Egg Free Cookies: Peanut Butter Cinnamon

Egg Free Cookies

Scenario one: It is a snow day and you and the kids get the urge to make a batch of fresh, hot homemade cookies. You get out your favorite cookie recipes and decide on peanut butter cookies. But alas, you go to check on your ingredients. You are out of eggs, and you can’t get to the market anytime soon.

Scenario two: You love old-fashioned peanut butter cookies, but one of the kids has developed an egg allergy.

Scenario three: You want to make a tasty batch of homemade cookies to take to work, but some of the guys or girls are die-hard vegans.

 

Best Egg-Free Cookie Recipe

This peanut butter cookie recipe is totally egg-free. Cinnamon and nutmeg added to the peanut butter batter make them even tastier. And if you are looking for a vegan cookie recipe, substitute a nondairy butter substitute for the butter, such as soybean margarine.

 

Ingredients For Egg-Free Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cookies
  • 1/4 Cup Peanut butter, Creamy
  • 1/4 Cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup White sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, Or Soy margarine
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking soda
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Cream softened butter, sugars, and vanilla with mixer
  2. Fold in the dry ingredients
  3. Form into balls and press with fork tines
  4. Place on un-greased cookie sheet
  5. Bake in 375-degree preheated oven
  6. Cool and remove from cookie sheet with a spatula
Cream butter, sugars and vanilla

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Fold in dry ingredients

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Fold into balls and press with fork tines

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February Ideas For The Elementary Classroom

 

February Holiday Ideas for School

To be the shortest month of the year February is certainly a busy one. Aside from the natural occurring holidays (Valentine’s, Ground Hog and President’s Days) there are several themes of recognition set in the month of February.

Perhaps because everyone thought February was such a boring month certain organizations decided to make February National “Whatever” Month.There is American Dental Month, Heart Health Month, Black History Month…the list goes on and on!

These special holidays and themes of recognition provide great opportunities for fantastic and creative instruction in the classroom for the month of February. The time of year is ripe for focus and rigor. The distraction of Fall and Winter holidays are over and breaks are at a minimum.

The second semester is relatively new. It’s just after the new year and it is the last chance to “get it right” before the end of the school year. Capitalize on all that positive energy and provide your students with creative, high-interest lessons. Following is a collection of ideas to get you going, and a wide range of grade levels are included. Materials used in the activities are inexpensive.

Valentines Math

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Patterning is an important skill for student and actually prepares the mind for algebraic concepts later on. Young students will really be motivated to use colored valentine cut-outs to follow a pattern started by the teacher to follow.Every other color is a beginning pattern, then go as complicated as needed for the ability level of the student.

Conversational hearts make great counters for beginning addition and subtraction problems for the youngest students.Use for teaching multiplication and division concepts to older elementary students. Have the students make arrays for multiplication, or put them in piles to show the inverse of multiplication and division. Students will love the lessons and participation is sure to be high! Have a set to count with and a some to eat separately in a plastic baggie!

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Are you teaching the concepts of place value and regrouping ones and tens? Use cinnamon heart candies to make groups of ten and then count the left over loose ones. Then have them to write the number represented by the candies.

These are just a few ideas for teaching math concepts with Valentine candy. Try bar graphs according to colored hearts or candies. The creative teacher can think of many ways to use Valentine candy to teach math concepts.

Valentine Art and Crafts for School

 

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Trading Valentine cards is a long standing tradition in elementary school. Use an empty tissue box for students to create their own “mailbox” for Valentine cards. Simply paint them with white tempera or acrylic and decorate with stickers, foam pieces or other creative ways. Let the imagination loose! Encourage creative thinking for your students. Students will love delivering their valentines to these cute tissue mailboxes. Have them to write their name on the bottom.

Centers are fairly standard in the early childhood class.If you need a good idea for the art center for February try sponge painting hearts on gift wrap. Pour tempera in meat trays. Provide heart shaped sponges for sponge painting on the gift wrap with red and pink hearts.Parents will love it when their kids bring home the gift wrap. Dads could use it to wrap the rose stems for Mom!

For students needing occupational therapy activities try this engaging activity. Cut out a big valentine of red paper. Provide lots of 1-inch squares of white tissue paper.Show students how to pinch them and create a ruffle to glue around the edge of the valentine.They will love it!

Groundhog Day Ideas for the Classroom

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Ground Hog Day is a good opportunity for both younger and older students to learn.Challenge older students to research the origin and meaning of the day. Have them create a report on their findings with a written or oral report, or perhaps a Powerpoint presentation.

Casting Shadows Across Literacy and Science is an awesome lesson plan written by Dr. Deborah Jensen and published by International Reading Association. Dr.Jensen links literacy and science beautifully as students explore what makes shadows and how and why shadows change. Tools are provided for the teacher to have students study and record observations of shadows. A wonderful study of literature that includes poetry about shadows is sure to encourage any budding authors in the group.

