Archive for the ‘side dish’ Category

Gaelic-Garlic Pesto Shamrock Bread—with “Earn Some Green” Figurative Language

PicMonkey Collage st patty

Valentine’s Day is a thing of the past, so I’m turning to the next big holiday theme  for this week’s post…It will give you plenty of time to take a look at my newest TpT packet, whip up this snack and browse the itunes store for the free St. Patty’s Day app.

This snack is quick and delicious—and GREEN for St. Patty’s Day!  It’s fun and easy so little hands can help prepare it and then put the pieces together like a puzzle to form a shamrock!  I love making homemade pesto and fresh basil is available all year long in your local grocery store.   Try substituting other greens like kale or spinach in place of the basil,  (to sneak more veggies into your kiddos diets).  And instead of pine nuts (which can get very pricey), go for walnuts, which have a high nutritional value and are way cheaper! Arrange your pesto bread slices into a shamrock formation and add a celery stick for a stem and you too will be Irish for a day!!  For today’s speechsnack, I’ve created a figurative language packet, available in my TpT store.     And lastly, scroll down to the end of this post to checkout a FREE app available in the Apple itunes store that can be used to address speech and language goals.   Enjoy the recipe, language packet and free app, and may the luck of the Irish be with you on St. Patty’s Day and all year long!



Help your students identify and define figurative language concepts with this fun St. Patty’s themed packet.  Find it in my TpT store here!!


Packet includes “leprechaun loot” which students earn when they have responded to one of the figurative language cards (idioms, similes or metaphors.)

Some cards have a small horseshoe in the right hand corner which indicates good luck—they should draw another money card.  If they draw one with a leprechaun in the corner, they must give up their highest dollar amount and return it to the bottom of the pile!  Everyone should count up their money at the end of the game. The person with the most Leprechaun loot is the winner!



To play Idiom matching game: put idiom coins in a pile. Spread out pots of gold (either sentence fill-in’s or definitions.)  Have student draw a coin and match it to the correct pot of gold.


To play “Emerald Isle” similes: Place cards in a pile.  Student draws a card and must determine what the simile means as well as tell you which two words in the simile are being compared to each other.  As a follow-up activity, use the Simile Starters worksheet to have students create their own original similes based on the words provided.


As a follow-up activity, use the Simile Starters or Make Your Own Metaphors worksheet to have students create their own original similes/metaphors based on the words provided.



To play “Lucky horseshoe” metaphors: Place cards in a pile.  Student draws a card and must identify the metaphor and determine what it means.   As a follow up activity, use the Make your own Metaphors worksheet to have the students create their own original metaphors based on the words provided.

Gaelic-Garlic Pesto Shamrock Bread

You will need: 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed , 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil,1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts,3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced,Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, one half of a freshly squeezed lemon

 The kiddos can peel the garlic, tear up the basil, squeeze the lemon and throw the ingredients into the food processor, but let an adult operate the machinery!!  (Not a job for little hands!)


Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.   Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended.  Squeeze in the juice of one half of a lemon.. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Pulse to finish mixing ingredients.
















Discuss the consistency of the ingredients after they have been blended together—ask the kids to describe the appearance of the final product.

Serve with pasta, spread on chicken before baking in the oven, add to a baked potato, or spread on crusty Italian bread and toast in oven.










To make Gaelic-Garlic Pesto bread, cut thick slices of whole wheat garlic bread on an angle. Spread pesto over the top of each slice. Toast in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place three slices in a shamrock formation. Add a long stick of celery for a stem.














Let the kids have fun spreading the pesto on bread slices. Dig out the silicone baking brush and let them dip it in the mixture and “paint” on the pesto!









Once the bread comes out of the oven, (be careful to remove the slices from the hot tray first parents)  the kids can assemble this by arranging  toasted  bread slices and celery to form a shamrock.   


Ask your kids to recall all the ingredients used.  Have them sequence the steps in the process.  Can they come up with 10 words that start with the /sh/ sound??   How about a list of all things green?? 


Here’s a fun Irish app that is great for addressing  several speech and language goals—Learning Gems—St. Patricks Day    The picture has beautiful colors and details, it’s interactive, and best of all it’s FREE!!  After your target sound or language skill is addressed, tap on different objects in the picture and the leprechaun says funny things.  The picture comes to life with flying butterflies, gold and horseshoes as well as a magically appearing rainbow.   

1–If you are working on the /l/ sound, the multisyllabic word “LEPRECHAUN”  is quite the challenge!  Practice at the syllable level by targeting /lep/ or as a multisyllabic word, clap out each syllable separately and then blend the word together.

2- For carryover kiddos, use the word leprechaun in sentences describing something about himThe leprechaun has a red beard.  The leprechaun is sitting on a mushroom

3-To address language skills for increasing sentence length and using descriptive words, have your students create sentences describing the leprechaun, the background scene, and giving explanations about what happens when various parts of the picture are tapped. 

Do you have any other suggestions for using this app????  Feel free to comment below!

Ring in the New Year with Cowboy Caviar—and Speechsnacks for New Year vocabulary!!

