Crayon Hearts & Michael Pollan
We’ve been moving, as I mentioned in earlier posts, and it’s been difficult to keep our normal family routine. Not that we have one, exactly, but it’s been even harder trying to pretend like we do. But amid the chaos (can chaos be a routine?) I’ve found some ways to keep things interesting.
I did forget to buy groceries, however.
Luckily this led to some rather tasty “bare-cupboard” creations – tuna salad and artichoke heart sandwiches, a hit with the 5-year-old – and a root vegetable w/ local ricotta calzone, a hit with the husband. There were some fails, as well – like the soba noodle scrambled eggs, but I’d rather celebrate the successes, you know? It was a great help to have some stored root vegetables – turnips, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, a few canned goods and basics like frozen pizza dough. Sometimes a sheer lack of ingredients forces you to be creative with what you’ve got, and more often than not it will lead to something tasty. And if not tasty, it’s pretty much always edible.
While we’ve been transitioning into our new (rented) home, I’ve had to be creative keeping the little one occupied. A stove is something I can handle and so is cornstarch (for slurries, of course). If you’ve never mixed cornstarch and water into a thin paste, you’re missing out my friend. It falls in that mysterious place somewhere between a liquid and a solid and can led to hours of fun. For the whole family. We were all enthralled with this wet/dry goo. It has something to do with polymers and how they move, but I found that “Science Magic” is adequate enough explanation.
And we didn’t have just one kitchen activity, we had two! Valentine’s Day is coming up, and if you’ve got kids you may be like us and receive a list of all the students in your child’s class to whom you should provide a Valentine. I hate those lame generic paper ones that come20 to a page, so I attempted this pretty cool idea I saw somewhere.
First, you find all your broken bits of crayons, peel the paper off them, then put them in a bag and let your kid smash them up. I used a crowbar, she used a shoe. I’m sure anything would work, a pot, an actual hammer, what have you.
Then, we melted the pieces in a heart shaped silicone pan (just like this one) by baking them in the oven for about 5 minutes on 250ish. Once the wax cooled, the hearts popped out easily!
A perfect kindergarten Valentine!
So now you’re wondering about Michael Pollan, right? I was lucky enough to see him at the Boston Speaker Series last night. An interesting lecture on our current food landscape. I’m going to give it some more thought and write up a review this week, so keep your eye out if you’re interested.
Do you make homemade Valentine’s? If so, how?