Edible Antics

Touring Wisconsin Food

Tag: alphabet

Give What You Need! – A Spice Cake Recipe To Humor the Nose

What follows is a winding explanation of why I made a spice cake in the shape of a nose. If you’re anxious for a recipe for a delicious, fragrant, scrumptious, and unusual spice cake, click on Wisconsinmade.com’s recipe for Slimm and Nunne Mustard Spice Cake. If you want to know how to form the cake into the shape of a nose, keep reading.nose-cake-1 

This nose cake resulted from a perfect storm of disconnected ideas. The strongest idea was this: Give What You Need.

Yes, it’s true, the surest way to get what you need is to give it. I thought I got this idea from my friend, Jean. But Jean swears she got it from me. She also swears it works. Once the son of a neighbor badly needed $200 and asked Jean for it. Jean’s family was financially strapped at the time. She hesitated, but remembered, “Give what you need”, so she said, “here goes,” and gave him the money. Two weeks later Jean received an unexpected win-fall of nearly $1000. She’s a believer now.

Yesterday, I asked myself, “What could I write in a blog post that a potential reader might actually need?” Of course, the real question is “What might a reader need that I have the means to give?” Clueless, I fell back on the question, “What do I need?” My instant answer? “I need a laugh!” Yes, troubles were weighing me down. Time to pull out the humor from somewhere – ANYWHERE! And I didn’t have to look far – just to the end of my nose.

After brief deliberation, I concluded that the nose is the most humorous part of the human body. Noses make people laugh – especially when they’re looked at UP-CLOSE. Study people’s noses and you’ll recognize how many humorous shapes, colors, and sizes noses come in. Being the first part of the body to arrive anywhere, noses are the parts that get caught up in things, – such as in mechanical appliances and flying pies. And this can be very funny. When the Three Stooges pull each other’s noses, people laugh.

Yes, I must write a post featuring ‘The Nose’. The nose is a critical topic of a reputable food blog. Aroma always precedes taste! Therefore, the nose is the great chef’s indispensable aid. And what better way to celebrate ‘the nose’ than with an aromatic spice cake! In fact, two weeks ago I happened upon a spice cake recipe at work which I filed in the back of my mind to try. Why not try it now! 

The plan was cinched when I realized that ‘nose’ begins with ‘n’ and ‘o’. These letters should have been celebrated two weeks ago in our should-be-once-a-week alphabet party designed to ready my preschooler for kindergarten. So I asked 5-year-old Dave, “Do you know what ‘N-O’ spell?” He shook his head and said, “No.”

“That’s right!” I cheered. “‘N-O’ spells ‘NO’!” So tickled that his reply had made a joke, Dave had to tell me the joke over and over again to make sure I got it. Yes, we wrung the humor out of that one. Then I told him that it was time for our ‘N’ & ‘O’ party and since ‘n-o’ are the first letters in ‘nose’ we would make a ‘nose cake’. Seemed logical to him. 5-year-olds are wonderful.

Continue reading

Deviled Eggs and French Toast – Teaching a Pre-Kindergartner his Alphabet with Food Party Games

Sometimes I advance in life by fits and spurts rather than sustained, steady progress. To be sure, when I set out on a path, I always intend diligent, scheduled progress toward the goal. But then, natural interruptions impose, and when I get back on track, I’m running to make-up lost ground. And this is exactly what happened with our family alphabet game.

In January, we decided to ready 5-year old Dave for kindergarten by having a weekly party for each letter of the alphabet. In our party game, Lauren (8) and Dave write the ‘Letter of the Week’ and post it on the door; they put items beginning with the letter in a special alphabet box, and I bake something that begins with the letter. We got up to ‘D’ by baking dog biscuits for the dog. But after the biscuits gave the kids tummy aches, the game stalled. However, kindergarten looms!

So, yesterday we had a re-do for ‘D’ and finished off ‘E’ and ‘F’! While the kids argued over who got to put Elmo in the box, I made Deviled Eggs and French Toast. (No, I’m not going to claim we covered ‘T’.)

