Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Ever heard of Aebleskivers?

June 19, 2010

Last week, the Blog Pantry, our Twin Cities women’s blogging group, met at Local D’Lish to make aebleskivers and collect donations for the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

Local D’Lish is a neighborhood grocery store featuring many, many local, organic, and sustainable foods, located at 208 N 1st Street in downtown Minneapolis.  Their local spring produce provided a feast for the eyes as well as the palette.  If you live in the Twin Cities, I’d definitely check it out!  They’ve even got an urban farming set up where they use fish in a tank to fertilize small indoor crops of greens.  Your kids will think it’s cool!

Aebleskivers are Danish spherical pancakes and they are a blast to make.  My mom made them when I was a kid, but I hadn’t had one in years.  You use a special pan to cook them and can put a sweet or savory treat in the middle as they brown.  We filled ours with bacon, apples, chocolate, herbs, strawberries-you name it, and dipped some in jam, honey or homemade caramel sauce when we ate them.  (They’re also great with butter and syrup.)  Yum!

Chad from Aunt Else’s Aebleskivers was there to demonstrate how to turn them with a stainless steel chopstick as they cooked and we had a contest to see who could make the best one!

Kids would have a great time making these (with proper supervision, of course.)  I think I’ll buy an aebleskiver pan for my parents’ cabin, where we have time for fun, leisurely breakfasts.

If you’re looking for a pan, or anything else you need to make these Dutch treats, go to Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver‘s website.  They’re a local company that makes organic aebleskiver mix, gluten-free aebleskiver mix & aebleskiver pans.  (Their pans are made at a small, local foundry.) They also make fresh aebleskiverseach Saturday at the Mill City Farmer’s Market, which is a great family destination!

My favorite food find at Local D’Lish was the garlic pepper jelly from Lucille’s Kitchen Garden.   They make delicious savory pepper jams that are friendly to the Minnesota palate and a new line of Little Lucy’s fruit spreads with amazing combinations like Strawberry-Vanilla & Raspberry-Lime.  You can find their preserves at  stores and their booth at the Mill City Farmer’s Market.

Do you have any favorite, fun foods you like to make with your kids?

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Tasty Pretzel Wreaths

December 19, 2009

Here’s an idea for some quick, easy holiday treats that your kids will love to make and you will all love to eat.  You’ll  just need circular pretzels (they have them at most grocery stores this time of year), almond bark or white chocolate, and green sprinkles.  I found some sprinkles at our local grocery store (Byerly’s) that looked like holly leave and berries and looked great on the little wreaths.

Melt the chocolate or almond bark in the microwave.  Have your child drop the pretzels in the melted goo and fish them out with tongs or a chopstick, shaking off the excess.  Lay them on some waxed paper or a cookies sheet and , before they dry, sprinkle them with whatever you want.  We put some sprinkles on the waxed paper before we put the pretzels on so there would be green on both sides of the wreaths. 

Voila!  Enjoy!

Fun with Marzipan

December 14, 2009

For my book club holiday party last week I decided to make a “Buche de Noel”, or Yule Log cake.  I’ve always wanted to make one, just to see whether I could do it.  It was helpful to watch the how-to video (courtesy of Nick Malgieri, author of Perfect Cakes) at  http://tinyurl.com/ydw4eqo  The marzipan link is http://tinyurl.com/yejoalp  and you can find the other videos for finishing the cake on the same page as these videos.

Most people either love marzipan or hate it.  I don’t feel that strongly about it either way, but it is REALLY fun to play with!  Last week, instead of making it, I bought it pre-made and colored it by kneading in food coloring or cocoa powder.  Then, the kids and I used it to make little mushrooms and pinecones to decorate the Yule Log cake that I made.  It would be great for decorating birthday cakes and cupcakes. 

 Marzipan is made from almonds and sugar, so if your child has a nut allergy, this might not be a project for you.  

The video shows you step-by-step how to make marzipan pine cones, mushrooms and holly.  Even my three-year old could make the berries and smear cocoa on the mushrooms. 

Try it sometime!  You and your kids will love playing with this edible play dough.

Note:  I used Nick Malgieri’s recipe on foodnetwork.com.  The cake was great, but next time I’ll make chocolate buttercream frosting. (The kids didn’t love the espresso and rum in the frosting.)

Graham Cracker Cottages

December 9, 2009

There is an ideal way to do things, and then there is the way you actually end up doing them.

