Dec 142017
 
 December 14, 2017  activities, family, food, Sacramento No Responses »

As parents, life can get so busy that often we have to stop and catch our breath and wonder, where did the time go? I always look forward to spending time with my kids, but practically speaking I actually spend most of my time running errands and doing household chores. Someone is always tugging on my leg asking to play freeze tag or build a fort in the living room, but I usually put them off because there is always a diaper to change, or a meal to cook, or laundry to fold. Trust me, I would much rather build a pillow fort! If you also find yourself struggling to find time to enjoy your family, here are three simple ways to reconnect with your kids – even when you are really busy!

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Mighty Kong Muffins for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids – Even When You Are Really Busy!

1. Take Play Breaks

My four year old could play freeze tag all day long. From the moment he wakes up until time to brush his teeth at night, anytime there is a pause in activity (and usually when there isn’t), he asks to play freeze tag. Somehow it always seems like he asks just as I need to change a diaper or when I’m in the middle of cooking. Rather than put him off completely, I try to take short play breaks with him. Be realistic about how much time you have, then set a timer and give your child your focused attention – no checking Facebook, no picking up toys off the floor, or straightening the furniture – just playing with him.

For me, this is usually 10 or 15 minutes at a time on a weekday. (I make sure to do non-timed, longer play times together on the weekends, but these are usually not practical during the week).  This seems like a really short amount of time, but it always seems surprisingly long, considering I am really focusing on him and not multi-tasking like I usually do.

It doesn’t stop him from asking to play again 5 minutes later, but he is more understanding when I have to say no, and I feel less guilty about getting my work done.

2. Play a Game after Dinner

Our kids get screen time in the evenings, yet we noticed that this often resulted in a race to leave the dinner table and get back to electronics. So now we have instituted the rule that we play a game (or do a puzzle, etc) after dinner before we all retire to our corners to relax before bedtime. The kids love it, especially since Daddy is home to join in as well, so no one is watching the clock and rushing to leave the table. As much as I love game nights, this abbreviated version works for us during the week, so we can still get in play time together as a family and make sure we really reconnect with our kids in the evenings.

3. Do Read Alouds

We all know how important it is to read together, and most of us tend to do this at bedtime, which is such a snuggly, cozy time to share a good story. Yet I noticed that we tend to do this with our kids individually (as they all go to bed at slightly different times), plus the stories tend to be shorter because of the late hour.

I loved that old-fashioned idea of a family sitting around reading a great book together, so I started doing family read alouds during the day. It is wonderful bonding time, plus it is a great way to engage kids with slightly more challenging material or to read stories they might not have considered. For example, a younger child might be more inclined to stick with an easy chapter book because of the excitement of reading with older siblings, and another might be surprised to find that they like a story outside of the genre they tend to favor. (For great reading ideas, see my book reviews!)

I have found that the easiest way to keep everyone’s attention, despite the range of ages and interests, is to involve food. Give the kids something to eat at the table, and they are more likely to be sitting quietly and listening as you read. As homeschoolers, we can often do our read alouds over lunch, but it’s also a great way to relax together over an after school snack. This is especially true if you have a child that doesn’t like to sit and talk when they first come home – here is a great way to reconnect with your kids without forcing conversations they aren’t ready for.

Finding a Great Snack to Share

We have recently discovered a new favorite snack, which is perfect to share during our family read aloud. While we do have the occasional treat, I am rather picky about making sure my kids have healthy snacks. So I was excited to find out about Mighty Kong Muffins, a family-run and locally-owned Sacramento business that makes the most delicious gourmet bran muffins in a staggering 22 varieties. (See their interview on a local news show).

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Might Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

I know what you’re thinking: Gourmet bran muffins? Yes, it’s true! The ingredients are all high-quality and non-GMO, with fresh fruits and nuts and high grade dark chocolate. You won’t find any flour in these muffins – or any preservatives or artificial ingredients, for that matter. These mini-muffins are a great snack you can feel good about sharing with your kids.

