Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Yassou Greece!: Greek Salad


Since they discovered Hadestown last year, my kids have been very into mythology.  So it only made sense to travel to Ancient Greece.   We began with a toga party made from random sheets we had lying around the house.  Notice Thatkid's "warrior" face in contrast with Thatbaby's "Fashion model" look.

Once again, we were able to find some Greek cuisine in our refrigerator.  Have I mentioned that my kids eat a lot of yogurt?  We go through it.

We played a rousing game of Greek pictionary.  In retrospect, this would have been a better end of the day activity, after the kids were refreshed as to who characters like Poseidon and Hercules were.

Thatkid made us a very easy lunch - Greek salad bites.

Disney provided a recipe for "Creten pies" which were pastries filled with cinnamon, sugar, and myzithra cheese, so after lunch the kids got busy making snack.

We also read some of my favorite Greek myths.  I actually had a version of this book when I was a kid.  I thought I had kept it, but last year when the kids started being interested in Greek mythology, I went looking for it and couldn't find it, so I got Thatkid his very own new and shiny copy.

After reading some myths, we used them as inspiration to create our own mythological monsters.

Thatbaby was in charge of dinner that night.  And despite our lunch, he wanted to make a Greek Salad for dinner.  

My rule on the kids making dinner is that I don't say no to whatever they want to make, so Greek salad it was.  Plus this gave him a chance to work on his knife skills since it required so much slicing and chopping of vegetables, cheese, and olives.

Playlist: Hadestown, Raddish Kids Greek Feasts
Watch: Hercules, Mamma Mia, Jim Henson's The Storyteller Greek Myths

Greek Salad
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp confectioner sugar
1/4 tsp oregano
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz Persian cucumbers, sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
4 oz feta, cubed
  1. Whisk the vinegar, oil, and sugar in a bowl.  
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Stir in oregano.
  4. Arrange tomatoes and cucumbers on a platter.
  5. Scatter the onion and olives on top.  
  6. Spoon the dressing over the salad.
  7. Arrange feta over the dressed salad.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Góðan daginn Iceland!: Rúgbrauð


The next stop on our world tour was a quick popover to Iceland, a place I am much less familiar with than France.

Although there are some traditional Icelandic foods that already make their way into our refrigerator...

The first thing we did was watch a virtual tour, that took us to waterfalls, geysers, and glaciers.  The boys thought it was neat that Iceland has both volcanos and glaciers.  They were VERY impressed with the geysers.  Disney also provided a recipe for rúgbrauð - bread that would be traditionally cooked by burying the dough by a geothermal spring, which would cook it.  Since we're a little far from geothermal springs, the recipe called for us to cook the bread at a low heat for 7 hours.  So our first hands on activity was getting that bread in the oven.

Disney provided a game they call "15 guesses."  Rather than keep track of guesses, we just turned it into a game of headbandz - which I do with lots of things lately.  Print out a ton of different bugs and you have "bug headbandz."  Print out some Star Wars characters and you have "Star Wars headbandz."  This one used things that Iceland is known for.

Everything I know about Iceland is from travel shows, and one of my favorite Travelman episodes is where he ventures to Iceland and eats terrible food, goes fully covered into the Blue Lagoon, and visits Elf School.  Elves are a very big deal in Iceland, so we made some of our own.

Before lunch, we watched "Twice as Good" which has 2 girls traveling to different places and cooking local dishes.  In Iceland we watched them make lamb burgers.  And then the boys made lamb burgers!

After lunch we painted our own Northern Lights using watercolor with two fun techniques - wax resist and salt painting.

While we waited for our art to dry, we took a dip in our own "Blue Lagoon."  Blue water courtesy of a bath bomb.  And we indulged in our own spa treatments - mud masks.

As dinnertime approached, our geyser bread was removed from the oven and had it with a lobster salad.

Our playlist for the day consisted mostly of Bjork.  We also watched the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which really showcases the beauty of Iceland.

Meanwhile that geyser bread?  It was good.  Really good.  Better than any of us were expecting.  Which is why I thought it would be a good one to share with you!

Rúgbrauð  (From Adventures By Disney)
1 cup rye flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
5 Tbsp golden syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 1lb loaf pan with baking spray.  Mix all the ingredients with a spoon until combined.
  2. Pour the mix into the loaf pan and cover loosely with foil.  Place in the oven and lower the heat to 225.  Bake for 7 hours.
  3. Remove from oven and cool.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Bonjour la France: Ham and Gruyere Quiche

I still haven't had time to sit down and come up with more brilliant weekend ideas, but I've discovered that, as usual, Disney has my back.  Earlier in the pandemic they began posting ideas for "Adventures at Home" which is pretty much what our weekends are about anyway.   Some of them, like their South Africa adventure, were really similar to weekends we'd already done, but others were brand new and exciting.  

