Monday, April 28, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Coasters

The first full week of May is Teacher Appreciation Week. The first gift we made is a chalkboard coaster. 

I bought a box of white tiles from Home Depot. (They can be purchased individually for 13 cents each.) I wiped them all clean with a wet cloth. Let them dry completely. Lay them on paper in a well-ventilated area.  
Spray them with a can of chalkboard spray paint. Let them dry completely. 

I placed four furniture sliders on the bottom of each coaster. These already had adhesive on the bottom so I just stuck them to the coaster. 

Write your message with chalk on the top of the coaster. 

Birds' Nest Craft

These birds' nests were a lot of fun to make. We cut up some green tissue paper, gathered colored feathers, yarn, pom poms, google eyes, yellow paper, mini popsicle sticks, and small paper plates. 

We folded the paper plate in half and cut it. Each kid had one half of the plate. We put crafting glue on the plate. The kids placed the tissue paper, yarn, and feathers on their "nests" 

Then we glued a pom pom on a mini popsicle stick. We glued on little google eyes and a yellow paper beak. Then the kids added feathers to the popsicle stick. 
Finally, we glued the popsicle stick to the paper plate nest. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crescent Rolls

These crescent rolls are a crowd favorite! They turn out so well every time, and are worth the time it takes to make them.

1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar 
1 egg
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups warm water
9-10 cups flour
1 cup butter

Start by placing 1 1/2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup butter (cubed) in a microwavable bowl. Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir and let cool for about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place 2 Tablespoons of yeast and 1 Tablespoon of sugar in 2 cups of warm water. Stir and proof the yeast. (It will get foamy on the top. This tells you the yeast is alive.)

Place 2 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture. Stir. Add one egg and 1 Tablespoon of salt. Stir. Then add the proofed yeast. 

Add the remaining flour 2 cups at a time, stirring after each addition. (I usually add a 7 1/2 more cups of flour to the 2 cups I added to cool the milk down. A total of 9 1/2 cups of flour in this dough.) 

Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled. 

Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into four separate balls. 

Roll each ball out into a large circle. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of softened butter on the rolled out dough. 

Using a pizza cutter, I cut the dough into four quarters. Then cut each quarter into three triangles. 

Starting with the larger end, roll up each crescent roll. 

Place on a greased baking sheet. (24 rolls on each sheet.) This recipe makes 48 rolls.
Cover the pan and let rise for about 20 minutes. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Spread butter over the tops as soon as they come out of the oven. Then take the rolls off the pan and place on a cooling rack. (This step is very important --the rolls will become soggy on the bottom if you don't let them cool on a cooling rack.) 

Hot Cross Buns

2 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast--(or 1 package)
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (optional) 
1/2 teaspoon cloves (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional--I didn't use them because my kids don't like them)
1 1/2 Tablespoons softened butter (optional)
1 egg white
splash of milk

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk

Stir 2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup canola oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a microwavable bowl. Heat for about 2 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes. Add the yeast to the bowl. Stir. Let sit for another couple of minutes. 
Place 4 cups of flour and milk mixture in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. 
Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. 

When doubled, add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 heaping teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir until combined. 

Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. I added ginger, nutmeg, and cloves as well. 

Lightly flour your counter-top. Place the dough on the floured surface and flatten out with your hand. (When I make these again, I think I will spread about 1/2 Tablespoon of softened butter on the dough before I add the cinnamon and sugar.)  Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Add 1/3 of the raisins here if you are using them. 

Fold the dough in half. Flatten out again. (Add butter if you choose to do so.) Then add more cinnamon sugar and raisins. Fold in half again. Add another batch of butter, cinnamon/sugar, and raisins. Fold for the last time. 
Divide the dough in half. Then in half again. (You will have four balls of dough) Make each ball into four rolls. (16 total rolls) Flour your hands for this step. Tuck the bottoms of each roll under so the rolls are smooth on the top.

Place on a greased cookie sheet. 

Cover the cookie sheet with a towel and let rise for about 30 minutes. (The first time I made these, I made 12 rolls, but they were a little large. I suggest making 16 instead of 12.)

Mix 1 egg white and a splash of milk together with a fork. Brush the mixture on the rolls. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. 

When done, place rolls on a cooling rack. 

Meanwhile, mix about 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of milk in a bowl. Place the glaze in a plastic baggie and cut the tip off. 

Squeeze the glaze over the cooled rolls to form a cross. 

This recipe is adapted from "The Pioneer Woman". 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Play-Doh Carrots

Instead of taking candy treats to daycare today for the kids' friends, we made these play-doh carrots for all the kids. 

I started by making microwave play dough. Put 2 cups of flour, 2 Tablespoons of oil, 1 cup of salt, 2 cups of water, and 1 Tablespoon of cream of tartar. Mix that in a microwavable bowl with a whisk.

Next, add the food coloring. (It takes about 50 drops of yellow and 15 drops of red to make this orange.)

Next, place it in the microwave for 1 minute. Pull it out and stir with a spoon. Place back in for another minute. Continue this until the mixture becomes a dough. It took mine 4 minutes. Let it cool for a couple of minutes. When you pull the dough from the bowl, it becomes very soft and pliable. Knead it until it is soft. 

I made two batches of dough to get 7 carrots. I filled each of the bags with play-doh. I took a piece of green curling ribbon and tied the bag shut. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cheesy Potatoes

1 bag of frozen hash brown potatoes (30 oz)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1/8 cup milk
3/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 8 oz package shredded cheddar cheese
potato chips to crumble on top

Grease a 9x13in pan.  Mix the soup, sour cream, milk, melted butter, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and half of the cheese in a separate bowl. Add the potatoes. Mix well. Pour in the greased pan. Top with remaining cheese and crushed potato chips. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Cake

I started this cake with two 9 in round cakes stacked on top of each other. 
I covered the outside of the cake with frosting and stuck Kit Kats to the cake. (It took 44 single Kit Kats)
I covered the top of the cake with green frosting using a grass cake decorating tip. 

To make the carrot planters, I used frosting to stick vanilla wafer cookies together.

I used orange Mike and Ike candy for the carrots. I cut little pieces from green apple, pull-apart Twizzlers for the carrot tops. I used frosting to stick the top to the carrot. 

I placed chocolate pudding inside the planter. Then I crumbled an Oreo on top of the pudding. I stuck the carrots inside the pudding. 

To finish the cake, my son placed the planters, rabbit Peeps, chick Peeps, and jelly beans around the top.