Art of Rock Painting - Kids Crafts

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Posted by Mansi

(LadyBug Image copyright & property of Patty Donathan)

As Summer vacation sets in, parents are scrambling to keep their kids entertained as much as possible. Summer camps and activity centers are obviously, the first choice, and a great way for them to get some healthy exercise. But there are a lot of activities that you can do with your kids over the weekends, or when you have some free time, and right in the luxury of your home. Rock Painting, or Rocks Arts, is one such fascinating best-out-of-waste kind of project that can be great for kids of any age group. It is fun, simple, needs very few supplies, and will be a fun, creative weekend project to interact with your kids.

What & Why of Rock Painting?
As the name suggests, Rock Painting involves collecting small stones or rocks of varying shapes and sizes, and turning them into something more meaningful, like a creature, a flower, a centerpiece, a paper-weight or anything else, by being creative with shapes and of course, colors. Moreover, the actual experience of rock hunting also encourages the child to "look" for shapes within the rocks. Does that one look like a little gold fish? Maybe it looks like a shark? How about a flat rock that looks like a "potato"? This will help enhance their natural creativity and sense of imagination, along with the ability to identify and relate objects to one another.

What Do you Need?
The simplest of any kids' activities, Rock painting needs no more than a list of 3-4 things, and most of them, you'll already have in your house, except, of course, the Rocks:)
1. Rocks of different shapes & sizes
2. Acrylic Paint & paint brushes of all sizes
3. Photo or Image you want to create on the rock
4. recycled newspaper - to prevent stains!

How to Do it?
If your child is old enough, and has a natural interest in painting, this project should be fun and easy for him, and can be done with minimal intervention, yet supervision and support from the parents. However, if your child is too young, or not so good at drawing/painting, go easy and choose simple patterns or ideas to recreate shapes and images on the Rocks. Here are some neat Rock Art Ideas that you could try, with complete information about what you need, and the How-To steps, all included:

1. San Diego Zoo's Rock Owl Paperweights
2. Martha Stewart has a ton of lovely rock craft ideas, with detailed instructions for most of them. The Ladybug, the Frogs, the Pandas and the Turtle are some of my favorites - heck, even adults would have fun doing these!
3. Creativity Portal has a bunch of ideas, weblinks and tutorials on how to get started with Rock Painting, and I'm sure you'll find it inspiring.
4. Use your Imagination, and go wild! Don't just restrict yourself to using paints, you can use tissue paper, threads, ribbons, fiber, glitter or fabric to create beautiful creatures out of stone. Check out some more rock crafts at Lakeshore Learning
5. Finally, take some inspiration from Patty Donathan, who's an established Rock Painting specialist. She has some free tutorials/PDF's on her website, including the "LadyBug" shown in the pic above.

Summer is a great time to go outdoors and play in the sun, though not too much! But there are several ways you can interact with your kids and keep them entertained, as well as inspire creativity by engaging in simple yet fun activities, like Rock painting. Hope these tips and ideas help you and your child create a masterpiece that can find a place on your mantel, something you'll be proud of for years to come!

This post was written by Mansi

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Posted by Deeba PAB

Are you obsessive?

Sometimes I feel that I’m possessed by obsession. And more often than not, IT follows me to the kitchen. Each time I finish a part of the menu I am cooking up, I do the dishes, wipe them, clear the place, put everything back, wipe the counters…& then begin the next bit. My knives have to be in the right place, the right knife has to be used for the right thing. I will not slice tomatoes till I find my serrated slicer, I worship my microplaner, my santuko is the only thing that slices my grilled chicken … & I’m the mistress of the kitchen. So much so, that when I chop, each piece should be the same size. The saving grace is that I’m pretty quick with the cutting, chopping and clearing up, otherwise we would have a ‘singing for the supper’ happening every night!

Things are slowly changing, & now I have company. The daughter is growing up, & she’s the regular teen with her head in the clouds. My knives are misplaced; my favourite non-stick is where I can’t find it, the ketchup is out & the cupboard is open … SIGH!! Sometimes I wish I was more chilled out, but it's not happening yet!

