Mini-Muffin Pancake Bites

Muffin Pancakes (2)

You may have heard of the cronut or cruffin, and now you can thank High Five magazine for inventing your next favorite hybrid breakfast food – Muffin Pancakes! Puffins? Mufcakes? Whatever you call them, kids will love helping bake up a batch of these for breakfast!

Start with your favorite pancake mix, and add the wet ingredients as directed. We love Annie’s vegan pancake mix. Stir in about 2 cups mixed berries. We used frozen ones, but next time I would use fresh, since the frozen tinted our batter blue. Small berries (blueberries, raspberries), will work larger than big ones like strawberries.

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Divide the batter evenly among 24 mini muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before removing form the pan

Add a bowl of syrup on the side for dipping!

Butterfly Pasta

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Butterfly-shaped pasta is perfect for springtime, and this recipe is simple enough for even a preschooler to help. It’s a great activity for talking about all the verbs that go into a recipe, too.

Scoop peas into a bowl of cooked pasta.

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Spoon in pesto.

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Mix it all together.

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Sprinkle with your favorite non-dairy cheese!

Thanks to Veronika’s latest High Five magazine for this interactive cooking lesson!

Cucumber Boats

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Sleet and winter weather have us dreaming of tropical islands these days! One fun way to bring summer into a winter home is to play with your food, so we loved this recipe from Veronika’s latest High Five magazine.

In a bowl, combine your favorite fish-less tuna with sweet relish, chopped carrots, and vegan mayo to taste.

Hollow out cucumber halves, and then fill each “boat” with some of the tuna mixture. We added a carrot sail on a toothpick as the finishing touch!

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Note: If your kids aren’t fans of fish-less tuna, use mashed chickpeas instead.

Ginger Cake Squares

Ginger Cake (1)

Instead of more traditional gingerbread cookies, we made ginger cake this year. This cake will make your whole house smell like Christmas as it bakes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups blackstrap molasses
  • 2 vegan eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups boiling water
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, molasses, and vegan eggs of your choice; set aside.
  2. In a second bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined.
  3. Add the boiling water and whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes; a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  5. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack, then serve warm or cool completely.
  6. We love this dolloped with non-dairy whipped cream for serving! And yes we’re going to leave one piece out for Santa!

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Chewy Chocolate Coconut Treat

Mochi Treat (3)

Our original plan was to bake a chocolate mochi treat, using a recipe from Veronika’s latest High Five magazine, but we couldn’t find sweet rice flour at the store. In a pinch, we tried coconut flour and up with this delicious chocolatey treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 vegan eggs
  1. In a bowl, combine the coconut flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
  2. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and vegan eggs of choice, stirring to combine; the batter will be thick.
  3. Pour into an 11×7-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut into squares to serve.

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We left our treat plain, but a dusting of powdered sugar would be pretty on top!

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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

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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.

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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.

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Raisin eyes were the finishing touch.

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Travis proudly added the decorations to the Daddy Rectangle.

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

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Apple Cider Shake

Summer might be gone, but that doesn’t mean ice cream float season has to be over. Swap out the soda for apple cider in this recipe, and you have the perfect fall treat!

Simply pour a glass of apple cider, then add two scoops of your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with about 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon per serving. Bonus points for big milkshake straws.

Vegan Snickerdoodles

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We adapted these delightful cookies from Superkind bakery in Los Angeles, thanks to a recipe in Country Living. They’re perfect with a cup of tea on a rainy fall afternoon!

Ingredients:

  • 3 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, and 1 cup sugar; beat at high speed for about 2 minutes, until creamy.
  3. Add the Ener-G eggs and vanilla, beating until combined. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on baking sheets 2 inches apart and bake at 350 degrees F for 11 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

 

Rainbow Meals

Yellow Lunch (2)

You can bring a smile to your kid’s face this school year when they pop open that lunchbox, even without fancy Bento boxes or food in the shape of faces, boats, and any other shape that comes to mind. Instead, simply coordinate lunches by color!

You can serve the following in rainbow order (serving red the first day, orange the second, and so forth), but we jumped around a little bit to fit weather or certain themes. Here’s the full spectrum that the kids ended up enjoying over a few weeks! And although certainly not necessary, it was fun to dress up in the hue that corresponded to lunch each day. Thanks to Parents magazine for all these suggestions!

Rainbow Lunch

Red:

This meal was served in the first week of school when the weather still felt like summer, so napkins with red lobsters felt right on point. The kids munched on:

  • Red bean chili
  • Red strawberry fruit leather
  • Red strawberries
  • Red bell pepper strips

Red Lunch

Orange:

We saved this one early fall and closer to Halloween! Slip in a Halloween-themed napkin and serve up:

  • Orange grilled cheese sandwiches (with plant-based cheddar slices)
  • Orange dried mango slices
  • Orange non-dairy cheddar crackers
  • Orange cherry tomatoes

Orange Lunch

Yellow:

For a sunshine-y week in mid-September, we had sunflower-themed napkins and dined on:

  • Yellow vegan mac ‘n’ cheese
  • Yellow pineapple cubes
  • Yellow baby carrots
  • Yellow vegan cheddar popcorn

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Green:

Friends just might be green with envy when your kid pops open a lunch of green goodies including:

  • Green leaf lettuce wraps with hummus and chick’n strips
  • Green grapes
  • Green kale chips
  • Green cucumber slices

Green lunch

Blue/Purple:

We did a combo of the rainbow’s final hues, and the kids enjoyed:

  • Purple pumpernickel sunflower butter & jelly sandwiches (with blueberry jelly)
  • Blue corn tortilla chips
  • Purple carrots
  • Purple plums

purple lunch