Food Crafts For Kids: Winter Treats To Make And Eat

Winter Food Crafts for Kids to Make

January doesn’t have to be a boring month. Winter snack food crafts can quickly chase away the post-holiday blues. Make these cool snacks with kids on those cold winter days.

These  snacks are fun for kids to make and healthy to eat. Make these winter food crafts at home, daycare or school. What a good break for home-schooled kids to make and eat winter food craft snacks!

There are some ways to weave a little learning into these cute kid’s food for winter. We’ll talk about the ways as we go.

Banana Raisin Bears

Banana Raisin Bears

Banana raisin bears are made with toasted slices of wheat or raisin bread. The kids can spread the slices with peanut butter or Nutella. Banana slices are ears sprinkled lightly with cinnamon. Raisins are eyes. Place a raisin on top of a third banana slice. This is the bear’s muzzle. Give him a row of juicy raisins to finish his face.

Learning Connection:

Bears hibernate in winter, sort of. Black bears really just doze on and off during the winter months. They are not very active and don’t require a lot of food. Use this snack while learning how some animal behaviors change in winter. Include humans!

A Book to Share: 

Read Sleep, Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright

 

Veggie Snowman Snack

 

Veggie snowman is made of crackers spread with cream cheese.

Make veggie snowmen with different sizes or shapes of snack crackers and cream cheese spread. Spread the crackers with ‘snow’ and decorate the veggie snowman. He has earmuffs made of a green pepper strip and tiny broccoli florets. Cut a thin sliver of carrot for the nose. The rest, coal buttons, and face, are little pieces of chopped, ripe black olives. Use sliced pimentos for the veggie snowman’s scarf. This is a fun way to get a picky eater to down some veggies.

Learning Connection:

Sequencing and following directions are skills that making veggie snowmen can help teach. Talk about the different steps in creating this healthy snack. List them on a big piece of chart paper.

Kids can snack on veggie snowmen and enjoy some really cool snowman stories for read-aloud time.

A Book to Share:

Read The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll

Feed the Snowbirds Treats

Treats for the Snowbirds are seeds and raisins on a cream cheese snow-covered ground.

This winter food craft for kids is made by spreading  cream cheese on a whole graham cracker. The graham cracker represents the ground and the cream cheese is the snow. Feed the birds and sprinkle a handful of shelled sunflower kernels and raisins across the snowy ground.

Learning Connection:

Animals make adaptions to the different seasons. Some species of birds migrate south to escape snow that covers their food supply. Sometimes surprise snows may make it hard for these birds to eat. Teach the kids to help out our feathered friends in winter. They will really relate with this winter snack craft that represents a snow-covered ground with handfuls of food that birds ( and kids) love.

A Book to Share:

Read Animals in Winter by Berta Hader

Snow Buddies

Yogurt and fruit snow buddy snack.

This healthy snow buddy is a scoop of frozen vanilla yogurt. He has a strawberry winter hat, a cherry nose, and a strawberry slice smile. His eyes are blueberry bright.

Learning Connection:

Have the kids name their snow buddy.They can write a story about a snow day and playing with this pal.

The youngest students can dictate the story to the teacher and “read” it back. This is the language experience strategy for teaching reading.

Older kids can use inventive spelling to write their snow buddy stories.

A Book to Share:

Read  A Snowy Day, a classic story about a boy on a snowy day. Written by Ezra Jack Keats

 

 

Melting Snowmen

Kids will love watching Frosty melt atop their hot cocoa

Spear two marshmallow on a toothpick. Use decorator icing to add features. Keep a supply of these for kids to top hot cocoa with. They will love watching Frosty melt.

Learning Connection:

Make these for the kids to have at snack time with some hot cocoa after a science lesson about the weather or the three states of matter. Ask them what causes the marshmallow snowman to melt. Then ask what causes real snow to melt.

A Book to Share:

Read Snowmen at Work by Caralyn Buehner

Be creative this winter. Recommended by My Creative Palette: See also Winter Art and Learning Center Ideas 

 

Sweet Potato Fries Recipe: My Secret For Home Fries

Spicy and Steaming sweet potato home fries
Spicy and Steaming sweet potato home fries

My Special Recipe for Sweet Potato Home Fries

Now that Thanksgiving and Christmas have  past, everyone is putting  the pumpkin and sweet potato recipes back in the file boxes. There were yummy pumpkin and sweet potato pies topped with whipped cream, pumpkin loaves and rolls, pumpkin squares and marshmallow-topped sweet potato casseroles. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of pumpkin and sweet potato recipes.

Sweet Potato Fries

Although most consider sweet potato and pumpkin recipes to be seasonal dishes, garden-grown sweet potatoes are available all year. Lots of folks enjoy just tossing one in the microwave for a sweet and healthy treat. They have become increasingly popular for making a healthier alternative to french fries. Like other sweet potato dishes, there are several variations. The sweet potatoes can be julienned (cut into thin strips), cut fat or cubed for sweet potato home fries.

