Recipes

Celebrate Chinese New Year

by On January 29, 2014 in Childrens Books, Holidays, Reading, Recipes

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<a href="http://www.infoplease.com/spot/chinesenewyear1.html" target="_blank">Chinese New Year</a> is celebrated on January 31 this year, and marks the beginning of the Chinese year 4712. The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar calendar, with the new year beginning on the darkest day of the month. New years celebrations often go as long as two weeks, until the next full moon. And a celebratory holiday it is, with red decorations, good-luck gifts of oranges and money, parades with dragon dances and firecrackers, and special foods.

<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Chinese1.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-5825 " alt="Chinese New Year" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Chinese1-300×197.jpg" width="300" height="197" /></a> Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This year is the Year of the Horse. See a <a href="http://www.chinesenewyears.info/chinese-new-year-calendar.php" target="_blank">Chinese zodiac calendar</a>.? Try one of these fun Chinese New Year crafts or activities:<!–more–>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://artchoo.com/chinese-new-year-activities/" target="_blank">Chinese horse character writing and painting</a> from Artchoo</li>
<li><a href="http://www.craftiments.com/2014/01/chinese-new-year-paper-cutting-for-kids.html" target="_blank">Year of the Horse paper cutting</a> from Craftiments</li>
<li><a href="http://www.teachkidsart.net/gung-hey-fat-choy-happy-chinese-new/" target="_blank">Paper dragon</a> from Kids Teach Art</li>
<li><a href="http://craftsandartforchildren.blogspot.com/2012/01/chinese-new-year-party-crafts-for-kids.html" target="_blank">Paper Plate drums</a> from Crafts and Art for Children</li>
<li><a href="http://www.slowfamilyonline.com/2014/01/gung-hay-fat-choy-happy-chinese-new-year" target="_blank">Paper lanterns</a> from Slow Family Online</li>
<li><a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gale-gand/fortune-cookies-recipe/index.html" target="_blank">Homemade fortune cookies</a> from Food Network</li>
<li><a href="http://www.recipebyphoto.com/fruit-roll-up-fortune-cookies/" target="_blank">Fruit roll-up fortune cookies</a> from Recipe by Photo</li>
<li><a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273591/felt-fortune-cookies" target="_blank">Felt fortune cookies</a> from Martha Stewart</li>
</ul>
Of course, there are plenty of books to help you celebrate and learn about Chinese New Year and other cultural holidays from around the world.

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Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

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Sweet Holidays: From Divinity to Flaming Snowballs

by On January 2, 2014 in General, Holidays, Recipes

Making divinity Credit: Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright via Wikimedia Commons

Making divinity
Credit: Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright via Wikimedia Commons

As a child, I used to love hanging out in my grandmother’s large, gleaming white kitchen. Helping her bake and cook was always fun, but I was also on a mission to get into the walk-in pantry.

It housed the canned and dried goods you’d expect, but also a special round, red tin. It once held commercial cookies, but was now used for Grandma’s superior efforts: dainty sugar cookies, rich date nut bars, dark chocolate fudge. The item I longed for most only appeared at the holidays: grandma’s divinity.

These imperfectly shaped white mounds of velvety, sugary goodness were like no other candy I’d ever had. I used to call them “sweet clouds.”

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Thanksgivukkah: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Holiday

by On November 21, 2013 in Childrens Books, Holidays, Recipes

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<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/enhanced-buzz-25506-1380661559-16.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-4704 " alt="thanksgiving_hanukkah" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/enhanced-buzz-25506-1380661559-16-300×300.jpg" width="300" height="300" /></a> Photo: John Gara/BuzzFeed

For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will converge. That’s right, <strong>Thanksgivukkah</strong>! And we won’t get the chance to celebrate it again for 78,000 years. This calendar oddity has resulted in some really fun – and feasty – mash-ups. Buzzfeed offers up <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/thanksgivukkah" target="_blank">potato latkes with cranberry applesauce</a> and pecan pie rugalach. There are <a href="http://www.judaicashop.net/p-2866-menurkey.aspx?gclid=CJGNqJvA6roCFQxgMgodnRwAkA" target="_blank">menurkey menorahs</a>, "challahday" cards and chocolate coins that read "gobble tov". Sounds like a lot of fun, especially if the alternative is eight days of leftover turkey.<!–more–>

So why the alignment between the festival of fowl and the festival of lights? While Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, Hanukkah is a moving target because it’s based on the lunar Hebrew calendar, which has 29-day months. The Hebrew calendar adds a 13th month every few years, to ensure that its seasonal celebrations remain intact. This is why Hanukkah can swing from late November to late December. Thanks? to these quirks, November 28th is the latest possible day for Thanksgiving, and the earliest possible day for Hanukkah, which begins at sundown, November 27.? Though associated with Christmas because of its timing, some theologians are saying that the holiday has more in common with Thanksgiving.

