The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mister Toad

Walt-Disney-Screencaps-The-Adventures-of-Ichabod-and-Mr-Toad-Title-Card-walt-disney-characters-28496848-2560-1591513KX67DC8L._SL500_AA300_I had originally planned to do The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mister Toad for Thanksgiving but it ended up being moved back a week. I moved it because this was the conversation I had at our house Thanksgiving morning after I had finished making the pumpkin pies:
“Hon, can you take the turkey out of the fridge.”
“It’s not here.”
“I thought you took it out of the freezer.”
“Nope, I thought you did!”
smIMG_8004So off I went to the store. Guess what, you can’t find a fresh turkey Thanksgiving day in Canada. So we had ham. We also had a giant, rock-hard, uncooked turkey in our freezer. So we had turkey for our movie night with another pumpkin pie the following weekend! We also served broccoli, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and neeps and tatties (turnip and potatoes).

smIMG_8583Pumpkin Pie
1 egg
15 mL all-purpose flour
180 mL white sugar
2 mL salt
375 mL cups pumpkin puree
375 mL evaporated milk
2 mL ground cinnamon
2 mL ground ginger
1 mL ground nutmeg
30 mL light corn syrup
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1.Preheat oven to 230˚C.
2.Add the sugar gradually to the pumpkin puree. Beat well an stir in the flour, salt and spices. Stir in the corn syrup and beat well. Stir in the slightly beaten egg, then slowly add the evaporated milk, mixing until well blended. Pour the batter into the unbaked pie shell.
3. Bake at 230˚C for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 165˚F and continue baking pie for an additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the mixture comes out clean.

For the craft, I had the kids do travel tags with Mister Toad quotes from the movie. “Travel, Adventure, Excitement!” and “We’ll go for a jolly ride!” I got sparkly foam and scrapbook letters and the kids did the lettering. Then we cut out a frame square on one side and the kids inserted their contact info and coloured in a little sketch of Toad I did. Plus since we just moved it was good to help teach them their new info. Perfect for their luggage for Disney, attached with a distinctive ribbon to help find the luggage quickly at the airport! By the way, the letters kind of seem like there is no way they will make it through customs without popping off so I am going to take these to laminate before we go.



Mulan-Wallpaper-mulan-2471024-500-375Mulan+DVD+coverWe did Mulan for the Lunar New Year. My husband is Korean so we did a sort of Asian inspired night. We all dressed up in our traditional Hanbooks. For dinner we had green tea (like Mulan serves to her dad before she leaves for the matchmaker), soup with dumplings (the ones that put out the fire when they have been cast off from the army) and and rice and eggs (like the dish Mushu serves Mulan for breakfast “It’s porridge! And it’s happy to see you!”). In Korea, there is a dish like that called bibumpap (hot pot rice) and for dessert we had date buns. I went to our local H-Mart and bought most of the ingredients (leek dumplings, date buns, bibumpap seasoned veggies: bean sprouts, carrots,  spinach,  shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini) but there is a great site that tells you how to make the bibumpap all from scratch. I just added the store bought veggies, steak, and fried egg to rice. For the dumpling soup, I added store bought dumplings to a recipe I found here but I’ve included the recipe below long with the changes we make so it will be soy-free. It’s a traditional Korean soup called Duk Gook traditionally served at New Year. (I’m sorry, my photo looks a little different because I did a vegetarian version for myself. The kids and my husband had the regular version.)

IMG_9366_smDuk Gook
125 mL thin sliced Korean rice cake (duk gook)
15 mL Dashi (beef soup base)
1.5 L water
2 green onions, chopped
113 g beef, cut into thin strips
10 dumplings
1 egg, beaten
2 sheets seaweed
5 mL salt
1.25 mL sesame oil
1.25 mL sugar
1.25 mL pepper
1.25 mL minced garlic

1. Soak the rice cake in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Marinate the beef in the salt, sesame oil, pepper, sugar, and minced garlic for an hour or more.
3. Saute the beef in a skillet, then set aside.
4. Put the water and dashi in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add the rice cakes and the dumplings to the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender.
6. Add the green onions. Pour the egg in a little at a time. Let it set a bit, then stir- if you stir right after adding the egg, the broth gets milky.
7. Put into bowls and garnish each bowl with some beef and some crumbled seaweed.

