What you need:
- Ingredients for pancakes (we like these yummy recipes)
- Various fruit toppings for pancakes
- A seal-able plastic bag
- Scissors (adult use only)
- Optional – supplies for decorating
What to do:
- Declare tonight a pancake party night.
- Cut up fruit for toppings and put in individual bowls to make a pancake topping bar.
- Make pancake batter and put in seal-able bag. Cut a hole (not too big) in the corner of the bag and squeeze the batter out, writing letters to spell your child’s name or initials. The size of the hole will determine the size of the letters.
- Decorate kitchen with streamers & make party hats to add a little flair to your pancake party.
Have fun at your pancake party!
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day so we had to share some yummy, easy-to-make recipes for your family’s St. Patrick’s Day dinner.
Growing up on the Southside of Chicago where there is a large Irish population, Irish Soda Bread was always a hit and of course a competition of who could make the best Irish Soda Bread!
Irish Soda Bread
What You Need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 tbsp. butter or margarine
- 1-2/3 cups buttermilk
What To Do:
1. In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub in the cold butter or margarine until the mixture resembles a coarse mixture. Pour in most of the buttermilk; you may need slightly less, depending on the balance of white and whole wheat flour. Mix well, turn out onto a floured cutting board and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
2. Shape dough into a round loaf. Cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife and put the loaf in a greased round pan, such as a cake pan or pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Let cool before cutting. Makes one 6 inch loaf.
Using baking soda in bread started out of necessity. Yeast won’t make dough rise unless the baker uses “strong” flour, which was scarce in parts of Ireland. Baking soda, however, did leaven bread made of different flours. The baking soda has to be combined with something acidic in order to do its magic so buttermilk is used. Irish Soda Bread is a heartier bread and pairs well with soup and stews which are ample in Ireland.
Easy Corned Beef & Cabbage
- What You Need:
- 4 cups hot water
- 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 1 3-lb. corned beef round or brisket, packaged with spices
- 8 small white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
- 1 head of green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cored and cut into 10 wedges
- What To Do:
- In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, combine water, vinegar, sugar, pepper and onions. Be sure to mix them well. Put corned beef in the mixture and scatter the potatoes over the top and along the sides.
- Cover and cook on the high heat setting for 4 hours. Remove the lid and place the cabbage wedges over the top. Cover and continue cooking on high 3 to 4 hours longer, or until the beef is tender. Serve by carving the corned beef into slices and serve with the cabbage and potatoes, with some of the broth.
The Irish were the first exporters of Corned Beef. Today corned beef and cabbage is not very Irish, but corned beef is. The area of Cork, Ireland was a great producer of Corned Beef in the 1600’s until 1825. It was their chief export and sent all over the world, mostly in cans.
What yummy St. Patrick Day recipes do you have to share?
Super Bowl is a great time for families and kids to bond. We have a few easy recipes and games so that the kids can be part of the Super Bowl fun!
Super Bowl Hot Potato Use a brown balloon to represent a football. Gather kids in a circle. Start playing music while the kids try to keep the “ball” off of the ground with gentle taps.
Football Hide and Seek
Hide small football erasers, stickers, pencils and coloring books around the party area and then send the kids to search for them…It’s just like an Easter egg hunt!
Use a football cookie cutter to make sugar cookie cut outs. Then provide frosting and sprinkles for decorating. You can use Popsicle sticks will make frosting the cookies easier for the kids.
Here are some delicious recipes:
Healthier BBQ Chicken Tenders
Makes about 24
- 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
- Olive oil or canola oil cooking spray
Combine barbecue sauce, mustard and honey in a large bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce in a small bowl. Cut any large chicken tenders in half lengthwise, then add all the tenders to the large bowl with the remaining sauce; stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Coat each tender in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then roll in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Place the tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Generously coat both sides of each tender with cooking spray
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each tender over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the tenders are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Serve with the reserved sauce for dipping.