My Sweet Potato Home Fries Recipe

The first time I had sweet potato home fries, I was teaching at a technology academy that had a culinary arts department. The students sometimes fixed gourmet meals for the staff and sold them dirt cheap. Their sweet potato fries were cubed and cooked home style. I remember that there were onions and bacon bits in those yummy things, but there was a gourmet flavor that I just loved.

I set out to  re-create the flavor and eliminate the bacon for a healthier, yet still delicious version. After some thinking and experimenting, I came up with the following recipe for sweet potato home fries.

I used olive oil and a little butter rather than the bacon. Lemon juice adds a tang to the flavor, and a dusting of sea salt, sugar and cayenne pepper completes the gourmet flavor for these tasty sweet potato home fries morsels.

Ingredients For Sweet Potato Home Fries

  1. 2-3 medium sweet potatoes
  2. 1/4 cup olive olive
  3. 2 TBS lemon juice
  4. 1 TMS sugar
  5. 1/4 cup butter, melted
  6. sea salt
  7. cayenne pepper

 

Sweet potato home fries are great to add to a  healthy dinner like lemon rosemary chicken or salmon dishes. They make a good alternative to potatoes,  pasta and other starches. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin B-6, which is known to break down homocysteine, a substance that causes hardening of the arteries. They are chock-full of beta-carotene, or vitamin A, a potent cancer-fighting antioxidant. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins C,E and manganese. Manganese has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels. Eat more sweet potatoes!


Christmas Cupcake Recipes: Cupcake Decorating Ideas For Kids

Christmas Cupcake Ideas

Cute Christmas cupcakes mean so much to kids during the holidays. Mothers bake and decorate them to send to school, church bazaars, kid”s parties or just to have them at home.

The possibilities for cupcake decorating ideas for kids are limited only by the imagination and what decorating items you can find. Fortunately, at this time of year, grocery and department stores are well stocked with things to help with your Christmas cupcakes.

Past  Christmas Cupcake Decorating

I was a little disappointed when I couldn’t find some of the things I have used in the past for Christmas cupcake recipes. Those strands of little candy canes in cellophane seem to not exist anymore. I have yet to find any ‘reindeer corn.’ Reindeer corn, which is green,red and white candy corn makes cute Christmas cupcakes. Just ice the cupcake and form a flower with it in the center. Tiny candy canes and red and green sprinkles used to be a tradition for my Christmas cupcake decorating.

New Items for Creative New Cupcakes

There are  newer candies available  that save the day for kid’s Christmas cupcakes. We used Rips, which are squares of red and green licorice candy, mini M&Ms, decorating gels and colorful sprinkles.

The kids are out of school for a long break. Schedule an afternoon of fun by decorating Christmas cupcakes with them. It is a good way to help them develop their creativity. Bake and ice the cupcakes, then set out some of these sprinkles, gels and other colorful candies. The kids will enjoy decorating, eating and sharing their creations.

Here are some inspirations to get you started.

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Cupcake

Ice cooled cupcakes with your favorite chocolate frosting. Form the muzzle with a vanilla wafer and add a red M&M nose. The eyes are blue mini M&Ms. The antlers are added with mini pretzels. Use chocolate piping to outline a mouth and add pupils to the eyes .

tip: Just put some frosting in a plastic baggie and cut a small slit at the tip on the bottom. Then squeeze on the piping.

Cute reindeer Christmas cupcake

Santa’s Hat Cupcake

For the Santa’s hat, use red icing that is bought in tubes. It is impossible to tint white frosting red with food dye. It will just turn pink. Frost the cupcake first and then carefully frost a small ice cream cone. Invert the cone on the cupcake. Add mini-marshmallow fur and a pom pom at the tip.

Santa’s hat is a cupcake, inverted ice cream cone and mini marshmallow.

Poinsettia Cupcake

The red and green licorice squares have a shimmery sugar coating that makes a lovely poinsettia. Use kitchen shears to trim the petals from the pieces. Use a yellow mini M&M for the flower’s center.

 

Abstract Design Tree Cupcake

The abstract Christmas tree design is easy to achieve with a tube of green cake decorating gel. Add round dot sprinkles to represent the ornaments.

Draw on an abstract tree design with green cake decorating gel. Add sprinkles for ornaments.

Have fun with Christmas cupcake decorating ideas for kids. You will create memories for a lifetime that they will in turn pass on.


Persimmons: Trail Mix Recipe

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Trail Mix

Trail mix has been around for awhile. It is called trail mix because it’s the perfect food for hiking, a day-long  journey or traveling on vacation. It is said that California surfers ‘invented’ trail mix in the 1960s  when they mixed peanuts and raisins to pack for the beach.  It provided a mixture of protein and carbs that would provide plenty of energy without spoiling in the hot sun.

