Thursday, September 25, 2014

Banana Bread Granola - Kids in the Kitchen

(4 1/2 Years)

Do you like granola?  Little Miss loves crunchies (granola) in her yogurt and on the side of her yogurt.  Since Wild One and Little Miss love cooking, I thought granola would be a fun baking project for us AND who doesn't absolutely l-o-v-e banana bread?

If you haven't baked anything with your little one(s), this granola is a terrific one to begin with.  The measurements are very forgiving, especially with a little one doing the measuring.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, it's from The Minimalist Baker.  I love their recipes, they are one of my favorite sites to find something delicious and nutritious.

This Banana Bread Granola is as good as it sounds.  It's fantastic!  It's already almost gone (do you see the jar in the background- we only made this last week).  We'll be baking up another batch in a few days.

Banana Bread Granola
1 medium ripe banana (about 1/2 cup)
3 cups rolled oats (Gluten-free is fine)
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 Tbsp raw sugar
1 Tbsp flax seed, I used ground
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Measure and pour the rolled oats into a large bowl.

This is also a great time to practice leveling off dry ingredients- we usually use the back of a butter knife, but Wild One wanted to use his fingers like The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten (one of his favorite chefs).

 Measure and pour in the chopped walnuts.

We must sample the ingredients.  He said that on Master Chef, Chef Gordon tries the cooks's food as they are still cooking.

 Measure and add in the chopped pecans.

 Now add in the raw sugar.

Sprinkle in the flax seed and salt.

Mix well with a wooden spoon that can also be used as a drum stick (thank you again Aunt Jeanine and Uncle Keith).

In a small sauce pan, melt the coconut oil and then add the honey.  Add the bananas off the heat and mash.

 Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry and mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed baking half-sheet, or jelly roll pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the oats, nuts, sugar, flax seed,cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil.  Add in the honey or maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir until completely incorporated.  Add in mashed banana, mix well.
4. Pour wet ingredients on top of dry ingredients, mix well.
5. Spread onto a half-sheet jelly roll (or baking sheet).  Try to flatten into an even layer.
6. Bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown.
7.  If you like it in a bunch of tiny pieces, break it up with a spatula as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Leave on the baking sheet to cool.  If you like it clumpy (like Little Miss and I do) barely break it up with a spatula.  If yolike it in a bunch of tiny pieces, break it up with a spatula as soon as it comes out of the oven.
8. Store in a glass jar for up to three weeks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Healthy Chunky Monkey Breakfast Cookies- Kids in the Kitchen

(4 1/2 Years)

We love baking together.  The measuring, pouring, mixing, mashing, tasting.  We are in the kitchen baking something at least every other day, and there are weeks - especially during the rainy season and Christmas season when we are baking every day.

One of our favorite breakfasts and afternoon snacks is this cookie from Maryea at Happy Healthy Mama.  You've seen this on here before.  We started making her recipe (ok, we adapted it slightly) since they were two years old!

Chunky Monkey Breakfast Cookies aka Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites
4 ripe small bananas, about 1 1/3 cups, mashed
2 cups gluten-free oats or regular rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats)
*1/3 cup peanut butter - we use Skippy Natural Dark Chocolate or whatever we have on hand
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pitted dates, chopped small
*2/3 cup of chopped nuts, we usually use walnuts and pecans
*1/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
*1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips

Mix everything together in a large bowl.  Let sit for about 15 minutes.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Drop the mixture using tablespoon portions on a silpat or parchment lined baking tray, press down slightly to look like a cookie, or leave rolled into a ball (these will not spread).  Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are golden.  That's it!

Look at how speckled our bananas are.  Those are perfect for baking!  Mash those bananas- forget the fork, when you make banana bread and banana muffins and banana pancakes as often as we do, we use a potato masher.  It's faster and easier.

Look at that smile!  He loves squishing and mashing the bananas.

Add in your rolled oats and walnuts.

Pour in the pecans and peanut butter.

Add in the chopped dates, unsweetened coconut and bittersweet chocolate chips.

Add the vanilla.  Mix well.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes.  This is when I start preheating my oven.

Bake for 15 minutes.  

Delicious!  Packed with healthy goodies and chocolate.  Enjoy!

Easy and Fun Halloween Knock Down Game

(4 1/2 Years)

We love playing games, board games, running games, cards games.  We love them all!  While searching for fun carnival-style games for our school's Fall Festival, I saw a knock down game made with painted coffee cans.  They were so adorable, but also very time consuming, plus I don't have ten coffee cans just lying around.

Hmmmm.... I know, I'll use orange Solo cups!  They are perfect for this project.  Inexpensive.  Stackable.  Easy to decorate.  Easy to store.  Heck, they are even recyclable!  Sold!

Materials Needed:
Orange Solo Cups - we used ten
Black Sharpies
Pin pong ball or a wadded up paper lunch bag

Wild One and Little Miss wanted to help- yes, you can practice writing and strengthen your fine motor skills.

This only took about twenty minutes to create our ten scary faces.  Then it was time to PLAY!  First Little Miss stacked the cups.

And... then Wild One knocked them down!

So much fun!  Oh and we're learning.  We're carefully building and using fine motor skills.  We're using critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills.  We're using hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.  More importantly we're having fun!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Easy Frankenstein Decorations

(4 1/2 Years)

Wild One asked that we decorate for Halloween during Labor Day- LABOR DAY- weekend!   That's right, early September and we are decorating for Halloween.  They were so excited when I told them that we could start putting up all of their decorations, I wish I had it on film.  They are hilarious!

Well, after we put up all of our decorations, I realized- I don't have a lot of Halloween decorations.  Which is just fine, because the next question from Wild One was to make new decorations.  It's time to open up my Pinterest board and search.  As soon as Wild One saw the Frankenstein decorations, from Allison at No Time for Flashcards, his decision was made.  
We save our cardboard tubes (paper towel and toilet paper rolls) for projects.  I'm so glad we had a bunch on hand, because these little guys are so much fun to make and are a perfect project for this age.  

Materials Needed:
Cardboard tubes (toilet paper or paper towel rolls)
Black markers
Green dot markers
Googly eyes
School glue
Golf tees

Draw a black line around the tube, about a third of the way down the tube.  This will be the guide for their Frankenstein's hair.  Let the kids color in the hair.

 Use the green dot markers to color in the rest.

 Time to make his grin- remember the stitch marks.

Hee hee- a little sorting now.  There are four sizes of goggly eyes in there.  

 Add two drops of glue for the eyes. 

Affix the eyes to Frankenstein.

Make tiny slits in the hair with scissors.

Press down the hair.

I punctured holes for the bolts (golf tees), and then let them push the tees through the pre-made holes.
Little Miss decided her Frankenstein needed a white puffy skirt.