For the craft we made a dragon in honour of Mushu (one of my favourite characters). You can find the instructions here but I’ve outlined it below as well. You need coloured paper cups and crepe paper from the dollar store, an old cardboard tube, string, glue, stick, pencil crayons or markers, and a dragon head. You can print one or design your own. You can get everything you need at the dollar store for a few bucks.
Punch a hole into the base of each cup with a pencil. Cut the tube into pieces about 5cm long. Tie a large knot into the string and thread it into the cup and out the bottom. Next, thread on a piece of tube and alternate with cups and tubes until it reaches the desired length. Tie a large knot in the end of the string to secure the cups. Draw and colour two dragon heads and stick them to either side of the first cup. Cut the crepe paper into lengths of approximately 30cm. Glue along the length of the dragon’s body. Punch a hole into the top of the head cup and another into a cup toward the end of the dragon’s body. Attach string from the holes to either end of the stick. Use the stick to manoeuvre the dragon puppet.
A belated Happy New Year: Sae He Bok Mani Ba Deu Se Yo (in Korean) or Gung How Fat Choy (in Chinese)!

The Princess and The Frog

the_princess_and_the_frog_balcony_wallpaper-1024x768disney-princess-and-the-frog-dvdFor Mardi Gras we did The Princess and the Frog in it’s honour. I made Gumbo (first time) and my husband, who HATES shrimp said “No way am I eating that”. Well, my daughter loves shrimp so I said “Fine, more leftovers for her”. It took me a long time, the roux alone takes 30 minutes, and in the end I think I spent almost two hours cooking it but when I served it it smelled so good that my husband asked for a bowl – and then he asked for seconds! So bottom line, this recipe is so amazing it will make people who don’t even like shrimp forget that they hate it (I’ve included it below). By the way, I cut the recipe in half and it still made buckets of the stuff. Unless you are doing a picnic for the church or something, cut in half.

450 g smoked sausage links, cut into slices
113 g bacon, chopped
500 mL chopped okra
392 g can diced tomatoes with  chili peppers
125 mL unsalted butter
160 mL all-purpose flour
500 mL chopped onion
125 mL chopped green onions
160 mL finely chopped green bell pepper
160 mL finely chopped celery
30 mL chopped fresh parsley
30 mL minced garlic
500 mL water
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1.25 mL cayenne pepper
5 mL dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1.5 L water
900 g uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, discard the fat in the skillet, and drain the sausage slices on paper towels to absorb any excess grease. Set the sausage aside. Cook and stir the chopped bacon in the skillet until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes, remove the bacon, and set aside. Stir the okra into the hot bacon drippings, and cook and stir until the okra is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the okra in a colander, and discard bacon drippings.
2. Place the okra and diced tomatoes in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the okra mixture for about 10 minutes.
3. In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion, green onions, green pepper, celery, parsley, and garlic until the onion begins to turn brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables but leave the butter in the pot. Stir in the flour, reduce heat to low, and cook the roux, stirring constantly, until it turns the color of milk chocolate, 30 to 45 minutes. Do not let the roux burn.
4. When the roux reaches its correct color, whisk in 2 cups of water. Raise the heat to medium; stir in salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and bay leaves, bring the mixture to a boil, and stir in the sausage, bacon, okra-tomato mixture, and 6 more cups of water. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the gumbo, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened and the flavors are blended, about 45 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, and simmer until they turn pink and opaque, 6 to 8 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and adjust the seasonings, if desired, before serving.

For dessert we made Beignets and I left them in the fridge overnight to chill. I found a great recipe here that does not use shortening (my daughter has a soy allergy so we can’t use that.) They were soooo yummy!

