Archives for February 2014

Tea with Tots

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A nice read by: Ashley Hardway

Of course Grandma can have fun with this too!

 

I don’t know what it is with kids but a traditional English tea is always a fun favorite. I guess it feel like play time more than snack time to them. My kids and I love having tea time together. It gives us a chance to bond and talk and sample new foods and flavors we might not have tried before.

Here are some fun and simple recipes for tea time:

Tea

First things first, the tea! I bought an inexpensive Chinese style tea set that is just the perfect size for little hands. Not only that but it opens up the conversation about different cultures and their traditions. The cups also do not have handles and are sturdier than the fragile English tea cups so that is a big plus.

We have tried many flavors of tea. The kid favorites seem to be fruit flavored. Peach tea, lemon tea, and raspberry tea are great. I like peppermint and chamomile because it helps them calm down and get ready for nap time! If you are careful to let the tea cool then there are no issues. We drink the tea plain or with a little honey for sweetness.

Cucumber Sandwiches

Tiny sandwiches are a lot of fun for kids to eat and for me to make. Although we sometimes substitute peanut butter and jelly or just jelly sandwiches, we do also enjoy an occasional cucumber sandwich. The recipe is easy. Just slice cucumbers very thin and then layer a few on your bread. On one side of the bread you can spread plain cream cheese or dice up some mint and mix it in for a tasty treat. Slice off the crust, cut into small triangles and serve!

Scones

The traditional English almost cookie is a little hard and crumbly but goes great with tea. They are not hard to make either.

In a large bowl combine:

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of sugar

Cut in 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of shortening (I use Crisco). In a separate bowl combine ¾ cup of cream and one egg. Beat well and add to dry ingredients. Stir in a handful of dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries.

You can even use mini chocolate chips if you would like. Turn onto floured surface and roll until about half an inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 for 15 minutes. You can add extra flavor by including half a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring, lemon juice/zest, or orange juice/zest.

Having a tea with your kids is a lot of fun and does not have to be a lot of work. All you need is a creative spirit and a few minutes to whip up some tasty treats you can all enjoy.

About Author

Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in Houston, Texas, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.

How to Make Pita on the Grill or in Your Oven – Monthly Food Column

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How to Make Pita Pocket Sandwiches

From Dennis Weaver at The Prepared Pantry

We teach a pita pocket sandwich class at our store. So it had better be good, it better be easy, and it better feed a crowd. That means that we tinker and tinker until we find the best way to make the best pitas in a hurry. Here we’ll tell you how to make both the pockets and the sandwiches.

How to Make Pita Pockets

We had a pita party. We made pita sandwiches for the crew. (There are benefits to working at The Prepared Pantry.) Just as homemade bread is much better than store bread, so are homemade pitas better. And they are really quite easy to make. Once your family has had fresh homemade pitas, you’ll never get by with store pitas again.

You can make your pita pockets with the recipe below or with a bread mix. Choose a bread mix to match the occasion. (We have over 100 bread mixes to choose from.)
Homemade pitas are easy to make with just a few ingredients and basic kitchen equipment. To make your pitas, you will need a mister, a rolling pin, and a baking stone. The baking stone, a pizza stone, is the key. You need a hot stone to quickly turn the water to steam and create the pocket. In the Middle East, they use a clay oven but we can replicate the process with a hot stone. And you can heat your stone in the oven or on a grill with a cover. So you can make pita pockets on your patio.

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 7-gram packet of instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm (105 degree) water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt

Directions

With your stand type mixer, combine about 2/3’s of the white flour, the yeast, and the warm water. Mix with a dough hook for about 30 seconds. (This mixes in and hydrates the yeast.) Add the rest of the flour, the whole wheat flour, and then the olive oil and salt. Knead with the dough hook for about four minutes on medium speed or until the gluten is formed. Add a little more flour or water if needed to get the right consistency. The dough should be slightly wetter than bread dough.

Remove the dough to a greased bowl and let sit for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size and is puffy.
Place a rack on the lowest shelf in the oven and remove the second rack so that you can reach into the oven with the formed pitas. Place a baking stone on the rack. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. If you are going to bake the pitas on the grill, place the stone on the rack and close the lid.

Form the dough into 2-inch balls. (If you have a kitchen scale, 2 1/2 ounces will make a nice pocket.) With a rolling pin, roll the balls flat to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Let these discs sit on the counter uncovered for ten to fifteen minutes.

Pick up a disk and spray it with water using a mister, so that the top slightly wet. Fold the dough over to trap the moisture. Dust an area on the counter with flour using a flour and sugar shaker. With the palm of your hand, pat the disk flat to 1/4-inch thickness again, turning once. If the disks are out-of-round, that’s okay. Repeat with the rest of the disks. Let them rest for ten minutes.

Place three or four of the flat disks on the hot baking stone in the oven or on the grill. An easy way to do it is to place the disks on a pizza peel and then slide the disks from the peel onto the hot stone. Close the oven door or the lid on the grill. Bake for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. The pitas should be puffy but not browned. Remove the pitas from the stone and let them cool on a wire rack. Continue until all are baked.

Baker’s notes:

It is the water turning to steam in the hot oven that makes the pitas puffy. If your pitas do not puff, there is not enough moisture trapped in the dough. They will still taste good.

