Planning a long drive with the kiddos in tow? Keep them occupied with puzzles and games from ENERGY KIDS, an initiative from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Here are a few of our favorites:
- They might not be able to find their shoes, but kids love finding words. Check out the Energy Kids crossword puzzles and word searches.
- Why did the foolish gardener plant a light bulb? He wanted to grow a power plant, of course! Get your kiddos thinking about energy with brain teasers. You can find plenty more gems on the Energy Kids riddle page.
- Going on a long trip? The Energy Ant activity book has plenty of fun energy-related activities to help pass the time.
Simply download and print before hitting the road. Happy vacationing from your friends at PSO!
After an action-packed afternoon of summer fun, you’re bound to get hungry. Instead of raiding the cookie jar, try these pineapple coconut energy balls, courtesy of Cupcakes and Kale Chips. They’re healthy, they take no baking (so no energy), and they’re delicious enough to satisfy a sweet tooth.
1 cup whole pitted dates
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
½ cup chopped pineapple, drained if you’re using a can
¼ cup ground flax seeds or flaxseed meal
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until it forms a thick paste.
- Using about a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into balls.
- These will be soft, so store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Share with the kids, and have one yourself!
Many of us remember that indelible image: a large jug full of tea, maybe some lemon slices, sitting on the back porch, slowly steeping under the glow of the sun. If you grew up in this part of the country, there’s a good chance you share this memory, whether from childhood or last summer. If it’s been a while, why not renew the tradition? Sun tea is delicious, refreshing, and, of course, energy efficient. No need to waste precious kilowatts boiling water on the stove—the sun does the job better. Here’s a refresher on the basics of sun tea, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.
1 large glass jug. One with an easy pour spout is preferable.
8 tea bags per gallon of cold water. Any tea will do, whether black or green, caffeinated or herbal.
Liquid sweetener, if desired.
Garnish of choice—citrus, berries, mint, or cucumbers are popular.
- Fill your jug with cold water and add the appropriate number of tea bags. Cover the jug, set outside in the sun.
- Monitor the color of the tea. General timeframe for steeping is between 2–3 hours, but on a particularly hot day you might want to bring it inside after an hour. It’s up to you—leave it out longer for stronger tea, bring it in earlier for a lighter brew.
- Add a liquid sweetener if desired. Honey or agave nectar work well, or you can run hot water over granule sugar to create a simple syrup.
- Add your garnishes to the jug—and to your glass, if desired.
- Pour, grab a seat on the porch, and enjoy!
After a busy day of cleaning, the temptation might be to grab something frozen and let your oven do all the work. However, with just a few minutes of prep, a handful of ingredients, and a basic outdoor grill, you can make a hearty, flavorful meal that rewards you and your family for all your hard work without using unnecessary energy. Here’s how to make mustardy grilled corn and sausage kabobs* in under 30 minutes with just five ingredients, courtesy of MidwestLiving.
*Vegetarians in the family? Replace the sausage with squash, zucchini or your favorite vegetable.
(yields four servings)
2 large ears sweet corn, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 8)
1 large green sweet pepper, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 14-oz package kielbasa sausage, cut into 12 pieces
1/3 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Thread corn, kielbasa and sweet peppers on 4 long metal skewers.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together Italian dressing and mustard; brush some of the mixture on the kabobs before grilling.
3. Grill, covered, directly over medium- to medium-high heat for 8 to 12 minutes, turning and brushing occasionally with remaining dressing mixture, until vegetables are tender and charred.
4. Serve and enjoy!
We can’t claim to have invented no-bake cookies, but we couldn’t resist sharing this classic recipe, which is perfectly in the spirit of this newsletter’s theme. These cookies are delicious, easy to make, and require only a brief flirtation with the stove top (no oven use required).
Recipe yields around 30–32 cookies.
½ cup sliced butter pieces
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats
- Measure out ingredients, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Put the butter, sugar, milk, and unsweetened cocoa powder in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir often until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Then, bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for 60 seconds while stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until fully combined. Add the oats to the mix, stir until oats are coated and everything is well combined.
- Use a two-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure out spoonfuls of the mixture on the prepared baking sheets. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes and serve!