We received a variety pack of the Mighty Kong Muffins and so had fun sampling four different flavors: Ape Dates (date walnut), Naner Naner (banana walnut), Wapple Apple (apple raisin), and the seasonal Rumplepumpskin (cranberry pumpkin). (Note: all flavors are available without nuts). My younger son loved the Wapple Apple, which my older son couldn’t decide between the Ape Dates and the Naner Naner. Personally, I loved the Rumplepumpskin. In other words, every single one was a hit!

3 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids and Mighty Kong Muffin Review | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Healthy and Fun Lunchbox Ideas

Which flavor will become your favorite? Check out Mighty Kong Muffins and order yours today!

What’s your favorite way to reconnect with your kids?

Jul 252017
 
 July 25, 2017  food, raising world citizens Comments Off on Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home

This post was sponsored by Ling Ling and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Do you love Asian cooking but feel like you don’t have the time to experiment with complicated dinners? Too busy taking the kids to soccer practice or chasing after your toddler to attempt new flavor combinations? Now you can serve something both easy and delicious to your family. Feel like a rock star when you sit down to a no sweat dinner of Asian-inspired dishes that taste straight out of a restaurant!

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

I love our family dinners, but most evenings I don’t love cooking them. After a full day of caring for three young children, the last thing I feel like doing is spending lengthy amounts of time cooking, and I certainly don’t have the mental energy to experiment with anything new.

That’s why I was so happy to learn that Ling Ling, long popular because of their pot stickers, now has a new line of fried rice dishes! As someone who loves to introduce her children to flavors from around the world, I am glad to be able to serve them authentic Asian-inspired dishes at home, without having to spend hours laboring in the kitchen!

I had the opportunity to try out some of these new fried rice dishes recently at a blogger event in San Francisco, sponsored by Ling Ling and hosted by Parties That Cook.

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

During the event we were treated to samples of three of the new fried rice dishes, based on authentic Asian-inspired recipes: Yakitori Chicken (Japan), Chinese-Style Vegetable, and Bibimbap Beef (Korea). (You can also look for their Yakiniku Beef and Thai-Style Chicken). They were all so flavorful, thanks to Ling Ling‘s use of high quality ingredients and their unique preparation method – rather than simply giving you a sauce packet to stir into your meal, Ling Ling actually infuses the rice with the sauces so that you get amazing flavor in each bite.

Which was my favorite? I couldn’t make up my mind! Chinese-Style Vegetable, of course, is the traditional favorite I grew up with, while Yakitori Chicken had that wonderful umami flavor everyone talks about. (Plus it really did have big chunks of grilled chicken in it!) But I was most intrigued by the Bibimbap Beef, since I was the least familiar with it. The gochujang sauce has just a bit of heat to it but is also a bit sweet – I loved it!

Enjoy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

But first we got some expert cooking tips from Chef Mike Chapter from Parties That Cook. One of my favorites? If you are tired of peeling ginger, you can either use the back of a spoon to make it easier – or skip peeling altogether! Simply grate the ginger – peel and all – then squeeze it to wring out the juice. The juice is what you’re really after, so just add the same quantity of the juice as you would of the ginger – no more peeling!

We also had the chance to try our hand at making some side dishes to pair with the Ling Ling fried rice: Crispy Kale Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms, Raisins and Almonds paired with the Ling Ling Yakatori Chicken; Hand Rolled Scallion Pancakes paired with Ling Ling Chinese Style Vegetables; and Asian Cucumber Salad paired with the Ling Ling Bibimbap Beef.

I was on the team that made the Asian Cucumber Salad – doesn’t it look great?? And it was so simple to make!

Then we all got to sit down family style to enjoy the wonderful Asian-inspired dishes. Wouldn’t you like to serve a meal like this at your house?

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

Now you can! To try Ling Ling Fried Rice for yourself, take advantage of this coupon to get $2 off one box of Ling Ling Fried Rice at any retailer where the products are sold. You won’t regret it!

