ooey, gooey, slime

Halloween is tomorrow, here in the states, and we’ve been busy!

Visiting ‘haunted’ places, thinking about costume design (below, Finn working on the beginnings of the creepy, hairy, scary, slimy, monster costume – red marks on his cheeks, ‘scars’….),

costume design

chattering teeth, witches and warlocks and of course ghosts and all things ‘creepy’…below, consignment find ($3) – Mr. Bones…I prefer the homemade costume myself…

consignment skeleton

On another note, while we were out and about one day Finn asked if we could get a few skeletons, skulls and rats – ‘creepy stuff mamma’, he asked…

My reply,

‘We have creepy stuff. Up in the attic’…(I had a few boxes of Halloween decorations that I had made and bought for a party we had years ago…)

So, at Finns urging, we turned our sunroom into the ‘creepy’ room! He is so into Halloween this year. Being almost four, he ‘gets’ it now. We’re already planning next years party…

halloween fun

Who knew spiders, skulls, glow in the dark skeletons and big black toy rats could be so much fun! I decided to cover the furniture with black fabric and now our room is fit for a vampire or two…

skull, spiders and cauldron of bones

crows

We also decided we should make some slime…green, gooey, slime, it seemed like the perfect ending to an afternoon of creepiness…plus, I was wanting to experiment with ideas for the ‘slime’ part of the creepy, hairy, scary, slimy monster costume…and what almost four year old doesn’t like to get his/her hands into a bit of green ‘slime’….

hands in slime

Have fun making it yourself!

Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it;

SLIME
1/2 cup of glue (non toxic)
1/2 cup of water
several drops of food coloring
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Borax

1. Mix the glue and water together

2. Add a couple of drops of food coloring

3. In a separate bowl mix 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of Borax

4. Add the glue mix to the borax mix

5. Stir the mixture until it thickens …

Voila’ – SLIME!

Hope you have a creepy, scary, fun and safe halloween….

ooey gooey slime

Enjoy!

mixed nut bars on the run…

Fall is in the air…leaves are turning crimson, mustard and golden…smoke fills the morning air and being outside to enjoy it all is a necessity.

And so is snacking. Healthy snacking.

I always have snacks. Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll confirm, I always have food and beverages on hand…one never knows when hunger will strike, right?

That little tummy grumble is inevitable (especially with busy little ones), so why not be prepared with a tasty treat?

Especially one which will not only satisfy any budget, but will also appeal to the desires of both sweet and savory lovers…everyone wins…

Plus, it’s easy and only requires the most basic of ingredients and a few minutes of your time.

You’ll need one sauce pan and one baking dish.

Simply melt and mix ingredients in sauce pan…

Spoon into baking dish and bake.

That’s it!

Easy clean-up too (no one ever seems to mention the clean-up part of cooking and baking)…

These little nuggets are way better than any store bought protein bar, you know all the ingredients (and most likely have them on hand), plus, you’ll save money baking these beauties at home, so why not whip up a batch for your favorite people?

Enjoy.

Mixed Nut Bars*

Print this!

ingredients

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 beaten egg

1/2 reaspoon vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup mixed nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, or peanuts, coarsely chopped

Grease an 8X8 inch baking pan; set aside.

butter and sugar

In medium saucepan heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.Cool slightly

melted butter:sugar

Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder until just combined. Stir in nuts. Spread battter in the prepared pan.

nuts added

in pan

Bake in 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars while warm; cool completely in pan.

baked

served

Want a little extra love in your nut bar? Sprinkle with grated chocolate or mini chocolate chips for the last few minutes of baking…

Everyone will thank you.

Enjoy.

*Better Homes and Garden’ New baking book 1998

planting garlic

Have you ever done it?

I hadn’t until last week.

I was given three beautiful home grown (thank you Mim) heads of garlic and decided this was the year I would experiment with growing garlic…we enjoyed one head and used these two for planting…

1. garlic heads

So I asked a few gardener friends of mine if they had ever grown garlic and most had…all agreed it had to be the simplest bulb to grow.

