Great sleep­overs start in the kitchen

The Prince George Citizen - - AT HOME - Kim COOK

Par­ents who have hosted sleep­overs know that half the fun for kids is mak­ing and eat­ing treats. So it pays to prep the kitchen with fun culi­nary gear and sup­plies for the in­door cam­pout crowd. Some en­ter­tain­ing ideas and gear: Get the movie-the­atre vibe go­ing with Great North­ern Pop­corn’s Retro Style Pop­per. Or if space is tight, opt for West Bend’s Air Crazy Mini Pop­corn Ma­chine, which air-pops eight cups in three min­utes. ( www.tar­get.com)

“I like to give ev­ery­one a dif­fer­ent colour bowl, so they know which pop­corn is theirs,” says Joss & Main’s style di­rec­tor Donna Gar­lough.

Or of­fer kids lit­tle bowls in dif­fer­ent pat­terns for treats like pop­corn and ice cream. Gar­lough ad­vises choos­ing smaller ones so kids don’t go over­board with sweet scoops and top­pings. ( www.jos­sand­main.com)

Ba­nana splits, sand­wiches and sun­daes are easy with one of Chef’n’s Sweet Spot Ice Cream Makers. Freeze the dish a day ahead, and then on sleep­over night let the kids pour in the ice cream base. Wait a cou­ple of min­utes, and start scoop­ing. You can make cus­tom sand­wiches with cook­ies. ( www.wil­liams-sonoma.com)

All you need is a cookie sheet for one sleep­over clas­sic: “Most kids love pizza, and this idea al­lows kids to cus­tom­ize their own,” says Par­ents mag­a­zine se­nior edi­tor Karen Cicero. Just un­roll store-bought pizza dough onto the cookie sheet and, us­ing a knife, cre­ate an out­line for twelve pieces, but don’t cut through.

“Of­fer tomato sauce, pesto, cheeses, veg­gies and other top­pings so guests can cre­ate their own de­signs on one or two of the slices,” Cicero says. Bake ac­cord­ing to the dough pack­age in­struc­tions.

Or let the kids line muf­fin tins with cres­cen­troll dough tri­an­gles, fill them with pizza-type top­pings, and bake for about 20 min­utes. ( www.bet­ty­crocker.com)

Cicero ad­vises stock­ing up on squeeze bot­tles that can be filled with fun sauces like ranch dress­ing or honey mus­tard sauce. “Kids can use them to make de­signs on the rims of their plates.”

Tools with help­ful fea­tures like kid-size han­dles and sil­i­cone but­tons will help keep prepa­ra­tions mov­ing safely. A set of col­or­ful, easy-grip mugs lets ev­ery­one have their own bev­er­age. ( www.cu­ri­ouschef.com)

From the French knife com­pany Opinel, there’s a child-friendly, four-inch chef’s knife and peeler equipped with fin­ger guards. ( www. opinel-usa.com)

Mak­ing in­door s’mores can be a fun ac­tiv­ity for the sleep­over squad. Jamie Lothridge at www.my­bakingad­dic­tion.com melts marsh­mal­lows and but­ter over low heat, stirs in some gra­ham cracker ce­real, presses it all into a pan, and then adds some cho­co­late pieces and chills it for a cou­ple of hours.

Don’t for­get about break­fast the morn­ing af­ter. Load up a Pan­cake Pen sil­i­cone squeeze bot­tle with bat­ter, and kids can spend the morn­ing doo­dling break­fast art on a grid­dle or fry pan. ( www.world­mar­ket.com)

The out­door gar­den­ing sea­son is quickly com­ing to an end, but don’t let that stop you from gar­den­ing. You can plant bulbs in­doors now, and en­joy their beau­ti­ful blooms in early win­ter.

The nice thing about bulbs is that they are easy to grow with very lit­tle ef­fort. They al­ready have ev­ery­thing they need in­side the bulb. And all they need is to be planted. The flower and nu­tri­ents are stored in­side the bulb so when choos­ing bulbs, look for the big bulbs as th­ese will con­tain the big­gest flow­ers.