What makes a shadow? Do shadows change? Can a person escape his or her shadow? These questions guide students in developing a scientific understanding of shadows. Discussions on shadows in literature (fiction, informational text, and poetry) link scientific knowledge to the world of literature or students. A recording observations of shadows hand out is printable for the teacher’s use.

To help the very youngest students develop an early awareness of Ground Hog Day try this adorable idea by Marian Bartleson (Mailbox magazine, February/March 2006). Provide students with a pattern of a groundhog to trace and cut from brown construction paper. Glue the groundhog on a tongue depression stick. This will be a puppet for the background created with a sheet of blue construction paper. Add a snow covered ground, puffy cotton ball cloud and a yellow sun to help make the groundhog’s shadow. Help students cut a slot for sliding the puppet up and down simulating the groundhog popping out of his hole. Remember the tune I’m a Little Teapot? Teach young students these words for the same tune to perform with their puppets and backgrounds:

I’m a little groundhog, Brown and Stout, Will I see my shadow when I pop out.

If I see my shadow it will be six more weeks of winter that you see!

Students of all ages will enjoy making silhouette pictures. Tape butcher paper on a wall or screen. Have the student sit in a chair facing sideways in front of a bright light. An old overhead projector works for this. Another student (or the teacher for younger ones) traces the silhouette for the student to cut out. Then have the student trace this on white paper. Cut out the silhouette and mount on black paper. Play a guessing game by displaying them alongside a given number. Have students number their paper and write the name of whom they think each silhouette picture is.

Many will remember lying in bed making shadow puppets on the wall as a kid. Younger and older students alike will enjoy this great guide for making shadow characters. Challenge drama students at the secondary level to work in cooperative learning groups to produce and perform a play using shadow puppets.

 

President’s Day Ideas for School

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Give both younger and older students background information on the origin of this federal holiday. George Washington was the first American citizen whose birthday was used for an official holiday. For many years, that observance was held on February the 22nd which is his actual birth date. On January 1st, 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act shifted the date to the third Monday in February naming it President’s Day. Since Abraham Lincoln’s birth date is February 12th we typically engage in activities to commemorate his great presidency.

Assign upper elementary and middle school students a U.S. President to research– or if preferred let them select their own. Students then write a brief biography of the president following a given outline that includes their date of birth, childhood, education and contributions to history from their presidency. If desired students can complete the project making a life-size replica of the president by tracing around another student onto large white bulletin board paper, cutting out and then embellishing it with hats, clothes, and features to resemble the president.

Younger students will enjoy using paper plates and construction paper for creating George Washington and Abe Lincoln. Use cotton balls to make George Washington’s white curly wig. Lincoln’s top hat is easy, Washington’s hat is a bit more complicated.Here is a template for Washington’s hat.

Check out this Presidents Day Thematic Unit for younger students

Black History Month Ideas For School

Black History month recognizes great African Americans all month long. There are plenty of activists, inventors, and artists to recognize. Introduce a new one each day in the class or school morning news.

Go on a trip to the public library to check out a book about a famous African-American.

Teach students about the Harlem Renaissance and introduce students to African-American writers. Great projects are included that will take from three to five days to complete

There are plenty of interesting lessons on the civil rights movement.  Have students play a segregation simulation game in which they choose either a blue or green strip of paper. The greens interact with only greens and blues with blues for one day. This activity is sure to spark interesting class discussions the next day.

 

American Dental Health Month Ideas for School

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Thematic units are lessons that teachers create to meet the needs of their early childhood students. For American Dental Health week use one or more of these adorable books for sharing with students. The creative teacher is sure to come up with ideas for incorporating math and language arts in the classroom as whole group and center activities inspired by these stories.

  1. Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Jan and Stan Berenstain
  2. Brush Your Teeth Please by Leslie McGuire
  3. Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth by Diane De Groat and Lucy Bate
  4. Dear Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce
  5. Throw Your Tooth on the Roof by Selby Beeler
  6. Doctor DeSoto by William Steig

 


Young children will enjoy making and eating these cute Apple Smiles snacks from Family Crafts at About.com. Using two apple slices line the inside with natural peanut butter. Attach marshmallows to the peanut butter. The outside of the apple represents lips and the meat of the apple is the gums. The teeth are mini marshmallows!

Older students can increase career awareness by researching dental health related careers at career websites such as vaview.org. Have students list the careers, education and job training for each and average salaries.

Heart Health Month Ideas for School

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It is important to teach students of all ages healthy habits for a healthy heart. Brainstorm a list of ideas that help keep healthy hearts. Be sure students include healthy diets that don’t include too many trans fats, not smoking and getting exercise. Students can pick one “heart healthy rule” and make a poster promoting it.

 

Other ideas:

  1. Pick a day in February for wearing the color red to recognize Heart Month.
  2. Use a week in the month to teach the circulatory system.
  3. Take pulse and compare between rest periods and activity periods.
  4. Use red and blue clay or play dough to build heart models
  5. Have students trace around another student’s body on butcher paper. Cut out and draw in the circulatory system.
  6. Have the school nurse to come in and speak on heart health and let the students listen to the heartbeat with a stethoscope.
  7. List foods that are heart healthy and create menus.

