For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to creative activity. I love finding new ways of doing this, better ways of making that, putting a fresh spin on something ordinary. Now a mom, I observe (with equal parts delight and chagrin) that my bright, active four-year-old has inherited my hunger for creating. That hunger eats pretty well, but let’s face it: Inspiration doesn’t always come when we call it. Like so many others right now, we’re basically homebound (until further notice), and I can’t buy new toys every week. It’s time to find a way to jazz things up.
Creative Inspiration with Small Plastic Bowls
BeeBee loves "kwafts." (My wee one called herself "BeeBee" for her first 3 years, so it stuck.) She loves creating with her hands, especially if it involves glue. In fact, if she can squeeze something out of a bottle onto anything – paper, wood, herself – she is happy as a clam. We have a craft bin packed to the gills with everything from pom-poms to beads to googly eyes - even (self-made) confetti. Enough to keep a kid busy for hours. Lately, however, she’ll dig out a bag of something, glue away for five minutes, and then be all, “Mama, I’m done.” (Insert face-palm here.)
This morning, as my coffee kicked in, I wondered if having all her materials in front of her (instead of rummaging for one thing at a time) would help inspire her creatively. 9 Youngever Small Plastic Bowls (in assorted colors) later, "kwaft" time went from 8 minutes to 90! You read that correctly: an hour and a half of happy, self-entertained, organized crafting. But wait, there’s more…
How These Small Bowls Renewed Crafting and Baking with My 4 Year Old
This week, a friend brought us some beautiful fresh blueberries. Since I also have some lemons on hand, my little lady and I set out to make some Blueberry Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze. I decided to pre-measure all of our ingredients ahead of time in our Youngever Small Plastic Bowls in Coastal Colors. Thankfully, there are 9 bowls in the set, so I was able to use them for all of the ingredients (except the flour). Did I mention they are top rack dishwasher safe? When BeeBee climbed up in her Learning Tower and saw everything laid out before her, she felt very fancy indeed! She added in the ingredients, stirred them together, and suddenly she was the host of her own cooking show: "First you take the blue bowl, and you put the eggs in…THEN, you take the dark blue bowl and add the sour kweem.”"
I’ve included the recipe below, adapted from livewellbakeoften.com so you can try this delectable bread too!
Blueberry Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze
Level: Easy (But tastes straight out of a bakery)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream (or sub greek yogurt)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries + 2 teaspoons flour
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 in. loaf pan with cooking spray – set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix the oil, sugar, sour cream, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until fully combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with the 2 teaspoons of flour (this will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your loaf pan). Fold the blueberries into the batter.
5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (this took 53 minutes in my oven).
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes in the loaf pan. Carefully remove from pan, and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the glaze:
1. Once the bread has cooled, whisk the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice. Start with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If your mixture is too thick, slowly add a bit more lemon juice. The glaze needs to be thin enough to drizzle, but thick enough to set up on the bread. If the glaze is too thin, just add more confectioner’s sugar till you have the desired consistency.
2. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze on top of the bread and spread it around. The glaze should set in about 15 to 20 minutes.
*You may use fresh or frozen blueberries, but if you are using frozen, do not thaw prior to mixing them into the batter. You can add them frozen, but may need to increase bake time.
*Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
*Bread will freeze well for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature before serving.
Who AM I? :)
Nicole Johndrow is a stay-at-home mama who loves discovering products and gadgets that bring inspiration to the mundane. She has an affinity for cooking & baking, and a weakness for smiles from her 4 year old girl.