Donna Erickson joins us with ways to get those creative juices flowing with the kids all times of the day while spending time at home hunkered down. Check out Donna’s website, Donna’s Day on Facebook and on Instagram @donnaerickson_donnasday for more creative food and fun!
MORNING: MAKE FRENCH CREPES
Using basic ingredients from the pantry and the frig are all you need to make this a fun breakfast, snack or main dish!
FRENCH CREPES by Donna Erickson
Makes 12 eight-inch crepes.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus more for cooking
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
To make batter: In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, milk, eggs and melted butter. Add vanilla, if using. Whisk until smooth. Or, place in a blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To cook crepes: Remove batter from refrigerator. Stir. Lightly butter flat large skillet or crepe pan. Heat over medium-high heat. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter in center of skillet and swirl batter around to form an 8-inch round crepe. Cook until underside is golden brown. (Note: Lift up corner to check color.) Using a narrow spatula, flip crepe. Cook until other side is lightly brown, about 30 seconds.
To serve: Set on a plate. Roll up with fruit or applesauce inside. Or, fold in half or quarters. Add favorite toppings or simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing the popover or muffin pan
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grease aluminum popover pan (or 6 compartments of a muffin pan) with butter. Place the pan in the preheated oven while you prepare the batter.
Whisk or whirl butter, eggs, milk, flour and salt in a blender for a minute on medium speed until smooth.
An adult should fill the hot popover cups with batter until half full. If using a muffin pan, fill cups 2/3 full.
Place in oven for 20 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer (no peeking while they bake).
Remove from oven and immediately poke the side of each popover with the tip of a knife or wooden skewer to release steam trapped inside. This keeps them from collapsing. Remove from pan and arrange in a serving basket. Serve hot.
Extra tasty ideas:
— Add 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest to the batter to add a refreshing spring taste.
— Popovers make tasty edible containers for crab, shrimp or tuna salad for a main course. Cut the top 1/3 off of the popover. Scoop out a space in lower portion. Fill with salad and and top with popover piece. Serve.
NOON: HEAD OUTSIDE
Cut forsythia branches in the backyard, pound them with a hammer and watching them bloom in a vase of warm water in advance of spring. No forsythia? Collect sticks for other decorative arrangements.
Force Bloom Branches
Collect Branches Outside: Forsythia, tamarack, weeping willow, silver-maple, apple and box-elder branches work well for this activity.
- Help your children clip off a few branches (they should be about 20-inches long) with garden shears.
- Lay the branches on a hard, flat surface and let them pound the cut ends with a hammer.
- This will help the branches absorb water and encourage the blooms.
- Set them in a sturdy vase or a pitcher filled with warm water.
- For extra fun, arrange them in a water-filled jar, and place the jar in a clay pot you paint yourselves.
NIGHT: BEDTIME NIGHTLIGHT FRIEND
For kids, this can be a challenging and sometimes difficult time with all the mixed messages. Enjoy this craft to make a nightlight to use when tucking kids into bed.
-Standard-size brown or plain colored lunch bag
-Craft supplies to create your character face such as construction or tissue paper, yarn, pipe cleaners, charms, ribbon, glitter, beads, etc.
-Hole punch (optional)
-An inexpensive standard-size, plastic, lightweight flashlight with batteries
1. Cut out craft foam sheets or poster board in eyes, nose and mouth shapes. Cut out holes in the middle of the eye and mouth pieces to eventually allow light to shine through. Glue the features to the front of the bag. When dry, an adult may use a small, sharp scissors to cut out the center of the eyes and mouth on the bag.
2. Add details for personality. Glue on rickrack eyebrows, attach lightweight junk jewelry earrings or pipe-cleaner antennae, depending on what you are creating. Outline lips with shiny beads or glitter. And don’t forget the hair. Add braided yarn and fashion a style. It’s also fun to use a hole punch to make additional features or patterns on the bag that will be revealed when the flashlight is turned on.
3. When complete, carefully slip it over the top of the flashlight with a rubber band, just above the switch. The nightlight will be on and off bedtime duty when you say so!