Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tissue Paper Sunflowers

My example to the left, Tater's project on the right

A fun project for pre-schoolers and up.


Paper plates
Wood dowels
Yellow tissue paper
Brown tissue paper
School glue

Tear/cut pieces tissue paper and glue to paper plate. For the center, you can wrap brown tissue around pencil eraser and glue down. Or, crumple up tissue and glue on.
Tape a dowel on the back. Make a bouquet of sunflowers. I did this craft in late summer/early autumn, since sunflowers bloom that time of year around here. I also introduced a visual art element by showing the sunflower paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. Don't forget to talk about color, texture, scale, etc. You can bring a science component by using actual sunflower seeds for the center, instead of brown paper. Discuss how flowers grow from seeds and that birds feed on the seeds. Have the kids count out strips of paper as a math element to the project.

Tater in the flower garden with the sunflowers

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing says autumn like some yummy Butternut Squash Soup.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

With its sweet, earthy taste, butternut squash soup is a favorite for Thanksgiving. You can also prepare the soup in a slow cooker, which helps to deepen and meld the flavors.

1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cups butternut squash puree*
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and
thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
2 small bay leaves
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 cup cream or milk
1/4 tsp. ground coriander (optional)
1/4 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger (optional)
8 baguette slices, each 1/2 inch thick,
 lightly brushed with olive oil and toasted
 until golden brown
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Peel and cube one large or two medium sized squash. Combine squash and 1 cup broth in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 20 minutes. Puree squash in a blender.
In a dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the squash puree, apple, remaining broth, bay leaves and the 1 tsp. salt to the and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Add the cream/milk. Using a stick blender/mixer, puree the soup directly until smooth. Stir in the coriander and ginger. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls, garnish each with a toasted baguette slice, and season the slices with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.