Tag Archives: collage

TRUCK STOP Giveaway and Mini Blueberry Muffins

Truck Stop was released just five days ago last Thursday and author, Anne Rockwell, and I have been enjoying doing guest posts and interviews on our blog tour.  So far, here are our stops:

Once Upon a Story

Cracking the Cover

Hey Lorri

There’s a Book

Momma Drama

Just A Little Creativity

Kid Focused

A Mom’s Take

The Children’s Book Review

Five Minutes for Books

Susan Heim on Parenting

Kid Lit Frenzy

As They Grow Up

I’m also doing a giveaway of a personalized signed copy of Truck Stop on The Hungry Artist.

On Saturday I did my first signing of Truck Stop at the Greenlight Bookstore in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.  I took part in Artist Battles with Sophie Blackall, Melissa Guion and Sergio Ruzzier.  There was a list of topics, and the kids would choose one for us to draw.  Then they would clap for their favorites at the end.  Whoever “won” would go on to the next round with a new competitor.

Me and Melissa Guion drawing "balloons".

Me and Melissa Guion drawing the word “balloons”.

It was all quite stressful and I was sweating profusely, but everyone was so nice.   It was more of a celebration of different drawing styles.

Melissa Guion and Sophie Blackall drawing the word, "battle"

Melissa Guion and Sophie Blackall drawing the word, “battle”

Me drawing a "moose" eating chocolate "mousse".  I didn't realize I was being watched so closely!

Me drawing a “moose” eating chocolate “mousse”. I didn’t realize I was being watched so closely!

At the signing table.

At the signing table afterwards.  Do I looked relieved?  I am!

I also handed out activity sheets from Truck Stop.  Click here to download some for yourself. 🙂

This week’s recipe inspiration comes from Flatbed’s Driver’s breakfast:

flatbed

Blueberry Muffin!

A Blueberry Muffin!

I love muffins, but I love mini ones even more.  🙂

mini muffins_crop


 

 

Mini Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Ingredients:

1 cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

½ cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries

Topping

1 tablespoon demarra sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and line with mini cupcake liners
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside
  4. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Add sugar and beat until pale and creamy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla.  Beat to combine
  6. With lowest setting running, add ½ of the flour, then ½ of the milk.  Mix to combine.  Repeat.
  7. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to coat in a small bowl.  Add to muffin batter and stir gently with a spoon.
  8. Heap tablespoons of batter into cupcake liners.
  9. Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon on muffin tops.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserting in center comes out clean
  11. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  12. Remove muffins from pan to rack and cool a bit.

Yield: 24 small muffins.

*****************************************************************************************************

GIVEAWAY! (Sorry I tried generating one on Punchtab, but having problems with wordpress so I have to do this manually!)
I will be giving away a signed copy of Truck Stop.  The winner can have it personalized to whomever and I will also draw a picture of their choice.  The giveaway closes May 27 at 11 pm.  Then I will pick a winner and announce it in the next post!

To enter, just leave a comment — what is YOUR favorite breakfast item?

For more chances, Like Me on Facebook and tell me you did.

Follow me on Twitter and tell me you did.

Like Anne on Facebook and tell me you did.

Tweet about this giveaway and tell me you did.

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21 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Books, Breakfast, Snack

Mini Monster Cookies and Draw A Monster Game

pile monster cookies close

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a literacy workshop organized by the St. Nick’s Alliance of Brooklyn.  The event was held at Junior High School 126 and was made possible by the Brooke Jackman Foundation which works to improve literacy among the city’s at-risk students.  The children I worked with ranged from grades 3-5.  They had been participating in the program after school for 8 weeks, and the night I came to speak was the night of their graduation from the program.

hush_bookI read (actually I sang it!  lol) Hush Little Monster to them and talked about the process of making the book.  I spoke about how revising and editing both the text and the pictures was a big part of the process.  For example, originally, it was supposed to be a Halloween book.  Then the publisher decided to change it to a good-night picture book.  So we had to change the ending which originally read: “So scream little monster, small and green, for tonight is Halloween!”

