My five-year-old loves science experiments and she loves magic so this activity was a huge hit with her. It can be a little finicky – too much salt or not enough contact can cause the experiment to fail but my science-minded child appreciated that. She had to find the sweet spot. We started the experiment with plain little ice cubes then progressed on to using coloured ice that I made in muffin tins.
You will need:
two ice cubes
Sprinkle salt on top of one ice cube.
Place second ice cube on top and wait about 15 or 20 seconds.
Lift the top ice cube and see what happens.
The ice cubes should stick together – the surfaces that touch need to make solid contact with each other so put the two flat sides together.
If you put too much salt on the ice then the cubes just continue melting. All you want is for the ice cubes to melt slightly then refreeze in order to stick together.
Creating Ice Sculptures
This ice activity was a fun one to continue with after the Sticky Ice Cube Magic Trick. We started with plain little ice cubes then progressed to making ice sculptures using coloured ice that I made in muffin tins and a variety of empty plastic containers.
You will need:
a large tray or plastic bin that can contain ice and water
various blocks of ice (directions below)
salt (I provided table salt and epson salt)
Freeze water in empty yogurt containers, muffin tins, ice cube trays and random plastic containers to create ice in a variety of shapes and sizes. Add food colouring if you wish to have coloured ice.
Show the kids how to “stick” two pieces of ice together by adding a little salt to one piece of ice and placing another on top.
Let them play, experiment and be creative.
When the kids were generous with the salt, the ice didn’t stick but it would mold and form complimentary divots allowing for the sculpture building to continue.
I also extended this activity by giving them a couple of containers with water and some turkey basters to suction up the water and squirt it on top of their sculptures.
This cherry chia jam was a huge hit with the littles. They ate the entire jar so next time I will definitely have to make a double batch.
Chia jam is so easy to make and it’s incredibly healthy. I make some every week with whatever fruit happens to be in season. And when nothing local is in season I often use frozen fruit instead. Dark cherry is my absolute favourite in the winter. It’s perfect with warm oatmeal on a cold winter’s day.
Garlic confit is incredibly easy to make and it’s a staple that we always have in our fridge. Compared to raw garlic it is rich, sweet and creamy. It’s great in marinades, mashed potatoes, sauces, soups and stews. I love using it as a base when I cook up greens. You can even spread it on bread. The garlic infused oil is perfect for roasting vegetables, in dressings and dips and adding to tossed pasta. Really, it can be drizzled on anything you fancy. It is so versatile.
There are two ways to make it – on the stovetop or in the oven.
2 or 3 heads of garlic, peeled (you can easily double or triple the recipe – use as much as you want)
enough olive oil to completely cover the garlic
Place peeled garlic cloves in a small saucepan, completely cover with olive oil, and slowly poach at a very low temperature for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.
Preheat oven to 275F. Place peeled garlic cloves in an oven proof dish, completely cover with olive oil, and bake for about an hour and a half until golden brown. Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.
The garlic confit can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks. The cloves should be completely covered with the oil.
When I started making these chocolate chip granola bars in the fall they quickly became a family favourite that was put into heavy rotation. I whip up a batch every week. They are easy to make, tasty, and infinitely cheaper and healthier than store bought. They are nut-free and sesame-free, making them safe to bring to school and community spaces with allergy-friendly food policies. They also keep well. I pop them into the daughter’s lunch box, and pack them for snacks at the park and for after-school activities throughout the week. My husband also takes them to work to munch on when that afternoon slump hits. The ingredients are all from the pantry.
1/2 cup avocado oil (or another neutral flavoured oil)
1/2 cup liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup combine wet ingredients.
Drizzle wet ingredients over dry ingredients and THROUGHLY combine.
Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and PRESS DOWN FIRMLY to shape it into a rectangle (about 10×11 inches). If you don’t press it together well and it’s loose then you’ll end up with granola instead of granola bars.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden.
Allow to cool – for at least 15 minutes, then cut into bars (thirds lengthwise, then eight across).
These granola bars can be stored in a container for a couple weeks (if they last that long).