What Do You Think of My New Makeover?

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We made our traditional Christmas cookies on Monday (we added mint flavoring this year though, YUM!)  We had the Christmas trees, stars, bells, hearts, my son decided to make a nativity, a neighbor boy made a sign of “I love you” for his Mom…it was so fun and cute and the kids loved it.

I was really touched though when my oldest daughter (5 yrs old) brought me this little creation….”Mom!” she said beaming, ” It’s you! I made it for you!” It was so darling, and I loved how she tried to match my hair and eyes, it was one of those “Melt” moments that just sends a burst of joy through you.

It wasn’t until today that I was looking at it and the thought came to me, “Is this just a 5 year old creation or does she really think I look like an 80’s country singer?”….Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, it said “I love you, Mom”,  no matter what.

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Pumpkin Rolls

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So, I know Halloween is over but wouldn’t it be cute to have one of these next to everyone’s place at your Thanksgiving dinner?

This is the one my 3 yr-old made and we had all of the neighborhood kids over to make them. Super fun and super easy.

Just use your favorite bread recipe. Set aside 1/4 of the batter (when you only have about 1/4 of the flour in so the dough is still rather runny). Dye this small portion green and add extra flour to make a stiffer dough to use as the stem.

Dye the larger portion of the dough orange. Make the rolls into large balls and roll them in cinnamon and sugar after you’ve put on the stem.

I wish I had taken a picture of the larger one I made. I made the ball and then stuck my thumb deep into the middle before sticking the stem in. It made it look more like a pumpkin, even after baking.

This was simple, fun, festive and the kids loved it!

Cinnamon Roll-up Pancakes

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Ok, I promise to get back to discipline on the next post but I just had to share this new find! If you’re on a diet you might want to skip this one. Unless you’re on my diet, the “eat-whatever-looks-good” diet, if you are you’ll LOVE this recipe!

So, I’m sure the majority of you already know about cinnnamon-roll pancakes but for those of you who don’t you should definitely check out this recipe: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/breakfast/other-breakfast/cinnamon-roll-pancakes-2.html

They are AMAZING! Not health food. Not anywhere close. But totally delish!

But as usual, I couldn’t leave the recipe alone and had to mess with it. Mostly, I wanted something quicker and that omitted foods to which we have sensitivities.

So here is what I came up with:

4 cups all-purpose flour
8 tsps baking powder
2 tsp. salt1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients, then add

6-ish cups almond milk(we’re going for almost crepe batter consistency)
4 tbsps vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla

4 large eggsMix well and cook like normal pancakes only make them larger (6-8 inches across)
GLAZE
1/2 cup vegetable oil spread (or butter, you can omit this too)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla(can be omitted, or try maple or mint!)Almond milk (or water or milk) to desired consistency

Once you’ve cooked the pancakes just drizzle the desired amount of glaze on them and roll them up like a crepe and you’ve got a cinnamon roll pancake that tastes just as good in 1/2 the time as the original recipe! Yum!

Welcome Fall

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I’ve always loved fall. Brisk, but not too cold. Beautifully colorful hillsides. The sweet smell of harvest and leaves piling up. The gentle rain. Warm, savory soups and sweet, spicy baked goods. MMMMM, love it! Of course those are my memories of fall.

We live in Mexico now and though there is a wet and dry season and you can tell the slight changes of the seasons its a bit harder to notice. We’ve actually lived in Latin America the majority (for my oldest) and all ( for the rest) of my children’s lives. So when it comes time to study seasons I take it on like we take on history. A worldwide view.

I always start with what the “typical” seasonal changes that I grew up with in the Northwest United States, and that most of my children are familiar with because of visits to my extended family. Then we talk about where we are living and the similarities and differences. Then we talk about where my husband’s extended family lives, on a tropical island in Africa, the similarities and differences there. We try to look at videos and pictures of all over the world and observe as much as we can. The great part is that you can cover science, geography, writing, reading, art, music, dance…and just about everything else with a study of the seasons!

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We began our study of Fall today as part of our nature studies. We talked about the signs and why they happen. The kids collaborated on a clay sculpture of an autumn scene. My son decided that we needed clay figures of boys throwing leaves and getting stuck in a pile of leaves, hahaha! Then we went to the park to enjoy some fun running around, even the weather cooperated to feign fall, the hurricanes on the coast are giving us some very autumn-isc rain-storms.

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I guess old habits are hard to break though! I still had to make some pumpkin bread today to celebrate. Yum!

Mint (Yerbabuena) Cookies

Mint (Yerbabuena) cookies

When I ran out of food coloring for St. Patrick’s Day last year I decided to just make do and ended up with this recipe. We like it so much we make even when the green isn’t required!

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar (scant)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 cup mint leaves (no stems, packed)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
In a blender, blend wet ingredients until mint leaves are pureed and everything is thoroughly blended (I also put the sugar in because ours is less processed and thus gives a “grainy” texture to cookies, so if I mix it first in the blender with the wet ingredients it resolves some of that issue).
Pour the wet ingredients into dry and mix well to form a cookie dough.
Chill dough for at least 20 minutes before using.
Use as you would sugar cookie dough. To make the shamrocks we rolled three small balls and set them in the shamrock leaf shape on the cookie sheet and rolled a snake/worm type piece for the stem. Do not flatten the dough, as using oil makes the cookies spread more. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Cookies!….well, almost

Cookies!....well, almost

Here are the butterfly metamorphosis salt-clay creations my children were creating when they decided to also “act it out” in the video I posted yesterday. I forgot to tell my husband about our activity though and he thought the one’s my two year old had created (the round ones at the top) were cookies! Oops! Needless to say he got his salt intake for the day!