A Year in the Secret Garden, Something To Do

Weekend Links | Books and Activities that Get Kids into the Kitchen

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Kids, cooking, learning and fun all go hand-in-hand. It’s no secret that getting kids into the kitchen has huge benefits including honing basic math skills (counting eggs or measuring ingredients), encourages an adventurous palate, helping them explore with their senses and works to boost their confidence. Imagine the “double win” it would be if parents could incorporate reading and the act of bringing favorite books to life at the same time. It’s possible! Here are some great examples of just that. Enjoy!

Susan Ready from Ever Ready is the master of discovering and sharing yummy recipes that seem to fit the mood or event. She was kind enough to review this wonderful multicultural book for Multicultural Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup, Chicken Soupand of course she also shared a mouth-watering recipe to match.

I love how Jodie at Growing Book by Book encourages parents to Start a Cookies and Bookies ritual with their kids.

The Huffington Post had so many great book-inspired recipes for kids…I couldn’t pick just one! Judge for yourself here.

Kenny and the Dragon #bookreview and activities for kids that includes my favorite…Dragon Bread!!

Of course I have to include some Seuss-inspired fun with Dr. Seuss Inspired Snacks! Thanks KindergartenisGrreat.com!


What if we could bake bread in the shape of the sun and coax it to come out ? That’s exactly what happens in Elisa Kleven’s book Sun Bread. Here’s an excerpt of my adventures in Sun Bread making.

Sun Bread Recipe

Sun Bread Cover

I have to confess that for this blog post I actually baked sun bread yesterday and you know what ?  It works!!

“The sun shines not on us but in us.” –John Muir

Books and Activities that Get Kids into the Kitchen

Something To Do: A Fun Sun Bread Recipe

The recipe for sun bread is provided in the book. I needed to make some adjustments to it and will write my version for you here. Remember flour and yeast are very fickle things. The same recipe will react differently depending on which part of the country you’re baking your bread in. Please feel free to add flour or water as needed.

There’s one more thing before I share the recipe. You can just make Sun Bread without reading the book and it will taste wonderful, but the real magic happens when you bake Sun Bread after you read the book.  The bread tastes completely different, almost enchanted !!

Elisa Kleven’s Sun Bread Recipe

Happy Sun Bread

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted*
  • 2 packages dry yeast (1 package = 2¼ teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons lukewarm milk
  • Mix eggs and sugar well.
  • Combine flour and butter.
  • Add the eggs mixture to the flour mixture and beat well.
  • In a small bowl combine yeast and milk. Allow to stand until mixture is foamy, at least 5 minutes.
  • Add the yeast mixture to the batter and stir. Knead dough on greased, floured surface for 8-10 minutes. (My dough is usually very sticky and buttery so I add ¼ to ½ cup more flour whenever I knead this dough.)

sun bread

  • Place dough in greased bowl, cover with a cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour (dough will be doubled in size).
  • Gently deflate the dough, knead for 5 minutes, then separate into 2 portions.
  • To form the sun’s face, shape one portion of the dough into a round, somewhat flattened ball, then place on a large greased (or covered with cornmeal) baking sheet. (I also used parchment paper.) With the greased end of a wooden spoon or with your finger, poke two “eyes” in the sun: draw a mouth with same way (I use a wide-lipped glass and press it gently into the dough). Make sure the lines are deep so they won’t close up during rising and baking. Make a nose by securely attaching a small ball of dough to its face.
  • Make the corona of the sun by rolling one half of the remainder of the dough into four or five long “snakes.” Curl the snakes into puffy “snail” shapes. Shape the rest of the dough into four or five puffy triangles. Firmly attach the snails and triangles to the sun’s face. (Use some water if the dough is dry. My dough was very buttery and moist, so I did not need to.)

Cover the sun and let it rise again in a warm place for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. I sprinkled my sun’s corona with red salt and white sea salt. Bake for about 10-20 minutes.** Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread. It should come out clean.




Another book that is plumb-full of cooking opportunities is my own book, A Year in the Secret Garden.

A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book. This delightful children’s book from authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters offers unique and original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! With over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities (many of which include being in the kitchen!) for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together.

This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst of many hours of family growth, learning and FUN! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!
A Year in the Secret Garden