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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gifts Kids Can Make

a girl with a lollipopImage via Wikipedia


By Juvy S. Iliwiliw


Kids love to try new things all the time. I remember how curious I was when I was first allowed to help in the kitchen. Everything seem new and unfamiliar and I like to play the thrill of holding the cutting utensils. Mother would be there to guide me all the way but its always intriguing to do it alone away from her watchful eyes.

I thought that your kids would love the same thing and I want you to let them do these simple gift ideas on their own. These are easy cookie treats that are as much fun to make as they are to give away. They can be made by children aged seven and up with minimal adult supervision. Younger kids can also work on these recipes but will need more assistance.

These cookies make great giveaways for friends, classmates and relatives during the Christmas season and other occasions, but they also make a good weekend activity for your kids.

So, let them try now and put that cookie smile on their faces!


LOLLIPOP COOKIES


You will need:


1/2     cup butter, softened
1/2     cup sugar
1        egg
1/2     tsp. vanilla
1/4     tsp. salt
1        tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 cups flour
          Lollipop sticks

Here's how:


In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar until well mixed. Blend in the egg and vanilla. Add the salt, baking powder and flour, mixing well. Turn the dough out on a counter lightly sprinkled with flour. Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F for 10=15 minutes or until lightly browned. When done, immediately insert the lollipop sticks gently into the middle of the cookies (if the sticks are made of plastic, which is often the case, do not bake the cookies with them). Let the cookies cool completely before decorating.



Decorating Icing

Wait for the icing to dry to a hard finish so that you can easily pack cookies for gift giving!


You will need:


1 1/2-2    cups powdered sugar
1-2          tbsp. water
                Food coloring

Here's how:


Combine the powdered sugar with just enough water to produce an icing that holds its shape when squeezed through an icing bag. (You can find inexpensive icing bags or syringe-type icing applicators in department store kitchenware sections or big supermarkets, or use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole snipped from one corner). Tint the icing in different colors using just a drop of two of food coloring. After decorating cookies, let icing harden until set.

Yield: 2 dozen 3-inch cookies
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Storage time: 2 weeks in an airtight container
Packaging Ideas:

Individual. Wrap cookies individually in clear cellophane or insert them into small plastic bags (like sandwich or ice bags) and fasten with a ribbon around the lollipop stick.

Edible Boquet. If you cut the cookies into flower shapes, you may want to stick the lollipops into a small clay or plastic flower pot that has been filled with styrofoam cut to fit. Cover the pot with wrapping paper and tie with a ribbon.

NO-BAKE COOKIE BALLS
Here's a recipe suitable for very young kids-just mix and shape into balls! Its important that the graham crackers be finely crushed; use a food processor of the back of a spoon to pulverize them. Otherwise, you can also buy graham crackers already in crumb from in the supermarket.


You will need:


1         cup finely crushed graham crackers
1         cup chocolate chips
1/3      cup condensed milk
1/2      cup chopped nuts

Here's how:


In a mixing bowl, combine the graham crackers, chocolate chips and condensed milk. Form into 1-inch balls and roll in chopped nuts. Chill to set before packaging.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Storage time: 2 weeks in an airtight container, refrigerated
Packaging ideas: Put the cookies in clear disposable plastic containers, or in plastic jars. If using the latter, you can hide the typical yellow lid by wrapping it loosely with colorful tissue and gathering it up with a bow on top. You can also use clear sandwich bags, tied up with a colorful ribbon.

GUESS-WHAT'S-INSIDE
BUTTER COOKIES
Hide different treats inside these colorful butter balls-Hershey's KIsses, chocolate chips, cherries, nuts, or dates!


You will need:


3/4      cup butter, softened
1/4      cup sugar
1/2      tsp. vanilla or almond flavoring
2         cups flour
           Red and green food coloring
           Powdered sugar
           Assorted fillings (Hershey's Kisses, chocolate chips, maraschino or
               candied cherries, whole walnuts or cashews, dates cut into smaller pieces, etc.)

