Homemade Graham Crackers…

… Also known as “The Most Delicious Snack Ever”.

Yesterday, Ava came to me asking for crackers.  We were fresh out.  Zero.  Zilch.  None.  Not even something I could pass off as a cracker.  I had zero interest in walking (or driving) to the grocery store, only to buy processed junk crackers.

Homemade crackers it is!

I remembered that I picked up a book at the library.  This was actually the second time I check this book out.  That rarely happens.  I actually love this book so much, I think I’m going to buy a copy.  I very rarely buy books because I’m such a fan of borrowing them from the library.  The book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, is  so overly useful.  I’m in love!

The Homemade Pantry

Anyway… so off we went, making homemade graham crackers.  I try to be very patient when cooking with Ava.  I let her scoop, pour, and stir.  She loves to help.  Even though it is completely unimportant at her age, we talk all about the measurements and each ingredient as we add them.  She touches the flour and smells the cinnamon.

Cooking with Toddlers

The dough for these crackers needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  This perfectly fell during nap time.  When she woke up, I had just pulled the first batch of warm crackers from the oven.  She was beyond excited.  These little gems of cinnamon-sugar are too good not to share.  Next time (which will be soon), I think I will use some fun cookie cutters!

Homemade Graham Crackers copy

Whole Wheat Graham Crackers | Adapted from The Homemade Pantry

Makes 45-50 2×3 inch crackers

  • 1 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Rye Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1/4 TSP Baking Soda
  • 1/2 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1-1/2 TSP Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar (Make your own with raw sugar and molasses!)
  • 3 TBSP Cold Butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4 TBSP Coconut Butter
  • 4 TBSP Honey (Local, if you can find it!)
  • 2 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 1 TSP Raw Sugar
  1. Combine the flours with the salt, baking soda, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the brown sugar.  Mix well.  Add the butter and the shortening and mix until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and vanilla with 1/4 cup of cold water.  Stir until the honey is dissolved.  Slowly add the honey mixture to the flour mixture.  Form the dough into a bowl and wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days.  (She says you can freeze it at this point.)
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator 20 minutes before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cut the dough in half and roll one half on a dusted surface (or between waxed paper).  Roll the dough as thin as possible, about 1/8 inch.  Cut your crackers into 2×3″ rectangles (or use cookie cutters!).  Place on a baking sheet using a spatula.  They won’t spread, so they can be very close.  Reroll the scraps and repeat until all of the dough is rolled.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with the 1 teaspoon sugar.  Sprinkle the crackers with the cinnamon-sugar and prick the dough several times with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown (about 12 minutes in my oven).  Remove from the oven and cool.

Graham Crackers From The Homemade Pantry

These crackers are incredible good.  Nothing beats homemade!  Enjoy!

SignatureIf you enjoyed this recipe, please share or Pin it!

This post contains affiliate links.  When you make a purchase, it helps support this blog and our family.  We thank you for your support.

Advertisements

Toddler Fun: Rainbow Rice

Rainbow Rice

Ava and I are in Florida visiting my family. My sister is out-of-town this week and my mom went to prom this weekend (as a chaperone, not a date) and Ava and I needed to find something to entertain ourselves for a few hours.  I’ve wanted to experiment with some sort of rice sensory activity, so we got to work. (Please excuse the horrible pictures.  My mother’s kitchen has NO natural light.)

I decided on making some rainbow rice. It couldn’t be too different from dying Easter eggs, right? Before we left for Alaska, I gave my mom a half-full 50 pound bag of rice that I had. I knew there was no way that they had eaten 25 pounds of rice in 7 months. Sure enough, I found a giant container of rice. You will also need white vinegar and food coloring. I used gel food coloring since that’s what mom uses when she makes cakes. You could definitely use the liquid kind too. So here’s what you need for each color.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • food coloring (to your desired shade)

Sensory Rice

I decided on 5 colors to get us started.  First, pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees.  In 5 small bowls, I poured in the 1/2 cup of rice and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.  I then picked my 5 colors and added a bit of food coloring into each bowl.  Stir with a spoon until all of the food coloring is incorporated.  You can add more food coloring if the color is not dark enough for your taste.

Carefully spoon each color into a thin layer on a cookie sheet and smash into a flat layer.  Repeat with each color.  You will end up with a pan that looks like this.

Rainbow Rice

Bake the rice at 175 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and gently stir each color with a fork.  You will see that there may still be some moisture on the bottom of the pan.  Return the pan to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until all of the rice is dry.