Ranch Dip and Crunchy Veggies
- 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk,
- 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups vegetables, such as baby carrots, sliced red bell peppers, snap peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, cucumber spears, grape tomatoes
Whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic powder and salt in a bowl until combined. Serve the dip with vegetables of your choice.
What activities does your family enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday?
For those of us battling below zero temperatures, it can be difficult to find indoor activities for our children. Even if warm beach days are rare in Winter, you can bring the beach indoors with this fun activity for your kids.
What you need:
- Deep blue construction paper, felt or material (even a sheet will do)
- Light blue construction paper, felt or material (again a sheet will do)
- Tan material, sheet or blanket
- Yellow construction paper, felt or material
- Beach Towels
- Non-toxic glue or safety pins
- Beach umbrellas (optional)
- Various colors of green & blue tissue paper
- Beach/Hawaiian music, sounds of waves crashing or anything else that reminds you of summer
- Summer snacks
- Summertime reading books. If you don’t have any at home, take a trip to the library.
What to do:
- You and your kids can create your own indoor beach by hanging up the light blue material or construction paper on a wall for the sky.
- Make a sun out of the yellow construction paper and hang in the “sky”.
- Put the tan blanket or sheet on the ground as sand.
- Next to the “sand” put down fish and waves that you cut out of the tissue paper.
- Turn on the music & start your beach party.
- You can read to your kids, lay out on the beach towels, snack on summertime foods, etc.
- Have your kids wear their favorite summer outfit and sunglasses. If it’s too cold in the house to do that, you can have them put a bright colored summer t-shirt over their winter shirt.
We love this Pink lemonade pie recipe for your beach party sent to us from @StepanieCHicks on Twitter:
After all the excitement of the holidays, you may be hearing from your children “I’m bored!” This snowman craft will surely keep them entertained and snowman soup will keep them warm while crafting!
What you need:
- Cotton balls (about 40 per snowman)
- Blue construction paper (1 sheet per child)
- Black construction paper or googly eyes
- Orange construction paper or pom poms
- Non-toxic glue
- Scissors for adult use only
- Squeeze some glue onto a paper plate and let the children scoop bits of glue with a popsicle stick because squeezing glue right onto the paper can get messy. Glue sticks are a great “not-so-messy” alternative.
- Have the children glue cotton balls in two or three stacked circles to make a snowman shape
- Cut out construction paper shapes if you are not using googly eyes or colored pom poms (adults can do this prior to craft time for young children)
BLACK: 5 large circles per snowman (2 eyes and 3 buttons)
BLACK: 5 small circles per snowman (for the mouth)
BLACK: hat shape (rectangle with a square on top)
ORANGE: Cut out one triangle per snowman (nose)
ORANGE (or brown): Long rectangle shapes (arms)
*We used colored pom pom balls instead of construction paper
5. Have the children glue their snowman faces, buttons, hat and arms to their cotton ball snowman.
- Packet of hot chocolate
- Chocolate kiss
- Candy cane
- Sandwich bag
- Note paper
What to Do:
Put the ingredients in a sandwich bag with a note to your child that this is snowman soup eaten by many famous snowmen families such as Frosty the Snowman’s family. To make their snowman soup just add contents (except for the candy cane) in a mug, add boiling water and have them stir it with the candy cane.
What winter recipes and crafts do you like to do with your children?
Holiday recipes often are passed on from family member to family member. We decided to do the same with our Kolcraft family. We hosted a holiday cookie exchange complete with cookies, cakes, hot chocolate, homemade apple cider and all sorts of delicious coffees.
Every bite was a delight to the taste-buds so we decided to not only share pictures from the event, but also a few recipes for you to try out with your family!
Butter Oatmeal Cookies
1 ¼ cups Flour
1 ½ cups Quick Oatmeal
1 cup Butter
¾ cup Sugar
Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and mix. Add oatmeal and mix well together. Make into small balls and press down with fork on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Magic Raspberry Cookie Bars
2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
1 can 14oz sweetened condensed milk
1 ¼ cups seedless red raspberry preserves
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar. Add margarine/butter. Toss until combined. Press onto bottom of 13x9x2 baking pan. Evenly drizzle sweetened condensed milk over crumbs. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Spoon preserves over top. Sprinkle with coconut and nuts. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes until light brown. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Yields 24.
