The Sprouts

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Educational section including tips for food-related activities, books, & gardening.

A Few More Little Bites


In addition to reading lots of books about food, I’ve also been involving Skoogie in the kitchen more...taking a few more little bites along the way. The more I thought about it, she hasn't spent as much time alongside us cooking as O. So on the days that we don’t have to rush somewhere she loves putting on her chef hat, apron, and pushing a chair to the counter to dive in. It is a way for her to take ownership, experiment, taste, and gain more exposure to the foods we eat.

Little Bites At A Time

As I alluded to in the Weekly Menu, Skoogie has not been very keen on eating much of her dinner lately. It probably has to do with the fact that her EVER SO TIRED body is too worn out from not napping to try something tasty for dinner. Or she could be going through a phase. Regardless, I’m tired of saying, “Please sit down and eat,” so thought I’d try another approach…a few being frequent trips to the garden and books.

The Sprouts: Special Spoons


Poor Spoon, he feels plain and boring compared to his friends: fork, knife and especially exotic chopsticks!! But he soon learns that all the other utensils think he has the best of all worlds. Although the spoons in our house don’t get used every night, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, makes an excellent point in Spoon— they are pretty special. The other utensils in the story esteem Spoon’s special pot banging abilities; it's the dish that gets to run away with the spoon; and they delight in his ability to jump into bowls of ice cream.

Blueberry Fruit Leather


When O saw that the library had a copy of My Wobbly Tooth Must Not Ever Never Fall Out from the Charlie & Lola series, we had to check it out! He couldn’t understand why Lola wouldn’t want her tooth to come out!!!

The Sprouts: Berry Delicious Crisp


Most of the children’s books at our library are organized in bins by author. It only took a few times of desperately flipping through the bins to no avail before I started reserving books. Most weeks I generally request a few books that relate to something currently in our lives. We’ve been eating up lots of berry books right now which was the inspiration for this Strawberry & Dried Cherry Crisp.

Sweet Strawberries


As I write this, I’m sipping a cup of tea and enjoying a strawberry muffin topped with homemade strawberry jam— pure inspiration!

The Sprouts: Indian Meatballs


A few weeks ago O, out of the blue, announced that we should have Indian Meatballs "while we are in India." I happened to see a recipe for meatballs and mango sauce on the PBS Kitchen Explorers blog a few days later.

We tweaked the recipe a little, using a teaspoon of a blended Indian spice (recipe below) that I had made for a chicken recipe instead of curry, and then added Turmeric Rice and an Indian-inspired Coleslaw.  Pete and I both enjoyed the meal and were fortunate to get the leftovers— both kids were not really into eating that night. More ants in the pants, than anything. Meals like that happen, but we just try again next time.  At least they had a few bites, as we venture down this road we call Sprouting the Beans.

The Sprouts: One Grain of Rice


Our “World Trip” fits perfectly with the national library’s summer reading campaign: One World, Many Stories. As we do every summer, the kids signed up last week and have been busy reading or listening to books ever since! Talk about a reading motivator!!! Stop by your local library and get registered today! One of the books I’ve been asked to read over and over is, One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale.

The Sprouts: Rakhi Bracelets & Fruit Chaat


As we’ve been reading about India we learned about the Rakhi Festival, a celebration of the bond between brothers and sisters.  A rakhi is a decorated piece of sacred thread.  The thread is considered stronger than iron chains and is believed to strengthen an inseparable bond of love and trust.  The Rakhi Festival falls on the full moon day in the fifth month of the Hindu calendar.   This year the festival falls on August 13. While it is only June, it seems like the perfect time to celebrate Rakhi in our house.  

The Sprouts: Celebrating the Rain with Mangos!!!


We’ve been having a lot of rain and cool weather around here.  It’s got everyone asking, “Is Summer ever going to come?”  But it is nothing compared to the strong winds and rain accumulation that can occur during India’s monsoon season.  In Monsoon Afternoon, by Kashmira Sheth, we learned that after the initial downpour, there is a steady pattern of rain lasting for at least a couple of hours most days.  In the book, a young boy and his Dadaji (grandfather) explore the streets, having fun in the rain.  At the end of the story, Dadaji and the boy, pick the last of the mangos, with the coming of the monsoons in June.

So we’re celebrating the rain with mangos!!!  We love Amy Wilson Sanger’s World Snack Book Collection, her rhythmic writing and creative collages tempt your taste buds on every page while introducing kids to different cuisines. Part of the series, Chaats and Sweets, highlights some of the snacks and treats of India.  Our first try was a refreshing mango lassi, a yogurt-based drink: mango, banana and rose water are some of the common flavors.  It was hard for the kids to be patient all week while the mangos we bought ripened…. but their yummms and more please, expressed that it was WELL WORTH the wait!

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