Enjoy Easy Asian-Inspired Dishes at Home | Alldonemonkey.com

What are your favorite Asian-inspired dishes? Share in the comments below!

Mar 172017
 
 March 17, 2017  Education, food, household 5 Responses »

The days are so long, but the years are so short: Doesn’t it seem like you look up one day and realize how much time has gone by? And you wonder, did I waste it all on things that at the end of the day weren’t so important, like the laundry, the dishes, etc.? One way to make sure the world isn’t passing you by is to connect with the rhythms of the seasons. Seasonal living can help you feel more grounded and connected to the world around you, which is an important lesson to teach our children as well. Because children that are connected to the natural world will feel compelled to protect and nurture it as adults.

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commissions at no extra cost to you.

5 Tips for Seasonal Living

1. Connect with Nature

This is an obvious tip but one that we often skip as we rush through our days. So many times I’m focused on the chores I need to complete that I don’t look up to appreciate the changing colors of the trees or the way the light hits the clouds just so at sundown. Luckily my children have not lost this sense of wonder at nature and frequently remind me to slow down and look at all the little crawling bugs and funny shaped clouds. When you are connected with nature, you are more in tune with the subtle changes as one season turns into another. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block or spending an afternoon at the park. Pick some wildflowers and display them in a pretty vase so you can bring the outdoors back home with you as a reminder of what matters.

2. Study the Natural World

Seasonal living means not just playing in nature but really learning from it. Our home school adviser got us started on nature journals – they are such a great way for kids (and adults!) to really pay attention to what they see around them. By training ourselves to really see what is in front of us, we notice details we normally miss and appreciate the long-term changes we may miss in our day to day observations. Pick a favorite tree or spot in your yard or local park, and have your child draw it every few weeks. It is so fun to look back and see how much it changes over time! You could also track how the constellations move across the sky with the seasons or how animals’ coats transform with the changing weather. Anything to get them to attend to the rhythms of the seasons – follow their interests and build on them!

Related Post: Spring Sensory Outdoor Play

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Support Your Local Farmer’s Market

There are few better places to discover seasonal living than the local farmer’s market. Most supermarkets import so much of their food that it can be hard to tell what’s really in season in your own part of the world. Farmer’s markets (and CSAs) are wonderful ways to explore local crops when they are at their peak. Make it into an adventure with your kids to see what is available at the farmer’s market that week. It could be a family challenge to try something new that has just arrived – a great way to introduce spontaneity into your weekly menu planning! Get ideas from the farmers themselves: Ask them about their favorite way to prepare the produce they are selling!

4. Plant a Garden

Planting a garden is another key factor to seasonal living. Besides teaching children the rewards of patience and hard work, a garden demonstrates in a very hands on way how the natural world has its own rhythms, as plants sprout then blossom and give fruit. Tuning into that gentle pace can be calming for children and adults alike, as we align our own expectations to this slower rhythm. If you don’t have outdoor space for a garden, you can create planters on your balcony or even grow herbs or small plants indoors. Many areas also have community gardens, where you can rent a plot for a small fee. This is a great way to meet like-minded neighbors as you tend your plants!

Related Post: Gift Guide for Crunchy Mamas

5. Cook with Seasonal Ingredients

And of course, with all that great produce from the farmer’s market and your own garden, you will bring seasonal living into your kitchen as you stretch yourself to prepare foods in new ways that highlight the flavors of the season. Living in harmony with natural rhythms helps keep you from getting into a rut, plus it ensures that you are enjoying produce when it is at its most flavorful!

That is why I’m so excited about the wonderful new cookbook Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season from Tuttle Publishing. It makes seasonal living so easy! The book is divided into sections by season, with recipes that feature the flavors that are available that time of year. I also love that it simplifies many traditional recipes to make them accessible to modern cooks – without sacrificing any of the flavor. Author Patricia Tanumihardja draws on her experiences in several different food cultures to blend traditions to make fresh, appetizing dishes, all using ingredients and equipment that you already have or can easily find.