Do you have a favorite cookie that you make at Holiday time?
It’s holiday time and often that means an overdose of sugar. We have a holiday treat that is fun to make & good for you! We love these fruit snowmen that we know your kids will love to make and eat! (We didn’t have the carrot for the nose or the pretzel sticks for the arms so we made due with what we had. They look cuter with pretzel arms )
- Bamboo skewers
- Pretzel sticks
1. For each snowman, you will need three thick slices of banana, a grape, a sliver of carrot, and a triangular piece of apple.
2. Slide the fruit onto the skewer, and then use the carrot slivers for noses, raisins for eyes and buttons, and pretzel sticks for arms.
Experiment with other fruit and vegetables!
What healthy holiday recipes do you have to share?
It’s the long lull of Winter, but the cold brings some wonderful nutritious vegetables for you and your family! Sweetened Acorn Squash is an easy recipe to prepare and is packed with nutrients!
- Acorn squash
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (if frozen, be sure to thaw before using)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or a teaspoon of Cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into cubes
- Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Place in a roasting pan and add 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan.
- Put a cube of butter in each acorn half.
- Put about half a teaspoon of Cinnamon in each half.
- Divide the cranberries between the acorn halves (if you don’t add Cinnamon, you can drizzle maple syrup on top the squash).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour, or until the squash feels tender when pierced with a small, sharp knife and the cranberries are tender and juicy.
Tell us some of your Winter Veggie recipes!
While it may seem like we just finished Trick or Treating with our children, Thanksgiving really is next week! We wanted to share with you some recipes, crafts and activities that you can take to your own Thanksgiving family celebration.
- We love Jamie Oliver’s very tasty and healthy Thanksgiving recipes. We give the roast potatoes, parsnips and carrots 5 stars! Check it out on the Jamie Oliver website.
- Food Network has some great side dish recipes that we love. We highly recommend Alton’s Superstar Mac & Cheese.
- These DIY Turkey muffins are so fun for your kids and healthy too!
- How about a healthy fruit turkey for the table?
- One of our favorites for your leftover turkey that is sure to delight kids and adults alike - Turkey nuggets!
Activities & Crafts:
- Have your kids color their own Thanksgiving placements with these Thanksgiving printable pages! Disney also has some cute printable Thanksgiving pages here.
- How about having some family fun with Thanksgiving BINGO!
- A mosaic cornucopia will add a great splash of color to your Thanksgiving decor and show off your child’s artistic talent!
- These adorable place cards will definitely bring smiles to your Thanksgiving table.
- Need to work up to a dessert appetite after your big meal? Try one of these fun family Thanksgiving games!
No matter if you have 2 or 20 people at your table, your Thanksgiving can be memorable. We especially love the tradition of going around the table and each person saying one thing they are grateful for from the past year. What Thanksgiving traditions do you have to share?
Kolcraft believes in manufacturing the best in innovative baby products and one way we fuel our creativity is through food smackdowns where we pick a theme, cook up a storm, taste test and vote.
The theme of this last smackdown was Fall Fruit. It was hard to pick a winner since we had a variety of treats ranging from fall fruit crisps, upside down apple pie, apple strudel and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to name a few. The winner was Bonnie in our fashion department who made the yumalicious (yes, that is the correct word to describe this recipe) Apple-Pecan Cheesecake!
Bonnie shared her recipe with us. We know it will be a hit with your family too!
- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar, divided
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 eggs
- 3 apples, peeled, chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Heat oven to 325°F
- Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Mix crumbs, butter and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar; press onto bottom of pan.
- Beat cream cheese, 1 cup brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust. Combine remaining brown sugar, apples, nuts and cinnamon; spoon over batter.
- Bake 55 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.
Do you have any Fall fruit recipes to share with us? We would be happy to try them out in our Kolcraft kitchen!