Finn and I broke apart each bulb and then headed out to the garden…

2.top view peeling

3.Finn peeling garlic

4. heads pulled apart

5. close-up cloves

It was a beautiful day. The mosquitos were quiet, the sun was warm and the ocean could be heard…

7.holding clove

It’s so simple – if, of course you already have a garden or area to plant in…

Make little holes. We went about 2 inches apart. 2 – 3 inches deep.

6. make holes

Pop a clove in.

8. little hand over row of holes

Cover.

9. cover with dirt

Cover well.

10. cover well

Tamp gently.

11. tamp down

Water (not shown). Finn moved right along to picking carrots…but you can see the completed row of garlic behind him…

pulling carrots

Mulch garlic bed well for winter (still have to do). Wait for spring…

So, have you ever planted garlic?

cosmo carrots + kids

Gardening is something I look forward to…despite this years crazy spring, super hot summer and now, mosquitos, things are growing and I continue to plant…and now am starting to reap the benefits…

I pulled the first few carrots of the season while Finn napped and as soon as he saw them (after he woke), he said, ‘Mamma, I want to pick carrots too!’

I didn’t want to subject him to the incessant mosquitos and thus, the required long sleeve shirt, long (thick) pants and gardening boots, so I picked while he slept…though when he told me he wanted to pick and wouldn’t mind ‘getting dressed’ (despite the 90+ degree day), out we went…

I was one proud mamma!

Look at these beauties.

veggies

Cosmo carrots (purple) and baby carrots, plus the first picking of basil and the never ceasing baby lettuce (under the carrots)…

Finn helped me plant all of these and I’m so happy he wants to help harvest too…I can only hope to instill a love for gardening or at minimum, an understanding of how food is grown and a respect for all that required to grow, organically…

pulling carrots

carrot freshly picked

double carrot finn + carrot

double carrot

fresh picked carrotshappy weekend!

blueberry muffins

Looking for something to do on a rainy day?

Why don’t you bake muffins? Blueberry muffins!

They are super easy, yummy and perfect for breakfast or as a snack. They can be frozen for another day or enjoyed immediately, still warm, and slathered with butter… or given as gifts…what friend wouldn’t just love a dozen of freshly baked muffins?

So why don’t you get out your muffin tins and get going!

Blueberry Muffins

baked muffins:browned

Print this recipe From the Joy of Cooking – All About Breakfast & Brunch

makes 12 muffins

Assemble Ingredients;

assemble your ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs (don’t fret if you don’t have ‘large’ eggs – use what you have)

1 cup milk (or cream – you decide the richness)

2/3 cup cane sugar or light brown sugar (try not using white sugar)

4 tablespoons warm, melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Here’s what you need to do;

Grease or line with paper/silicone muffin cups for 12-cup muffin, standard muffin pan…

get your tins ready

Whisk together in a large bowl;

flour (2 cups)

baking powder (1 tablespoon)

salt (1/2 teaspoon salt)

Whisk together in a seperate bowl;

eggs (2 eggs)

milk (1 cup milk)

sugar (2/3 cup light brown/cane, white if necessary)

butter (4 tablespoons warm, melted butter)

vanilla (1 teaspoon)

wet:dry - sort of

Add ‘wet’ mixture to the ‘dry’ mixture, until just blended, moistened. Don’t over mix – batter should not be smooth…add the blueberries (1.5 cups), gently…

blueberry thief

add blueberries to batter

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Careful not to overfill or underfill – nearly to the top, without going to the top…Sprinkle brown/cane sugar on top.

in tins - topped with sugar sprinkle

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in a few muffins, comes out clean…

muffins cooling

Let cool 15 minutes on cooling rack before removing.

close-up scrumptiousness

Serve warm, with butter or as is…

muffin thief

enjoy the weekend!