In celebration of 365 brand new days, I would like to share a dish that not only has symbolic value but is also a very healthful way to start off the New Year!  Every culture has their own foods that are eaten on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good health, good luck and prosperity.  One such food is black-eyed peas, eaten in the Southern U.S. and symbolic of monetary luck (due to the roundness of their shape–like coins) I would also like to think they are  a symbol of good health due to their high protein and fiber content.  Not only is this a great side dish to serve at your New Year’s feast, but it is great any time of year–and would be especially good at a summer barbecue.  What a simple and nutritious combination of flavors!  Good Health and Good Eating!!

And if you’re looking for a way to incorporate vocabulary and expressive language development into the New Year….I created a game and game cards perfect for the occasion.   You can find it in my TpT store!  

new year cover

You will find a game board, 18 cards to address vocabulary, WH questions and fill-in-the-blanks, a graphic organizer for use with the vocabulary and a recipe card for Cowboy Caviar to print out.

Hole punch and add to a 3-ring binder to collect all the great “speechsnacks” on large recipe cards!!


Cowboy Caviar—also known as Texas Caviar depending on who you talk to– is a simple dish with an interesting history. Some believe that consumption of black-eyed peas will bring luck and prosperity in the coming year. Cowboy, or Texas, caviar is an offshoot of that tradition. The dish was developed by Helen Corbitt, a Yankee, who did not like black-eyed peas. She was the head chef at Neiman Marcus and was asked to create an all-Texas menu that would include black-eyed peas. Athens, Texas is, after all, the black-eyed pea capital of the world. Hard pressed to find an existing recipe that met her high standards, she decided to pickle them, and created a dish that could be eaten with a fork or scooped up on a tortilla chip.  While researching this recipe, I found many different versions.  I have taken bits and pieces of the recipes I have reviewed to create my own take on this delicious side dish.


Combine the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl: 1 can black-eyed peas (rinsed and drained), 2 cups corn ( I prefer thawed, frozen corn to canned corn) 2 cubed avocados, 3-4 diced Roma tomatoes, 3-4 chopped green onions (scallions), 1 can chopped black pitted olives, 1 diced red pepper, 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro















Mix the following dressing ingredients: 1 freshly squeezed lime, 2-3 cloves garlic finely minced, 2-3 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, salt/pepper to taste












Mix dressing ingredients well and add to chopped ingredients.  Let sit overnight in refrigerator to allow dressing to infuse into all ingredients and enhance flavors.  Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.










“SPEECH SNACKS ” for the /k/ sound:

black olives, black-eyed peas, corn, garlic, cumin, tobasco, avocado, cowboy, caviar, good luck, crackers

  • There are so many beautiful colors used in this recipe—practice naming all the colors with your younger helpers:  ASK THEM:  “WHAT COLOR IS THE AVOCADO?”  HAVE THEM RESPOND: “AN AVOCADO IS GREEN“     Name all the foods and their colors.  
  • Discuss the vegetable category and reinforce the fact that the ingredients used are vegetables.  Have your little ones try to name the vegetables used in this recipe without cuing first.  Provide the label for them if they do not know it.  Have them name other vegetables to build their knowledge base in this category.
  •  Let your children help mix the vegetables together after they have been cut up by an adult.  Allow them to help measure, mix and pour the dressing ingredients. 
  • Talk to your children about the traditions of other cultures in celebrating the New Year.  Use the reference list above to tell them how different foods symbolize good luck, health, fortune and prosperity.  Discuss the traditions and customs of your own family with your children.
  • Talk to your children about the word RESOLUTION.  Explain the meaning in simple, age-appropriate terms.  Have your children make resolutions for the New Year and share the resolutions together as a family. 


Here are some kid-specific New Year’s resolutions, courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics, that can improve the lives of children while teaching them a lesson or two along the way.


- I will clean up my toys  and put them where they belong.

- I will brush my teeth twice a day and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.

- I will be nice and loving toward pets and all animals. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.

Kids, ages 5 to 12

- I will drink milk and water three times each day and limit soda and fruit drinks to once each day.

- I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.

- I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity that I like and do it at least three times a week.

- I will always wear a helmet when riding my bicycle.

- I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car.

- I will be nice to other kids. I will be friendly to kids who need friends — like someone who is shy or is new to my school.

- I will never give out personal information, including my name, home address, school name, or telephone number on the Internet.

- I will never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parents’ permission.

Kids, ages 13 and older

- I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink, if any at all, to one glass daily.

- I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.

- I will choose nonviolent television shows and video games, and I will spend no more than two hours each day on these activities.

- I will help out in my community by volunteering, working with community groups or joining a group that helps the less fortunate.

- I will take a break when I feel angry or stressed out and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.

- I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust when faced with a difficult decision.

- I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help friends if I notice they are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors.

- I will be careful about whom I choose to date and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence. I will expect the same good behavior in return.

- I will resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.

- I will not use a cell phone or text message while driving, and I will always wear a seat belt.



Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport

Squirrels New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller

The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing


Here’s a list of some symbolic foods and the places where they’re eaten for the New Year.

