Roast Corn on the Cob

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Perhaps it’s not quite as authentic as grilling ears of summer corn over the grill, but here’s a corn recipe kids can help with from shucking to finish! This was the third of a BBQ side dish trio from Raddish Kids, and Travis’s favorite of the three!

What is about shucking corn that exemplifies summer? I took Travis out to the back patio and taught him the steps, first peeling off the outer husk so only a thin layer remained.

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Next I showed him how to peel back the silk from the top until the kernels were exposed; grip the silk and pull down firmly. We discarded the scraps in paper bag, just as I remember doing as a kid!

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Travis was enthralled with the process! He needed help as we got down toward the silky layer, but loved peeling back the outer layers and pretended it was the Earth; he was the scientist heading in to the inner core!

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We took our corn inside and combined 3 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Microwave just for about 15 seconds, until softened, and spread the butter mixture evenly over 4 ears of shucked corn. Wrap each cob in foil and place on a baking sheet.

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Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

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These were perfect alongside our watermelon salad and barbecue beans!

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As we dined, we enjoyed some American Flag Trivia on the recipe card, as well as a quiz matching BBQ side dishes with their descriptions. I loved watching Travis eat his corn right off the cob, a formerly cautious eater growing more adventurous every day.

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Barbecue Beans

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This smoky side dish is the perfect compliment to your barbecue tofu pups and veggie burgers this summer. It’s the second of three BBQ side dishes presented in Travis’s latest Raddish Kids crate. He doesn’t always love beans, but this time he gobbled them up!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  1. Peel and dice the onion; set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Travis was so proud to stir at the stovetop!BBQ Bean (1) 
  3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the cans of beans. BBQ Bean (2)
  4. Add the beans to the pot, along with the bbq sauce, brown sugar and mustard.BBQ Bean (3)
  5. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until heated through.BBQ Bean (4)

Pair with your favorite veggie burger and a watermelon salad!

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Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad

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This quick fruit salad (from Travis’s Backyard Barbecue Raddish Kids kit), is great for a summer get-together. And leftovers are perfect with breakfast the next morning!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small watermelon
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled non-dairy feta (such as Violife)
  • 8 mint leaves, minced
  • 1 lime
  1. Cut the watermelon into wedges, and then dice. Transfer to a large bowl.BBQ Salad (2)
  2. Add the blueberries and feta.
  3. Sprinkle the mint leaves over the watermelon mixtureBBQ Salad (3)
  4. Cut the lime in half, and squeeze over the fruit, then stir to combine.BBQ Salad (4)

I had one very proud chef!

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Spiderweb Snacks

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Travis is so into spiders lately: finding them in our new home; discovering their webs in the garage; you name it. So no better way to foster his interest than to make a spider-themed snack! We actually tried to do this craft once before, but lacked a good vegan white chocolate at the time. This time turned out so much better. As a bonus, the webs are an example of circular symmetry, something we’e been studying lately in our play.

First, arrange 5 or 6 pretzels as the spokes of the web on wax paper.

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Meanwhile, place vegan white chocolate and non-dairy chocolate chips in zip-top bags and place in glass jars.

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Fill the jars with hot water (a grown-up step). Travis loved watching the chocolate turn from solid to melted in this method.

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Remove the bags from the water and snip a small hole in the bottom corner. We piped a big circle of chocolate in the center, and added a few raisin “flies” as victims. Oh no!

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Pipe additional circles of white chocolate to form each web.

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Then each web got a big melted chocolate spider. They were tarantulas, Travis decided. We ran out of white chocolate, so made one dark chocolate web as well. Transfer the wax paper to the fridge to cool.

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The webs will set quite quickly, at which point you can peel them off the wax paper for a neat reveal. It turned out that the dark chocolate web peeled off more easily, but they all were fantastically creepy and fun!

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Frosty Bites

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It’s been 90 degrees all week and Travis had fun experimenting with which frozen snacks were his favorite, an idea out of his latest Highlights magazine..