250 mL lukewarm water
60 mL granulated sugar
2.5 mL salt
1 large egg, room temperature and beaten
30 mL butter, softened
125 mL evaporated milk
1 L bread flour or all-purpose flour
15 mL instant active dry yeast
Vegetable oil for deep frying (just enough to cover beignets while frying)
Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Using a mixer with a dough hook, place water, sugar, salt, egg, butter, evaporated milk, flour, and yeast in the bowl. Beat until smooth. Remove dough from bowl and turn out onto a lightly-oiled surface. Form dough into an oval, place in a lightly-greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled (3 to 4 hours) or overnight.
2. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly-floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into approximately 3-inch squares, triangles, or circles; set aside.
3. In a large pot, heat vegetable oil to 182˚C. Slide the dough pieces slowly into the hot oil (this is to avoid splattering) and fry the beignets (2 or 3 at a time) approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides; turning them in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown. The beignets will rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff.  NOTE: If the beignets don’t rise to the top immediately when dropped into the oil, the oil is not hot enough. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
4. While the beignets are still warm, sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. An easy way to coat the hot beignets in powdered sugar is to place the powdered sugar an a clean bag. Add the beignets to the bag, hold bag close and shake to coat evenly.
5. Serve while still warm. The dough can be kept for up to 1 week in the refrigerator – it actually improves with age; just punch down when it rises. Dough can also be frozen; cut and roll, or shape doughnuts before freezing.)

For the crafts, my daughter made a Mardi Gras mask with sparkles, sequins, feathers, beads, and ribbons, hot glued on. All from the dollar store, score! Then she adn her brother painted a little firefly scene. She did the background and her brother did the fireflies with his pinky in some yellow finger paint.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

christmascP12049760I’m just going to update a few seasonal posts that were late. Sorry about the delay, hopefully you can still make use of the ideas. For our final Christmas movie night we did Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I looked everywhere for a goose but I couldn’t find anything under $50. Since my husband wasn’t keen on trying it for our actual Christmas dinner, I decided to do the “before” version of the Cratchit’s dinner. More our style anyway. So I went out and got a cornish game hen and we did it with a glorious new stuffing recipe based on one found here. I’ve put the recipe with the changes I made below (I removed the walnuts and olives changed the raisins to cranberries and made it vegetarian). I guess that turkeys in the store are getting larger and larger and portion sizes are increasing all the time but because I am a vegetarian, the hen only had to serve 3 people and it was the perfect size! I will buy them more often after this, just for a surprisingly easy dinner. We had plum pudding with sauce for dessert (it was a favourite of my mum’s) and I was thrilled that the kids actually liked it! I used a store bought pudding and found the recipe for the sauce here but I’ve posted it below with the changes I made (we just removed the brandy for the kids).


1 loaf of day old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
5000 mL each, chopped onion and celery
90 mL butter
1  apple, peeled, cored, chopped
180 mL dried cranberries
250 mL vegetable soup base stock
5 mL poultry seasoning
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 45 mL butter in the pan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Then let them toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side. Note, if you aren’t working with somewhat dried-out day-old bread, lay the cubes of bread in a baking pan and put them in a hot oven for 10 minutes to dry them out first, before toasting them in butter on the stove top. The bread should be a little dry to begin with, or you’ll end up with mushy stuffing.
2. Sauté chopped onions and celery on medium  with the remaining 45 mL butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the bread. Add chopped apple, cranberries, and parsley. Add 250 mL of soup veggie soup base stock (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add poultry seasoning, and salt & pepper to taste.
3. Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every ten minutes or so and add water or stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Yield: Serves 8-10 (lots of yummy leftovers).

IMG_8650_smPlum Pudding Sauce
250 mL Sugar
15 mL Flour
45 mL Butter
5 mL Nutmeg
2.5 mL Salt
5 mL Vanilla
500 mL cold water
1. Combine ingredients and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

For the craft, I told the kids that we would take the money that we usually spent on the craft and put it towards the charity of their choice. We talked about all the different sorts of things they could donate their money to. My daughter decided quickly, and gave money towards a well in Africa with World Vision. My son had more trouble. He thought and thought but he couldn’t decide. And here is where it gets funny. He had been asking about Grand-Santa from Arthur Christmas and how he spits out his teeth when he eats his mince tart. He was horrified that he could actually do that and I told him a lot of older people have dentures they can remove. So out of the blue, all of a sudden, he says, “I want to give my money to people with no teeth!” So we did.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday with a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year! God Bless Us, Everyone.


Wall E Wallpapers wall-e_dvdHappy Earth Day everyone!

