Three Cheeze Ravioli

Three-Cheese Ravioli (8)

Thanks to a ravioli mold as the gift in his latest Raddish Kids crate, Travis was able to make fresh pasta for the first time! I love how Raddish’s recipes allow kids to step up to culinary feats like this, ones that might daunt even grown-ups. Note: we made everything from scratch today, but if you’re short on time, you can take a few shortcuts like purchasing vegan ricotta or a jarred marinara sauce.

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Ingredients:

For the tofu ricotta:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 (14-ounce) block firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the marinara:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 minced basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the pasta dough:

  • 7 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the remaining ingredients:

  • 1/4 shredded vegan mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan
  1. To prepare the ricotta, combine the lemon juice, tofu, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, nutritional yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender; Process until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.Three-Cheese Ravioli (3)
  2. To prepare the marinara sauce, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, and 1 teaspoon salt; continue to simmer for 15 minutes, then keep warm on low heat as the rest of the recipe comes together.Three-Cheese Ravioli (2)
  3. To prepare the pasta dough, place the warm water in a medium bowl. Add the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.Three-Cheese Ravioli (1)
  4. Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup of the prepared ricotta with the vegan mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  5. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll 2 portions into rectangles, and place one over a ravioli mold. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the filling over each ravioli square. Cover with a second rectangle of dough and use a rolling pin to flatten. Three-Cheese Ravioli (4)
  6. The mold now flips over and each ravioli pops out. Raddish made this tool so intuitive and easy to use! Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.Three-Cheese Ravioli (6)
  7. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook for 3 minuets, until they float to the top. Serve with the warm marinara.

That wasn’t all! The recipe card featured a few fun phrases in Italian to learn as we dined, including e delizioso, which hardly requires translation!

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Restaurant Play with Italian Bruschetta

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Not only did the kids help make an elegant Italian appetizer today, but they opened up their own “restaurant” to serve it! This was all part of Travis’s latest Italian-themed kit from Raddish Kids. Before opening up that restaurant, though, it was time for some cooking!

To prepare the bruschetta, slice 1/2 a baguette into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange on a baking sheet. Brush evenly with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop 2 large tomatoes and thinly slice 6 fresh basil leaves. Combine the tomatoes and basil in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut a garlic clove in half; rub the cut sides over the warm baguette slices, then top evenly with the tomato mixture.

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Before we sat down to enjoy, Travis and I went over the concept of a restaurateur, and the idea of creating a restaurant from the ground up. He’d need to think about location, name, decor, and more! Travis immediately had an idea, although admittedly it was a 1st grader’s idea of a restaurant.

He proudly wrote the sign for: Darth Vader’s Bistro. He then planned out a nearly all-black menu, including black tomato soup and chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles for dessert. The exception was our bright red bruschetta!

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The decor was predictably Darth Vader-themed.

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The kids loved dining at this “restaurant”, and pretending to take each other’s order.

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Of course, older kids can take this idea much more seriously, creating a whole restaurant concept and layout, carefully selecting the restaurant name, designing a logo, or even making a banner before welcoming family members as guests.

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Consider adding tablecloths and fine dinnerware and then let your little chefs cook and open up shop! I leave you with this image of Darth Vader enjoying his bruschetta. Who knew?

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Antipasto Salad

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Welcome to Travis’s very own Italian restaurant! Thanks to his kit on this theme from Raddish Kids, he has a few yummy Italian recipes to make. First up was this appetizer salad and Travis was a big help with all the vegetable prep. And everything needed a taste-test along the way of course!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package vegan mozzarella (such as Violife), cubed
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 (6-ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce, cucumber, tomato, basil, mozzarella, black olives, artichokes, and chickpeas in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and agave nectar, then add the oregano and salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Thanks to the chickpeas and cheese, this salad is almost hearty enough to be a main meal. That said, the recipe card listed 8 courses in a traditional Italian meal, a reminder that a salad like this would only be your second dish in that line-up, with lots more to come! Travis also took the recipe card’s quiz on restaurant roles like head chef and busser as we dined. And for a little added ambiance, we even played a Spotify list of Italian tunes!

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No-Bake Banana Cookies

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These sweet treats aren’t actually cookies at all, but sugary bananas are a wonderful secret imposter in many desserts. This particular sweet treat is so easy that your toddler can help with every step!

To start, I poured about 1/2 cup Annie’s bunny grahams into a zip-top plastic bag ((or use regular graham crackers) and showed Veronika how to tap with a rolling pin until crushed.

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Next, we added slices of ripe banana to the bag. Seal the bag and shake shake shake!

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Arrange the bananas slices on a plate and your “cookies” are ready. Even better, there’s no wait for the oven required!

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Cheesy Soup Skimmers

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This quick kid-friendly cooking project makes a tasty lunch and has a little science lesson thrown in, too!

We wanted to test what could float in a bowl of soup, and decided to make cheesy “crackers”. (Note: I used Daiya’s shredded non-dairy cheddar for the experiment, which worked great. Other non-dairy cheese will most likely work, too, but I can’t say for sure).