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

One example is the Asparagus in Lemongrass-Coconut Cream Sauce. I have to admit I had never even cooked asparagus before, much less attempted a lemongrass-coconut cream sauce. But the steps in the recipe were so straightforward that even a newbie like myself was able to make a wonderful tasting dish in the brief period of time that all three of my kids were cheerfully occupied! I honestly felt like I was serving a dish right out of a restaurant!

5 Tips for Seasonal Living with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

I highly recommend Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season to anyone who loves to experiment in the kitchen but worries that they just don’t have the time. Even meat lovers will enjoy these hearty, flavorful vegan and vegetarian dishes and the variety that they will introduce into your meal times.

How do you introduce seasonal living to your children?

Jan 312017
 
 January 31, 2017  family, food, natural parenting Comments Off on Healthy & Fun Lunchbox Ideas for Your Kids

Healthy & Fun Lunchbox Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

Now that the school year is halfway over, it is easy to get in a rut with lunches for the kids. Want something fun to pack for them that you can feel good about? Here are some great healthy and fun lunchbox ideas for you!

I received complimentary samples of HONCHOS Organic Tortilla Chips; however, all opinions are my own.

Healthy & Fun Lunchbox Ideas

Put new life into your kids’ school lunches with these healthy & fun lunchbox ideas!

From All Done Monkey: Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

From Maple & Marigold: Spicy & Savoury Chickpea Flour Pancakes

From Mama Smiles: Make It Easy for Your Kids to Pack Healthy Lunches

From Danya Banya: Cheese Monsters

From Kidz Activities: Tuna Sushi & Minion Sandwich

From Kidgredients: Cinnamon Honey Roasted Chickpeas & Date and Banana Muffins, No Added Sugar

From Eats Amazing: Cheese & Tomato Omelette Muffins & Roasted Carrot Hummus

From Mooshu Jenne: Peanut Butter Rolls

Related Post: Healthy Desserts for Kids

As the links above show, “healthy” doesn’t have to mean boring or even complicated to make. There are also a lot of healthy, ready made snack options these days. One recent discovery is Deep River Snacks’ HONCHO Organic Tortilla Chips, which come in fun flavors like Nacho Cheese, Ranch, and (my favorite) Peach Habanero. These tasty chips are gluten-free and use 100% organic ingredients – no GMOs allowed!

I also love supporting businesses that are passionate about giving back to the community, which is why I was so happy to discover that Deep River Snacks helps raise awareness by featuring charities on their snacks, giving in-kind donations, and donating 10% of their net profits to charity.

But enough about why love them – the real test for the lunchbox is what the kids think! Let me just say this was a difficult photo shoot because, well, we could hardly stop eating long enough to get pictures! We got to try all three varieties, and none of them lasted long in our pantry.

Healthy & Fun Lunchbox Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

When it’s so good you just want to eat your hand

I asked the boys which was their favorite flavor, and they really couldn’t decide. Try doing a taste test with your kids and see if they have any easier time making up their minds! They are all so flavorful, your kids won’t miss the junk food they could be eating instead!

Healthy & Fun Lunchbox Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Healthy & Fun Lunchbox Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

All that was left by the time I got a picture

Jun 292016
 
 June 29, 2016  food, Kid Fun Comments Off on Sibling Bonding: 5 Things My Kids Actually Agree On

Sibling Bonding: 5 Things My Kids Actually Agree On | Alldonemonkey.com

As anyone with more than one kid can tell you, getting siblings to agree on anything is a Herculean task.  What should we have for lunch? What do you want to watch on TV? What’s your favorite color? All questions likely to start World War III in my house! My boys are as different as night and day.  That’s why it’s great when they actually agree on something! Here are 5 things that will bring them together for a little sibling bonding no matter what!