First up, we tried a few different kinds of fruit. Frozen watermelon was hard to bite into, but almost like a watermelon popsicle! That got a big thumbs up.

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Frozen banana got big smiles, too…

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…but not so much frozen grapes.

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Frozen non-dairy yogurt and frozen pudding were too hard straight from the freezer, harder than ice cream, and needed time to thaw before he could dig in. Neither was declared a winner.

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Frozen applesauce got laughs because as it thawed enough to come out of the tube at the top, it kept squirting us!

His favorites? Frozen chocolate bars…

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…and frozen Dandies mini marshmallows – these he could eat like sweet little frozen chips out of the bag!

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What does your child like to eat as a frozen snack on a hot summer afternoon? Please share in the comments!

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Homemade Rocket Pops and Picnic Celebration

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Travis and I originally intended to make these homemade rocket pops for the 4th of July, but we were short a couple of ingredients. But there’s no better time than a summer afternoon to declare a random family celebration. Prepare these fun popsicles, set up a picnic, and celebrate… whether it’s a true holiday, or just a hot afternoon! That’s precisely what we did today. Read on for the recipe… and a fantastic chance to win $1,000!

First up: Making the rocket pops:

In a blender, combine 1 cup strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon water; blend until smooth. Pour into the bottoms of popsicle molds or small paper cups. We tried it both ways since I had a hunch our molds would work better and our 9 oz cups seemed too large. Small (5 oz) dixie cups would have been ideal!

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Let the strawberry layer freeze for 30 minutes. Travis was quite intrigued about this layered method of preparation.

Meanwhile, make the blueberry layer; puree 1 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

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Spoon 2 tablespoons vanilla non-dairy yogurt over each layer of strawberry mixture. Add 2 tablespoons blueberry mixture to the top of each pop. Insert the handles (or, if using cups, cover with foil and insert a popsicle stick). Return to the freezer for at least 6 hours.

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Now it was time for the picnic! We headed to a local national park, laid down a blanket and enjoyed our pops. Okay, so they got a bit melty on a 90 degree day, but that only added to the amusement.

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We decided ours were Bastille Day pops, since our picnic coincided with France’s day to celebrate red white and blue instead of America’s.

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Whatever the reason to celebrate, your child will love being involved in the picnic from start to finish, first by preparing a special recipe and then by helping to clean up at the end!

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I love projects like this that inspire kids to learn without even realizing it; they use their own creative process and enjoy tangible results. How does your child love learning while having fun? I’m so excited to announce the Limitless Learners Contest through Education.com, where your child can win $500 toward college, $1,000 for a school library, and a lifetime free membership to Education.com by explaining just that!

Children must be entering kindergarten through grade 5 and will think creatively about what education means to them. Using art or writing (depending on age), entrants describe a time they had so much fun they didn’t realize they were learning. A winner will be chosen from each grade level.

I hope my readers will tap into this amazing opportunity. Entries must be received by October 31, 2019. Further details are available at https://www.education.com/contests/

Cucumber Garden Salsa

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This bonus recipe from the Garden Party Raddish kit was a great chance to let vegetables shine. There’s almost nothing here except fresh veggies and Travis loved seeing the different ways that each one was chopped and prepared, how they smelled and tasted plain, and then how it all mixed together into one great whole! He got a kick out of swearing sunglasses while we chopped the onion, to keep his eyes from watering!

Cucumber Salsa (3)Ingredients:

  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Peel the cucumber and cut into rounds; finely chop and transfer to a large bowl.Cucumber Salsa (2)
  2. Cut the tomato into slices and then finely chop; add to the bowl.
  3. Add the red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.Cucumber Salsa (5)
  4. Serve with tortilla chips!

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Strawberry Shortcakes

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This dessert (from Travis’s Garden Party Raddish Kids) was a delight. The biscuits were some of the best I’ve ever produced in my kitchen, and it was my four-year-old who helped make it happen!

