Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Seed Packets

Jonathan's kindergarten class held an Halloween party this year. All the parents were asked to bring in a 20 items to put in a favor bag so that each child would get a collection of fun trinkets at the end of the party. We were asked that the item not be candy as they would get plenty of sweet stuff at the party. I went to Target thinking I might get stickers or glow sticks but when I got there I was just unimpressed. Everything was stamped "Made in China". I knew things would either break in five minutes or just add to the collection of junk that every parent hates. I went back home frustrated. Then I went online and found a website that listed "green" alternatives to candy treats at Halloween. Band aids, cookie cutters, coins, acorns . . . seed packets! I knew I had it! Jonathan LOVES to plant seeds. This was a perfect idea. But when I looked up seed packets they cost about $1 to $3 a packet which was too steep for my budget. Then I hit on a great idea. I could make them! We had seeds air-dried from a pie pumpkin. I'd been meaning to salt and roast them but never had gotten around to it. I found a template for a little seed packet online and cut them out of an old paper bag. These I glued together and then wrote on them with a permanent marker. The pumpkin was a quick outline that I then dabbed with orange finger paint. On the back I wrote directions for planting and watering. No plastic! No chemicals! No candy! Just pure fun of planting pumpkins. Now that's a treat!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Easy Donuts

Lest you think I'm all about homemade, fresh, from scratch all the time, let me show you what I made today. Easy donuts. I saw this "recipe" in Real Simple a while ago and when my son asked me to make donuts today I was thankful it popped into my head. I took some Pillsbury biscuits from the refrigerated section of the supermarket, cut holes in the middle with a little biscuit cutter, and fried them up in some vegetable oil. Easy peasy. Well, it would have been easy if I'd not made my oil quite so hot. The outsides cooked faster than the inside so a few were a little underdone in the middle. Oops. The ones we ate, though, were delicious. Almost as good as an HOT-AND-NOW Krispy Kreme donut. I made a glaze out of powdered sugar and milk and then sprinkled them with sprinkles, of course! Yum!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mini Apple Pies

As a fan of Bakerella and a follower of her blog, I knew I would eventually find a good reason to attempt the Luxirare inspired Pie Pops on her site. With Fall Family Fun night on the horizon at my son's preschool, I knew I had the perfect excuse to delve into creating these little goodies. Apples were the theme for the night, so deciding my filling was easy. I found an apple shaped cookie cutter and set to work. I wanted to put more filling in these mini pies based on Bakerella's note that the crust overshadowed the filling. To avoid potential disaster with a top heavy pop (ie. one bite and it's on the floor), I eliminated the lollipop sticks taking a hit on the cute scale. To make up for the sticks, I pulled out my powdered food coloring and lemon extract to paint my mini apple pies. A few minutes to dry, a coating of egg white and a generous round of matching color sprinkles and they were ready for the oven. They came out tasty and adorable with just the right amount of filling. I took the easy route with pre-made crust and canned filling to save time, but these would be even more heavenly if they were homemade.