 

Cherry Desserts Honor George Washington

 

Best Cherry Desserts

It’s no lying! There are hundreds of delicious desserts that can be created from cherries. George Washington’s Birthday on February 22nd is a great excuse to indulge without the guilt. That’s because tart cherries, a dark red fruit, are on today’s hot list of super foods. Plenty of research indicates tart cherries as having anti-inflammatory value, reducing pain from gout and arthritis. Heart health benefits are also linked to the cherries.

Tart red cherries are packed with antioxidants. Foods and beverages rich in them are trendy with today’s health conscious people. Thanks to research we know that anti-oxidants, as the term implies, attacks damaging oxidation in animal tissue. They contain vitamins, minerals and enzymes (proteins that assist in chemical reactions) thought to prevent the development of several chronic diseases including cancer.

Cherries Jubilee Recipe

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Cherries Jubilee is a flambeed fruit dessert following the footsteps of Bananas Foster. Auguste Escoffier is credited with the creation of this elegant dessert preparing it for one of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations. Although elegant it is really quite easy and involves the igniting of a liquor. The following recipe, courtesy of Paula Deen of Savannah, Georgia uses brandy and either fresh or frozen* cherries.

Ingredients for Cherries Jubilee

  1. 1/2 stick of butter
  2. 1/4 cup of butter
  3. 1 TBS cornstarch
  4. 16 ounces fresh or frozen cherries
  5. 1/4 cup brandy

 

 

Directions for Cherries Jubilee

Drain reserve juice. Melt the butter in a saute pan. Stir in sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Gradually stir in the cherry juice. The mix will thicken as it boils. Pour in the brandy. With a long match or grill lighter light the brandy. The idea is to burn off the alcohol. Remove from heat and add cherries. Cool slightly. Serve over ice cream. Easy, elegant and delicious.

Drain reserve juice. Melt the butter in a saute pan. Stir in sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Gradually stir in the cherry juice. The mix will thicken as it boils. Pour in the brandy. With a long match or grill lighter light the brandy. The idea is to burn off the alcohol. Remove from heat and add cherries. Cool slightly. Serve over ice cream. Easy, elegant and delicious.

* fresh, frozen and dried cherries all have health benefits of antioxidants.

Cherry Pie Filling

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Here is an easy way to make your own cherry pie filling.

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

  • four cups of pitted tart cherries
  • one cup of white sugar
  • one-fourth cup of corn starch.

Directions for Homemade Cherry Pie filling

  1.  Place the pitted cherries in a saucepan over medium heat and cover the pan.
  2. Heat the cherries until they release their juice and begin to simmer, about 10-15 minutes. Stir often.
  3. In a bowl whisk the sugar and cornstarch until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the hot cherries and juice combining thoroughly. Return to low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until it thickens (about two minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and cool.

Use the pie filling that you make for baking fresh cherry pies, tarts and turnovers. It is easy to make and is so much better than the canned pie filling with the added ingredients of high fructose syrup and colorings.

Easy Cherry Cobbler

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Make a delicious buttery cherry cobbler with this easy to follow recipe from Cooks.com.

Ingredients for Easy Cherry Cobbler

  • one stick of butter
  • 20 ounce can sweet cherries
  • one cup of flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • a dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup of milk

Directions for Easy Cherry Cobbler

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in an 8 x 11-inch baking pan on the stove top.
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, salt, baking powder and milk.
  4. Pour this mixture over the butter in the pan and spread it evenly with a spoon.
  5. Add the cherries including the juice. Sprinkle the one-fourth cup of remaining sugar on top. Bake one hour or until golden brown. (mine was ready in 50 minutes).

Cherries and Washington’s Birthday

How did this tasty superfood become associated with the Founding Father? For years school children around the country have read the legend and colored pictures of Washington the lad with a hatchet and a cherry tree. Young George supposedly had a shiny new hatchet that he was quite fond of. Becoming over zealous he chopped his father’s favorite tree, a cherry tree causing it great damage. When asked, George replied, ” I can not tell a lie Father, it is I who chopped the tree.” His father decided that George’s honesty meant more than any tree and doled out minimal punishment.

A Lie About a Lie

It turns out that The Legend of the Cherry Tree was created by Mason Locke Weems, a parson who wrote a biography titled The Life of Washington published in 1809. An earlier biography portraying our first leader as cold, stern and boring had not sold well. Weems made up the legend in an attempt to humanize Washington and add color to his staunchness while emphasizing his honesty and dutiful character.

Washington was neither Democrat nor Republican. He claimed the Independent party throughout his presidency but was strongly influenced by the Federalist party. Federalists were accused by the mostly southern Republican-Democrat party as being too “buddy-buddy” with the British Monarchy. The Federalists were comprised of mostly bankers and businessmen interested in a fiscally secure nation. Had Washington been born into today’s political world he would most likely be a strong conservative Republican.

