Ideas in this column
•Carve a Watermelon Fruit Bowl
•Make Pizza Faces
•Irish Fun with Food
•Make Cherry Tarts
•Yummy Turkey Munchies
Make a Fall Appetizer that's as much fun as it is tasty and good for you.
Start with a pumpkin. This example uses fresh broccoli for "hair", a carrot
for a nose, mushrooms with black olives for eyes, cucumbers for cheeks, a
cut piece of red pepper for lips and ears and assorted cherry tomatoes,
carrot curls and more black olives. Of course, you can use your own
creativity to design yours anyway you would like. The vegetables are held in
place by sturdy round toothpicks. You can carve out the top to hold a small
bowl of veggie dip or just place a container next to your "relish tray
Yummy Turkey Munchies
Use a small pie pumpkin as a turkey body and fill bamboo skewers with washed
and cut veggies. We used cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and black olives in the
example above, but you can mix and match vegetables any way you like. The
turkey's neck is a carrot with a mushroom head and red bell pepper waddle.
Eyes are small pieces of black olive and green bell pepper pieces create
wings. Hold vegetables in place with sturdy round toothpicks.
For a sweeter version, use an apple body and make the tail feathers, wings
and head with gum drops. Orange slices make perfect wings.
Watermelon Fruit Bowl
Here is a summer idea that works about the same as carving a pumpkin. Your
watermelon can be used in a horizontal or vertical position, just make sure
it stands firmly. Begin by cutting it in half, or by cutting sections out to
leave a handle for a basket design. Use a melon ball scoop to remove the
melon fruit for a fruit salad. then scrape the sides of the melon clean.
Instead of a straight edge, you can cut it decoratively with scallops or
triangles. Decorations can be carved through at the top or the bowl or
on the handle where the fruit salad won't leak. You can also carve
decorations partly into the rind so that the white shows in contrast to the
dark green. Put your designs on paper and then tape the paper to the melon.
Use a push pin, pushing it through the paper design, to mark the cutting
lines with small holes. Cut carefully with a paring knife, craft knife or
even wood or linoleum block carving tools. (Of course, this part is only for
kids old enough to use a knife safely.) Most kids can use a melon ball scoop
and a melon ball scoop carves great
circles in large and small sizes. Fill the finished basket with fruit salad
and garnish it with mint leaves and whole pieces of fresh fruit.
A baby buggy version.
Make Pizza Faces
Use English muffins for crusts and toast them slightly before you begin.
Spread a layer of pizza sauce on top of each muffin. Sprinkle sauce with
oregano or "pizza herbs". Put a slice of mozzarella cheese or a good amount
of grated cheese on top on the sauce. Let children create faces with their
favorite pizza toppings such as: black or green olives; red, green or yellow
peppers, pepperoni or salami slices, mushrooms, sausage, onions, etc.
Irish Fun with Food!
Tie three green lollipops together to make a shamrock.
ready-made graham cracker crust tart shells. Fill them with canned cherry
pie filling and top with whipped cream.
Even though the story of the cherry tree is a legend only, it makes a point
about the character of George Washington. Use this as a starting point for a
conversation. Invite each family member to contribute one piece of
information about the life of George Washington.
Ideas in this column
•Bake a Lamb Cake for Easter
•Bake a Heart-Shaped Cake
•Festive Veggie Wreath for Christmas
•Use Gumdrops and Toothpicks as a Building Set
Use your favorite recipe for devilled eggs. It can be a simple as slicing
hard boiled eggs in half, adding a little mayonnaise and mustard to
the hard boiled egg yolks and stirring the mixture up well. You can add a
dash of salt and sprinkle the tops lightly with paprika. All you need to do
to turn them into Halloween "eyeballs" is to add a slice of black olive on
the top of each one. Voila! A fancy treat that's easy to do, and one that
many people will enjoy.
Sometimes it's OK to play with your food!
Bake a Lamb Cake for Easter
Make a lamb-shaped cake using a molded pan. (See
bottom of right-hand column for a supplier of these pans.) The cake
is baked in two halves and held together with frosting in the
middle. To get a "fluffy lamb appearance" Use a star decorator tip
and cover the entire lamb cake using white frosting "stars".
An alternative is to frost it simply with white icing and cover that
with shredded coconut. Add some green leaves or stars around the
base of the cake, using a leaf or star tip. Add frosting
flowers in spring colors. Make eyes and a nose with frosting, jelly
beans or cake decorator flowers or small candies. Decorate with a
necklace, jelly beans or flowers in the grass, or whatever you think
will make your lamb special.
You can also use just the front half of the mold and
place it on top of a sheet cake for a raised effect.