Here's how:


           In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla or almond flavoring and flour until well blended. Divide the dough into three parts. Leave one part plain, then tint one part pale pink and one part pale green using just a couple of drops of food coloring. Knead the dough well to distribute the color evenly. Get a tablespoon of dough, make a depression in it and put the filling of your choice. Cover the filling completely with the dough and roll into a ball. Set on ungreased baking sheets and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until bottoms are browned. The tops of the cookies will not brown. Let cool, then roll the balls in powdered sugar.


Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Storage time: 2 weeks in an airtight container
Packaging ideas: Put the cookies in clear disposable plastic containers, or in plastic jars. If using the latter, you can hide the typical yellow lid by wrapping it loosely with colorful tissue and gathering it up with a bow on top. You can also use clear sandwich bags, tied up with a colorful ribbon.

CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD
Make sure to use butter and not margarine for a really good flavor.


You will need:


3/4      cup butter, softened
1/2      cup sugar
1         tsp. vanilla
1-2/3   cups flour
1/3       cup cocoa
1/4       tsp. salt

Here's how:


         In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla, then blend in the flour and cocoa. Pat or roll the dough out 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes using small cookie cutters (simple designs like stars and hearts are best; dough is not pliable enough for large shapes). Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully as these cookies dark, so it's hard to tell when they have "browned" underneath! If your oven temperature is correct, 15 minutes should be maximum.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Storage time: 2 weeks in an airtight container
Packaging ideas: Put the cookies in clear disposable plastic containers, or in plastic jars. If using the latter, you can hide the typical yellow lid by wrapping it loosely with colorful tissue and gathering it up with a bow on top. You can also use clear sandwich bags, tied up with a colorful ribbon.

FUNNY FACE COOKIES


You will need:


1/2     cup butter, softened
1/2     cup dark brown sugar
1/2     tsp. vanilla
1        egg
1-2/3  cups flour
1/2     tsp. baking soda
1/4     tsp. salt.
          Assorted toppings (cashew nuts, colored candies like M&Ms, raisins
              maraschino cherries, chocolate sprinkles, pretzels, etc.)

Here's how:


        In a mixing bowl, blend together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix well. Get a tablespoonful of dough and shape into a ball. Flatten the ball into a circle with the palm of your hand on an ungreased baking sheet. Use assorted toppings to create funny faces (i.e., cashew nuts for "smiling" or "sad" mouths or eyebrows, cherries for the nose, raisins for the eyes, colored candies or chocolate sprinkles for hair). Try to make a variety of faces that are mad, sad, happy, sleepy, or surprised. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until browned underneath. Cool completely before removing from pan.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Storage time: 2 weeks in an airtight container
Packaging ideas: Put the cookies in clear disposable plastic containers, or in plastic jars. If using the latter, you can hide the typical yellow lid by wrapping it loosely with colorful tissue and gathering it up with a bow on top. If the cookies are large, it's better to have them flat, in layers separated by wax paper, in shallow containers to avoid breakage. See-through containers are still best for these so that people can see the funny faces right away!
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Unforgettable Tables





By: Juvy S. Iliwiliw

When one would learn the art of cooking, one should also learn the simple artistry of making the table look special and simply unforgettable. The way you set your table can range from sophisticated to cozy. Both styles can work equally well. How you top your table depends on the occasion and what you like.

I have learned that when it comes to table coverings, use your ingenuity - just about anything goes. For formal occasions, think about fine linen or lace. At informal get-togethers, turn to homey place mats, colorful sarongs, holiday runners, large print handkerchiefs, or even big squares of bright paper.

There are also few set rules about centerpieces. You can use anything from sophisticated floral arrangement to a simple collection of greenery. Or take a look at the knick-knacks around your house. A favorite dish filled with ornaments or fruit may work perfectly. For sit-down dinners, remember to keep centerpieces low enough that guests can easily see each other.

You can even add charm and warmth to the table with some well-thought-out personal touches. 

And there still plenty of ways how to make the family table look its best but the most unforgettable touch a mother could possibly do is to lavish it well for the occasion and to garnish beautifully the food on the table.

Here are some worth remembering recipes. Enjoy cooking!


