Sticky-Treat Sushi

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There is an international festival coming up at Travis’s school, which has us talking about food from around the world. Here’s a sweet spin on the classic Japanese dish! This candy sushi was so fun for Travis to put together.

To start, make the “rice”: melt 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter in a microwave-safe bowl, heating at 10 second intervals for a total for 30 seconds, or until melted.

Add 2 and 1/2 cups mini Dandies marshmallows. Microwave at 15 second intervals until melted (we needed about a minute total), stirring after each interval.

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Stir in 3 cups rice cereal. If you need to use your hands, I recommend having a grown-up do so, as the sticky marshmallows will still be hot.

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Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper. Cover with additional parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten about 1/4-inch thick.

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The rolling pin ended up being a little tricky, so we found it easier to pat with our hands.

Use a pizza cutter to cut into rectangles. Travis was so proud I let him use this tool!

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Now you can make sashimi or sushi rolls!

For “sashimi”, place a Swedish fish candy (Wholesome DelishFish are vegan) on top of a rice rectangle. Cut a strip of fruit leather with a pizza cutter and wrap around the fish.

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For a rolled version, cut a strip of fruit leather and cover with a rice rectangle. Top with pieces of candy (Travis chose organic Red Vines) and roll up.

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If you really want to get creative, tint a little vanilla frosting with green food coloring for “wasabi”!

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Autumn Potpourri

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How can you keep the house cozy for your kids when an early winter blast comes barreling through in November? Set this heavenly-scented potpourri to a simmer on the stove, and the whole house will be hygge in no time.

I gave Travis a quick reminder of what potpourri is before we set to work: any fragrant mixture of plant materials, like herbs, spices, fruits, flowers, or wood. Simmering the mixture on the stove gives a stronger scent than dry potpourri in a bowl, plus it adds moisture to dry air!

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Travis loved helping me slice up an orange to start. We added the orange slices to a saucepan, then added:

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

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Take the time to make this a sensory activity, too. Travis loved smelling the spices, and even licking an extra cinnamon stick!

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Add water to the pot until it’s about 2/3 full. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simply let simmer. If the pot runs low on water, add more as needed. We kept ours on a gentle simmer all evening and hardly noticed the cold knocking at the windows!


Baked Cinnamon Donut Holes

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These adorable cinnamon-sugar donuts are the perfect baking project for a fall afternoon!


For the donuts:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.Cinnamon Donuts (1)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flaxseed in the water to make 1 flax egg. Add the soy milk, canola oil, and vanilla.Cinnamon Donuts (2)
  3. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. You’ll notice that Travis was eager to lick the spatula, the best part!Cinnamon Donuts (3)
  4. Divide the batter evenly among 24 greased mini muffin cups, filling about half full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes; a wooden pick inserted in the centers should come out clean. Transfer to wax paper.Cinnamon Donuts (5)
  5. To prepare the topping, microwave the butter until melted. Stir together the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a bowl.
  6. Working with 1 donut at a time, dip in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Return to the wax paper.Cinnamon Donuts (6)

The perfect afternoon snack!

Haunted Hummus and Pita Chips

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Here’s a final spooky recipe to thrill your kids this Halloween! This was the last recipe in Travis’s Spooky Kitchen kit from Raddish Kids. He was less interested in the cooking for this one, but did enjoy the eating, especially when I called it Vampire Dip instead!


For the pita chips:

  • 3 large pitas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the black hummus:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. To prepare the chips, cut each pita into 8 wedges. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, mixing well with your hands.
  2. Arrange the pita wedges in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet (use two sheets, if needed). Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the hummus: drain the black beans in a colander and transfer to a blender.
  4. Smash and peel the garlic clove; add to the blender.
  5. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze over a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons juice to the blender.
  6. Add the tahini, 3 tablespoons olive oil, water, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; blend until creamy.
  7. Scoop the hummus into a serving dish and arrange the pita chips around it.

Travis loved the spooky madlibs we put together as he snacked, a great mini lesson on parts of speech with a silly Halloween dinner party as the result.

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You can also read facts about hummus on the recipe card, and solve a Spooky Word Ladder if your kids are readers. Happy haunting!

Strawberry Ghosts

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Scare up this quick snack for any Halloween parties or meals this week! If you prefer, try a version using melted vegan white chocolate; microwave until melted (about 30 seconds) along with 1 teaspoon canola oil. Dip in the strawberries and let set on parchment-lined baking sheets.

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  • Vanilla non-dairy yogurt
  • Strawberries
  • Mini chocolate chips
  1. Dip the strawberries in the yogurt, swirling slightly to coat. Transfer to a baking pan.
  2. Place the strawberries in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until the yogurt is slightly set.
  3. Decorate each strawberry with 3 mini chocolate chips for the eyes and ghost mouth.

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Jack-o’-Pot Pie

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Kids will go crazy for this pot pie designed to look like a jack o’ lantern. Serve it up with some history of why we carve pumpkins at Halloween, including how the Irish brought the tradition over, and how the original jack o’ lanterns were made from turnips and beets. Then dig in! This was a great follow-up to the Boo-Nana Bread Travis and I recently cooked up from Raddish Kids’ Spooky Kitchen crate.

To start, Travis helped dice one onion, and to peel and slice carrots into rounds. It’s the first time I let him do the peeling without any assistance, what a milestone!

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Melt 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 8 minutes, until soft.

Add 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms; cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon sage. Cook for 1 minute.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 1/4 cup plain non-dairy creamer, and 1/2 cup frozen peas. Bring to a boil; continue to cook for 2 minutes, then remove form heat and set aside.

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Meanwhile, we needed to make our jack o’ lantern face! Roll out pre-made pie dough (check out Immaculate Bakery for a vegan option) and cover with a 9-inch pie plate. Trace around the circle and trim the excess dough.