I didn’t want to make ordinary deviled eggs, despite my kids’ preference for mayonnaise and yolks mixed together and slapped back into egg whites. Instead, I created deviled eggs that I would be proud to serve at an adult party. In a relative wink, I mixed up Lou’s Deviled Eggs.

The recipe comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Seasons in a Country Kitchen Cookbook. The book is Darlene Kronschnabel’s compilation of Wisconsin farm recipes and stories. Keep reading for this recipe and a wonderful recipe for Baked Orange French Toast from Donna Weihofen’s book: Mom’s Updated Recipe Box: 250 Family Favorites Made Quick and Healthy. The orange flavor makes Donna’s french toast recipe a twist on the standard favorite. Plus it can be partially prepared ahead of time and later baked in the oven, which makes it a contender for a festive adult brunch.

Continue reading

D is for Dog!-Teaching Kids the Alphabet by Baking Treats for the Dog

It’s March 24, -which means Labor Day is exactly 23 weeks away, which means Dave goes to kindergarten in exactly 23 weeks plus 1 day. Have I taught him his alphabet yet as I had resolved to do weeks ago? No. Lauren (age 8) and I had made an initial, strong attempt with our weekly ‘special letter of the day’ parties. The side bar page, Cooking with the ABC’s, shows the recipes and pictures from our A is for Apples, B is for Banana Bread, and C is for Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies parties. OK, we celebrated three of the letters, (which he happened to know anyway), 23 letters to go. We can just make it. 

So today is D-Day! “D is for Dave!” my 5-year-old announces and climbs into the large cardboard box into which we gather items beginning with D. Lauren tries to get him to write upper and lower case D’s which we then tape to the door. Her D’s are multi-colored and flourished, but Dave isn’t overly interested, which accounts for why we hold letter of the day parties to begin with. Instead, he announces we must bake Dog biscuits for the Dog, because Dog starts with D!

So, I get out the Make your own Healthy Doggie Biscuits Book (c. 2007, Ivy Press Limited) that my husband gave me for Christmas. (Diamonds also start with D, but….) The cookbook comes with three cookie cutters: bone; dog house, and fire hydrant. I choose the hypoallergenic recipe for honey oat cookies.

Continue reading

Healthy Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies Kids Crave

My daughter’s school is nearly fanatical about forbidding fattening foods in the classroom. The school’s restrictions on permitted snacks suggest that each eight-year old suffers from advanced heart disease and diabetes due to obesity. I agree with limiting sugar-intake in children. Like a hawk, I scrutinize what my children eat. (And I’m just amazed at how much sugar they can consume in one sitting.) Unlike the once-a-year penny-candy stick Laura Ingalls Wilder received in the Little House On The Prairie, sugar treats are continually dispensed in our modern world. My kids’ hairdresser rewards them with Tootsie rolls. The pet shop clerk offers them Mounds bars. Our wonderful neighbors send over cookies and candies to show their affection. Thus, I applaud the school’s attempt to put the brakes on sugar ingestion, despite the feeble impact these rules may have. At least the rules counter-balance our cultural practice.

But as any veteran dieter will tell you, one good binge undoes weeks of progress. So it was on Valentine’s Day. Lauren returned from school with a sack-full of candy. No longer do children simply exchange tiny Valentine’s cards, most also pass out candy. All the well-intentioned rules were ignored, except by Ryan’s mother.

Ryan’s valentine came in a baggy with a cookie and a printed recipe. Lauren announced that these were “The BEST COOKIES EVER!” “Can’t we make them, Mom? PLEASE!!!”

The recipe surprised me. It both conformed to the school’s regulations about sugar and fat content, AND Lauren liked it. The cookies were mostly oats, cranberries, and apricots, – foods that Lauren typically disdains. The sugar and flour content was minimal. But they were laced with mini-chocolate chips, so maybe that’s why she deemed them beyond acceptable.