The eas­i­est bulbs for in­door plant­ing are pre­pared bulbs such as hy­acinths and pa­per whites, as th­ese have al­ready gone through the chill­ing process and will bloom sev­eral weeks af­ter they have been planted. Hy­acinths and pa­per whites are known for their at­trac­tive, fra­grant blooms.

An­other very at­trac­tive and pop­u­lar bulb to grow in­doors this time of year is amaryl­lis. The large trum­pet-shaped flow­ers grow on top of long thick stems. Each stem can have as many as four to six flow­ers, and de­pend­ing on the size of the bulb, each can have two to three stems, giv­ing you many weeks of en­joy­ment. There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties to choose from, and all are equally beau­ti­ful.

Also avail­able at the gar­den cen­tre are the waxed amaryl­lis bulbs, which are the eas­i­est to grow. The roots are re­moved from the bulb and then it is covered in a wax which pre­vents the bulb from grow­ing new roots. There are a va­ri­ety of wax colours and fin­ishes, mak­ing the bulb at­trac­tive as well as the flow­ers. Waxed amaryl­lis bulbs re­quire no plant­ing or wa­ter – they sim­ply grow, so they can be placed in any­thing. Af­ter they have fin­ished bloom­ing the bulbs are thrown out, un­like the reg­u­lar amaryl­lis bulbs which can be saved from one year to the next.

Bulbs planted in­doors can be planted in soil or wa­ter. Grow­ing bulbs in wa­ter is a fun project, es­pe­cially when you use clear glass so you can watch the roots form. Start by choos­ing a con­tainer that has a di­am­e­ter that is slightly larger than the bulb. Tapered con­tain­ers and vases work well as the bulb sits in the wider part of the vase al­low­ing room for the roots to grow in the slen­der part of the vase.

Hour­glass vases also work well, such as the hy­acinth vase, which is spe­cific for grow­ing hy­acinths in wa­ter. Fill the con­tainer with just enough wa­ter so that the wa­ter level is just be­low the bot­tom of the bulb, but not sit­ting in it, as this will cause the bulb to rot. To add weight and a dec­o­ra­tive touch to the vase, place some colour­ful stones in the bot­tom of the vase be­fore plac­ing the bulb in. When plant­ing in soil, use a high qual­ity in­door pot­ting soil and place bulbs in a deep, weighted con­tainer that is slightly larger than the bulb. Start by plac­ing soil in the bot­tom of the con­tainer then place the hy­acinth or pa­per­white bulbs in the soil and con­tinue to fill with enough soil so that the tips of the bulbs are still ex­posed. If plant­ing more than one bulb in the con­tainer, leave enough space be­tween the bulbs so that they are not touch­ing.

Amaryl­lis bulbs are planted in soil by plac­ing a small amount of soil in the bot­tom of the con­tainer, then hold­ing the bulb above the con­tainer al­low­ing the roots to dan­gle down. Con­tinue to fill the con­tainer with soil un­til the bot­tom half of the bulb is covered with soil, leav­ing the top of the bulb ex­posed. Af­ter bulbs have been planted, tamp soil down and give a thor­ough wa­ter. Wa­ter spar­ingly un­til growth ap­pears.

HAND­OUT PHOTO

This photo pro­vided by Wil­liams-Sonoma shows their Ice Cream Starter mixes.

HAND­OUT PHO­TOS

ABOVE: This photo pro­vided by Wil­liams-Sonoma shows their ice cream sand­wich molds. RIGHT: This photo pro­vided by Tar­get shows West Bend’s Air Crazy pop­corn ma­chine, which quickly makes a crowd-sized por­tion of pop­corn with­out any messy oil. Heat the but­ter for driz­zling in the handy con­tainer on top while the pop­corn is pop­ping.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.