Round Food (Like Coins for Monetary Luck)

Italy, Brazil & Germany (Lentils) Germany (Pancakes) Philippines (Round Fruit) Southern US (Black-eyed Peas)

Green Leafy Vegetables (Like Paper Money for Monetary Luck)

Southern USA (Collard Greens & Turnips) Denmark (Kale) Germany (Sauerkraut)

Golden Food (Like Gold for Monetary Luck)

Southern USA (Corn Bread)

Pig (Symbol of Plentiful Food in the New Year)

Hungary (Roast suckling pig with a 4 leaf clover in its mouth) Italy (Cotechino con lenticchie – pork sausage with lentils) Germany (Kassler mit Sauerkraut – financial luck) Pennsylvania Dutch (USA – Pork with Sauerkraut) Austria China

Food on the Table or Plate at Midnight (Symbol of Plentiful Food in the New Year)

Germany Philippines

Sweets (Symbolic of a Sweet Year or Good Luck)

Hungary (Doughnuts) Greece (Round cake called Vasilopita – made with a coin baked inside – whoever gets the coin is lucky throughout the year) Israel (Jewish New Year – Apple dipped in honey & grapes) India Egypt (Candy for kids) Korea (Sweet Fruits) Norway (Rice Pudding with an almond inside – good luck to the one who gets the almond)

12 Grapes at Midnight (Symbolizing 12 Sweet Months)

Spain Portugal Mexico Cuba Ecuador Peru

Ring Shaped Food (Good Luck)

Mexico (Rosca de Reyes – Luck) Netherlands (Olie Bollen – Doughnut)

Fish (Symbol of Good Luck)

Germany (Herring & Carp) Poland (Pickled Herring) Denmark (Boiled Cod) Italy (Dried Salted Cod) Japan (Red Snapper – Pink is a lucky color) Vietnam (Carp) China Sweden (Seafood Salad)

A Happy, Lucky and Prosperous New Year to All of You!



Tropical Pineapple-Cilantro Salsa {with SpeechSnacks for vocabulary building and sequencing skills}

tropical sorting

If the summer’s heat has you feeling as wilted as your flower beds, then you are surely in no mood to cook!  This week’s recipe is quick, light and refreshing.  It requires no oven, yet you can add a little “heat”  (jalepenos) if you wish.    Get your kiddos involved as you use this opportunity to help them build language and sequencing skills.  Check out this week’s video and get inspired!!  Take them on a journey around the world as you talk about tropical fruits and islands.  Explore your backyard herb garden together as another means of building their vocabulary knowledge.  I’ve also included a sorting task from my TpT store (download and print) for tropical vs. not-tropical items.  Help your kids identify which category the objects belong in.   Wow—all of this is possible simply by creating a recipe together!!  And hang on ‘til the end of the video segment and watch how we make a pineapple-coconut drink that the whole family can enjoy.   Your taste of the islands awaits.   Continue reading “Tropical Pineapple-Cilantro Salsa {with SpeechSnacks for vocabulary building and sequencing skills}” »

Ladybug Salad—{with “SpeechSnacks” for /l/ sentences”


Have you started planting your summer garden yet??  Will it be filled with flowers? Vegetables?  Both?  No matter what you decide to plant, you are sure to find lots of these little buggers in your flowers and veggies all season long—ladybugs!  So after I planted my flowers last week I was inspired to create a post that was seasonally appropriate, healthy, and a fun way to get the kids to try some fruits and veggies!  I recently discovered broccoli slaw in Trader Joe’s and have been using it to make salads every chance I get!  The ingredients double as a kid friendly “ladybug” salad and a crunchy, refreshing and sweet salad that grown ups will find satisfying as well.  I have also created my first post using Custom Boards by Smarty Ears (it was on sale this month for Better Hearing and Speech Month so I took full advantage.)  I LOVE this app for so many reasons—-you can create flashcards, game boards, worksheets…the possibilities are endless!!  Hope your speech kiddos working on /l/ at the sentence level find it fun and informative—not only will they be practicing their /l/, but learning some interesting facts about this cool creature as well!  And don’t forget to check out my fun video for ladybug salad—learn some math and spatial concepts while playing with your fruits and veggies!! Continue reading “Ladybug Salad—{with “SpeechSnacks” for /l/ sentences”” »

Cauliflower Fake Out! {with Speech Snacks for /f/}


This Thanksgiving we celebrated with all the traditional favorites—turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes—but when the company goes home and I am cooking for just my family, I opt for the healthier version of the foods we splurge on during the holidays.  I could have made this side dish on Thanksgiving using cauliflower and no one would have been the wiser!!  Not only do Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes look like the real deal, then definitely taste like it too.  Add a little gravy over the top and you are eating a low carb, highly nutritious version of a comfort food that is getting a healthy make over.  Try making it for your family the next time you have a “mashed potato and gravy” craving and watch them devour a veggie that they might have never tried otherwise!! Continue reading “Cauliflower Fake Out! {with Speech Snacks for /f/}” »

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