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George Washington Fun Facts

  1. Annual salary was $25,000
  2. Had to borrow money to attend his
  3. own inauguration in NYC
  4. Had only one tooth when sworn into office
  5. Had no children of his own, father to Martha’s
  6. Was 6’3” weighed 200 lbs
  7. He wore size 13 boot
  8. Only president to win Electoral College unanimously
  9. Left school at age 15 to become a surveyor
  10. Birth date is from an old calendar and is actually Feb.11th

 

The Quickest And Easiest Chicken Gumbo Recipe

 

Easy Chicken Gumbo

Can’t make it down to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras? Join in the festivities in your own way. Curl up in front of the fire with a bowl of delicious homemade chicken gumbo.

Make it quickly and easily with my Americanized recipe. I use frozen cooked diced chicken, frozen gumbo veggies and Uncle Ben’s ready rice. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Really!

Creole and Cajun Food

Visitors to New Orleans make sampling the food a top priority. But how do you know the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine. It is becoming difficult because they are quickly becoming one and the same. Food historians have had to focus on regional differences to do so.

Both cuisines are heavily influenced by Spanish, African, and Native American cooking and slightly influenced by West Indies, German, Irish, and Italian cooking. Creole cooking evolved in the City of New Orleans during the 1800s.

Today, Creole dishes vary from home to home as cooks use different thickening agents. A thickening agent is known as a roux and can include anything from the African vegetable okra to crushed sassafras leaves. Creole roux is made from butter and flour. Cajun roux calls for oil or lard and flour.

Cajun is more of a country way of cooking than Creole. Cajun cooking evolved in the Lousiana backcountry and uses locally farmed and trapped meat, rice, beans, and pork fat. Butter was not widely used in the past because of a lack of dairy products in the area. Cajun food has more French and Southern roots than Creole food.

Gumbo Verses Jambalaya

Gumbo is thin-stocked and soup like while jambalaya is more of a stew. Gumbo’s use of tomatoes also distinguishes the dish as Creole. Cajun dishes generally don’t include tomatoes. Jambalaya is more of a protein entree served with rice on the side. It is made with a thickening, or roux, seasonings, and veggies.

Both gumbo and jambalaya may use any combination of chicken, sausage, and shellfish such as shrimp or crayfish.

Healthy Chicken Gumbo

Okra has been added to the list of foods that food scientists have found to help lower cholesterol. Of course, we have known the many benefits of tomatoes for a while now. Other gumbo veggie ingredients include corn, red bell pepper, and celery. I use wild brown rice instead of white rice.

Easy Chicken Gumbo Recipe

12190332_f260Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Precooked chicken, Diced
  • 1 10 Ounce can Chicken Broth
  • 1 10 Ounce can Diced tomatoes with green chillies
  • 2 TBS Olive oil
  • 2 TBS Flour
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Twelve-ounce package Gumbo veggies, Frozen
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Minced garlic
  • 1/8 Hot pepper sauce

Directions:

  1. Make a roux in the bottom of a dutch oven with the oil and flour. Cook until caramel-colored.
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the rice.
  3. Bring to a boil and boil for three minutes.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour.
  5. Add the ready rice during the last ten minutes.

Want to make the “real” Creole chicken gumbo? Watch the famous chef and funny guy Justin Wilson do it.

 

 

Fun Valentine’s Day Ideas For Families

 

 

Valentine’s Day is such a cool holiday. I love the pinks, reds, and purples…frilly homemade valentines, candy hearts with quotes and boxes of chocolates. It’s the perfect holiday to show your sweetie you care. But it’s not just a holiday for lovers. Involve the whole family in celebrating Valentine’s Day with the following fun ideas. 

Valentine’s Day Crafts

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Grab up the crafts box and make a host of adorable homemade valentines. Scissors, glue, markers, maybe some googly eyes and ribbons are all that’s needed to make cute things.

The accordion style hearts remind me of that old fashioned way of making a string of paper dolls. Print letters T E A C H E R, or perhaps your Sweetie’s name on the hearts for a simple really cute inexpensive alternative to a card.

See how cute the mouse is! It’s a valentine shape folded in half to resemble a mouse with a smaller folded valentine for ears. His tail is a tucked-in lollipop!  Draw on eyes and nose (or use googly eyes and a tiny pom pom.) Help the kids make a couple dozen for sharing with classmates.

Valentine’s Dinner and a Movie

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Watch LADY AND THE TRAMP and Eat Spaghetti

What Lady doesn’t fall for a Rogue at least once in her life? Celebrate this fact of nature with Disney’s Lady and The Tramp. Plan dinner and a movie with puppy love, spaghetti and meatballs. You and your honey may want to recreate the scene where Lady and the Tramp share their spaghetti. How romantic is that!

