Making cookies with toddlers

I love making cookies! My kids as well:D

Here I will share with you our advent favourites, starting from the simplest one that requires no baking so it can be completely performed by 2 toddlers to slightly complex (toddler’s complex ) apple dessert:D

  1. Home made praline

Ingredients you need: 400 g digestive biscuits (Vollkornkekse)

500 mL condensed milk (Kaffe Milch)

5 big spoons of coconut flour

4 big spoons of cacao

200 g butter

for decoration : almonds, walnuts and coconut flour

Recipe: Melt the butter in microwave. Smash the biscuits so you turn them in powder like matter. My kids put biscuits in the plastic bag for freezing and used rolling-pin to go over them few times. Than you mix it all with melted butter, cacao and coconut flour, add condensed milk and put on a big flat surface and place on balcony so it cools down. We protected our with aluminium foil so birds do not eat it all:D After it has been cooled in fridge or outside you can cut it in squares and make balls of it, roll them in almond, walnuts or coconut and serve. VERY IMPORTANT : do not let your kids make this before they ate dinner – cause they ll eat all the time along the way:D

2) Banana cookies Our home favorites, we make them every week:)

Ingredients you need: 1 ripe banana

200 g flour

100 g butter

20 g vanilla sugar

Recipe:  Just mix all ingredients, roll it , cut in fun shapes and put to bake on 200 C for 13 minutes and you have super tasty cookies that fill your house with an amazing banana smell:D I have shared last year recipe for them as well, but this year I discovered you do not need baking powder at all:D

cake13) Gingerbread cookies

Ingredients you need: 340 g flour

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 table-spoon of milled ginger

1 small spoon of NaHCO3 (soda, Natron,,)

a pinch of milled cloves

115 g of butter

5 spoons of honey

almonds and food colour for decoration

80 g powder sugar

1 egg white

2 spoons of lemon juice

Recipe: First in a separate bowl mix all the solids (after passing them through a sieve, so all the solids are in a form of fine powder). In another bowl place honey and butter and put in microwave to melt. After it is slightly cooled down mix it all well together and place in a plastic bag and put in fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime prepare the decoration cover: Mix the egg white with powder sugar and lemon juice till you get a very dense mixture. Separate egg white in few small bowls so you can use different colours for decoration. After you take the mixture from the fridge roll it with a roller pin, let your kids cut the cookies and decorate. After they are finished decorating place it in oven at 200 C for 15 – 20 minutes and enjoy!:D

3) Simple almond cakeūüôā

Ingredients: 200 g milled almonds

80 g of almonds for decoration

1,5 eggs

50 g of sugar

Recipe: Mix 1 egg with al the rest of solid ingredients, and then add additional yolk. Mix it very well, pour into the cake form and bake for 20 minutes at 200 C,,,Njammmm

4) Apple, orange chestnut wonder (Apfel kastanie)

Ingredients:  2 big apples

2 big oranges

100 g of cooked meshed chestnut

3 spoons of sugar

2 spoons of rum

whipped cream

Recipe: Make a hole in apples in oranges so you can fill them with the mixture of chestnut, sugar and rum. Bake in preheated oven at 200 C for 20 minutes. Decorate with cold whipped cream and enjoy!!! Me and kids prefer apples my husband prefers oranges:)

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What are your favorite Advent cookies or sweet desserts? Would you like to try some of my?:D

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Costa Rica adventure Part 5 – exploring north part of Guanacaste

After having luck and observing Arenal, we continued our way along the coast of lake Arenal. Somewhere around Nuevo Arenal we have stopped and picked up a local guy who was hitchhiking to get back to Liberia. Having a local with us, we could use some local road shortcuts which were unknown to both our GPS and our map:D

Already few kilometers before reaching Ca√Īas, one can observe that you are entering a different climate zone. Even the animals in surrounding are completely different. That is¬†what I loved the most about Costa Rica – such a diversity of microclimates, flora and fauna on such a small surface.

We wanted to make a stop in¬†Ca√Īas, since there is a Puma rescue center nearby. In¬†Ca√Īas itself we visited a small church that had beautifully decorated walls with mosaics. Additionally an interesting peculiarity for us coming from Austria was to see that the organ was donated from a guy from St Ulrich.

Puma rescue center has a big diversity of animals, including toucans, jaguars, ocelots and many other wild cat species. Most animals were saved from maltreatment by their private owners (many people catch various parrots and toucans and keep them as pets). They are doing an amazing job there by taking care of all the animals and spreading the message that wild animals should be kept wild and not taken home. On each cage there is a card on which the story of the animal inside is written (where the animal was found, in which condition and the reason they can not be put back into wild).

After a short coffee break in Ca√Īas we continued our way to reach Playas del Coco, place in which we booked our accommodation for 2 nights – Hotel M&M Beach house. The hotel was situated directly on the beach which was its only advantage. Apart from that, rooms were very simple, humid, with some funky smell and not worth the price. But if you are with kids its location is indeed a great advantage. You exit your room and find yourself directly on the beach, which is equipped with showers. We loved the beach there, since at sunrise and sunset we were the only ones there. If you are looking for the place with live music where you enjoy a romantic dance during sunset you should pay a visit to the restaurant Claudio y Gloria. For Costa¬†Rica standards, prices are high considering the portion size, but the food was excellent.

