Well, it’s just me this time ;). Instead of rambling, I’ve decided to start the DPYC Series this week with a couple ETL-friendly recipes. The first of these, anyone will like, not just children. I mentioned child-friendly ideas over at Dr.Fuhrman.com forums (hint) So far, no entries :(.
SO, I decided to kick it off myself and just post a couple DPYC-friendly recipes that I make for family and friends 🙂 . And, anyway, with no children of my own, I can’t really write anything more about it than recipes, haha. So, if you’re a parent and have a fun story, hints, suggestions, strategies, experiences, etc., etc., please send them to me! I’m sure lots of parents would benefit from your experiences — Doesn’t have to be a big-time production or long or complicated. 😀
Oh, and don’t worry, we’re back to guest bloggers for ETL Friday! next installment 😉
Okay, here we go….
The original of this recipe by Eriann Hullquist calls for 1 1/4 C total sweetener, salt, and starch. I revised it, tweaked the flavoring, and it tastes the same. It’s one of my most requested sweet things. Never has anyone guessed it is made with carrots!
1 lb cooked, good-quality carrots (weight after prep @ 5 carrots) or 3 full cups of chunked carrots
4-8, large, pitted, Medjool Dates (2 1/4 – 4 1/2-ounces, pitted) or to taste
1 TB Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp Walnut Extract*
1/4 C (1 oz) Cashews
1/2 C water
Steam the carrots in water till done; While hot, ladle carrots into the blender with the extracts and blend for a minute. (Be sure to put the lid on, but leave off the cap to allow air to escape; hold a cloth over it to avoid sputtering and getting burnt.)
Add dates, and blend, adding water.
Then add the cashews and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
Is ready to eat, warm, if you like; but it’s better after it sits a while and flavors marry. Tastes better the next day, and will also set up to a more pudding density after refrigerated.
Makes 3 Cups
Substitutions: * Here are some variations, if you can’t find walnut extract:
If you have limited access to flavorings, you can simply use the Vanilla; it makes a nice, more caramel-tasting pudding combined with dates 🙂
If you can find a good-quality butterscotch extract, start with1/4 tsp + vanilla (start with 1 tsp) and work from there. As well if you can find a good-quality maple extract, start with 1/2 tsp + butterscotch + vanilla.
If no butterscotch, just use the maple + vanilla.
~ *** ~
Notes: Regarding the hot carrots, this is done with very hot carrots in order to temper the off-taste of some extracts. If you are using cold carrots, just heat them first in the microwave, or “cook” it in a power blender by letting it run on, “high” for several minutes, until very hot. In some recipes, extracts need to be cooked.
~ *** ~
Non-Toxic Play Doh!
Okay, so you can’t eat this; but it’s in step with keeping your child safe and employing environmentally friendly, inexpensive, interactive play time. This is super easy and fun for you — uhh, I mean — children to make!
See “Dough Notes” for more play dough info 🙂
When I recently wanted to make these, I had neither flour nor regular salt! It was an odd feeling — one, going into a regular grocery store into the non-produce section; and, two, buying cheap veg oil, salt and flour! I think I was able to slip out, undetected; however, the cameras may come back to haunt me some day! 😀
First, “classic play-doh” using regular ol’ white flour came out best of all the dohs.
Here is how it goes…
Combine dry ingredients, whisk well:
Add Liquid Ingredients:
Oops, I fogot the oil…that’s okay…
Pour into saucepan:
Forgive the bad quality of these next pics; I don’t get good natural light in some parts of my home, over the stove, being one of them!
Stir over heat:
It starts to coagulate:
Keep stirring! Elbow, grease, elbow grease!
Comes to a ball when done:
Let cool till you’re able to handle (not long) and knead, as you would bread, into a ball:
Here you can see slight differences in shades. It’s nice to be able to adjust it:
A lighter yellow:
You can easily use whatever you have around the house to decorate. I used a whole clove for the nose, and two coriander seeds for eyes on this fella :^)
Age appropriateness for the original Play-Doh product is set at 2 and up; ultimately, it is up to and the sole responsibility of the parents as to when their child can play with it. Personally, since I don’t have children, I cannot really gauge; But, for sure, I would provide supervision with a child that young.