 

Easiest and Tastiest Spaghetti with Meatballs Recipe

 

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Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 to 2 lbs lean ground beef

1cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 egg

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 large jar of prepared sauce, such as Ragu

Directions:

Combine ingredients and form into balls. Bring the pasta sauce to a boil and toss in the meatballs. Reduce heat and simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Watch Sleepless in Seattle with Popcorn

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Watch the movie Sleepless In Seattle. If you’ve never seen this Valentine’s Day classic, run don’t walk to get the DVD for this totally heart warming tale. It’s the story of a little boy whose mother died, and through a radio talk show host, he connects his lonely father to a girl that is close to marrying her boring best friend. He ghost writes letters back and forth arranging for the two to meet atop the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day night as in the classic movie An Affair To Remember- which BTW is another great Valentine’s Day tear jerker.Follow up one movie with the other. 

Don’t forget the popcorn and cokes. Make it a little special in with cute glasses and  containers.

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks star in Sleepless and Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant are the stars in Affair Sleepless is rated PG. An Affair to Remember is rated G. 

DIY Valentine Candy Containers

 

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Mason Jar Idea

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Save a pretty jar. Clean it up and pack it with candy hearts. Toss in a few foil covered chocolate treats and add a pretty bow. This makes a great teacher gift. A few bags of inexpensive conversational hearts and chocolates will allow you to make one for favorite aunts, grandmothers, and neighbors. It is a good way to recycle a glass jar too!

Mason jars are excellent for this project. Simply fill a Mason jar with your Valentine treats of choice. Sweeten the life of a loved one with this sweet and thoughtful gift. Mason jars have an innocent look that goes well with homemade gifts.

Re-use Valentine Candy Boxes

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If you have saved heart-shaped candy boxes, the ones that the assorted chocolates come in, redecorate them for this.

Or transform a new box that you buy this year into a personalized candy box.

 

 

 

 

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Use scrapbooking materials, old gift bags, art tissue, anything you can find to transform your empty candy boxes and personalize them.

If you use a recycled candy box here is a recipe for really easy chocolates to refill your box. It is basically as easy as melting chocolate morsels in the microwave.

Use candy molds for forming the melted chocolates. Directions are included for various ways to decorate the chocolates.

Tasty Homemade Valentine Treats

Tea Sandwiches with Cream Cheese and Raspberry Jam

7182602_f248Have a cozy afternoon tea on Valentine’s Day. A four o’clock tea is perfect for after-school when Valentine’s Day is on a school day. Make it for just the family or invite a few friends. Decorate the table and serve Valentine cookies. Or try these tasty tea sandwiches:

Cut shapes from white wheat bread with a Valentine cookie cutter. Spread with cream cheese and raspberry jam for making sandwiches. Brown lightly on a buttered griddle and dust with confectioner sugar.

Cute Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

Sweetheart Teddy Bear Cupcakes
Sweetheart Teddy Bear Cupcakes

You can find cute Valentine’s Day cupcakes galore to make.  Try valentine sweetheart cupcakes. using red velvet cake mix, this idea calls for the heart-shaped pink marshmallows especially sold around Valentine’s Day for the bear’s ears. The nose is a Maraschino cherry. Eyes are chocolate chips. A tasty combination!

 

 


Benefits of Rosemary: The Gift Of Rosemary

Great Uses and Benefits of Rosemary

I received the gift of a Rosemary bush this past Christmas! It is in a pretty container and decorated with a red velvety ribbon. It is adorable and it smells divine.

I have used both fresh and dried Rosemary a bit in cooking in the past. A few years ago a neighbor shared her back yard Rosemary bush. I often picked a sprig or two to toss in with my numerous quick stir fry dishes. I made a marinade of olive oil, fresh Rosemary and lemon juice for baking fish, chicken and lamb.

Now that I have my own Rosemary bush and don’t have to feel guilty about taking advantage of an overly generous neighbor I have been thinking about what the other uses of Rosemary might be. After a bit of investigating I came up with quite a list. Food first always, so I will begin with some great sounding recipes.

Using Rosemary in Cooking

Rosemary can be used to flavor many foods. Use it fresh or dried. To dry fresh rosemary cut stems and remove the nettles from the stem after they are brittle. Put them in a plastic container and then store in a cool dry place.

Red Potatoes Taste Great Cooked With Fresh Rosemary

 

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes With Onions And Sweet Potatoes

The best recipe I found for something simple but elegant is one for roasted red potatoes with fresh Rosemary I decided to try it. The recipe calls for the following few and inexpensive ingredients. I wanted to add flavor and color. I added red onions and sweet potatoes to the recipe for flavor and color. I parboiled my sweet potatoes for consistency in cooking.

  • 6 red potatoes
  • 3 TBS melted butter
  • 3 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh Rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes

Scrub the potatoes well and cut them into chunks. Mix the melted butter and oil and use as a coating for the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a 9 by13 inch dish and cover with tinfoil. Stir and coat the potatoes, then sprinkle them with the salt,pepper and Rosemary. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Rosemary Bread

I was surprised to find Rosemary bread recipes. I was even more, surprised to see how simple and quick they seemed. The basic recipe calls for the following ingredients.

