By Juanita Farris
When I was pregnant with my first child, I loved the idea of starting a new tradition for him to grow up with. I kept seeing “Elf on the Shelf” ideas on Pinterest and it felt like the perfect fit.
If you’re not familiar with Elf on the Shelf, it’s a little elf doll that you adopt into your family. Elves act as scouts for Santa Claus during the holiday season to help with his naughty and nice lists. Your elf will watch and listen to your family during the day and then fly back to the North Pole at night to give a full report to Santa.
The next morning, the elf will be back at your house, probably getting into trouble. This is the best part for many parents. While your children sleep you are supposed to set up a scene for the kids to find. The first person awake may find the elf getting into the cookie jar or playing a board game with other toys.
Elves are available for adoption at Fiddlesticks, Hallmark, Target or elfontheshelf.com for about $30. The posable doll comes with a book and a keepsake box. After receiving your elf, you can register him or her online to receive a special adoption certificate and letter from Santa. Then, your holiday season really begins!
Welcome your elf back to your home every winter with a North Pole breakfast. Serve food that can be made the night before, such as crock pot egg casserole. Our elf’s favorite food is Frosted Cheerios to look like elf-sized donuts. After eating, you can read the elf’s book together and remind your family of the rules. I’m not clear if her family has more than one elf, or if she doesn’t know the possessive of elf. JG
Be on your best behavior to get on the nice list and protect the elf’s magic by never touching it. To keep things running smoothly, I would also make a schedule to set up the elf’s nighttime adventures. We usually do a new scene once a week, but if you’re really ambitious you could try for a new pose every night.
I hope you enjoy your Christmas and your new family member, as our family has.
Crock Pot Egg Casserole (Adapted from cdkitchen.com)
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1/2 cup onions
•1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
•1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
or half and half
•1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes
•1 cup grated cheddar cheese
•1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
•1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
Saute onions and peppers in olive oil and set aside.
Slightly beat eggs with heavy cream or half and half. Add egg mixture, sauteed vegetables, hash browns, cheese, salt and pepper to crock pot.
Cook overnight on low, and this yummy breakfast will be ready for you in the morning!
Pinterest inspired this cute idea … making “donuts” for Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve! Just take regular Cheerios, dip them in a tiny bit of honey or frosting, then roll them in powdered sugar, brown sugar and finely-chopped cupcake sprinkles. Then place in a small earring box (we found this one at Michael’s), place next to your elf or the fireplace and watch them disappear!
Kids love cupcakes! Especially topped with cute sugary characters. So in the spirit of the holidays, we made these Frosty the Snowman cupcakes. They’re sure to be a hit at a party…but almost too cute to eat.
Marshmallow Snowman Cupcakes
- 1 box white cake mix +
required ingredients on box
- White cupcake liners
- White frosting
- Black frosting (small tube)
- Orange frosting (small tube)
- Sweetened coconut
- Large marshmallows
- Extra large marshmallows
- Hershey Kisses
- Pretzel sticks
Bake cupcakes according to directions on box. Let cool. To make snowmen, decorate the marshmallows prior to stacking.
For the body, use the extra large marshmallows. Stick a pretzel in either side for arms, and dab three dots of black frosting for the buttons. Repeat for desired number of cupcakes, and then set aside to let frosting dry.
For the head, use the large marshmallows. Dab with black frosting to make two eyes and a charcoal mouth. Break off a small portion of a pretzel stick and insert for the nose. Dab with orange frosting so that it looks like a carrot.
For the hat, break Oreos apart and use the cookie side without frosting. Adhere a Hershey Kiss to the top with the black frosting, and then adhere the hat to the head with the white frosting. Set aside to let frosting dry.
Frost the cupcakes with the white frosting, and then securely adhere the body of the snowman. Dab the top of the body with white frosting and then adhere the head to the body. Sprinkle the remaining base of the cupcake with coconut to create a snowy effect. Serve on a coconut covered platter and enjoy!
Right now, it’s not beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but it IS getting closer to Christmas season planning and shopping! Here are some events to look out for.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA. 8-10 a.m. Dec. 7. Christmas decorations, holiday music, a warm fireplace and Santa! Bring your cameras. Cost: $4 per person; make reservations by Nov. 29. Harman Center, 101 N. 65th Ave., Yakima; 509-575-6166.
CHRISTMAS TREES ON THE FARM. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7 & Dec. 13-14. The fun runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Look forward to getting a fresh-cut Christmas tree with the family. While you’re at it, you might get yourself and others handmade wreaths and garlands. Don’t forget to try the hot cocoa, cider and vanilla sugar doughnuts and experience the caroling hay ride. Bill’s Berry Farm, 3674 N. County Line Road in Grandview; 509-882-3200.
FESTIVAL OF TREES. Nov. 23. The general public is invited to tour trees, enjoy musical entertainment and refreshments, shopping with free gift wrapping and a photo booth. A raffle will determine who will win the remaining decorated trees. Living Care Center, 3801 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 509-965-5260.
MIGHTY TIETON HOLIDAY CRAFT BAZAAR. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 30; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 1. The 8th annual event features handmade crafts, antique items and food. Come see the chandeliers, the annual tree lighting and Santa. Mighty Tieton Warehouse, 608 Wisconsin Ave., Tieton; 509-847-3034.
TOY TRAIN CHRISTMAS. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 7-8, 14-15 & 21-22. Take the train to the North Pole to see Santa Claus, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. More than 40 running model trains. Cost: $6 adults, $4 children. Photos with Santa offered for extra fee. Northern Pacific Railway Museum, 10 South Asotin Ave., Toppenish; 509-865-1911. nprymuseum.org
Check back for an expanded list of Christmas events for November and December!
It’s getting colder, so here’s a tasty recipe that will help you get warm and cozy!
