Curried Lentil-Stuffed Green Peppers

Lentil Stuffed Peppers (3)

Any meal where you can eat the bowl is exciting for kids. These hearty stuffed bell peppers ensure that the “bowl” will be healthy, too, down to the last bite!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 and 1/4 cups water
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 4 large green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup shredded non-dairy cheese
  1. To start, combine the rice, water, carrots, lentil, bouillon, curry powder, and olive oil in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, spoon 1/3 cup sauce into the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish; set aside.
  3. Remove the stems, seeds, and membranes from the bell peppers and place in the sauce. Divide the lentil mixture evenly among the bell peppers, then sprinkle evenly with the cheese cheese before pouring the remaining sauce on top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Lentil Stuffed Peppers (4)

Kazoo

We’ve been having fun with super-simple homemade instruments lately, and this one is a riff on an oldie but goodie.

To make a “kazoo” that sounds nearly like the real thing, simply use a hole punch to make a hole down the side of an empty toilet paper tube, as far as the punch will reach.

Apply glue on the opposite rim of the tube, and place on a square of wax paper. Let dry completely. Once the glue dried, I invited Veronika to decorate the kazoo! She added purple marker and some stickers before declaring it complete.

Now, I showed her how this little creation could make music. Hum any favorite tune into the tube, as you would with a regular kazoo, and the vibrations against the wax paper will make a fantastic kazoo-like sound.

Veronika couldn’t quite master the art of humming into the kazoo, but certainly loved singing down into it, or listening to my hum! This was a great way to add to our musical play.

Animal Sandwiches, 2 Ways

Veronika recently loved helping make her own lunch so we tested out a few other fun ways to involve her with sandwich prep! For the first version, we made butterflies. Cut slices of bread in half so they form two triangles, then turn the points together to make them look like outstretched butterfly wings.

From here, the toppings are really entirely up to your child! We tried two versions: a savory and a sweet. For savory, I spread the “wings” with non-dairy cream cheese, and Veronika added slices of pickle. She ended up adoring the pickle and eating almost all of it straight off the wings, though!

For the sweet version, I spread the bread with peanut butter instead. This time she had raisins and banana slices for decorating, and even helped slice the banana with a butter knife.

This was a great chance for snacking, tasting, combining new tastes, plus squeezing in science since we could talk about the symmetry of the butterflies as we decorated and enjoyed.

A few days later, we turned to bigger animals for our sandwich play. First we used an assortment of cookie cutters to make animal shapes from slices of whole wheat bread. Veronika chose a cat, turkey, and owl.

She then helped spread non-dairy cream cheese on the animals, which was white “fur” on the cat, white “feathers” on the owl, etc., and a great way to talk about animals’ different coverings.

You can then add features like eyes or beaks with raisins and mini chocolate chips!

To be honest, Veronika never dined on these sandwiches, since it was more about sensory play, but she loved the experience!

Yarn-Wrapped Vase

This quick toddler-friendly craft makes a beautiful vase to keep around the house, or would also be a nice gift for Mother’s Day.

To start, you’ll need an empty plastic bottle. (Preschoolers or older kids could alternatively use a glass bottle). Because the bottle was already a bit sticky from where I had peeled off the label, our first strand of yarn adhered nicely. I added a piece of tape just for extra security, then showed Veronika how to begin twisting the yarn around the bottle.

We have a great skein of yarn that changes colors every few inches, so she was able to make a multi-colored vase with no effort at all! If you have single colors of yarn, simply snip off strands and knot them together every time you switch colors.

Veronika’s little toddler hands grew tired when the bottle was about this full…

…so I filled in the gaps with additional yarn. When the bottle is covered, simply tuck the final thread under another strand to hold it tight. I then made a second version on a small glass jar, which meant we could have a neat multi-height arrangement of flowers on our Mother’s Day table. All the vases need now is to be filled with special flowers to make any gift recipient smile.