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  • This one of those recipes that is fun to experiment with. I’ve made it a few different ways with various dried fruits and nuts. One ingredient I recommend that you not improvise with is the brown rice syrup. When I could not find it at my usual market, I substituted agave syrup. Although it tasted great, it didn’t bind well and the bars were more like clumps. Don’t skimp on this item. Purchase the brown rice syrup online if necessary. To get the recipe, click on the article I wrote for Parent Society.

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  • Ingredients:
    1 pint cranberry juice cocktail
    1 quart apple juice
    1 cup water
    6 whole cloves
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1 lemon, thinly sliced

    Mix all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Strain and serve.

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  • You will need:
    2 lbs. firm apples cut into quarters
    1/2 cup apple cider
    1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
    2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1 tsp. ground cloves
    1 tsp. ground allspice
    Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

    Place the apples, cider and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pass through a food mill. Return to saucepan and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook over low heat and stir occasionally, until very thick and dark brown, about 2 to 3 hours. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

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  • You won’t need a special heart-shaped muffin tin to make these muffins.

    Materials:
    Your favorite muffin recipe
    Muffin tins
    Muffin or cupcake liners
    Marbles or marble-sized rolled up balls of foil.

    Line the muffin tins with the liners and prepare your favorite muffin or cupcake recipe. Fill the liners with the batters.  Place the marble or foil between the liner and the edge of the muffin tin. Bake as usual. As the muffin bakes the batter will pull away from the sides and form a heart shape.

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  • I don’t usually describe food as fun, but recently I tried Bear Naked granola and I loved it. ( I would just like to interject here that I am not a paid endorser of the product, and I didn’t get freebies to try it either. I just liked it and want to share it with you.)  My kids were asking me to make them yogurt, fruit and  granola parfaits so I picked up some Bear Naked granola and some Stonyfield yogurt and on the inside lid of the yogurt I found this recipe for granola cupcakes. I have made them twice. The first time with The Heavenly Chocolate granola and the second time with The Vanilla Almond Crunch granola.  The added granola makes for a very interesting and fun texture. My family loved them.

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 T plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract (Can omit or use less if using vanilla yogurt.)
    1 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
    2 cups of all purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. baking powder
    2 cups of Bear Naked granola

    In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping bowl constantly. Add yogurt and mix well.

    In a separate bowl sift all the dry ingredients except for granola. Add to butter mixture until well blended. Fold in the granola.

    Pour into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm or cooled. Frost if desired.

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  • I got this recipe from my children’s preschool teacher. Apparently this is very popular with the toddler set. Makes for great fun and an opportunity to vent pent up frustrations.

    Ingredients:

    3 cups oatmeal

    1 1/2 cups flour

    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

    1 1/2 cups butter or margarine

    1 tsp. baking soda

    Put all the ingredients together into a bowl and knead with your hands. You can’t mix too much. When the kids are satisfied that they mixed it up enough, drop by rounded teaspoons onto  ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees  for ten minutes.

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  • Ingredients:

    2 cups pumpkin seeds

    2 T vegetable oil

    1 tsp. salt

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse seeds well in cold water and spread out on paper towels to dry thoroughly.  Place in large bowl and add oil and salt. Toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

    For a tasty variation try the following: Substitute 4 T melted butter (1/2 stick) for the oil and add 3 T light brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground allspice, and a pinch each of ground nutmeg,  ground cloves and salt.

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  • It’s that time of year again when the pressure is on to come up with some creative alternatives to the usual lunch box fare. Get the kids involved and you are more likely to entice them to try out their masterpieces. Read the rest of this entry »

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