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Edible Antics

Touring Wisconsin Food

Tag: cooking with kids

Earth Day 2010: What Earth Day Means To Kids And How Kids Bake Earth Cakes to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day 2010 is in two days. My kids have been talking about celebrating Earth Day with plans to eat dirt cake and dig for worms (gummy worms that is – in the cake). But is this all Earth Day is to kids? Yet another excuse to consume white sugar? I’m becoming pathetically disillusioned. I asked 10-year-old Lauren how else will she celebrate Earth Day. Ever fashion-conscious, she said, “I will wear a blue shirt, green shorts, and black sneakers.”

 But what does Earth Day mean?” I questioned.

Lauren replied, “Earth Day means you should celebrate the Earth, pick up trash, and think about trees”. I listened but held my tongue. I was thinking about how the Earth is primarily covered in water. I bet dolphins don’t celebrate Earth Day by thinking about trees. I was also remembering how yesterday the kids built a club house in the back yard and left trash all around it. Well, good works must start at home.

I turned to my 7-year-old and ask him the meaning of Earth Day. Dave shrugged sheepishly at the question. He answered, “I don’t know…trees.” He’s not an aquatic mammal either.

“So how do you want to celebrate Earth Day?” I asked.

“Eat cake with a tree on it!” he cried.

Resigned to go with the flow, I sighed and asked, “Do you want to bake one?”

Dave gave lots of enthusiastic nods and smiles. He was all over this one, -ready to start baking his Earth Day cake now. Of course, Lauren immediately whined, “But I want to bake an Earth Day cake too!” This call and response is the usual chorus in my house. Whatever one kid decides to do, the other must do as well.

“So what kind of cake do you want to bake?” I questioned, figuring I’d let him take a little responsibility for this Earth Day effort. “What will you put in it?”

“Two lemons!” he grinned.


“Yes. And I’ll squirt orange in.”

“What else?”

Keep reading for the rest of Dave’s Earth Day cake recipe. It’s the cake that made his sister fume as she sneaked pieces off its sides because it was that good!

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Cooking With Kids – Make A Fun Winter Holiday Centerpiece To EAT!

Put a grown woman, a 9-year-old, some holiday decorations, a 1/2 bag of coconut, a cake mix, and a box of blue Jello into a kitchen and what do you get? Voila! An idyllic, Wisconsin-winter, party cake! -the edible centerpiece for any festive table that wishes to perpetuate the notion that freezing temperatures and lots of snow are LOTS OF FUN FUN FUN!!!!

It’s only December, so most of us Wisconsinites still agree that winter scenes are pretty. And our kids think snow and ice are cooooool. So we seize the fleeting feeling, and decorate the holiday table with an edible centerpiece that celebrates winter fun.winter-1

This cake is EASY! So click on continue reading for the recipe!


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Mothers and Daughters – Baking Cakes and Growing Up Together in Wisconsin

The best Mother’s Day gift is a growing daughter, – far more enjoyable than a flowering plant, though admittedly a bit more work. My eight-year-old daughter, Lauren, is a budding chef who this past Mother’s Day longed to express her giant love with a sweet gift of food. Last week, she began begging me to make Lazy Daisy cake with her. She said we had to make it for Mother’s Day because “Mothers like daisies and they’re never lazy!”

She found the recipe in my cookbook, Mom’s Updated Recipe Box: 250 Family Favorites Made Quick and Healthy. I think she picked it because the author, Donna Weihofen, wrote, “This is the first cake my friend Mary made when she was about eight years old. She got the recipe from her grandmother’s cookbook. It is a wonderful dessert but it is also lovely served for a morning brunch or afternoon tea.”

Initially, Lauren wanted me to make the Lazy Daisy Cake. But life was busy and I kept putting it off. Undeterred, yesterday afternoon (Mother’s Day) Lauren said she wanted to make it herself. After all, the little girl mentioned in the cookbook had been 8-years-old. At that moment, however, I was about to leave for a walk with a close friend, -a weekly mental-health walk necessary for maintaining this mother’s sanity. I didn’t want Lauren using the stove by herself. Precociously persuasive, Lauren talked her Dad into helping, which meant her 5-year-old brother, Dave, had to help too. Dave didn’t fit into Lauren’s ideal plan, but she accepted and resolved to manage around him, -and thus her maturity develops.