» 2 lbs. butternut squash
» 2 – 14 oz. cans vegetable broth
» 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
» 1 tablespoon butter
» 1 – 9 oz. package cheese ravioli
» 1 tablespoon molasses
1. Peel squash, halve lengthwise. Remove seeds and discard. Cut squash into ¾-inch pieces.
2. In large sauce pan, combine 1/2 cup water, squash, vegetable broth and red pepper. Cook covered over medium heat for 20 minutes or until
squash is tender.
3. Transfer to blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Repeat until all of mixture is smooth.
4. Return blended mixture to saucepan. Bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Add butter, stir until just melted.
5. Meanwhile, prepare ravioli according to package directions; drain. Ladle into bowls. Drizzle with molasses. Enjoy!
Like a little spice, or a lot? Add a teaspoon (or more!) of ground cayenne red pepper to give this dish an extra zing!
Ready for some Harvest and Halloween fun? Many sites feature pumpkin patches and hold festivals and activities this fall. Our advice? Check out all of them!
SINGLE DAY EVENTS
OCT. 12: IT’S HARVEST TIME. 10 a.m. Free class teaches basics of harvest time and gives participants a free taste of a favorite fall recipe. Free parking. Part of the Master Gardeners program. Ahtanum Youth Park, 1000 Ahtanum Rd., Union Gap; 509-574-1600.
OCT 19: HARVEST MARCHING BAND FESTIVAL. 4:30 p.m. Finals at 6 p.m. Cost: $15 adults for all-day pass, $10 for finals only; $10 for students and seniors. Zaepfel Stadium, 40th Avenue and Tieton Drive. harvestbands.org
OCT. 19: FRIGHT NIGHTS 2013. For boys and girls, grades 6-10. Take a road trip to a haunted Wild Waves Theme Park. Limited space. Cost: $45/$52 each, depending on residency. Hosted by Yakima Parks and Recreation. Meet at Public Works, 2301 Fruitvale Blvd., Yakima; 509-575-6020.
OCT. 20: YAKIMA ADVENTIST HARVEST FESTIVAL. 12-3 p.m. Hay ride, bounce houses, dunk tank, toddler pumpkin patch and games. Yakima Adventist Christian School, 1200 City Resevoir Rd., Yakima; 509-966-1933. yacsschool.org
OCT. 25: HAUNTED FIRE HOUSE. 6-9 p.m. West Valley Fire Department presents its annual spooky event. Free. West Valley Fire Department, 10000 Zier Rd., Yakima; 509-966-3111. westvalleyfire.org
OCT. 26: ANNUAL PUMPKIN RUN. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Families with younger children can enjoy a caboose ride, pump car rides, museum tours and a free pumpkin per child. Cost: $5 adults, $3 children 12 and under. Northern Pacific Railway Museum, 10 South Asotin Ave., Toppenish; 509-877-3894. nprymuseum.org
OCT. 26: LET’S DECORATE PUMPKINS. 10 a.m. Free class gives kids a mini pumpkin and supplies to make a masterpiece to take home. Free parking. Part of the Master Gardeners program. Ahtanum Youth Park, 1000 Ahtanum Rd., Union Gap; 509-574-1600.
OCT. 27: YAKIMA FARMERS’ MARKET. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Last day! Special Halloween Market. Each week vendors provide patrons fresh local produce, crafts, activities and locally made products. Live music is also offered. Located in front of the Millennium Plaza on South Third Street in downtown Yakima, between Yakima and Chestnut avenues; 509-457-5765. yakimafarmersmarket.org
OCT. 27: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS CELEBRATION & EXHIBITION. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Festival with arts and crafts, activities, food and music in honor of the dead. New exhibits include small altars and ex votos art. Mighty Tieton Warehouse, 608 Wisconsin Ave., Yakima; 509-847-3034.
OCT. 27: HARVEST FESTIVAL AT MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF YAKIMA. 3-5 p.m. Fun child-centered event, particularly for kids ages 2-8. Photo booth, games, arts and crafts, bake sale, prizes and more. Children are encouraged to wear their costumes. The festival also serves as a school fundraiser, and open to the community. Cost: $5 per person. The Montessori School of Yakima, 511 N. 44th Ave., Yakima (on the corner of Englewood and 44th avenues). For more info, call 509-901-2031.
OCT. 27: MADD HATTERS HAUNT FAMILY NIGHT. 3-5 p.m. This friendlier, family version of the spooky haunted program will take place with the lights on. Cost: $10 per person. Madd Hatters Haunt, 1015 E. Lincoln Ave., Yakima (behind Bob’s Burgers and Brew); 509-930-0432. maddhattershaunt.com
OCT. 30: HALLOWEEN EGG HUNT. For boys and girls, ages 6-12. Kids will use flashlights to find Halloween eggs hidden around the golf course. Kids will get a bag for their treats. Cost: $5/$8, depending on residency. Pre-registration required. Fisher Golf Course, 823 S. 40th Ave., Yakima; 509-575-6075.
OCT. 31: COMMUNITY HALLOWEEN PARTY. 6-8 p.m. Harvest Community Church (and local area merchants) is hosting the Selah Community Halloween Party. Kids birth-10 years. Kid-friendly costumes welcome. Selah Civic Center, 216 S. First St., Selah; 509-698-730
OCT. 31: TRUNK OR TREAT. 5:30-7 p.m. Halloween-themed carnival games. Free, open to the public. Located in church parking lot. Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6015 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 509-966-1900.
OCT. 31: TRUNK OR TREAT. 5-8 p.m. Games, face painting, popcorn, hot chocolate, cupcake walk, hay ride, a walk through the Bible and more. Selah Covenant Church, 560 McGonagle Rd., Selah; 509-697-6116.