To prepare the strawberries, cut off the tops and thinly slice. Travis is just starting to use a knife with my guidance, but preferred to watch this time around. His job was to transfer our strawberry slices to a bowl!

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Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar, stir, and set aside to macerate.

To prepare the dough, combine 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar.

Cut 6 tablespoons Earth Balance butter into small pieces and add to the dough. Use the pastry blender (this month’s keepsake tool) to work the mixture until it is crumbly. Travis couldn’t wait to use the pastry blender from the moment he spotted it, so he loved this step.

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Stir in 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used coconut) and stir until smooth.

Drop the dough by 1/3 cup measures onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.

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Let cool, then cut in half with a serrated knife.

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To assemble each shortcake, top the bottom half of each biscuit with some of the strawberries and a dollop of non-dairy whipped cream.

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Note: Raddish did provide a way to make vegan whipped cream from full-fat coconut milk and powdered sugar, but we opted for a store-bought can.

Top with the other half of the biscuit and serve!

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I had a very proud chef.

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As he ate, we read the feature on the recipe card about edible plant parts, and he said his favorite is the leaves (like spinach). We also read more about the science behind whipped cream.

Farmer’s Flatbread

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This gorgeous flatbread recipe from Raddish Kids has all the flavors of summer rolled into one bite – perfect for the Garden Party-themed kit! Travis loved helping, although he did tire out about halfway through as can sometimes be the case with more complicated Raddish recipes. But when we cook together, I love simply seeing him get his hands in there, learn a skill or two, understand where food comes from, and have tons of fun!

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As a vegan family, we had an extra step to start out: tofu ricotta in place of regular ricotta cheese. In a food processor, combine 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1 (14-ounce package) firm tofu, an 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Anything with the food processor is a big hit around here!

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Process until smooth and creamy and refrigerate until ready to use.

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To prepare the flatbread dough, combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in 3/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons olive oil, to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured cutting board and knead for about 4 minutes. This was definitely Travis’s favorite part!

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We read the kneading instructions on the back of our recipe card, adding more flour as needed, but really he just loved getting his fingers good and messy!

As a result, our dough wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t deter us. Again, the idea with these recipes is the fun and the learning. So as best we could, we rolled it out into an 11×16 inch rectangle and transferred to a baking sheet. I admit we patched a few holes in the dough!

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To prepare the white sauce, whisk together 1/2 cup prepared tofu ricotta, 1/3 cup plain non-dairy creamer, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Spread over the dough, leaving a little crust at the edge.

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Sprinkle with 2 cups shredded Daiya mozzarella, 3 tablespoons vegan Parmesan sprinkles and 1 cup frozen corn. Add 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes. Bake at 425 degrees F for 22 minutes.

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Sprinkle with 8 minced basil leaves and serve!

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I had one very proud chef, who also enjoyed the farm vocab quiz and the farmers’ market facts on the recipe card as we dined.

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Agave Granola Bars

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Travis opened up his latest kit from Raddish Kids today, and discovered a garden party theme! We had to adapt the first recipe we tackled – no-bake granola bars – to make them vegan, using agave instead of honey. This meant that the accompanying lesson on beekeeping was a bit of a moot point, but they were still fun to make!

First, coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups quick oats, 1 and 1/2 cups rice cereal, and 3/4 cup raisins.

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Melt 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup agave nectar. Bring to a boil, then continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Pour the hot mixture over the oats mixture and stir to coat. Spoon into the prepared baking pan and cover with wax paper. Press down firmly until you have a smooth, flat layer. This part was good fun!

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Refrigerate for 1 hour.

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Cut the granola into bars, and enjoy! They will keep best stored in the fridge.

As we did a taste test, I read the facts about honey to Travis; even though we don’t eat it, it’s fun to learn about bees, or the fact that honey never goes bad! The recipe card also featured a bug-themed word scramble, too advanced for my pre-reader, but he was able to guess all the words based on the clues underneath. Check back for more garden-themed recipes soon!

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