CHICKEN FINGERS WITH TONKATSU SAUCE


You will need:


1     kg chicken breast, deboned and cut into wide strips
1     pc egg, beaten
2     cups Japanese breadcrumbs

Sauce:


1     cup Del Monte Original Blend Ketchup
1/4  cup Worcestershire Sauce
1     head garlic, crushed
2     tsp sugar
1/4  tsp pepper
1/4  cup water

Here's how:


1. Season chicken with 1/2 tsp iodized fine salt (or 1/2 tbsp iodized rock salt).
    Mix with egg. Roll each piece in breadcrumbs until well-coated.
    Fry until golden brown.

2. Sauce: Combine all ingredients for sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with chicken fingers.

SIPIT CROQUETTES


You will need:


12      pc (1.5 g) medium crabs, cooked
          and flaked (reserve crab claws)
3        squares small tokwa, fried and chopped
1        pc medium carrot, chopped
1        pc medium red bell pepper, chopped
1        pouch (115 g) Del Monte Tomato Sauce
1/4     cup chopped kinchay
2        pc egg, beaten
2        tbsp all-purpose flour
1        cup breadcrumbs

Here's how:


1. Remove shells of crab claws ("sipit") except on pincers to expose meat. Set aside.

2. Combine crab meat with remaining ingredients except breadcrumbs.
    Season with 1-1/4 tsp iodized fine salt (or 1-1/4 tbsp iodized rock salt)
    and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix well.

3. Coat each "sipit" with 2 tbsp of crab meat mixture. Form excess crab mixture into croquettes.
    Roll in breadcrumbs and deep-fry in 2 cups oil until golden brown.
    Serve with Del Monte Chili Sauce or Ketchup.

MEDITERRANEAN PASTA


You will need:


1/4    kg Del Monte Spaghetti, cooked
100   g bacon, sliced
150   g chicken breast, deboned and cut into strips (1-1/2"x1/2")
1       stalk celery, sliced
22     pc (50 g) black pitted olives, sliced
1       can (385 g) Del Monte Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce
1       bunch (200 g) spinach, use leaves and tender stalks only
1/4    cup grated Parmesan cheese

Here's how:


1. Saute' bacon until crunchy. remove excess oil and reserve half of bacon for topping.
    Add chicken and saute' for 5 minutes. Add celery, olives, 1/4 tsp iodized fine salt
    (or 3/4 tsp iodized rock salt) and 1/8 tsp pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add Del Monte Spaghetti sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach leaves and half of cheese.
    Simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Pour over or blend with cooked Del Monte Spaghetti.
    Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

PINE CHICKEN HOLIDAY

You will need:

1     pc (1 to 1-1/4 kg) whole chicken, cleaned
1     tbsp cornstarch

Filling:

1     pc large onion, chopped
1     stalk celery, chopped
2     tbsp margarine
10   slices small pan Americano, cut into cubes to make 2 cups
1     can (439 g) Del Monte Fresh Cut Crushed Pineapple, drained
       (reserve syrup)
1/4  cup raisins

Marinade:

       pineapple syrup
1     tsp grated ginger
4     cloves garlic, minced
1/4  cup soy sauce
1/4  tsp pepper
1/2  tsp iodized fine salt
       or 1/2 tbsp iodized rock salt)

Here's how:

1. Pour marinade inside and outside cavity of chicken, then marinate for 1 hour, turning occasionally.
    Drain. Combine cornstarch and marinade. Simmer until thick. Strain. Serve as gravy if desired.

2. Filling: Saute' onion and celery in margarine. Stir in bread and toast slightly.
    Combine with remaining ingredients. Season with 1/2 tsp iodized fine salt
    (or 1/2 tbsp iodized rock salt) and 1/8 tsp pepper. Mix well.

3. Loosely stuff chicken. Place in roasting rack of turbo broiler. Broil at 375F for 1 hour or until cooked,
    turning chicken after 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS PASTA


You will need:


250    g Del Monte Spaghetti, cooked
1        pc large onion, sliced
2        cloves garlic, crushed
6        tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350    g Italian sausage, crumbled or coarsely chopped
3        tbsp dry white wine
1        pouch (250 g) Del Monte Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce
150    g green bell pepper, cut into strips
150    g yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
2        tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Here's how:


1. Saute' onion and garlic in half of olive oil. Add Italian sausage and saute' until brown.
    Add wine and cook until wine evaporates.

