In Season February 2012

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Alanna Weissman

 A Festive February: Ensure a month filled with sweets for your little sweethearts

Holiday Accessories
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, try making these heart necklaces from www.allrecipes.com. The recipe
should yield enough edible accessories for your child’s entire class, about 30 heart necklaces.
Ingredients for cookies: 1 c. butter, softened •¾ c. white sugar •1 egg •1 tsp. vanilla extract •1 Tbs. lemon zest •2½
c. all-purpose fl our •1 tsp. baking powder •1 drinking straw
Ingredients for butter frosting: •3 c. confectioners’ sugar •1/3 c. butter, softened •1½ tsp. vanilla extract •2 Tbs. milk •3 drops red food coloring •2¼ oz. colored candy sprinkles •60 long red vine licorice pieces
Directions: Start with creating the cookie dough. Cream together 1 cup butter and ¾ cup white sugar. Blend in
egg, vanilla extract and grated lemon peel. Sift together the all-purpose fl our and baking powder. Add to creamed
mixture and blend well. Cover and refrigerate dough for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough to ¼-inch
thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use a floured heart-shaped cookie cutter that is about 1-2 inches to cut
dough in heart shapes. Place the cutout hearts on greased cookie sheets. Using the straw, make a hole at the
top center of each heart before baking. Bake for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. To make butter frosting, mix the confectioners’ sugar and remaining butter together. Stir in the remaining vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk. Beat until smooth, ensuring frosting is of spreading consistency. Stir in food coloring to create a pink or red colored frosting, if desired. After cookies have cooled, frost and decorate them with colored sugar. Use a toothpick to dislodge the hole, if necessary. Let the frosting dry. To make a necklace, tie the ends off of two pieces of red colored licorice with a knot. Thread it through the hole at the top center of a cookie. Tie the other ends off with another knot to create a “chain.”

The Candy Man
February 15 brings National Gum Drop Day. Make your own confections at home with this recipe from www.grouprecipes.com.
Ingredients:•2 envelopes Knox gelatin •4 c. white sugar •Candy flavorings •Food coloring •Confectioners’ sugar
Directions: Soak gelatin in ¼ cup cold water for 5 minutes. Add 2½ cups boiling water. When gelatin dissolves, add sugar and boil slowly for 15 minutes. Dip bottom of two pans into cold water for a minute. Remove pans. Divide candy in two pans. Add fl avoring and coloring, as desired. Let stand overnight. Cut into small squares or any shape and roll in powdered sugar. Store with container topped by a lid, using wax paper to layer candies.

Great Grapes

Celebrate National Grapefruit Month with this recipe for grapefruit chicken from www.allrecipes.com.
Ingredients: •1 3-lb. whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry •1 grapefruit, cut in half •1 Tbs. olive oil •½ tsp. seasoned salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a roasting pan and squeeze the juice from the grapefruit halves all over and inside the poultry. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake until meat is no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 15 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh near the bone should read 180°F. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.

A Dog's World

Love Your Pet Day arrives on December 20, three days before International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. Honor the occasions by treating Fido to these homemade dog treats from www.dogtreatrecipes.org.
Ingredients: 2 c. whole-wheat fl our •1 Tbs. baking powder •1 c. smooth peanut butter •1 c. milk •½ c. oatmeal
Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a baking or pizza pan. In a medium mixing bowl, add the fl our, baking powder and oatmeal. Once that’s mixed, add the peanut butter and milk. Stir contents together until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly fl oured surface, knead and then roll it out until it’s about a ¼-inch thick. Break out your cute bone-shaped cookie cutters or a pizza cutter and cut the dough into the desired size and shape. Bake the biscuits on the lightly greased baking pan and cook for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Once cool, let your pup enjoy one or two before storing the rest in an airtight jar or resealable freezer bag.
 
Happy Henna
February 28 is Floral Design Day. Let your children make their own fl oral creation with this project for temporary henna tattoos from www.care2.com. The site also has tips for henna application.
Ingredients: •Black tea in a tea bag •Eucalyptus essential oil •1 c. henna powder (available at many health food stores) •1 tsp. lemon juice •1 tsp. ground cloves
Directions: Boil 2 inches of water in a saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and add the black tea bag to infuse for several hours. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and allow to infuse overnight. Heat the mixture to a warm temperature, then slowly add it to a bowl of henna powder and ground cloves, stirring with a wooden spoon. You may not need to use all of the water. Strive to create a thin paste, almost the consistency of yogurt. Add lemon
juice, then add more of the water mixture until it resembles the consistency of toothpaste. Transfer the paste to a plastic bag, in which it can be stored for up to two days.

This column appeared in the February 2012 issue.