this looks a little like a certain emoji that's popular these days-that's for another day),

Use chocolate chips, M&Ms, or other candies to give the ghost eyes and a mouth (or whatever else you want to add). Done and ready to eat.


Tips and tricks:
*If your ghost tips over when you add the eyes and mouth, just use a spoon to stand it back up.
*These ghost could also be put on cupcakes, a larger cake, or a family sized bowl of pudding. My daughter Zoey just likes whipped cream, so she made hers in an empty bowl!
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Five Minute Food Art Friday-Mini Pumpkin Pancakes

When my daughter Courtney was little, she loved to eat mini pancakes on her little tea set plates. Ever since then, mini pancakes have been a "thing" at our house. Along with mini pancakes, I loved to make colored pancakes for my girls. A few drops of food coloring can make ordinary pancakes a party! This five minute food art Friday combines these two things. Fun to make and eat, and cooking mini pancakes makes it quick and easy!

The book I chose is "The Runaway Pumpkin" (which is actually about a giant pumpkin, instead of a mini one, but it's one of my pumpkin favorites) but there are hundreds of pumpkin themed books out there.

For each mini pumpkin you will need:

*2-3 T Pancake batter (I used a mix, but you can choose your favorite pancake batter)
*Yellow and red food coloring
*Chocolate chips, cereal, bits of candy, pretzels etc...

Add food coloring to prepared pancake batter. The amount you need will depend on how much pancake batter you have. Add a drop of each at a time until you get the color you like. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon or a tablespoon measuring spoon, drop batter (2-3 T) onto heated griddle in a "pumpkin shape". Think heart with a rounded bottom. Just like there are no perfect real pumpkins, there are no perfectly shaped pumpkin pancakes either. Don't stress!! You are making memories not masterpieces! When the bubbles in the pancake batter pop and remain popped, flip the pancakes over and cook on the other side. These tiny pancakes are perfect practice for your child to flip pancakes if you think they are ready to try!!

Using chocolate chips, candy pieces, cereal, pretzels (for the stems) decorate the "pumpkins" to make Jack-o-lanterns. Use your imagination! No need for a special grocery run, experiment with things you already have to add fun faces to your pumpkins.

Tips and tricks:
*Thinning your pancake batter a little bit will make it easier to make pumpkins with.
*Want pumpkin flavored pumpkins? Make pumpkin pancake batter and skip the food coloring.
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Midweek Moments-Donut Hole Acorns

Fall is my favorite time of year! Changing leaves, cooler air, pumpkins and acorns. Where I live, the acorns are tiny and cute. I remember reading "My Side of the Mountain" when I was younger, wondering how many tiny little acorns it would take to make pancakes. It wasn't until I was older that I realized acorns grew A LOT bigger in other places. Even the tiny little ones make me smile (but I am grateful I don't have to gather enough tiny acorns to feed my family for the Winter).

There are so many fun Fall books The book I chose today is "Fox and Squirrel", a story about friends, not acorns. Fox and Squirrel are friends, even though they are very different from each other. All of us-grownups included need a reminder that we don't need to be the same to be friends. This story is a darling reminder that though we are different, there are many things that make us the same!

Our food art today is donut hole acorns. For each quick and easy acorn you will need:

*A donut hole (I found apple cider donut holes, but any kind will work)
*Peanut butter, Nutella, or frosting of your choice (about a tablespoon)
*Krispie Rice cereal (about 2 tablespoons)
*A pretzel stick

Put a small amount of frosting or nut spread on the top of the donut hole. Have your child spread it around with a knife, the back of a spoon, or even their finger.

Turn the donut hole over and press into the cereal, making sure to cover all of the frosting or nut butter. The Krispie Rice cereal should stick to the frosting or nut butter to make the acorn "cap".

Break a pretzel stick in half (or close to) and insert in the top if the donut hole (this makes the stem of the acorn).

Eat your cute little acorn (and be grateful that these are the ONLY kind of acorns you will have to eat this fall)!

Tips and tricks:
*Spreading on the top of a donut hole can be tricky. It will make it easier for your child if you hold the donut hole while they spread.
*Don't miss the chance to talk to your child about being friends with people who look, act, or believe differently than your family.
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Midweek Moments-Llama Pancake Pops

The Llama Llama books are some of my favorites (okay, I have too many favorites)! I love "Llama, Llama Red Pajama" the best, wait, maybe I love "Llama, Llama Mad at Mama" or maybe "Llama, Llama Misses Mama". Clearly I can't decide. Since it's "back to school time" I chose "Llama Llama Misses Mama", but these cute and funny pancake pops could be used for any of the Llama books. These pancake pops are quick and easy, very little "Llama drama involved!

For each pancake pop you will need:
*Pancake batter of your choosing (I used a mix, but homemade is fine) See tips and tricks below
*A popsicle stick
*Candy eyes, chocolate chips, raisins, M&Ms, etc...

Preheat a skillet or griddle on medium heat. Using a big spoon drop pancake batter onto the heated griddle in an oval shape.

 Lay a popsicle stick down into the batter-almost to the top of the oval. Add a small amount of batter over the stick to make sure that it's covered.

 Add "ears" with the pancake batter near the top of the oval.

 Allow to cook until bubbles pop and stay "popped" and the edges are dry. Flip the pancake over, being careful with the stick as you flip. Cook on the other side until done.

Place the pancake on a plate and have your child add eyes, a nose, insides of ears, etc.... Eat! These cute pancake pops can be eaten as is, or dipped into syrup or jam.

Amazon has this book for a great price! Find it here...

Tips and tricks:
*When making pancake art of any kind, it's best to work with batter that is thinned out. When I make it from a mix I use almost equal amounts of mix and water. If you're making it from scratch just add extra liquid.
*These pancake pops could be adapted to many different animals and characters (green Yoda pancakes anyone?).
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Midweek Moments-Strawberry Mice

Kindergarten started this week! I love my job, but today was day three, and I am TIRED! Today's Midweek Moment is a quick one, but such a fun one. The book I chose is "If You Take a Mouse to School", but there are so many other books that these mice would be fun with (remember the one about the little mouse, the strawberry and the big hungry bear??).

For each mouse you will need:
-A strawberry-washed
-a piece from a pull and peel licorice
-cereal like Cheerios or almond slices
-small chocolate chips
-a bamboo skewer or other pointy object

 Start by cutting the top off of the strawberry (a grown-up's job). Use the skewer to make a hole in the top of the strawberry. Have your child peel a single piece of the licorice off and cut it to the desired length. The licorice piece can be pushed into the hold in the strawberry. This is the mouse's tail.

Have your child push chocolate chips (pointy side first) into the strawberry near the point. These are the eyes and nose. For ears, your child can carefully push cereal into the strawberry, leaving about half of the cereal sticking out. I used to use almond slices for the mouse ears, but none of my girls liked almonds and I always had cereal around. If your family likes almonds-simply push almond slices into the strawberry for ears instead of the cereal.

Done-play and eat!

Tips and tricks:
*Make sure your child puts the strawberry on the table or another hard surface before they try to push things into it. This will make it easier to push things into the strawberry without squashing it.
*As always remember-
                  You are making memories, not masterpieces!