2012
Aug 02

DIY: Glow-in-the-Dark* Paint

by Hannah Holt »

7 comments


This paint glows under black light.* With only two ingredients, it’s completely non-toxic (you could eat it), and it will brighten any black light party.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup tonic water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

1) Pour the tonic water into a small bowl and let it rest until it loses its fizzy.

2) Stir the two ingredients together.

3) Using paint brushes, decorate colored construction paper, skin, or other non-phosphorescent surfaces. (Most white papers won’t work because they also glow under black light. I used black construction paper.)

While working on my Spicy Alphabet book, I learned that tonic water glows under black light. I have a black light at home (who doesn’t?), so I tested it out.

It turns out tonic water ice cubes also glow under black light:

As does boiling tonic water:

Here’s the paint applied to my face:

When working on this post, I first tried adding tonic water to a variety of paints. None of them worked. The pigments in the dyes seemed to block tonic water’s glow. Finally my husband and I walked around our kitchen waving the black light over all the foods in our pantry. Cornstarch had the best luminescence, hence this recipe. We tried a few different ratios. The one-to-one ratio had a good consistency.

Most of my projects involve a lot of trial and error. Here’s a video I shared on my Facebook Page a while ago (from my Summer Science series):

What can I say? I like to play!

Happy painting!


2012
Jun 21

Red, White, and Blue Meringues

by Hannah Holt »

2 comments


Meringue cookies are a delicious and low calorie addition to your festivities.

What you’ll need:

  • 6 egg whites (divided into three bowls, 2 egg whites/bowl)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (1/2 tsp per bowl)
  • 1 six ounce package black berry fusion Jell-O
  • 1 six ounce package berry blue Jell-O
  • 2/3 cups ultra fine sugar (regular granulated will work in a pinch)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Makes a boat-load of cookies (72 cookies!).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Bowl #1 – Red

Let the egg whites sit until they are room temperature. Beat 2 egg whites until frothy and add 1/2 tsp cream of tarter. Continue beating until the mixture has soft peaks (fluffy and white but not tight). Add the black berry fusion Jell-O one tablespoon at a time until it is all combined. Beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks (if you dip a spoon in and bring it out, the spike left behind will hold its shape). Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and using two spoons, spoon cookies onto the tray. This bowl will make 24 cookies. (You will probably need two cookies sheets)

Place the cookie sheets in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. While the first batch is baking let’s move on to Bowl #2.

Bowl #2 – Blue

Beat 2 egg whites until frothy and add 1/2 tsp cream of tarter. Continue beating until the mixture has soft peaks. Add the berry blue Jell-O one tablespoon at a time until it is all combined. Beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and using two spoons, spoon cookies onto the tray. This bowl will make 24 cookies.

Once Bowl #1 cookies are finished baking, place these cookies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. While this batch is baking let’s move on to Bowl #3.

Bowl #3 – White

Beat 2 egg whites until frothy and add 1/2 tsp cream of tarter. Continue beating until the mixture has soft peaks. Gradually add the white sugar into the mixture until it is all combined. Add the vanilla. Beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and using two spoons, spoon cookies onto the tray. This bowl will make 24 cookies. (Again, you will probably need two cookies sheets, but the cookies sheets from batch #1 are probably cool. So you can use these.)

Once Bowl #2 cookies are finished baking, place these cookies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Tips:

  • This recipe makes a monster batch. I suspect you might be able to half the recipe and use 3 oz Jell-O packets. However, I haven’t tried it, so let me know if it works for you.
  • Also meringue cookies form best in a dry kitchen. If you have a lot of humidity, your meringues will sweat and melt.
  • Your beaters should be oil free. Avoid plastic bowls as these retain oil from previous uses. No egg yolks should be present in your meringues, or they won’t set.
  • Cooking meringues for 20 minutes at a time will yield delicious but marshmallow like (soft) cookies. If you like hard and crisp meringues, then place the cookies in the oven, turn off the heat, and let them sit undisturbed for 2 hours (or overnight). This will yield the drier cookie. However, this method just wasn’t practical with the number of batches I was making.
  • This method will work with other colors of Jell-O, too! (Like, red and green at Christmastime.)

2012
May 24

Toddler Finger Foods

by Hannah Holt »

7 comments


A couple of recipes and a meal plan for stubborn independent eaters.

