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Monday, 28 September 2015

Call us Corny

Sure - Go ahead and call us Corny because, as it turns out, we are gourmet and creatively corny people!

The day before the last big grocery shop I decided to offer each team a "Mystery Ingredient" to spice up their snack time.  

I chose local corn and sent each program 3 ears of corn.

Of course I made it a competition.

And as usual the teams did an incredible job of creatively using corn.  From soup to pizza to cornbread and corn muffins and even corn flowers and aquariums.... and a rhyming story!! I kid you not!  

Below you'll see the creativity of some of the finest, and corniest, Early Childhood Educators in the land...How to pick a winner?

Entry 1
BGR Toddlers

Our Toddler educators discovered after playing outside, many of the children’s hands were cold.  After a discussion with the children about how we can warm up, we decided to make corn soup together.

All of the children tried to help!

We added homemade garlic flavored croutons and parsley from the centre’s garden.
Ta da!

We enjoyed this fancy Gourmet Corn Soup

West Cambie Preschool ( a program with no stove!)

Entry 3
West Cambie 3-5

Entry 4
Terra Nova Children's Centre

Entry 5
Bowling Green 3-5's

If You Give BGR Children Some Corn...

If you give BGR children some corn,
...they will observe it,
...they will smell it,
...they will tell you it smells like a peach, pizza, dirt, mango, brownie, a veggie or corn!

They will give you snack ideas such as cheerios with corn, animal crackers with corn and muffins with corn!
We went with muffins with corn, well, actually, fresh corn bread muffins!

If you let the children know they can help with making fresh corn bread muffins,
...they will wash their hands,
...they will rush to the kitchen,
...they will get ready to make fresh corn bread muffins!

If you put the corn in front of the children,
...they will rip up the husks,
...they will smell the corn again,
...they will tell you stories of popcorn, corn soup and other delicious corn recipes!
If you cut up the corn and bring out a blender, the children will,
...touch the corn kernels,
...smell it again,
...puree the corn in the magic bullet machine...the “grinding machine”.

If you give the children some ingredients, a big bowl, a big spoon and a big whisk,
...they will take turns,
...they will mix, mix, mix,
...they will lick their lips in wonder and anticipation!
If you give the children muffin cups,
...they will put them in the muffin tin,
...they will continue to lick their lips,
...they will wait patiently for the muffins to be baked.

If you give the children the fresh corn muffins,
...they will eat them at snack,
...they will say it is yummy,
...they will say “can we have some more”!

Entry 6
West Cambie Toddlers

For those of ya’ll who don’t yet know, I’m a southern belle, born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. I trained as a chef at the Art Institute of Atlanta, many years ago, graduating in 2001, before I even thought of going back to school to become an Early Childhood Educator. So, when I found out about this mystery ingredient challenge, and that our ingredient was corn, my thoughts immediately turned to the quintessential southern food: cornbread! We take cornbread very seriously in my family, from the properly seasoned cast iron cook ware we bake it in, to the hot, melted honey butter we serve it with.
Choosing to make cornbread with the children in the West Cambie Toddler Program was not a difficult decision to make. The children already love baking day, and they are very used to making bread (we make our own loaves of white bread monthly.) I also know that any time we serve a bread for snack, it is always gobbled up!

          To begin, I did what we call mis en place, which basically means to get out all of your ingredients and tools before you start. I then gathered a small group of Toddlers to help with the mixing and measuring. The children were excited to help me count and measure the different ingredients, and they especially enjoyed cracking the eggs. We creamed the corn by hand, and added it to make our cornbread moist. After it was done baking, we had a most enjoyable snack! 

 Entry 7
Cranberry Children's Centre Infant/Toddler Program

I'm sure you wish you were having snack with us! 

Well done to all who played along with the Mystery Ingredient Challenge!