Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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For the final recipe from Raddish KidsHarvest Party crate, it was time to turn to the earth for sweet potatoes!

Before Travis joined me in the kitchen, I prepared a batch of vegan ricotta. You can also purchase non-dairy ricotta at the store, but it can be hard to find. In a blender: combine 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon dried basil; process until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.

To prepare the gnocchi, place 1 large sweet potato in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then continue to cook for 30 minutes, until very tender.

Immediately transfer to bowl of ice water until cool. The peel will now slip right off. This was a neat way to show Travis how quickly different temperatures can transform an ingredient!

Travis loved the next step: grating the sweet potato. Save 1 cup for this recipe and reserve any remaining potato for another use.

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In a bowl, combine the 1 cup sweet potato, 1 and 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup vegan ricotta, 1/3 cup vegan Parmesan shreds, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt.

We were skeptical this would form into a dough, but it comes together almost like magic once you begin to knead it.

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Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll each into a rope that is about 18 inches long (practically like playing with playdough!) and cut into about 18 pieces.

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Bring a pot of water to a boil and add half of the gnocchi pieces. Cook for 3 minutes, until they float to the top.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 sage leaves; cook for 1 minute and then discard the sage.

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Add the cooked gnocchi to the sage butter with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi, then serve!

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The verdict was unanimous: Travis and little sister Veronika both loved them. Although the buttery sauce is plenty on its own, the kids also liked dipping the gnocchi in a little marinara sauce.

Halloween Countdown Day 16: Mix-and-Match Costume Party

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Whether your kids need to try on their costumes to ensure a perfect fit before the big day, or you’re pulling out last year’s costumes for fun, or heck if they’re just too impatient to wait until the 31st, declare the day a Try-On Party and let the costume mixing and matching begin!

Things around here are very clearly Star Wars themed. Travis sported Boba Fett…

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…followed by Darth Maul.

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Veronika could be Baby Yoda…

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…or Queen Amidala!

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For extra fun, we decided to break out the face paint. Veronika loved testing it on herself. “I’m very green!” she said when I showed her in the mirror.

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We also got silly and mixed-and-match the Halloween costumes with other items from the dress-up bin. Darth Maul needed black gloves of course.

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And we soon had a little magician prancing around.

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And no Star Wars costume party is complete with a light saber for an accessory.

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We had a blast with this! Here’s wishing your family an equally joyful costume and accessory party.

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Paper Bag Pumpkins

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Here’s a classic toddler Halloween activity that never disappoints: easy pumpkins made from brown paper lunch bags!

Use sandwich-size brown bags for this project, not larger ones. First up is stuffing them with tissue paper (or any similar material like old newspapers). “Can I make a ball?” Veronika asked after watching me do the first one, and she was a big helper wading up pieces and stuffing them into the bags.

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Once they were about two-thirds of the way filled, I secured each top with a rubber band and twisted tightly so they resembled pumpkin stems.

Time to paint! Veronika couldn’t wait to get her hands on orange paint and paintbrushes, and helped smear all over the bags.

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I wish we’d had more orange paint (or a thicker acrylic) for a better coat to hide the writing on our paper bags, but at least we achieved a mostly orange look!

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You can also paint the stems a deep brown, but since the bags were already brown, we skipped that part.

Once the paint dries (which takes a while!), add pumpkin faces with black marker.

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I made a traditional jack o’ lantern face, and Veronika added her own toddler interpretation.

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These make a fun addition to your Halloween decor!

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Monster Stew

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There were no real monsters in this watery sensory tub for Veronika, just a chance to splash and play in a seasonable way.

To make the broth for our “stew”, I filled a basin with water and tinted it orange with food coloring.

Now we needed to add a few monstrous ingredients! In went lots of items from the dollar store, including skeleton hands, plastic bats, and monster eye rings.

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I had originally hoped to use mini plastic jack o’ lanterns as scoops for her to fill and pour with, but the store was sold out. Instead, I added orange plastic eggs, broken in half, which worked perfectly as little cups.

That was a good thing, because this was definitely her favorite part of the sensory game. She loved to scoop and pour over the rest of the eerie ingredients.

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The skeleton hands were perfect for stirring with.

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It was also fun to reach down to the bottom of the stew and dig out handfuls of bats or eyes.

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In sum, this was simple and spooky sensory play, just right for October. It was a nice way to introduce some of Halloween’s monsters without them seeming too scary.

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