Monday, 31 October 2011

Hot Dog Mummies

I got the inspiration for these from the Disney Family website and couldn't resist trying them out for myself.  I adapted the recipe slightly as the ingredients in the Disney one can't be bought here in the UK.  They are so simple to make though as they only use 2 ingredients. 

I used beef frankfurters as I have 2 children in my care who cannot eat pork for religious reasons, but any frankfurter will work well.

Here's how you make them...

You will need:
  • 1 can of hotdogs (I used large ones)
  • 1 pack of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
  • Yellow mustard to decorate.

  1. Take the pastry out of the fridge 10 minutes before you start.  Make sure all little hands are clean, and then on a clean surface lay out the pastry rectangle.
  2. Slice the pastry into 2 cm strips and wrap around each sausage starting at the head.  But remember to leave a space near the top for the mummies’ face.
  3. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for approx. 20 minutes at 200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6 or until the pastry in golden in colour.
  4. When the Hot Dog Mummies have cooled, add yellow mustard 'eyes' to decorate.

Cheese and Tomato Pinwheels

We made these for our Halloween party this afternoon and they turned out really well.  They are a savory version of the Strawberry Swirls we made back in August.  They would make a great snack on those chilly bonfire nights. 

To make them you will need:

  • 1 Sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
  • Tomato Puree
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Baking tray and parchment
  1. Take the pastry out of the fridge 10 minutes before you start.  Make sure all little hands are clean, and then on a surface dusted lightly with flour, lay out the pastry rectangle.
  2. Spread tomato puree all over the pastry and then sprinkle on top a generous amount of grated cheese.  Gently roll up into a long sausage.  Wrap the pastry roll in plastic food wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. When chilled, unwrap the rolls and cut into 1cm slices.  Place on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for approx. 20 minutes at 200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Halloween Week

We have had lots of fun so far this week with our Halloween theme.  The children have enjoyed some spooky stories such as Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.  Written in rhyme, this book is great for young readers. The repetition ensures it is accessible for small children and Julia Donaldson’s judicious use of words and phrases help to broaden little vocabularies. There are some clever play on words as well, such as the dragon saying: “I’m planning to have WITCH AND CHIPS for my tea!”  I love this book and i've never seen the children sit still for so long when we read it, or any of  the books by this author for that matter!

I provided the children with some Room on the Broom colouring sheets which they enjoyed colouring in; that is until Amelia started doing her favourite little trick; grabbing handfuls of crayons and throwing them on the floor!

To follow on with the theme of Halloween, I provided the little ones with a pumpkin sensory activity where I cut off the top of some pumpkins and the children used their hands to pull out the contents inside. They were a little unsure of the slimy texture at first, but once they got used to it they soon helped me to seperate the seeds which I am going to dry out and plant next year.

Naomi, Lauren and Alex came over to see us on Wednesday and we made some Diwali candles and decorated some halloween biscuits.  I cheated slightly as the pumpkin cookie cutter that I had ordered online didn't arrive in time, so I had to buy some shop-bought biscuits!  I plan on making some pumpkin shortbread with the children next week though!

 The diwali candles are made from salt dough which is air-drying, so we made them over two days, painting them on the second day.  We painted them with purple paint and sprinkled them with glitter before adding a tealight to each of them when they were dry.  The salt dough recipe I used can be found here.  As the paint dried, it created a crackly effect which I wasn't expecting, but they turned out quite well.

Also this week we made some hand and foot print ghosts.  The children splodged their little hands and feet in some white paint and we printed them on to some black card.  We then added some googly eyes and a ghoooooolish mouth!

We also made some pumpkin lanterns and masks.  The little ones applied lots and lots of orange paint to some lanterns and paper plates and then we added some eyes, nose and a mouth using black tissue paper.  I then added a green pipe cleaner to the top and spiralled it around a pencil to make it look like the stem of a real pumpkin.


Of course the children got so engrossed in painting as they usually do, so I gave them some paper and let them paint some pictures afterwards. Amelia loves to get messy with the paint and began to paint her hands and print them onto the paper and the other children followed suit.  She also managed to get some on her face, all over her jumper (despite wearing an apron) and the dishwasher was a nice shade of green afterwards too! 

I have lots more activities planned for next week as well as our Halloween party next Monday.  I will be busy decorating the house this weekend ready for when our little witches and devils turn up on Monday morning.  I love Halloween!  Stay tuned for spooky party photos coming next week.

New Gruffalo Trunki Items

Our Gruffalo theme ended last month, but I couldn't resist blogging about these fantastic new Gruffalo products that Trunki have just released.
To tie in with the first Gruffalo film back in 2009 Trunki launched the Gruffalo Trunki.  Two years on to celebrate the launch of the Gruffalo’s Child film they have released a new set of travel chums featuring the Gruffalo’s Child herself, and little old mouse! The wash bag and purse set are sold together at £14.99 while the Gruffalo Trunki is £39.99.  These would be ideal Christmas gifts for little Gruffalo fans!

Also, these family planners are fantastic!  I have been using one for the past year and I love the special event stickers that comes with it.  I will definately be buying one for next year!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Salt Dough Recipe

Salt Dough Recipe

You will need...
2 cups of Plain Flour
1 cup of table salt
1 cup of water
Large mixing bowl
Wooden Spoon
1. Mix the flour and the salt together and then stir in the water.
2. Knead the dough together - adding small drops of extra water if necessary to
make a smooth dough.
3. Turn the dough onto a clear surface and continue to knead it for about 10
minutes - by which time the dough should be warm, soft and pliable.
4. If possible it is best to let the dough stand for approximately 20 minutes before
beginning a project. Unused dough can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight
container or cling film, for up to a week
5. Drying can either be done naturally in the open air, or it can be baked in an
oven. However it is not recommended that you have your oven hotter than 100C
(200F/Gas Mark 1/4) as this can cause unsightly bubbles and cracks in your
pastry. The drying time needed for each piece varies according to size and
thickness, but an average time for natural drying is 30-48 hours, whilst oven
times are generally reduced to 3-4 hours.

In the past I have added food colouring to the water before adding it to the mixture so that the dough dyes that colour.  However it can be left plain and painted when dried.

Salt dough is great for craft activities and for making Christmas tree decorations.


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