Wonder if I'm alone in this obsession; are you in there with me?

This post was written by Deeba

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Vegetarian Food Pyramid - Wheat Bran

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Posted by DK

In my last post, I was talking about the important byproducts of my favorite whole grain - wheat. The last edition was about wheat germ. Now let’s get set to wheat bran. The wheat grain has a hard outer layer. So while the grain is being processed for the purpose of making whole wheat flour, Bran is created as a by product.

How does it look like?

In its raw form, wheat bran has a light brown color and is similar to sawdust in texture. It is also available in powdered forms. Although cereals of bran is available ( as do readymade wheat bran muffins/pancakes) it is advisable to stay away from them since they are known to be high in high fructose corn syrup and unwanted sugar.

Where to buy?
Wheat Bran is mostly available in health stores. I personally haven’t been able to get in my local grocery stores. If you are in the US, you can find them in stores like Whole Foods.

How to buy?
Buying bulk would be preferable since it can be added to almost all types of dishes that you can think of – breakfast cereals, granola, pancakes, muffins, cookies, breads etc. You name it, you can add it :). You can powder it finely and add it to your smoothie too.

How does it taste?
I personally find it mildly sweet with a delicious chewy taste. I esp. love it in my muffins for the very same reason since it sort of makes me feel filled up pretty fast but is in fact pretty light. Sometimes the repeated mechanical movement of the mouth (aping the looks of a digesting cow!!) makes me feel like I am eating more! Psychology – well yeah, anything to cheat my brain into thinking that I am actually eating more though its otherwise in reality! One can def. cheat for the “greater good”- I always say!

How to store?
If you are buying in bulk, make sure you refrigerate it since it can go rancid. One may also store it in a vacuum –sealed canisters and placed at a moderate temperature. If your wheat bran starts tasting bitter, then probably it has already gone rancid.

One word of caution before I list down the benefits. Please avoid going overboard with adding wheat bran after reading this post). It’s known to cause diarrhea with over consumption.

1. Nature’s answer to Man’s fiber needs about 99% ( in one cup) of the daily requirements.
2. The fiber helps in body regulation and in providing a normal bowel functioning.
3. Have constipation? Then Wheat Bran will surely help you in relieving the problem.
4. It also helps in preventing intestinal related disorders.
5. Studies show that it also helps people with hemorrhoids.
6. It also provides about 9-10 gms of Protein ( 1cup) and approx 35% of Iron.
7. Other essential nutrients and minerals like magnesium,manganese, niacin, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B6, and is low in fat, with no cholesterol, and no sugar or sodium.

Recipe Ideas
There are no specific methods to add/include wheat bran in our diet. It is as simple as adding a tablespoon along with your baking batter or mixing it up with your smoothie or topping it off on your breakfast cereal. Two sample recipes to start you off with wheat bran are :

Apple Bran Muffins with the goodness of whole wheat, apple and nuts. Less fat more nutrition

Famous french bread Pain Au Son made with the complete goodness of bran. You can make it using Wheat bran or Oat bran. Both work perfectly in this recipe.

This post was written by Dhivya

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GYO - May #28

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Posted by Dee

The daily tiffin is proud to host this month's GYO. Thanks andrea for allowing us to host this wonderful event.

Grow Your Own is a twice-a-month blogging event that celebrates the foods we grow or raise ourselves and the dishes we make using our homegrown products. Anyone with a blog can participate! Do you write a food blog? A gardening blog? A farm blog? A hunting or foraging blog? An eco blog? A frugal blog? Anything whatsoever related to home and garden or fun activities to do with children? You can write a post about some of the edibles you have raised, grown, or found and cooked with. Having a food blog is not a requirement for participation.

The rules are simple:

* Make a dish that uses at least one item from your very own garden or farm and post about it. Your garden doesn’t have to be big. Container gardens are welcome! If you hunted or foraged, those items are also eligible. You can also use something that was given to you, but the giver must have personally grown or raised the item. If you paid for it, then it doesn’t count.

