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 my 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).
Resist the temptation to cut into these bars immediately – if they haven’t cooled you’ll end up with a big ol’ mess of granola instead of granola bars.
These granola bars can be stored in a container for a couple weeks (if they last that long).
I recently discovered vegetable marrow. It’s very similar to zucchini but it’s a little less watery which makes it great for things like fritters so you don’t have to take the extra step of salting and draining the vegetable to get out the extra moisture. I am always short of time so I appreciate anything that cuts steps and makes my life a little easier.
Vegetable Marrow Fritters
Pair these fritters with a green salad for a lovely light dinner.
olive oil for frying
1 large leek, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 cups of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 cup feta cheese, diced
4 medium or 5 small vegetable marrow, grated (about 4 cups)
Drizzle olive oil in frying pan and cook leeks over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
In a small bowl whisk eggs and milk then add to flour mixture and combine.
Add leeks, feta and vegetable marrow to flour and egg mixture and combine.
Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Adding heaping 1/4 cups of fritter mixture to pan and flatten. Fry for 5-7 minutes flipping halfway through.
Serve with dipping sauce (see recipe below), sour cream or applesauce.
Fritters can be kept warm in oven. You can substitute veggie marrow with zucchini but you should salt it, let it sit, then drain off the excess water.
I recently came across vegetable marrow at the grocery store. It’s a summer squash that’s similar to zucchini. It can grow large but is most tender when small. Native to North America, I was surprised that we had never crossed paths before. When I polled friends, very few of them had heard of it either.
Cousin to the courgette, this low-calorie, high fibre veg has many health benefits. It contains high levels of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron. Including it in your diet helps lower cholesterol, improves energy, circulation, gastrointestinal flow, and it also helps maintain weight. It reduces the risk of anemia, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Veggie Marrow is in season August and September. The smaller the marrow, the more nutritious and flavourful it can be.
We make homemade salt dough ornaments every Christmas. It’s a lovely tradition that we look forward to every year.
If you have never made them and want to, it is incredibly easy. Simply mix 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of salt, then mix in 1 cup of warm water. Roll out dough, cut out shapes, poke a hole in the top with a straw, then bake at the lowest temperature that your oven allows until the dough is completely dry. This can take several hours depending on the temperature and the thickness of the dough. Allow the ornaments to completely cool, paint, and add glitter glue if inclined. Lastly, thread a ribbon or string through the hole and tie for hanging. Done!
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup warm water
In a bowl, combine flour and salt.
Add water and mix together.
Remove dough from bowl and place on counter, shape into ball, and knead with your hands until thoroughly combined.
With rolling pin, roll out dough.
Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Using a straw, poke a hole in the top of the ornament. Continue to combine dough scraps into a ball and re-roll out until dough is used up.
Place ornaments on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake ornaments at 200F or the lowest temperature that your oven allows until the ornaments are completely dry. This can take about 2-3 hours depending on the temperature of your oven and the thickness of the dough. Allow to cool completely.
Paint – we use acrylic paints. Add glitter glue (if desired). Allow to dry.
Thread a ribbon or string through hole and tie for hanging.
The ornaments puff up at higher temperatures which is why I recommend the lowest temperature possible. My old oven could be set to 200 F but my new one only goes as low as 250 F. A dehydrator can also be used and gives very consistent results.
If the dough mixture is a little dry simply add a tbsp of water at a time until it comes together. If the dough is too sticky simply sprinkle and knead in a tbsp of flour at time until the dough is no longer sticky.
We love collard greens. We adore them. We can’t get enough of them. BUT we’re trying to eat healthier and we also have friends and family that are vegan. I switched up my traditional collards recipe with pleasing results. The key was keeping that lovely smokey flavour in the recipe that a ham hock or bacon can provide. Adding a little liquid hickory smoke did the trick.
I make a batch of fresh chia jam every week with seasonal fruit. It’s great for topping oatmeal, pancakes, or toast. This week I was able to get my hands on some lovely local pears. Chia jams are insanely easy to make and so healthy. Give it a try.
This fresh jam can be put together in less than 10 minutes. Then you simply pop it in the fridge and wait for it to thicken.
1 cup chopped pears (peeled, if you prefer a smoother texture)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
Cook pears over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the fruit breaks down, mash, then add chia seeds, vanilla, and maple syrup (if using). Refrigerate for several hours while the chia seeds plump up and thicken the jam.
This recipe can easily be doubled. Store in fridge for 4 or 5 days or freeze. Canning is not recommended.