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After our sunrise swim in ocean and a big breakfast we were ready for Rincon de la Vieja adventure. Before arriving on the site of national park itself, we were not sure which hiking route should we choose. Upon arrival, we found out that we can not climb the summit of vulcan, due to its high activity. That reduced our hiking options drastically. In the end we opted for Las Pailas hiking route. It is an easy hiking route around the base of vulcan. You pass through the jungle (time your hike to end in jungle during the heat hours), dry hills and geysers. We did not take a guide since this was not our first national park in Costa Rica and we were already experienced in spotting all the wildlife in jungle. Since we have not visited Yellowstone or any other similar place before, for us all this mud pools with volcanic activity were a big hit, especially for our kids.

In order to reach Rincon de la Vieja there are 2 ways. But for one of them you definitely need a 4X4 car, an excellent driver (thank you hubby:*) and a will for an adventure. So if you want an easy way to enter the national park, you ll have to pay 700 C per adult person for crossing over the private property (Hacienda Lodge Guachipelin). On the other hand, if you decide to go like us, the wild way, it will take you much longer. For most of the time you ll drive on no asphalt at all, and for some time on vulcan ash, but you will never forget it, and the views are magnificent!:D

Since the hike was much shorter than we expected (we did it in less than 2 hours) we decided to go for a lunch in Liberia, town with lots of charm. This time we opted for Argentinian restaurant Toro negro and had amazing lunch there. They even made some superdeliciosus potato meal for our kids who were not in a mood for steak:D We will definitely come there again on our next visit to Liberia. For our afternoon we decided to head to the beach Iguanita. It is a secluded beach, there is no shower or any facilities nearby, but that was exactly what we were looking for. You can not reach this beach if you do not have a 4X4 car. Exploring Costa Rica without a proper car is no fun at all:P We loved this beach and we stayed here till the sunset. Except from us, there were only parrots on the beach.

We went back to Playas del Coco to get a good night sleep and get ready for the next day to keep exploring southern regions of Guanacaste. ūüėÄ

Why do babies and young toddlers put everything in their mouth and what can we learn from it?

For sure you have observed your baby trying to place everything in mouth, whatever can be found in the close surrounding. You might have wondered why are they doing it? What is so appealing in trying to chew that wooden basket in which you placed some balls?

Baby’s mouth has more nerve endings than any other part of the body. If the baby really wants to find out what something feels like, she has to put it in her mouth. This is the way they explore the world! They are using the mouth to test the hardness, texture and taste of various materials. It is a very important experience. Additionally, a need to chew on something in order to relieve the pain of teething is an instinct within babies. There is no need to prevent this experience Рonly to be careful that it does not present a potential choking hazard.

Our daughter stopped being so much interested into putting everything in her mouth and chewing it after she turned 13 months (maybe cause she already had most of the teeth by that age). But her little brother with 15 months is still very much into exploring many things with his mouth. He ll take everything that seems tempting from the floor and put it into mouth – ranging from a snail to various flowers and grass. In case of the sand from the sandbox I let him explore, I just gently tell him sand is for playing and not for eating. I guess his natural instinct tells him to put it in his mouth as it helps him tremendously as a pain relief from teething. Since I am not a botanist and flower expert, thanks to him I have learned a lot about eatable flowers and plants. I find the following links very useful:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/surviving-in-the-wild-19-common-edible-plants/

https://matteroftrust.org/14760/62-edible-wild-plants-that-you-didnt-know-you-can-eat

https://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/daisy-herb-benefits.html

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Daisies are really a common sights in the parks now in spring and he was attracted to them, especially when he had a runny nose;) Apparently they are very healthy and used as herbal remedy for common cold, bronchitis and other inflammation of upper respiratory track. We should definitely trust to our own and our children’s natural instincts;) In Austria daisies¬†are a sign of spring, there is even an expression if there are 10 daisies¬†below your foot, than you know that the spring is there. They are even used to prepare some meals.

This week we have decided to give it a try to prepare a daisy dish:)

The list of ingredients you will need in case you want to try it as well:

4 potatoes

1 parsley root

1 onion

100 g coconut milk

700 mL of soup broth

1,5 spoon of olive oil (or sunflower but we always use olive in our kitchen)

pinch of salt

150 g of daisy flower

Young toddlers can fully participate in making this dish and it is important to them to do so, as I have already written previously.

1. step: Wash the potatoes and clean them well. (very young toddlers can do this part and it helps a lot as the preparation for the peeling process). Wash the parsley root.

2. step: Peel the potatoes and parsley root.

3. step: Cut potatoes, parsley root and onion in small pieces. (On the photo Miro just tried to copy his sister in order to cut a potato – he still does not have force and technique to cut the raw potato, but he is trying hard to learn from his sister.)

4. step: Place everything in the big pot on hot oil, stir it a bit and add the broth in it and let it cook for 20 minutes.

5. When everything is still cooking in pot, wash the daisies, put 1/3 on the side for the decoration of the soup and 2/3 add to the rest in the pot after vegetables have been already cooked for nearly 20 minutes.

6. Puree the soup, add coconut milk and salt and mix it all well.

7. Serve in bowls and decorate with daisies and enjoy:)

Let me know which flower recipes did you try recently or how did your kid inspire you to try something new:)

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