Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Easy Mac

Finally a homemade recipe that captures the texture and flavor of Daiya’s prepared mac and cheese mix, but with ingredients I feel good about! As much as I love Daiya, my son sometimes finds it too sticky or cloying; he gobbled up every bite of this version. Sprinkle with smoked paprika before serving for kids who like a little extra flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 and 1/4 cups hemp milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the cheesy sauce to the cooked pasta, and cook over low heat a few minutes to warm through.

Dinosaur Dig Sensory Bin

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We’ve been on a dinosaur kick this past week, which led to this new variation on the sensory bin!

To set up our archaeological dig, I used three kinds of dried beans as the base – pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and white beans. Hide various dinosaur toys or bones in the bottom of a bin, then cover with the beans.

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Next, Travis and I gathered our tools – we needed shovels, rakes, and wooden craft sticks to sift through the layers of “soil”. He was so excited when he unearthed the T-Rex skull!

 

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We also used test tubes to collect “soil samples” of the beans. Pouring the beans into the narrow tubes took great concentration, and was a nice test for fine motor skills.

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Overall, Travis liked scooping the beans more than he was into the archaeological aspect of the bin, but it was still a great way to extend our play with dinosaur toys at home.

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Dino Eggs

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There are baby dinosaurs hatching in our kitchen! Okay, maybe not really, but this make-it-yourself clay egg recipe was as real as it gets for a toddler.

Half the fun was in gathering the materials, because first we needed dirt! Travis loved helping to shovel in the ground until we’d collected 1 cup.

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At home, we mixed the dirt together with the following:

1 cup flour

1 cup sand

1/2 cup salt

2/3 cup water

Travis loved mixing the ingredients, and especially watching the way the dirt changed color once the flour and salt had been added.

Be careful as you add the water so that you don’t mix in too much – you want the mixture to stick together but not be mushy. I was the one getting my hands dirty for this part, while Travis still stirred with a spoon, but he loved watching!

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Place small toy dinosaurs over a portion of the mixture and cover with more until the dinos are hidden, shaping them roughly into an egg.

If you live some place warm and sunny, dry the eggs outside for 4 or 5 days! We sped things up by baking at 175 degrees F for 4 hours. Travis loved peeking in the oven, where I told him the baby dinos were incubating!

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In the morning, it was time to help our dinos hatch, with a little help from a friend! The outside of the “eggs” was quite hard, so it helped for adults to poke a hole with a chisel first to get the process going.

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From there, the boys were able to use wooden craft sticks to get deeper inside the eggs.

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The clay had stayed softer on the inside, so in the final stage, they could release the baby dinosaurs by hand. What a find!

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After a final rinse in clean water, the baby dinos were ready to play.

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This activity is a must for any dinosaur lover!

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