Building Memories: Baking with My Grandson

Oh how I love this Little Man. ❤ My grandson is a big helper, and he has mad stirring skills! Just look at him. Little Man likes to help in the kitchen sometimes, so I asked him if he would want to help me bake some chocolate zucchini cake.

I needed to make some for my coworkers, and told him I’d leave a cake at his house as well. He was good with helping so, while his mom was looking for a job not long after they moved to the area, Little Man and I baked.

He was so good about washing his hands. I measured out all of the ingredients and he showed me his crazy good dumping skills.

Little Man was very impatient while spreading the cream cheese frosting. I’d put a scoop on the cake, he’d move the butter knife over it once, then stick his hand through the frosting and into the cake to taste it. What a goober! I had to finish that part on my own.

We chatted about a lot of things while we were making this cake, and we laughed so much. I’ll always cherish our baking time. The memories will, hopefully, stay with me forever.

Little Man is a hoot to bake with. We’ll be making a chocolate mayonnaise cake with peanut butter frosting next. I know these things are not healthy, but they are a nice treat once-in-a-while, and my coworkers appreciate a treat on occasion.

Shannon

Yule Napkin Rings

Part of kitchen wizardry is decorating the table, especially at holidays and sabbats. Napkin rings allow you to add a little extra flair to the table. Different types of greenery and spices make decorating for Yule a simple, fragrant task. You can make these with real greenery to use once, or make them to last with fake greenery. For a non-wasteful sabbat, use fake greenery and store the napkin rings carefully after the sabbat is over. If you celebrate Christmas as well, as we do in our home, you can use these twice each year.

You will need:

(Materials for each napkin ring.)

2 cinnamon sticks

holly with berries

glue sticks

glue gun

  1. Glue the holly leaves into a ring with a diameter between 1 and 1/2 inches. Be sure there are some berries on each ring.
  2. Glue 2 cinnamon sticks together under the greenery, so they form two straight sticks together or an X.
  3. OR place them over the greenery and glue the red berries to the center.

Tips

  • Try different types of greenery.
  • Tie a ribbon around the cinnamon sticks.
  • Let older children, who can handle a glue gun, help with this project.

Shannon

 

Homemade Food Gifts: The Cooks’ Gift

If you’ve taken the time to make the homemade vinegars, oils and butters that have been featured here on the Frugal Recipes blog, then you have a great base for a cooks’ holiday gift. If you have made dried herb gifts, you will be able to add them to this. All of these items, combined with some homemade baked goods, will make a great gift.

Place a combination of these items in a large gift basket, over a dish or tea towel, or other fabric. Tie a bow on, and add a tag.

You can add to this gift if you have affordable ways of obtaining certain other items. For instance, why not add some homemade knitted or crocheted dish cloths to the gift. (My sister makes me a couple of these each year, and I just love them.) A dollar store will net you wooden cooking spoons and rubber spatulas, or even dish towels. I once found two large metal pots at a yard sale for .50 each. They were used, but looked almost new. A thrift shop may net you a hand grater for a quarter, or a couple of whisks. If you’ve been lucky enough to find such deals, create gifts with them.

This would be an easy project for children to put together, as they aren’t really preparing any of the foods themselves.

Tips

  • Combine in a container. No need to wrap.
  • If you choose to use a basket, they can be found affordably at thrift shops.
  • I once found four large baskets at a yard sale for $1.00 each.

What food gifts do you give at the holidays? Please share with us in the comments below.

Shannon

Note: I know sweets and many baked goods are not healthy, and that we really shouldn’t be eating them, but I have family members who don’t limit such things. So yes, I give these items at the holidays. Also, I don’t think it is necessarily bad to treat yourself once-in-a-while. You just don’t want to make a habit of it.

Leftover Thanksgiving Fry Pan Meal

This recipe is frugal because it uses leftovers from you Thanksgiving meal. It’s easy enough for an older child to make.

