Activities and fun with Children of All Ages.

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Now We’re Cooking!

It’s been a hot, hot summer so far!  Wednesday, when I picked up my dog from the vet, it was 116 degrees!  This is the perfect weather for making a solar cooker with your grandchildren.  I found these directions on Home training tools with great explanations on the science happening.

Have fun and make some memories along with some hot dogs.

Build a Solar Oven

<<Solar & Alternative Energy Kits

You can use the sun’s energy to heat up a tasty treat with this simple solar oven! (Get an adult to help you with the cutting.)

Download our Solar Oven Recipes to get ideas for what to make with your solar oven.

Materials:

  • Cardboard pizza box (the kind delivered pizza comes in)
  • Box knife or scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear tape
  • Plastic wrap (a heavy-duty or freezer zip lock bag will also work)
  • Black construction paper
  • Newspapers
  • Ruler, or wooden spoon

What to Do: 
diy solar oven

  1. Use a box knife or sharp scissors to cut a flap in the lid of the pizza box. Cut along three sides, leaving about an inch between the sides of the flap and the edges of the lid. Fold this flap out so that it stands up when the box lid is closed.
  2. Cover the inner side of the flap with aluminum foil so that it will reflect rays from the sun. To do this, tightly wrap foil around the flap, then tape it to the back, or outer side of the flap.
  3. Use clear plastic wrap to create an airtight window for sunlight to enter into the box. Do this by opening the box and taping a double layer of plastic wrap over the opening you made when you cut the flap in the lid. Leave about an inch of plastic overlap around the sides and tape each side down securely, sealing out air. If you use a plastic bag, cut out a square big enough to cover the opening, and tape one layer over the opening.
  4. Line the bottom of the box with black construction paper – black absorbs heat. The black surface is where your food will be set to cook.
  5. To insulate your oven so it holds in more heat, roll up sheets of newspaper and place them on the bottom of the box. Tape them down so that they form a border around the cooking area. The newspaper rolls should make it so that the lid can still close, but there is a seal inside of the box, so air cannot escape.
  6. The best hours to set up your solar oven are when the sun is high overhead – from 11 am to 3 pm. Take it outside to a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most sunlight possible is reflecting off the aluminum foil and onto the plastic-covered window. Use a ruler to prop the flap at the right angle. You may want to angle the entire box by using a rolled up towel.
  7. You can make toast by buttering a slice of bread, or sprinkling cheese on it, then letting the sun do the rest. Cooking a hot dog or making nachos with chips and cheese are also fun treats to make in your solar oven! It would also work great to heat up leftovers. So the paper at the bottom doesn’t get dirty, put what you would like to cook on a clear plastic or glass plate. A pie plate would work well.
  8. To take food out of the oven, open up the lid of the pizza box, and using oven mitts or potholders, lift the glass dish out of the oven.

What’s happening?

The heat from the sun is trapped inside of your pizza box solar oven, and it starts getting very hot. Ovens like this one are called collector boxes, because they collect the sunlight inside. As it sits out in the sun, your oven eventually heats up enough to melt cheese, or cook a hot dog! How does it happen? Rays of light are coming to the earth at an angle. The foil reflects the ray, and bounces it directly into the opening of the box. Once it has gone through the plastic wrap, it heats up the air that is trapped inside. The black paper absorbs the heat at the bottom of the oven, and the newspaper make sure that the heat stays where it is, instead of escaping out the sides of the oven.

Your solar oven will reach about 200° F on a sunny day, and will take longer to heat things than a conventional oven. Although this method will take longer, it is very easy to use, and it is safe to leave alone while the energy from the sun cooks your food. If you do not want to wait long to have a solar-cooked dish, try heating up something that has already been cooked, like leftovers, or a can of soup. Putting solid food in a glass dish and liquids in a heavy plastic zip lock bag works well. You can also pre-heat your oven by setting it in direct sun for up to an hour.

