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!

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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! ♥

Water Drops on Wax Paper

Water Drops on Wax Paper

Carter is 3 years, 3 months old.

You will need:

Water
Food Coloring
Bowl
Dropper
Wax Paper
Cookie Sheet
Sharpie

Procedure:

1.                Draw small (dime size) circles on a length of wax paper with a Sharpie.

I put another step in here:  I let Carter practice sucking the water up into the dropper and squirting it out into the bowl for a while before he tried it on the wax paper.

Learning to Use a Dropper

2.                Show your child how to release one drop into each circle on the paper.  Then, suck the drops back up and put them into the cup.

3.                 Invite your child to try.

Sucking up the Water

Dropping the water into the circles

Conclusion: The was a VERY difficult fine motor activity, though Carter stuck with it for more than 30 minutes.  It took him a few tries making the drops before he could get a small enough amount to come out.  He was fascinated with sucking the water back up off of the wax paper, laughing hysterically each time he did it.  I LOVE the look of concentration on the last photo.

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