30-31

Now the ending reads: “So hush, Little Monster, not a peep!  The sun is coming out; now it’s time to sleep.”

peep

After some Q and A, we all did an activity I created called Draw A Monster Game.  I made three sets of colored cards with different characteristics pasted on top.  Pink cards have general shape words (e.g. big, tall, hairy, etc.), Green cards have characteristics (e.g. antennae, fangs, wings, etc.), and Yellow cards have emotions (e.g. sad, happy, shy, etc.).

cards

Each student chose one Pink card, two Green cards, and one Yellow card and used those to create a monster.  I brought a ton of art supplies, ranging from pens and crayons and markers, to collage materials, such as sequins, glitter, feathers, dried pasta, yarn, etc.  Some parents and the teenage counselors also wanted to take part!  It was so cute to see this one “tough” guy in his early 20s with long sideburns, a brooding look and tattoos very meticulously put glue in spindly monster legs and carefully dust with glitter.  I wish I had taken photos, but I was so busy running around helping students and talking to people, it didn’t even occur to me!

This is the monster I created as a demo.  I got the cards “fat”, “three eyes”, “horns”, and “happy” for my words.

monster

After the students created their monsters, they filled out a Monster Fact Sheet and wrote about their characters.   I have to say, the Monster Fact Sheet was my son, Jamie’s idea.  Before the event when I was trying to create an activity that went with the story, I ran it by him, and he suggested having the fact sheet!  He even wrote one up for me on his own and insisted I use it, so I did.  I typed it up and added one or two lines, but that’s it.  So proud of my guy!

jamies sheet

Everyone loved the drawing game.  It is really fun to play.  And all the monsters are SO different!  All the children wanted to share them with the group.  The stories they came up with were priceless.  One girl drew a zombie cat monster who lived in “the pet cemetery in the sky”.  Its favorite food is “bacon in the sky — which is ‘flying bacon'”.  I love it!

For the graduation, the kids were presented with  a backpack filled with books, including a signed copy of Hush Little Monster, and I passed out my mini monster cookies.  These cookies appear in the book:

Note monster mom carrying tray of wormy cookies!

Note monster mom carrying tray of wormy cookies.

I developed this recipe for the book launch last year.  But for this event, I revised the recipe to accommodate a large group.  I doubled the amounts, omitted the peanut butter chips due to peanut allergies, and I made them a lot smaller.  I ended up with over 80 cookies!  I only had 11 gummy worms, however.  It worked out though, because the gummies were pretty big. I cut each one into tiny pieces.

gummiesAnd added one or two worm piece to each cookie as they came out of the oven.  If you can’t get the gummy worm to stick as the cookies cool down, just zap the worm on the cookie  in the microwave for about 10 seconds and they will soften and adhere to the cookie.

mini monster cookie close

If you’d like to try playing the game, all the elements (instructions, card words, fact sheet) can be found here at my NEWLY UPDATED WEBSITE!   View my work, see my books, and check out the other fun freebies and craft and cooking ideas for kids I have there.  Please take a look and let me know what you think— I’d love to hear from you!

pile monster cookies

Mini Monster Cookies

adapted from Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies from The Cookiepedia

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 egg white (I used 3/4 tablespoon liquid whites)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup mixture of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and dried coconut

1 cup potato chips and pretzels broken into pieces

About 6 gummy worms cut into small pieces

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs. Mix to incorporate, scraping down sides of bowl.

3.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl.

Slowly add to butter and sugar mixture while mixer is running.

4.  Add sweet and salty mixtures to batter and stir together.

5.  Spoon tablespoonfuls of dough onto two baking sheets covered with parchment paper or Silpat mats.  I could get 12 mounds on one sheet.

6.  Bake for about 10-16  minutes, rotating pans halfway.

7.  When cookies are golden, remove from oven and press 2 pieces of gummy worms onto each cookie.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 40 small cookies.

Recipe may be doubled.

