As spring slowly emerges over the high desert, getting outside is certainly something to look forward to. Yet, there are still days and times when we're stuck indoors. As much isolation as we've all experienced this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being homebound can make the whole family a bit stir crazy. Turn up the creative heat in your kitchen and get everyone in on the fun.
- Annie Spratt
Quick Ideas to Invite Creativity Into the Kitchen• Think of the kitchen as a place for all things creative. Along with cooking/preparing food, think artsy projects such as finger painting or making play dough.
• Involve the entire family in creative kitchen projects on a regular basis.
• Toddlers can play with pots and pans or other non-breakable bowls/utensils while older family members are chopping and cooking. Think of the banging and pounding as background music and let the little drummers delight!
• Give everyone an assignment, such as slicing, stirring, setting the timer. Even preschoolers can do things such as gathering ingredients and adding ingredients into a bowl.
• Teach everyone about mise en place which is a French cooking term meaning "putting in place". In other words, get all ingredients together before you start cooking or creating.
• Allow messiness.
• Make sure everyone is involved in clean-up.
Edible Finger PaintUsing pastel colored gels brings a hint of spring to the finger paint palette.
4 cups water
1 cup corn starch
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Icing colour gels – try Wilton brand in pastel colours
Containers to hold paint (any small bowl will do or small plastic containers with lids)
Finger paint paper – big sheets of butcher paper or parchment paper will work fine
- Phil Hearing
Whisk all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan until well combined. Cook and constantly stir on medium heat until mixture thickens.
Remove from heat. Separate into containers, using one container for each paint colour you want to make. Use a toothpick to add a small blob of colour gel. Stir until fully mixed. Let cool. Spread out big sheets of paper. PAINT.
Please note this finger paint is safe, non-toxic, and shouldn't stain clothes although a paint smock and or old t-shirt is recommended.
On-the-Go GranolaThis granola is healthy, simple to mix up and a perfect snack for packing along on those beautiful spring hikes you'll be taking.
1 tablespoon ground flax meal
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup coconut flakes
2 tablespoons coconut flour (or regular flour)
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or regular white sugar)
2 tablespoons hemp hearts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons Himalayan sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts or pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons dried blueberries or dried cranberries
3 chopped dried figs or a handful of raisins
- Yulia Khlebnikova
Preheat oven to 300.
To make the flax egg, beat flax meal and water together in a small bowl until frothy. Set aside for at least five minutes.
In a separate small bowl, mix the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften the coconut oil; it does not have to be completely liquefied.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, coconut flakes, coconut flour, coconut sugar, hemp and spices. Add the coconut oil/maple syrup mix and blend thoroughly, coating all the dry ingredients. This is where the kiddos can use their hands to make sure everything is mixed together very well. Add the nuts or pumpkin seeds along with the blueberries, figs/raisins and mix to combine. Finally, add the flax egg, mixing to make sure everything is evenly coated.
Put a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet. Spread the granola onto the parchment, making sure it's sticking slightly to itself and you can't see through it. Bake for 15 minutes then check to make sure it's not getting too brown. If it is, stir/turn it being careful not to break it up too much. Continue to bake for another 20 minutes, checking every 10 minutes. Once lightly browned, remove from oven and cool completely before breaking it apart and storing it. Keeps well for several weeks in an airtight container. Yield: approximately 4 cups granola.