* Anything edible that you have grown or raised qualifies, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, sprouts, edible flowers, nuts, grains, legumes, dairy products, eggs, livestock, and anything else I might have forgotten. Produce from both indoor and outdoor gardens are welcome! Different regions will have different things available, so feel free to feature things unique to your area. (Rambutan trees, anyone?) We are all about celebrating variety!

* Please make sure your dish is posted during the month of the event because we like to celebrate seasonal items. One post per blog, please.
* As a courtesy, please include a link to this announcement in your blog post, and then update later with a link to the round-up.

* If you want to include one of the Grow Your Own badges in your post, feel free to grab one from here. (Please upload to your own server/image repository.) Logos professionally designed by Jeff Meyers.

To include your post in the round-up, send an email to thedailytiffin(at)gmail (dot)com by the 30th of May 2009 with the following information:

* Subject line: Grow Your Own #
* Your name and location (country, state if applicable)
* Your blog URL
* Permalink to your post
* 300×300 pixel photo of your dish (As long as the photo is no larger than 300 pixels in either direction, it will work.)

For an event like this I think it’s useful and interesting to see what is fresh and available from different regions at different times of the year, so please make sure you include the location information when you submit your entry.

It’s hard to keep track of entries if we don’t receive an email, so please remember to email your information to us. We feel bad if we miss someone’s post!

We will post a round-up of all our dishes within a few days after the deadline (of course subject to any other events in life, acts of God, etc). Questions? Please ask in the comments or email us.

We are eagerly looking forward to seeing those wonderful recipes made by the ingredients from your kitchen garden !

This post was written by Dee

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Spring Vegetables: Rhubarb

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Posted by Andrea Meyers

The Daily Tiffin - Rhubarb stalks

Originally grown in Asia as a medicinal plant, rhubarb is botanically a vegetable but its tart flavor makes it a terrific ingredient in fruity desserts, compotes, and chutneys. Think rhubarb pie or galettes, rhubarb torte, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb jelly, and rhubarb drinks such as martinis and margaritas. Two popular red fruits, strawberries and cherries, work well with rhubarb and that’s perfect because they are all in season at the same time, so try them together in pies, jellies, or even sangria.

Whether you buy rhubarb from a produce stand, farmers markets, or grocery store, or perhaps grow your own, you’ll want fresh crisp stalks and deep red color, which usually indicates more flavor. The leaves are not edible as they contain the toxin oxalic acid, so cut those away completely. Stand the stalks in a glass of cold water for an hour to refresh them before cooking. Rhubarb stores well in both the refrigerator and freezer, and also cans well using the hot-pack boiling water method.

Growing rhubarb is relatively easy because it’s a perennial, it just needs lots of room to accommodate the large leaves, so pick a spot on the edge of your garden where it can take off and not cover your other plants. Rhubarb thrives in moderately acidic soil, so add some pine bark mulch if necessary. In warm climates it grows year round and produces two harvests each year, while in temperate climates the parts above ground disappear during the winter and grow back in the spring producing one harvest each year. You can force rhubarb in winter, just cover it with an overturned bucket or pot, and it will sprout more quickly and produce longer stalks and smaller leaves. To harvest rhubarb, just pull the stalks away.

Raw rhubarb is a good source of Vitamin K and a moderately good source of Vitamin C, Calcium, and Manganese, though cooking slightly reduces the amount of Vitamin C and Manganese and increases the Calcium.

For a delicious way to get started cooking with rhubarb, try this quick and easy recipe for spiced chutney, which pairs well with roasted pork, chicken, duck, or lamb. The red onion and cherries carry on the bright red theme and the rhubarb and apple cider vinegar add a delicious tartness.

Spiced Rhubarb Chutney

(adapted from Epicurious)


6-quart Dutch oven or pot


3/4 cup (131 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1-1/2 pounds (680 g) fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces/57 g) dried tart cherries


1. Combine the sugar, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and red pepper in heavy large Dutch oven. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.

2. Add the rhubarb, onion and dried cherries. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely and store in a jar. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)


Wikipedia – Rhubarb

VideoJug – How to Harvest Rhubarb

Fruits and Veggies Matter (CDC) – Rhubarb

Health Alicious Ness - Rhubarb

This post was written by Andrea

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