Waffle Rover

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What’s better than a little Mars Rover your kids can steer around the house? One they can eat, of course!

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This cute recipe comes together in mere moments. Toast two waffles and then trim the edges so you have 2 squares instead of 2 circles. Reserve one of the cut pieces and trim into a small rectangle (this will later be the rover’s head).

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Spread one waffle square with any sweet sticky spread. We tried one version with chocolate-hazelnut butter and a second with sunflower seed butter. Place the second waffle square on top. Spread additional sticky spread along two sides of the square and attach banana slices as wheels.

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To build the head of the rover, thread 2 blueberries onto a toothpick, followed by the small waffle rectangle and a final blueberry.

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We found that our rover head stood up better if we used two toothpicks instead of one.

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Chances are your rovers won’t have long to explore before they’re gobbled up!

Pumpkin Belgian Waffles

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No Harvest-themed crate could be complete without fall’s signature flavor: pumpkin! Bonus points if you puree your own fresh sugar pie pumpkin for this recipe, but we skipped that step and just used canned.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Scant 1 and 1/4 cups plain soy milk
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Maple syrup
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt; set aside.
  2. Pour the cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup and add the soy milk to equal 1 and 1/4 cups. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the soy milk mixture with the Ener-G eggs, pumpkin, melted butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. Scoop the batter into a preheated waffle iron (about 1/4 cup per waffle) and cook for about 5 minutes, or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Drizzle with maple syrup to taste!

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.

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!

Halloween Countdown Day 8: No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

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What better way to wait out the anticipation before you can carve your pumpkins… than to eat them! This pie should successfully tide everybody over until jack o’ lantern time. Bonus points: the recipe is easy enough that even my two-year-old can help!

First, combine 1/2 cup non-dairy milk and 1 packet instant vanilla pudding mix in a container with a lid. Seal and shake. Fun!

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Pour the pudding mixture into a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup canned pumpkin pie filling. Fold in half a container of non-dairy whipped topping (such as So Delicious Coco Whip).

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Spoon the mixture into a prepared graham cracker crust (such as Mi-Del), then spread the remaining whipped topping on top. Veronika was eager to hold the spatula and help smooth out the top!

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But mostly, she wanted to taste-test every step of the way. She earns an A plus for making sure every step of the recipe was delicious.

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Pop the pie in the freezer for at least 2 hours and voila, a pie that never needs to bake.

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Your kids might think it’s Halloween magic!

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Apple Cider Donuts

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Travis dug into his latest Raddish Kids crate today, this month with a timely theme all about the harvest. The recipes are laden with harvest goodies, and this first one relies on apple cider. We were ready, with a recently-purchased pint of fresh cider from a local orchard! Travis was so excited when he saw all the ingredients. “This one needs lots of spices!” he declared

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Ingredients:

For the donuts:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the topping:

  • 4 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. To prepare the donuts, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; set aside.
  2. In a second bowl, whisk together the flaxseed and water to make 1 flax egg. Add 3 tablespoons melted butter, the brown sugar, apple cider, and vanilla.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among 6 donut molds and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 16 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place the remaining butter in a small bowl. Combine the sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a second bowl.
  5. Working with 1 donut at a time, invert the mold and gently pop out. Dip first in the butter, then in the cinnamon sugar, coating both sides. Repeat with the remaining donuts.

The family literally had to fight over these, everyone begging for more bites.

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So next time we might need to make a double batch!

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To finish up the delicious lesson, we read on the recipe card about how apples helped Newton discover gravity, plus more about all those fall spices.

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For extra fun, turn it into a blindfolded test; set out spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves, and see if your child can guess by smell alone.

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Light-as-Air Parfait

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Here’s a snack with some science behind it! Travis read that shaking dairy cream rapidly would result in whipped cream, thanks to the addition of air. Could we achieve the same with non-dairy creamer? We had to try two times before we were successful, so read on!

First, we tried a liquid non-dairy creamer, and opted for oat milk. Pour 1/2 cup into a jar with a lid, along with 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Shake for a few minutes (take turns so your arms don’t get tired!) and see if it turns from liquid to solid.

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Well, it turned out that the oat milk didn’t work. For a surer bet, we next turned to full-fat coconut cream. Chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Scoop off the solid portion of cream; stop scooping when you hit the watery liquid underneath. Repeat with the same process as the oat milk above, adding the sugar and vanilla, and then shaking.