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 TBS dried Rosemary
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flower
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Mix and knead in a bread machine and then bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Other recipes with fresh or dried Rosemary:

This garlic and Rosemary roast leg of lamb recipe has a five-star rating!

Roasted chicken with garlic and Rosemary is quick and simple with few ingredients. White wine really gives it a gourmet touch.

My favorite is a recipe for lemon Rosemary salmon. Other than the salmon and rosemary all that is needed is olive oil, lemon and course salt. Salmon is a cold water fish and, therefore, chock full of Omega 3s, the “good fats” that help lower cholesterol.

It is clear that Rosemary complements a variety of meats as well as vegetables. The minty citrus flavor of Rosemary will compliment lamb, chicken, and all seafood.

Rosemary has a piney citrus aroma

Five Ways to Use Rosemary Around the House

Rosemary’s strong fragrance is like a mixture of citrus and pine. It is a natural and sustainable air freshener. Add sprigs of chopped fresh Rosemary to baking soda and sprinkle into the vacuum bag to help freshen each time you vacuum.

Rosemary is a nice addition to Christmas sights and smells. Fill in a fruit bowl with sprigs of rosemary. Incorporate rosemary into easy holiday meal centerpieces. Tuck a sprig in a bow on a package. And, as in my case, it makes a great gift!

Is a wedding looming in the future for someone? Rosemary makes a romantic addition to weddings. The herb is linked to both the Greek Goddess Aphrodite and the Virgin Mary. Tie sprigs with gold cording and tuck into each place setting at the reception dinner perhaps by the place cards. Rosemary, white roses, and baby’s breath would be stunning and fragrant flower arrangements.

Use dried Rosemary in sachets and potpourri. Place in closets and drawers to help keep clothes fresh smelling.

Plant Rosemary among flowers and vegetables if you have a problem with deer that like to nibble at your garden. They do not like the smell of Rosemary.

 

Source: antioxidants for health and longevity.com

Health Benefits of Rosemary

The antioxidants identified in Rosemary are known to improve brain function, mood and memory, improve circulation and digestion and provide protection against carcinogens. The anti-inflammatory agents in Rosemary made it a popular treatment for gout in the past.

Get these benefits by cooking often with fresh or dried Rosemary. Rosemary capsules and essential oil is available for purchasing. Rosemary tea is easy to make. Place fresh Rosemary leaves in a mesh or muslin ball. It is best to use a glass or enamel pot for boiling the water to steep the tea in. The tea is delicate and will absorb a metallic taste with other pots and kettles. Drink the tea to ease headaches, cold symptoms and to improve low mood.

Learn to make green smoothies! Green smoothies are made from leafy green veggies with other ingredients to added to make them tasty. Add a few Rosemary leaves to your green smoothies.

Because of its irritation quality, Rosemary improves circulation in the skin and scalp. Boil with lemon and water and use as a hair rinse to prevent dandruff and stimulate hair growth.

Rosemary plants can be propogated from cuttings
Rosemary plants can be propagated from cuttings Source: CC BY: www.morguefile.com/creative/peachyqueen

Growing Rosemary

Now that I have learned so many great uses for Rosemary, it’s time to learn to take care of my plant and grow more. Rosemary can be grown outdoors in warmer climates where frost is rare. Otherwise It needs to be contained in pots for moving indoors when the temperature dips below 30 degrees. The plant will need 6-8 hours of sunlight.

Rosemary seeds are difficult to germinate so I will take cuttings from my plant. I will dip the end in a rooting hormone and plant in small pots of seed starting mix. In two or three weeks I will check to see if there is a root system formed by gently tugging on the seedling. If they are ready I will plant the seedlings and then care for them as adult plants. Then I too can give the Gift of Rosemary.

 


Make an Ivory Soap Snowman For Good Clean Fun

A snowman sculpted from Ivory soap is a great project for kids of any age. It is a unique project for a cold winter’s day when kids may be home from school on a “snow day”. Teachers could use it as an idea for group work in a cooperative learning format. Whatever the setting, it is sure to provide some “good clean fun.” Here’s how:

Assemble these materials:

  • 3-4  bars of Ivory soap
  • mixing bowl
  • a little water
  • a handful of dry black beans
  • strip of  felt

  • black construction paper (for a hat)
  • cheese grater
  • a baby carrot (for a nose)
  • pipe cleaners and pom poms

 

Grate the soap bars shredding them just like cheese.

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Add a little water, no more than an eighth of a cup.

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Form into large, medium, and small balls.

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Add the end of a baby carrot and black beans for features. 

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Brown pipe stems make good arms. Or use Popsicle sticks, even real twigs. 

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Earmuffs can be made by hot glueing pom poms to pipe stems. We had some left over from Christmas crafts.

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Make a stovepipe hat with black paper. Scarfs can be crafted from felt or ribbons. Make your soap snowman unique!