Sibling Bonding: 5 Things My Kids Actually Agree On

5. Ice cream (but don’t ask them to agree on a flavor!)

4. Running around the house shouting at the top of their lungs for no apparent reason

3. Leaving their shoes in the middle of the entrance hall (or kicked off in the middle of the living room)

2. Yummy snacks like Honey Nut Cheerios (as long as there is plenty for both of them!)

1. Really fun movies like The Secret Life of Pets (in theaters July 8!)

Sibling Bonding: 5 Things My Kids Actually Agree On | Alldonemonkey.com

While I do have to limit #5, and #4 and #3 drive me crazy, at least I can fully support #2 & #1!

As the mother of three young children, I love it when easy snacks are also healthy snacks.  Honey Nut Cheerios is a great snack or breakfast I can feel good about giving to my kids: It’s made with real honey, and whole grain oats are the first ingredient. And now it is also gluten free!

Sibling Bonding: 5 Things My Kids Actually Agree On | Alldonemonkey.com

Starting in July specially marked boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios, and Regular Cheerios will have 6 free collectible key chains with characters from The Secret Life of PetsMy kids are so excited to see this movie – it looks hilarious! Because haven’t you always wondered what really goes on when owners leave the house and pets are finally alone for the day??

Sibling Bonding: 5 Things My Kids Actually Agree On | Alldonemonkey.com

 

There are 6 collectible Pets characters in all. We got Max, the adorable terrier mix! My guys were so excited, they both ran to show it to my husband when he got home from work!

Sibling Bonding: 5 Things My Kids Actually Agree On | Alldonemonkey.com

 

So grab a bowl (or two or three!) of Honey Nut Cheerios with your kids before you head to the theaters on July 8, and be sure to create your own PetMoji too – it is so fun!

Secret Life of Pets PetMoji

Learn more about The Secret Life of Pets (in theaters July 8) and create your own PetMoji.

Jun 212016
 
 June 21, 2016  family, food, parenting 2 Responses »

Asian-Inspired Self-Care for Moms | Alldonemonkey.com

Taking care of children and household is a rewarding job but can also be draining.  Here are some favorite new means of self-care for moms. Inspired by the traditional wisdom and aesthetic of Asian cultures, these books are unique and beautiful ways to treat yourself, body and soul.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below from Tuttle Publishing for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Asian Inspired Self-Care for Moms

I love smoothies and make several a week for the kids and me. So I was excited for a chance to review Healthy Smoothies: Traditional Chinese Medicine Inspired Recipes – Ancient Traditions, Modern Healing. It has more than 30 easy recipes for healthy smoothies, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is so much more than just a recipe book, though, as it gives an explanation of TCM and its holistic approach to wellness. You learn how to discover your own constitution and the principles of how to choose the best recipes for you. In other words, some super foods may be really helpful for me and others less so, depending on the needs of my constitution and of the climate/season. So if you have particular ailment, you can use these principles to find recipes that can help. So it’s really a wellness book, not just a collection of recipes – perfect for self-care for moms- plus the smoothies are delicious!

 

And I love that the recipes are so different than ones you’ll find anywhere else. I’m used to smoothies being sweet, for example, not savory, as several of these are, and would you have ever thought to put beans in your smoothie? What’s great is that this is a book that stretches you to try new things (such as goji berries or mung beans) but it’s also very practical: there were no ingredients that I couldn’t find at my grocery store or at a health food store or nearby Asian market. It is a wonderful introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine and how it can help you!

Adult coloring pages are very popular now, and it’s easy to see why. Coloring is so relaxing, but sometimes using your kid’s Winnie-the-Pooh coloring book just doesn’t cut it! The Colors of Asia: An Anti-Stress Coloring Book for Calm and Creativity is a gorgeous collection of more than 90 designs inspired by Asian art. Rather than vegging out in front of the TV during naptime – or frantically trying to clean the house – try getting some self-care by taking some time to color in these elegant works of art. I dare you not to feel yourself transported away from the dirty dishes and dirty diapers into a realm where you are an artist. A wonderful stress reliever and active meditation, important elements in self-care for moms.

