After making coffee can bread recently, I thought that I could recreate the same idea using soup cans. Upon having success, Olivia and I set out to make several recipes as a thank for her teachers this spring.
We made each teacher her own individual miniature loaf of "bread in a can." I was so pleased with the way they turned out.
We began by collecting our cleaned soup and vegetable tin cans, left over from our May Day Flower Can Vases project. Then, we made Banana Bread batter. Here's the recipe we used:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar or turbinado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cup mashed bananas
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 4 soup or vegetable tin cans with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs, vanilla, and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture, until just moistened. Pour batter evenly into 4 greased soup or vegetable tin cans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in cans. After cooling, pour bread out of the can, slice, smear with butter (definitely recommended J), eat, and enjoy. Or wrap and give away. (If not giving away the same day as having baked, you will need to store in a sealed container or bag in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Can store up to 3 days in refrigerator or 2 weeks in the freezer. If placing in freezer, take bread out of can to freeze and return to cleaned can when presenting.)
Once baked and cooled, the individual loaves received a piece of Saran Wrap over the top and a bright ribbon tied into a simple knot bow. Next, I tucked a tea bag under the bow to accompany each small loaf of "bread in a can."
Finally, Olivia made note cards in the shape of a spring flower for each can. The cards read: "Happy Spring! Enjoy a cup of tea with your banana bread while admiring the beautiful spring flowers."
These individual loaves of "Bread in a Can" could be made for so many different occasions. As mentioned already, they make lovely spring time happys, but they could also be made for teachers for the end of the school year, a friend who is under-the-weather, or Dad on Father's Day.
"Bread in a Can" is a fun thing!
I have many things planned for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. But, I didn't see any harm in starting to celebrate a little early with green and shamrocks for our tea time today. Our tea time this afternoon consisted of cupcakes topped with small green shamrock frosted sugar cookies, Irish bread, and the obvious, GREEN tea.
Our family loves this Irish bread recipe. Here's Olivia dining on it during our St. Patrick's Day Tea last year. I've been making it for probably five years now. It's a sweet bread and is great not only for tea time, but for breakfast and brunch as well. I thought you might want to give it a try tomorrow.
Note: Because my family likes the sweet taste of dried cranberries, I use them in place of the typical raisins found in many Irish bread recipes.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1¼ cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cut shortening and butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Stir in dried cranberries. Set aside.
Whisk together milk, eggs, and vinegar. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Pour batter into a greased 10½ inch cast-iron skillet.
Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Tea Time on Tuesday this week was spent celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2, 1904). We are huge Dr. Seuss fans in our home.
"Green Eggs and Ham" were on our menu for breakfast. Would you have thought that green eggs are loved by Olivia and Isaac? J
All day long we read Dr. Seuss titles, including Olivia's favorite, I Can Read with my Eyes Shut!, and Isaac's favorite, Dr. Seuss's ABC. My favorite Dr. Seuss book is My Many Colored Days. No, it's Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! No, it's Fox in Socks. No, my all time favorite has to be, (I think) Green Eggs and Ham. Yes, that's my favorite. J That Sam-I-Am, he's so persistant and such the encourager. I love that Sam-I-Am. J
For our official afternoon "tea" we celebrated our day of Dr. Seuss with mini "Cat in the Hat" cupcakes. The kids loved the day of reading and the silliness that Dr. Seuss brings into our home. I love these fun, silly days of being with my children.
So what's your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
Abraham Lincoln's birthday is officially on Friday. We are recognizing it early though because we have another very important birthday to celebrate on Friday. J
After we finished dinner Michael read Abe Lincoln - The boy who loved books to the kids while I prepared our craft.
The craft began with building miniature wooden Lincoln log cabins. Then with pretzels and white chocoloate, we made cabins that can be eaten. Despite our affinity for munching on the building supplies, we were able to build three mini-masterpieces. We used pretzels, graham crackers, and melted white chocolate.
Interestingly, we each had our own technique of constructing our Lincoln log houses.
Michael dipped his pretzels length-wise in the chocolate and stacked the pretzels on top of each other.
I overlapped my "logs" as you would real Lincoln logs and used the chocolate only in the places necessary to hold the logs in place.
And Olivia dipped each end precisely in the chocolate to make her one room log house.
Lastly, came our graham cracker roofs. Because each of our houses were different measurements each of our roofs were different as well. Olivia had a 2-inch wide roof, I had a 3-inch wide roof, and Michael had a 3-inch wide roof, too, but his was a steep grade.
You may be wondering where Isaac's house is. Well, Isaac's house didn't have a chance. All building supplies were consumed before being stacked. J
Phil's official forecast as read February 2nd, 2010 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye
On Gobbler's Knob on this glorious Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2010, Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, the Prognosticator of all Prognosticators awoke to the call of President Bill Deeley and greeted his handlers, John Griffiths and Ben Hughes.
