Little Passports Round-Up

LP Poland (3)

Travis took an extended pause from opening Little Passports packages when life got a bit busy, but this month we dove back into it. It was incredible to see the difference in his ability to tackle booklet activities as a second grader rather than a first grader. Here’s our unboxing review of the final 5 packages from his World Passport subscription:

Poland:

LP Poland (5)

Travis loved following a code to learn about the Polish alphabet (which has more letters than ours!), but a color-by-symbol in the booklet was so tough even my grown-up eyes went a little cross-eyed.

LP Poland (4)

The souvenir in this kit, on the other hand, was a big hit: Polish sticker art. Follow the pattern to create a double layer of beautiful folk art. We also cooked potato pancakes!

LP Poland (2)

Turkey:

LP Poland (1)

The booklet included great information on everything from the mythical (a Trojan Horse dot-to-dot) to sightseeing in Istanbul (a great activity for telling time), to spotting patterns in Turkish tiles. The souvenir was a memory card game, featuring images of Turkish items like spices from the Bazaar, Turkish delight candies, or the Hagia Sophia.

LP Turkey (3)

Finally, we cooked Turkish hummus.

Italy:

LP Italy (3)

Travis was great at shading in one of Michelangelo’s sculptures using an alphabet code. Gelato mazes and pasta word searches on the other hand, were a bit tricky for him.

LP Italy (2)

The souvenir was a 3-D puzzle of the Rialto Bridge which even had a mini gondola. This was tricky even for grown-up hands to put together, but had us laughing! Don’t forget to cook marinara sauce!

LP Italy (1)

Iceland:

LP Iceland (3)

For the land of ice, the booklet included a fun “fishing voyage” that taught kids to read a map, as well as word puzzles about Icelandic holidays. The big hit was the souvenir, a northern lights art kit. Travis used pastels on the provided black paper, then smudged with a sponge for a neat aurora borealis effect.

LP Iceland (1)

Then we cooked Cocoa Soup. Chocolate for dinner? Yes, please!

LP Iceland (2)

Canada:

LP Canada

Oh Canada, our final stop! This booklet seemed particularly tricky including hockey score mazes and a spot-the-difference image.

LP Canada (3)

We made cookies sweetened with maple syrup, of course. The souvenir was a wooden moose 3-D puzzle.

LP Canada (2)

For all of the above countries, we checked out photos online and listened to phrases in each language. There’s so much more you can do for a deep dive; perhaps check out a book on each country from your local library, or watch a kids’ movie in the native language. What country would your child want to visit most? Please share in the comments!

International Recipe Round-up

Turkish Hummus (1)

Travis and I have had so much international fun in the kitchen over this past month, making five recipes from five different Little Passports country packages, all of which we adapted to fit our vegan family. Our culinary journey took us all around the world!

Turkey: Turkish Hummus

Turkish Hummus (2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Vegan jerky
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic; saute for 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minuets; the liquid should be nearly all evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the lemon, then cut in half and squeeze the juice.
  3. Transfer the zest and juice to a blender, along with the chickpea mixture, tahini, cumin, paprika, and salt. Process until smooth.
  4. Spoon the mixture into an oven-proof dish or skillet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, until warmed.
  5. To serve, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and garnish with slices of vegan jerky, our nearest approximation to Turkish dried beef. Skip the bread and eat directly with a spoon!

Canada: Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile whisk the flaxseed into the water to make 1 egg.
  3. Add the flax mixture, vanilla, and maple syrup to the butter mixture; beat until combined.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat gently until combined.
  5. Roll the dough into one-inch balls and roll in the sugar, then transfer to baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Poland: Potato Pancakes

Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 3 vegan eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Non-dairy sour cream
  • Applesauce
  1. Peel and grate the potatoes and place in a large bowl.
  2. Make your favorite vegan eggs of choice and add to the potatoes, stirring to coat. Add the salt and flour, adding up to 2 tablespoons until the mixture sticks together.
  3. Coat a skillet with canola oil and heat on medium-high heat.
  4. Add the potato mixture by spoonfuls. Cook on both sides until brown and crispy, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates lined with paper towels to drain and repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
  5. Serve warm with non-dairy sour cream and applesauce!

Italy: Marinara

Marinara

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Simmer for about 15 minuets, breaking the tomatoes apart as they cook.
  3. Just before serving, tear up the basil leaves and stir into the sauce.

We tried this sauce not just over pasta, but also vegan meatballs, Italian bread, and sauteed eggplant Note: Next time we would use a can of diced tomatoes instead of the whole ones, which resulted in some fairly large chunks.

Iceland: Cocoa Soup

Cocoa Soup

It was hard for us to believe that this rich thick chocolate soup is a main course in Iceland, not just a beverage. We had ours for a snack, but if you add warm bread on the side, it definitely could make a meal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  1. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan until warm but not boiling. Mix together the cocoa powder and sugar in a small bowl and add to the milk, whisking until combined. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Add to the cocoa mixture, then bring to a boil and cook for an additional minute, until thickened.

Which country did your family like visiting in the kitchen best? Please share in the comments!