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Filed under Art Related, Books, Children, Cookies, Desserts

Smoky Mozzarella Lasagne Three Ways

I had two “fails” yesterday. One was the lasagne recipe I was planning on posting. It was a partial experiment (I added grilled vegetables), and it didn’t go as expected! The “fail” part was that it was a little too saucy and watery due to the vegetables — even though I had grilled them. My sweetie pie son kept saying “Mommy, this is SO not a fail! It’s SO good!” while eating it though, so the flavor wasn’t affected. He actually literally licked his plate clean.  Kind of gross but sweet at the  same time.  🙂  Then when we had it the next night as a leftover, it was perfect — so unlike dry leftover lasagne that needs a good dose of extra sauce. So I think if I were to make this again, I would let it set awhile after coming out of the oven to let the juices redistribute and thicken more instead of cutting and serving right away. If anyone else has any other suggestions, please share! Otherwise, this is a great spin on a classic and it is a little lighter and more nutritious with the addition of the extra vegetables.

My other” fail” involved work.  Let’s just say I was screaming and cursing at 10:30 pm after working about six hours on an illustration only to lose ALL of the work I had done on the computer. In technical terms, I accidentally saved my file after collapsing all of my layers and reducing the dpi to 72 from 300 dpi instead of doing a “save as” and renaming it. The work was done after my automatic backup to my external hard drive, so I had no other copy.

Suffice it to say, it was a LONG day. I started redoing everything I had lost this morning at 6:45 am and completed everything before lunch.  I’ve just begun creating the final illustrations for the book , and I’m so excited about this project — can’t talk much about it, but it does involve food, so I’ve been making a lot of little paper collage treats. 🙂  It will be published by Viking next year!

Juicy oranges

Plate o' donuts from the diner

On to that lasagne “fail” recipe…

I’ve been making this lasagne for years ever since I first saw a version of it in a 2000 issue of Gourmet. That’s how long it’s been! It’s a vegetarian lasagne that doesn’t have the ricotta and egg filling that traditional lasagne has, so it’s a bit lighter. I’ve changed the recipe over the years. I use a combination of smoky and regular mozzarella because I think using only smoky makes it too salty. I decided to take it a step further in my quest to increase veggies into our meals and layer the pasta with grilled eggplant and zucchini. I made three versions in one pan — 1/3 all pasta, 1/3 half pasta half veggie, and 1/3 no pasta all veggie. (Easy to guess who eats which portions!)

If using eggplant, salt slices and drain in colander for 30 minutes. I do this to season it and to reduce moisture.

Meanwhile make sauce. I buy whole tomatoes which I puree in my Vitamix, but crushed canned tomatoes works well too. Slow saute crushed garlic in olive oil to infuse the oil with flavor. Add tomatoes, dried basil, oregano, kosher salt, and sugar if you like, and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Cover lasagne noodles with boiling water in dish while sauce cooks for 20 minutes. This reduces the baking time. Determine how many noodles you need depending on how much vegetables you will be using. In my version I used six.

Move them around from time to time so they don't stick.

If using veggies, grill; otherwise skip this step.

Pat rinsed and drained eggplant slices with paper towels. Brush zucchini and eggplant with olive oil and grill on each side for about 2 minutes. I cover mine with a lid so they steam and grill at the same time.

Look at those grill marks!

Now you’re ready to assemble lasagne. Drain pasta if using. Start with about a cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan.

Then layer with noodles, veggies, 1 cup of mozzarella mixture, a spoonful of parmesan, another cup of sauce, and repeat two more times except on the last layer, end with sauce and reserve the cheeses.

Second layer

Last layer

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, top with rest of cheeses and bake another 10 minutes or so until cheese is melted.

You may have leftover grilled veggies, depending on how much you use.  This isn’t a bad thing.   They can easily be used in frittatas, pizzas, quesadillas, salads…

All pasta, no veg

Half pasta and veg

All veg

Smoky Mozzarella Lasagne Three Ways
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices crosswise

kosher salt
1 medium zucchini, cut into 3/8-inch slices lengthwise

olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press or smashed

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or whole pureed)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Lasagne noodles (figure on 3 sheets per “stack” — amount depends on how much vegetable you use)

8 oz. smoky mozzarella, grated

8 oz. plain mozzarella, grated

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Mix grated mozzarella cheeses together in a bowl and set aside.

3.  Salt and drain eggplant if using.

4.  Saute garlic in about 1-2 teaspoons olive oil until soft on low heat — do not burn!

5.  Add tomatoes, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and sugar if desired.  Simmer 20 minutes uncovered over medium low heat.