So we started off on our tour around the world with something very familiar to me - a trip to France!

At some point during the summer, I made crepes and Thatkid was completely enthralled with the idea.  He stood beside me and took notes with the ingredients and technique.  So I put him in charge of making crepes for all of us for breakfast.  We wrapped them around fresh berries, because we always have berries in the house in the summer.

One of the activities Disney suggested was a game called "Qui est le Personnage" which is where you guess the French name for Disney characters. Some were pretty easy.

And some were....not so easy

And one the kids knew from their "Summer of Opera"

Since Thatkid made breakfast, I put Thatbaby in charge of lunch.  We made individual quiches, filled with ham and gruyere.

After lunch, we went for a tour of the Musee D'Orsay.

Disney also provided us with a recipe for macarons.  So of course we had to make them.  Their recipe didn't have any flavor associated with it, so we added some vanilla.

Macarons are a long process.  While we waited for them to dry, bake, and cool, we did a little bit of French art.  The boys discovered Art for Kids Hub through Camp Kinda and it's become a staple in our house.  He's so good at breaking things down to their speed and making it accessible to them.  So obviously we had to draw along with his Eiffel Tower video.

Both boys threw in for dinner, making chicken en papillote.

We also listened to French music (the soundtrack from one of my favorite movies - Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and a healthy dose of Edith Piaf) and watched some French inspired movies (Ratatouille, Can Can, and some Asterix).  It was a very mellow day but with a lasting effect - Thatkid is asking for an Eiffel Tower lego set for his upcoming birthday, and Thatbaby may be addicted to Orangina.

Ham and Gruyere Quiche
1/4 cup ham, chopped
1/4 cup baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup gruyere, grated
6 eggs
1/4 cup cream
1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle and place in a pie dish.  Press the dough into the pie dish and crimp the edges.
  2.  Sprinkle the ham, spinach, and gruyere evenly over the pie dough.
  3. Whisk the eggs, cream, and salt together in a large bowl. Pour over the filling.
  4. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the center is set.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Weird Science: Color Changing Lemonade


Thatbaby has turned into quite the little science kid during this pandemic.  I think because I started including "science class" into Mom-school back in the beginning, but there's nothing he loves more than making "potions" and doing experiments.  So much so, that he asked for science experiment kits for his birthday and received several.

He always wants to pull them out and try out different experiments - or create his own (basically baking soda, vinegar, and then other ingredients) - so it wasn't too surprising that he would want a full science day.

His idea was to just do all the experiments he had in his kits, but I supplemented with some fun ones I thought they would like.

We started out doing some ectothermic and endothermic reactions with one of his kits.

And using the kit's uric acid to learn about evaporation and growing our own crystals.

Every young scientist should make take a run with bubbles.  We made our own "unpoppable" variety.

We used red cabbage to create our own "litmus noodles" for lunch - which changed color when we added an acid (lemon juice)

After lunch we made some elephant toothpaste

And aquatic sand was a big hit.

We also did an osmosis experiment with gummy bears 

And create our own bacteria growing petri dishes.  Although this one took a few days to see the results.

For all my friends who don't wash their feet in the shower?  That really gnarly black one?  That's just a qtip that was swabbed between each child's toes.  Your feet are gross.  Wash them.  This experiment also showed us that antibiotics really stop bacterial growth, soap cuts down on bacterial growth, yogurt contains bacteria, and toothpaste doesn't do much to the inside of your mouth.

Our final experiment came with dinner where we did some color changing lemonade I found on Left Brain Craft Brain.

Butterfly pea flowers work as a pH indicator, just like cabbage does.  So adding this magic blue liquid to an acidic drink like lemonade...

Gives the lemonade a vibrant purple color!

This is a really fun "experiment" for just about any time because it makes for such a pretty drink.   The butterfly pea flowers on their own make for a fairly vibrant tea, or beautiful tea latte. I've even heard that it's what's used to create the blue colored drinks at Disney.

Color Changing Lemonade (adapted from Left Brain Craft Brain)
Juice of 6 1/2 lemons
1 1/3 cup sugar
5 cups water, divided
1 tsp dried butterfly pea flowers
  1. Boil 1 cup water.  
  2. Place dried flowers in a tea strainer and place in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.  Remove strainer. Chill while making lemonade.
  3. Combine lemons, sugar, and remaining 4 cups water.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  
  4. Divide lemonade between 4 glasses filled with ice.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of the flower water to each glass of lemonade and watch it change color right before your eyes.