Rotini with Bolognese Sauce

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Serve this easy vegan bolognese with whole wheat pasta or any of the new chickpea or lentil pasta on the market. It’ll pack a big protein punch for little eaters.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 12 ounces meatless crumbles (such as Lightlife)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Rotini pasta
  • Vegan Parmesan sprinkles
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Dice the onion and celery and add to the pot; cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the meatless crumbles; cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste; cook for a final 3 to 4 minutes, until heated through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook your favorite rotini pasta according to package directions. Serve the sauce over the pasta, and sprinkle with the Parmesan to taste.

For little ones who are Baby Led Weaning, you can serve piles of the sauce next to pieces of cooked pasta for a more deconstructed version.

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Baby’s Poem

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If your baby has older siblings, then he or she is likely eager for the day when a baby brother or sister can truly talk. Help keep things amusing in the meantime with this cute, family-friendly activity.

Make a list of the words your baby can say so far. For Veronika, this is a mix of vocalizations and baby signs, and she’s picked up some funny first ones. On our list we had:

  • diaper
  • cat
  • socks
  • tickle
  • bus
  • mama
  • dada

Big brother Travis loved brainstorming the list, adding the “ta ta” that she says for Travis.

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Now it was time to turn her words into a poem! Take turns as family members adding sentences. I started things off on a silly note with:

“The cat in socks likes to tickle the bus.”

Travis immediately latched on and added:

“The bus got to tickle the cat.”

Our poem ended with:

“Veronika put a diaper on ta ta

And mama and dada took it off.”

As you can see, there are no rules and no need to rhyme. But it had Travis laughing, had all of us marveling at the words she can say already, and now has us excited for what word comes next.

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What was your baby’s first word? Please share in the comments!


The Power of Protein

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When Travis gets home from school, man oh man is he tired. I’m dismayed, therefore, if I look in his lunchbox and find food that has gone uneaten, as he learns to make sure he gets enough before rushing off to recess.

So the timing of this lesson plan from Raddish Kids was perfect. It gave me an entry point to talk about why he needs to prioritize certain portions of his meal, and have enough energy for those long kindergarten days.

Start with this fun challenge: I asked him to balance on one leg, which he proudly did as he counted to 10.

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But could he do it with his eyes closed??? Whoa, now he wobbled!

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Raddish’s talking points explain how – just like in this exercise – our bodies need balance on the inside or we might wobble and tip. You can give examples like rest vs. activity and then launch into the idea of eating foods in balance.

The main focus here was on protein. Raddish provided a whole page full of protein facts, and we watched a suggested video. For our vegan family, I filled in a few gaps, explaining how we can get protein from tofu, beans, lentils, whole grains, and more.

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Now it was time to see what he’d learned! We went through grocery fliers and I asked him to pinpoint the protein-rich foods. (Again, this was a bit odd for our family; when there was chicken or turkey, I pointed out that we can eat vegan versions of these). The activity helped him hone his understanding of protein after guessing wrongly on a few items (like tomatoes, or banana bread).

Now it was time to put our bodies to the test! I showed him the My Plate graphic and explained we’d be charting his food for five days. He loved making tally marks.

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My formerly fantastic veggie eater has been nixing them lately, so this was also a nice way to show him where his balance was “tippy”. After a day with only one veggie serving, he was inspired to eat lots more the following day!

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Older kids can extend the lesson by looking at food ads in magazines, and discussing how the advertiser persuades you to eat in a certain way. Your kids may even want to make their own ad!

Overall, this was a useful lesson, though perhaps not as “fun” as other Raddish lesson plans.

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