OCT. 31: TRUNK OR TREAT. 6-8 p.m. Food, costumes, games. Free, open to the public. Located in church parking lot. Wesley United Methodist Church, 14 N. 48th Ave., Yakima.
NOV. 1: CASH-4 CANDY. 3:30-6 p.m. Yakima Pediatric Dentistry is holding its annual Cash-4-Candy exchange for ages 1-14. Kids receive $1 for every pound of candy, and the candy gets donated to U.S. troops overseas. Yakima Pediatric Dentistry, 3909 Creekside Loop, Ste. 140, Yakima; 509-834-2004.
MULTIPLE DAY EVENTS
FALL FESTIVAL AT BILL’S BERRY FARM. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 21, 28, Oct. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19 & 25-26. Pumpkins and apples available for picking. Make your own apple cider. Warm apple cider donuts, pony rides, hay rides, barnyard train rides, fire pits and marshmallows. Free admission. Barnyard Mystery Corn Maze: Farmer Bill has gone missing — what a mystery! Help figure out which barnyard animal kidnapped him by navigating a 7 1/2-acre corn maze — which looks like a barnyard with a tractor and silo — plus nearly four miles of trails. Cost: $5, which includes Case File and instructions to play; children 5 and under are free. Bill’s Berry Farm, 3674 N. County Line Rd., Grandview; 509-882-3200. billsberryfarm.com
HAUNTED TRAIN & DEPOT. 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26-27 and 29-31. Get spooked as the train depot and two railroad cars become hauned with ghosts, goblins and other scares. Ages 13 and up. Cost: $5 per person. Northern Pacific Railway Museum, 10 South Asotin Ave., Toppenish; 509-877-3894. nprymuseum.org
JONES FARMS STRAW MAZE AND STRAW MOUNTAIN SLIDE. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. Straw maze, hay mountain slide, duck pond and picnic area. Free. Jones Farms, 2020 Thacker Road, Zillah; 509-829-6024. jonesfarmsinc.com
MADD HATTERS HAUNT. Opens Oct. 12: 6:30-8:30 p.m. This haunted house is not for the little ones. It may not even be for many sensitive adults! Monday-Thursdays & Sundays Oct. 14-30; 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 12-Nov. 2 & Thursday, Oct. 31; Cost: $10 per person. See Oct. 12 for Family Night. Madd Hatters Haunt, 1015 E. Lincoln Ave., Yakima (behind Bob’s Burgers and Brew); 509-930-0432. maddhattershaunt.com
OCTOBER HARVEST DAYS. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 6, 13, 20, & 27, & Saturdays, Oct. 7, 14, 21, & 28. Old-fashioned cider squeeze, hay rides, hay maze and pumpkin patch. Daily toddler hay maze and pumpkin patch. Washington Fruit Place at Barrett Orchards, 1209 Pecks Canyon Rd., Yakima; 509-966-1275.
SCHELL’S MASSIVE CORN MAZE & FALL HARVEST FUNLAND. Open Oct. 4-31. Schedule: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 6-27; 3-7 p.m. Mondays-Tuesdays, Oct. 7-29; 3-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, Oct. 9-24, 3-10:30 p.m. Oct. 30 & 3-11 p.m. Oct. 31; 3-9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, and 3-10:30 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 11-25; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 12-19, and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 (with dance 8-11 p.m.). Haunted mazes begin at 7 p.m. Ten-acre corn maze, and a 2-acre maze with no dead-ends for kids, straw pyramid with slides, hay rides, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, pumpkin chucker, haunted house, bonfire pits and barbeques. Admission includes carving pumpkin: $9.50 adults/$8.50 children ages 3-10 and seniors 65+/children ages 2 and younger free with paid adult. Schell’s Produce. Two locations: 3213 Tacoma St. in Union Gap, 509-453-3200; and three miles east of Toppenish on Highway 22 at Harris Road, 509-865-4511.
SUNCADIA HARVEST FESTIVAL. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 4 & 11 & 12-5 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 5 & 12. Pumpkin patch, straw maze and kids obstacle course, arts and crafts, vendors, prairie wagon and pony rides, pie-eating and corn-on-the-cob eating contests, canine costume contest and live music. Free admission. Suncadia, 3600 Suncadia Trail, Cle Elum; 509-649-6400. suncadiaresort.com
THOMPSON’S FARM PUMPKIN PATCH. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 6, 13, 20 & 27, and Saturdays, Oct. 7, 14, 21, & 28. Hayride, corn maze, farm setting, pumpkin cannon and farm animals for viewing. Free pumpkin per child. Free admission. Thompson’s Farm, 9535 Old Naches Highway, Naches; 509-949-3450.
YAKIMA FRIGHT NIGHT. Oct. 15 & 18. Groups scarf down on pizza and then head out on a haunted house search and a finale in a corn maze. Limited space. Cost: $15/$18 each, depending on residency. Hosted by Yakima Parks and Recreation. Meet at Public Works, 2301 Fruitvale Blvd., Yakima; 509-575-6020.
Text and photos by Juanita Farris
One of my favorite things about the holidays is making seasonal meals with my family. It’s something my husband looks forward to the most. I usually make one recipe a week as a countdown to Halloween, but this year I decided to have one “Spooky Feast” day. Here are five recipes to get your family excited for October 31!
Breakfast: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate and Flap Jack-o-Lanterns
Warm up with hot chocolate and seasonal pancakes!
Pumpkin Hot Chocolate
(Adapted from The Harvest Table)
» 3 cups hot milk
» 2 tablespoons sugar
» 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
» 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
» 6 tablespoons of your favorite hot cocoa mix
1. Combine hot milk, sugar, vanilla and spice in a blender. Process until frothy.
2. Pour into 3 to 4 coffee mugs, filling each 2/3 full.
3. Stir 2 tablespoons of hot chocolate mix into each cup, stirring until blended.
4. Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
(Adapted from The Harvest Table)
» 2 cups all-purpose flour
» 2 tablespoons sugar
» 1 tablespoons baking powder
» 1/2 teaspoon salt
» 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
» 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
» 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
» 2 eggs, beaten
» 1 3/4 cup milk
» 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
» 2 tablespoons melted butter
1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl.