Thus, when it was time to celebrate “C-Day” we chose to make these Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies. Once a week Lauren and Dave and I celebrate a letter in the alphabet. (We’re trying to ready Dave for kindergarten.) I bake something that starts with the special letter, while Lauren and Dave write the letter and paste it on the door. Then Dave collects things around the house that begin with the letter and places them in our special alphabet box.

Continue reading

‘B’ is for Blessed By Bland Banana Bread – or: One Child’s Treat is Mother’s Tasteless Calories

b-for-bread-image1Last weekend I baked banana bread.  I used the recipe from my decades-old, standard issue, cooking bible. You probably have it. It’s the internationally acclaimed manual on how to cook anything. But in this post, I think it best to withhold the book’s identity. However, maybe the book warrants its reputation because my kids and the neighbor kids declared the banana bread the Very Best Banana Bread they’d ever eaten! “Make it again, Mommy!” they cried. “When pigs fly,” I muttered.

The bread had a decent banana taste because I super-maxed the banana content with my over-abundance of overly-ripe bananas. Otherwise, the bread tasted like white flour. Admittedly, I used only 2/3 of the white sugar called for (I always reduce the sugar proportion in baked goods). But even if I had added the extra 1/3 cup of sugar, it just would have tasted like semi-sweetened white flour, nuanced with banana.

The recipe was minimalistic – flour, soda, shortening, eggs, sugar, banana, and only enough salt so a cardiac arrest patient wouldn’t feel completely deprived. It didn’t even call for vanilla extract. To be fair, the recipe suggested additions of apricots and walnuts, but I knew these would elicit disgusted exclamations of “Eeewwww!” from my children. When I realized it would taste as bland as milk toast, I tried to salvage it by sprinkling cinnamon on the top right before I popped it into the oven. The cinnamon’s effect was purely aesthetic.

b-for-bread-image2But the kids LOVED it! They ate it for snacks and breakfast. They were thrilled to learn that a second loaf waited in the freezer. (Yes, I had bananas enough for two loaves.) As I anticipate having age-spotted bananas in the future, I send out this request to you, dear readers, for a banana-bread recipe that BOTH children and adults enjoy.

Please don’t take my grumbling too seriously however, because the making of the banana bread accomplished a higher purpose.

Continue reading

‘A’ is for Attitude – A Recipe for Surviving Wisconsin’s Winter with Preschoolers

It’s 15 below zero outside.  The furnace is running but hasn’t cranked the heat up beyond 64 degrees.  I’m coated in wool and writing this next to the heating vent. Wisconsin schools are closed due to the dangerous wind chill.  And now my children sit frozen in front of the TV.  But winter is only half over.  At this point we need more than comfort food – we need a recipe for survival.

My ace in the hole for keeping spirits up is to throw a party.  The kids and I will celebrate any occasion around here, especially in winter.  We’ve been planning our super bowl party for Sunday, but that’s 4 days away.  What can we rally around right now?

Last night I lost sleep over my 5-year-old’s inability to recite the alphabet.  Yes, this was a foolish, unnecessary worry, but it kept my mind off bigger concerns.  I know I can teach the alphabet, and make it fun to boot!  So when we learned that schools are closed today, I announced that today we would throw our first alphabet party. Every week from now until kindergarten, we will choose a letter to celebrate.  “What letter will it be today, Dave?” I asked.  He chose ‘A’.

a-attitude-2So we started by writing upper and lower case ‘A’s and taping them to the kitchen door to signify that it’s ‘A’s special day’.  Then the kids decorated a large cardboard box with letters cut out of magazines.  Into this box will go items that begin with ‘A’.  Now comes the food!  I baked an angel food cake and got out my Apples Everything cookbook. I found a recipe for sauteed apples to serve over the cake. (The recipe is on the ‘Cooking with the ABC’s’ page.)

My neighbor just called and wanted to know what we’re up to.  She has a 5-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter also aimlessly wandering the house.  We invited them to join our party this afternoon.  They’ll be bringing ‘A’ toys and treats. 

The kids and I have been brain-storming other ‘A’ foods. We’ve come up with…

Continue reading

© 2018 Edible Antics

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