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!

Cheese Bites

Cheese Bites (3)

The ever-expanding non-dairy cheese aisle is truly exceptional these days. To wit, we followed along with suggestions for cheese and snack pairings in Veronika’s latest issue of High Five, and managed to make them all vegan! These were fun to make as little “recipes”, too, since even the youngest kids can help out arranging slices of cheese and fruit on a plate for a mid-day snack.

Cheese Bites (1)

The kids tested out the following:

  • Colby jack (Violife) with red grapes and celery
  • Cheddar (Daiya) with apple slices and Tofurky
  • Soft cheese (Treeline) with red bell pepper and peaches
  • Gouda (Daiya) with pears and kiwi slices
  • Mozzarella (Miyoko’s Creamery) with Spanish olives
  • Feta (Follow Your Heart) with cucumber

Cheese Bites (4)

The winner? Hands-down it was the apple and cheddar. Meanwhile, olives and mozzarella got a big thumbs down. Do your kids have a favorite non-dairy cheese? Please share in the comments!

Cheese Bites (2)

Fall Birthday Treats

The flavors of fall lend themselves perfectly to drinks, desserts, and other treats for special occasions. I prepared the following two recipes as part of Veronika’s third celebration, but they would be equally at home at a grown-up birthday party or other fall gathering!

Pumpkin Poke Cake:

  • 1 (15-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar non-dairy caramel topping
  • 1 (11-ounce) jar sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 2 cups non-dairy heavy whipping cream (such as Silk)
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the cake mix and cinnamon, then add the pumpkin and stir until moist. Spoon the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish; the batter will be thick.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  3. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. This is a fantastic step for kids to join in! Reserve 1/4 cup caramel topping for later, and stir together the remaining caramel topping and condensed coconut milk. Pour over the cake and into the holes, spreading evenly.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream with a stand mixer until medium peaks form (about 3 minutes). Spoon over the cake, spreading evenly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  5. Just before serving, dust the cake with additional cinnamon to taste and drizzle with the reserved 1/4 cup caramel topping.

Slow-Cooker Pear Cider

Ingredients:

  • 8 pears
  • 1 orange
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  1. Cut the pears into quarters and place in the bottom of a slow-cooker. We used a mix of red Bartlett and green Anjou pears, for a beautiful color contrast.
  2. Peel and slice the orange and add to the slow-cooker, along with the cinnamon sticks, ginger, and cloves. Cover and cook on high for 4 and 1/2 hours.
  3. Srain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher. Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup, and chill until ready to serve.

The cider can be served warm or chilled.

Squiggle Cookies

Squiggle Cookies (5)

Let’s face it: any food that has a silly face is infinitely more fun for kids to eat. This “cookie” recipe from High Five comes together so easily, and turned out to be a fantastic sibling project that both my kids adored!

To start, I prepared a batch of vanilla frosting, then divided it among three zip-top plastic bags. The kids’ job was to add drops of food coloring, then seal and mush with their hands until all the color was incorporated. I loved watching big brother Travis coach Veronika through this step.

Squiggle Cookies (1)

Next, separate graham cracker sheets into individual rectangles. Travis decided we should leave some of the sheets intact so we could have a family: Big mommy and daddy rectangles, and smaller baby ones!

Squiggle Cookies (2)

Snip a small hole in the bottom corner of each frosting bag, then pipe the frosting onto the cookies. This step was tricky for Veronika, but Travis loved being in charge while she got to take an early taste test.

Squiggle Cookies (3)

Raisin eyes were the finishing touch.

Squiggle Cookies (4)

Travis proudly added the decorations to the Daddy Rectangle.

Squiggle Cookies (7)

It’s hard to say which part the kids enjoyed more: making these cookies or eating them!

Squiggle Cookies (6)

Nate the Great’s Pancakes

Travis came home from school on Friday not only so proud to report that his class was reading Nate the Great, but also that he had a pancake recipe from the book for us to try over the weekend! We adapted the book’s recipe slightly for our vegan household. Brother and sister both loved mixing this up!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance butter
  • 3 cups vanilla almond milk
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder, stirring gently to combine.
  2. Add the Ener-G eggs, butter, and almond milk, stirring just until combined. Lumps are okay!
  3. Heat a griddle coated with additional Earth Balance and add aout 1/3 cup batter per pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Serve with maple syrup, and then you’ll be ready to tackle any mysteries in the day ahead!

Beginner Research Projects

State of Things (7)

Travis hasn’t had to produce a research project for school yet, but the basics behind researching and presenting are great skills to teach young elementary school kids. They’ll enjoy the exploration, plus be prepared when the times comes for their first such future assignment. Here were two fun projects Travis tackled at home, one even complete with a final report!

Project 1: The State of Things

His first task was to use the internet to research our home state. Whatever state you live in, a great first resource is the Internet Public Library.

State of Things (1)

From here, Travis wrote Massachusetts on the middle of a piece of poster board. Whoops, the word is so long that it nearly didn’t fit! We then had fun printing images to highlight some of the fun facts he learned, like sports teams, sites to visit, and our state bird.