Trail mix was mentioned a decade earlier, though, in a novel by Jack Kerouac. Kerouac was a mid-1950’s beat generation author. The beat generation, with their far out ideas, preceded the hippie culture of the 1960s. Kerouac had the two main characters in his 1958  novel, The Dharma Bums,  packing trail mix for a marathon hiking trip.

From Trail Mix to Granola

Regardless of who gets credit for the invention, trail mix grew to include additional ingredients. Gorp or good ole’ raisins and peanuts turned into granola, oats,raisins and peanuts. Sometimes a few M&Ms were thrown in.

Trail Mix and Dried Fruit

Today, trail mix recipes have been customized, but all of them include dried fruit. Dried fruit  retains all of  the  nutrition of when it was fresh. Fruit can be dried in a few days in the sun or in a few hours in a food dehydrator.

Persimmons dry in a food dehydrator overnight.

Honey and vegetable oil can be added to turn trail mix into more of a cereal-like granola. It can be eaten alone or used as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.

Persimmons and Trail Mix

 

Fuyu persimmons are sweet when still firm.

 

Persimmon Granola-Trail Mix

Fall is a good time to try a trail mix made with dried persimmons. There are several different types of persimmons. Some are astringent and others are non-astringent. An astringent is an agent that shrinks bodily tissues. That is why astringent persimmons make your mouth pucker unless they are so ripe they are almost rotten. The small American persimmons and the Hachiya persimmon are astringent. The American persimmon is good for making a tangy persimmon salsa that goes well with fish.

Fuyu persimmons are sweet when still firm. Unlike the American persimmon, they are not full of seeds. These two reasons make Fuyu persimmons good for drying in a food dehydrator.

Persimmons are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrition. They have antioxidants that fight free radicals.  They are an excellent source of vitamins A & C, potassium, manganese, copper and folic acid.

Try the recipe in the amounts I used or tweak to your own taste.

Ingredients for Trail Mix

Ingredients for persimmon granola-trail mix
  1. 2 cups quick oats
  2. 1 cup dried persimmons
  3. 1 cup chopped walnuts
  4. 1 cup coconut
  5. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. cinnamon

Putting the persimmon trail mix together

Toast the oats just a few minutes in a warm oven. Mix the cinnamon in with the oats. Warm the oil and honey together. Place oats in a large bowl. Now add the walnuts, and coconut and chopped dried persimmons. Stir and coat ingredients with the honey and oil mixture. Spread with spatula on a baking sheet and bake about 30 minutes in a 150-degree oven.

 

Coat Ingredients with Oil and Honey

Coat all dry ingredients with oil and honey.

 

 


Fruit Kabob Turkey With Chocolate Dip Body

Fruit Kabob Turkey

Thanksgiving Snacks For Kids

Fruit  kabobs are a fun way for kids to eat fruit.  Fruit is an extremely important part of anyone’s diet but  especially for kids’ diets.  Fruit kabobs make it more likely that kids will eat fruit. Anything that is fun is better!

Kids love food that looks like animals and other objects. Food that looks like other things is a great way to encourage picky eaters. Even kids that don’t really relish fruit will be begging for a “turkey feather”!

Turkey Table Centerpiece

Do you need a centerpiece idea for your Thanksgiving table?  This clever rainbow fruit kabob that looks like a turkey is sure to be a winner.  It is a fun project to do with the kids for Thanksgiving. Getting them involved in preparing a holiday meal is lots of fun and a good way to spend quality time together.

It’s never too soon to help kids become aware of the health benefits of fruit and other healthy foods. Getting them into the habit of eating healthy foods now is a benefit that will pay off for them later in life. Even young children can become aware of how each food helps certain parts of the body.

Use the information after the post  for a quick reference. While making rainbow fruit kabob turkeys, discuss with the kids how each fruit helps us stay healthy.

An Edible Centerpiece

Guests will love this fruit kabob edible centerpiece. An easy-to-make, delicious chocolate fruit dip in a bowl is the turkey’s body.  Dip in some “fruity feathers” for a tasty appetizer. The turkey’s head is a crunchy pear. His beady eyes are blueberries skewered into mini marshmallows with toothpicks.  His beak is an orange wedge, his snood is the pointy end of strawberries and his wattle is a slice of crispy red apple. Attach these parts to the pear with halves of toothpicks. Give the turkey two carrot strip legs and orange wedge feet. He will be almost too cute to eat!

How To Make A Rainbow Fruit Kabob Turkey

Materials And Ingredients:

  • assorted fruit (grapes, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe)
  • wooden skewers
  • toothpicks
  • one pear
  • two blueberries
  • two mini marshmallows
  • one orange
  • carrot strips
  • one pear
  • endive (optional, for grass)
  • small glass bowl
  • chocolate dip (easy recipe below)
Use 10-12 skewers for the fruit kabobs.

