Cooking with Carter: Blueberry Muffins

Some days are just exceptionally wonderful.  They begin with your child sleeping until 10:00 then waking up and proclaiming, “I want to make blueberry muffins for breakfast.”  So, we printed our recipe, tossed out some ingredients and dove right in.  I’m sure you don’t want need me to say how easy and healthful it is to make your own muffins and how many bad, bad things are in box muffin mix.  I mean, you may as well have a candy bar for breakfast.  Moving on.

Here’s the original recipe.  Here’s our fun with it:

We started with the part where Carter hides in his room with the door closed while I process the oatmeal into a fine meal.  He can’t. stand. the sound of the food processor.  Once the unpleasantness is over, he pops right back in.

Carter helps measure out and mix together the dry ingredients: oats, 2 flours, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar.

Then the wet ingredients are mixed in a seperate bowl: buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and lemon zest.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and then stir, stir, stir the wet stuff in.

Last comes the much anticipated blueberries.  This recipe came with a great little trick: toss the frozen blueberries with some flour to keep them from coloring the batter all blue.  It worked like a charm.

Pour them in your own Lightning McQueen baking cups and sprinkle a little sugar over the top.  Wait 20 minutes and then you get to do this:

Yu-um-y.  They are pretty fantastic.  Because of the ultra-hearty ingredients, 2 of these will do you for about 4 hours.  Seriously.

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!

Cooking with Carter: Cheese Crackers

I am a self-proclaimed crazy person when it comes to what I put into my and my family’s bodies.  I enjoy reading about the good and not-so-good in the food world right now.  As a total side note, I do not like the things that I’m reading about artificial colorings, high fructose corn syrup and certain preservatives.  Though I’ve been in different places on the healthy eating spectrum, I do my best to keep us in the “Good For You” corner.  To me, food should resemble what it looked like when it was harvested and not have been messed around with too much before I eat it.  I prefer to be able to pronounce and understand the ingredients on the side of a box or bag.  That’s just me.  *stepping down from soap box now*

I really enjoy finding something that I love and trying to duplicate it at home in a less-processed way.  And, Carter is always a great help in the kitchen.

|Some of my favorites:  Homemade Waffles, NY Style Bagels with flavored cream cheeses and Pumpkin Cupcakes.  The bagels are a bit of a challenge, but SO worth it.  The other two are so easy and delicious, WHY would you buy a mix?!?!|

Last night my husband decided to go a little crazy making home fries, and I needed something special to pull out of my hat to keep Carter away from the mandolin slicer and the hot oil.  My solution: Homemade Goldfish Crackers, shaped like flowers for Spring.  Let me just say that I should have tripled the batch because I wanted to eat them all myself as soon as they cooled.

They were super easy: only a few ingredients:

The Ingredients

There were plenty of opportunities for a three-year old to get right in there and help.  He helped measure and add ingredients.  I offered to let him push the button on the food processor, but it was so loud, he opted to leave the room.  And, he cut the shapes and placed them on the parchment paper.

Adding ingredients

Cutting out the crackers

His anticipation was so cute!  I think he may have watched them cook for the entire 12 minutes.

C'mon, bake!

They were oh so yummy!  I’ve got to find one of those mini goldfish cutters for the next time…and there will be a next time.

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!

Dough Ornaments

Dough Ornaments

Carter is 3 years, 3 months old.

You will need:

4 c Flour
1 c Salt
1 ½ c warm water
Bowl
Large Spoon
Rolling Pin
Cookie Cutters
Straw
Paint
Varnish (adult use ONLY)

Procedures:

1.                Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2.                Mix flour and salt well. Gradually add water, stirring with a large spoon. Finish mixing with hands. Knead until soft and pliable.

4.                Roll out on floured surface about 1/8 inch thick. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets. With a straw make a hole in the top of the ornament for threading string. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) until hard, about 1 hour.

(Read some Christmas stories together while you wait!)

5.               Decorate with paint and varnish to preserve.

Then, clean up!

Conclusion: This was a material heavy activity.  Though we picked up all we needed for around $5, so it’s still frugal.  A few tips about the dough – the dough is really stout.  Rolling it out definitely takes an adult with some muscle.  Make sure you flip them half way through baking so that they don’t turn up on the edges.  Also, if they start to puff up, back off of the heat and cook for a little longer.  Let them cool and dry COMPLETELY before painting.  I thought mine were, but after I varnished them they were a little pliable, but still not breakable.

We bought some really pretty metallic red and green paints, but I was a little disappointed in the “red”.  You’ll notice they turned out very pink.  Some of the grandparents may raise an eyebrow at getting a pink ornament from their grandson.  This process took an entire day and a lot of my really good flour (note to self: use the cheap stuff next time), so we will NOT be redoing them before our trip to the nursing homes.

Have you tried this activity?  What other things are you making with your child for the holidays?  I would love for you to share a comment or a link below.

These activities are here for sharing.  If you like it, grab the link and pass it on.  It’s the highest form of bloggy love! ♥