Holy cow is it hot out this week or what?! I don’t know how people survive without A/C. I really don’t. I checked my phone before heading out the door this morning and it said the temp out was 82 degrees!! Needless to say, by the time I finished my 4 ½ mile run my clothes were absolutely drenched.
Speaking of heat, the weather has really limited Keira’s and my options as far as fun things to do during the day. We don’t live anywhere near a beach or public pool (and even if we did live near a public pool, I’d be hesitant to even go in). We don’t even know anyone around here with a pool, either. Keira is a little too young for summer camp so that was out of the question this summer. There are only so many times we can hang out in the library, bookstore and mall each week before we’re antsy for some new scenery. Sure can’t keep ourselves cooped up in the house all day, every day so what’s a mom and kiddo to do on days when it’s just way too hot to do anything?
WINNIE THE POOH!
This really was a shot in the dark for me to take a 2 ½-year-old to the movie theater. She’s never been before, although she did see Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE almost a year ago and was totally content awestruck and didn’t blink for probably at least the first 25 minutes. The website for our movie theater claimed it would only be a one-hour show and so I went for it with the hopes of Keira: A) not melting down; and B) actually enjoying it.
To get into the Winnie the Pooh spirit I made some super easy no-bake honey peanut butter balls to take along with us to the movie. I made this up as I went along and surprisingly they turned out great! They’re crunchy but gooey at the same time with just the right amount of sweetness from the honey and saltiness from the PB.
No-Bake Honey Peanut Butter Balls
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. peanut butter (I used White Chocolate Wonderful)
3 heaping tbsp. whole wheat flour
3 heaping tbsp. rolled oats
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1. In a microwave safe bowl add honey, PB, vanilla and salt. Nuke for 10 seconds, stir and repeat until well combined.
2. Stir in flour one tablespoon at a time and mix until well combined. Then use same method with oats.
3. Add chopped walnuts to batter and fold gently.
4. Place bowl into refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up and chill.
5. Using a melon baller scoop out balls of batter onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and return to fridge to chill. When firm, move to Tupperware container and store in fridge.
These make a really good snack or even sweet treat. I think I might cut one up and sprinkle it over some vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert some time… yuuuummy.
On our way home from the movies, I asked Keira what she wanted for dinner. Usually I just get some random answer such as: “watermelon”, “candy”, “the cookies Daddy likes”, etc. To my surprise, she gave me an answer that I could say yes to: “chicken paprikash.”
Chicken paprikash, it was! Chicken paprikash, a traditional Hungarian dish, is a stew-like gravy with chicken served over noodles (or rice, dumplings, etc.). My mother-in-law taught me how to make this and it was her mother-in-law who passed the recipe down to her. All three of us have different ways of doing it – though all are equally delicious. Here’s my version:
This is a general guideline because I don’t measure anything… It’s all about eyeballing it to your liking.
Start by sauteeing chopped onion in some olive oil over medium heat until the onion is tender.
At this point I usually add a little more paprika to make the broth a nice reddish-golden color. Bring to a boil then cover and turn down the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
Once chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and place on a cutting board. Bring broth to a boil again while you spoon out a tablespoon or two (depending on how much broth is in your pot) of flour into an air-tight Tupperware container. Add a splash of milk, seal and shake until flour and milk is well combined. You may have to add more milk and/or more flour to get the right consistency: not too thick, not too watery.
While your broth is thickening, shred your chicken using two forks. You could also cube it or even just leave it whole. Both Mike and Keira like it best when the chicken is shredded. Return chicken to broth, stir well and turn down the heat to low.
Serve over noodles, rice or dumplings and season with salt to your liking. Usually I serve it over rice pilaf but all I had was wheat couscous, which seemed to work out just fine! I like to serve this dish with lots of green peas or broccoli on top.
I hope everyone is beating the heat today… As for us, I think we’ll close all the shades, make a “pillow land” on the floor and rent a movie On Demand while we relish in the cool air conditioning!
What are some fun indoor activities you enjoy when the weather has you cooped up?