Mac and Cheese in a Mug

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Yes, your toddler can make pasta nearly him- or herself alone! This comfort food recipe is just right for a winter lunch or dinner.

In an oven-proof mug, have your child pour in the following: 1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni or small shell pasta; 1/4 cup shredded Daiya cheddar cheese; 1 tablespoon flour; and 1/2 cup non-dairy milk.

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Now give the mug a big stir to combine the ingredients!

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Adults, place the mug on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes – the mixture should be bubbly on top.

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In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon melted Earth Balance butter and 1 tablespoon fresh bread crumbs. Spoon over the mac and cheese, then return to the oven for a final 5 minutes.

Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving. Travis was so proud to have stirred the ingredients together, and couldn’t wait to try the recipe – especially because of the novelty of eating from a mug!

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You can double the recipe and use two mugs; reheat the second portion of mac and cheese in the microwave the next day.

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Ice Luminaries

ice-luminaries-7The purpose of this winter project was to make beautiful glowing ice lanterns. They were beautiful… but as you’ll see, we found numerous ways to enjoy the game beyond that stated purpose. Read on!

To make the luminaries, fill balloons with water and knot off securely. I used a funnel to fill the balloons since our faucet taps are too big for stretching the mouth of a balloon onto them.

Travis impishly discovered that the project was fun already, threatening to pop open the balloons and get water everywhere, testing just how hard he could squeeze them.

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Luckily, the balloons were strong! Once he’d had his fill of fun, I popped them into the freezer to freeze overnight.

The next morning, it was time to reveal the ice bulbs we had made. Cut the knot off each balloon with scissors, and you’ll be able to peel down the rest of the rubber, leaving a globe of ice behind.

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When you place the ice in a jar with a battery-operated tea light behind them, they create an ethereal glow. (In retrospect, we ought to have waited until after dark to remove from the freezer!).

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Travis enjoyed the luminaries for a time, but then he just wanted to play with the ice! I thought I’d show him how salt makes ice melt faster, so we placed the ice globes in an old baking sheet and poured salt on top.

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Travis easily spent the next 45 minutes with the game – pouring more salt, scooping at the resulting slushy mixture of water and salt, shoveling out the chunks of ice that remained, and so on.

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A delightful morning of icy enjoyment. How have you and your child made winter mornings fun recently? Please share in the comments!