Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chinese New year

So here is my list of ideas and things we are going to do to celebrate

A brief video on the topic from the History Channel

We are starting with making a paper dragon, just his head. Every time we learn something new they write it on a piece of paper and fold that into another section. The more they learn, the bigger their dragon. Whoever has the longest dragon at the end wins a special prize

Red envelopes found at World Market filled with Chinese chocolate coins, also found at World Market. Or you could make your own with this pattern from Activity Village.

Food Ideas
 The local Asian market sells some really good frozen dumplings

And a case of mandarin oranges

More info on 10 foods that are supposed to bring good luck


Books and Education

The book World Holidays: A Watts guide for Children has a great section on the holiday
 The story of why the rat is first in the Chinese Zodiac

Look through 100 Cities of the World at Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. Then they are going to fill out a page on each city. The page has a map to pinpoint the location, three interesting facts, and a place to draw an interesting feature. 

Digital Chinese Fairy Tale book

Word Search and Questions to answer (found on page 5)

Topmarks is another site with a lot of info

Fun and Games

Paper doll girls and boy

Origami Dragon (and lots of other great direction)

Chinese Knot, very pretty, very complicated

Other Stuff 

Gung hay fat choy!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Around the World Festival

Our homeschooling group has Christmas around the world festival with out Christmas party.

We chose Colonial American customs to go along with our study of the American Revolution. 

Small samples of Colonial Peanut Soup as served in the King's Arms Tavern

And other tasty treats consisted of Shrewsbury cakes 
and Williamsburg Orange Cake ( added cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)

And I add a drop of rose water to my cookies

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Green Curry

One of the many varieties of food I live is Thai food. And Savannah happens to be home of the best Thai restaurants I have had the pleasure of eating at. Chiriyas is pretty amazing, I can't get enough of their green curry. Their pineapple curry is also a favorite. My entire family loves to eat there, kids too. we get them two plates of special noodles and everyone is happy. 

So now that we have the love covered, I can't get in there as often as I want to eat green curry and I like to try and make stuff at home myself. It's like a personal challenge if I go somewhere and like the food enough to want to eat it again. That means I need to figure out how to make it myself too.

So that brings us to this recipe. I am not going to claim it's quite as good, but it's pretty close.

Green Curry
3 - 4 large chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
2 Tbsp. Oil
2 c. chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp green curry paste
1 c. julienne carrots
1 sliced bell pepper
2 c. pea pods or broccoli
Saute the chicken in oil over high heat to sear the meat but not cook all the way through. Add the broth, coconut milk, green curry paste, carrots, bell pepper, and pea pods. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Optional - sliced jalapeno, stir in about half way through cooking the veggies

When the chicken and veggies are cooked, stir in  
1 bunch basil, chiffonade*
(before it's sliced it would say it could be stuffed into 1/4 cup measuring cup)
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped*
1 - 2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with water
4 green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp lime juice

Simmer, stirring until slightly thickened. Serve over rice or quinoa
* I usually like to use fresh herbs in a dish like this but I got these in the freezer section of Wal-mart to try. I had some fresh cilantro so I only used the basil this time. It was ok, better than dried but still not as good a fresh. But worth keeping around for a few dishes. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Pea Salad

This is such a simple salad and yet it taste to wonderful. It rounds out an meal nicely. It's my moms broccoli salad recipe adapted for my non broccoli eating husband. The sweet peas and crunchy romaine were great together. This recipe doubled easily or can be cut in half just as easily. 

This salad can be made in advance. Just throw everything together except for the romaine, it' will get soggy and  limp in the dressing. Slice and store separately, just stir in right before serving.

12 oz. frozen peas, thawed
1 heart of romaine, very thinly sliced
1/4 c. real bacon bits
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, grated
3/4 c. mayo
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
Dash black pepper
Salt to taste

Whisk together the mayo, vinegar, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. 

Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homemade Oreo Cookies (Gluten Free)

3/4 c. Arrowhead mills gluten free All-purpose baking mix
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
10 Tbsp. butter
1 egg
Mix all the dry stuff, beat in the butter cold and then the egg. 
Use about a tsp of dough per cookie, don't be tempted to make them any bigger, they spread quite a bit. Roll the dough into balls and flatten slightly. Place on an ungreased, tin foil lined, baking pan about 2-inched apart. 

Bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, take the tin foil off the cookies pan and let cool. 

Once the cookies are completely cool pipe frosting into the middle and top with another cookie.

A regular buttercream frosting is nice. Other flavors that are good are mint, or the ones in the picture are pumpkin spice. 

Pumpkin spice buttercream
1 stick butter
1 (3.4 oz) Pumpkin Spice Instant pudding mix
1 Tsp. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar
Beat the butter until fluffy. Beat in the pudding mix, and vanilla. 
Beat in powdered sugar, half a cup at a time until stiff. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Caramel Cream

 I want to say, I'm not usually a fan of cool whip. I actually hate the stuff on it's own. But in this recipe I wanted the stability it has, it doesn't run or wilt like real whipped cream does but it still provides the fluffyness and the caramel covers the funny taste. If you are going to use it right away real whipped cream will probably work. If you are making it the day before, I recommend the cool whip.

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c.corn syrup
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. butter

12 oz. cool whip

Combine the brown sugar, white, sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter in a  pan. Boil over medium heat, without stirring, until soft ball stage (235*F)

Remove from heat and let cool until cool enough to touch. Add to a mixer and beat until cool. Add the cool whip, about a cup at a time, until all mixed in. Keep beating until the cream loses some of it's gloss. 

Use the cream as frosting to fill cupcakes, crepes, or cream canoes. Or I used it in little desserts cups, I was trying to mimic Olive gardens dolcinis

For my dolcinis I put some crushed chocolate cookies on the bottom, a layer of chocolate silk in the middle, and then I piped the caramel cream on top and garnished with chocolate curls.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Harry Potter Party

Any true fan knows how you get to Hogwarts. Flying car is NOT advisable. 

This idea for the magical barrier looked cool and would be really fun.

So we started off with by welcoming everyone to Hogwarts. I split everyone into houses to play the games so they got a crest. Or if you don't want to print and cut them all out rings work too (Also a safety pin so they wouldn't lose it and some tape to attach it to the pin so neither showed)

I also had a caldron full of pens to take the test with but I forgot a picture of that part and had to make do with setting it up again at home. Another fun idea I had but didn't do was to pull the center out of the pen, the thin part that contains the ink and push it into a feather for quills.

Since this is me, and I like to eat, we started out with the food. 

Our Start of term feast included

Butter beer
Cauldron cakes
Pumpkin Pasties
Steak Pie

For the butter beer I used caramel Italian soda syrup, half-an-half, and either club soda or in my case water and dry ice. I reccomend the Da Vinci brand syrup, you can usually find it at Sams Club. 

After eating we all took our O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) 

Since this was a baby shower we matched the baby from the book with it's description. We had Harry Potter, Dudley Dursley, the mandrake, Aragog, and Norbert. 

Instead of prizes for winning the game you got points in your house cup. You got 1 point if you got three or more right and 2 points if you got all five.

Then we went over to Honeydukes with shopping bags (6 in a pack at the dollar store!)

Here is my previous post on making your own candy shop.

But that trip had a catch. There is a get to know you game where you pass around a bag of candy and for however many you took you had to tell something about yourself. We did a variation of that. For however many packages you got from the candy shop you had to describe a scene from one of the books or movie. Whoever guessed which book or movie it was got a point in their house cup. 

And we had a photo booth off to the side.

We had some very informative wall decorations

And last but not least, Nagini was on the table for presents. 

Other things I did not a picture of include one very nice movie grade time turner, Beltrix Lestrange, Nymphadora Tonks, and a Death Eater complete with Dark mark.

And of course what really made the night was having fun with some great friends and fellow Harry Potter fans. So thank you to everyone who came and had a great time.

And Gryffindor won the house cup.