I’m not going to lie… Carving a potato is not as easy as it sounds… Today my Kids in the Kitchen kiddos made a couple fun things… Painting with potatoes was one of our fun Halloween activities we did today. Basically, I used a pairing knife prior to class to carve out some jack-o-lantern faces in 3 potatoes, 6 halves. I tried to make each face different, but that was a bit more complicated then I thought :).
I put out some orange paint and my small friends stamped away and made some pretty cute pumpkins. They key behind this craft is that you don’t need a lot of paint on your potato or it will just look like a circle, you won’t be able to see the carved face… So go lightly on the paint… I just put a small bit on a paper plate for them to dip their potato into. That’s it, easy as potato pie :).
We also made mummy quesadillas which were so easy, quick and tasty. I got the idea from “The Kids Activities Blog” and I really think they are adorable! They’d be perfect for Halloween night just before trick or treating… You cold also make Jack-o-lantern quesadillas using kitchen scissors to cut out the face on the top quesadilla… I used my kitchen scissors to cut some of the tortillas into strips so they could make their dinner into a mummy. You can use white cheese and olives for the eyes or candy eyes if that’s up your ally. You can also just cut the darker part of the tortilla into eye shapes and put those on, as well… What ever you think!
Of course no Halloween preschool cooking class would be complete without some spooky books… Here are a couple of my favorites…
Happy Halloween Friends! XOXO
This is my all time favorite muffin recipe.. It always turns out, is quick and easy, and you can switch it up and add what ever you like to it! Of course I always like to read a few books before baking so here are my top picks for blueberry muffins!
THE BEST Blueberry Muffins EVER
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, room temperature preferred
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Spray your muffin tin of choice with non-stick spray or line with muffin liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, gently toss together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until all dry ingredients are combined – a 20 second toss to disperse everything together. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until combined. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla. Mixture will be pale and yellow. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix everything together by hand. Avoid overmixing. Gently mix until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and no big pockets of flour remain. The batter will be VERY thick and somewhat lumpy. Fold in the blueberries.
- Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling all the way to the top. Top with a sprinkle course sugar. Bake at 425F degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden and centers appear set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan before enjoying.
It’s Zucchini season! I’m sad to report that we moved to a new house this summer so I wasn’t able to plant any of my favorite vegetables, zucchini being one of them :(. BUT, I can always find it at the local market, which I happened to do this week! Yesterday my 3 year old and I had a zucchini adventure! We read this funny book called, Wilber The Zucchini Eating Dragon, which was a hoot. It’s all about a Dragon who only eats zucchini (he’s a picky eater) and what happens when there isn’t any zucchini at the market… It’s a great book for anyone, but especially fun if you have a picky eater in your house! You can find the book for your kindle or in print form on Amazon!
Of course after reading this silly book we had to make some Zucchini bread! Here is the recipe we used, which was a huge hit with our family!
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup (100g) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 large)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips or nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×5 (or 8×4) loaf pan with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla until evenly combined. In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined.
Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the bread in the 350′ oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I covered the bread loosely with aluminum foil after 35 total minutes to avoid the top from getting too brown. Allow bread to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before removing from the pan and serving.
One other way that my family loves zucchini is in pasta… Simply saute small cubes/circles in a bit of olive oil and add it to your favorite pasta sauce.
OH and who could forget grilled zucchini… You can find this recipe by clicking HERE!
This week my youngest started montessori preschool! I have the fortunate opportunity of teaching a little enrichment class once a week to these sweet little bits called “Kids in the Kitchen”. Each week I will be reading the children a book and then making some sort of a treat to go with it! Let me just tell you that cooking with 3-5 year olds is the treat, they are so cute! Since this was our first week I thought I’d read one of my favorite books, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear By Don and Audrey Wood. I LOVE THIS BOOK… The words and illustrations leave so much to the imagination! I really just love it! After reading the book we used some of our kid friendly cooking tools made by Curious Chef to make Strawberry Freezer Jam!
The children cut, mashed, and stirred the strawberries until they were the perfect jam consistency! They were able to do all of this work themselves, which was the goal! Here is the link to the Word Document recipe I used and gave the children for Strawberry Freezer Jam:
Strawberry Freezer Jam
1 Quart Strawberries
4 Cups Sugar
1 Pouch Fruit Pectin
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- Stem and crush strawberries. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar and let stand 10 minutes.
- Mix pectin and lemon juice in small bowl. Add to strawberry mixture; stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Fill all containers immediately to within ½ inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers and cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use or can be refrigerated for one month or frozen for up to a year.
After we got home I had SEVERAL strawberries left. I decided to “can” some jam and used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman to do so:
Simple Strawberry Jam
5 cups hulled mashed strawberries
7 cups sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 49g package powdered fruit pectin
1. Place 8 or 9 8-ounce mason jars in a large hot water bath canner (or pot). Cover with water and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer center lids in separate saucepan full of water.
3. Place mashed strawberries and lemon juice in a separate pot. Stir in pectin until dissolved. Bring strawberries to a strong boil.
4. Add sugar (measure beforehand so you can add it all at once), then return mixture to a full (violent) boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute 15 seconds.
5. Skim foam off the top.
6. Remove one jar at a time from the simmering water. Pour water back into the pot. Using a wide-mouth funnel, fill each jar with jam, being careful to keep the liquid/fruit ratio consistent. Fill jars so that they have 1/4-inch of space at the top.
7. Run a knife down the side of the jar to get rid of air bubbles.
8. Wipe rim of jar with a wet cloth to remove any residue or stickiness.
9. Remove center lid from simmering water and position it on top.
10. Put screw bands on jars, but do not overtighten!
11. Repeat with all jars, then place jars on canning rack and lower into the water.
12. Place lid on canner, then bring water to a full boil. Boil hard for 10 to 12 minutes.
13. Turn off heat and allow jars to remain in hot water for an addition five minutes.
14. Remove jars from water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
15. After 24 hours, remove screw bands and check the seal of the jars. Center lids should have no give whatsoever. If any seals are compromised, store those jars in the fridge.
We chose to share our jam with our favorite Montessori and Elementary school teachers, as well as some of our dear friends! OH and we kept a few for ourselves too… It’s such a treat!