Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.


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No Bowls to Wash Banana Muffins!

 

pouring out the batter

pouring out the batter

 

My daughter sent me this recipe for easy cleanup banana muffins. She had recently made them with her daughter. My toddler grand daughter, Avery,  is featured in the banana bread recipe posted on January 28. This banana muffin recipe is a lot easier on the ‘dishpan hands.’ All ingredients are added to a quart sized zip-lock bag! Then children can have fun mashing them together. (Warning: parental guidance necessary :-))

RECIPE (adapted from Yammie’s Noshery):

No Bowl Banana Muffins

 

peeling bananas

peeling bananas

measuring and adding ingredients

measuring and adding ingredients

 

mixing ingredients

mixing ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little one remembered that earlier in the day he had learned 8 plus 4 equal 12. It was such fun to hear  him make the math  connection!

counting on muffin tins

counting on muffin tins

 

 

 

 

 

enjoying banana mufins

enjoying banana muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, a recipe that makes everyone happy!

 


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One More Hearty Soup Recipe: Kale Potato

frozen kale leaves

This is one of the tastier soups we’ve turned out at Westminster School. The ‘yum’ factor may be the addition of a cup of nutritional yeast. It’s not only good for you as the name implies; it adds a creamy buttery dimension to this hearty recipe. This was my first introduction to nutritional yeast in soup; it’s surprisingly good! The boys who prepared it each ate three bowlfuls. The rest went to teachers, drawn to our kitchen by the aromas permeating the school hallways.

dicing potatoes

dicing potatoes

 

adding potatoes

adding potatoes

sauteeing carrots, onions

Recipe:

Creamy Potato Kale Soup

 

We used kale from our garden. Last fall, children had  had torn it into bite sized pieces after de-ribbing it. The pieces were sealed into quart zip-lock bags with the air pressed out of them Many months later the kale retains it’s emerald green color as well as its vitamin and fiber content. Our potato crop has been stored at temperatures that have kept it intact right through March. With the addition of some veggies from the store and a bit of chicken broth (you can substitute vegetable broth) kale potato soup is a nutritious and comforting soup for a cold rainy March day! Serves it with crusty bread or toasted grilled cheese sandwiches.

stirring the yeast into the soup

stirring the yeast into the soup


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More Green for March: Spinach Potato Soup

Stirring spinach potato soup

Stirring spinach potato soup

RECIPE: Spinach Potato Soup

cutting potatoes

cutting potatoes

ingredients

cutting potatoes

cutting potatoes

We hope to extend the growing season of our school garden next year. If we do, we may be able to grown our own spinach for this hearty delicious soup. It was made by the youngest children in the After School Program with a little help from older students. Children at any school age LOVE the responsibility of using a sharp knife. It really helps them to keep focused on their job. These youngsters are cutting up our school garden potatoes from last summer.

They’re adding them to some ‘sweated’ onions. Then, with the magic of heat and a bit of chicken broth to cover, the potatoes soften in no time.

While the soup boiled, children wrote their own stories about how the soup was made…the beginnings of labeled drawings are emerging as you can see. Each child has his/her own way of expressing the magical transformation from potatoes, spinach and chicken broth to soup. (Click on any photo to enlarge.) We blended the ingredients with a wand. Next, just a touch of heavy cream and….yum! Students slurped up their nutritious snack. Full recipe above!

labeled drawing

labeled drawing

Isabel was stirring the pot

Isabel was stirring the pot

labeled diagram (note the word 'steam' at the top)

labeled diagram (note the word ‘steam’ at the top)


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The Wearin’ of the Green

Marigolds to GreenhouseThird Graders planted a flat of basil seeds to send to our  farmer, Paul Harlow’s greenhouse. That flat will soon join the marigold seedlings that After School Program brought to the greenhouse last week (see above). Extended periods of warmth and sunlight aren’t really the order of the day right now in a typical Vermont environment. We’re grateful for the space provided at Harlow Farm. The third graders are about to test out their theories of where seedlings will grow best. Basil seedlings are so tiny they’re almost the size of a typed period. Students got a closer look at them with magnifying glasses. Planted seeds will spend the weekend germinating in a dark place in the classroom. Then on Monday, the experiment will begin. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Planting basil seeds

Planting basil seeds

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Predicting with a variable

writing predictions

writing predictions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With their teacher, Dena, students chose a few places in their classroom to care for seedlings. One group put theirs in a drawer, another on the window sill and another on the book shelf. They will monitor and care for the growth of their basil seedlings daily. Students worked hard at writing predictions for how each seedling group will fare. Labeled diagrams were exceptional in their detail.

labeled drawing grade 3

labeled drawing grade 3

labeled drawing and prediction

labeled drawing and prediction

I will keep the class  posted on the progress of the flat that goes to the greenhouse via emailed photos.