2. Whisk eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Add pumpkin and butter.
3. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls into a greased hot griddle or skillet.
4. When bottom is almost done, make a pumpkin face on top with raisins.
5. Cook until done and serve with syrup
Lunch: Pumpkin Hot Pockets
(Adapted from TasteofHome.com)
Have your kids help you make this silly lunch. You can use any cookie cutters you want. (We used a ghost and pumpkin cutter.)
» 1 package refrigerated pie crust
» 3 tablespoons honey mustard
» 1/2 pound ham, thinly sliced
» 1/2 cup Swiss cheese
» 1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese
» 2 egg yolks
» 4 to 6 drops of red food coloring
» 1 egg white
» 2 to 3 drops of green food coloring
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll pie crust into a 15-inch circle. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut out eight pumpkins. Repeat with remaining dough.
2. Spread mustard over eight pumpkins. Layer with ham and cheeses to within 3/4-inch of edges.
3. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with enough food coloring to achieve orange color.
4. In another small bowl, beat egg white with green food coloring.
5. Brush orange food coloring over the edges of pie crust. Top with remaining pumpkins. Press edges to seal.
6. Brush stems with green mixture and the pumpkins with orange.
7. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until browned.
Dinner: Snake Stromboli
(This is our version of a recipe we found on FoodNetwork.com)
This was the first seasonal recipe we made after having our son. It’s become a tradition we look forward to all year long!
» 1 16-ounce refrigerated pizza dough
» 1-8 oz. can of marinara
» 4 oz. mozzarella cheese
» 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
» 1/2 cup sliced bell peppers
» 1 can of chopped red pepper
» 1 package pepperoni, sliced
» Assorted food coloring
» 1 strip roasted red pepper
1. Roll out pizza dough and press onto sprayed pan.
2. Spoon sauce into center of dough and top with cheese, peppers, and pepperoni. Be careful not to over stuff the Stromboli; it will leak while baking.
3. Wrap the dough up to resemble a snake and make an S-shape. Press two olives into one end to make eyes and the slice of red pepper to make a tongue.
4. Decorate the snake with food coloring.
5. Bake until golden, 30 to 40 minutes.
Dessert: Witch Hat Cookies
(Adapted from pinterest.com)
» 1 package of fudge-striped cookies
» 1 bag of Hershey Kisses
» Vanilla frosting
» Green food coloring
1. Lay cookies on plate, stripe-side down.
2. Mix food coloring into frosting and pipe a ring around the center of the cookies.
3. Attach a Hershey Kiss to the center of each cookie.
* Juanita Farris is a former optician who loves her new stay-at-home mom job. After a busy day of playing with her 1-year-old she loves to read, cook and write.
September 19, 2013 by Scott Klepach
By Dr. David Pommer, MD
On most issues, I speak to you with some experience as a family physician and parent. These are topics that I have counseled parents on and have seen some small victories in my home. On the other hand, I speak more theoretically about the things I have not seen much of or have failed with at home.
Picky eating is one of those latter topics. I have pleaded and cajoled. I have been in your shoes and have not always seen success.
Let’s start with some physiology that I do understand. The rate of growth of our kids slows down around age 12 months. This means appetite usually drops, which allows kids to become pickier. In fact, picky eating is the norm for many toddlers. They may go weeks eating just a couple of preferred foods.
Here are some overarching principles to guide us in this struggle with our picky eaters.
First, try to involve your child in some form of food preparation. This probably doesn’t mean operating the Cuisinart or chopping vegetables, but it may mean choosing between corn and carrots. This investment in the process may make kids more likely to eat at the table.
Second, be patient. It may take 10 or more exposures for your child to try a new food. Praise your child for any attempt to try a new food.
Though this may go against how we were raised, don’t force a child to eat. Stress that what is on the table now is the only thing on the table. Don’t make a separate meal or snack for your child if they don’t eat.
Regarding safety of certain foods, kids can’t grind their teeth well to eat certain foods until about age four. Try to avoid the following until then: raw carrots, raw celery, large sections of hot dog, whole grapes, peanuts and other nuts.
Try to make a variety of healthy foods available. And if your child refuses a food, try another in the future from the same food group. For example, try a deep-yellow or orange vegetable rather than a green vegetable. Not wanting low-fat milk? Try yogurt, cheese or a low-fat flavored milk. Try chicken, turkey, pork or fish instead of lean beef.
Consider adding “eye appeal.” Use a cookie cutter to cut foods into interesting shapes, or add a smiley face on top of a casserole.
In addition, you can present a food that they like along with a food they have refused in the past to see if this increases the rate of success.
You could disguise other foods by adding them into a dish to add nutritional value. This may work with some kids, but others are super sleuths who will detect these unexpected ingredients and perhaps make them pickier.
So I will join you in this meandering journey, of airplane noises while “flying” a spoonful of food to a closed mouth, of puppet shows about the four food groups, of daydreams about large funnels. We will take this journey, with these successes and failures, together.
* David Pommer, MD, is a family physician with Selah Family Medicine. He is a graduate of Whitworth University and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
I-Pick, U-Pick, We All Pick!
Summer in the Yakima Valley means we can get our hands on plenty of fresh, yummy berries all season long. There are several sites for picking, and you can’t go wrong with any one of them.
One is Blueberry Hill at 8740 Mieras Road in Yakima. Blueberry Hill offers U-pick berries for $1.90 per pound and is open 5-8:30 every evening and 8 a.m.- noon every Saturday.