Our Wall-E night was a bit action-packed so we will be watching the movie this weekend instead. I had intended to do it this past weekend but it was the new baby’s 6 month birthday. We had a nice little party with my sister and her family and we gave him solids for the first time (Gerber Baby Rice Cereal Starter) but he had an allergic reaction to it and broke out in hives and his eyes swelled shut. It was terrifying! After 1.25 mL of child’s benadryl and an hour of cuddling he was almost back to normal. It’s actually relevant to the movie night because even the plain rice cereal baby food is full of extra additives and ingredients you just don’t need. We switched to Healthy Times Organic Baby Rice Cereal today and he had no problems at all.

Anyway, for the snack we did Wall-e cookies. I found a cute recipe here but I simplified it a little and skipped the white icing and just made the eyes and rivets with some chocolate icing and cinnamon hearts. I used my favourite shortbread recipe from here and they still looked pretty cute (Recipe below).

Wall-E Cookies
500 mL butter, softened
250 mL white sugar
10 mL vanilla extract
1 L all-purpose flour
Chocolate Icing
Cinnamon hearts

1. For the cookies, preheat oven to 180˚C. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla; add flour and mix well. Flour counter and rolling pin, roll out dough and cut out eye shapes from the template pieces. Place on baking tray and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
2. Working with one cookie eye at a time, ice an iris with chocolate icing using a piping bag. Add three rivets to the eye piece. Place a cinnamon heart in the centre of each iris.
3. Use more of the icing to attach each completed pair of WALL-E eyes to the top of pretzel.

For the activity, first the kids and I planted some seeds and raspberry bushes in the garden that they picked out. We had gone for a tree but they were all pretty pricy. Next year, when we are in our forever home.

Then, we picked the garbage off the grass around our house and my son made a sign that said “Happy Earth Day! Don’t Litter Please”. While he was doing that, my daughter was working on researching the oil sands and writing a letter to Steven Harper and our MP asking him to cancel the plans for the Enbridge pipeline. Here is a link to info about it at the greenpeace website. Hope everyone has a great evening!

Beauty and the Beast

Our plans have been quite up on the air with a date change for our trip. We have been keeping up with the movie nights though and I have lots to share with you. So without further ado…

Beauty-and-the-Beast-Diamond-Edition-box-artWe did a lot of movie nights over the break after Christmas and caught up on a few outstanding crafts. Beauty and the Beast was a new one and perfect for a snowy winter day. We made a cheese souffle for dinner and it was surprisingly easy! It didn’t rise as much as I had hoped and it fell a little for the photo but it was still amazingly delicious. So much so that my carnivore husband asked for it for both New Year’s Eve dinner and his birthday two days later. I found the recipe here and I highly recommend it, I’ve posted it below.


Cheese Soufflé
30 mL finely grated Parmesan cheese
250 mL whole milk
37 mL unsalted butter
45 mL unbleached all purpose flour
2 mL paprika
2 mL salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
50 mL (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 205˚C. Butter 1.5 L soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
4. Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 163˚C. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.

IMG_8887_largeThe craft was actually quite a bit of work but so worth it in the end. We decided to do a bookmark because both Belle and our family love reading. I found an image here and converted it to black and white. I printed it and redrew the lines in a darker black marker. Then I showed my daughter how to use the exacto knife and she cut out all the white pieces. We then glued scraps of coloured tissue paper to the back and enclosed it all with a piece of white tissue. It turned out so nicely and she was really proud of herself. Here it is with a few of the books on her reading list for 2013. We also started her and her brother up on goodreads so they can record the books they are reading. They have challenged themselves to reading 100 books this year and if my girl does 60 by the trip I told her she would earn a visit to Blizzard Beach. Yes, I am bribing her. Anyone have any good suggestions for books for kids 7-10?

Just a little extra, the kids made autograph book pens. Toby did fireworks with some gift wrap and red duct tape. Eveie took the red and some green as well and made the Beast’s rose.

Arthur Christmas

Arthur+Chirstmas+Wallpaper+00221692706_700x700min_2Okay, I know that Arthur Christmas is not Disney but we did a movie night anyway because it is so great. It zipped under our radar last Christmas because we were so excited to see The Muppets when they came out at the same time and we didn’t notice it.
List of favourite Christmas movies
A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim)
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Mickey’s Christmas Carol,
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated, 1966)
White Christmas
The Bishop’s Wife
Arthur Christmas

IMG_8483_smFor the treat we had mince tarts.
GrandSanta: “I can’t eat that. It gets in me teeth.”
This was the recipe we used, I even added one more apple and it was lovely. Also, instead of putting it in a single pie, we used the filling and made tarts.

