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Bake On!

Kidstir Bake On! kit

With fall and back-to-school season, excitement peaks and mayhem can reach new levels. What can help: Remembering to Keep Calm and Bake On! In this kit, you’ll find delicious recipes to bake with fresh, seasonal ingredients and pantry staples that are forever favorites. Mhm, did someone say chocolate?

Preheat the oven and turn your kitchen into a bakery with No-Knead Bread. Impress yourself by making a loaf from scratch, and teach your little ones a little science along the way with how yeast works. Place veggies on top of your slices to make silly sandwich faces — don’t forget to enter your pics in our photo contest for a chance to win a free kit!

Then take on pancakes with a twist with a Dutch Baby. Never heard of a Dutch Baby? This treat is like a giant puffed pastry you actually bake, and fun fact, its true origins stem from Germany! Topped with pears and blueberries in a swirl, this is a dessert-for-breakfast we can get on board with.

For the perfect lunch break bite, it’s gotta be classic Fudge Brownies. Appealing to kids’ sweet tooth (okay, maybe adults’ too) is a great motivation to get everyone involved in the kitchen! Young chefs can rely on our Handy Oven Mitt to stay safe so they can focus on enjoying their baked goodies. Other than learning oven safety, they’ll also pick up how to measure flour and practice patience while preparing their recipes. To pass the time, choose some hands-on activities from our Bake On! Homeschool Lesson Plan, or engage in a family faceoff with our Wordstir card game. When time’s almost up, play our Brownie word game to figure out what toppings to decorate your dessert with! Sprinkle, swirl, dust, or dazzle — the sky’s the limit.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Subscribe now to get your Bake On! kit, then get ready to cozy up and get your flour game on.

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Trip to Japan

Bento Box image

Take a trip across the ocean and get a taste of Japan! 

It’s the land of mystic mountains, cherry blossoms, and origami. Our Bento Box kit is here and inspired by this island’s rich culture and history. It’s a whirlwind trip of delicious flavors, with dishes like Chicken Teriyaki, Adorable Onigiri, and Crispy Cucumber Salad. Transport yourself to its zen landscapes with our Virtual Walls, or take your adventure one step further with our new Bento Box Homeschool Lesson Plan. “Hajimemashou” — let’s get started!

If you want to try Japanese cuisine, Chicken Teriyaki is a must. Did you know that “teri” means “shine,” and “yaki” translates to “grill”? If you have a picky eater in the house, translating words is a great way to warm them up to new cuisines. Then bite into Adorable Onigiri, mini rice balls that are almost too cute to eat. Onigiri has been around for hundreds of years, and some people even eat it for breakfast. Starting in the 1600s, people began adding nori (seaweed) to the rice, to keep their hands from getting sticky while eating. These rice balls are so fun to roll, plus they make the perfect posing stars for your Virtual Walls. Snap a pic of your onigiri against your favorite Japan background, then share in our Facebook group! Lastly, introduce yourself to tofu and sesame seeds with Crispy Cucumber Salad. These popular Japanese ingredients can be added to your everyday cuisine and are guaranteed to make it more yummy. 

Enjoy your meals with our Compact Cutlery Set, which comes with a fork, spoon, and chopsticks. Use the spoon to slurp up some Miso Soup, one of our latest online recipes. And if you’ve never used chopsticks before, don’t fret. We’ve got a handy how-to as well as a pick up game for you to practice. Bring your reusable utensils when packing meals, just like how the Japanese do it. It’s super convenient and eco-friendly!  

Can’t get enough of Japan? Then check out our new article and study up on “kawaii,” the “culture of cuteness” in Japan. Or take your onigiri to the next level by transforming your rice balls into different animals and shapes or adding a sprinkle of furikake. This month we are also launching the very first in our Homeschool Lesson Plan series. Calculate fun facts about the culture with these math worksheets, take a calligraphy course, or even take virtual tours through the country’s most famous historical sites. It’s Japan 101. What are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!