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Travis loved selecting which pumpkin face we should “carve”.

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I carefully cut out the features with a knife. Older kids can tackle this step themselves!

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Place the pie pan on a baking sheet and spoon in the hot filling. Carefully place the dough on top. Bake at 400 degrees F for 17 to 18 minutes, until browned.

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Obviously the effect won’t last once you spoon in for servings… but the pumpkin sure looks spooky this way!

Boo-Nana Bread

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For the first recipe in Travis’s Spooky Kitchen crate from Raddish Kids, we weren’t just baking banana bread; we were whipping up frightfully delicious boo-nana bread. Here’s the first in a trio of recipes just right for the lead-up to Halloween!

You can prepare the recipe with flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed whisked into 3 tablespoons water for each “egg”) but if you prefer, simply use 1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice instead.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
  1. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Place the flax eggs (or milk) in a large bowl. Add the bananas and mash with a potato masher (this month’s keepsake tool) until smooth. This was – clearly! – Travis’s favorite part of the recipe.Boo-Nana Bread (1)
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla to the banana mixture.
  4. Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 40 seconds, until melted. Add to the banana mixture.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 65 minutes; a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan, slice and serve!

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While we dined, Travis loved hearing the “Frightful Funnies” jokes on the recipe card, as well learning facts about the science of fruit ripening and the definition of a “quick bread”.

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Hope your bread turns out hauntingly yummy, too!

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The Kitchen Bowl

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Forget the World Series or the Super Bowl, today Travis and I competed in the… Kitchen Bowl!

This was an adorable idea from Raddish Kids to round out their Game Day crate. If you have a large family, or are hosting a family gathering, or just want to invite friends over, then you can play these games with proper teams. Travis and I had more of a “tennis match”, going one-on-one to see who could win. For a few of the activities, I challenged him solo.

First, of course, we had to name our teams. Travis declared himself the Speedy Lemons (after his favorite food) and made the Melty Ice Creams. We decorated posters with our names and mascots, and Trravis was proud of his very inventive blue lemon.

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The first event was the Ultimate Taste Test. Could he identify items blindfolded? I knew Travis wouldn’t be “game” for anything liquid, so stuck to yummy snacks like mini bagels, graham crackers, and cashews. He aced them all (pun intended!).

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Next we played a round of Basket-foil. Wad up aluminum foil into balls (about 6 per team) and place a mixing bowl across the room.

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See who gets the most baskets in 60 seconds! We tied with 2 each.

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Tong Training got lots of laughs: Each team has two cups, one filled with 1/4 cup beans. See how long it takes to transfer the beans from one cup to the other. The Speedy Lemons had an impressive 45 seconds.

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You’ll need to work those fine motor skills if one drops.

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Uh oh, the Melty Ice Creams upended the cup.

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Then I challenged him to Memory Madness. I placed 5 utensils in a brown bag (use up to 10 items for bigger kids) and had Travis look at them for 30 seconds. Could he remember all 5?

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With some coaching from the sidelines, he proudly recalled all the items.

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Finally, Speed Whipping! I set out two bowls and two whisks. We had vegan Coco Whip which won’t really whisk up into stiff peaks, so this was just a matter of being silly and seeing who could whip fastest. The Melty Ice Creams came out on top!

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Did I mention this was all before the school bus came? What a way to start the morning!

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Game Day Chili

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What are we serving up during this week’s Sunday Football? Chili from Raddish Kids! This might be the most fun Travis and I ever had making a recipe. For some reason it just had us laughing, talking about every ingredient, and otherwise having a blast. He wanted to be involved in every step, and stuck with it from first stir to final bubble over the stove.

First, prepare the spice mix: In a small bowl, we gently stirred together 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

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Now it was chopping time! Working carefully together, we peeled an onion and chopped. Peel two carrots and cut into rounds. Cut the rounds in half. Peel a garlic clove and mince.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 8 minutes, until soft.

Add 2 chopped red bell peppers (a vegan substitute for the original recipe’s ground beef) and the spice mixture to the pot; cook for 5 minutes.

Add 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, and 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce. Meanwhile, drain 1 (15-ounce) can of pinto beans, 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, and 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans. Travis loved rinsing these in the colander. Add the beans to a pot.

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Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. This was his favorite part; he proudly reported on the bubbles as soon as they appeared, made sure we had an even boil, not just one side of the pot (!) and then continued to eagerly watch before stepping carefully away from the stove. I appreciated that the recipe card featured stovetop safety tips, too.

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Serving time can be playful! Add your favorite toppings, whether non-dairy cheese and vegan sour cream, chopped green onions, or chopped avocado.

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Then mix it up all week! One night we served chili dogs…

Chili Dog

One night chili-cheese nachos…

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And one night chili-stuffed baked potatoes.

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For a quick take on Chili Mac n Cheese, stir together roughly equal portions of your kids’ favorite boxed mac n cheese mix (we love Daiya!) with leftover chili.

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Game Day Guacamole

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It was a lazy football Sunday for us today, and that meant whipping up a batch of game day guac! Kids will love scooping avocado flesh from the peels and mashing everything up!


  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  1. Cut the avocados in half and pit. Spoon the flesh into a bowl.Game Day Guac (2)
  2. Mash with a potato masher.Game Day Guac (3)
  3. Core and chop the tomato; add to the bowl along with the cilantro.
  4. Cut the lime in half and squeeze over the avocado mixture, stirring to combine

Serve with tortilla chips of course.

While shopping for ingredients, we also took the opportunity to hunt for iconic fall harvest foods.

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Travis helped spot pumpkins, pears, apples, and more.

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It can also be interesting to point out items that aren’t in season, a quick lesson for kids on modern grocery stores versus traditional seasonal foods.

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Game on!