If and when you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or both, the holidays offer a chance to step away from the calendar and enjoy favorite family traditions (and perhaps some new wacky ones), togetherness, and the opportunity to welcome winter and the holiday season with Hanukkah and Winter books. <em>Happy Thanksgivukkah!</em>

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The Trouble With Turkeys

by On November 18, 2013 in Childrens Books, Holidays, Reading, Recipes

thanksgiving_turkey_comingup

It’s turkey time!
Credit: http://www.clipartpal.com.

I love Thanksgiving, but I’ve always had my issues with turkeys.

As a kid, I would watch my mom prep the turkey. When she reached into that cavity and pulled out the bag of turkey guts, I’d run from the room, horrified. (Classic kid’s disconnect: I ate the turkey later with no qualms.)

When I was old enough to start hosting Thanksgiving, I had different troubles with turkeys. How do I safely thaw a 20-pound birdsicle? What in the heck is trussing? What’s the perfect roasting time to avoid a poisonous undercooked bird and an overdone dry one?

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How Does Your Family Welcome Fall?

by On September 23, 2013 in Childrens Books, General, Reading, Recipes

 

Credit: Tamara Bowman, Tamara Camera Photography. tamaracamera.com.

Credit: Tamara Bowman, Tamara Camera Photography. tamaracamera.com

Every September, as kids and parents settle back into the school year routines, we start to see the familiar signs that the fall season is upon us:

  • The last warm days of Indian summer give way to a familiar chill in the air
  • Shorts and sandals are replaced by long pants and (gasp!) shoes
  • Spiced lattes and hot apple cider return to coffeehouse menus
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Celebrate Fall Cultural Traditions with Books and Food

by On September 19, 2013 in Childrens Books, Holidays, Recipes

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Around the world, people celebrate their harvests. Nigerians and Ghanaians have yam festivals, to commemorate their main crop. In the Czech Republic, wreaths of rye, wheat, wildflowers and straw are worn by celebrants who dance and feast.<!–more–>

The Chinese celebrate with a Mid-Autumn, or Moon, Festival, which, like many others, is based on the lunar calendar. The festival coincides with the full <a href="http://www.slowfamilyonline.com/2013/09/enjoy-the-fall-harvest-moon-and-equinox/" target="_blank">Harvest Moon</a>, which occurs near the <a href="http://www.slowfamilyonline.com/2013/09/enjoy-the-fall-harvest-moon-and-equinox/" target="_blank">Autumnal Equinox</a> and falls on September 19th this year. The Harvest Moon traditionally shone its all-night beacon to help farmers gather their crops before the advent of electricity.

<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/mooncake.jpg"><img style="margin-left:15px; margin-bottom:5px; margin-top:5px;" class=" wp-image-4060 " style="border: 0.2px solid black;" alt="mooncake" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/mooncake-300×298.jpg" width="270" height="268" /></a><div style="margin-left: 15px;"><p style="font-size: 12px; font-style: italic; line-height: 16px;">Photo: Jump into a Book</p></div>

&nbsp;

The Chinese offer thanks and offerings to the moon and its goddess, <a href="http://www.moonfestival.org/change.html" target="_blank">Chang E</a>, and children learn the legend of how Chang E came to be associated with the moon. Another tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival are yummy traditional <a href="http://happyhomebaking.blogspot.com/2011/09/traditional-mooncake.html" target="_blank">mooncakes</a>, which are featured in one of our new books for Autumn, <em>Mooncakes</em>. (You might want to try this especially kid-friendly <a href="http://www.dltk-holidays.com/china/easy_chinese_mooncakes.htm" target="_blank">mooncake recipe</a>.)

Two other titles that are brand new to Bookboard for Fall are <em>Little You</em>, which captures the close physical and emotional bonds of a First Nations (Native American) family with a new baby, and <em>Metal Man, </em>about a welder who transforms junk into art. Other books in our multicultural collection include <em>The Matatu</em>, an entertaining tale about transportation from Kenya; <em>The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred</em>, a colorful and rollicking cooking story from Mexico; <em>After Peaches</em>, a tale of Mexican fruit farmers attempting to make a life in Canada; <em>Seed Magic</em> about seeds that grow into something beautiful despite doubt, and <em>Clever Rachel</em>, which tells a traditional Jewish story about a girl who loves riddles.

What better time to celebrate the world’s variety of cultures and traditions with a new crop of books?

Enjoy the full Harvest Moon September 19th, the Autumnal Equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere) September 22, and your own celebrations of cultures, harvests, books and food.

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Mamaw’s Pancakes, Yum!

by On October 23, 2012 in General, Recipes

Source: theshiksa.com

Last week I shared some thoughts about reading with grandparents, and it brought to mind another staple of every trip to my mamaw and grandaddy’s house: pancakes!  My grandmother had an ancient griddle where she would make the most delicious “hotcakes” for me and my brother, which we’d pile high and smother with syrup.  Total comfort food!  One bite and I’m back in mamaw’s kitchen on the window seat at the long oak table, watching her bustle around in her faded apron, the delicious smell of pancakes filling the air.

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