12 Food-Related Kids Projects

PinExt 12 Food Related Kids Projects

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Here are 12 fun, food-related projects you and your children can work on this summer. This will help them further explore their interest in food and cooking. Who knows, your children’s skills and enthusiasm for working with food may be taken to another level.

Children can:

  • begin a food journal by listing favorite foods. Include best food and holiday memories.
  • plan certain meals or menus for a week, then note results in journal.
  • collect favorite recipes and create own cookbook.
  • take a field trip to the farmers market with family.
  • grow radishes, green onions, and/or lettuce.
  • learn new cooking skill, such as how to cream, whip, or knead.
  • find recipes to try from different cookbooks.
  • make a list of proper table etiquette and include in journal.
  • clip coupons from newspapers and magazines.
  • sketch out the grocery store’s layout to help know where items are located.
  • when shopping, compare organic food prices to other food prices. Discuss advantages and disadvantages.
  • try some dishes with a regional or international flavor.

Here I have included a seafood recipe taken from the cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Food Activities by Amy Houts. Her cookbook shows how different cultures in America came to co-exist, yet continue to celebrate their uniqueness through food. This recipe comes from the section on “Cooking in New England“, which describes the region and includes recipes from the  breads, soups and salads (like Manhattan Clam Chowder), main dishes/meats, vegetables and side dishes (such as Boston Baked Beans), and dessert categories.

Shake and Bake Scallops

1 egg
1 pound fresh scallops or 1 pound package frozen scallops, thawed
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan. Children can beat egg in a medium-sized bowl. Add scallops and stir until coated with egg. Measure bread crumbs and pour into a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag. Using a slotted spoon, scoop scallops into bag with crumbs. Pour into prepared pan in one layer. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Variation

Peel and chop 1 small onion. Seed, rinse, and chop 1 small green pepper. Rinse and chop 1 rub celery. Saute onion, pepper, and celery in a skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes. After drizzling breaded scallops with butter, top with vegetables. Bake as directed above. Serves 4.

One way to keep children active and interested this summer is through food focused activities. Let this be the start of an engaging summer.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS

http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

Books for kids, families, and parenting professionals

 12 Food Related Kids Projects
PinExt 12 Food Related Kids Projects

Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

PinExt Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

9780930643225 214x300 Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and FreshnessThe crisp Fall air brings with it the wonderful smell and taste of fresh picked apples.

Here are some tips for picking and storing apples:

  • Twist or turn the apple from the branch. If you pull it, the buds next to it will break off and not bear fruit next year.
  • Don’t rely on redness as a guide to flavor.  Apples come in all shades of reds, yellows and greens. Choose clear colored apples. Often those with an intense green undercast or undertone are not completely ripe. Those with a dull yellowish-green undercast may be too ripe.
  • Choose apples that are free from bruises, blemishes and skin breaks. They should be firm with no soft spots or bruises.
  • When apples are thumped lightly with the knuckle, they should sound hollow, but not dull. Their smell should be flowery and aromatic.
  • For crisp, juicy apples, store in their plastic bag in the crisper part of the refrigerator, at 30 to 32 degrees. The freezing point of apples, which is damaging to the fruit, is about 28 or 29 degrees. Wash just before using, as their protective coating helps keep them from becoming dehydrated and bruised.

Apples are best when at their freshest. Orchards and roadside stands are overflowing with their best products of the season.  This is the ideal time to  visit apple orchards, stands, and produce centers, and savor the delectable fruits of the harvest.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for cookies, from my apple cookbook, From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers:

Apple Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
l teaspoon baking powder
l teaspoon baking soda
l/2 teaspoon salt
l/4  teaspoon cinnamon
l/4  teaspoon nutmeg
l/2 cup (l  stick) butter or margarine
l cup brown sugar
l egg
l/4 cup milk
2 cups apples, peeled and grated
l/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg. Stir in dry ingredients with milk, apples, and nuts. Mix well. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Glaze cookies with the following while still warm:

l  cup confectioners’ sugar
l tablespoon soft butter or margarine
l-2 tablespoons milk
l/2 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Enjoy visiting apple orchards and savoring the fruit of their bounty!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Apple cookbook author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers,
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards

 Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness
PinExt Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

What Affects Your Food Choices?

PinExt What Affects Your Food Choices?
300px Food in a restaurant 2 What Affects Your Food Choices?

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Do you eat only because you need food to stay alive? Or only for good health? Of course not! There are so many reasons why you choose to eat the food you do.

Food choices are based on cultural, religious, social, or psychological reasons. Even your own personal values enter into choosing foods. Sometimes, too, you eat what you eat because it’s the only food available when you need it.

Different cultures tend to center their foods around certain types. When one refers to Italian, Mexican, American foods, a certain kind of food comes to mind. Usually this is because of climate or geography that a particular food is grown there and becomes popular. Perhaps it is the custom or tradition to serve certain foods at festivals or special occasions and now becomes a food associated with a particular culture.

Religious influences such as not eating pork or not eating meat on certain days are special food customs of certain religions. Some are discouraged from drinking coffee and tea and alcoholic drinks. Fasting from foods is practiced by some religious groups.