When I returned, the yellow cake was topped with a brown sugar and coconut icing. Lauren and I LOVE coconut, though Dave remains ambivalent about it. We all quickly ate our dinner in anticipation of dessert. Lauren beamed when I served her cake. To show my appreciation I ate two pieces, something I rarely let them do. This made Lauren even more proud!

Lauren wanted to know if this was my best Mother’s Day ever! I told her it was because I knew it certainly was for her. It was the first year that her gift to me had not been store-bought by her dad or fabricated by a school-teacher. She put the energy of her heart into her hands to create a gift to nourish a soul. Now if that’s not a person in full bloom, I can’t imagine what is. Thank you, Lauren.

For the Lazy Daisy Cake recipe, click on ‘continue reading…’

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Cooking with the ABC’s

Blogger Cristie cooks up some fun with her kids by making a food starting with every letter of the alphabet! A great indoor activity to keep your whole family occupied during the Wisconsin winters.

 On the letter ‘A’s “special day”, the kids and I ate Angel food cake topped with delicious sauteed Apples. The angel food cake came out of a Betty Crocker box.  But here’s the recipe for the sauteed apples; it’s out of the book Apples Everything

  • 3 tart apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons low-fat margarine
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

In medium skillet over medium heat, melt margarine until it foams.  Add apples; cook 2 minutes, tossing occasionally.  Add honey.  Sprinkle spices over apples.  Toss gently to combine; cook until apples are tender, about 3 minutes.


On ‘B-Day’ we made Banana Bread. But our Banana Bread was way too Bland to Bother typing up the recipe. Since then, my friend, Jane Griswold who works at Hoard’s Dairyman, gave me this recipe to try. The kids and I made it and loved it! We baked two loaves, one strictly according to Jane’s instructions, and to the other one we folded in a 1/2 cup of mini-morsel chocolate chips. Both Banana Bread loaves were terrific!

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Add sugar to melted butter, gradually, and blend well. Blend in eggs and mashed bananas. Add lemon juice or vinegar to milk before adding to mixture. Fold in nuts (optional). Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to other ingredients. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Cool before slicing. Enjoy!


On ‘C-Day’ we made heart-healthy Oat Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies. The kids Love them!

.1 egg

  • 2/3 scant cup loose brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup mini-morsel chocolate chips OR 1 oz. (1 square) Baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots

(If you don’t want to use the cranberries, just increase the apricots to 2/3 of a cup and omit the lemon extract.)

Whip the egg, sugar, and vanilla together until the sugar has dissolved. Beat in the butter and then add both flours and the baking powder. Mix in the salt and oats. Add the milk and lemon extract. With a wooden spoon, mix in the cranberries and apricots. (It doesn’t matter too much what order you mix these ingredients in. I’m never very conscientious about mixing everything in the right order. This neglect distresses Lauren, but I assure her that all will probably turn out OK. – And it usually does.)

With lightly-moistened hands (or a tablespoon) shape the dough into walnut-sized balls and put them, well-spaced, on a greased baking sheet. Flatten them a bit so they look like mini-hamburger patties.

Bake for 15minutes in a pre-heated, 300 degree oven until the edges are golden. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 25 cookies.


D is for Dog Biscuit

Here is a recipe for a dog-only delicacy. Don’t be duped and let the kids eat ’em. They’re too healthy and fiber-packed for pre-school stomachs.


Lou’s Deviled Eggs

These deviled eggs are a bit fancier and more flavorful than traditional deviled eggs. The secret’s in the minced ham, onion, and mustard.

Baked Orange French Toast

This baked French toast is a popular breakfast dish served at Wisconsin bed and breakfasts because of its delicious flavor and because it can partially be made ahead of time.


Green Beans (And changing gross table manners into good ones.)