Many of us have an admiration for Buddhist thought but only a superficial understanding of it beyond the basics. Dharma Delight: A Visionary Post Pop Comic Guide to Buddhism and Zen is a joyful exploration of Buddhist teachings through the use of graphic novel style illustrations and short stories. It is a feel-good look at the path to enlightenment, making use of gentle humor to explain spiritual concepts. One of my favorites is a drawing of Buddha vacuuming, explaining to the dust that He is helping transport it to a better place where it can be a part of the cycle of life. But this isn’t a “lite” version of Buddhism, though the text is simple. It delves into bigger concepts such as how we can be a light to ourselves and who the Bodhisattvas (enlightened beings) were, but in a very engaging, readable way. Wonderful food for any mama’s soul, and would be great to introduce older kids to Buddhism as well.

Nov 142014
 
 November 14, 2014  food, natural parenting Comments Off on An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You}

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

Thank you to Farm Fresh to You for sponsoring this post!  All opinions are my own.

We all know the benefits of eating organic foods, especially for vulnerable groups like children.  There are also many benefits to eating locally grown foods.  And while more supermarkets are offering these options, often they are not as fresh and the offering not as varied as what we might like.

And if you have small children, the idea of spending time thoughtfully selecting your produce at the store will likely seem a bit far-fetched!

Enter Farm Fresh to You, an easy way to go organic!  This wonderful service brings local organic produce right to your doorstep.  You set up your deliveries on their easy to use website, picking and choosing exactly what you want in your box.

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

It is so easy – and fun! – to use.  I love that it is so easy to customize your service and modify it as your needs change.  You choose not only the frequency of your delivery, but also the type of box.  For example, we chose a small box of fruits and vegetables.  I love the option of a “snack” box filled with ready to eat produce, designed for offices!  (Wouldn’t you love to work somewhere that had organic fruit delivered for you to munch on??)  If you are the more adventurous type, you can choose the traditional CSA box, with the best seasonal local produce – including some you probably wouldn’t find in your grocery store!

I have seen other services that say you can customize your box, but really just within limits.  (You can remove the carrots, but not the kohlrabi!)  But Farm Fresh for You really lets you pick and choose exactly which items you want to include – and you can change your mind up to just a few days before your next delivery!

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey had a blast helping me customize our order.  I think it was like a computer game for him, except with organic fruits and veggies – score!  It was a fun way to get him involved in the process, which of course meant he was much more likely to actually try the food when they actually arrived!  Thanks to Farm Fresh for You, my picky eater tried pomegranate for the first time – and loved it!

I must say the quality of the food we received was exceptional.  The taste of the apples, for example, was out of this world!  This is even compared to the organic apples we purchase from our local grocery store.  Much of the fruit we ate right away, while the kale I used to make muffins and the pumpkin was made into pie!

Does organic produce delivered to your doorstep sound like something your family would enjoy?  Now is a great time to try it out and go organic!  My readers can use the code LEAN4714 to get $10 off your first box!

An Easy Way to Go Organic {Farm Fresh to You} | Alldonemonkey.com

To sign up, simply visit Farm Fresh to You or call 800.796.6009.

What is your favorite way to go organic?

Oct 282014
 

Pumpkin Rolls from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

This time we travel to Vietnam, and in celebration of the season we made these wonderful pumpkin rolls.  We took them to a play date, and the moms couldn’t stop talking about how soft and yummy they were!

I got the recipe from this fun Vietnamese cooking blog.   I had a hard time thinking of pumpkin rolls as being authentic Vietnamese food, but the recipe has a very authentic looking Vietnamese title (Bánh Bí Ngô Tí Hon), so I decided to go for it!  Below is the recipe, with converted measurements.  I did modify some of the proportions, which seemed off to me.  In particular, the ratio of wet to dry ingredients did not work for me, so I ended up added a great deal of extra flour in order to get the right consistency.  Also, I couldn’t find what “brown yeast” was, so I just used regular baking yeast with great results.