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Finding the Right Rice

When there are so many types of rice at the grocery store, it can be hard to decide which one you need. Here’s a cheat sheet:

Short-grain rice is short and wide. It’s softer and stickier than other rice when you cook it up. So it goes best with foods like sushi. Use short-grain rice to make recipes like our Adorable Onigiri.

Medium-grain rice is slightly longer and thinner than short-grain rice. This type of rice is less sticky too, and tastes tender and chewy when cooked. This is the kind of rice in risotto or paella.

Long-grain rice is long and thin, sometimes more than double the length of short-grain rice. It stays more spread apart when cooked, and that makes it good for saucy dishes. Basmati is a popular long-grain rice you might be familiar with. Try it with our Mexican Rice recipe!

Not sure which is which? Stack your rice grains side by side on the counter. The longest and thinnest is the long-grain, and the shortest and widest is the short-grain. And here’s a fun fact: wild rice is not actually rice! It’s a member of the grass family but is called “rice” due to its appearance. Who knew?

If you enjoyed these foodie facts, check out our monthly kits for more fun learning.

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Noodle Tips

Do you know your noodles? They come in so many shapes and sizes. Next time you go to the supermarket, try to see how many kinds you can find! 

Soba – thin and made from buckwheat flour. Deep in color and flavor, it has extra protein and tastes great hot or cold. 

Udon – thick and chewy, these are popular in soup and so satisfying to slurp!

Somen – these thin white noodles are springy in texture and often served cold. 

Ramen – medium-thick and wavy. What is traditionally used in a ramen soup. 

Rice – unlike the others, these are made from, you guessed it, rice! Making them a great gluten-free alternative. 

Now you’re ready to get slurping! Check out our Mouthwatering Miso and Oodles of Noodles recipes, and mix it up with different noodle pairings to find your favorite. Be sure to check out our soup-making tips before you get started, and work on a Soup Scramble as your dish cooks! Just follow the package directions for exact cooking times.

For more fun learning and foodie facts, subscribe to our monthly kits.

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How to Grate Fresh Ginger

A Chef’s Secret: How to Grate Fresh Ginger

Introduce your young chefs to ginger, a zesty ingredient that will give a boost of flavor to any dish. This all-star ingredient featured in our Bento Box kit pairs perfectly with Asian dishes, like our Oodles of Noodles and Baked Salmon. Here’s a pro tip: you can also add it to any entrees, smoothies and drinks, or desserts for an added kick! 

Ginger might appear intimidating, but it’s simple to prepare. A grown-up can help peel with a veggie peeler, then simply rub the ginger against the shell of our Turtle Grater, or a standard grater. Depending on the recipe, you may also dice up the ginger root with a paring knife.

This plant is chock-full of benefits, it’s practically medicine. It can help reduce nausea, soothe tummy troubles, and boost immunity. Who knew something so tasty could be good for you! 

If you’re looking for other ways to lend some Asian flair to your dishes, consider these delicious add-ins: bok choy, tofu, mirin, miso, sesame oil, bean sprouts, or nori (seaweed). Don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly kits for more tips on how to cook up culture right in your kitchen!

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Bento Box Homeschool Plan

DOWNLOAD HERE

In this lesson plan, we’re heading to Japan! Inspired by this country’s unique culture, the curriculum will give you a sneak peek into the tiny island’s fascinating history, geography, and art and traditions. There is a variety of subjects for every student to enjoy, with materials that can be easily tailored to your child’s needs. So get ready: pack your passport, and don’t forget your pencil case!

Check out our Bento Box kit for more fun and learning to go along with your lesson.

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Dining In

Fancy it up! You don’t need to dine out at a French restaurant for a grand dinner.

Here are our top Kidstir tips for having a restaurant experience at home and turning any simple meal into a special occasion. Making a meal feel a little fancy is a great way to bond, teach manners and celebrate a great day. 

