Lily and Chloe’s Fabulous Life: Glitter Play Dough

When I was a kid, my mom and I tried to make play dough with lackluster results. The end product just was not fun. Or particularly colorful.

Once (or more likely a dozen times), I attempted homemade play dough with my best girl Jessie Del Mar (we are the original, albeit overlooked, creators of the Hot Pocket, but I digress). I believe our recipe was baby powder and water. (we made it in the bathroom to avoid detection). As you can imagine, the results were just, well, a disaster.

Lily, Chloe and I have been experimenting with various concoctions for a while. Edible play dough, while intriguing, is just revolting (reminiscent of sweaty peanut butter). Some recipes required exotic ingredients that I had to Google. But the best ones required a little cooking to get that-bought-from-Target level of fabulousness.

I have no idea where this recipe came from, it was just scribbled on a scrap of paper in my to-do pile. Lily (with Chloe in agreement) insisted we use the “good” gel food coloring from Wilton and of course, glitter was required.

The dough keeps great in an airtight container and is truly a fab summer activity. We plan to add a couple colors to our stash each week.

The Dough-stuff:
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Food coloring gel

Mix all ingredients with the exception of the glitter in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball (sounds cryptic, but you will know when it happens). Remove from heat, but dough ball in a large bowl. Add the glitter and knead until smooth and uniform. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Cooking with the Kiddos: Kale-tastic Kale Chips

Kale-tastic Lily.

The first time I made kale chips the results were interesting. . .

And relatively disgusting. Some chips were crisp, others were mushy, some were burnt and then the rubbery kale, well, that is just gross.

But, I really wanted to like kale chips, so we experimented. And it really is easy, but took a little finessing.

Lily loves these chips (and she eats nothing). Chloe, not so much. But both girls had fun helping. And it was nice to have them by my side.

Kale before.

1 bunch kale
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt

1. Wash and dry kale (super critical, the kale should be totally dry before baking)

2. Preheat oven to 300F.

3. Cut the kale. Remove tough stems, cutting away the leafy parts. The tough stems get enou tougher and are completely yucky when baked. So, save the stems to make vegetable broth.

4. Cut all leafy parts into uniformly sized pieces. (ensures even cooking!)

5. Toss the leafy pieces in a large bowl with olive oil. I eyeballed it–every bunch of kale will vary in size, slightly. The idea is to coat each piece of kale with olive oil. Start with a tablespoon and add more as needed.

Perfect crispy kale.

6. Now add in balsamic vinegar. I used about 1 tablespoon and tossed it with the olive oil coated kale.

7. Line a baking sheet with either a sil-pat mat or parchment paper. Evenly distribute kale on cookie sheet.

8. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until Kale changes from bright green to a deep olive color. Kale should be crisp to the point of breaking.

9. Remove from oven and salt to your liking.

10. Storage: if you have kale leftover, let it cool completely before storing in an air tight container. If it is stored warm, it will loose its crispness.

South West Jersey No-Tortilla Soup

This soup is heavenly.
My biggest complaint about tortilla soup: often the chicken on top is an after thought. It is either leftovers (I am not really a fan) or rotisserie chicken.
I have been been dreaming of sweet, juicy, pristine shreds of chicken on top of a spicy, veggie filled soup forever.
And finally, my South West Jersey No-Tortilla Soup. As the name implies, there are no tortillas (although feel free to add). And I used lots of local fresh ingredients–local white onion, a prehistorically gigantic zucchini (courtesy of Miranda), fresh Jersey corn, backyard garden cilantro, a Duffield’s jalapeno, local honey from High Trail Honey and Jersey Fresh canned crushed tomatoes (a pantry staple around here).
The poached chicken is juicy and tender. Use leftovers (i can dig these leftovers) the next day for chicken salad or a wrap.
It all comes together in under an hour (I swear, and in my hour, I had a dog and a 5 year old, helping).
And not to get too Next Food Network Star, but MGD Lemonade is the perfect beer pairing for this unconventional summer soup.

For the soup:
  • Honey and Lime Poached Chicken, shredded, broth reserved(recipe below)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeƱo, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups (approx) reserved stock from poached chicken
  • Salt/pepper
  • 2 ears of grilled corn, cut from cobs (if you don’t have it grilled, just use cooked)
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 green onion, sliced
1. Prepare poached chicken. Reserve stock.
2. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat.
3. Add veggies in layers. First carrots, for about 3 minutes, then onion, garlic and peppers. Last, add zucchini. Cook together until soft, about 7 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, stock and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
5. Stir in corn.
6. Serve it up: top with avocado, shredded chicken, cilantro, green onion and a little sprinkle of lime zest.
Honey and Lime Poached Chicken
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp. dried cilantro (or 3 T. fresh, chopped)
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 lb thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts
1. Whisk all ingredients (except for the chicken breasts) together in a large pot.
2. Bring to a boil; add chicken.
3. Reduce heat, poach until chicken is cooked through 4 minutes.
4. Use tongs to remove chicken. Reserve poaching liquid. Shred chicken.