ABC Cookies For All Seasons

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This is the 3rd post in Fun Ways to Play with ABC’s – Seasonal ABC’s – hosted by Something 2 Offer.

The following activity is very hands-on, easy and… Tasty! The children don’t only practice their language skills but also work on fine motor skills, hand – eye coordination, focus; develop their creativity and gain sensory experience (texture and taste).

You can find the recipe for Sugar Cookies here.

The idea is very simple: make the dough, roll it, let the children make letters out of the dough, bake them and eat them!

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Be prepared for the letters to be absolutely imperfect and more over when the cookies are baking, the expand all sorts of ways! But it is still fun!

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You can choose to decorate the cookies with simple icing for special occasions, like, Christmas, Ayyam-i-Ha and other holidays.

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Please stop by the Sensory ABC’s landing page for more ideas!

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Korea Inspired Pork Patties

I am happy to be back with Around the World in 12 Dishes post from last month when we travelled to South Korea! Around the World in 12 Dishes : season 2 was originally created by Glittering Muffins and there are total of 13 blogs participating in this project. The idea is to “visit” 1 country a month (12 countries in a year) by exploring the cooking culture and craft. We all cook 1 (or more) dish with our children and some of us make crafts.

 

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This time it took me really a while to decide what is that I can make for my picky eater than she will equally appreciate and that would resemble Korean cuisine. I looked through desserts (which very much resemble Chinese ones), vegetable, rice and meat dishes. And finally I found this recipe of the Korean Pork Patties from Marishia’s Kreative Kitchen.

This recipe reminded me very much of Russian meat patties which we often make at home and so I was very excited this was something I could finally make! My recipe is different from the one I found.

What you need:

200-300 gr of minced pork

1-2 grated carrots

1 grated onion

200-300 gr of cooked rice

1-2 beaten eggs

corn or wheat flower (2-3 tablespoons)

salt

oil for frying

How to make it:

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1. Mix together onions, carrots, pork and rice. Add some salt to taste, black pepper if you like.

Mince well till it becomes one sticky mass

 

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2. Put eggs and flower in 2 different plates. You will dip the patties into egg first

and then in flower. It gets messy!

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3. Form the patties. Heat up the oil in the frying pan and fry patties

on both sides, till golden brown.

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4. Once all patties are slightly fried, put them back into the pan, sprinkles the remaining carrots on top,

add some herbs if you like, add some salted water and put on medium low fire for about 15 minutes.

Then lower the fire and cook for another 35-45 minutes.

Serve your patties with rice or vegetables.  I must say my whole family enjoyed them. Even though my picky eater made faces at first, she really got into eating them right after the first bite! And miss A ate them too!

This time around I had no chance to capture any shots of miss A “helping” me around the kitchen. But here are 2 animated pictures of my happy girls!

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I actually really like Korean BBQ and that peanut sauce served with it. Thinking of it makes me hungry!
Do you like Korean food?

 

Check the other blogs of “Around the World in 12 Dishes” for their Korean creations:

Adventures In MommydomAfterschooling for Smarty PantsAll Done MonkeyCrafty Moms Share,Creative World of VaryaGlittering MuffinsHere Come The GirlsKid World CitizenKitchen Counter ChroniclesMaroc MamaMermaids’ MakingsThe Educators’ Spin On It

Please link up your Korean dish and/or craft in our linky below, we would love to see it!

Russian Runaway Gingerbread: Kolobok

Each culture, each country, each nation has a number of folk-stories, fairy-tales and myths. When comparing them with each other it is very easy to say this great connection between nations as a lot of them are very similar or simply the same tales told in different languages. Every time I read fairy-tales and see their resemblance I am yet again convinced that the whole world is but one big country and all of us are its citizens!

Today I would like to share with you the folktale called “Kolobok” (the equivalent of the Gingerbread; the little round bun, shaped as a ball).

The story tells about a grandma who wanted to make something special for a grandpa. So she made  Kolobok from scratch and put him on the open window to cool down. Now, Kolobok decided he had to run away. He would roll and sing a song: “I ran away from grandma, I ran away from grandpa”.  He met different animals along the road who wanted to eat him, but he was clever enough to run away. Until he met the Fox. The Fox is usually portrayed as a cunning and naughty animal in Russian folk tales. So the Fox asked  Kolobok to sit on her nose and sing the song again for her. Of course, Kolobok was naive and trusting. But as soon as he jumped on her nose – the Fox swap him with her big tongue and ate him!

For me the moral of the story was always – never trust strangers!

My friend, Alla  and her daughter Aryana, graciously agreed to share some pictures of Aryana reading the book and doing the Kolobok puzzle!

You can make your own Kolobok at home! Below is the recipe I got of a Russian website Shkola Zhizni (The School of Life) and below is the translation of the traditional Kolobok recipe.

You will need:

2 cups of flour (best to mix wheat, rye and buckwheat flour together)

0.5 cup of sour cream

100-150 gr of butter

baking soda on the tip of the knife

Mix all the ingredients, make the balls and bake in the oven at 200C for about 30 minutes.

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Do you have a favorite folk tale that is equivalent to Kolobok or the Runaway Gingerbread? Share with me – I’d love to learn about it!

Cooking series: Christmas cookies from Bulgaria

As I mentioned before, in our family we don’t celebrate Christmas. But it doesn’t stop us from honouring this special day and to do Christmas craft and cooking.

