In Season February 2014

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

Jordan Brueckner

Bake Cookies With Love

Show that special person in your life exactly where your heart is this Valentine's Day by baking treats using the 12-Cup Heart Molded Cookie Pan from Cake Boss. This unique, nonstick cookie pan has 12 compartments featuring two-tier heart shapes for the ultimate display of affection. Perfect for themed weddings and anniversaries, the durable, carbon steel design of the pan resists wear and makes cleanup a breeze. Start baking from the heart this Valentine's Day season with the 12-Cup Heart Molded Cookie Pan from Cake Boss,available at www.kohls.com.

Goodbye Wintertime Sadness

Are you suffering from a case of winter blues this snowy season? It's time to lift your spirits with the HappyLight Liberty Energy Lamp Kit from Gaiam.The kit features Natural Spectrum Light, scientifically proven to fight sluggishness and low mood associated with jet lag, shift work, and winter blues.This energy lamp is interchangeable and customizes light settings based on your personal energy needs. End your seasonal sadness with the HappyLight Liberty Energy Lamp Kit. For more information on this product, visit www.gaiam.com.

Delicious Cherry Pie

February 20 is National Cherry Pie Day! Celebrate this unique holiday by lavishing in sweet, flaky goodness with this Cherry Pie recipe courtesy of Peter Sterk at www.foodnetwork.com.

Ingredients: •4 c. fresh or frozen tart cherries •1-1½ c. granulated sugar •4Tbs. cornstarch •⅛ Tbs. almond extract (optional) •Your favorite pie crust or pie dough recipe for two-crust pie •1½ Tbs. butter, to dot •1 Tbs. granulated sugar, to sprinkle.

Directions: Put the cherries in a medium saucepan, place over heat, and cover.Remove from heat after the cherries have lost a considerable amount of juice, which may take a few minutes. Proceed to mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Take this mixture and pour into the hot cherries and stir well. If desired, add the almond extract and mix. Place the mixture back on the stove and cook on a low heat setting until thickened. Make sure to stir frequently. Proceed to remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thin, add a little more cornstarch, if too thick, add water. Preheat oven to 375°F. Chose your favorite pie dough recipe, prepare the crust, and divide in half. Roll each piece large enough to fill an 8-inch pan. Proceed to pour the cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter and moisten the bottom crust edge. Put the top crust on and flute the pie's edge. Cut a slit in the middle of the crust to allow the steam to escape and sprinkle with sugar. Finally bake the pie for about 50 minutes. When time is up, remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

Let Freedom Ring

Teach your children the importance of human rights and dignity this National Freedom Day, February 1, with the Musical Stars and Stripes activity from www.spoonful.com!

What You'll Need: •Regular and decorative scissors •Ruler •Red, white, and blue craft foam •Small hole punch •White paint •Small paintbrush or star stamp •30 small paper clips (preferably red, white, and blue) •12-inch wooden skewer with the sharp tips cut off •Ribbon or wire •13 ¾-inch bells

How to make it: Start by cutting out a 4½-by-4-inch, blue, craft foam rectangle.Proceed to punch four, evenly spaced holes on one of the long sides of the rectangle and seven on the other side. Next, paint on the stars or use a small star stamp. Then, use scissors with decorative bales to cut out seven,red, craft foam strips as follows: three that are ½-by-8 inches and four that are½-by-3½ inches. Cut out six, white, craft foam strips as follows: three that are½-by-8 inches and three that are ½-by-3½ inches. Proceed to punch holes in both ends of all strips and thread paper clips through each hole. Then, attach the seven, short strips to the blue square at the bottom and thread four paperclips in the holes of the blue square at the top. Form the flag by placing all of the pieces onto the wooden skewer and attach a piece of ribbon or wire to the ends of the skewer. To finish the activity, attach a bell to the clip on each strip and let freedom fly!

Weaving History

The Royal Weave, a festive and traditional West African cloth, is the perfect activity to help your family celebrate Black History Month this February.Combine fun with learning with this kente mat activity, courtesy of www.spoonful.com.

Materials: •Paper grocery bags •Acrylic paint •Water •Paper •Iron •Glue stick

Directions: Start by cutting two or three large paper grocery bags into various large panels. Next, thin out the acrylic paint with water to make it easier spread and less likely to flake. Then, use the acrylic paint to make patterns on the panels. Allow the panels to dry and continue to sandwich them between two clean pieces of paper. Proceed to iron them fl at on a low heat setting. Cut the panels into 1-inch-wide strips, setting aside one panel for the base. Trim the base panel into an 11-by-18-inch rectangle. Proceed to fold the paper in half, lengthwise. Mark an 1-inch line from the unfolded side and make slits at 1-inch intervals from the fold to the marked line. Then, unfold the paper and weave strips into the base. Use a glue stick to secure the ends of the strips to the base, and you now have your very own royal cloth.

This column appeared in the February 2014 issue.