Apple Mince Tarts
5 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
30 mL butter
10 mL lemon juice
125 mL white sugar
3 mL ground cinnamon
1 mLground nutmeg
7 mL vanilla extract
500 mL prepared mincemeat
1 package of pie crust
1 egg yolk
15 mL water

1. Preheat an oven to 230˚C.
2. Place apples, butter, and lemon juice into a saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the mincemeat until thoroughly combined, and set the pie filling aside.
3. Cut the pastry rounds out with a large teacup, then fit into muffin tins; pour the filling into the crust. With a brush dipped in water, moisten the edge of the bottom crust. Top the tarts with a second crust and pinch together to seal. Cut slits into the top crust for steam vents. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with water, and brush the yolk mixture over the top crusts.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 175˚C. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 15 to 30 more minutes.

IMG_8503_smFor the craft I’d suggest letters to Santa. The kids had already sent theirs long ago so my son made one for the baby. He drew the S-1 sleigh from the movie. Inside the card he asked Santa for all sorts of crazy things like a toy squirrel and a onsie with a Canadian flag on it.

Lady and the Tramp

ladyjMV5BMjAwNzA3NTk0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzkyNDEzMQ@@._V1._SY317_CR8,0,214,317_Lady and the Tramp is a sentimental choice of mine because it was my mum’s favourite movie and she and my dad remind our family of the two of them. My mum was definitely a lady and the characters even look like the two of them together. So I wanted this movie night to be in her honour.

IMG_8477_smFor the craft we made a special ornament. I used a small lady and the tramp ornament (the Disney store had them on sale) but you could use any figurine. The dollar store and Michael’s craft stores have clear plastic ornaments that you can fill but I needed a larger one so I got it at Loomis. We filled 1/4 of the ornament with fake snow which you can find at the dollar store), then added the ornament. After sealing it, we hot glued a ribbon around the ornament’s join to make it look more like a whole piece of glass.

IMG_8338_smWe had the obvious spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. We just did plain pasta with a bit of sauce stirred in for taste. Then a very simple and easy meatball.

900 g ground beef
375 mL fresh bread crumbs
65 mL chopped onion
125 mL milk
7 mL salt
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 190˚C.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Shape into little meatballs, about 1 inch in size. Place the meatballs into a rectangular baking dish.
3. Bake at 190˚C for 60 minutes.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

LionWitchWardrobeWallpaper8001199778826I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post. Having a newborn slows you down more than I thought! I’ve been keeping up with the movie nights and photo documenting them but I haven’t had time to write out the details. It was a choice between blogging and laundry and I chose clean socks for the kids. Things are starting to get a little better though and the baby is starting to sleep more so I thought I would do some today. We have done a Christmas movie a week for the month of December and I thought I would write about them all today in case anyone wanted some ideas for the holidays ahead!

IMG_8434_smThe first weekend of December was Narnia. We only watched The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe because my son has not read the other two books yet. And oh, how I wish they would do the other movies in the series! These books were my favourites as a child along with Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. I read them all hundreds of times.
For the snack we made hot chocolate and turkish delight (of course). The hot chocolate was just 15mL of cocoa, 30 mL of sugar and 500 mL of milk. Combine the cocoa, sugar and 15mL of the milk in a mug and blend. Heat the rest of the milk and add the paste when the milk has reached the desired temperature. The turkish delight now, that was another matter. Having tried it once in my childhood I always believed that it was a food based on a dare.
“Mum, may I have some dessert?”
“Well love, all we have is icing sugar…”
Actually, it wasn’t bad homemade and the kids loved it. That being said, the recipe we followed made a ridiculous amount. One piece is enough for even the most sweet toothed child. I had a serving the size of a postage stamp. I found the recipe here but it comes with a handy serving size calculators so If you do make this, cut the recipe into 2 instead of 12 (oh, I also skipped the pistachio nuts so it would be nut free). I’ve included the directions below. Also, make it a day in advance to give it lots of time to set.

