Creature Calzones and Banana Bread -- Tyler Florence Fridays

This week for Tyler Florence Fridays I made two Tyler recipes, the first one, Spinach and Three Cheese Calzones was for Megan's Challenge and the second recipe was Tyler's Banana Bread.

The calzone filling was great, I added mushrooms, used frozen spinach, and left out the egg.

I sauteed the mushrooms and spinach and then added the cheeses into the same large pan and mixed it all up then filled the calzones.

I brushed the tops with butter and sprinkled two with Italian seasoning and freshly shredded parmesan.

The came out of the oven looking like fault for goofing up the dough and letting it rise way too long...oops!

And how could I not turn this one into a creature?

The banana bread was really easy and I liked that I got to use up four over ripe bananas in one loaf! The baking time seemed a little long and mine was ready at one hour instead of the suggested 1 hour and 15 minutes. Everyone loved it and this banana bread recipe will go into the 'would make again' banana bread file!

Sorry for the short post, today is my husband's birthday and I'm still under the weather so I'm way behind in birthday preparations...wish me luck! Happy Tyler Florence Friday, everyone :)

More lego fun in the mornings. The kids love building different cars, trucks, and buildings. A suggestion was made that we rename the lego table to the architectual center. The kids all thought that was funny.

Writing our names

An important part of life is knowing how to write your name. In preschool we work hard on practicing how to write our names using title case (i.e. Eileen). Since writing your name over and over again can get boring to preschoolers we write our names using different things. We have practiced writing our names in shaving cream, paper and crayons, pencil and paper. But today we tried something different instead of using the small dry erase boards and markers we used the big classroom board. The children loved writing their names. The had fun helping each other saying, "No a n looks like this." or "Great h". I was so proud of them for all trying their best.

Sweetheart French Tuiles -- Daring Bakers

Daring Bakers, I'm back! I missed last month but am happy to share January's challenge, tuiles, with you all! I had heard of and seen tuiles and probably tasted them at some point but this was my first time actually making them.
This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. I used the Savory tuile/cornet recipe from Thomas Keller's "the French Laundry Cookbook." I did drop down the kosher salt from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon though and that was right on -- I think even 1/4 teaspoon would have been plenty.
Here is my batter ready to go in the oven. I did not have a heart stencil so I did these with the tip of a knife, that's why they are all a little different.
At first I was planning savory parmesan tuiles but at the last minute -- after I had prepared the batter -- I switched courses and went with sweet. After the hearts, my next batch went in the oven -- circles so that I could roll them or mold them into cups or rolls to fill with whipped cream and ice cream.
Although I did burn my fingers a tiny bit rolling these, I really ejoyed this challenge. Now I know that basics of tuiles and can't wait to try some new savory and sweet variations. These quick little crispy treats can really dress up a dish and give it that little something extra :)

Beanie Bag Dance

A fun part of learning is to sing and dance. We learn about body parts by singing many songs such as : "Body Rock", "Simon Says Body Parts" and the "Beanie Bag Dance". With the "Beanie Bag Dance" the children have to place a beanie bag on a certain part of their bodies then dance around. They all love it and have fun at the end when we do the beanie bag toss.

Hot Cocoa and Clifford

Today we went to kindergarten, to Mrs. Kendra's class. She read us two wonderful stories about a big red dog named Clifford. Clifford learned about "kittens" and "good deeds". After listening to the stories we all enjoyed a yummy cup of hot cocoa with marshmellows. Some of us decided that we didn't like the taste of hot cocoa. But most of us agreed we loved the marshmellows the best.

Our Snowman

We live in an area that sees snow some of the time. But not usually enough for the children to make snowmen, have snowball fights and such. So to demonstrate how a snowman melts we did an experiment in class today. It involved using 3 balloons which were filled with water (all different sizes) and then placed in the freezer. Once the balloons were frozen (overnight) we cut the balloon off using a knife (adults only). Then we placed the largest ball of ice in the bottom of the pot. Adding a little rock salt to the top of the largest ball we then added the middle size ball. Again adding some more rock salt to the top of the middle size ball. Finally we added the smallest ball. It took a few tries to get the balls to stay on top of each other but finally they did. The children were able to see that the balls were solid ice and very cold. As the day progressed we watched our snowman melt away. He toppled over while we were at lunch so we had to add some more rock salt to attach him. We even had to empty the pot as he had melted so much to fill the pot half full. The children enjoyed watching our snowman melt away. They are anxious to see what he will look like when we come in tomorrow morning.