2. Add Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce. Season with 1 tsp iodized fine salt
    (or 1 tbsp iodized rock salt). Cook for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, saute' bell peppers in remaining olive oil until almost tender.

4. Toss sausage mixture and bell pepper with cooked Del Monte Spaghetti.
    Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

PIZZA QUICHE


You will need:


1-1/4  cups all-purpose flour
1/4      tsp white sugar
1/4      tsp iodized fine salt
7         tbsp margarine
3         tbsp ice water

Filling:


1        pc small onion, chopped
2        slices (50 g) salami or ham, diced
50      g bacon, diced
1        pc each small green and red bell
          peppers, diced
1/2     cup grated cheddar cheese
3        tbsp grated quickmelt cheese

Topping:


2       pc eggs
1/4    cup evaporated milk
1/4    cup all-purpose flour, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1-1/2 tsp iodized fine salt
1/2    tsp pepper
2       tsp white sugar
1       pouch (115 g) Del Monte Classic Italian Pizza Sauce

Here's how:


1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, sugar and salt.
    Cut in  margarine until it takes on a coarse texture.
    Gradually add ice water while mixing until dough holds its shape.
    Form into a ball. Flatten dough in between sheets of wax paper into a 10" circle.
    Fit onto a 9" quiche/pie place. Fold overhanging dough.
    Prick bottom and sides of crust with fork. Set aside.

2. Saute' onion, salami and bacon for 2 minutes. Add bell peppers. Cook for 2 minutes.
    Spread half of mixture on the crust. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Set aside.

3. Blend ingredients for topping. Pour into crust. Sprinkle with quickmelt cheese
    and remaining meat mixture. Bake for 40 minutes.
    Take out from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

RICE OLE'

You will need:


3       cloves garlic, crushed
1       pc small onion, sliced
200   g ground pork
150   g shrimps, shelled but tails intact
1/3    cup cooked/frozen green peas
1       pc small red bell pepper, cut into strips
1       pouch (200 g) Del Monte Tomato Sauce
4       cups cooked rice
1       pc egg, cooked into omelet
         then cut into strips
2       stalks green onions, chopped

Here's how:


1. Saute' garlic, onion and pork. Cook for 5 minutes.
    Add shrimps, green peas, bell pepper, 1/2 tsp iodized fine salt
    (or 1/2 tbsp iodized rock salt), 1/3 tsp pepper and Del Monte Tomato Sauce.
    Simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add rice. Mix until well-blended. Top with egg strips and green onions.


PORK SATE'


You will need:


1     pouch (250 g) Del Monte Tomato Sauce
12   cloves garlic, crushed
1/4  cup peanut butter
1/4  cup soy sauce
1/4  tsp iodized fine salt
       (or 3/4 tsp iodized rock salt)
6     tbsp brown sugar
1     kg pork pigue, sliced thinly tapa style
       then cut into 1-1/2 " wide strips


Here's how:


1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan. Heat while stirring for 2 minutes.
    Cool, then pour over to marinate pork. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
    Drain. Set aside pork and simmer marinade for 2 minutes.

2. Heat 3 to 4 tbsp oil in a pan. Pan-grill pork (both sides) while basting with marinade until cooked.
    If desired, thread pork into skewers before cooking.

FRUIT COCKTAIL BROWNIES


You will need:


1        can (439 g) Del Monte Fiesta Fruit Cocktail,
          well drained (reserve 2 tbsp syrup)
2/3     cup margarine or butter
3/4     cup cocoa powder
2        cups sugar
4        pc eggs
1        tsp vanilla
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1        tsp baking powder
1        tsp iodized fine salt
1/2     cup coursely chopped cashew nuts

Here's how:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Melt margarine in a saucepan over low heat.
    Add cocoa. Stir to dissolve. Remove from heat.

2. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla and fruit cocktail syrup. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
    Blend thoroughly.

3. Add Del Monte Fiesta Fruit Cocktail and nuts.
    Spread in greased 13"x9" pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until brownies start to pull away
    from the sides of the pan. Cool slightly. Cut into bars.

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