Monday, March 10, 2014

Simple Science - Making Butter

How we did it: We poured a pint of heavy cream into a quart canning jar, spun the lid tight, put on some good bouncing music and started to shake - and shake - and shake. When we noticed that the stuff inside was changing we popped the lid open. It looked a lot like whipped cream but without the sugar and vanilla it wasn't so tasty, so we put the lid back on and shook it some more. After about 20 minutes the cream did its thing - The fat and the water separated yielding butter and buttermilk! We drained off the buttermilk (future ingredient for Irish Soda Bread) , then mixed a dash of salt into the butter. As a finishing touch, while the butter was soft we put it in a cake decorating bag with a fancy tip and made butter dots.

Hard work but soooo tasty! 

Turn, Turn, Turn Top - Little Kid Art Project

Turn, Turn, Turn Tops

Age: 18 Months - 8 Years or older (younger ones need more supervision)

Time: 15 min (+ lots more time playing with them!)

Theme: Color Mixing, Games

Books: White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker, Color Dance by Ann Jonas

8” Round Cake Board (the cardboard base that bakeries use under their cakes)
Glass Beads (also called gems – they ones that are flat on one side)
Adults get to us a Hot Glue Gun

Prep: Set out the materials and plug in the hot glue gun safely out of reach

Activity: Each child gets a cake board and crayons. Decorate it any way you like! The ADULT then glues a glass bead to the center of the bottom. As soon as the glue cools, spin your top!

Notes/Tips: Ask you child what happened when their design was spinning. Challenge bigger kids to create a design that creates an optical illusion (like a spiral) or to experiment with the placement of the bead.

*The waxy surface of some cake boards resists crayon. If you want more vibrant colors try a student grade oil pastel (cray pas) or Crayola Construction Paper Crayons.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam

We have gone through an astounding amount of jam this year. I blame it primarily on the fact that we make our own yogurt and I often put a dollop in the bottom of the jars before adding the cultured milk. With the stock of home made nearly gone, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I still had enough strawberries and rhubarb in the freezer to make a batch of this.

Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam
Makes about 2 Pints (4 jam jars)

3c Strawberries (cleaned and hulled)
3c Rhubarb (cleaned and diced)
1/4c Water
1 Packet Instant Fruit Pectin (I used Ball 1.59oz)
1-1/2c Sugar*

Put Strawberries, Rhubarb and water in a large pan. Simmer stirring regularly for about 20 minutes until it cooks down to a thick sauce. Let cool about 10 min.

In a large bowl mix pectin and sugar. Add cooled fruit, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved.

Ladle into containers and allow to set about 30 minutes.

Can be kept in the refrigerator 3 weeks or frozen up to 1 year.

Makes an awesome sauce over vanilla ice cream or sweet flavoring for plain yogurt!

*This jam is NOT super sweet. To make a sweeter jam increase the strawberries (maintain the total fruit quantity of 6c) and/or increase the sugar to 2c.