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Cutest Polar Bear Cupcakes Inspire Learning Cool Polar Bear Facts

Polar Bear Cupcakes~made with white-frosted cupcakes with coconut fur. marshmallow muzzles, raisin noses and lemon cooler cookies for ears.

 

It is well after Christmas, and the new toys are no longer the ‘flavor of the day.’ Spice up the cold season for the kids by making the cutest polar bears cupcakes.

Making these cute cupcakes that look like polar bears will leave them wanting to learn some fun facts about polar bears and their fight to survive.

Cupcakes can make any day better. Stuck at home on a snowy day, a white, frozen world presents a teachable moment to learn facts about polar bears, who thrive in what we shiver in.

Polar Bear Cupcakes

We love to invent cute cupcakes for kids. Those cute little polar bear cubs inspired us to create polar bear cupcakes. These are entirely original and come from somewhere inside our creative little heads.

Here we share how to make our polar bear cupcakes as well as a cool list of polar bear resources to learn about them with. Watch a video here and check out the Polar Bears Resource section while snacking on polar bear cupcakes.

 

 

What We Used to Make Polar Bear Cupcakes

  • White cake mix, use yellow if preferred
  • Egg whites, oil, and water
  • Fresh frozen or grated fresh Coconut, can use dry flakes, but not as good
  • Marshmallows, regular size
  • Mini M&Ms, chocolate
  • Golden raisins
  • Lemon coolers, cookies
  • Chocolate icing

 

  1. Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Cool
  2. Ice with vanilla frosting.
  3. Sprinkle on fresh coconut.
  4. Slice a marshmallow in half horizontally.
  5. Add two lemon cooler cookies for ears.
  6. Add the marshmallow half for the bear’s muzzle
  7. Use a tad of frosting to attach a golden raisin for the nose.
  8. Add mini M&Ms for eyes.
  9. Pipe on a chocolate frosting mouth. (We just put the frosting in a sandwich bag with a small tip cut out of the corner).

 

Polar Bear Facts

Polar bears live in a frozen arctic world. They eat seals and some other arctic sea life, and do so by going from ice floe to ice floe. Polar bears are now considered a threatened species, meaning that they are likely to become endangered. We know what that means. Those beautiful amazing animals could become extinct if action is not taken.

As the earth has begun to warm, these large chunks of ice that they climb aboard to do their fishing for food on are floating around faster and further apart. The poor creatures are wearing themselves out like we would if we had to wander around in circles for days looking for our food source. Some say that greenhouse gas emissions are to blame, others argue that the warming of the planet is a natural occurrence. We believe it is a little of both.

We found some fantastic resources online to explore. There are great interactive websites like National Geographic for Kids. Videos show the polar bears in their frozen world.

Polar Bear Learning Resources

  1. Read facts, see photos and videos, make and send an e-card and more at National Geographic for Kids.
  2. An experiment with ice cubes demonstrates how these animals are threatened.
  3. Kids can adopt a polar bear by donating to Oceana, an organization dedicated to research on how to save the polar bear. Kids receive adoption papers and a plush polar bear.

 


Elegant And Easy Centerpieces For Holiday Meals

Centerpieces For Holiday Meals

Holiday meals are very special times. Friends and families gather from near and far to create long-lasting memories. Our holiday meals deserve a great table centerpiece for making brighter memories. Demanding schedules and economically challenging times are reasons for easy and inexpensive arrangements for holiday tables. I love to use sustainable items in my decorating whenever possible. Nature provides us with free beauty. Every area is different, so take a stroll through your own environment and see what you find. Here are some ideas to get you started. They are easy on your time and wallet while looking very elegant.

The Holly and the Ivy

English Ivy is a controversial plant. Some love to use it as a ground cover or as a wall climber.Others fight to get rid of it. The Old Christmas Carol the Holly and the Ivy represents the Pagan belief that The Holly is a masculine plant while The Ivy is feminine.

For this arrangement, I will have no problem obtaining cuttings of English Ivy as I have a neighbor who is not fond of it. I find a forlorn container stashed away that is perfect for the arrangement I have in mind. I place dampened floral foam inside the container. I arrange my Ivy cuttings and add pomegranates. I attach them using wooden BBQ skewers. I am pleased with the effect and add candlelight for elegance.

Bare and Beautiful

Pine Cone Centerpiece

While walking beneath the Georgia Pines, some lower branches catch my eye. They are “needle-less” but pine cones are attached. I love the way the bare branches twist and arch. Later, I display them in a tall glass vase. I cover the bottom of the vase with floral moss and add a couple sprigs of holly with nice plump red berries.

I love the natural look of the twigs and pine cones. The red holly adds just the right touch to remind me that it is the Christmas Season. It follows so closely on the heels of Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Vase Centerpiece

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 Along the roadside brightly colored leaves of green and red catch my eye. Upon closer inspection I see that they are the late season leaves of the Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.They are so different from the withered brown of the Mop Head Hydrangeas. The delicate blue blossoms of summer have turned to a thin papery brown. Lovely! They will be the focal point of my arrangement.  I will add fall berries and other fall foliage.

