Homemade Playdough

The other day my little miss and I decided to have a go at making our own playdough. I’ve been meaning to do this with her for awhile, and we finally got around to it!

It turned out to be not only incredibly simple, but the best consistency playdough ever – better than store-bought for sure! We made two varieties, just for fun – glitter and scented. We got our recipe via The Imagination Tree.

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water (adding more in increments if needed)
  • Food coloring (I used icing dyes, which are oil based, instead of liquid food coloring since the colors are more vibrant.)

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First, mix together all the dry ingredients and the vegetable oil. (My daughter was so happy about making her own playdough!)

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Then pour in the hot water and mix up until a sticky dough forms.

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I find the icing dyes give much more vibrant colors. And the glitter was just some plain old craft glitter.

At this point, you need to use your hands to knead it into the perfect playdough consistency. This is the most important part, so keep kneading it around until it’s right – it doesn’t take long. I tossed on some latex gloves for this step because this is when I  added the food coloring. Definitely wear gloves for this part or you will have some REALLY vibrant stained hands! But don’t worry, once the color is thoroughly worked through, it doesn’t stain skin or clothes at all.

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The finished products!

We decided to experiment a bit and make one into glitter playdough, and one into scented playdough. We started with glitter. This is really, really easy. Take some playdough (my missy picked the pink ball) and flatten it slightly. Pour bunches of glitter on it. Then knead THOROUGHLY. You really want to mix it all in to make sure the glitter stays in the playdough, and doesn’t constantly fall off. But once it’s worked in, you have awesome glitter playdough! It’s my little girl’s new favorite.

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For our scented playdough, she picked the red ball. I added in some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and kneaded it all around. It did turn the red a bit brownish, but that’s just fine! It smells soooo delicious when we play with it.

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I can’t recommend this recipe enough. It’s super easy, cheap, and the consistency is GREAT. Great enough that we threw out her other old playdough to replace it all with the new homemade kind! Enjoy!

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Apple Fritters

Apple recipe number two!

I have never made apple fritters before, and it is very rare that I fry things since A: it’s not particularly healthy, and B: I’m lazy, and frying is a lot of effort and cleanup I don’t like dealing with! Mostly B. . . But occasionally I’ll tryout a recipe that involves it, and this year it was these fritters.

You can find the recipe here via Use Real Butter (which I think is a fabulous blog name!) This particular recipe is very involved. It was fun to do, and would be great to make for many people, but it is certainly one of those recipes I would make once a year at most. And for this one, I followed the recipe word for word – a rarity in baking for me but this was a foreign territory! I’m not going to rewrite the whole thing here, so if you’d like to give these a shot click the link above and follow the recipe!

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First you mix up the batter, which sits aside and sets for awhile.

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In the meantime, you prep your apples for frying. I discovered I am terrible at cutting apples with the same thickness! Luckily, it doesn’t affect the outcome terribly. Also, I had some halves because I kept snapping my apple rings – oops! But they fried up just fine.

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Then comes the battering and frying, which is actually not hard, just a bit messy on the fingers. Also, I broke my candy thermometer awhile back and never replaced it, so I had to completely guess on my oil temperature!

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Once finished, I liberally sprinkled on some confectioner sugar and chowed down! They were a great combo of doughnut-like outside and gooey apple inside. . .YUM!

So as stated above, these are certainly something I wouldn’t make often. It uses so many dishes, is time consuming and isn’t at all toddler-friendly, so it’s just not too conducive to my current lifestyle. But they were tasty, that’s for sure!

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Apple Picking

Apple picking is definitely in my top 3 favorite fall activities (the other two being pumpkin decorating, and of course HALLOWEEN!). This past weekend my brother and his girlfriend were up from Boston for a visit so we took a family trip out apple picking!

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The hubs being a goon.

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Picking some low ones.

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Chatting with my brother’s girlfriend, whom she adores.

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Daddy helps reach the high ones.

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My brother showing off his juggling skills.

