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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Autumn Colored Rice

I can hardly believe that today was the last day of summer! It seems like this year is just screaming by at breakneck speed. Although I do enjoy the coming seasons, this has been one of our best summers and I'm really going to miss it. At least the last couple of days have been pretty warm and enjoyable. But, onward and upward, right? So I am trying to get myself into the spirit for autumn by preparing for our autumn sensory tub - which meant making rice in some lovely autumn colors. 

I made a apple-ish red, bright leafy yellow, crunchy leaf brown and pumkin-y orange.

The How-to:

Gather ingredients:
cheap white rice
food colorings
zip top baggies
paper towels
plates (paper or otherwise)

Start by putting 1 to 2 tablespoons of vodka in a bag along with your coloring.
My color "recipes:"
Brown: 10 drops red, 10 drops yellow, 2 drops blue (this gave a lighter brown but doubling the amounts would probably allow more color to get into the rice for a deeper hue)
Yellow: 20 to 25 drops of yellow
Red: 25 drops of red but it turned out to be too light (almost neon pink) so I colored it again with 20 red and 2 blue.
 Orange: 10 red and 30 yellow (it was too light with 4 red & 12 yellow so I colored again with 6 red and 18 yellow)

Some people might prefer to use vinegar or rubbing alcohol. I choose to use vodka for two reasons: 1. it doesn't have an odor like vinegar does and 2. rubbing alcohol may leave undesirable residue behind.

Add 2 cups of rice and make sure to tightly seal the bag (or you might have a yellow rice mishap such as mine which called for a break in coloring to pull out my stick vac). Knead & smoosh the bag until the color is evenly distributed through the rice. 

Allow the bag to rest 15 to 20 minutes to really let the color penetrate the rice. Using a mesh strainer, give the rice a quick rinse to clear some of the starchiness. Drain it well.

Spread the rice on a paper towel lined plate and allow it to dry. The rice dries fairly fast and should be ready to play with in 2 hours or less. 

I can't wait - Laural & Micah are going to be thrilled with their new autumn play rice. I think I'd better keep my stick vac handy though...

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