Start by getting your little one excited. They can write out a menu of what they are making — picture menus work too! Next, set the table, and fold napkins just like how they do it at restaurants. Now the important question: what’s for dinner? You could cook up this month’s kit, or prepare a Kidstir classic. You’ll feel like five stars making our Baked Salmon or Pasta Caprese

After you’re done cooking, everyone dresses up and comes to the table in style. Turn on music, light some candles, and say “Cheers!” For a cherry on top, add a vase of flowers, and serve on your best plates. Remember, use your best table manners: say “please” and “thank you,” and kiss the cook!

It’s great to slow down and celebrate the little things. You could toast a day of chores well done, a new skill learned, or a scholastic achievement. You could even encourage good habits — like letting your little chef host a meal when they finish a book and having them tell you all about it over dinner! By taking the time to acknowledge these moments, you motivate good behavior and create great memories for the whole family.

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Back to the ’80s

Back to the '80s

The ’80s were full of color, music, and delicious food (for real!). Hop into our time machine, and get a taste of this fun-packed decade!

The moves, the mullets, the Madonna!
The hair was HUGE, the lingo was rad, and the fashion was, like, totally the best. Neon had become everyday wear, and the bright colors inspired even bolder trends. So kick off your Sunday shoes and enjoy this blast from the past. Make your Sweet Shades, turn up the tunes, and pull out the moves. This is your time to show your kids what cool really looks like! What 80’s hit are you most excited to show your little chef? Post your jam in the Kidstir Kitchen and share the tunes!

A family favorite
Business was booming and convenient, easy meals were on the rise. Shake ’n Bake Chicken was so popular, even the Simpsons loved it! Our ’80s Night cooking kit will teach you how to bring this classic back to the future with a surprise ingredient. Pair it with the ultimate side dish of Broccoli ’n Cheese, and you’ve got a retro meal to remember. Top it all off with a family movie night – ‘80s edition! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Land Before Time, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids… these timeless box office hits and sure to give you and your little chef something to talk about. Suggest your favorite ‘80s flick here!

Throwback to mall days
Mmmm….Orange Julius. Who can forget that perfect combination of frosty orange and vanilla flavors melting in your mouth? Freeze up a batch of Dreamsicles with our Rockin’ Pop Maker popsicle mold. Do you remember the days when the mall was the spot to hang? Online shopping is great, but hanging in the food court with your friends? Unbeatable. Let your mall-rat memories rush in and share your best ’80s escapades with your family!

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Make a Dream Catcher

The Ojibwa were the first Native Americans to use dream catchers. They believe that the night sky is filled with good and bad dreams, and when a dream catcher is hung over the bed, it snares them. The good ones pass through the openings, but the nightmares get trapped in the web only to be destroyed with the rising sun. Many other tribes and cultures have adopted this comforting tradition, and lucky for kids, dream catchers are easy and fun activity to make together. Our instructions are for a simple dream catcher, but feel free to encourage kids to add beads, craft feathers, and other decorations you have on hand.

What you’ll need:

  • Small embroidery hoop
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Felt
  • Craft glue

What to do:

1. Remove the outer ring of the embroidery hoop. Set aside. Wrap the inner loop with yarn. (You can also paint it if you prefer.)

2. Cut a 3- to 4-foot piece of yarn. Knot one end to the hoop. Roll the remaining length into a small ball or bundle (it makes the yarn easier to manage).

3. To make the web, loop the yarn around the frame every few inches until you reach the starting point. At each point, go over the top of the hoop then wrap the yarn around the tight strand you just created. That will help anchor the loop in place. Continue weaving the yarn around the strands, pulling them tight as you go. You can follow a pattern or just do it randomly! When the web is complete. Knot the yarn and trim the ends.

4. Make the tails. Cut several lengths of yarn. Cut small and large feather shapes out of felt. Cut circles and other shapes if desired. Sandwich one end of yarn between two feathers. Glue to secure. Decorate with additional feathers or circles as you like. Knot the other end to the bottom of the hoop. Repeat with the remaining pieces.

5. Tie a loop of yarn at the top of the hoop, then hang your dream catcher over your bed.

Craft projects are among kids favorite activities that also teach life skills, including 1) following directions 2) concentration, 3) motor skills & 4) patience.