Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Recommendations for Kids Who Like Bob the Builder

I've been checking out every building book I can find at the library and most of the books have been pretty underwhelming.  The non-fiction ones are basically pictures of big machines and descriptions of what they do.  The fiction ones are drawings of big machines and tools and descriptions of what they do.  Some of the fiction ones have a bit of a story, but really not that interesting.  The Bob the Builder books are abbreviated versions of various episodes on the TV show and thus Selena already knows them.  But I have come across a few that all three of us have enjoyed so I thought I would share them.

David Gordon has wrote a few books (The Three Little Rigs, Hansel and Diesel, and The Ugly Truckling that are retelling of well known fairy tales, but where the main characters are machines. Allie especially liked The Three Little Rigs, where the rigs said "Not by the chrome on our chinny chin chins."

Who Made This Cake? has baking and building in it, which was perfect for Selena. A whole crew of little people use their machines to bake a cake. The pictures are great and the concept is novel.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Selena's been up to mostly the same things.  She enjoys Bob the Builder and building, however she has watched every Bob episode 100's of times and is now starting to request them less and less.  Lowes has free building projects for children on Saturdays.  We tried to go, but didn't realize you had to register first, so we ended up spending $20 buying past building projects instead.  :P  But both the projects were really good and I think we'll have fun when we are able to do the free ones.   We've also been building lots of stuff out of cardboard (this blog and this blog have some good inspiration).   So we've made castles, and bird houses, and boats.

We joined the Y a few months back and its fun to hear about Selena making friends with the kids in the child care area.  She seems to have a lot of fun.  Allie, on the other hand, not so much.

She is also seeming to make friends at preschool as well.  Every once in a while little quips come out of her about the kids at school.  Zachary wears gel in his hair, like dad.  So and so just turned four.  For a while the teacher was bringing her one year old granddaughter to school and Selena loved that.  She always had stories about what baby Stella did during class.  Once she escaped the classroom, and all the kids followed her (sounds like the teacher had a mutiny) and then baby Stella had to be put in her contraption.

Selena's been doing some runs as well.  First I go for my run, then Floyd goes for his, then Selena has to go for hers.  Sometimes she runs a lot, and sometimes she gets tired and has to walk.

Interactions with her sister go from super sweet, to downright mean.  It is amazing how fast the switch can come.  So we work on it.  What are the appropriate ways for them to tell each other to stop.  Snatching things out of each other's hands isn't ok, etc, etc, etc.  But the sweet moments are nice.  Selena will hold Allie's hand and guide her safely when walking somewhere, or they sit on the couch all snuggled.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Recipe - Low Sugar and Low Carb

Since I'm not able to eat sugar any more I've been very sad about not getting to eat ice cream.  Ice cream was my go-to comfort food, and I have spent a lot of time learning how to make delicious homemade ice cream.  I don't want that skill to go to waste!  So I've been pondering this very low sugar/low carb ice cream recipe for a while and I finally got around to making it and I think its delicious.  It is perfect for my palette that no longer likes things super sweet and it satisfies the chocolate and creamy goodness of ice cream.  I think it would also work well as a nice dessert for people with diabetes.  You can easily adapt the recipe to a normal ice cream recipe by adding 3/4 cup of sugar (I have included where to add this in the instructions).

A half cup serving of this ice cream will give you about 12g total carbs, 3g of fruit sugar, and 2g of cane sugar.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Recipe

  • 4 or 5oz of dark chocolate cut into pieces
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • 1 cup of 2% milk
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1 vanilla bean (could substitute half tsp of vanilla abstract)
  • Take 1 cup of the cream and warm it up on the stove.  Add the cocoa powder and the vanilla bean. (Slice the vanilla bean open and scrape it and let it soak in the warm milk.  
  • Once hot remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until its melted.  Move the mixture to a new large bowl and let the warm mixture sit with the vanilla bean in it.
  • Rinse out the pot and warm up 1 cup of milk (If you want to make this a fully sweetened ice cream you can add 3/4 cup of sugar to the milk now).  Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl and whisk.  Pour the warm milk slowly into the bowl while whisking constantly.
  • Pour the egg milk mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat stirring constantly.  When the mixture (custard) coats the spatula and you can draw a line on the spatula with your finger, the custard is done.
  • Pour the custard through a strainer into the chocolate/milk mixture.
  • Immediately pour in the last cup of cream and stir vigorously.  You should put the bowl in an ice bath, but I never do that step.
  • Pull out the vanilla bean and scrape as much of the insides as you can.  Discard the shell.
  • Peel the two bananas and break them up and put it in the mixture.  Use an immersion blender, or pour the mixture into a blender and blend.
  • Cover the ice cream and put in the fridge, preferably overnight.
  • Pour in your ice cream maker and churn according to its directions.
  • Eat straight from the ice cream maker or put in a container and freeze.  I like to use small glass mason jars.
See here for more ice cream making tips.  Please comment if you try this recipe.  Thanks!