The original Play-Doh product is also a flour, salt, and water emulsion; however, the entire list of ingredients is confidential, apparently — wouldn’t want those evildoers getting their hands on Our Play-Doh! It is free from peanuts and “milk”; but no indication it is dairy-free — I assume not, or it would be expressed. Most likely there is casein for texture; it is the component which gives cheese(s) its stretch. Original Play-Doh purports to be “non-toxic,” as well.
I tried different play dough recipes from the web, calling for varying amounts of the same basic ingredients. I adapted the thriftiest of them, and it actually came out better than the ones calling for more oil and cream of tartar (which is not inexpensive).
This will clean up fine; however, you may not want to use your very best pot. Whatever you use, filling with water right away to sit for a bit before washing will help — it will come right off. You then won’t have to scrape, avoiding any scratching. Additionally, a wooden spoon or utensil or a heat resistant spoon (such as the silicone ware) will not scratch surfaces.
Traditional Play Dough, My Way
1 cup flour
1 cup colored water*(see Natural Coloring, below)
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon plain vegetable oil
1/4 cup salt
Combine in a saucepan, all the dry ingredients, whisk together.
combine water and coloring to equal 1 C. Whisk in the oil.
Add liquid to the dry ingredients and stir together till smooth.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, paying attention to the bottom sides of the pan. Keep it moving continuously so it doesn’t burn.
When it comes to a ball, and is stiff, remove from heat and continue to move it around for a minute.
Let cool till can handle comfortably. Knead on clean, even surface, like bread dough 🙂
Done! Safe play doh 😀
Wrap in plastic, place in plastic bag or airtight container to store. Refrigeration extends shelf life.
~ *** ~
And, then I started to wonder…what about the micro? Yep! It works. Good way to make play dough if need to make a lot and quickly, or making for others (great, easy, inexpensive gift for children, by the way!) Clean up is WAY better this way! You won’t have to worry about scrubbing your good pots.
There is an extra step for microwave play dough*:
*Scrape the quick-cooking sides well…
Mix it up…
Getting thicker still…
At this point (@ the 2-minute mark), spread toward the sides making it more shallow in the center, since it cooks faster there, so all the dough gets cooked through:
Continue mixing/kneading with a utensil (it’s hot!)
Ah, coming together…
Check out the easy-peasy cleanup!..
No pots or pans to scrub 🙂
Microwave Play Dough:
Here is one I tried with blueberry juice — 2 TB + a bit more — it made a nice purplish. (blue is a primary color and I’ve yet to have success with it) More would have made a deeper purple. Note: when using a natural colorant, more than a tsp or so, add it first to the measuring cup, then add water to equal the total amount of liquid for the recipe; otherwise it’s too much liquid.
My Microwave Play Dough
Store in a plastic bag,or in plastic wrap. It will last quite a bit in a cool place; or refrigerate for longer shelf life.
1 cup flour
1 cup colored water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon plain, vegetable oil
1/4 cup salt
Combine dry ingredients in a microwave-safe glass bowl; whisk well.
Add cool or room temperature liquid and oil. Mix thoroughly.
Cook on “High” at 30-second intervals, stirring well in between.
At about the 2-minute mark, it is becoming solid, so make sure to spread the dough, so it’s not in a ball or pile in the center — the sides cook first and you will have it hard on the sides and undone in the center. Spreading helps to cook it evenly (see pics).
~ Important: Do not over-cook these in the micro; your end product will become rubbery.
This should take a total of 3 1/2 minutes — your micro’s “high” may be more or less, but it should not be too much more or less than that . My pictures may help. And remember that things continue to cook when removed from the microwave.