I have recently come upon this amazing  Bulgarian website – Krokotak. It has lots of printables and activities related to various subjects: holidays, science, recipes, drawing and more. It came up during the search for my Pinterest Board for  Hand Print Christmas Trees. And while browsing I found a great recipe for Christmas cookies – very easy to make and these cookies were a total hit in my playgroup!

The site offers an English platform as well but this particular recipe is only in Bulgarian. I didn’t have to use a translation software as Russian and Bulgarian are pretty close (both Slavic languages and both use the same Alphabetic system).  I am posting the translation of the recipe and instructions below as well as the end result at our playgroup!

Christmas in many Eastern European countries is celebrated on the eve of January 6th and the actual day is January 7th. So perhaps when you are teaching your children about various holidays around the globe, you can make these cookies on January 6th or 7th!

Ingredients:

170 gr of butter
3/4 cups of sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 cups of flour (note from me: I used more like 2.5 cups!)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of cocoa powder

Method: 

Beat butter with sugar, add egg yolks, vanilla and mix together. Then, add flour with salt. Make a dough. If necessary, add more flour, so it is pleasant to work with.

Divide the dough into 2 parts, to one of which add cocoa powder.

Bake 15-18 minutes at 180-200C (note: I baked at 190 for about 15 minutes). They are ready when the edges start turning golden brown. 

Cool down for  5 minutes, so when you remove them, they don’t break.

I hope you enjoy making these cookies as much as we did!

Cooking series: Ghormeh sabzi

Before I lose my blogging inspiration, I would like to share with you this simple and delicious recipe: Ghormeh sabzi (Herb stew, pronounced as Gor-meh Sab-zee)). It is a Persian dish and as complicated as it may sound, it is actually pretty easy to make. I went through a lot of recipes (here’s one from Elika Mahony) and finally I was moved to make it but had to adjust to what I had, so this is my adapted version of Ghormeh Sabzi. I also shortened the cooking time – originally around 2 hours – by using my pressure cooker. This recipe is great for slow cooker/crockpot (around 4 hours on medium-high) or you can use a regular pot (around 2 hours on medium-high).

You will need:

1-1.5 pounds of meat (if you are Vegetarian or Vegan, you can do without meat or try to add soy meat substitute)

1 cup of almost cooked kidney beans (keep the water – you can use it later)

1 onion

1 celery bunch

1 spring onion bunch

1 tbspoon of dried dill

1 tbspoon of dried parsley

2 pieces of lemon

juice of the rest of the lemon

Spice mix:

1 teaspoon of each – turmeric, coriander, nutmeg

0.5 teaspoon of black pepper

How to make it:

A. If you are cooking with meat:

1. Cut meat into cubes, chop up the celery and onion.

2. In a pot warm up some oil. I put spices first into the oil and let them blend together – the taste and fragrance are much stronger that way. Then I throw in the onion and let it fry till golden. If you are going for a vegetarian version – skip step 3.

 

3. Put in the meat. Let it fry for a bit.

4. Add beans and 2 pieces of lemon. Stir. Add 2 cups of saved water from kidney beans and salt. Cover and boil (if using meat – in pressure cooker – 15 minutes after the steam starts coming out; 2 hours in the crockpot/slow cooker; 40-50 minutes in the regular pot; if not using meat – cut the time into half). Since I was using the pressure cooker, after 15 minutes I turned it off and let the steam come out completely until you hear a pop sound indicating that it is safe to open the cooker (about 20 minutes to be on the safe side).

B. The greens and the rest:

1. While the meat is cooking, warm up some oil in the frying pan. Add chopped up greens, dill and parsley. Fry on medium fire for about 10-15 minutes.

2. Add the greens to the pressure cooker, add the lemon juice for the remaining lemon and stir. You may need to add 1-2 more cups of water. Secure again and now cook the same amount of time as you did the first time.

3. Serve with rice or naan.

I hope you enjoy making this dish!

Cooking series: No egg zucchini slices

I’ve been recently trying to have my blog more organized by creating series of posts. Today I am starting yet another series called Cooking series. Some of these recipes I make together with my daughter and some I make or create for my family’s benefit.

Today’s recipe: No Egg Zucchini Slices.

We do like eggs but sometimes I feel like baking something without them as eggs usually leave a strong odour on everything. The original recipe calls for 6 eggs – it gives the slices different density from the ones I am describing here and different taste, of course.

So I adopted a no egg recipe I found for making muffins and tried it out to make zucchini slices. I liked them and found they are best consumed cooled or even cold!

You will need:

2 cups of flour (I combined regular wheat flour with whole wheat. For gluten-free option – potato flour would also work well!)

2 teaspoons of baking soda

half a teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of water (here you adjust to get the right consistency)

1 medium zucchini

1 medium carrot

How to make it:

1. Whisk together dry ingredients.

2. Grate zucchini and carrot (I used the larger grater but you can use the smaller one if you wish).

3. Mix vegetables and dry ingredients together.

4. Add oil and water (I also added dill) and mix till you get a thick (but not too thick) enough mixture

                

      

5. Line up a baking tray with baking paper or grease it and pour the mixture on it, evening it out. Bake at 190C for 30-40 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick.

6. This is what you get!

I hope you enjoy making this recipe! Thank you for reading my blog