Wouldn’t you think something was wrong with a get-together if there wasn’t something to eat or drink? Eating is very much a social activity. Most people don’t like to eat alone. Mealtimes with families are some of the first experiences of a social setting for children – a time of sharing the day’s events. Hopefully, with our fast-paced living, this social interaction will not become a lost art, but that families will continue to eat meals together.

Have you been a part of the “clean your plate” syndrome? Or, perhaps as a child you were given certain foods like candy or ice cream for good behavior. These are all part of the different ways you now look at food by what was encountered through associations with others. Maybe, too, you eat because you are unhappy or sad and lonely. These are all psychological reasons why you may choose to eat certain foods.

Then there are other, personal reasons why certain foods are eaten. It may have to do with a food allergy or condition, or because of a weight problem. Maybe it is because it smells so good and past experience lets you know it tastes good. Is it avoided because it is too expensive, or is it eaten because it is expensive and this is what the “rich people” eat? Here status comes into play.

So, you see, there are many influences that shape your eating habits and food choices: some are cultural, others are religious, social, or psychological. Hopefully, too, there is consideration of whether the food is healthy and good for you.

Why do YOU choose the foods you do when you are:

at the mall or fast food restaurant?
at a fancy restaurant?
at a cafeteria (school, business, or restaurant)?
in the grocery store?

I invite you to comment on why you eat the foods you eat.

Best to you and your family,
Lee Jackson, CFCS
Author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
The Littlest Christmas Kitten, a children’s story book

 What Affects Your Food Choices?
PinExt What Affects Your Food Choices?

Real Apple Connoisseurs – Take A Look at England’s Apple Heritage

PinExt Real Apple Connoisseurs   Take A Look at Englands Apple Heritage
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Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Here is a good read about England and their long apple history. This universal fruit has fans the world over – but some fans are more discriminating than others.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/14/apple-britain-gala-traditional

I enjoyed reading how apples are viewed by others across the ocean. Hope you enjoy it, too!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples, Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards

 Real Apple Connoisseurs   Take A Look at Englands Apple Heritage
PinExt Real Apple Connoisseurs   Take A Look at Englands Apple Heritage

Soup for a Cold, Snowy Day

PinExt Soup for a Cold, Snowy Day
300px Vegetable beef barley soup Soup for a Cold, Snowy Day

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Soup makes a good hearty meal, or an addition to a meal, in most any season. When the wind is blowing and the snow is falling, as it is today, I like to make soup and enjoy its comfort and warmth.

Here is a soup recipe from Amy Houts’ cookbook for children, Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities. In here, Amy features recipes from different regions of the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii. Children can really engage in the history of the United States by learning more about each region through the food grown there and then preparing the food.

This recipe, Beef-Barley Soup, comes from the Mountain States region. Amy writes in the book: “The Mountain States grow barley, a wonderful addition to vegetable soup.” Other recipes in this section include Sour Dough Bread (with the  Starter recipe), French dip for Roast Beef Sandwiches, Lamb Kabobs, Baked Potato Bar, Fruit Cobbler, and many others. You will recognize these foods as being popular in the USA Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming because of the type of food grown there.

Here is the soup recipe – it will warm you up on this cold winter day, no matter you live.

Beef-Barley Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
6 cups water
1 cup medium barley
1 (16 oz.) chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large (4-quart) pot, cook ground beef over medium heat; drain grease. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Children can measure and add water and barley, parsley, salt and pepper to pot, under adult supervision. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down heat to low, cover and simmer about an hour.

Serves 6-8

For more information about this book and other books for children, see: http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com.

Thanks and enjoy the soup!

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Family and Consumer Life Specialist

 Soup for a Cold, Snowy Day
PinExt Soup for a Cold, Snowy Day

Cyber Monday Deal: Autographed Children’s Books

PinExt Cyber Monday Deal: Autographed Childrens Books
300px Children reading The Grinch Cyber Monday Deal: Autographed Childrens Books

Image via Wikipedia

All of our children’s books purchased between now and December 10 can be autographed upon request. Authors will be happy to sign their books. Children love to “get to know” the author. This includes the following books:

The Littlest Christmas Kitten
Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities
Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun
Listening to the Mukies and Their Character Building Adventures

See more info about them at http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

Thinking Christmas!

Lee Jackson
Images Unlimited Books
Books for children, families and parenting professionals
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

 Cyber Monday Deal: Autographed Childrens Books
PinExt Cyber Monday Deal: Autographed Childrens Books

What’s an Easy Breakfast Apple Recipe?

PinExt Whats an Easy Breakfast Apple Recipe?
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Image by bkajino via Flickr

For those mornings when you have just a bit more time (that does happen sometimes?) get your kids to help you make this coffee cake together. It uses prepared biscuits so it’s a snap to make.

Peeling the apples may take the longest, but this recipe only requires 2 apples. Can you peel the whole apple in one long piece?

As one “long-ago apple saying” goes: If you close your eyes and toss the long peel to the floor, whatever alphabet shape it most represents is the  first initial of the person you will marry!