Another blueberry site with a similar name is Blueberry Hill Berries at 2951 Evans Road in Wapato. U-pick blueberries are $1.60 per pound. Raspberries can also be picked for the same price. Hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday through Friday. The farm is closed on Saturday.
Another option is West Valley’s U-Pick. Blueberries can be picked for $1.50 a pound Aug. 1-Sept. 30 at 11901 Zier Road in Yakima. Then, Sept. 1-30, you can have your pick of Gala apples and Bartlett pears for $0.50 per pound. Call 509-945-5406 for hours.
Bill’s Berry Farm at 3674 N. County Line Road in Grandview has Duke blueberries available for $2.50 per pound, or $2.25 per pound for 50 pounds and $2 per pound at 100 pounds. Other types of blueberries are also available. The farm is open 4-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The farm is closed on Sunday.
Harmony Hill U-Pick, 141 Harmony Lane, Yakima, offers U-pick raspberries and lavender. This site is open from late July until the first frost. Call 509-965-3262 for price and hours.
Johnson Orchards, 4906 Summitview Ave., Yakima, has U-pick options for cherries, pears and apples. Open daily. Call 509-966-7479 for price and hours.
Thompson’s Farm Market is open daily June-October. U-pick cherries, peaches, apples and pumpkins are available weekends in season and by appointment at Thompson’s Farm, 9535 Old Naches Highway, Naches. Call 509-949-3450 for price and hours.
There’s nothing quite like fresh, tasty produce that comes from the Yakima area. Check out these Farmers Markets close by:
KITTITAS COUNTY FARMERS MARKET. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 26. On Fourth Avenue, between Pearl and Ruby streets, in downtown Ellensburg; 509-899-3870. kittitascountyfarmersmarket.com
PROSSER FARMERS MARKET. 8 a.m.-Noon Saturdays, through Oct. 26. In the Prosser City Park, Seventh Street and Sommers Avenue, Prosser; 509-786-9174, prosserfarmersmarket.com
GOLDENDALE FARMERS MARKET. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 26. Ekone Park on Wilbur Avenue, off State Route 142; 509-261-0782.
YAKIMA FARMERS’ MARKET. Two options: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 27. In front of the Capitol Theatre, 19 S. Third St. New: 4:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays, July 23-Sept. 24. Behind the Capitol Theatre on Fourth Street. 509-457-5765. yakimafarmersmarket.org
SUNNYSIDE FARMERS MARKET. 4-7 p.m Wednesdays, through Sept. 18. Fourth Street and Edison Avenue, near the city park. 509-830-5209.
SELAH’S WEDNESDAY MARKET. 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays, through Sept. 25. Behind King’s Row Drive-In at 210 S. First St. 509-480-2844 or 509-961-8672. selahsmarket.com
By AUBREY DOES, FRUGAL YAKIMA MOM
A little secret about me: I’m not really a fan of cooking. And yet somehow my family still needs dinner every night. They get kind of cranky if it’s not there! I enjoy the planning part and I enjoy the presentation part, but I hate the actual cooking part.
To avoid all of the cooking, I decided to try a freezer cooking day. I really enjoy this style of meal planning.
As far as a menu goes, there are plenty of sites that provide freezer meal ideas. You can put together your own menu based on what you like, or follow a freezer cooking day plan. About a year ago I stumbled onto a great site called Once A Month Mom (onceamonthmom.com) that has multiple meal plans. There is even a meal planning/make-ahead plan for plant-based families at happyherbivore.com! A membership to Once A Month Mom is $8 per month, while Happy Herbivore’s weekly menu costs $18.99 per month.
A day or two before you cook, buy everything you’ll need for the cooking day. I highly recommend thinking through each meal and deciding what else you might need when you make the meal. For example, if you make burgers, you’ll want buns. You also need to know how many freezer bags or foil baking pans you’ll need to have on hand, along with labels for everything. Good old address labels with the name of the recipe and the date it was made are good enough!
The night before cooking, chop the vegetables and make sure all of the meat is defrosted. Also on the night before, make sure you’re caught up on basic chores around the house. You won’t want to do any cleaning before or after the cooking because it’s a lot of work! If you don’t have to go straight from hours of cooking to folding laundry, you’ll feel so much better.
From experience, I highly recommend that any kids not old enough to help have something else to do while you’re cooking. The first time I did this, my boys were home and it was very difficult. The second time my husband was in charge of the kids and it went so much smoother.
It takes me around seven hours from start to clean kitchen. That’s not counting grocery shopping or the time spent chopping vegetables the night before. The end result is a freezer full of meals, labeled and ready to feed us for the month!
There were some great things that came out of the freezer cooking day. I noticed I did a lot more baking (which my family loved) and the struggle every night to make dinner while my kids ran wild went away when I just had to warm up the food and set the table. I also have meals ready to go for others! Hopefully this was an informative post for any of you thinking about doing a freezer cooking day. If you have any questions, you can always find me at frugalyakimamom.com!
* When she’s not chasing two very busy little boys, Aubrey Does loves drinking coffee and blogging deals. You can read more of her frugal adventures at frugalyakima.com.
By DR. DAVID POMMER
What does your back to school shopping list look like? Number 2 pencils, glue sticks, Pee Chee folders or even (if you can find one) a Trapper Keeper? Before you head to the checkout line, let’s take a detour to the breakfast aisle.
Breakfast is an important way to prepare for the school day as well.
About 8-12 percent of school-age kids skip breakfast, and in teens this number creeps up to 20-30 percent. Many kids will opt for sleeping in an extra 15 minutes rather than eating a bowl of cereal. Some may choose to skip breakfast to try to lose weight (this typically backfires; more on that later).