State of Things (4)

Gluing everything down was half the fun; even little sister Veronika wanted to join in!

State of Things (3)

Have your child “present” their poster to you as a final step in the lesson.

State of Things (6)

Project 2: International Cuisine

The second project had no final poster, but it did culminate with a culinary report! Travis’s task was to select a country and research its cuisine and he chose India. It was a great chance to check out a few library books and read together about common festivals and holidays.

Intl Cuisine (1)

We also checked out an Indian cookbook and had so much fun leafing through images and recipes together. Whatever country your child chooses, have him or her select a recipe that sounds appealing. In our case, Travis chose a red lentil coconut dal…

Intl Cuisine (2)

…and a kheer rice pudding for dessert!

Intl Cuisine (5)

Make sure to have your child present the meal to friends or family before everyone digs in!

Intl Cuisine (4)

Sandwich Roll-Ups

Sandwich Roll Up (4)

One of the biggest changes for Veronika this fall is that she now eats lunch at school. We love these rolled sandwiches for two reasons. A) kids can help put them together, which lets them take ownership of packed lunches and B) they’re just the right size for small hands!

To start, trim the crusts from whole wheat bread, then use a rolling pin to flatten out and stretch each piece slightly. Veronika loves this part!

Sandwich Roll Up (1)

Next, spread the bread with a sticky spread of choice. We tried both lemon hummus and vegan cream cheese, both of which were declared yummy.

Sandwich Roll Up (2)

Top with your filling of choice. We made a veggie version with shredded carrots and chopped baby spinach on the first day…

Sandwich Roll Up (3)

…and filled them with tofurkey, vegan cheese, and olives on the second.

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Thanks to Veronika’s latest issue of High Five magazine for suggestion this perfect lunch treat.

Dessert Map

Cookie Map (5)

Maps were a big topic in Travis’s First Grade classroom last year, so as he transitions off to Second Grade, we decided to put a delicious endnote on the curriculum. This cookie dough map not only offered a little late summer learning, but made for a delicious dessert, too!

To start, prepare the dough from two boxes of chocolate chip cookie mix. You can also use refrigerated dough from the store or your favorite homemade recipe. Either way, it’s a great excuse to bake together!

Travis helped press the first batch of dough down onto the a baking sheet as a giant island.

Cookie Map (1)

He then used the second batch of dough to make topographical features, constructing mounds that could be mountains or hills and adding smaller cookie “islands” along the rim of the sheet. Bake according to package directions.

Cookie Map (2)

Once the cookie cooled, it was time to add a few more geographical features. Chocolate sauce was perfect for oceans, rivers, and mountain lakes. Travis got a bit impish with this step, drowning his land in goopy syrup.

Cookie Map (3)

He wanted to add chocolate sprinkles, too, which were more for fun than a specific geographical element. Perhaps they were plants or people on his island! Either way, it was time to dig in for the delicious result.

Cookie Map (4)

Note: Because this cookie is likely to be much thicker than a standard cookie (thanks to all those mountains!), you may find that it doesn’t bake all the way through. You can also expect the mountains to spread down and out as the cookie bakes. As a result, we found that the most delicious part was our edges and low-lying islands, while the rest was really more for fun than for eating.

Cookie Map (6)

Silly Face Rice Cakes

Silly Faces (3)

Kids love to eat food when it’s presented in the form of something else (think rainbows or boats), and it’s particularly fun to eat food that looks like… faces! Rice cakes are the perfect backdrop for this adorable snack idea from Veronika’s latest High Five magazine.

To start, spread rice cakes with your kids’ favorite sticky spread of choice, whether peanut butter or another nut or seed butter.

Silly Faces (1)

Then raid the snack cabinet for tidbits that can turn into facial features! We had an assortment of o-shaped cereal (great for eyes, noses, or mouths), raisins, dried apricots, and pretzels. The pretzels in particular were great for spiky hair.

Silly Faces (2)

The other big winner for hair was rainbow sprinkles!

Silly Faces (5)

Don’t stop there: strawberry halves make adorable ears, blueberries are perfect for eyes, and chocolate chip noses would also be super cute. Veronika thought that eating up this yummy face was an absolute delight.

Silly Faces (4)

Banana Nice-Cream Sundae

A base of frozen bananas makes this decadent “ice cream” sundae almost healthy. The same can’t necessarily be said of the toppings, though!

To start, peel and chop 4 bananas and freeze. Transfer the banana pieces to a blender and puree until smooth, along with 2 to 3 tablespoons water.

We spooned the banana “ice cream” into bowls, then set up a buffet bar of toppings! Travis and Veronika chose from a mix of: chocolate rice cereal, non-dairy whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and maraschino cherries. Kids can pile on the works, or just pick their favorites.

If you want to stick with healthier toppings and the fresh fruit theme, try adding raspberries or other berries instead. Thanks to High Five magazine for this delicious idea!