Bake a Heart-Shaped Cake
you don't have a heart-shaped pan, use an 8" round cake pan and an
8" square cake pan. Follow the cake mix instructions or recipe to
prepare cake batter. Grease and flour pans or use baker's parchment
to prevent cakes from sticking to pans. Bake the cakes.
cakes have cooled, cut the round cake in half and position it, as
shown in illustrations below, around the square cake. This
forms a heart shape. If you don't have a large enough platter to
hold the cake, cover a sturdy piece of cardboard with aluminum foil.
the cake and decorate it. Let kids try their hand at using a
decorating tube with icing. They can practice on waxed paper first.
Festive Veggie Wreath for
Begin with a round flat pan, like a pizza pan,
for a base. Cover it with foil or a festive color. Take a green Styrofoam™
wreath and place it on the base. Completely cover the foam wreath with
bunches of parsley. (It takes about 5 or so bunches of parsley to cover it.)
Use floral pins or new, unused hairpins to hold the parsley in place. Then
add the vegetables. Hold these on with toothpicks. Arrange cherry tomatoes;
mushrooms; olives (black or green); carrot curls or carrots cut to look like
flowers; red, green and yellow bell peppers; celery pieces, green onions;
broccoli pieces, cauliflower pieces, and even small squares of cheese on
toothpicks. In the center of the wreath, place a bowl with dip for the
When the party is over, you can remove any
leftover vegetables and use them for salad or soup. Remove, wash and dry the
parsley. It often supplies enough dried fresh parsley to use in meals until
and Toothpicks as a Building Set
Get a bag of
gumdrops. You can use small gumdrops or an assortment of large, small and
"orange slice", long thin, or funny-shaped gumdrops. Add a box of round
toothpicks (colored ones are fun) and see what a child can build using
gumdrops. (Monitor to make sure that only a few construction pieces
turn into snacks; and don't give toothpicks to very young children for
safety reasons.) Make buildings, bridges, animals or toys from gumdrops. You
could use them to make dinner favors to celebrate National Gumdrop day.
Marshmallows, both regular and mini-size can be used for building too.
Ideas in this column
•Spring Salad with Edible Flowers
•Make a Face on Your Dinner
•Fruit & Vegetable Luau Centerpiece
•Make a Sandwich Fun
•Decorate with Frosting
Try these for Halloween or anytime for kids who find spiders interesting.
There are two variations, one healthy and one sweet. The spider snacks in
the photo above are made with round crackers (your choice), cream cheese,
pretzel sticks and raisin eyes. Kids like making them as well as eating
them. The sweet variation is made with vanilla wafers, frosting from a can
(or make your own if you choose), pieces of thin red licorice rope for legs
and chocolate chips for eyes. You can also use chocolate stuffed-Oreo™
Cookies, chocolate icing and
peanut butter chips. While you're at it, do a little teaching and
make sure that kids give each spider 8 legs, which is one way we know that
spiders are arachnids and not insects!
20 cups (5 quarts) plain popped corn
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Set popcorn aside in a LARGE bowl.
Combine other ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir until blended and boil
the mixture. Continue cooking to the hard ball stage (250°
or about 10 minutes). Pour heated mixture over the popcorn, slowly, stirring
until the popcorn is covered. Let it cool just until it can be handled and
then use plastic bags on hands. Butter the bags and collect the sticky
popcorn and make it into ball shapes. Wrap them in plastic wrap.
Make a Spring Salad with Edible Flowers and
Fresh Spring Greens
Make a Face on Your Dinner
Let children make faces on their food. Put pickles, olives or just squirt
mustard or ketchup to make features on a burger or chicken patty. Make pizza
faces with pepperoni, pieces of bell peppers or mushrooms. Place half of a
canned peach or pear in a bowl and add raisin eyes, a cherry nose and a
piece of strawberry for a mouth. Shredded coconut or grated cheese look like
hair on your culinary creations.
fruits and vegetables to make a delicious centerpiece for a
base of this is blue Jell-O™,
which makes up the water. The island is
made of sugar, the trees are carrot sticks with green bell
pepper branches. A pineapple makes the hut, an orange slice
the rowboat, with a thin carrot stick for the oar. And, in the
water there is a cucumber shark! (This particular food
centerpiece was fashioned by one of the Girl Scouts in my
troop several years ago.)
Make a sandwich fun!
A favorite sandwich at our house has always been an "airplane
sandwich". This can have any kind of filling a child chooses
but is made on sliced bread. It works best with "square" bread
shapes but the rounded top loaves work too. Cut the bread
according to the drawing below and then turn the two outside
triangles around and there you have an airplane for lunch!
Decorate with Frosting
Kids love to decorate cakes and cookies with frosting. Use canned frosting
(or make a simple recipe of your own) and let them decorate something easy
like graham crackers or vanilla wafers. For practice, they can just squeeze
icing onto sheets of waxed paper. To decorate with something other than
sugar, use some whipped cream cheese instead of icing. If you don't have
pastry bags and decorator tips, put frosting, cream cheese, pudding etc.
into a plastic sandwich bag and cut off a small piece of one of the corners
to make a "decorator tip".
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