After casting a joyful eye towards thousands of his faithful followers, Phil proclaimed, "If you want to know next, you must read my text. As the sky shines bright above me, my shadow I see beside me. Six more weeks of winter it will be."
Well, even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning forecasting six more weeks of winter, we have been celebrating this silly day with fun around here. We have watched Phil's prediction on YouTube and made our own groundhog puppets.
Isaac's groundhog, "Mack," and Olivia's groundhog, "Alice," have occasionally cast shadows today, but not many times. For they, too, are ready for warmer weather. J
For homeschool we talked about what letters spelled groundhog, discussed the history of Groundhog Day, where Punxsutawney is located, looked up what "prognosticator" means, determined how often Phil sees his shadow, and how the sun casts shadows.
For our Tea Time we celebrated with glasses of cold milk and Groundhog Cupcakes. We used chocolate buttercream frosting, chocolate chip ears, sprinkles for eyes and nose, and slivered almonds for two large front teeth.
Phil's official forecast taken from http://www.punxsutawneyphil.com/
Today was our annual Gingerbread Man Tea. Unlike previous years, we each made a large gingerbread man to eat over the course of the next several days (at least that was my plan) instead of many smaller little men.
We began our time like last year reading my childhood copy of The Gingerbread Man while our men were baking. Then it was time to decorate our men with yummy sweets.
Let me share that there was absolutely no time wasted between decorating the cookies and devouring them. So much for savoring each bite.
Can you guess what we drank with our Gingerbread Men? There might be a giveaway if you guess correctly. J
After quite a while, we had our Tea Time on Tuesday. Our theme was "fall leaves" and we made a craft that was extra special to me.
When I was young, my mom encouraged my sister and I to use our creativity as often as we desired. Mom would give us our space so that our imaginations would run wild, but she was always close by when assistance was needed. One of the crafts we enjoyed making was our own version of stained glass. Mom would tear off a piece of waxed paper while we gathered broken or dull crayons and a hand-held pencil sharpener. We then proceeded to sharpen our crayons on the waxed paper making as many colored shavings as possible. After making a large pile of colored shavings, Mom warmed up the iron and tore off more waxed paper, one for each of us. We would place the second piece of waxed paper over our shavings and wait on the iron to warm. Mom would iron over the paper-covered shavings and we would marvel at our melted wax art. Next we would cut out shapes of our choosing, often using cookie cutters as patterns. Finally, we would tape our wax art to the window, step back and admire our "stained glass."
Olivia and Isaac's stained glass leaves looked very similar to ones my sister and I made. They consisted of fall colors of red, orange, yellow, and green that they collected from our crayon stash. Olivia did a great job completing this craft on her own (for the exception of the iron which I assisted with). Isaac had a fun time twisting the crayons while I held the pencil sharpener for him. Afterwards, both admired their work as they watched the sun shine through their works of "stained glass."
Making crafts like this one bring back such wonderful memories from my childhood. I shared with Olivia that I made these when I was her age and she responded back saying, "Mom, I can't wait to make these with my children one day." I pray that one day she will get to enjoy making crafts with her children. I know am grateful for the opportunity I am getting to enjoy making crafts with my own children like the ones I made when I was their age.
After crafting we shared slices of Pumpkin Roll with a glass of milk. Yum! Another fun and yummy Tea Time on Tuesday. J
Tomorrow I'll share step-by-step how we created our "stained glass" fall leaves so you can create some too.
Olivia and I did some baking this afternoon.
Do any of you remember eating these Circus Animal Cookies as a kid?
Well, Olivia and I made our own today. They were much better and cuter than the packaged ones, I think. We started off making a sugar cookie recipe and then gathered our miniature cookie cutters. We cut out daisies, tulips, butterflies, stars, and hearts. After baking, we frosted them. And then the most fun part of all--the sprinkles.
They made for a bright spot in our day and a special time between just me and my daughter. J
Tuesday for Tea Time we watched one of Olivia's favorite movies, "The Wizard of Oz." Olivia dressed up in her Dorothy dress that her grandmother (Michael's mom) made for her and gifted her with for Chirstmas last year. She wore her ruby red slippers and invited her stuffed animal dog, Toto. We prepared "Haystacks" together (symbolic of the scarecrow's hay), Ruby Red cherries, and drank "Emerald City" Green Tea.
Olivia and I recently read L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz together. We found many differences between the book and movie. One of the most interesting is that Mr. Baum wrote of Dorothy's silver slippers, not ruby red.
Olivia and I enjoyed our mom/daughter time together watching a classic movie and partaking of tea while Isaac napped today. (Don't worry, I let Isaac have a haystack when he woke. J)
Tuesday was so beautiful and with the temperatures in the 70's I decided to take Tea Time outside. I set up a blanket in the tree house, popped popcorn, poured iced tea, and took our chapter book of present, Peter Pan, outside to read. Olivia and Isaac loved the treat of having tea time in the tree house and having the salty treat of popcorn along with tea. And I have to agree, it was quite refreshing to be outside and have a little change of pace with informality and outdoor scenery for tea time this week.
