This month we are exploring Canada with the Around the World in 12 Dishes group. Hazel and I have been having so much fun with it. If was warmer weather, I might even consider taking her to Canada, however I cannot imagine going anywhere colder and snowier than what we already have. I am so done with winter, but alas, we are expecting snow again tomorrow. Anyway, a bit about Canada. Canada borders three oceans: Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic, and its southern border with the United States is the worlds longest land border between two countries. Canada is the second largest country in area. Canada was settled by both France and Great Britain. After the French and Indian War, France ceded its colonies to Britain in 1763. As a result of both countries settling, Canada is officially a bilingual country. Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The Queen's representative carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.
Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Its capital city is Ottawa. The largest city is Toronto. The country's symbol is the maple leaf and the country's animal is the beaver. The colors of its flag represent its French and British background (red for France and white for Great Britain). (Sources: Wikipedia and the resource books shown below.)
This month we have made two Canadian treats. Now it took awhile to find a recipe that was not pancakes. Almost all of the books seemed to give pancake recipes for Canada to use maple syrup. However we found a Prairie Berry Cake in Kids Around the World Cook! by Arlette N. Braman.
Prairie Berry Cake is made with local berries called saskatoons. Saskatoons grow in Saskatchewan and Alberta--two provinces in Canada. They look a lot like blueberries and the book suggested using blueberries if saskatoons are not available.
Prairie Berry Cake Icing
1/2 cup butter, softened 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups white flour 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
7/8 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh saskatoons
or blueberries (we used frozen)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together. Then beat in the eggs.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add about half the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix, and then add half the milk and mix. Add the rest of the dry mixture and mix then add the rest of the milk and mix.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the berries.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
- Mix the icing ingredients and beat with an electric mixer. (Note: The amount of icing made is not much and you may want to increase it!) Spread on the cooled cake and enjoy! (I actually liked it better without the icing.)
And we did enjoy!! All of us loved it. We also sent some to my mother-in-law's house and she asked for the recipe because she and her cousin loved it so much.
Our other adventure was making maple syrup taffy. Now Hazel has seen this on Curious George and Caillou plus the book The Sugaring Off Party by Jonathan London also talked about it. After a couple failed attempts I got help from one of the Canadian bloggers in Around the World in 12 Dishes, and we had success. Hazel now wants to make this every year! The trick is to really boil the syrup and boil off some of the liquid. Then you pour it on snow. After a couple of seconds it turns to taffy you can pick up with a popsicle or lollipop stick. If you do not boil it enough you eat maple flavored snow (which is delicious, but not nearly as good). I did not get very good pictures of our taffy, but here is what I have.
Now Hazel and I have been enjoying the Canadian stories that we found in our local library. Here is the first bunch of stories--mostly picture books. Each gave us a bit more of an understanding of the Canadian culture and sights.
Then we had a large number of books on and tales from the aboriginal people of Canada.
The Enchanted Caribou by Elizabeth Cleaver shared some shadow puppets and how to make your own at the end. I photocopied the ones she provided and here are the ones I cut out so far.
Finally we have our resource type books. These books give a bit more information on Canada as a country and place to live. Many also have a recipe and/or a craft in them. Unfortunately someone was not in the mood to craft this weekend, so we did not get to any of them. Many are also sources for the introduction above.
I have some music, but have not grouped it all together yet for us to listen to it. Hazel also wants to make the maple syrup pie recipe we saw in one of our resource books (well actually a couple of them have ones). If we do we will share our experience with it. Plus next month our local state park usually does a maple sugaring weekend where they teach about the whole process of making maple syrup and then have samples. We try to go every year.
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