Apple Biscuit Coffee Cake

2 cooking apples, peeled and sliced
(this can be Granny Smith, Jonathan, Winesap,
Rome Beauty, Gala, or other firm, tart apple)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup raisins
1 can refrigerated ready-to-bake biscuits

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon butter

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in 9-inch round cake pan. After it is melted,
pour off 1 tablespoon butter to be used for the topping.
Arrange sliced apples over butter. Sprinkle raisins over
apples. Cut each of the 10 biscuits into fourths and place over apples.

Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, corn syrup and egg until
well blended and sugar is dissolved. Pour over biscuits.
Sprinkle walnuts over top. Dot with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. After coffee cake is
baked, an adult can invert it on serving plate. This is done by placing
the plate over the hot, steaming cake and, using good potholders, quickly turn
pan over unto serving plate, so juices run over coffee cake. This is a little tricky but do it quickly and the cake will fall onto the serving plate, catching the juices.

Then, sit and enjoy. Your kids will love it, too.

Lee Jackson
author From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
and The Littlest Christmas Kitten
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com
.

 Whats an Easy Breakfast Apple Recipe?
PinExt Whats an Easy Breakfast Apple Recipe?

What’s an Apple Betty?

PinExt Whats an Apple Betty?
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Image by DavidErickson via Flickr

I call this recipe an Apple Betty. But the earlier versions use browned bread cubes and brown sugar layered with apples. I’m guessing someone named Betty had some leftover bread and combined it with apples. Voila, Apple Betty!

I love this recipe for two reasons:
1) it tastes absolutely delicious and
2) you don’t have to grease the pan! I don’t know why, but that is a real plus for me.

Favorite Apple Betty

4 cups cooking apples, peeled and sliced
1/4  cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4  cup water

Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes just until apples are beginning to get tender. Pour into ungreased 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle the following crumb topping over the apples:

Topping
1/2  cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4  teaspoon salt

Blend brown sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 6

Others might call this an Apple Crisp, although it really doesn’t get crispy on top nor does it have any oatmeal. It is a simple recipe well worth trying.

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards and Littlest Christmas Kitten
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

 Whats an Apple Betty?
PinExt Whats an Apple Betty?

Making Apple Roll-Ups

PinExt Making Apple Roll Ups
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Image by massdistraction via Flickr

Kids love fruit roll-ups from the store, but you can make them easily at home. What better time to make apple roll-ups than when this fruit is at its peak?

Apple Roll-Ups

6-8  apples
1/4 – 1/2  cup water
about 2 tablespoons honey

Wash, peel, core and cut-up apples.  Add water to apples in saucepan.

Cook over low heat just as you would for applesauce. Cook until apples are soft and break-up easily. Stir occasionally. Do not let apples scorch!

Put in blender or food processor and blend or process until apples are quite smooth.

Mix in about 1 tablespoon honey per cup of applesauce, depending on tartness of apples.

Add more water if apple mixture is too thick to spread evenly.

Cover bottom of cookie sheet pan with plastic wrap.

Spread apple mixture thinly over plastic wrap in pan. May need to use more than one pan.

Put in 150° F  oven with the door slightly open. Leave in oven for 12 hours, or until apples are almost dry, but still pliable.

When mixture cools enough to handle, roll up, as with a jelly roll, starting from wide end.

Store in plastic wrap until ready to use. Then slice each roll into bite-sized pieces.

Note: can use dehydrator for drying apples. Lightly grease trays and spread puree evenly and thinly onto trays. Set temperature at 130-140° F. Dry until fruit feels dry and pliable with no sticky spots.

Any applesauce that is leftover can be spread out on a cookie sheet and dried in this manner for a taste treat just like the store-bought varieties. Add nuts for a nutty-fruity roll.

Enjoy apples – ‘tis the season!

Lee Jackson
Author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
and Littlest Christmas Kitten
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

 Making Apple Roll Ups
PinExt Making Apple Roll Ups

Cider Fest Fun

PinExt Cider Fest Fun

What an enjoyable day we had at the Louisburg Cider Mill Cider Fest on Saturday! The Cider Mill is located in Louisburg, Kansas, 20 minutes south of Kansas City.

Spain and Louisburg CiderFest 0161 300x225 Cider Fest Fun
                               Lee at Louisburg Cider Fest

Amy Houts, author of Cooking Around the Country with Kids, and I were invited to sign books at their Cider Fest. We brought my two apple cookbooks, other related apple books, and Amy’s books for kids.  We also had coloring pages for the kids, as well as an “apple” stamp for their hands. It was fun interacting with the crowd, telling parents about our books, and just enjoying the beautiful day.

We watched the way apples were put through the process of being made into cider and bottled. We also saw them make doughnuts. Of course we had to sample some of each. The kettle corn and lemon ade across the way was most enticing.

The younger crowd enjoyed the 10- acre Werewolf Corn Maze, another of their attractions. There was also a pumpkin patch, country music, giant slides for kids, and lots of vendors selling their wares. Many visitors found it  a great way to spend a beautiful fall day with their family doing fun things.

 Cider Fest Fun
PinExt Cider Fest Fun