Remove your rainbow rice from the oven and you’re ready to play!  I poured each color (as best I could) into different size measuring cups and bowls.

Toddler Rice Play

I also set her up with a few different scoops, spoons, and even a small funnel.  She had a blast!

Sensory Rice Play

I definitely plan on doing this on a larger scale once we get back to Texas.  Think: rainbow rice sandbox (ricebox?), but something with a lid.  Oh, and be prepared for a mess.  I think we will keep this as an outdoor activity.

Toddler Sensory Play

Even I had fun playing with the rainbow rice.  Do you think you will make some?

Change of Plans

Sorry for the lack of posts since our announcement. Our computer got a virus and we haven’t taken it in to get it fixed yet. In the meantime, I’ll be posting from my phone (boo).

20130407-150325.jpg
Photo by: Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

So we’ve had a slight change in plans. We are still going to Houston, but we will not be driving. After thinking about it, Tony and I decided that it was a suicide mission trying to drive the 4300 miles from Alaska to Texas with a toddler. It’s also much less expensive to fly.

Although it’s much less expensive, it’s a little more complicated. Flying means that we have to sell our truck. This makes me sad. I love our truck. It’s a used (but well taken care of) Land Rover Freelander. I love this truck more than any other vehicle I’ve ever owned. I’m slightly heartbroken.

When we decided to sell it, we had just over two weeks before our take off date. I wasn’t sure we would find a buyer. Well, we had lots of interest and we have a buyer. It’s someone we know and they have been nice enough to wait until right before we leave to do the paperwork. Perfect timing! Now we have to go car shopping in Houston. I hate car shopping.

We are all set to fly out on the 15th. We are just a week out. I’m not going to lie, I’m totally dreaming of 80 degrees and lots of humidity. Poor Ava’s skin is so dry.

I was hoping to eliminate one of our suitcases, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. My uncle is coming to Anchorage the day before we leave and has volunteered to take one of our suitcases back to Florida for us. TSA may or may not wonder why my uncle has a child’s size grocery cart in his suitcase.

That leaves us with 4 suitcases. That’s not bad considering we came up here with 5, plus we shipped a few things, and the stuff we bought in the past 6 months. We’re actually going to Texas with less stuff than we came to Alaska with. That’s always nice.

Now I just have to keep the four suitcases under 50 pounds each. Do you have any tips for that?

Incorporate “Preschool” Everyday

Colorful Blocks Homeschool Preschool

I was told by a former co-worker that her child was better off at preschool than at home because she could not do all of the activities that they do with him. (Insert my blank stare here.) The preschool employees are not doing anything that you cannot do yourself.  YOU are your child’s best teacher. Don’t doubt your own abilities.

Even though Ava is only 15 months old, preschool has already begun. We do not do any form or formal teaching. Preschool is just that, the learning your child does “pre school”. We actually practice more of a Montessori style of learning at our house.

Eventually I plan to set up a more formal Montessori playroom, but for now we just try to incorporate learning into our everyday routine. Our current living space is fairly limited.

So what do we do to encourage learning? Here are a few activities we regularly do.

  1. Allow your child to cook and clean with you. Ava loves to help cook. I let her get right in the action. (I want her to have a kitchen helper stool like this one. I will probably build her one this summer.) She helps stir and add ingredients. This is a great way to introduce your child to the kitchen. She knows that the stove is hot and that knives are sharp. I also allow her to feel the different textures of food as well as taste new things. As a result, she has a very broad palate. This girl loves everything! She also loves to “help” me do the dishes. These activities may result in a little extra clean up, but it’s so worth it.
  2. Use everyday objects in play. Ava has a whole collection of random containers, jugs, an old cell phone, and a wallet among other things. We don’t buy a lot of commercial toys, we just don’t need to. An old oatmeal container becomes a drum. A small shopping bag is perfect for sorting blocks.
  3. Play! Yes, play. You may think that your life is too busy or that free play is not important; make time for it. Free play encourages your child to use his or her imagination. Children who engage in more imaginative play have more self-control and a longer attention span when they get older.

See the blocks in the picture above? They are actually gram weights that I picked up for $.50 at The Salvation Army. Right now Ava loves to stack them and sort them by colors. She also loves to put them all in their bag and then dump them out. When she gets older, we can use them for counting, building patterns, and as actual weights. There are 1, 5, 10, and 20 gram weights. And if you were wondering, they hurt just as bad as legos when you step on them. =)

Do you “preschool” at home? Do you have any advice?