I’ve been doing this project with my kids for years.  Usually I do it right, mixing up frosting and gluing the little houses together ahead of time so that the kids can decorate them later, when they’re dry and sturdy.  This year, friends came over and I didn’t have any frosting mixed up, so I let the kids put the houses together with spray-can frosting and decorate them an hour or so later.  There was lots of shoddy construction and many walls collapsed and had to be pushed back up and reinforced with candy canes, but it didn’t really matter.   The kids loved it as much as ever.

To make graham cracker cottages, you will need graham crackers, paper plates, spray-on frosting in cans (the kind that comes with plastic decorating tips) and lots of candy to decorate with.  Making your own frosting is simple too.  I’ll include the recipes at the end of this post! For the hard frosting used to glue the crackers together, you’ll need powdered sugar, egg whites (I’d recommend pasteurized eggs), and cream of tartar. For the softer decorating frosting, you’ll need powdered sugar, butter, and a little milk.  If you make your own frosting, don’t forget to have a pastry tube and decorating tips for applying the frosting to the graham crackers!

Building the cottages:  First, break the graham crackers into squares.  Put a dab of frosting (spray-can or egg-white frosting)  on a paper plate and stick a square to the frosting.  Then, pipe frosting around the square (on the plate) and put up four square walls by sort of leaning the crackers together.  Pipe frosting between the cracks to hold the walls together.  Now, pipe frosting around the tops of the walls and lean two graham cracker squares together to form a roof for your cottage. Pipe more frosting at the top of the roof and onto any exposed graham cracker edges to make it look pretty.  If possible, allow the cottage(s) to dry until the frosting is hard.

Decorating the cottages: Have your child pipe spray-can or soft frosting onto the cottage and stick pieces of candy and cookies onto the frosting to decorate the them.  Younger children may need help applying the frosting, but they like to do it themselves, so let them try, even if it doesn’t look perfect!  I always make a cottage that I can decorate too, so I don’t try to take over my kids’ projects.  After all, why should  kids have all the fun?

Royal Icing (for gluing cottage together): To one pound powdered sugar, add three egg whites and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar.  Beat until firm.  (The more you stir this icing, the firmer it will get.) Cover with a moist cloth until use.

Butter Icing (for decorating): Cream 4 Tbs. butter until very soft.  Add two cups powdered sugar and mix thoroughly.  Add a drop or two of milk at a time if the mixture is too stiff to pipe through your decorating tube.  You want to make it soft enough for your kids to push out easily, but not so runny that it won’t hold its shape.  Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out and it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Marshmallow Snowpeople

December 3, 2009

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With the holidays approaching fast, I thought I’d repost this fun project.  Kids love it.   (Just be prepared for the sugar insanity that will follow!) 

You will need big (and or small) marshmallows, Popsicle sticks (to use as frosting knives), oreos, frosting, small pretzel sticks (optional) and edible gel marker pens (also optional).  Remember, you can easily make frosting with powdered sugar and milk (butter and vanilla are a delicious addition.)  Stiffer frosting works better since the frosting is the “glue” for the project.   Canned frosting works just fine too.

Using the oreo as a base, simply have your children add frosting to the oreo.  Then, they can build a snowman, adding one marshmallow at a time, gluing the sections together with frosting.  The pretzels can be stuck in as arms.  It works well to have your children draw the faces on their snowmen before gluing the heads on.  You can  find the frosting gel pens at many grocery stores!

Have fun!

Yummy Hot Dog Mummies

October 23, 2009

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This was the easiest part of our Halloween feast and the kids devoured them. 

You’ll only need hot dogs (I like to buy preservative-free hot dogs when I can,) and refrigerated breadstick dough.  Pillsbury recommends an 11oz can for 12 hot dogs.  We couldn’t find breadstick dough, so I had the kids cut refrigerated cresent roll dough into strips and it worked pretty well.  You’ll also want to have ketchup and mustard on hand if your kids are dippers.

Just pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Unroll the dough and separate it into strips.  Show your child how to cut each strip in half  lengthwise and then in half  crosswise to create four long strips.  You should end up with around 48 pieces of dough.

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Have your child wrap four or so pieces of dough around each hot dog, stretching the dough to look like mummy bandages.  They can make a hole between the bandages at one end where the face might be, if they want to.  Our mummies were far from perfect, but the kids didn’t care.  They had fun cutting and wrapping the dough.

Bake your mummies for 13 to 17 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.  Your kids can use mustard to draw faces on their mummies before they eat them.  My kids also thought it was really funny to call the ketchup “blood.”  Thanks again for the great ideas, Pillsbury!  Bon Appetite!

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Marshmallow Monsters

October 21, 2009

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This project  is very easy and so much fun.  The kids absolutely loved it and the results were cute and creative.