Other recipes you may want to try are making baked potatoes, rice with vegetables, chocolate fondue, s’mores, and roasted apples with cinnamon and sugar. Even on partly cloudy days there may be enough heat and light from the sun to slow cook a special dish. Here are a few tips for having success with your solar oven:

  • Stir liquids (if you’re cooking something like fondue, rice, or soup) every 10 minutes. You can rotate solid food every 10-15 minutes as well, so it cooks evenly.
  • Reposition your solar oven when needed, so that it faces direct sunlight. You should be checking periodically on your oven, to make sure it is in the sun.
  • Make sure that the foil-covered flap is reflecting light into the pizza box, through the plastic-covered window.

June in Arizona means APPLES

June in the Sonoran Desert  means apple crisp, applesauce, apple leather, dried apples, frozen apples, apple bread, apple muffins, apple cookies….you get the idea.

Image  This is a picture of one of my apple trees.  We got a bumper crop this year from both trees!  With this wonderful crop there are a lot of activities that can be done with the grands involving apples.  This week I will blog about three.  Applesauce, apple leather and apple printing.

Apple sauce is a yummy, healthy, fun, easy food to make.  There are a few things that you will want the younger grands to sit out on.  If they are old enough and can handle a pairing knife they can help with all steps of making apple sauce.

Step 1 – pick and wash the apples.  Don’t worry if they have a little bruise or two.  It adds flavor.  Wash carefully.  If the apples are not organic put them in a sink full of cold water and about 1/4 cup white vinegar for about ten minutes.

Step 2 – cook the apples. If you have a nice colander for making applesauce you don’t need to peel them.  If you are not using a colander peel and core the apples  I like putting them in the crock pot with about 2 cups of water on high.  It only takes a couple of hours.  You can do apple prints or carve apple head dolls while you wait.   If you cook them on the stove it takes about 1/2 an hour.

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Step 3 – When the apples are done cooking they will be soft and slightly yellowish.  They will smell sweet.

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Put them in a colander or sieve.  If you have an applesauce colander, just use the wooden pestle to smush the cooked apples to get all the yummy juice and pulp out.

If you do not have an applesauce colander, put the apples in a regular colander over a bowl and use a wooden spoon to squish the applesauce out.  The kids LOVE to do this and watch all the sauce coming out the bottom.

4.  After all the applesauce is out of the peels just compost the peels or give them to the dogs.  You can add sugar and or cinnamon to the applesauce at this point.

One of my fondest memories as a kid is making applesauce and watching as my mom pulled the jars of fresh applesauce from the canning pot.  We took great pride putting them away knowing that we would have yummy applesauce to eat all winter whenever we wanted it.

What are some of your favorite apple memories?  Have you ever made apple head dolls?  Apple prints? Apple butter?

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Chill Out Sunday

Ahhh, Sunday. Sunday is my day to chill, hang out with my sweety and experiment with food, art, whatever. Let's make Sunday a blog hop day.

Rules: there are no rules! Blog away.

 

This is a fun blog with all sorts of healthy, fun kid treats.

Cook Up a Story

Why do Mares and Does eat oats?” asks Will. “Oats look like dry little bits of paper. Ugh. Does Bambi’s mom know something we don’t?”

View original post 634 more words

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Making the BLOB or Making Fun Healthy Drinks

Mac-n-cheese, cookies, cupcakes, krispie treats, all fun foods. Healthy? NOT.

Make Kombucha, grow your won SCOBY (the blob) and give your grands something wonderful and healthy to boot.

Kombucha is fermented sweet tea. During the fermentation process most of the sugar is consumed and during the second fermentation a nice fizz develops; taking the place of obesity causing soda pop. Komucha provides healthy yeast and bacterium that your body needs to stay healthy and combat everyday exposures to environmental toxins.

To make Komucha you need a SCOBY or Mother. You can order a SCOBY from Cultures for Life or you can make your own with these instructions. If you make your own do this activity with your grands. Bring them back a few weeks later to see the blob they have helped create. Let them help you with the next step, making the kombucha by following the link. Make sure they get to drink some with one of your wonderful, only-at-grandma’s-house meals.

This activity takes time and lots of visits from your grands to complete but it is totally worth it. Continue making the kombucha and giving yourself and your loved ones the nutrients they need.

What kind of healthy and fun foods or drinks do you make with your grands?

Next post we will make all sorts of play dough.

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