Leftover Potatoes: You will want to make sure that these are warmed when the pan-fried food is done. You can do this in the oven. Sweet potato is a good choice.

Ingredients to put into pan:

coconut oil

turkey, bite size pieces

leftover veggies from the turkey dinner

add-ins you like: sliced onions, crushed garlic cloves, and parsley.

  1. Melt the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the turkey, veggies, and add-ins.
  3. Cook until all is warmed through.
  4. Put on plates.
  5. Take the potatoes out of the oven and spoon them on the plates as well.
  6. Serve.

Tips

  • Try adding roasted squash to the meal as well.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

If you’re lucky you wont need to buy anything extra for this, making it a very frugal meal indeed. Children who can use an oven by themselves will find this easy. Younger children can put the casserole together for you to bake.

To make this recipe even easier, prepare it when cleaning up after the Thanksgiving meal, and pop it in the oven the next day. You could also put it in the freezer.

Ingredients

leftover turkey

leftover vegetables

leftover mashed potatoes (any kind)

water

  • Put 1/4 cup water in a baking dish.
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with bite size pieces of turkey.
  • Cover the turkey with leftover vegetables.
  • Cover the vegetables with mashed potatoes.
  • Bake at 350* until warmed through.

Tips

  • Squash could be used in place of the potato.
  • If there are varying tastes, or not enough potatoes to cover the casserole, top 1/3 with regular mashed potatoes, 1/3 with mashed sweet potato, and the last third with squash.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Baked Cheese Pumpkins

This recipe is great as a snack, or can be made for a Halloween. Children will love helping you make these, once they have cooled.

8 slices paleo bread
4 slices white cheese
pumpkin cookie cutter
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (can be wiped and reused later).
  2. Place 4 slices of bread on the cookie sheet.
  3. Put a slice of cheese on each slice of bread.
  4. Put a slice of bread over each slice of cheese.
  5. Bake both at 350* until cheese is melted.
  6. Remove cookie sheet from the oven.
  7. Remove the sandwiches from the pan and place on a cutting board. Allow to cool some.
  8. (This is the part the children can do!) Use the pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter cut ghost shapes out of the sandwiches.

This actually gives you eight pumpkin-shaped cheese sandwiches. The cutouts and the outer edges.

Enjoy!

Shannon

Berry Parfaits

I love Parfaits. I like to pretty them up for the children, to turn them into special treats.

  • I put them into sundae cups for a nice treat. Or I use decorative bowls.
  • I have real tea-spoons with long handles that I place in the cups.

Berries are healthy and should be a part of everyone’s diet, with the possible exception of babies. My daughters and the daycare children love these, as do I.

  • Use any type of berries you like, and or combination of berries.
  • Use coconut cream, flavoring it if you’d like with pure vanilla or mint extract.
  • Add toppings such as fresh cherries or dried fruit, if desired.
  • Add seeds or nuts to the top.

All you do is:

  • Put a tablespoon of cream in the bottom of the cup.
  • Layer coconut yogurt and berries until you get to the top.
  • Add your choice of topping(s).

These parfaits are great for:

  • Daycare children to make.
  • Hot summer days.
  • Party treats.

They make great:

  • Snacks.
  • Breakfast ideas.
  • Desserts.

Enjoy!

Shannon

P.S. If you have any parfait ideas that you’d care to share, please post them in the comments. Thank you.

Shannon

 

Fruit Parfaits

I love Parfaits. I put them into the sundae cups for a nice treat. I have real tea spoons with long handles that I place in the cups to add just a little fanciness to this treat.

Ingredients

any type of fruit that you like, and you can mix and match them

coconut cream flavored with pure vanilla, citrus, or mint extract

toppings such as cherries, crushed almond slivers, or unsweetened coconut cream.

  1. Put a tablespoon of cream in the bottom of the cup.
  2. Layer the cream and fruit until you get to the top.
  3. Add your choice of topping(s).