We do know there are many benefits to eating breakfast. Children do better in school, have increased concentration and more energy. The fiber consumed can help with weight control and lower cholesterol. Calcium builds stronger bones (helping children for decades to come) and Vitamin D helps with absorbing that calcium and may boost immunity.
The misconception of weight gain from eating breakfast was debunked in a 2008 study in the journal of Pediatrics. This study showed teens who ate breakfast daily had a lower BMI (body mass index) than teens who never ate breakfast or occasionally ate breakfast.
Before we discuss what to eat, let me address things that might be in our shopping carts that we should take out. First, if your child has energetically argued that a marshmallow-based cereal is a critical part of the four food groups, kindly explain to him that it is not, and remove it from your cart. The nursery song goes, “Do you know the muffin man?” Well, we probably shouldn’t. If your toaster is exclusively used for Pop Tarts, that habit should probably change. And if you are giving your breakfast order at a drive-thru window, that habit should change as well.
What are some healthy alternatives?
One of my favorites is dry cereal that I throw in a sandwich bag and eat on my commute. This could include oat squares or mini-wheat biscuits. Cereal bars and granola bars are also healthy options. Fresh fruit, dried fruit and yogurt could also be eaten on the way to school. Try toast with peanut butter, or spread peanut butter on a pancake and roll it up. Even though our culture has frowned upon carbohydrates in general, kids need healthy carbs to give them energy for the school day.
Ideally, the more food groups you can have for breakfast, the better. And if you can sit down and eat breakfast with your child, that would be marvelous. If there’s not enough time for breakfast, earlier bedtimes may be in order (perhaps for both you and your child).
As a parent, you set the best example of what your child should be eating for breakfast. If this article has been good food for thought, keep it in the front of that new Pee Chee folder. You may now head to the checkout line.
* David Pommer, MD, is a family physician with Selah Family Medicine. He is a graduate of Whitworth University and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Aside from summer officially starting in June, two other big occasions mark this time of year: Graduation and Father’s Day.
The Cake Decorator Shoppe of Yakima wants to help you celebrate one or both occasions. In addition to offering custom order grad and Father’s Day cakes, the shop will hold an event called “Happy Father’s Day Meal,” at 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. June 15. The cost is $15 per participant, and space is limited.
Cake Decorator Shoppe is located in the Chalet Place shopping area, 5609 Summitview Ave. in Yakima. Call 509-494-0975 or visit thecakedecoratorshoppe.com for more details.
Food & Text by Jill St. George & Robin Salts Beckett
Photos by George May
Having a barbecue this Independence Day?
Don’t forget the dessert! Try these easy and delicious kid-friendly sweets.
Large pretzel sticks, white chocolate chips, sprinkles
In a double boiler, melt white chocolate chips until they are smooth and creamy. Coat the top half of the pretzel stick with white chocolate. Cover with red and blue sprinkles and then prop upright in a glass until the chocolate hardens.
Strawberries, marshmallows, angel food cake, chocolate chips, wood skewers
Rinse and cut the tops off of the strawberries. If strawberries are large, cut them in half. Cut the angel food cake into bite-size squares. Alternate strawberries, cake and marshmallows on the kabobs. Set aside. In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips until they are smooth and creamy. Put melted chocolate in a sandwich bag and then cut off a very small corner of the bag. Rotate the kabobs while drizzling chocolate over them. Carefully arrange them on a plate and let chocolate harden in the refrigerator.
Yogurt and popsicle trays
Depending on the number of folks you’re feeding, get the same number of blueberry, cherry and vanilla yogurt (one small container of each flavor can be used for 3-4 small popsicle trays). Then just layer the yogurts, pop in the freezer to chill and enjoy! Adding a bit of food coloring to the blueberry and cherry will help these patriotic pops pop!
Text and photo by Jill St. George
Experimenting with pizza crust is trendy for those looking to improve their eating habits. So in an attempt to feed my family healthier, I decided to go green — as in mini green pizzas.
First things first, you’ve gotta like zucchini.
Zucchini pizza can be topped with anything you’d top a dough-crusted pizza with. I love veggie pizza, so I topped mine with green peppers, mushrooms and black olives, but a few slices of pepperoni would be tasty, too.
I’m all for tricky ways to get a kid to eat his veggies, so I simply smothered a couple slices with parmesan, mozzarella and cheddar, and to my surprise my 4-year-old son ate it right up.
Zucchini pizza has become a part of our dinner menu rotation — which of course, makes Mama happy!
• 3 large zucchinis
• 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
• ½ cup organic spaghetti sauce
• ½ cup tomato paste
• Parmesan cheese
• Mozzarella cheese
(or any others you prefer)
• Toppings of your choice
Slice three large zucchinis length-wise, then lay them out in a baking pan. Next, lightly drizzle them with olive oil. For the red sauce, mix equal parts spaghetti sauce and tomato paste, then spread a thin layer over each zucchini slice. Sparingly top each slice with shredded parmesan cheese, and then top with the remaining ingredients of your choice. I added mozzarella, black olives, green peppers and mushrooms, and then topped it off with a little more mozzarella and some basil. Pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes and voila! — little green pizzas.
March 19, 2013 by Scott Klepach
Beginning May 12, Yakima Farmers’ Market runs each Sunday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. until the end of October.
Each week, vendors provide patrons fresh local produce, crafts, activities and locally-made products. Live music is also offered.
Yakima Farmers’ Market is located in front of the Millennium Plaza on South Third Street in downtown Yakima, between Yakima and Chestnut avenues. 509-457-5765. yakimafarmersmarket.org
March 14, 2013 by Scott Klepach
By Aubrey Does, Frugal Yakima Mom
As new parents, we were absolutely filled with excitement when the doctor gave us the go-ahead to feed our son his first baby food. The initial joy wore off rapidly as we realized that it was not easy to get a baby to eat and it was majorly time-consuming. The “baby food stage” quickly became my least favorite and I longed for the day he could feed himself. Spending 50 cents on a jar of food was no big deal when I knew there was convenience involved.
