Herb-Roasted Whole Cauliflower

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The second recipe from Travis’s Harvest Party Raddish Kids was a whole roast chicken, which needless to say is decidedly not vegan. As always, I appreciate the company’s inclusion of a vegan alternative and this one was quite clever: rather than offer up a faux-meat substitute, the recipe still allowed vegan kids to roast a whole something… In this case a whole cauliflower!

We queued up a Harvest Party playlist and it was time to get cookin’.

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Trim the leaves and cut the stem from a head of cauliflower; place in an 8×8-inch baking dish.

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Microwave 6 tablespoons Earth Balance butter for about 30 seconds, or until melted. Stir in 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. As we added each herb, we stopped to smell and investigate. Travis loved the exploration and kept aside a sprig of each!

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Use a pastry brush to spread the herb-butter mixture over the cauliflower. Travis insisted on doing this step all by himself.

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Sprinkle with 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast, then cover the pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. The top should be golden brown and the cauliflower will be very tender.

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Let cool slightly before serving. You can cut into quarters for big kids, or smaller florets for younger kids. Everyone in the house declared this the best cauliflower ever!

Pesto Penne Salad

Penne Pasta SaladFile this recipe under quick and easy. It’s equally delicious served warm, cold, or at room temperature!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (12-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/3 cup vegan pesto
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and pesto, tossing to coat.

Halloween Countdown Day 9: Go Batty

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Today we got silly with our Halloween countdown with an activity that was equal parts imagination and learning. Halloween decor features so many creatures that we think of as scary, but that have fascinating science behind them. Think spiders, black cats, and in this case… bats!

To set the scene, we first watched a Wild Kratt’s bat episode. The kids thought they were just watching a cartoon, but there was lots to learn about echolocation! We also checked out a quick nature clip about the sounds that bats make to echolocate (navigate by bouncing sounds off the walls).

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Now the question was, could the kids do it?

We dressed up in black gear (capes and hats!) and they closed their eyes in the middle of the living room.

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I encouraged lots of chirpy baby bat noises. For Veronika, this was just silly fun, but Travis was so proud that he really could make it through our first floor without bumping into any walls.

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For extra batty fun, I traced a bat template onto black construction paper, then cut these out and taped to craft sticks. Now each kid had a bat to fly around!

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Travis loved hanging the bats upside down on walls and windows, and it led to lots more play throughout their evening.

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Now Halloween bats won’t seem quite so spooky!

No Carve Nature Pumpkins

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It was a brisk fall morning, perfect for one of our nature walks to collect treasures. This time, I specifically kept my eyes open for items that we would be able to later glue onto pumpkins. We came home with sticks, leaves, pine cones, and acorns. I had hoped to spot some maple keys, but didn’t see any.

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I arranged all of our treasures onto a craft tray, and Veronika loved sorting through the items.

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As she simply explored with all her senses, I arranged the items with more purpose to see what would work where on each pumpkin as facial features.

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Our first orange fellow soon had acorn eyes, a stick nose, a leaf mouth, and a big branch of multiple leaves for hair.

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He was soon joined by a second orange friend, this one with acorns for eyes and nose, leaves for mouth and ears, and a fun little pine cone headdress. I tucked a few leaves behind the pine cone so it almost looked like one of those fancy fascinator hats!

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Veronika was clearly delighted when she saw that our pumpkins now had eyes, noses, and more.

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They look quite jolly and happy on our patio. As with our recent pumpkin mask craft, this is a great way to decorate pumpkins a ways out from Halloween, since they won’t rot before the big night.

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