These basil seedlings will be big enough to be transplanted within a month. Students will plant them into small recycled school milk cartons. Some will be sold. Others will grow in our garden. We use basil for making pesto and for cooking projects….especially pizza sauce!


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Testing This Year’s Popcorn

2013 Popcorn Harvest

2013 Popcorn Harvest

Just look at this beautiful yield of popcorn! Our fourth grade students worked hard to plant, harvest and process it! Now, if only we can get it to pop into light fluffy kernels like Orville Redenbacher or Pop Secret. What is their secret? Armed with some knowledge about what makes popcorn pop, 4th grade scientists thought that putting popcorn in a freezer or submerging it in boiling water might make it pop. This seemed to make sense considering that a tiny drop of water must explode inside each kernel to produce the crunchy light popcorn we all love. Water expands when it freezes, right? And however we heat up the kernels, will the  droplet explode? I hope that students can find time to  test out their hypotheses. There is a budding scientist in every one of them.

In the meantime, we tried popping our stored popcorn from 2012 and 2013. Then we tasted the results in a blind taste test alongside Orville’s and Pop Secret. Students had to describe each taste sample using three or more adjectives. Their teacher, Ms. Nancy, recorded the descriptions of each. Votes were tallied. Our own popcorn did not get the recognition it deserved. It didn’t pop well. Most of the kernels just did a slow burn. It turns out that popcorn kernels can be over dried, losing that critical droplet of moisture in each kernel. As the students read and recorded their findings, their teacher showcased a few good books about popcorn for future reading. One was a book entitled, “The Popcorn Book,” by Tomi DePaola. In this book advice is given for popcorn that won’t pop………simply add water and keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. Our next experiment is taking shape. We’ll keep you posted on results. We can’t wait to enjoy our own popcorn. Thank you, Tomi!

2013 popcorn harvest

2013 popcorn harvest

tasting and describing

tasting and describing

Popped popcorn

Popped popcorn

descriptions of 3 types popcorn

descriptions of 3 types popcorn

voting literally blind taste test

voting literally blind taste test

Tomi DePaola Popcorn Book

Tomi DePaola Popcorn Book

response sheet

response sheet


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Pumpkin Pancakes and Math Lessons

pancake array

pancake array

Nothing is yummier than pancakes with this year’s maple syrup and last year’s pumpkin or squash puree. We baked halves of pumpkin on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven after removing the seeds. (Adding a little water helps to steam the pumpkins quickly.) Remove when they’re fork tender and allow to cool. Then you can scoop out the pumpkin, mash it and store it away in the freezer until the day before you need it. For these children, that freezer bag of pumpkin contains all the memories of last summer’s garden. It also adds vitamin A and fiber to their diets!

pancake eating YUM!

pancake eating YUM!

This is an easy recipe to put together and it has lots of opportunities to access math skills for all ages. We doubled the recipe so we doubled fractional amounts, like 1/4 plus 1/4. We set the pancakes in an array as they cooked, calling attention to the multiplication fact you can see in the photo above: 3 rows of 5 or 5 rows of 3 = 15 pancakes…..hardly enough  for this hungry group of After School kids, so we made another 15. How many was that? How many did each of us get to eat?

Each child took turns adding ingredients. Everyone had a chance to smell or taste the ingredients as they practiced new words, like “nutmeg” or “vanilla”.

Everyone took a recipe home to try recreating pancakes with their families. You can click on the recipe below!

following a recipe

following a recipe

reading a recipe

reading a recipe

cooking pride

cooking pride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on recipe:  Pumpkin Pancakes