This Years First Willow Catkins

Last weekend we saw this years first willow catkins in our neighborhood. I just love them!

Die Weidenkätzchen

Kätzchen, ihr, der Weide,
wie aus grauer Seide,
wie aus grauem Samt!
O ihr Silberkätzchen,
sagt mir doch, ihr Schätzchen,
sagt, woher ihr stammt.

"Wollen's gern dir sagen:
Wir sind ausgeschlagen
aus dem Weidenbaum;
haben winterüber
drin geschlafen, Lieber,
in tieftiefem Traum."

In dem dürren Baume
in tieftiefem Traume
habt geschlafen ihr?
In dem Holz, dem harten,
war, ihr weichen, zarten,
euer Nachtquartier?

"Musst dich recht besinnen:
Was da träumte drinnen,
waren wir noch nicht,
wie wir jetzt im Kleide
blühn von Samt und Seide
hell im Sonnenlicht.

Nur als wie Gedanken
lagen wir im schlanken
grauen Baumgeäst;
unsichtbare Geister,
die der Weltbaumeister
dort verweilen lässt."

Kätzchen, ihr, der Weide,
wie aus grauer Seide,
wie aus grauem Samt!
O ihr Silberkätzchen,
ja, nun weiß, ihr Schätzchen,
ich, woher ihr stammt!

Christian Morgenstern

And this is a new Willow Catkin Doll I made last week for Grace.
(Does anyone know if there is an english translation for the poem about the willow catkins written by Christian Morgenstern?)

Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread Cake -- Tuesdays with Dorie

Just a quick post for TWD this week, I am feeling under the weather with a head cold. The recipe of the week is Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread, from Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking From My Home To Yours, picked for Tuesdays with Dorie by Heather of Sherry Trifle , thanks Heather :)

I've had my eye on this recipe for a while and couldn't wait to give it a try. Everything came together easily and I decided to use a 10 inch springform pan instead of the 9 by 9 because the amount of batter was more than I am used to using in a 9 by 9 and I didn't want any over flow. The 10 inch springform was perfect! I baked for 40 minutes exactly and the cake tested done.

The taste was wonderful, it was so moist and spicy and just a wonderful flavor combination. The texture was wonderful as well and it made me remember the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake we did for Tuesdays with Dorie last October, and what a dry disapointment that one was. I was thinking...if you adjust the spices on this chocolate gingerbread, I'm sure it would be a wonderful brownie cake base.

Changes I made to the recipe were minimal, vanilla instead of coffee in the frosting and semisweet instead of bittersweet chocolate in both the cake and frosting. In our family we prefer semisweet over bittersweet in most recipes. I can see making this again for the holidays, maybe decorating with some crushed peppermint candycanes. I would leave out the fresh ginger though, it seemed like when I got a piece in a bite of the gingerbread it was just too much and clashed with the comforting warm spice that is gingerbread -- it just kind of bit you back if you know what I mean and I just didn't care for it in this recipe, even though I really thought I would. Other than that, I loved this recipe and will more than likely be making it again :)

Learning through play

Throughout the day in our class we are learning. Sometimes we are learning while we are singing our songs on the carpet, or listening to a story, but the best way to learn is through play. We are constantly "learning" through play. Today we were working on colors, patterns, and sorting all while we played. Some of us were playing with the legos at the lego table. While others were playing with the teddy bear counters on the carpet. It is so much fun to learn while playing with our friends.

Snowflake Art

The kids had so much fun using the snowflake stampers to make snow storms on their paper. We used white paint and dark blue paper to make the snowflakes stand out.