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We ended up with well over ten pounds of apples! I can’t wait to make some delicious treats with these. Apple crisp, apple fritters, apple pie. . . .mmmmmmm. Expect some apple recipe posts for sure in the coming weeks!

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Molasses Cookies

I’m about 95% sure that molasses cookies are my all time favorite cookie. They are such a perfect combo of soft and chewy, not too sweet with that lovely spice taste. . .I’m drooling thinking about them. However, I make them sparingly, and really only in the fall. I think the fact that I only have them twice a year or so definitely adds to my love for them!

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Molasses cookies are definitely a bit more involved compared to my chocolate chip cookie recipe, but they are so worth it. So if you’re up for a bit of extra time and effort, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

3/4 Cups Margarine, melted. (I use Country Crock Spread which isn’t true margarine, but works perfectly.)
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Molasses
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Cup White Sugar (for rolling)

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First combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl.

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Mix thoroughly, and set aside.

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In a larger bowl beat sugar, melted butter, and egg together until smooth.

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Pour in molasses and mix well.

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Pour dry ingredients into the wet, and combine thoroughly.

At this point, cover your bowl with tinfoil and chill in the fridge for an hour, minimum. (Mine chilled for about two hours since I let it sit in for all of my little missy’s nap time!)

Once chilled, preheat oven to 375. Measure out your half cup of sugar into a bowl, and some flour into another bowl. Flour your hands regularly as you roll the dough into walnut size balls (mine were slightly larger) to prevent it from sticking.

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My assistant really enjoyed the ‘flour your hands’ part!

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Roll each ball in the sugar, then place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks, and enjoy!

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These didn’t last long in our house. This batch made roughly 34 cookies. . .they were gone in about five days! However we did share with our neighbor, and with my brother. That’s the excuse I’m sticking with at least.

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Kitchen Sink Chicken

I found a recipe on Pinterest titled ‘Rainbow Chicken’ which looked delicious. After a teensy bit of searching, I found the source of the recipe, which can be found here via Kitchen Parade. However, as I do with most recipes, I changed it up a bit, so here’s my version!

I refer to this recipe as ‘Kitchen Sink Chicken’ simply because it is so versatile. You can throw in any combo of veggies you want and it will still be delectable. That’s my kind of recipe. Also, my version feeds two adults + one toddler, however it can easily be adapted to more people – just up your ingredients proportionally.

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (This is just what I use – really use any kind of chicken meat you want!)
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbl red wine vinegar (or in my case you can discover you are OUT of red wine vinegar and make your own using 1 parts red wine to 2 parts apple cider vinegar! Works like a charm.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 medium sized onion

For the vegetables you can really use whatever you want! I used:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 2 small red potatoes
  • 2 1/2 carrots (aka all I had left in my fridge)
  • roughly 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • roughly 1 cup broccoli florets

Neither my little one or myself like peppers, so we left those out. But if you like them – toss them in for sure!

Preheat your oven to 425F.

After gathering all my veggies, I started off making the spice rub first.

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Then it’s time to chop up the big stack of veggies (excluding the onion and lemon). I totally forgot to take a picture of my pile of chopped veg. . .whoopsie daisy.

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Then, chop your onion and line the bottom of the pan with them.

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Take your chicken out, and give them a good rub down of the spice mixture with your fingers. I’d say I used about 2 – 3 tsps of the mixture per breast, just to give you an idea. When finished, lay them on top of the onion bed.

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Looks pretty good already!

Next grab a (giant) bowl – large enough to hold your whole pile of chopped veggies with room for stirring! I used a spatula to transfer my rub mixture into the big bowl. Had I thought ahead, I would have just made the rub IN the big bowl. . .but I didn’t. Next time! Pour your veggies in on the top of the rub and give them a good stirring to thoroughly coat them as much as possible.

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Spread the veggies around and on top of the chicken.

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Then slice up your lemon, remove any seeds, and lay on top of your meal.

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How delicious does this look?! Om nom nom.

Cover with foil and bake! Mine took about an hour and a half but my chicken breasts were very thick. I’d still say an hour minimum is a good place to start. Once done, let cool for 10 -15 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

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