How to Make Pita Pocket Sandwiches

There is no wrong way to make pita pocket sandwiches.

Cut your pockets in half. Some of your pockets will be hollower than others. That’s okay, use your thumb to compress the bread and hollow out the shell as needed.

For our classes, we use mayo, provolone cheese, deli lunch meat, tomatoes, and sprouts or lettuce. We form a sandwich bar and let people make their own sandwiches and add what they wish.

We set the ingredients out to be used in this order: Mayo, cheese, meat, tomato, and sprouts or shredded lettuce. Usually a half teaspoon of mayo will do. We cut the cheese slices and meat slices into pieces a little smaller than the pocket halves. We cut the tomatoes into slices and then into half slices or fourths. The lettuce or sprouts are the last item inserted into the pockets with enough is used to stuff the pockets.

Everyone loves pita pockets

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From Dennis Weaver At The Prepared Pantry

Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

10 Recycled Valentine’s Day Wreaths

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By Naomi Shaw

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Need some unique ideas for decorating your humble home? Here are 10 crafty ideas for making your own recycled Valentine’s Day wreath.

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1. Cardboard + Book Pages

Instead of buying a styrofoam wreath form from a crowded craft store, use reclaimed cardboard as the base and an old book from storage.

Trace a wreath on the cardboard using a plate to get that perfect circle; then cut it out.
Color the recycled book paper with crayon shades of pink and red. Use about 10-15 pages.
Hole punch the pages until you have hundreds of tiny colorful confetti-like dots.
Spread your glue evenly across the wreath form and scatter the confetti onto the glue.

2. Paper Curls Wreath

This spirited wreath can add a fresh burst of color to any front door. It’s so easy to make you can invite some friends over for a simple and fun wreath-making party.

Tightly wrap 6 inch strips of colored paper around a pencil to curl.
Glue the ends of each curl together to make a loop.
Hot-glue the paper loops to a foam wreath form until it’s covered.
Brush a liquid adhesive over the curls then add glitter for a glamorous touch.


3. Rags to Riches

Get rid of your dry cleaner hangers this Valentine’s Day. You can make fabric scraps from clothes you haven’t worn in ages.
Bend the wire hanger into a circle (or circle-like shape). Pinch the part that hangs twist it downwards so you can hang the wreath.
Cut as many 1 inch by 6 inch strips of fabric as you need to cover the hanger.
Tie each piece onto the wire hanger and scrunch them together so you can’t see the wire anymore.

4. Picture Frame Wreath

This unique wreath from Crafting a Green World, an eco-friendly craft blog, is sure to put a smile on any loved one’s face.
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Cut out four triangles from recycled paper and spell out the word “love;” one letter on each triangle.
Color each triangle pink and attach them to the twine using glue or tape.
Tape the twine across the empty frame so that your triangles hang.

5. Clothespin Wreath

You can clip pictures, notes, and Valentine’s Day cards to this wreath.
Take your clothespins apart to paint pink and white. This clever mom from craft blog Clean & Scentsible used a unique paper to create patterns.
Bend a wire clothes hanger into a heart shape.
Add clothespins and hang.

6. Converted Christmas Wreath

Turn any Christmas wreath into a Valentine’s Day wonder by adding red and pink embellishments.
Make flowers out of pink cupcake liners and attach with toothpicks.
Add some chocolate candy hearts that can be eaten later.
Remove any Christmas themed adornments.

7. Felt Rose Wreath

DIY enthusiast, Stacy Vaughn, wrote this detailed tutorial on how to make a gorgeous felt rose wreath. Below are the basics.
For the rose, cut a small piece of felt into a spiral; starting from the outside of the spiral start rolling the felt, then attach the last piece to the bottom.
Using craft glue instead of a glue gun to attach each rose can help you avoid those annoying hot-glue strings.

8. Heart-Shaped Rag Wreath

Similar to the rags to riches wreath mentioned above (#3), this wreath is in the shape of a heart. Just bend your wire hanger into a heart shape instead of a circle.

9. Paper Heart Wreath

You will need mini glue dots, a paper trimmer, ribbon, and a decorative patterned paper.
Cut the patterned paper into 2 inch by 11 inch strips and fold in half.
Use the glue dots on the edge of one of the strips; attach the other end to form a heart shape. Repeat until you have enough hearts for a wreath.
Attach hearts to form circle or oval shaped wreath.

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10. Sweater Wreath

You will need a few old sweaters, a pool noodle, glue gun, serrated knife, and packaging tape.
Cut your noodle in half, then tape the two ends together to make a V shape.
Cut the sleeves off your sweater, then cut them into even smaller pieces to make a striped pattern.
Pull the sweater pieces around the noodle and hot glue the pieces together.

Any of these wreaths would be great a for a crafting party or simply to hang beautifully on your front door.

Happy Valentine’s Day! <3 🙂 Naomi Shaw is a stay-at-home mom in Southern California. After being a stay-at-home mom for seven years she works full-time as a freelance writer. Naomi frequently collaborates with AllStoreDisplays. She enjoys blogging about DIY crafts and mommy tips providing insight, advice and more! She hopes you enjoy this article.