Poor Anna Belle was quite devastated that she didn't get to participate in this tea time because she does LOVE popcorn. If only she could have climbed the stairs.
Mini Strawberry Muffins
2 eggs, separated
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
3 cups frozen strawberries or 1 (10 oz) bag frozen strawberries
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chopped pecans, optional
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, do not overbeat; set aside. Cream butter, sugar, and almond extract until fluffy. Add egg yolks and strawberries with juice and mix; set aside. Sift together dry ingredients and add to strawberry mixture. Fold in egg whites. Pour mixture into muffin cups. May add pecans to the top afterwards, if desired. Bake at 350°for 20 minutes for mini muffins and 30 minutes for regular size muffins, or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
Serve warm with cream cheese spread on top.
I have also made this recipe into a loaf of bread. Adjust baking time to 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Makes approximately 60 mini muffins, 24 regular size muffins, or 1 loaf.
In the year 610 A.D. a monk was preparing bread for Lent and came up with the idea for pretzels. At this time in history, Christians prayed with their arms folded across their chests, each hand on the opposite shoulder. With leftover bread the monk twisted it into the shape of a someone praying and used it as a reward for children who learned and recited their prayers. He named the treats "pretiolas," which is Latin for "little reward."
For tea time this week we made our own pretzels. Olivia and Isaac were very excited to watch the process of making prezels from start to finish. They had a part in each process and savored the salty treat they had a hand in making.
Did you also know that the pretzel is symbolic of the Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? We pray you are preparing your hearts for the most glorious day of the year - Resurrection Sunday.
Our tea time this week focused on welcoming spring. Spring for me has always meant flowers, my favorite - probably daffodils. Yellows, whites, and oranges, but mostly yellow. I grew up surrounded by daffodil lovers. My mom and dad planted daffodil bulbs around our house and I always looked forward to a trip to southern Mississippi each spring to see the fruits of my great-great-grandparents labor. They set out hundreds of daffodil bulbs in their front yard. My grandmother would take me to the yard of the old dog-trot home and I would be engulfed in a sea of yellow daffodils. I always felt like a princess picking daffodil posies until my heart was content. I placed them in my hair and always breathed in their sweet smells. I have such fond childhood memories of daffodils and each year when I see them in bloom and smell their sweetness, I am taken back to being a "princess." Who knows, perhaps the reason my favorite color is yellow is because of daffodils?
For tea time we visited a local park that has many daffodils in bloom and enjoyed breathing in the sweet smells. Olivia and Isaac enjoyed playing among the "Friendship Ring" statue and playing in, smelling, and picking (a few) daffodils. Before returning home, we completed our tea time outing by eating Daffodil Cake which happened to be white and lemony yellow like the surrounding daffodils.
We celebrated St. Patrick's Day and green all day today. After reading St. Patrick's Day in the Morning and St. Patrick's Day, we discussed Saint Patrick and his ministry to the Irish and how he presented the Trinity to them by using a three-leaf clover. In honor of the three-leaf clover, we enjoyed cinnamon shamrocks for brunch along with eggs, bacon, and freshly squeezed orange juice or green colored milk.
During our afternoon tea we shared Irish bread and, what else but, green tea.
Then for dinner tonight we had a green salad with green leaf lettuce, romaine, celery greens, asparagus, celery, green bell pepper, and tomatoes and carrot hid underneath. After our salad I had prepared BLT paninis.
We had a fun day celebrating St. Patrick's Day and we hope you did, too.
Today was Pancake Day and we made it a day of pancakes at our house.
A little background history borrowed from www.chevroncars.com: Pancake Day "is a tradition that started many years ago in England. Pancake Day is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday which is the day before Lent. Lent is a Christian holiday that was established in the 4th century as 40 days and is generally a period of fasting or other forms of self-denial. People generally eat a lot and have fun the day before Lent begins. Shrove Tuesday is often referred to as Pancake Day because fats, which were generally prohibited during Lent, had to be used up. People would take all the eggs and dairy products that they had left in their kitchens and use them to make delicious pancakes....the most well known activity on this day is the Pancake Day race at Olney in Buckinghamshire, England which has been held since 1445. It all began when a woman was cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all of her perishables before Lent. While she was still cooking she heard the chiming of the bells summoning her to church. Not wanting to be late, the woman ran to church with her apron on and the frying pan still in her hand. Little did she know that this would start a tradition that would be around for over 500 years!"
To begin our morning we were fortunate to have my mom in town to make her famous pancakes for breakfast, which we drizzled in maple syrup and topped with fresh blueberries.
Later for tea time Olivia and Isaac dressed in their pajamas. Olivia and Isaac began with a pancake race, followed by a reading of If You Give a Pig a Pancake, and finally, enjoyed paper thin pancakes, or crepes, filled with strawberries and whipping cream, and topped with chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Hope you've had a good Pancake Day, too!