10.16.2014

Sticky Rice and Mangoes Recipe

Thailand is special to our family because my husband spent time as a missionary over there. While there, he picked up a few good recipes. On our very first date, he made me this simple and delicious dessert. It is a favorite of ours! He has graciously helped put together this tutorial.

Sticky Rice and Mangoes

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups sticky (glutinous) rice
  • 1 15 oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. cornstarch
  • 4 mangoes

Instructions

    • Rinse sticky rice with a bowl of water and drain water. Repeat three times.
    • Fill bowl with enough water to generously cover the rice and soak for four hours.
    • Drain water and place rice in traditional Thai rice steaming basket.

    • Boil water in pot and then place basket of rice with a lid over it on top of the pot and steam for for 15 minutes*
    • Flip rice over and steam an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

    • Meanwhile, heat coconut milk and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes it to a boil; then remove it from the heat.
    • Mix half of coconut milk/sugar mixture with the steamed rice in a serving bowl.
    • Add 1 t. cornstarch to the remaining coconut milk mixture and return it to the stove,  cooking on low heat for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove sauce from heat.
    • Peel and dice mangoes.
    • Serve dessert with sticky rice on the bottom, diced mangoes in the middle, and coconut milk sauce drizzled on top.



    8.01.2014

    Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party

    This year my little girl requested a "Strawberry Shortcake" birthday party. It was a lot of fun coming up with cute ways to decorate and celebrate at her party. The decorations were simple ~ lots of pink and green and strawberries! We served cupcakes and strawberry lemonade.

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    I found this shirt at Old Navy with vintage Strawberry Shortcake, which I thought was so perfect:

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    For activities we played Bingo, colored pictures, pinned berries in a basket, had a beanbag toss, played a little freeze dance, read a Strawberry Shortcake book, and had a strawberry-shaped piñata.

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    I loved the cupcakes, which I put inside little terra cotta pots. I sprinkled them with oreo cookie crumbs to resemble dirt and topped them with a chocolate-covered strawberry:

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    The party favors were made by my sweet mom. I kept it super simple. Besides the candy from the piñata, everyone took home a strawberry-shaped beanbag:

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    I think it's safe to say this little girl had a blast. She had a big smile all day long!

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    Andrea also did a Strawberry Shortcake Party and here is her fun cake she made for her daughter:

    {The polkadots and strawberries are from fruit roll-ups, the stripes are Sour Straws, the balls are Mint Chocolate Balls and the rest is frosting!}


    7.14.2014

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or Science-themed Birthday Party


    My second child recently turned five, and he loves Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs --both the book and the movie. So for his birthday, we based his party off of themes from both the picture book and the movie.


    Invitations

    I took a picture of my son in a labcoat and then pasted that picture over an image of the cheeseburger scene from the movie to make my child look like he was Flint Lockwood watching cheeseburgers fall from the sky. I glued these pictures onto a piece of cardstock and wrote the party details on the reverse. This could also easily be done in Photoshop if you had that capability (my computer is too slow to run Photoshop right now and so I just cut and pasted the old-fashioned way).


    Décor

    *We kept our decorations simple--colorful plastic tablecloths and brown and red "meatball" balloons. Then we set up stations for the kids to play in when they first arrived. We blew up our bounce house and taped a sign and picture of the Jell-O scene from the movie on the outside of the bounce house. The kids pretended that they were bouncing in orange Jell-O.

    *Our second station was Flint Lockwood's laboratory. I set up a bucket of water, colored with food coloring, along with a beaker, flask, and test tubes from this set. The kids loved pouring, transferring, and pretending to be scientists. My son also loves to take things apart, so we bought him some old electronics from Goodwill for his birthday. He had started to take them apart prior to the party, and he set up a station at the party to continue working on and playing with these (for safety we set this up at a table away from where little babies were playing).



    Food

    Because the book starts out with Grandpa cooking pancakes, we scheduled our party in the morning and served a pancake breakfast. We used our favorite recipe for pancakes here. We served bacon, orange juice, and, as a nod to the second movie, we had a Watermelophant serving bowl (with watermelon balls inside) made by my father-in-law. We also added strawberries and whipped cream.

    Watermelophant Serving Bowl Instructions: 
    1. Trace around a small round plate on top of watermelon. Cut around outline--Save top circle.
    2. Scoop out watermelon with melon baller. Set aside to put back into the watermelon later.
    3. Carve out a mouth shape and use the melon baller to scoop out holes for the eyes.
    3. Cut top of watermelon that you removed into the shape of a trunk and attach to watermelon with toothpicks.
    4. Add ears (bok choy) and tail (green chili pepper) and eyes (grapes) with toothpicks to attach.
    5. Place melon balls back in watermelon for serving.

    Science Demonstrations

    After breakfast, we invited all of the children to come to Flint's laboratory and do a few science demonstrations. We choose four simple demonstrations:
    1.Making Tissue Paper Jump with Static Electricity and a Balloon
    --You can see my demo here in which we used styrofoam--it works even better with a balloon and tissue paper--just remember to "charge" the balloon by rubbing it in your hair.
    2. Magic Milk Colors
    --See the demonstration in our St. Patrick's Day lesson here.
    3. Inflating a Balloon with Vinegar and Baking Soda
    4. Mentos & Diet Coke Geysers(Geyser Tube with Caps)
    You can see instructions for the last two demonstrations in my States of Matter lesson plan here. One tip I learned for inflating the balloon with vinegar and baking soda is to stretch out the balloon by blowing it up and let the air out before filling it with baking soda. We used a tool we bought online to help us launch the diet coke geysers extra high!

    *Piñata

    Next we we decided to have it "rain" food from our FLDSMDFR Piñata. We made this homemade piñata based Flint's invention in the movie. This was a project that the kids loved helping with. Their dad taped a brown paper box into the right shape, and they helped cut fringes on white tissue paper. We layered these tissue paper fringes on the box and added construction paper decorations to make it look just like the machine from the movie.

    We added a wire loop and rope to hang it from a tree and had a blast hitting the piñata at the party. Even though we tried to weaken the cardboard when assembling it, it was so sturdy that we did eventually have to "input" some numbers in the machine and cut open the bottom of the box to let the candy out. The kids loved it though!

    Dessert

    For dessert, we served meatball cake pops and a cheeseburger cake. The meatball cake pops were delicious but labor intensive. Thanks to my kind mother-in-law for doing these--since they had several layers of frosting that had to dry between coats to get the right effect. For those brave enough to try--here is the video tutorial she used to make them.
    The cheeseburger cake wasn't as difficult. The top and bottom are regular round cakes with a round brownie "meat patty" in the center. Different colored frosting made the "cheese" and "ketchup." And I smashed up gummy fruit wedge candy to become "lettuce" and "tomatoes."

    Party Favors

    In addition to treats from the piñata, we sent the kids home with simple party favors from the dollar store--ice cream bubbles, stickers, a suction ball, and a food-themed eraser. I glued a map from the book Pickles To Pittsburgh (sequel to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ) on a brown paper bag and added colorful tissue paper around the goodies.