Turkish Delight
65 mL water
125 mL granulated sugar
7 mL light corn syrup
20 mL orange juice
7 mL orange zest
1/2 envelope (.25 ounce) unflavored gelatin
30 mL cornstarch
20 mL cold water
2 mL vanilla extract
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Bring 65 mL water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C) on a candy thermometer. Set aside and keep hot.
2. Stir together orange juice and orange zest, sprinkle with gelatin, and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 20 mL cold water, then stir into hot syrup. Place over medium-low heat, and simmer, stirring gently, until very thick.
3. Remove syrup from heat, stir in orange juice mixture, and vanilla. Sprinkle small pan or bowl generously with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the Turkish delight into the pan, and let cool in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until set, 3 to 12 hours.
When cool, sprinkle the top with another thick layer of powdered sugar. Cut into 1-inch squares, and dredge each well with confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

IMG_8501_smFor the craft we made a lantern night light. I found the idea here. I got the lantern at the dollar store (score!) and I used a larger vintage preserving jar from the goodwill so we took an old spool of thread and covered it with glue and fake snow (which you can find at the dollar store) to prop it up a bit higher. We added more fake snow to the jar, glued the lantern to the lid and volia!  The idea backfired slightly because I’ve come into my son’s room countless times since then to find him asleep over a book by the light of this tiny lantern. He’s going to ruin his eyes, but I have not got the heart to take it away yet, I’m just so happy that he loves reading so much and I remember doing the same thing as a child.

Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros

When we did a double bill movie night, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros my daughter and I spent the evening yesterday getting the craft ready while the boys were at speed skating. We had lots of girly fun and made a piñata that she named Burrita (her head looks enormous in the photos, don’t know why). We researched the history of the piñata online and found out the donkey is in tribute to the one that carried Mary to Bethlehem. Burrita was very, very solid and well made which suited my daughter just fine because she became very attached to that piñata. She only let her brother hit it three times, then she whacked it down and didn’t want to hit her anymore because she was so fond of her, so we popped a hole in the bottom and pulled the candy out. The kids pronounced it their favourite movie night so far (I am pretty sure it had something to do with the candy).

For this craft you’ll need a large cardboard box, masking tape and clear tape, scissors, string or ribbon to hang it with, several colours of tissue paper, white card stock, markers and something to go in the piñata (we used candy but you could do anything, toys, colouring books and crayons, games, books, etc.). I found this site which was very helpful for starting us off on figuring out how to make our piñata. There were a few things we did differently: we made 4 tubes with card stock for the legs and two cone shapes out of card stock for the ears. The body and head were two separate boxes and the trap door at the bottom was much larger but even then it was probably too solid. We also drew eyes on card stock with marker and added them for extra beauty.

The recipe which I’ve posted below was for a South American style granola bar with quinoa, dark chocolate and dried fruit. We skipped the peanut butter and nuts and just used sunflower seeds but it was still really delicious. Again, I put the kids to work de-shelling the Spitz sunflower seeds and it took them almost an hour for them to get me half a cup.

Quinoa Granola Bars (Serves: 18)
500 mL regular oats
250 mL quinoa flakes
125 mL sunflower seeds
125 mL dried fruit (raisins, cherries, berries, etc.)
125 mL dark chocolate chips
60 mL vegetable oil
80 mL maple syrup
45 mL sunflower sunbutter (optional)
60 mL light brown sugar
5 mL vanilla
2 mL salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚C. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil with vegetable oil.
2. Place the 60 mL vegetable oil, maple syrup, sunbutter, and brown sugar in a microwave proof bowl or measuring cup. Microwave gently on low heat for 30 seconds or so, or until ingredients can be whisked together easily. Whisk in the vanilla and the salt.
3. Mix the oatmeal and quinoa flakes together in a bowl. Coarsely chop the seeds and dried fruit, and stir them into the oatmeal mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Add the liquid mixture to the oat mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are well coated. The mixture should be sticky and should start to clump together. If it doesn’t, and it seems dry and crumbly, add more maple syrup until it does.
5. Press the mixture down firmly into the pan. Grease a small piece of aluminum foil and use it to compress the mixture down into the pan as smoothly and firmly as possible.
6. Place pan in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until grains appear toasted and smell fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Finish cooling pan in the refrigerator, and for best (least crumbly) results, wait until mixture is well chilled before cutting it into bars.