All you need are marshmallows, pretzel rods, a can of white frosting, food coloring (optional) and candy to decorate with.  We used sprinkles, candy corn and M&Ms, but it would also be fun to cut up licorice. to use as hair or whiskers.  Regular and mini chocolate chips would be great too.  The Pillsbury magazine suggested making capes from fruit rolls.

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First, carefully push the pretzel rods into the flat side of the marshmallows so they won’t fall off.  Then, melt the frosting until soft in the microwave (20 or 30 seconds should do it.)  Divide the frosting into two or three cups and help your child color it green or orange or purple with a few drops of food coloring.  Kids love to stir.  Now, have your child dip each marshmallow into the frosting and help them smooth it with a knife.   Let them decorate the marshmallows to create cats and witches and aliens.  It’s fun to see what great things they can come up with on their own.

Stand the completed “monsters” up in water glasses or jars to display. 

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Friday I’ll post how to make “Yummy Hot Dog Mummies” and the feast will be complete!

Creepy Meatball Caterpillars

October 19, 2009

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The kids loved making this creative, kid-friendly finger food for our Halloween lunch.  Best of all, they could easily do most of it all by themselves.  All I did was put the caterpillars in the oven and move them onto serving trays.   Thanks again for the idea, Pillsbury!

All you need to make your meatball caterpillar is a can of Pillsbury Golden Layers refrigerated flaky original biscuits (I accidentally bought the extra big ones, which worked just fine,) and a bag of frozen pre-cooked turkey meatballs, which have been thawed ahead of time.  Shoestring potatoes or chow mein noodles make cute legs for your caterpillar, but we forgot to put legs on ours.  You will also want to slice up pickles, carrots, olives, peppers and anything else you can think of for your kids to use as decorations.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Cover two cookie sheets with foil and spray them with cooking spray so your caterpillars won’t stick.  I forgot to spray mine, but was able to get the meatballs off.

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Have your child separate the dough into individual biscuits, and then separate each biscuit into two layers.  We found that the biscuits pulled apart easily.  You should now have around 20 pieces of dough.  Show your child how to wrap a biscuit around each meatball and line the wrapped meatballs up on the cookie sheet in a curved line, touching to form a caterpillar shape.  You will be able to make two caterpillars of around 10 meatballs each.

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Now it’s time to decorate!  Let your child place veggies and herbs on each meatball (or every other one to leave some plain for picky eaters.)  Some of the decorations may fall off during cooking, but my kids didn’t seem to care.  Put the shoestring potato legs on at this point, if you have them.  Bake your creations for 13 to 16 minutes, or until the bread looks done.

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Move your caterpillar onto a serving tray, if you want to.  It will probably come apart, but just reassemble it on the tray.  Serve with ketchup and mustard, or marinara sauce.  We served baby dill pickles with our lunch and called them goblin fingers.  The kids loved it. 

Coming soon:  Marshmallow Monsters and Yummy Hot Dog Mummies.

Halloween Feast: Gobble-up Ghosts

October 16, 2009

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Yesterday, my kids and a few friends spent the morning making a creepy, delicious Halloween feast.   They had at least as much fun making the food as they did eating it.  I’m going to post the recipes in a series of blogs over the next week.  All of the ideas are from a Pillsbury Halloween magazine.  Thanks  for the great ideas Pillsbury!

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These Gobble-up Ghosts were fun to make and taste as good as they look. 

You’ll need pretzel sticks, some fruit roll-ups, a package or two of white vanilla baking chips or almond bark and some mini chocolate chips.

Have your child line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper.  Then, have them unroll the fruit snacks and cut them into pieces around 1 inch long.  Show them how to cut a 3/4 inch fringe on the long side of the strip.  Then, have them stretch and wrap the uncut end of the fruit roll-up around the end of a pretzel stick to form a broom.  Have them space the brooms out on the waxed paper.

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Melt the white chocolate according to the directions (I like to use the microwave so I don’t burn it) and help your child drop the melted chocolate onto the pretzels to look like ghosts.  Remind them that they look better if they’re NOT perfect.  Ghosts are blobs, after all.  Then, have them put mini chocolate chips on the ghosts to form faces.  Be sure to do this before the white chocolate hardens.

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Let them cool and harden and peel them from the paper.  Voila!   Try to share them with your kids, even if you want to gobble them all up yourself.  I know I couldn’t resist them.

Coming soon:  Creepy Meatball Caterpillars, Yummy Hot Dog Mummies and Marshmallow Monsters