Fast-forward to my second son. By the time he was ready to eat, I was much more budget-conscious. I also knew what feeding the baby involved and waited a full two months longer to start than I did with my first son. Around this time there were two big events that were a turning point in my decision to make my own baby food.
1. The “Baby Bullet” was invented.
2. A real-life mom friend of mine introduced me to the idea of using frozen food.
She explained how she bought bags of frozen fruit and vegetables and pureed them in her blender. Whaaaaaaat??? I had been picturing picking through fresh produce for the purest of the species and then taking them home for a cooking experiment that involved some sort of seven-pan medley on my stove top.
After discussing it with my hubby, I decided to purchase a Baby Bullet. You don’t have to have this item to make baby food, as any old blender will do, but I didn’t have anything so I went for the one that was cute and came with a ton of storage containers.
I’m sure that there are really attentive moms who only select the freshest organic produce for their baby’s sensitive belly. I just went straight for the store-brand bags of frozen veggies and tried to buy in bulk when they went anywhere lower than 75 cents a bag. For fresh produce that can’t be frozen (like bananas and avocados), he mostly ate what went on sale that week.
There are lots of different foods you can feed your baby, and it’s up to you to decide in what order you introduce those foods. One example is peas. These you can buy frozen and they were super easy to whip up. I just dumped the peas into a strainer in my sink and shot them with water until they weren’t frozen. You could also just leave them there to thaw. I put them into the blender with a little bit of water and pureed until smooth. Voila! One small frozen bag of peas made 4-6 servings of food. You basically use this same method for any kind of frozen veggies that are good for babies.
Another example is a fresh food like bananas. These I would just break into chunks, throw into the blender with a little water and puree until smooth. Voila! One banana is 2-3 servings of food. Bananas brown easily, so this is more of an “as-you-go” food.
Some of you may be thinking that you would rather use fresh produce. Or you’re thinking about your garden full of food that you want to use because it’s free and organic. If you have a baby young enough to just start eating solids and a garden that’s producing food, kudos. The general principle on using fresh produce (such as green beans, carrots or potatoes) is to boil until tender enough to puree and then puree with a little water until smooth.
The consummate resource for all things baby food is www.wholesomebabyfood.com. It has extensive info on feeding babies and exactly how to cook each type of food. It has way more than I can give you in one article, and you’ll find some really creative recipes!
Storing the baby food you make is easy. You can use any type of reusable container (for glass, make sure it’s labeled freezer-safe). Another popular method of storage is using ice cube trays. Pour a little of your prepared baby food into the wells of an ice cube tray, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Then move the cubes into a plastic bag and store in the freezer until you’re ready to thaw and use.
I hope I have given some good pointers to get started. If you think this is something you want to try your hand at, make a small batch to start and see how it goes. The best-case scenario is that you’re on your way to making all of your own baby food for a fraction of the cost!
* When she’s not chasing two very busy little boys, Aubrey Does loves drinking coffee and blogging deals. You can read more of her frugal adventures at frugalyakimamom.com.
March 14, 2013 by Scott Klepach
Text and photo by Robin Salts Beckett
In honor of Mother’s Day, May 12, I’m sharing my family’s “go-to” brunch recipe, “Quiche Carol.” It’s named after my mom’s good friend, Carol Carroll, and it is delicious, quick and always a crowd-pleaser.
1 package bulk breakfast sausage, like Jimmy Dean’s
1 onion, chopped
1 small can chilis
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1 cup Bisquick
2 cups milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350.
Brown sausage, onions and mushrooms in a saute pan. Add chilis. Pour mixture into prepared 8×12 pan. Mix Bisquick, milk, egg and cheddar in bowl. Pour over sausage mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until eggs are done (might need to cover with foil to avoid over-browning top). Enjoy!
February 13, 2013 by Scott Klepach
Through unrelenting perseverance, my husband and I (really, my husband — I’m the softy) have managed to get our son interested in broccoli. Our trick? We simply insist. There was no option: if those “little trees” were on his plate, he had to try them, even if just one bite.
But a tasty way to combine carbs (most kids love ’em) and veggies is with a dish my family calls “green spaghetti.” The recipe is super simple, and the results are delicious. Even if you hate your vegetables.
• 1 lb. spaghetti noodles (or as much as you need for your family)
• 1 cup olive oil
• 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
• One head of broccoli, separated and chopped roughly.
• ½ head of cabbage, chopped
• salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• red pepper flakes, to taste (These are hot so they are optional)
Directions: Boil noodles per package directions. When finished, drain and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pan. Let the garlic infuse the oil, but be careful not to burn. After a few minutes, add broccoli and cabbage and cook until wilted and a little soft. Add salt and pepper. Stir and taste a floret or piece of cabbage to test for seasonings. Add garbanzo beans and stir until heated through. Mix noodles and vegetable mixture in pot, pan or bowl, then add parmesan and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
Note: The “green” comes from the vegetables, and we use all sorts in this recipe. One of my favorite combinations is and fennel and garbanzo beans (pictured). I add a little lemon before serving. Delish!
February 13, 2013 by Scott Klepach
Even if spring isn’t quite here, you can bring color back into your home with these fun and easy family crafts and cupcakes.
There will be no pinching on St. Patrick’s Day if your kiddo’s wearing this easy DIY sweatshirt. Using foam sheets with a sticky back, cut out the shape of a shamrock. Repeat three times and stick together to add depth to the stamp. Apply a thin layer of fabric paint to the shamrock and then stamp onto the shirt. Repeat with an alternating pattern. Let dry and then wear.