Assembling The  Fruit Kabob Turkey

  1. Skewer three grapes and push to about one inch from the end.
  2. Add pineapple chunks, kiwi and strawberry slices, and cantaloupe chunks.
  3. Top with three grapes in a smaller size for the “feather tips”.
(10-12 skewers of fruit will make a turkey with a full spread of feathers.)

Attach the turkey’s features to the pear with toothpicks.  Now attach the turkey’s head to the bottom of  a skewer of fruit near the middle.

Attach the head to the middle skewer on the make. This skewer will need less fruit.

 

Easy Chocolate Fruit Dip Recipe

This easy recipe uses only three ingredients!

Melt 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels. Mix with a package of softened cream cheese and two cups Cool Whip.

 

Grapes,

  • Antioxidants, copper, iron, manganese, vitamins C & K, carotenes, B-complex,
    • Protects against  certain cancers, fights heart disease and Alzheimer’s later in life.
  • Antioxidants, copper, iron, manganese, vitamins C & K, carotenes, B-complex.
  • Protects against  certain cancers, fights heart disease and Alzheimer’s later in life.

Strawberries

  • Anthocyanis, ellagic acid, quercetin,  vitamin C
  • Helps to have a healthy brain,  reduces forgetfulness, protects against cancer and heart disease.

 Cantaloupe

  • Folate, carotenoids,
  • Helps promote healthy growth and cell maintenance, prevents anemia

Kiwi Fruit

  • Rich in vitamin C, potassium, prebiotics, 
  • Helps muscle contract, prevents “charlie horse”, helps the body fight germs and aids in the digestion of food.

Pineapple

  • Vitamins C & A, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese
  • Helps to have strong bones and healthy gums. Fights off colds and flu,  fights against eye disease when older.


 


Dirt Pudding Cups: Dirty, Sandy And Yummy!

There are dozens of cute ways to use Oreo dirt cups and Nilla sand cups for kid’s parties and events.  Likewise, there are several variations of the recipe for them. Dirt cups are basically chocolate pudding and crushed Oreo cookies, while sand cups are made of vanilla pudding and crushed vanilla wafers.

I found that the simplest recipe with the fewest ingredients for dirt and sand pudding is a combination of pudding, crushed cookies, and Cool Whip.  The trick is in how much of each to use.  Dirt pudding turns out quite well by using the following recipe.

Dirt Pudding

1 large box choc. instant pudding

20 Oreo cookies, crushed

8 ounces Cool Whip

For sand pudding, use vanilla pudding and vanilla wafers.

Ways  to use Dirt  Cups

Dirt and sand cups make fun snacks for learning activities as well as children’s’ parties. Make dirt cups when studying earth science. Young children will relate the dirt cups to soil, earthworms, and plant life.

Dirt pudding can even be served out of a Terra Cotta planter! This would be a great idea for everything from the classroom to gardening club events.

Gummy worms are a must for dirt pudding!  Kids love gummy worms; some adults do too. Have a discussion about how worms help aerate the soil.  This is important to plant life and the food chain. Kids need to know these basic science concepts. Cute ideas like these make those concepts stick.

Halloween

Add spooky props on Halloween for graveyard pudding cups. I found candy bones, skulls, and gummy worms for mine, and I used a Vienna finger for a tombstone.

Fresh Picked Sunflowers

In the early fall, when the Halloween candy

corn is in the stores, sunflower cookies served with dirt cups are good for lessons on plants for young children at school. They would also be great for a child’s September or October birthday party. Use the basic dirt pudding recipe.

Bake sugar cookies and ice them with lemon icing. A few drops of yellow food coloring will give the icing a deeper color. Tint a little royal icing yellow to attach the candy corn around the cookie. Chocolate sprinkles make “seeds” in the middle.

Using more royal icing, attach halves of green apple Twizzlers to the cookies. The dirt pudding in these dirt cups is topped with lime jello. Green tinted flaky coconut makes the grass!

This is a surprisingly tasty treat. Lime, lemon and green apple flavors are tamed with the candy corn and cookies for a sweet and sour taste experience

Ways to Use Sand Cups

Sand cups can be dressed up with props to create really cute pool party treats.  Add a few tanned Teddy Grahams, a peppermint striped ball and perhaps a cocktail umbrella for an adorable creation.

Plain, undecorated sand cups could culminate a unit on erosion and how rocks are broken down into sand. Leave some of the crushed wafers as larger pieces to represent the rocks.

Cute Sand Cup Desserts for Kid Pool Parties

Get creative and see what you can do with dirt and sand cups. No matter how you serve them up, these cute treats are sure to please!