Warming Up Winter: Acorn Squash Sundaes Toddlers Love and Kids Can Help Make!

Warm Acorn Squash

It’s cold. Kids are inside. Tummies are growling. Time to have some quick and yummy fun! Squash Sundaes are the answer.

This recipe is super easy and can be tailored to any eaters needs. Toddlers can eat it pureed, and older kids can help make it. It’s warm, comforting, and fills the corners of hungry bellies. I used it as a dessert, but it can fit easily as a snack or even better, a warm healthy breakfast. Plus, did I mention it is jammed with nutrients and other good stuff to keep families healthy when it’s cold outside? Oh…it is!

Ingredients:

Acorn Sqush

Olive Oil

Blender or food processor (to puree for early eaters and toddlers)

Cranberries, pecans, butter (Earth Balance), maple sugar to taste

Any other additions or substitutions that you think might work, such as walnuts, raisins, maple syrup or cinnamon

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut Acorn squash in half, scoop and discard the seeds, and with about 1 tablespoon olive, coconut or grape seed oil coat the inside of the squash. This helps it stay soft and not burn while cooking. Depending on the size of your squash, cooking times may vary, however with a medium squash it took about 40 minutes to roast on the middle oven rack.

After the squash is roasted, let it sit a few minutes until you can easily scrape out the flesh. It makes a great mash as it is being scraped out of the rind, but if you need it to be pureed for your early eater or toddler, use a food processor or blender. If you don’t you may encounter a few strings or textured parts that are not safe. Additionally, kids can’t really help with this part of the recipe, as using the stove and scooping out warm squash is not safe either. However, kids do love to push the buttons on a blender, as long as they are well supervised.

Once the squash is in a bowl it is easy to get kids involved. I recommend setting out a couple small bowls with the cranberries, pecans, butter, walnuts, raisins, etc. so they can add in their favorites. If it is for the whole family they can add in what most of the family would like, or each child can get a bowl and make an individual “Squash Sundae”. Add more or less as each person desires, use them as toppings or mix throughout.

That’s it. Simple, easy and very little clean up! Tomorrow morning I’ll be trying this for a healthy breakfast, and I hope you too get to try it during these cold days of winter!

Ol’ New Years Eve: Festive Favors for Kids that Teach Cultural Diversity

Out families New Years Eve Favors!

Out families New Years Eve Favors!

It’s time to celebrate the New Year to come AND to recycle the cardboard rolls from paper towels and toilet paper, AND clean up that extra wrapping paper laying around the house AND put use to all the little its and bits of small toys the kids have collected over the past holiday month! And one New Years Eve Favor can do it all!

Additionally, this favor is culturally diverse, at least for all of us outside of the United Kingdom. While visiting London for a New Year’s Eve celebration, I learned of these little party favors and was delighted. My favor had a silly pair of glasses and a bit of chocolate, with the other people in my party having equally fun items inside. The rest of the night involved dancing, chatting, and playing with a fun favor surprises.

Several of my friends who are originally from England, or who had family there, told me that these favors are very much a tradition, one that they still follow around Christmas and New Years. I had seen the favors in markets around the holidays before, but now knowing how much fun they bring to holiday parties, I decided to make my own.

English Holiday Favors: Culturally Diverse and Fun

This is a super easy craft that is fun for kids and toddlers alike, although I find the toddlers actually like tearing into them on New Years Eve the best! All you needs is:

paper rolls

wrapping paper

tape

string

small toys, or stickers (whatever is size safe for you home and kids; ie NOT choking hazards)

safe, age appropriate snacks, like popcorn or crackers

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Simply fill the tubes to your delight, tape on scrap wrapping papers around the roll, twist the ends and tie with string. They look delightful and make a great centerpiece for the New Years table! We are having a dipping buffet this year, and think our metallic tray with these favors adds the perfect accent to create a festive feel in our home.

This is a great activity for fine motor skills too, all while having fun and being successful.  Tearing tape, cutting paper, manipulation of safe small objects, and practice tying knots all work great for early skill development. So this year you can feel like a Swami Mommi, while ringing in the New Year with a festive favor to boot!

All we need is fancy string to tie off each end!

All we need is fancy string to tie off each end!

Happy New Year with blessings of health, prosperity, and Joy all Year! Happy 2015!