~ Also, dough is very hot from the microwave; use caution when touching. Knead with the spatuala until cool enough to handle ~
*The extra step
…is that microwaved play doh forms a white dusting, fairly quickly after cooling:
Best solution is the following:
Add Oil: You can put a teaspoon or so in the palm of your hand and spread it on; I just poured it on in order to photograph it 😉
Spread oil all over the surface only, first.
Now knead it…
Good as new!
With the small amount of oil used, it won’t be greasy. It may dry out a bit again, but not as bad; repeat with (small amount of) oil, or simply knead again to replenish 🙂 Wrap in plastic wrap as soon as done playing with it to keep it from drying.
The following is what I did the first time, and, is a second option:
If you don’t have the oil with you, simply knead it…
Depending on how fast you get to it, it may leave a bit of texture from having hardened too much, as in the above doughs; but that’s no big deal. The more you knead, the better.
Not too shabby:
AND don’t forget to store, wrapped in plastic wrap. 🙂
You can buy some or combine vegetables and fruits to make your own:
Purple: Blueberry juice (I don’t even juice them. I simply drain the bag of frozen blueberries. There is always at least 2 TB of juice; it’s not ice!)
Green: green powder, such as spinach powder or spirulina or chlorella powder (you can find these in some vitamin shops in bulk bins; it costs MUCH less to get a tablespoon of this stuff for projects. I wouldn’t consume algaes that came from a bulk bin, though!); OR leafy greens pulse-blended with water (parsley is good; has a more pleasant fragrance than cruciferous)
Yellow: Tumeric (1 tsp makes the dark yellow above), Safflowers or Annatto (both inexpensive, found in the South American Foods section in little clear packages)
Orange: (I think I tried using carrots at one point…but I do know I combined red with tumeric and got the dark orange! Sigh.. so many experiments, I forgot and can’t seem to find it in my notes 😦 . I’m doh confuuuused! 😀
Combinations: Orange = Red + Yellow
Lime Green = Yellow + Green
PLUS, you get varying shades and hues — some really pretty: With beets, for example, you can get many shades of pink. Cranberries work too.
Experimenting might be part of the fun too, mixing and matching fruits and veggies 😉
A tip: Instead of using whole fruits/veggies, save the pulp from juicing or scraps from prepping and add water, pulse-blend and strain. This is actually better than putting whole juices or whole veggies into the mixture. It’s best NOT to blend too smooth or the bits will end up in your mixture (and smell/rot); instead, use the lower level on your blender to break it up; it colors the water.
Parsley, pulse-blended with water…
Here is a pic of doh made with the parsley water…
~ *** ~
Other Safe Play Dohs
There is organic tapioca starch available, and
cornstarch: “Let’s Do Organic” by Edward and Sons has both, and Rapunzel’s cornstarch is organic, as well.
We tried a LOT of various recipes for allergy-free ‘dohs and, ultimately, most remained sticky. Some were better than others. The best were ones using cornstarch (more on an alternative, if you have a corn allergy, below). Some come out with a gelly-like look and texture (not like play-doh at all, but still may be liked by children) and others look a lot like play doh.
What I found is, whichever you choose to make, you need to knead it with more of the “flour” you chose to remove the stickiness. The dough feels great at first, but as the warmth from your hands as you’re playing with it makes it sticky and leaves it on your hands and fingers — probably not something you want little hands deposiiting all over the house :). So, it may take kneading it every so often.
These also decay faster and are better kept in the fridge. Those made with flour, for some reason, lasted weeks out of refrigeration, wrapped in plastic, while the others molded.
We tried all combos and found this one the better gluten-free play doh:
I found this recipe online and decided to give it a go:
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 cup water
1 tsp cooking oil
Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until mixture forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a sealable plastic bag.
Sometimes the doughs begin to smoke a bit but, that is okay (it won’t burn as long as you keep it moving, and lift from the heat source, occasionally, if necessary).
The little blue pieces are some cornflowers I added…
Here is a look at the pan after making a gluten-free dough — not pretty! The starch dohs are not as easy to clean; so soak your pan as quickly as possible…
You can try adding things like flowers, small toys, etc., to make it more creative and fun.