6. Meanwhile soak noodles in boiling water in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish, covering by about 1/2-inch.  Stir occasionally to keep pasta from sticking.

7.  Rinse and drain eggplant if using. Pat dry with paper towels.  Brush eggplant and zucchini slices with oil and grill about 2 minutes per side, covering with a large lid.

7.  Assemble lasagne using pasta or veggies or both in this general order:

1 cup sauce, pasta, vegetable, or both, 1 cup of the mozzarella mixture, a spoonful or so of the parmesan.  Repeat twice, reserving the last layer of cheese for later.

8.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and top with remaining cheese and bake for another 5- 10 minutes.

9.  Let rest for an hour if possible if using vegetables!  I think this would prevent runny sauce as mentioned at the beginning of the post.  This lasagne is great the next day!

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Filed under Dinner, Pasta

Fun Filled Weekend Involving Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum

The Brooklyn Children's Museum. It looks like a square yellow submarine

I was in the midst of a deadline last week and didn’t have a chance to post a recap of our Brooklyn Children’s Museum visit.

If you are ever in the area, you* must* visit the museum which is located in Crown Heights.  It was renovated in 2008 and is a truly spectacular.  It is more spacious and inviting than its Manhattan counterpart (you can literally spend all day there!), and it’s the first “Green Museum” in the city.

To celebrate the opening of Muriel Feldshuh’s Brooklyn Literacy quilt, I read Soup Day in the museum library for Story Time.  All six of Muriel’s quilts are on display there.  It is fun to find favorite authors and illustrators in each one.

J insisted on "helping". My "green bean" square is in the 2009 orange quilt behind us.

Then we got creative and made collages out of a bunch of different materials.

The children were so enthusiastic with their projects. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was busy meeting people (some came especially for the event–thanks, guys!) and helping out with gluing and cutting.  It was great fun.

After the workshop we ate lunch in the cafeteria and then visited our favorite part of the museum:  World Brooklyn.

Jamie has always loved this area from the time we first visited when he was just four.  World Brooklyn celebrates our borough and its amazing diversity. The “hands on” exhibit is comprised of child-sized versions of real stores in Brooklyn which kids can explore and do activities in.

Being a cashier in the International Grocery Store

The fake food is so realistic!

I love this sign which has sample shopping lists for a range of ethnically diverse meals.

Baking pizza at L and B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst

Serving pizza

Baking Mona Bread at Don Paco Lopez Panaderia in Sunset Park

On to real food…

We had another movie afternoon the next day.  This time the feature was The Fellowship of the Ring (Denis and Jamie had just finished reading The Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring).  It gave me an excuse to make popcorn!

I was completely lusting after The Choco-aholic’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn recipe for days and had to make a batch.  I’m sure hers is much more “gourmet” than my lightened version, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of brown sugar, plus 1/2 lb. of chocolate and 1/3 of a jar of peanut butter for just one batch of popcorn!  If you want to make the original recipe, I say “go for it” though! 🙂

Ours was mighty tasty and the level of richness was just right for us.  The caramel flavor melds with the chocolate and peanut butter so perfectly.  Even the lightened version had the perfect trinity of sugar, salt, and fat, creating the “bliss point” of irresistibility that David Kessler writes about in The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite  … Ah well, everything in moderation!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

Adapted from The Choco-aholic  (Lightened up and without the kettle salt, as I didn’t have any)

Non-stick spray

10 cups of popped popcorn (I used an air popper)

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/4  cup of light corn syrup

4 ounces of milk chocolate chips

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

pinch of salt

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

2. Pop popcorn and place in a large mixing bowl.

3.  In a large pot combine  butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes.  Add chocolate chips and stir to melt.  Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

4.  Pour the boiled chocolate mix onto the popcorn. Toss until all the popcorn kernels are evenly coated with the chocolate.

5.  Spread out onto prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15  minutes. Remove, sprinkle with salt, stir and let cool for about 30 minutes.

6.  Melt peanut butter in microwave oven for about 30 seconds.  Pour chocolate popcorn back into mixing bowl and pour melted peanut butter over popcorn and coat evenly.  Refrigerate until hardened for about an hour.

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Filed under Snack

Brooklyn Children’s Museum Literacy Quilt Exhibit

Muriel's 2012 WOW Brooklyn quilt. My square is the girl in the center.