(and the muffins!)

PS. The cooling rack and the cook book were picked up, for free, from my local transfer station…I just love that place!
(:

ripe red raspberry crisp

Yeah for sunshine, warmth and raspberries!

While fresh (and local) raspberries are still a few months away, I just couldn’t wait…it was warm, the sun was shining and we needed a sweet treat. What to do? Pull out some frozen raspberries and get mixing!

Simple. Delicious. Easy and versatile.

No raspberries? No problem! Just substitute fresh or frozen blueberries, peaches or apples and dessert is served in just 30 minutes!

Ripe Red Raspberry Crisp

Print this recipe!

A few cupfuls of fresh or frozen raspberries – enough to cover the bottom (and then some) of a pie plate or 9″ X 13″ baking pan.

1. frozen raspberries

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease the bottom of whichever dish you choose to use. Pour raspberries to cover bottom…and then some…

2. raspberries + topping in bowls

Blend dry ingredients. Add egg and melted butter. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened.

3.crumble on raspberries

Pat mixture over raspberries.

4. top view raspberry crisp

Bake 35-45 minutes. Or until browned on top.

5.ready to serve

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, freshly whipped cream or simply on its’ own…

6.scoopful of crisp

7.finn with his slice

8. focused9.yum

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

cookie love

Sugar cookie cut-outs. Finn loves them. I think what he actually loves is the fact that they contain two of his favorite words – sugar and cookies…

We made these last Wednesday, the day before Valentine’s Day. I’d been wanting to bake cookies. It’s (usually) something fun to do together, especially during the long winter months, when it can be a bit too stormy or too cold to go outside…plus it’s a great way for Finn to learn about baking, measuring and numbers – math and science rolled into something you can eat – why not bake?

So, Valentines Day presented the perfect excuse to make a batch of these super delicious and buttery sugar cookies (aka Love Cookies). Who couldn’t use a little extra love every now and then?

The ingredients are common, inexpensive and minimal – sugar, butter, flour, plus a few ‘extras’ – what’s not to love?

Here’s what you’ll need;
(recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Baking Book)
Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour

Here’s what you’ll need to do;

1.sugar + butter combined

In a medium mixer bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for about a minute. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla.

2.add flour

Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer…I was able to mix nearly all flour with the mixer…

3.mix remaining

Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flower.

4.ball of dough

5.wrapped dough

Divide dough in half, cover and chill the dough for about 2-3 hours or until easy to handle.

6.flour in scooper

7.roll out dough

On a lightly floured surface roll half of the dough at a time to about 1/8-inch thickness.

9.cutting out cookies

Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

10.cookies cut-out

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned.

11.cooling cookies

Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

12.cookies with icing

If you like your cookies with a bit of extra sweetness, then drizzle with a bit powdered sugar icing (recipe below) or dip into melted chocolate…not matter how you enjoy them – frosted or not – you will not be disappointed!

To make icing;

In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk*. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing is easy to drizzle.

Want a touch of color in your icing, but not the chemicals? Try using the reduced juice from fresh or frozen raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. Beet juice works well too (not pickled) and doesn’t need to be reduced down. *If using juice for color, add 1/2 tablespoon milk to 1 cup sifted powder sugar, and 1/2 – 1 tablespoon juice – then more as needed…I chopped a few fresh strawberries

strawberries

and then added a few frozen raspberries in a sauce pan added a touch of water and cooked down on medium heat, continually adding water as necessary until fruit is ‘cooked’/mushy/very soft.

juice

Drain, reserving both fruit and juice. Using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula, press the fruit into the sides and bottom of sieve…Reserving all the delicious and vibrant liquid… Add a teaspoon at a time to powdered sugar and milk.

juice added

Drizzle over cooled cookies – let set – store once icing has dried.

12.cookies with icing

Eat them up. Give them away. Or do both.

13.eaten cookie

Enjoy.