Some fragrance works nicely too. Vanilla is nice. But some essential oil of peppermint or cinnamon, etc., is nice too.
Here is another example (with a different dough experiment); I used safflowers in this one:
~ *** ~
Next up, I decided to try another one, without corn. I (we) did a lot of experimenting (it was a nut-house here!) and came out with, surprisingly, many that actually worked. But, this one I came up with came out best (if anyone would like another option, let me know; I probably tried it! It’s just too much to post here):
My Tapioc-Oat Doh-(say that 5 times 😉 )
Oat doughs — I thought this was interesting. I found some recipes online; Of course, they call for regular white flour (wheat). I tried it with various techniques and different flours and starches, and none worked without the gluten of wheat.
So I came up with this, and it worked quite well. Of course, it has texture! You will get some crumbles — shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I have three versions for your choosing 😀
*Oat dohs need to be refrigerated when not in use*
The oat dohs will go bad quicker than other dohs.
This takes minutes, is easy, and is a no-cook allergy-free doh:
2/3 C Quick-Cooking Oatmeal, Organic
1/3 C Organic Tapioca Starch
1 TB plain vegetable oil
1 TB Guar Gum
1/2 C Water, (colored, Optiona)
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
Make a well in the center of the mixture.
Add water and oil into the center and work in the flour with a fork.
When it comes to a ball, remove from bowl and knead thoroughly a few minutes.
Makes 1 ball
This is for one ball of dough. If you want to make a large batch, then quadruple the recipe, and do not color your water. Additionally, be aware that the resultant color of Tapioc-Oat Doh will be diluted by the natural color of the oats. Have four, 1/2-Cups of color water desired ready and give each person a bowl of the divided dough mixture. Everyone mixes their own.
OR, if using a dye, make the Tapioc-Oat doh with water. Divide the dough into equal sized balls. Choose dye you wish, and, with your thumb, make a small indention into the center of the dough Squirt a drop of dye into it. Knead the dough till the color disperses throughout.
My Tapioc-Oat Doh, using rolled oats (regular oatmeal flakes) and a version with steel cut oats (good for leftovers!)
Tapioc-Oat Doh, Rolled Oats (regular oatmeal):
2/3 C Rolled Oats Oatmeal, Organic
1/3 C Organic Tapioca Starch
1 TB Guar Gum
1 TB plain Vegetable Oil
1/2 C hot water (micro 1 min)
Combine rolled oats and hot water and oil.
Combine tapioca starch and guar gum, mix well.
Add dry ingredients to the oat mixture. Mix well.
Knead into a ball, adding additional tapioca flour as needed (@ 2TB is all I needed).
These are ready to play with, but benefit from sitting. As well, after playing with it a bit, as I noted above, additional tapioca flour may be needed if it becomes sticky from the warmth of the hands. ‘
Alternatively, with the oatmeals, you can used cooked oatmeal; just omit liquid.
Tapioc-Oat Doh, Steel-Cut:
Combine, well in a bowl:
2/3 C packed, plain, cooked steel-cut oats, Organic
1 TB Vegetable Oil
1/3 heaping C Organic Tapioca Starch
1 TB Guar Gum
Add the dry ingredients to the oat mixture.
Mix thoroughly Knead a couple of minutes, using more tapioca flour if too moist.
As I mentioned, don’t expect any of these to be exactly like “Play-Doh”; they will crumble a bit. Best fixative with ANY of the play doughs is to add a bit of oil, either for drying, dust formation or for crumbling. For the oat-dohs, it will help it stick when it starts to crumble. Reknead, and, of course storing in plastic when not in use extends the doh’s life 🙂
Here are some more pics:
Here are the rolled oats (L) and the steel cut (R), side by side:
Here, you can see the textures are quite nice…
Okay, and now for a little artwork 😉
There are also some available for purchase, but why when they are so inexpensive; fun; fast and easy to make; and something you can do with your children? 😉
But here you go…