Recipe #1) Sweet Potato Bites

What you’ll need:

  • sweet potatoes (1-3 medium potatoes)
  • non-stick spray
  • two cups of water
  • a cookie sheet with a one inch lip (a casserole pan works too)

Step 1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2) Spray the pan with non-stick and poor the water into the pan.

Step 3) Slice the sweet potatoes in half (the long way) and pierce the skin with a knife 3-4 times. Place them face down on the cookie sheet, and bake for 50 minutes. The potatoes should be tender but not mushy.

Step 4) Let the potatoes cool. Remove the skin and cut into 1/4 inch cubes.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to five days. These are quite delicious. I snack on them myself sometimes.

Recipe #2) Frozen Yogurt Dots (I first saw this idea here.)

What you’ll need:

  • yogurt (any kind will work as long as it’s not too chunky)
  • a sandwich bag
  • scissors
  • wax paper (I use the linings from inside cereal boxes)
  • a cookie sheet

Step 1) Line the cookie sheet with the wax paper.

Step 2) Fill the sandwich bag with yogurt and snip a 1/4 inch corner off.

Step 3) Squeeze the yogurt onto the wax paper in little rows of dots and freeze.

A tasty snack from Mom and Baby.

Finger Food Meal Plan:

Since I’m feeding two toddlers, I mass produce finger foods. At meal time I follow this formula:

Cereals (pick one)

  • 1/2 a piece of whole wheat bread torn into little pieces
  • 1/2 cup of dry cereal like Cheerios
  • 1/2 cup of bite size cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup brown rice

Fruits and Veggies (2 Tbl worth, pick one)

  • banana slices
  • grapes (I used to quarter them, but my girls eat them whole now)
  • berries: strawberries, blue, black, rasp…
  • canned fruit is nice and soft (but it’s not as nutrient rich as fresh)
  • peas
  • sweet potato bites
  • cooked carrot circles
  • sugar snap peas
  • lettuce pieces (they still mostly move these around their tray)
  • cooked broccoli

Dairy or Protein (2 oz, pick one)

  • grated cheese or one cheese slice
  • frozen yogurt dots
  • cottage cheese
  • browned hamburger (no chunks)
  • shredded chicken (small pieces)

Of course, I give them other options, too. And they usually have a little of whatever the family is having for dinner. I try to lead with the vegetables. Otherwise they fill up on bread and fruit.

Happy feeding!

Note: I give my sixteen-month-old twins three meals and two snacks every day. This is just a guide. Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s food readiness/nutrition needs.

 


2012
May 01

Monogrammed Yogurt Pops

by Hannah Holt »

9 comments


 Personalized popsicles make a fun summer treat for birthday parties, family reunions, and other special occasions.

¬†What you’ll need:

  • raspberry yogurt (Yoplait)
  • vanilla yogurt
  • a permanent marker
  • a sandwich bag
  • scissors
  • popsicle sticks
  • wax paper
  • a cookie sheet
  • a freezer big enough to fit the cookie sheet
  • food coloring (optional)

Step 1) Using the permanent marker, draw a circle on the wax paper. (I traced the bottom of a plastic cup for my circle.) Write a letter or letters in the middle of the circle.

Step 2) Turn the wax paper face down on cookie sheet (so the letters are backwards). Place 3-6 ounces of vanilla yogurt in the sandwich bags and cut a 1/4th inch opening in the corner. Squeeze the bag gently as you trace the letters with yogurt. I also outlined my circles with the vanilla yogurt. Like this..

Step 3) Freeze the vanilla yogurt for at least an hour.

Step 4) Place about two ounces of raspberry yogurt over the vanilla. (I use Yoplait raspberry because they color the yogurt with concentrated beet juice. Most ordinary yogurts won’t have enough color contrast for legible letters. For other color possibilities see Step 6.) Place a popsicle stick about half way into the yogurt circle and top with another ounce of yogurt.

Step 5) Freeze overnight (or for at least four hours) and enjoy!

Step 6 ) For other colors, simply add a few drops of food coloring to a small bowl of vanilla yogurt. Using the sandwich bag piping method you can create almost anything.



2012
Feb 02

Spaghetti Cables

by Hannah Holt »

3 comments


What you’ll need:

  • uncooked spaghetti
  • hot dogs or sausages

Step 1: Cut the hot dogs into chunks and have the kids skewer them with spaghetti. This works easiest if you break the spaghetti in half.

Step 2: Boil the hot dogs and spaghetti in water until the spaghetti is al dente (follow the cooking directions on the spaghetti box).

Step 3: Drain and serve.