  You probably already know how to cook green beans. I steam them and then toss them in a little butter. Can’t say they’re a winner with the kids, but I sure like ’em.


H is for Hungry Happy Hippos 

Most of us are reluctant to eat something that doesn’t look like food. But my kids are the opposite. If I take their ordinary food and shape it into something else so that it no longer looks like what it is, then my children are thrilled to eat it.

Beware, think first before you make hungry happy hippos. Once you make one hot dog into a hippo, you will be requested to make all future hot dogs into hippos.

Once served, hungry happy hippos are sure to romp across the tabletop, but don’t worry, they will be eaten in the end!

Click on the link for instructions. The key to quick hippo construction is to teach an older child how to make them, then ooh and aah over her achievement. You’ll have your future hippo-maker ready to go.


I and J are for Ice Cream Islands in Blue Jello

Here is a super-fast, super-easy dessert that is Incredibly Irresistible to kids.A few hours before serving, mix up some blue Jello. When the Jello is partially firm, mix in some gummy fish, and let it set some more. When the kids are ready for dessert, put a scoop of New York Vanilla ice cream (it is more “sand” colored than ordinary vanilla) in the middle of a plate. Stick a cocktail umbrella in it. Then surround the ice cream island with the blue, fish-filled Jello. But you don’t have to mix the fish into the Jello early on; you could just strategically place them in the Jello after it’s on the plate.


Cooking with the King: Creating King Lingonberry to Celebrate K and L day!

  Once again we doubled up and celebrated two letters in the alphabet on one day. Letters K and L combined to become the impressive King Lingonberry. Our monarch was fun to make and used up left-over candy in the cupboard. The children had the special task of sorting their remaining Halloween candy. Only candy beginning with the letters J and K were permitted on our royal centerpiece cake. Click on the link for the recipe.


Marshmallow Monsters Mangle Muffins (Cherry Oatmeal)

  Celebrating the letter M with childish war games in the kitchen. Lots of fun, and the cherry oatmeal muffins were tasty too. Click on the link for the muffin recipe.


Making a Spiced Nose Cake to Learn the Letters N and O

  What better way to have fun with the letters N and O than by learning about our senses with a NO-se cake! The children helped me design the cake. I formed a home-made play-dough mold into which I poured and baked spice-cake batter. Our special spice cake tasted great AND SMELLED delicious! Click on the link for the recipe to Slimm and Nunne’s Mustard Spice Cake .


Perfect Peach Pie Pleases and Teaches the Letter P

This is the BEST pie I ever baked! (The secret’s in the rum.) Beware: I’ts hard to stop eating this pie. If you’re trying to teach sharing as well as the alphabet, better bake two peach pies.


Letters S-T-U Party Together in Cheese S-T-U-ffed Peppers

Kids will eat green peppers if they’re stuffed with enough melted cheese. This recipe for roasted stuffed peppers makes an easy party appetizer or healthy lunch to pack for school. Click on the link above for the recipe and story.

Yes, as kindergarten gained on us we celebrated remaining letters in group parties. I told the kids we were practicing pre-reading by combining letters. They knew the truth that Mom had fallen behind, but it didn’t matter. Our alphabet parties were still lots of fun.


 V is for Volcano!

This chocolate Volcano Cake is the craziest cake I have ever baked! My blog post about it has also been my most popular. The cake’s creation teased my brain, excited my children, and became a wondrously fun edible centerpiece for an impromptu children’s party. Look closely and you’ll see that the dinosaurs are running for their lives. Sadly, most don’t make it; the hands of the juvenile volcano-gods catch them and drop them into the volcano’s sugary crater.


We finished our 2008 alphabet game with a blow-out celebration of letters W, X, Y and Z. The children used cookie cutters shaped like these letters to cut out red Jello Wigglers. Meanwhile, I sliced up Watermelon, grilled X-tra special bratwursts and Yellow Zucchini, and baked Yams for a grand-finale, Wisconsin-summer dinner.Brats_kraut

Click here to read the post and recipes.

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