Well, this time the creamer was firm after just moments of shaking! So the answer is yes, it does work if you choose the right non-dairy alternative.

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To enjoy the fruits of our labor, we spooned some of the coconut whipped cream into parfait glasses and topped each serving with fresh berries. The perfect reward.

Can you shake other non-dairy creamers into whipped cream? Please share in the comments if you find a successful method!

Designer Pancakes

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Today was Veronika’s first time at the stove! She’s not quite yet 2, so needless to say I supervised this activity very closely. But dripping pancake better is an excellent first stove-top activity, and will make toddlers feel like big helpers in the kitchen.

First up was whipping up a super simple pancake recipe, by whisking the following together in a big bowl:

1 and 1/2 cups almond milk

2 Ener-G eggs

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 and 1/2 cups flour

Toddlers can help with this part, too!

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I poured the batter into a liquid measuring cup and helped Veronika climb on a stool by the stove. Together, we held a big ladle and dripped the batter into a heated pan coated with cooking spray.

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When it’s your toddler’s turn, chances are the “design” of the pancakes will be completely random. But Veronika loved that she made “baby pancakes”, and we thought one looked like a caterpillar.

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Some of the small ones looked like little clouds in the sky.

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While she enjoyed sampling the first batch, I prepared a slightly more deliberate design: a pancake gingerbread man! Chocolate chips made eyes, a nose, and buttons.

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Veronika absolutely loved this activity, both the cooking and the eating of it.

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Make Your Own Oat Milk

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As an extension to his Lunchtime Love recipes from Raddish Kids, Travis was excited to learn how to make his own oat milk today!

The idea here was to show a child how food goes from raw ingredients to finished product. Of course we had to skip the growing and harvesting of the oats, but we came home from the store with a bag of organic rolled oats that certainly didn’t look like milk yet.

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We first watched a few how-tos online to see if we could make the best oat milk possible. Tips include using the coldest water possible and blending for the least amount of time possible. Armed with that knowledge, Travis combined the following in a blender:

4 cups cold water

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Skip the vanilla if you don’t want the milk sweetened. We ran the blender for about 30 seconds.

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Travis was ecstatic that now it was white like milk!

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I don’t have cheesecloth, so the best we could do was strain it through a fine-mesh sieve. He immediately needed a big glass and a straw. Little sister wanted a taste, too!

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Well, he turned to me and said, “Actually… it’s not that good.”

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Bonus points for honesty! I guess we’ll stick to almond milk as a family. But now Travis is determined that we should make a homemade batch. Thanks Raddish!

School Milk Flipbook

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Travis helped make several lunches this month thanks to his Raddish Kids Lunchtime Love crate, a perfect theme for back-to-school in September. We finished up with this lesson plan.

To start, we played “I’m going on a picnic” to get thinking about different foods in a lunchbox, particularly those that travel well. A basket of toy food as prompts helped initially, but Travis was bored after a few rounds of back-and-forth. Instead, we turned to the web for the next part of the lesson.

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Raddish provided links for a read-aloud about how common lunch foods get on the plate. Because the book was heavy on dairy, we also watched vegan-friendly videos about almond milk and soy milk.

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Next Travis got to be an author! The assignment was to make a flipbook about the journey of an almond from the tree to the carton at the store. I encouraged him to put on his imaginative cap and pretend the story was from the point of view of the almond, although this was a bit of a stretch for my first grader.

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He concentrated more on just drawing the pictures, and I added words.

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There were also fun videos to watch on school lunches around the world. Big kids can extend the lesson much further, here, perhaps by designing an international menu for their school cafeteria

For a hands-on extension, we returned to an old favorite: growing new vegetables from kitchen scraps. This works fantastically with green onions, so after we used a bunch from the store, we placed the bulbs in a small dish of fresh water. You should see new growth by morning!

Regrow Food Scraps

Finally, Travis was in charge of designing his own perfect after-school snack in Raddish’s Create-a-Snack Challenge. I showed him the list of possible ingredients, and he selected: hummus, cheese slices, tortillas, strawberries, and tomatoes. The possibilities were growing already.

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After a trip to the store, he created the following: Hummus-Cheese-Tortilla Bites.

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I loved watching him turn into a little chef as we layered hummus on small squares of tortilla, topped each with a piece of Violife cheddar, and then topped that off with tomato.

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He got fancy and added strawberries to a few. An interesting flavor combination!

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I haven’t seen him enjoy snack so much in ages, so this was a great activity on the part of Raddish.