Chimichurri Sandwiches

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I first made chimichurri sauce as an adult, and couldn’t help but marvel that Travis has been introduced to this vibrant green sauce at only five years old, thanks to his Comida Argentina Raddish Kids! Instead of steak, use meaty portobello mushrooms and roasted bell peppers for a vegan take on the classic.

To start, we made the chimichurri. I love that Raddish’s recipe cards are so visual, which means my non-reader can follow along. Smash 3 garlic cloves (mommy step), peel the cloves (Travis step) and add to a blender.

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Next, cut the stems from 1 bunch parsley and 1 bunch cilantro. Travis wanted a taste of each before we added to the blender!

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Add 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt.

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Process until smooth and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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To prepare the sandwiches, remove the stems from 2 portobello mushrooms caps. Cut 2 red bell peppers into quarters.

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Arrange the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Spread chimichurri generously on sandwich buns or rolls.

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Top with the mushroom and bell pepper strips and serve!

It was fun for Travis to learn more about Argentina as we dined. The kit included a great map of Argentine geography to color code, as well as facts Latin American literature and the history of asado (Argentine barbecue). We skipped an actual scavenger hunt for Argentine ingredients at the grocery store because so many of them were meat products, but went over what the items were at home!

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Dulce de Leche Cookies

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Travis and I ate dessert first for his Comida Argentina crate from Raddish Kids! As always, Raddish thoughtfully provided a vegan alternative for non-vegan ingredients, in particular the canned dulce de leche needed for these cookies. We made our own, but unfortunately it was too sticky once cooled. That didn’t stop our delight with the shortbread cookies!

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For the coconut dulce de leche:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Combine the ingredients in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until reduced to 1 and 1/4 cups, stirring frequently; it will take about 20 minutes.
  2. Let cool and store in the fridge until preparing the cookies.

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For the cookies:

  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 and 3/4 cups flour
  1. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer; beat until creamy.
  2. To make the flax egg, whisk 1 tablespoon flax into 3 tablespoons water. Add to the batter, along with the vanilla. Beat until combined.
  3. Add the flour and beat until a soft dough forms.
  4. The kit featured a handy cookie scoop to form even portions of dough on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Smooth each portion into a round ball. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to form an indent.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 13 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack and fill the centers with the dulce de leche; you’ll need to microwave it for about 60 seconds, until spreadable.

As mentioned, our filling was quite sticky, so we ended up leaving a few shortbread cookies plain. Travis enjoyed them either way! As we enjoyed these, we checked out the facts about Argentina on the recipe card and learned more about Argentina’s love for “candy of milk”.

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Capillary Snack-tion Straw

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This straw has some serious action! After learning about how trees and plants drink their nutrients up from the soil in his latest Kiwi Crate, Travis discovered he too can sip in defiance of gravity: by slurping through a straw.

Cut a watermelon into thick slices. Use a flower-shaped cookie cutter to make a flower shape from the watermelon. Insert the “flower” onto a thick straw “stem”.

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Give a quick blow into the straw to expel the watermelon piece inside. This earned a “whoa!” from Travis.

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We filled a glass with lemonade – any drink will do, but lemonade is a favorite around here – and then tested it out.

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Travis provided the power for his flower’s “roots”. What a delicious way to soak up nutrients! When the drink is finished, you can eat your “flower” of course.

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Galactic Pancakes

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You’ll start your kids’ day on a stellar note with these pancakes from Raddish Kids. This was the final recipe from Travis’s Cosmic Cuisine kit, and he declared the taste out of this world!

First we needed to make a few vegan substitutes. For buttermilk, pour 1 tablespoon cider vinegar into a measuring cup. iIll with soy milk to equal 1 cup; let stand for 5 minutes.

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Meanwhile, whisk 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed into 6 tablespoons water in a small bowl to make 2 vegan eggs; let stand for 5 minutes.

To prepare the pancakes, Travis measured and combined 1 and 1/4 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt.

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In a second bowl, combine the flax eggs, the vegan buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Preheat a skillet for about 2 to 3 minutes over medium-low heat. We placed in the provided moon and star silicone molds. (Note: you could also use cookie cutters). Coat the skillet and molds with cooking spray.

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Add about 2 tablespoons batter to each mold – an ice cream scoop worked perfectly for even measuring. Gently spread the batter to the edge of the molds with a spatula and cook for about 3 minutes, until the tops are covered with bubbles.

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Remove the molds with tongs. Flip the pancakes and cook for an additional minute.

Drizzle with syrup and serve!

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You’ll have enough batter for about 12 pancakes.

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Sunshine Granola

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Add sunflower seeds to the kids morning granola to make the perfect sunshine-y batch – just right for the final days of summer! Whip up a batch now and the first few breakfasts during hectic back-to-school will be a cinch.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Arrange the oats and sunflower seeds on a baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter and maple syrup. Drizzle over the oat mixture and sprinkle with the salt.
  3. Bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes. Stir and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

We love this stirred into non-dairy yogurt!

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Farmers’ Market Corn and Peach Salad

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This salad is the direct result of a trip to the farmer’s market. I hesitate to give an exact recipe, since the hope is that you tailor your family’s meal after what you find at your market! So consider the recipe below as a guideline only.

We set out with the intention of making a Corn, Nectarine, and Blueberry Salad that I’d spotted in a magazine, and I printed Travis a picture of each ingredient we hoped to find. This turned it into a neat scavenger hunt.

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Any similar hunt will be a great way to engage kids with the market and the sellers! If you don’t have exact ingredients in mind, then challenge your kids to find things you spot along the way: “Find me a root vegetable” or “Find me something red!” you can say.