Add zany colors to a regular cake mix, just by separating portions of batter and adding food coloring or gel to each bowl (we have found that kids LOVE to add the color). Then add spoonfuls of each batter to your cupcake tin and bake. Pretty AND delicious.
Mustaches are super trendy right now (even getting a whole month, Movember, named after them). You’ll find them on cups, T-shirts — even the bumpers of cars. If your kids want to get in on the act, then have them make their own! Get a colorful straw (or even a popsicle stick) and different color pieces of felt or card stock. Cut out a mustache pattern either freehand or from the Internet. Glue and let dry. Then hold below your nose and act silly!
November 28, 2012 by Scott Klepach
Ideas and styling by Scott Klepach Jr., Jill St. George & Robin Salts Beckett • Photography by Sara Gettys
• A Festive Fido
Families love their Fidos, and there’s no reason (just no good reason!) to let Fido go without his own version of the holiday sweater. This collar is super-cute and a great way to get kids to practice their scissor skills — and to get in the spirit of things. Just get assorted “fat quarters,” which are quilting squares and available at fabric stores. Cut equal sized strips of fabric using pinking shears. Tie in knots onto a dog collar (preferabley new, since untying those knots might be a post-holiday pain). Canine Couture!
• Nuts for Nutella
A delicious version of a holiday favorite: hot cocoa.
Nutella Hot Cocoa recipe adapted from a recipe on food.com
3 Tablespoons Nutella or hazelnut spread
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream or half and half
handful of hazelnuts, roasted briefly and chopped
Warm milk and cream and melt hazelnut spread into milk. Pour into cup and top with whipped cream and chopped nuts.
• Santa’s Favorite Cookies
Really! Santa told us so!
3/4 cup margarine (part butter or margarine, softened)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Thoroughly mix shortening, sugar, eggs and flavoring. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover; chill at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured, cloth-covered board. Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until very light brown. Makes about 4 dozen 3-inch cookies.
Stir together powdered sugar and water to desired consistency. Add food coloring of your choice. Decorate with sprinkles, sparkling sugar, gel, candies or whatever you desire.
* Retro Rings
Craft paper can be used in so many ways, and one of the best is to make a simple — and inexpensive — garland. The patterns are current, so your holiday decor can be stylish without being pricey.
This 15-foot garland was made with nine sheets of 12-inch by 12-inch paper, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips, then stapled in large rings. Total cost: $4.50. Craft paper from Craft Warehouse on Nob Hill Blvd.
• Darling Drum
1 coffee can, with lid
1 can opener
Take a standard coffee can and use a can opener to remove the bottom. Use glue to add paper and decorate with puff paint. Cover top with aluminum foil and place lid over it for snare drum effect. Make it as simple or fancy as you like!
• Easter, er, Christmas Eggs
Who says eggs are only for Easter? Purchase wooden eggs, or better yet, find rocks to use as your eggs. Use deep colors (we prefer dark red, blue and green) to paint your “eggs,” and then add puff paint or glitter glue to decorate for the season.
• Minty-fresh Reindeer
A peppermint candycane can easily be transformed into a reindeer with two wobbly craft eyes, brown pipe cleaner and a red pom pom. Quite simply twist the pipe cleaner around the top of the candy cane and cut the antlers to desired length. Using hot glue, place the eyes around the curved part and the pom pom at the end, to give Rudolph his glowy red nose.
• Easy Antique-ing
Antique mercury glass can be quite spendy — so why not make your own? All you need is vinegar, water and Krylon’s “looking glass” spray paint. Clean and dry your glass surface, then spray with a fine mist of one part vinegar, one part water. Spray a light coat of Krylon spray. Let dry for one minute and then repeat. After several light coats, dab with a paper towel. The paint will come up, giving it an antiqued appearance. Anything from a simple glass vase to a dollar store votive can be made vintage in a matter of minutes — or at least look that way.
• DIY Decorating
Stores like Michaels or Craft Warehouse have a plethora of do-it-yourself ornaments, which are clear and come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. You can add scraps of paper, tinsel, paint — or even glitter — to get the custom look you want for your tree.
• Custom Cards
Nothing is more heartfelt than a hand-made card. Using craft paper, card stock and pinking shears, you and your kids can make your own — and practice scissor skills at the same time. Decorate with art from magazines.
• Partridge in a Pear (Tart) Tree
courtesy of Kathy Sali at La Maison. lamaisonchef.com
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
5-7 pears (depending on size), peeled and cored
(Kathy slices the pear in half, carefully removes the seeds in the center and then lays the pear cut side down on a cutting board. She then slices the pear half at a 45-degree angle, so they can be placed in the pan in a fanned position.)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 square puff pastry, thawed
Put butter and sugar in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Lay your pears on top of the butter and sugar, then put the skillet on the stovetop at medium low to medium heat. You can crowd the pears in the pan a bit, since they shrink as they cook. Let it sit — don’t stir. After about 15-20 minutes, the pear juices mix with the butter and sugar and will start to turn a pretty caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat.
Cover the top with puff pastry — Kathy says she buys ready-made puff pastry for this dish. Tuck the corners down into the pan, then use a spoon to tuck the entire edge of the pastry down into the bubbling caramel.
Put the pan in the oven for about 7 minutes or until the top is brown.
Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes, so the caramel can thicken. Place a plate on top of the skillet and carefully flip the tart onto the plate. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
• Merry Mittens
Sweater too small? Then make mittens! Using your hand as a pattern, trace around its edges, giving an extra inch for sewing. Cut out the sweater fabric and then sew together backwards using a sewing maching or hand-stitching. Flip right-side-out and then hot glue red pom poms around the wrist of the mittens. Your old sweater makes for a cozy pair of upcycled mittens.