Last year I was invited to participate in a quilt project developed by Muriel Feldshuh.  Muriel is a wonderful literacy advocate. After “retiring” after 30+ years working as a librarian, she continues to be actively involved in the Books for Kids Foundation which promotes literacy among youths.  One of the organization’s projects is to launch children’s libraries in under served areas.

Photo credit: Sara Heidinger

Since 1997, Muriel has been inviting authors and illustrators to illustrate a square of the quilt, which she then pieces together by hand.  Her beautiful quilts are displayed all over the country.  I had participated in the past when she made her 2009 quilt and was happy to do it again last year when Soup Day came out.  I painted a version of my character reading instead of eating soup. 🙂

Check out the back of the postcard which has a list of all the participating artists:

I especially love the Ezra Jack Keats one from “A Letter to Amy” –such a wonderful book!
This Saturday (March 3, 2012) is the grand opening for the literacy quilt to be on display at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (145 Brooklyn Avenue (at St. Marks Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11213).  I will be there along with other artists to read and talk to the children.  My scheduled slot is 12-1 pm.  I’ll be reading Soup Day and talking about how I created the artwork for the book.  I used all different types of materials, from painted paper, origami paper, cotton balls, photographs, to dried pasta and sequins to make my collages.  I then scanned them into the computer and cleaned them up and added details, such as falling snow, some shadows, a bit of frost on the window panes…

This is the original collage. The snow is made of paper towel and the girl's jacket is trimmed with cotton.

This is after I added snow, frost, and a tree in Adobe Photoshop.

At the museum, I’ll do a collage demo and help kids make their own collage creations there.

If you are in the area, please come by and join us and celebrate reading and books!  Also, please pass the information on to folks you think might be interested.  Thanks!

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Filed under Art Related, Children

Calling All Foodies: The 1st Annual Brooklyn Local in DUMBO and Twice Baked Potatoes with Baby Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts

This Saturday, September 17, I’m proud to be a participant in the 1st Annual Brooklyn Local organized by City Harvest.    The event is from 11-4 and will be held at the Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO (for non New Yorkers, this stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).  Over 75 artisinal vendors will be selling their wares, and there will be a tasting tent featuring 15 of the best restaurants in Brooklyn.  There will be an Interactive Kids’ Zone with all day events, such as cookie decorating, composting, live music, and I will be reading from my book, Soup Day, there at 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM.  I’ll also have a craft table set up to do some collaging with the children.  Soup Day will be sold along with a slew of celebrity chef cookbooks.

Please come and join us if you are in the area and help contribute to a great cause.  The Market Entry Fee is just $5 and the money will go towards helping to stamp out hunger in the city.  I’d love to see you!  Last weekend at the Princeton Book Festival, I got such a kick out of meeting a reader in person! 🙂

Cooking Light Magazine is one of the sponsors of the event, and their Executive Chef, Billy Strynkowski, will also be there on site handing out samples.  I got to meet Chef Billy last year at the Cooking Light photo shoot, when I made my dish in his test kitchen.  This year, I’ll be sure to get a picture with him!

Another Cooking Light venture I’m excited to be a part of is their Tested and Recommended Blogger Network.  I’ll be trying out some of their recipes and sharing them with you.  I’d be doing this anyway, since I love their recipes.  I’ve been a subscriber for many years and through reading the magazine, I’ve learned so much about how to lighten as well as create my own healthy recipes.

The recipes I’m featuring today are built around potatoes.  In some circles, potatoes get a bad rap, but they are actually quite nutritious, fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free!  I hadn’t known it before, but a potato provides 45% of your daily does of vitamin C, and when eaten with the skin, it has MORE potassium than a banana!  Because of this, they are now recognized as a vegetable to meet the important need for potassium by the new My Plate Guidelines of the USDA.  Who knew?

Anyway, I love them because they are one of the veggies that we all love in our picky eater family and they are incredibly inexpensive to boot.  For more fun facts about potatoes and tasty recipes, check out Potato Goodness, and Potatoes, Taters, and Spuds on Facebook.

