Butterfly Pasta Salad

Butterfly Pasta Salad (1)

Butterfly-shaped farfalle pasta add a whimsical touch to this easy lunch. With my son home from in-person school by lunchtime now, we’ll be making lots of new midday recipes in the weeks to come!


  • 8 ounces farfalle pasta
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Combine the pasta and water in a large skillet. Bring to a boil; continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add the mixed vegetables, Parmesan, and olive oil, stirring to combine. Let cool before serving.


Cherry Apple Coconut Rice Pudding

Cherry Coconut Rice Pudding (1)This dessert pudding couldn’t be easier to put together or bake, making it easy enough for even a weeknight.


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen cherries, thawed
  • 1 cup applesauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a 2-quart casserole dish.
  2. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Cookie Dough Log

Cookie Log (2)

Cookie dough is one of the easiest and earliest ways to get toddlers in the kitchen. I loved this variation on simply making cookies together, allotting Veronika her own portion of dough to play with in a log.

I kept this activity as simple as could be, whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies from a mix instead of from scratch. Because this only required three ingredients (the bag of mix, a stick of Earth Balance butter, and a flaxseed egg) it meant Veronika could stir it all together. She was so proud to help!

Cookie Log (1)

Once the dough came together, I divided it in half. Half was for real cookies (of course) and the other half I rolled into a log. I handed across a craft stick and she used this as a knife to “slice” the cookies.

Cookie Log (3)

And of course the stick was also useful for tasting. Then we divided the log into separate portions, and I showed her how to roll it into balls.

Cookie Log (4)

I thought she might want to play pretend bakery for a little while, but she was more interested in the real cookies that were now baking in the oven, asking when they would be done.

Cookie Log (5)

So then it was snack time!

Cookie Log (6)

Puzzle Pail

Puzzle Pail (1)

What do you give your toddler to play with after a Building Bin? A Puzzle Pail of course! Today’s “invitation” for Veronika was a pail (from our beach toy collection) appropriately filled with puzzles. I liked the alteration here, but of course any container would work, not necessarily a sand pail.

I set out the puzzles in a few different ways. Bulky ones (including one with latches and another with farm animals behind flaps), I simply set out on the ground.

But for more standard puzzles, I separated them into pieces and each puzzle got its own zip-top baggie. I then put these baggies into the pail. Veronika immediately grabbed at all the bags, emptying her pail out.

Puzzle Pail (3)

She wanted to tackle the shape puzzle first. There must have been a leap in her brain, because she solved the entire puzzle without any help!

Puzzle Pail (4)

All I had to ask was a prompt (“Where does the rectangle go?” and she immediately knew.

Puzzle Pail (5)

When it was complete, it was fun for her to load the pieces back into their zip-top baggie.

Puzzle Pail (8)

In fact, your child might find the bags and pieces the most interesting part of this activity, rather than solving any puzzles.

Puzzle Pail (7)

Next up was an animal puzzle. And she solved this one without any assistance, too!

Puzzle Pail (12)

I guess my girl has earned her animal stripes (and spots).

Puzzle Pail (11)

I also included an animal sound puzzle to add a fun auditory element.

Puzzle Pail (9)

I loved seeing her busy with all the different puzzle varieties throughout the day, and only occasionally needed to jump in for assistance. This one truly lived up to its intention as a solo activity.

Puzzle Pail (13)