Summer Canning

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Yesterday I spent the afternoon canning with a friend. We made raspberry jam and an apple onion chutney. Both recipes were from Williams Sonoma’s The Art of Preserving cookbook. They were relatively easy to make, not all that time consuming (2.5 hours to do both recipes) and quite tasty. If you’re going to do both, definitely start with the Raspberry Jam Recipe as raspberries need to soak in sugar for about 2 hours.

Raspberry Jam Recipe

Apple Onion Chutney

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4 lbs of Apple, peeled, cored and chopped

2 cups of raisins

2 yellow onions diced

2 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 tsp of ground cloves

3 tbsp of fresh Mint – chopped

1 tbsp of fresh chives – chopped

4 pieces of lemon zest about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch in width

1 cup of brown sugar

In a large pot, warm up the butter and olive oil, once heated add in the onions and cook for about 15 minutes. In the mean time, in another smaller pot put the lemon zest, raisins, cloves and brown sugar add 2.5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling pour the mixture into the pot with the onions and add the apples. Let simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.

Ladle chutney into the jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. Using a clean, damp towel, wipe the rim clean. Using tongs, remove a lid from the water and place on the jar. Using tongs, remove a lid ring from the water and screw onto the jar until just tightened; do not overtighten. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Turn the jars upright and check for a good seal; the seal indicator should be depressed. If the seal is not good, invert those jars for 1 hour more and check again.

Great Ideas for Wee Little Hands

We’ve been very busy with summer camp and our little Tots have been experimenting with all sorts of materials. We’ve been doing a ton of art and sensory activities. Each day at camp we have a new theme and then base our art/sensory activity on the theme. Here are a couple ideas you could easily do at home with your little one. Not to worry if you don’t have access to a proper sensory bin, any shallow container will really do, the dollar store has a great selection!

Craft Ideas

Boat Pictures

Cardboard, construction paper, cotton balls, blue tissue paper, blue, paper plates

IMG_0553Zebras

Paper plates (cut in half) black construction paper, glue, pompoms, cotton balls

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Weather Chart

This was an easy and fun craft. We’re learning about weather and seasons and so this craft fit perfectly. We traced the kids hands and then helped them to cut them out. They used different colour tissue paper depending on the seasons. For the winter picture they stuck on cotton balls.

Materials: construction paper, tissue paper, glue, cotton balls. IMG_0450Sensory Bin Ideas

Rainbow Foam – we used the recipe from this site:

IMG_0671Coloured Pasta

So easy to make! Simply put some uncooked pasta in a zip lock bag (add either icing gel or food colouring) and shake, shake, shake!

IMG_0685Volcano!

Our theme for this day was actually dinosaurs (you can see a couple tiny ones in the picture). We took a plastic container and covered it with plastercine and then all the kids helped by sticking rocks onto it. Then we made our volcano explode, over and over and over and over again (you get the point).We threw some plastic plants (dollar store speciality) in the sensory bin, sand and rocks

Materials: baking soda and vinegar. IMG_0910

 

Gluten-Free Coconut Buttermilk Biscuits

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We’re going camping this weekend and I’m responsible for breakfast on one of the mornings. The tricky thing is that we all have a variety of dietary restrictions. I found a recipe for gluten-Free biscuits and adapted it slightly so that it met everyone’s needs. They were easy to make and are very tasty. Once I had made the dough I divided it into two parts, added blueberries to one batch and carob nibs to the other (you could really add just about anything to the dough, peaches, raisins, walnuts, the list is endless). I also doubled the recipe as I needed more than 9 biscuits, I did this by simply doubling the measurements, it worked out well.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetIngredients

    • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
    • 1 Tbsp of Baking Powder
    • 2 tbsp of Starch (potato or cornstarch)
    • 1 tsp Sugar
    • 3/4 cups of Brown/White Rice Flour
    • 1/4 cup Coconut Flour

Your choice of fruit or chocolate chips (about two handfuls)

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.
Sift dry ingredients together in medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Stir in enough buttermilk to form soft dough that holds its shape when pressed together. You may not need to use all the buttermilk. Add in your choice of filling.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Place the mixture on prepared baking sheet. Lay sheet of waxed paper over biscuit mixture and press to 1” thickness and about 6” x 6” square or circle. Remove sheet of waxed paper and cut into 8 or 9 round biscuit shapes using a 2” biscuit cutter or open end of glass. I just used a circle cookie cutter and made the dough really thick. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 9 biscuits.

Mini Peach Cobblers

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I came up with this recipe due to a large amount of leftover pastry. Not only were these little guys delicious but they were easy to make and to top it all off they’re so cute! Perhaps you’re wondering how I ended up with leftover pastry? Well, it’s an interesting story; we’re running camps at Seasons this summer, we serve snacks, I bought kiwis for snacks, thought the toddlers would be adventurous in their snack eating. Toddlers and being adventurous with food not always a good combo, long story short at the end of our second week we had an abundance of kiwis leftover. What to do with lots of kiwis, well ask Google of course! I ended up making  a fruit tart (which I will save for another post). Long story short, leftover pastry from the fruit tart. We don’t like to waste anything around here, especially food. So initially I thought I would try making mini fruit tarts but as soon as I started shaping the pastry in the muffin cups I knew they had to be mini pies and thus mini peach pie cobblers were born!

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Ingredients

Pastry Recipe (I used Martha Stewart’s pastry recipe, it’s really easy and can be stored in the fridge for a few days)

3 ripe peaches, cut into small pieces

roughly 4 tbsp of butter cut into tiny squares

12 tsp of brown sugar

Cinnamon (enough to sprinkle into each pie filling)

Muffin tray with liners

Directions

1) Once your pastry has been chilled for the required amount of time, remove from fridge and let it warm up so that it is easy to work with. I rolled it out and cut it into 4″ squares. I sort of folded each square up and then unfolded it into the muffin liner. Pressing into each side into the liner.

2) Put about a tbsp of peaches into each mini pie and add a couple squares of butter, a tsp of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

3). To finish off the pie you could do either a full top or a lattice top, then use a fork and press along the edges.

4) Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

 

Another Ikea Hack!

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 9.48.49 AMSo this one I really have to thank Panyl for. I simply painted the top and sides of the Malm Dresser and then used Panyl’s “limited Oak woodgrain” panels to finish off the piece. Personally I think it’s my best Ikea Hack yet (given that I’ve only done 4 up to this point I think I can claim that statement). Have any questions about how I made this feel free to ask away, I’d be more than happy to share my “Ikea Hacking” secrets with you!

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Rainbow Fun Foam

IMG_0671This is a great activity for toddlers/preschoolers (or really any kid who likes bubbles). It was easy to make and also worked as a fantastic learning tool as we were able to experiment with mixing colours.

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 Materials
Dish Soap
Water
Handheld Mixer
Food Colouring
Large Bin
Glass Bowl

 

Directions
Using the handheld mixer, mix 2 tbsp of dish soap with 1/4 cup of water in a bowl. It will take about 2 minutes for the foam to form, at this point you can mix in some food colouring. Scoop out the foam and dump it in your “sensory bin”. For each colour I mixed two batches of the foam. The 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbsp of dish soap actually make quite a bit. I do suggest using this as soon as possible to avoid the bubbles from disappearing.