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Kids in the Kitchen- Book & Recipe Lesson: Apple Cookies

9 Sep

APPLE-COOKIES-from-Rachel-Schultz-3Today for our Kids in the Kitchen lesson we made these yummy apple cookies!  I love this lesson because you really can alter the recipe to fit what ever your dietary needs, likes and dislikes are!  Working with 3 & 4 year olds is such a hoot…  They loved every minute of cutting, spreading and topping their “apple cookies”.  I offered them either peanut butter or sun butter… You could also use honey.  Basically you need something sticky :).  For toppings we used chocolate chips and coconut.  You could also use oatmeal, nuts, even sprinkles!  We also practiced making ours into PB & J apples…



I began this lesson by reading a book called, Coco Cow and the Big Apple.  I love this book- the story line is adorable and the pictures are some of my favorite.  51gjImfjUTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX318_SY318_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA318_AA300_SH20_OU01_ 61j+wO5ElgL

Once we were well on our way to filling our tummies with delicious apple cookies, I told them the story of “The Hidden Star”.  This is a popular story  to do with younger children, but it never tires because they are always so excited when you show them the star…  Here’s how it works:


Apple stars

The Apple Star  (author unknown)

Once there was a little boy who had played almost all day. He had played with all his toys and all the games he knew, and he could not think of anything else to do. So, he went to his mother and asked, “Mother, what shall I do now?”
His mother said, “I know about a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside. You can find it, if you go look for it.”
So the little boy went outside and there he met a little girl. He asked, “Do you know where there is a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?”
The little girl said, “No, I don’t know where there is a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside, but you can ask my daddy. He is a farmer and he knows lots of things. He’s down by the barn and maybe he can help you.”
So, the little boy went to the farmer down by the barn and said, “Do you know where there is a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?”
“No,” said the farmer, “I don’t know, but why don’t you ask Grandmother. She is in her house up on the hill. She is very wise and knows many things. Maybe she can help you.”
So, the little boy went up the hill to Grandmother’s and asked, “Do you know where there is a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?”
“No,” Grandmother answered, “I don’t know, but you ask Brother Wind, for Brother Wind goes everywhere, and I am sure he can help you.”
So, the little boy went outside and asked Brother Wind, “Do you know where I can find a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside?”
And Brother Wind said, “Ooooohhhhh! And it sounded to the little boy as if the wind said, “Come with me.” So the little boy ran after Brother Wind. He ran through the grass and into the orchard and there on the ground he found the little house – the little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside! He picked it up, and it filled both of his hands. He ran home to his mother and said, “Look, Mother! I found the little red house with no doors and no windows, but I cannot see the star!”
So this is what his mother did (cut the apple across the middle from side to side, not top to bottom) .“Now I see the star!” said the little boy.


Inside every apple sleep five seed babies in their star beds, just waiting and waiting for the wind to catch them so they too can become a little red house with no doors and no windows and a star inside!  

I didn’t do this with my little group of kiddos, but you could also do apple printing at this time… Just dip your apple star slices in tempera paint and TADA!
It is apple season!  Enjoy and have fun!





Kids in the Kitchen: Book & Recipe Lesson- Strawberry Jam

5 Sep



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



  1. Stem and crush strawberries. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Mix pectin and lemon juice in small bowl. Add to strawberry mixture; stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. 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.

courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

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!  




Juice Box Chicken

29 Jul


Back about 12 years ago when Ben and I were merely dating he (his words) “invented this recipe to woo you”! He called it, “Sautéed chicken with caramelized onions in a mustard cream sauce”. Well after 10 years of marriage and 3 children under our belts I’ve renamed it “Juice Box Chicken”.
The reason being, you begin the process by sautéing some onions in apple juice. I of course was out of apple juice one evening, but had apple juice boxes so viola- juice box chicken!

Here’s The Scoop
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (6 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup apple juice or juice box 🙂
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


Slice onion and salt lightly. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft. Add apple juice and cook until reduced. place onions on a plate to the side. Add chicken to the pan; sauté until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to the plate and keep warm.

Scrape chicken juices in pan to loosen. Whisk in cream, mustard. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Add chicken and onions to cream sauce to warm. Right before serving, drizzle cream sauce over chicken. Serve and enjoy!


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