I recently posted about my favorite potato salad, made with yellow and red potatoes.   This baby is made so flavorful with tons of fresh herbs, Dijon mustard, wine, and olive oil.  You would never know I lightened it up dramatically by cutting the oil in half (actually if you used all the oil called for in the original recipe, it gets a bit “soupy”!)

These would also be yummy with some extra grated cheese on top!

Last night I made Twice Baked Potato with Baby Shrimp, Green Onions, and Roasted Red Pepper.  Only I changed it by exchanging the red peppers for artichoke hearts since my husband and son don’t do peppers.  I also subbed plain non fat yogurt for the sour cream since I have an intolerance to it!  I really liked the combination of the potatoes and the baby shrimp — something I would never have thought to put together.  The artichoke hearts went well with all the flavors as well.  And, we ate everything up including the skins, so we had our potassium for the day! 🙂

Twice Baked Potato with Baby Shrimp, Green Onions, and Roasted Red Peppers

Potato Board, Cooking Light Tested & Recommended eBlast to 150k, August 23, 2011

Ingredients

5 large baking potatoes

½ pound, peeled, deveined, and cooked baby shrimp

½ cup jarred roasted red peppers, diced

¼ cup green onions, chopped

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place potatoes on baking sheet and bake until fork-tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let potatoes cool. Keep oven on.
  3. Peel one potato, discard skin, and place pulp in large bowl. Cut off the top third of the remaining four potatoes. Using a spoon, scoop the potato pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/8-inch layer on inside of the skin. Return cut potato skin shells to baking sheet.
  4. Mash potatoes until chunky, using a handheld potato masher. Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Evenly divide potato mixture, and carefully spoon into potato skins.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

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Filed under Art Related, Dinner, Vegetables

Snowy Day Vegetable Soup

Winter.  Frigid mornings.  Snow piled up.  Dry skin.  It takes about ten minutes minimum for the three of us to get bundled up, don our jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, and finally step outside.  We are still in the thick of it too — the Weather Channel says it feels like 17 degrees outside right now.

My son was home all last week with a nasty ear infection.  To comfort him and get some nourishing goodness into his system, I made Snowy Day Vegetable Soup from my book, Soup Day.

This is the last page of the book -- the recipe.

It’s the perfect remedy for a cold, icky day, and my son loves it.  I added a bit of cooked chicken at the end from some added protein.  He’s all better this week, thankfully!

There are several bloggers out there who’ve made it with their kids.  It’s very simple and a good way to get some vegetables in your family’s diet.

Sales of  Soup Day are going pretty well.  It sold out of its first printing about a month and and a half after its release.  I am about halfway to meeting the required sales amount to get my sequel!  Please help me out and buy a copy for the budding little chef/chefs in your life!    (If you’ve already done that, tell your friends! 🙂  )

Yesterday,  I braved the cold and visited the same two Kindergarten classes at P.S. 142 I mentioned in a previous post, and read it to them.  Afterward, we did a soup bowl collage craft together.  They loved coloring, cutting and gluing their paper pieces of vegetables and dried pasta to their bowls.

Hard at work coloring vegetables...

Making soup...

One of the finished soup collages!

If you’d like to do this craft with your child, feel free to download the activity sheet off my website.  There is also a related Hidden Pictures puzzle there as well.

Enjoy! 🙂

Snowy Day Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup diced onion

½ cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

kosher salt to taste

6 cups chicken, vegetable, or beef stock

2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes

½ cup carrots, sliced into rounds

2 cups zucchini, sliced into rounds

1 cup sliced mushrooms

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3 oz. dried pasta of choice

¼ cup packed chopped parsley leaves

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, add diced onions, carrots, celery and pinch of salt to pot.  Saute until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add stock.  Increase to high and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, add potatoes, carrot rounds, zucchini and mushrooms to pot.  Add pepper, thyme, and salt to taste.  Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until vegetables are fork tender, about 15- 20 minutes.
  3. Bring water to boil in a medium sauce pan.  Add a pinch of salt to water.  When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook to an al dente doneness according to package instructions.  Drain and add to vegetable soup just before serving.
  4. Season to taste with salt and paper and garnish soup with chopped parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

Note:  Please take care to keep children at a distance from burners on the stove.

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Filed under Art Related, chicken, Children, Soup, Vegetables