Tips

  • These parfaits are great for daycare children to make, though adults may need to cut (or supervise the cutting of) the fruits.
  • They are refreshing on a hot summer day.
  • And they make great party treats.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve at breakfast with an egg scramble.
  • Serve for a dessert or snack.
  • Serve as a side with lunch or dinner.

Enjoy!

Shannon

P.S. If you have any other parfait ideas that you would care to share, please post them in the comments section. Thank you.

Kids in the Kitchen: Apple Slice Snacks

Apples are healthy and, when combined with other foods, make a filling snack for children to enjoy. Be sure not to peel the fruit, as this skin is the reason apples are so healthy. Sporting a good amount of fiber and vitamin C, this fruit also contains such nutrients as vitamin B-6 and potassium.

Children who are skilled enough will be able to cut their own apple slices, and wont need as much supervision as younger children. For the younger child, coring and slicing the apples beforehand will be helpful.

There are a variety of apple slice toppings and, depending on the healthy eating lifestyle your family enjoys, you can choose whatever healthy toppings the children will enjoy most. These examples will get you started:

  • Macadamia butter with raisins.
  • Peanut butter with dried cranberries.
  • Cheese slices.
  • Cottage cheese and dried berries.
  • Cream cheese and chopped grapes. (Cut the grapes yourself if children are too young to do so.)
  • Almond butter with unsweetened flaked coconut.
  • Cashew butter with dried berries.
  • Sunflower butter with dried cranberries.
  • Cottage cheese and almond slivers.

Put the ingredients out for the children to easily access, and let them put together their snacks.

There are a few healthy options available. If you don’t serve your child peanut butter, try a true nut butter. If you don’t serve them dairy, try something else. An important factor with these options is that your child will be consuming a fruit in combination with protein.

Given all the ingredients, children will be able to put this snack together on their own. It will be fun for them, and will teach important kitchen skills. They’ll also be learning about nutrition. It’s very important to talk to children about the food they eat, and the nutrients they derive from their food.

Enjoy preparing foods with your children.

(I can’t wait for my grandson to be big enough to help me in the kitchen!)

Shannon

Our Favorite Cheesecake

This is a favorite at all holiday and sabbat celebrations in our home. Everyone loves it, even though it’s not your traditional cheesecake. Anyone can make it, even a child. It is quick and easy to make, and tastes so good.

This recipe is for two cakes, but you can halve everything for one if you don’t need that much. We always make two so that there is sure to be enough for everyone.

Ingredients:

2 packages of cream cheese

16 ounces of whipped topping

2/3 cup sugar

2 graham cracker crusts

  1. Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer.
  2. Pour the filling between the two crusts, and smooth out to the edges.
  3. Place the crust pan covers over the ‘cakes’ and place them in the refrigerator for an hour, or until you need them.

Tips

  • To save money, I buy all store brand items for this recipe.
  • Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top of the cheesecake.
  • Add strawberry slices around the outer edge, and a whole strawberry in the center.
  • Place cherries around the outer edge, and a dollop of whipped topping in the center. Place another cherry into the center of the topping.
  • Purchase mini graham cracker crusts for making mini cheesecakes so that each person can have their own. Top these with cherries, strawberries or kiwi, and a dollop of whipped topping.

For the holidays:

  • The holiday cheesecakes I made (pictured) have five dollops of whipped cream, one at the center.
  • One cheesecake has peppermint Hershey’s kisses pushed into the dollops, and dark chocolate shavings covering the top.
  • The second cheesecake has Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate (half) squares pushed into the dollops, then a drizzling of chocolate syrup.

What toppings do you enjoy on your cheesecake?

There’s nothing healthy about these cheesecakes. They’re made only for special family occasions because people love them. They are not a typical dessert item for me. I do make allowances for special family recipes once in a while, when an occasion calls for it, even though I try very hard to eat healthy most of the rest of the time.

Enjoy!

Shannon