Monday, March 15, 2010

Day #8 of Spring Break - cooking, cleaning, card games & pretend

We are attempting to get the house waaay more clean than it is right now, so today was another stay-at-home day.

I made a new batch of yogurt (I've been making one per week, most weeks), made a very tasty Shrimp & Rice Vermicelli salad for Mark's lunch (recipe below), and made Maple-Banana Cream of Wheat for breakfast.

This was all done while Jaymi was in bed.  She slept in today - till about 9:10 am!  She must have needed some sleep.  She looked tired when she got up, and wasn't even hungry for breakfast, until about 11:30 am.

Shrimp & Rice Vermicelli Salad:

Toss a 2 handfuls of shrimp in frying pan with ½ cup white wine, 2 bay leaves, ½ lemon, 1 green onion (sliced), 3 cloves garlic (chopped), and ½ tsp red pepper flakes.
In medium bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp lemon rind (grated), 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tbsp Dijon.  In large bowl add shrimp, rice noodles, 1 small red pepper, sliced, 1 small red chile pepper (seeded and sliced), 1 julienned carrot, 1 105g tub feta with garlic and herbs (crumbled) and 1 cup julienned basil.  Stir in dressing and refrigerate for full flavour.

Maple-Banana Cream of Wheat
Pour into a pot - 2 cups water and 1 cup milk and ¼ tsp salt; heat until scalded.  Add 1/2 cup of Cream of Wheat and bring to a boil while stirring.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 minutes.  Add 1 full banana, sliced up, and a drizzle of maple syrup.  Add 3 egg whites; heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly)  Serve with an extra drizzle of maple syrup and a slice of banana, for garnish.

After breakfast, Jaymi and started our day together with a steamed milk for Jaymi (cappuccino for me) and doing some crosswords and word searches together.
It was a very nice, easy, fun start to the day.

Then we cleaned.

Besides all of the cleaning we got done today, we did manage to have a lot of fun as well.  We alternated between 30-50 minutes of cleaning sessions, and fun activities.
Jaymi and I played another game of cribbage.  She is rapidly getting very good at that game!  I did manage to beat her this time though - even skunked her!
We now have an ongoing championship in progress, on our coffee table.

Of course, there were two pretend fairy games (one involving Amber the Orange fairy and one involving Lucy the Diamond fairy.

In the later afternoon, we did a bird study, learning so much about birds.
We did an experiment showing how feathers keep birds warm (holding a Ziploc bag of ice cubes in our hands and feeling the temperature, holding the bag of ice with a Ziploc bag of feathers in between the ice and our hands).
We did an experiment showing how feathers keep birds waterproof (brushing a bit of cooking oil that mimics a bird's natural cleaning oils, on the feather, then pouring a bit of water on the feather and watching it simply roll off).
We also learned how colourful plumage and body language allow a male bird to attract a female bird when she decides to look for a mate.  (We acted that one out - fun!)
We made a small vocabulary list:  plumage, ostrich, migrate, ornithology, ornithologist, magpie.
We learned that the largest bird is the ostrich, who also lays the largest eggs and has the largest eyeballs!
We learned that the smallest bird is the bee hummingbird.
We learned that the ostrich can run up to 70 km/h.
We learned that the magpie steals shiny objects to collect in his nest.
We learned that the hummingbird is the only bird that fly forwards, backwards, and sideways.
We learned that birds molt at least once a year.
We learned that birds have knees.
Jaymi searched outside for materials to build a nest, and built one in a paper cup.  We put a plastic egg inside.

We spent some time making a paper bird out of cut-out beaks, heads, bird feet, bodies, and tail feathers.

We made cute egg carton animals.

And yesterday, we watched the cutest videos of newborn birds, as well as the most awesome talking parrots.

And after all that, I cooked a very successful dinner - Jaymi ate 4 full fish sticks!  I don't think I've seen her eat more than the required mouthful of fish in years!  She loved these.

EatingWell Fish Sticks:
1 cup whole-wheat dry bread crumbs
1 cup whole-grain cereal flakes
1 tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ salt
½ cup flour
2 egg whites, beaten
1 lb tilapia fillets, cut into ½-by-3-inch strips (I didn't have tilapia so I used basa fillets)
Preheat oven to 450F.  Set a wire rack on a baking sheet, coat with cooking spray.
Place breadcrumbs, cereal flakes, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in food processor and blend until finely ground.  Transfer to shallow dish.
Place flour in a second shallow dish and egg whites in a third.  Dredge each strip in the flour, dip in egg and coat with breadcrumb mixture.
Place on rack.  Coat both sides of fish with spray.
Bake until fish is cooked through and breading is crisp, about 10 minutes.

Delicious Cole Slaw Recipe

Preparation time: 10 Minutes

Serves 6-8 as a side dish
1 medium head red cabbage
¼ cup julianned golden beet (substitute turnip or parsnip)
½ cup diced red peppers
1/3 cup diced green peppers
1 medium carrot shredded
½ tablespoon sesame seeds
1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ - ¾ cup Spicy Oriental Cole Slaw Dressing

Spicy Oriental Cole Slaw Dressing
Makes 3/4 Cup of dressing
¼ cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons honey
1 large clove garlic minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup water

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Make sure that the honey is thoroughly incorporated. Taste and adjust flavors to suit your taste.

I also made brown rice to go with the slaw and fish.

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