As you can see, because the consistency of the dough was still relatively wet (but I was worried that if I added any more flour the taste would be drastically altered), I wasn’t able to do the adorable design like she does, which makes the rolls look like actual pumpkins!  If you are able to make this work, please send the pictures, because it looks adorable!  But even if you aren’t able to achieve this (as I wasn’t), kids and parents will still love the pumpkin flavor of these delicious fall rolls.

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Makes 13-14 large or 17-18 medium rolls

Ingredients

200ml whole milk (between 3/4 c and 1 c – most measuring cups for liquids have markings for ml as well as cups)
1 can of pumpkin = approx 2 c of pumpkin puree
200g butter = slightly less than 1 c
2 – 7 oz packets of yeast
1 T sugar
1 T brown sugar
1 t salt
1 egg
2 c whole wheat flour
2 c white flour
Warm water, approx. 1/4 c

 

To Make

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet (you may need two).

Warm the milk then add melted butter and pumpkin puree.  Mix well.

2. Add yeast packets, sugars, salt, egg, plus 1/4 c of warm water.  Stir well but gently

3. Add flours then mix with wooden spoon until smooth and soft.  Add more water or flour as needed to make smooth dough.

4. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Knead by hand for approx 10 minutes then let rest for at least one hour, until dough has risen and is no longer sticky.

6. Divide into small balls of equal size. (See the tutorial if you would like to try making these into mini pumpkins).

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

7. Arrange the balls on a greased baking sheet.  Allow room for them to rise more as they cook.

8. Brush tops with beaten egg yolk then bake for 10-15 minutes, until rolls begin to brown.

What have you been cooking up with your kids?

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Vietnam, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


Oct 092014
 

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

I posted earlier about our dress-up play to learn about Saudi Arabia.  Today I am sharing our experience making Magic Cake!  This is an absolutely delicious recipe for  semolina cake with lemon rosewater that I borrowed from my amazing friend Sasha of Global Table Adventure!

Monkey was fascinated with the idea of a “magic” cake!  I called it that because after you bake it, you pour on top a heavenly concoction of lemon juice, sugar, and rosewater.  This perfumed syrup forms a lake on top – which magically disappears by the next morning!

The real trick of this recipe is to get the right kind of semolina.  (You can get all the details and see a photo in Sasha’s post).  Otherwise the syrup won’t soak into the cake properly.

 Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.comBefore adding the syrup

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Covered in a glistening lake of lemon rosewater syrup

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

Ready to eat!

Saudi Arabian Magic Cake {Around the World in 12 Dishes} | Alldonemonkey.com

We also learned about the geography of Saudi Arabia by tracing a map and filling it in.  This went much better than when I asked Monkey to make a flag during our last unit!

What magical adventures have you been having with your kids?

 

Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Saudi Arabia, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:


Oct 032014
 
 October 3, 2014  food, Kid Fun 6 Responses »

This may by far be my strangest post yet, but indulge me: Monkey loves carnivorous plants.  Fascinated by them.  As a result, we all know about not just venus fly traps but also pitcher plants, waterwheels, and sundews.

And so, like any good mother, I try to feed my son’s interests (sorry, couldn’t help it!) plus inject a little fun into the whole proceedings.

Thus, our carnivorous plants food art – enjoy!

Carnivorous Plants Food Art

Venus Fly Trap

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

Ah, those poor little beans, caught in a clever tortilla trap!

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

Note the trigger hairs inside the trap itself.  Watch out, raisins!  You don’t want to touch those!

Long-Leafed Sundew

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

Ay, poor cranberries, caught in a sticky honey trap!

Pitcher Plants

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

The hapless raisins, forever stilled by the plant’s evil jello walls

Carnivorous Plants Food Art | Alldonemonkey.com

And finally, the innocent chocolate chips take a final slide down the slippery ice cream slopes to their doom.

How are you having fun with your kids lately??

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