Don’t forget to check out the other fun that a farmers’ market has to offer while you’re there.

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Travis got to sample fresh lemonade, pick out a toy made from organic catnip for our cat, check out homemade crafts, and more. Nibbling a bite of fresh basil was a must!

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Babies love the scents and sounds of a farmers’ market, too, so consider adding this to your summer hit-list of baby field trips!

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As it turns out, we couldn’t locate everything on our scavenger hunt ingredient list, but we did find perfect corn, and the biggest scallions we’d ever seen!

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So when we got home, we improvised the salad. We had beautiful local peaches in place of the nectarines, and no blueberries (but the salad was just fine without them!), and added lots more basil and scallions than called for since we had a big bounty. I present to you, our Farmers Market Corn and Peach Salad.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ears fresh corn
  • 2 peeled and chopped ripe peaches
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  1. Cut the kernels from the corn cobs and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Meteor Meatballs

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These meatballs were the second recipe in Travis’s cosmic cuisine-themed Raddish Kids, meant to mimic meteors from space (and get it meat-ier meatballs?). We made ours with Raddish’s excellent vegan suggestion for chickpeas in place of chicken.

To start, Travis helped peel 3 cloves of garlic. I minced them and we put in a large bowl. Finely chop 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves and add to the garlic.

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Next I showed him how to grate zucchini against a box grater; he loved it! Add 1 cup to the garlic mixture, along with 2/3 cup canned or frozen corn.

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Next we made a flax egg: whisk 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed into 3 tablespoons water and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir into the zucchini mixture, along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

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Add 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan sprinkles and 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs. Finally, drain 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas and pulse in a food processor until crumbly. Add to the mixture. Time to get messy! I was so proud of Travis, getting his hands right in there to mush it up, and I showed him how to roll a meatball.

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Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet covered with foil and greased with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Travis ate – I kid you not! – half of the recipe in one sitting. This either means he’s having a growth spurt or speaks directly to how awesome the meatballs are. Or both! We served with onion ring “Saturn rings” for a fun veggie side dish.

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As he dined, we read the recipe card facts about various space rocks (meteoroids versus comets etc.), and learned a bit more about meals in space for astronauts.

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For a little dessert fun, we repeated an old favorite: marshmallow constellations!

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All you need are marshmallows (try Dandie’s for a vegan brand) and toothpicks. This time, I really challenged Travis to follow along with a provided diagram and piece together one of the simpler star formations.

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After some puzzling, he was able to put together Libra!

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Meanwhile, mommy worked on some intricate ones, like Ursa Major and Scorpius.

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Travis then decided he preferred to make his own, and soon had this stick person constellation.

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Don’t forget to clean up – by eating them, of course.

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Solar Oven S’mores

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Happy National S’mores Day! Travis and I celebrated with a STEM take on this classic summer treat: s’mores cooked in a solar-powered oven made from one of his recycled Kiwi Crates!

To start, cut the flaps off the top of the Kiwi box (or an old shoebox). Line the entire inside with aluminum foil, and secure with clear tape.

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Place 4 graham crackers on the bottom; we love the vegan and gluten-free grahams from Kinnikinnick.

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Top two of the graham cracker pieces with dark chocolate squares and the other two pieces with Dandies marshmallows.

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Cover the top of the “oven” with plastic wrap and tape down; you don’t want any bugs in there! We placed our oven on the patio in hot sunshine.

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82 degrees ought to do it!

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After 20 minutes, we took a peek. Our chocolate was so hot and melty and perfect.

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The Dandies had softened up, although they didn’t melt all the way down. But these made fantastic s’mores!

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Planetary Pasta Salad

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With just a little bit of imagination, orecchiette pasta can look like flying saucers, making this dish from Raddish Kids the perfect recipe for my little outer-space lover. It’s the first of three recipes from their Cosmic Cuisine kit, and Travis loved it!

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First, cook 3 cups orecchiette according to package directions. The recipe card even featured a section on cooking perfect pasta, exposing Travis to terms like “al dente“. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to drip dry in the strainer.

Meanwhile, Travis helped me wash and halve 1 pint cherry tomatoes. In fact, rinsing the ingredients was his favorite part of this recipe, and he was so proud when I let him cut one tomato entirely by himself (I guided his hand for the rest).

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Place the tomatoes in a large bowl. Drain and rinse 1 (15-ounce) can white beans; add to the bowl. (Note: the beans were Raddish’s vegan alternative to 1 package of fresh mozzarella). Drain a can of black olives. Slice 1/4 cup and add to the bowl; reserve the remaining olives for another use. Chop 1/4 cup fresh basil and add to the bowl.

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Add the orecchiette, stirring to combine.

To prepare the dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil. Drizzle over the pasta and stir to combine.

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One very happy galactic traveler enjoyed his meal! We read the fun solar system facts on the recipe card as he dined for extra cosmic fun.

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Gummy Ocean Vacation

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This snack idea from Highlights magazine is pure summertime fun! We adapted it slightly for our vegan family, and Travis loved the results.

Prepare 1 package of orange-flavored vegan jel dessert (such as Simply Delish) according to package directions. Pour a layer into clear glasses and chill for at least 1 hour, until firm. This will be your beach “sand”.

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Prepare 1 package of clear vegan jel dessert according to package directions. Add drops of blue food coloring a few at a time until desired color is reached.

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Cool slightly, then pour a layer over the orange dessert. Let chill and set for at least 1 hour.

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Now for the real fun! Top your “ocean” with a little swimmer. We used peach gummy rings from Smart Sweets as life preservers and vegan gummy bears from Whole Foods.

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Travis absolutely adored watching his bear go for a swim.

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These were arguably more fun to play with than to eat… but good for eating, too!

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