Travis picked a few fun cookie cutter shapes, including hearts, stars…and Darth Vader’s helmet! Sprinkle a thin layer of the non-dairy cheddar into each cookie cutter over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. We also made a few free-form shapes for comparison on the side.

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Be sure to lift off the cookie cutters before baking! Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes, just until the cheese sets.

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Let cool completely, then carefully peel the cheese shapes off the parchment paper and slip on top of a bowl of soup. We particularly liked these with tomato soup.

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The kids loved seeing the cheese float. And then they tested out a few oyster crackers, too! That’s where the science comes in: if you press on the cheese skimmers, they will break the surface tension of the soup and sink to the bottom of the bowl. The crackers will always float for a different reason, though, namely density!

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Santa Hat Pizzas

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Put a Christmas spin on pizza night in the days leading up to the holiday with this quick recipe!

To start, we stretched out a store-bought pizza dough and then cut into triangles with a pizza rolled. Fold up the bottom edge of the triangle to make a cuff.

Next, we spooned tomato sauce over the triangles, leaving the cuffs plain. Add non-dairy cheese along the cuff for Santa’s white trim. We used vegan feta, but next time I would probably dollop on crumbled tofu instead for a fluffier look!

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Bake at 430 degrees F for 8 minutes, or until the crust just starts to brown. This made pizza night a ho-ho-holiday treat.

Pine Cone Cheeseball

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Here’s a riff on a cheese ball recipe we made around Thanksgiving, but this time instead of shaping it into a turkey we turned it into a winter solstice pine cone!

Ingredients:

  • 5 multi-grain crackers
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Roasted almonds, for garnish
  • Rosemary sprigs, for garnish
  • Multi-grain crackers, for serving
  1. Place 5 crackers in a zip-top plastic bag and seal. Crush lightly with the back of a spoon. Mince the rosemary and thyme and add to the crackers. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, butter, salt, garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon cracker mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until combined.
  3. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto plastic wrap, gather into a ball and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the cheeseball in the remaining cracker mixture, then shape with your hands into a pine cone shape on a plate.
  5. Garnish with the almonds and a few extra sprigs of rosemary to look like a pine cone!

Travis thought this was spot-on and so beautiful!

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How could we not serve it with steaming cups of hot cocoa?

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We turned it into an impromptu “family date” for a board game night, the kids gleefully dipping into the cheeseball and sipping their cocoa as we played favorites like Candyland and Guess Who?

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In sum, one little recipe turned into a whole winter evening of fun.

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Homemade Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

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Hot cocoa mix is one of our favorite things to gift around the holidays. This year, we put a peppermint spin on it by adding crushed candy canes! To crush, place the candy canes in a zip-top plastic bag and mash with a mallet into pieces.

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To assemble the mix, layer the following ingredients in a pretty glass jar:

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 crushed candy canes

1/3 cup non-dairy mini chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life)

1/2 cup vegan marshmallows (such as Dandies)

Add a pretty bow or ribbon, along with a gift tag that includes instructions for preparing the cocoa.

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To prepare, simply remove the marshmallows from the jar, then heat the mix and 6 cups non-dairy milk over medium heat until it reaches your desired temperature.

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Of course we set aside one batch of this mix to prepare for ourselves. We weren’t going to let the gift recipients’ have all the holiday fun!

Candy-Less Canes

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Confession: we’ve probably eaten way too many sugary candy canes this holiday season. So it was time to put a healthier spin on this favorite holiday treat!

Over two afternoons, we had fun making faux candy canes with red-and-white foods. First up was a fruit version. I sliced strawberries and bananas and set them on a cutting board, then challenged Travis to arrange them like a candy cane (or as Veronika calls it, a “minty”).

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He quickly got the hang of it, and then both kids loved devouring this trompe l’oiel snack.

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Needless to say, the red stripes (a.k.a. strawberries) didn’t last long.

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The next day it was time for a savory spin on the treat! This time I set out piles of sliced tomato and vegan feta cheese. Travis again quickly figured out how to line them up like candy cane stripes.

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And the kids quickly polished it off for a snack! What foods would you use for a pretend candy cane? Please share in the comments!

Alpine Pancakes

Alpine Pancakes (6)

These pancakes are definitely not a weekday morning recipe. But a snowy Sunday morning was the perfect time to make this leisurely final recipe from Travis’s Snowed Inn Raddish Kids.

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Ingredients:

For the apple compote:

  • 2 apples
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, melted
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  1. To prepare the compote, peel and dice the apples and transfer to a saucepan. Add the brown sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until the apples are tender. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the pancakes. Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a blender. Process until finely ground.
  3. Add the melted butter and soy milk; process until combined. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Raddish included “alpine” themed silicone pancake molds (a pine tree and a snowflake), but you could also just cook this batter in regular circles or design alpine shapes free-hand.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons batter per pancake mold. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove the mold with tongs. Flip and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Serve warm with the compote.

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It was fun to imagine running our own little bed & breakfast (a Snowed Inn!) as we ate these cozy pancakes. Big kids can even design a brochure for a pretend B&B! Travis also learned facts about alpine environments and animals from the recipe card as he polished off the pancakes on his plate.