                         Natural Treasures I Find On My Walk

Blinged Magnolia with Citrus

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I give a few big shiny magnolia leaves some bling with gold spray paint and add green ones for contrast. I shine a few lemons and limes with cooking oil and add all to pretty basket for a simple and very elegant holiday centerpiece.

Sustainable and Edible

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A great looking holiday centerpiece can be as simple as using fruit-sustainable and EDIBLE!  This centerpiece is created by  filling  a two-tiered glass cake stand with red pears and green grapes. Easy and Inexpensive!  It’s a good centerpiece to leave out during the day. Candles in candlesticks add elegance for mealtime.

Functional

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A functional centerpiece can be created by incorporating attractive parts of the meal into a center gathering. A healthy basket of pretty wheat bread and bottles of wine in alternating hues can nestle nicely on a wooden tray. A Holiday kitchen towel and exotic fruit such as mango and pomegranate add a touch of elegance.

Recycled Ornaments

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Taking stock of my Christmas decorations is my next task today. I find that I have some extra ball ornaments.What can I do with these? I simply place them in my tall glass container and add candles Voila! Another very easy and elegant last minute Holiday centerpiece. Virtually no preparation is needed, and you have done Earth a good turn by recycling.

Stocking Stuffers For Pets: Best Stocking Stuffers For Dogs And Cats

The Best Stocking Stuffers for Dogs and Cats

Do you include your pets in gift giving at Christmas? I know many who do. After all, our pets give us the gifts of joy and better health every day. Research shows that pets can lower blood pressure, ease depression and boost our immune systems. Current studies are indicating a link between fewer allergies and asthma in children who grow up in homes with pets.

Pets give companionship to the lonely and help teach our children responsibility. If you have a dog that begs to be walked they are doing you a favor and possibly adding years to your life. So hang a stocking for Fido and Fluffy this year and fill it with some homemade pet treats and a toy or two!

How to Have Better Behaved Pets

Just like children, dogs and cats can become bored when they are lonely or have nothing to do. Having toys can help curb destructive behavior, especially when you have to leave them alone. Good pet parents have a stash of a few good toys and rotate them so that their babies don’t become bored. Here are some ideas for dog and cat toys. Highly recommended, they have been tested for quality and safety.

Best Stocking Stuffers for Dogs

Squeaky Toys That Don’t Break

Dogs love toys that squeak; they probably appeal to their instinct of catching prey. Unfortunately, they also love to destroy the squeaky toys. Not with the Kyjen Invincible Squeaking Snake. This toy has six squeakers that keep on squeaking no matter how many times they are punctured! Fido can keep playing with this great toy and not become bored with it because it doesn’t squeak anymore. And you don’t have to worry about chewed off small pieces presenting a choking hazard.

Dog Toys That Dispense Treats

The Premier Tug A Jug toy will keep Fido entertained while you are busy or away. Fill the roomy jug with some tasty treats. As he tugs on the rope, the treats are dispensed a few at a time. It provides great mental stimulation. It is a great, safe way to help keep boredom away.

Dog Toys for Big Chewers

If you have a large dog that really loves to chew, check out the Goughnuts donut shaped toys. The green ones are strong and the black ones are stronger with carbon mixed in the formula for creating them. The neat thing about Goughnuts is that if your dog chews down to an unsafe level a red indicator appears and the company will replace it for free! No worries at all about Fido chewing off pieces to swallow.

Toys to Raise Your Dog’s IQ

Dogs are so smart! They can be even smarter with interactive toys. Raise your dog’s IQ with Canine Genius toys. They are configuration puzzles that are chewable and durable. Connect the puzzles together in different ways to challenge Fido to get to the hidden treats.

Best Stocking Stuffers for Cats

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Mouse Toys for Cats

Cats are instinctively stalkers and hunters. Let Fluffy practice her hunting skills with the Undercover Mouse toy.You can set the mouse to run at the speed desired. Then place it under the mat provided and the mouse darts about for your cat to chase. This toy is sure to amuse you as well as your cat! 

Quiet Night Toy for Cats

Cats are often more active at night. The Whisper Track cat toy will help you sleep uninterrupted by a noisy cat. The “twinkle” bell flashes when Fluffy bats the ball but makes no noise. It is available at petco.com.

Toys for Cats that Chew

The Cat Play Chew & Bouncy Sneaky Spider toy is designed for the cat that likes to chew. A Nylabone product, it  helps keep Fluffy’s teeth clean by removing food particles. Tooth and gum health is important for both dogs and cats. Cats love this toy because it satisfies their stalking and pouncing instinct. Cat parents like it because it encourages independent play.

Have Healthier and Happier Pets

Let keeping your pets healthier and happier be one of your New Year’s resolutions this year, and chances are you will be rewarded with health and happiness as well. You will have a good start if you get Fluffy and Fido new toys for Christmas. And if you have no pets, consider visiting your local animal shelter for Christmas this year to find your soul pet.