Citrusy Rice Salad

Citrusy Rice Salad

This salad makes a nice introduction to citrus fruits for toddlers. Veronika hesitantly asked “Apple?” when I spooned some onto her tray. Close but not quite!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped green beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped orange
  • 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  1. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, agave, and olive oil in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, steam the green beans for about 6 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Add the green beans to the bowl with the dressing, along with the remaining ingredients, stirring to coat.

 

Samosas

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These hand-held treats make a fantastic after-school snack, or can be part of a larger meal packed in a lunchbox. They’re the perfect size for kids’ hands! Try Wholly Wholesome’s pie crusts for a vegan version.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup prepared mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 2 chopped mint leaves
  • 2 (9-inch) pie crusts, thawed
  1. To prepare the filling, stir together the mashed potatoes, cumin, salt, black pepper, cilantro and mint leaves in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Roll the pie crusts out on a flat surface and trim slightly to form a rectangle. Cut with a pizza wheel into a tic-tac-toe board, for 9 squares in each crust.Samosas (2)
  3. Spoon the filling evenly into the center of the squares. Fold over into a triangle shape, pinching the edges to seal.Samosas (1)
  4. Transfer to baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes, until lightly brown.

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Matoke (Plantain Stew)

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This hearty stew brought international flair to our kitchen tonight; the plantain-based dish is similar to those traditionally served at birthday celebrations in Kenya, a nice little addendum to some birthday learning Travis has recently enjoyed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces meatless crumbles
  • 3 ripe plantains, peeled and chopped
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups water
  1. Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and meatless crumbles; cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chopped plantains and potatoes, then cover with the water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender.

 

 

Strawberry Applesauce

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This chunky applesauce is a great homemade alternative to store-bought pouches, and a nice way to introduce berry flavor to toddlers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peeled and chopped apple
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 12 minutes, until the fruit is very tender.
  2. Mash with a potato masher and cool before serving.

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Fairy Bread

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If children could invent a snack, Fairy Bread would probably be it. This treat, apparently popular at birthday parties in Australia, sure made our after-school snack feel like a treat!

Spread Earth Balance butter on slices of white bread. Trim off the crusts.

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Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles to taste, then cut into triangles. I prepared the first slice for Travis, but let him be in charge of the sprinkles for the second.

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Clearly this indulgence is meant to be a once-in-a-while treat, but it sure put a big smile on his face today!

Split Pea Curry

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This protein-packed vegan curry introduces your toddler to new flavors and spice without overwhelming little taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup split peas
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  1. In a large pot, combine the split peas, potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, and garlic.
  2. Add the water, tomato sauce, and curry powder, stirring to combine.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then continue to cook for 1 hour, or until the split peas are very tender. Let cool before serving.

Split Pea Curry

Toddler Chick’n Dinners

 

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Here are two ways I love to serve vegan chick’n strips to my Baby Led Weaning toddler for a full meal.

Parsnip & Chicken Dinner

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Peel and chop 4 small parsnips. Cover with water and bring to a boil; continue to cook for 20 minutes, until very soft.

Drain and return to the pan, then add 1 teaspoon Earth balance butter and mash until smooth. Serve with finely chopped Gardein chick’n strips.

Chicken, Sweet Pea, & Sweet Potato Dinner

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Microwave 1 sweet potato for about 6 minutes, or until very tender. Let cool slightly, then scoop the flesh from the peel and mash to desired consistency.

Serve with finely chopped Gardein chick’n strips and cooked green peas.

 

Tomato & Orzo Soup

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I love this hack for making a hearty family dinner: Start with a canned creamy soup, add a few ingredients for added nutrition, and dinner seems gourmet in minutes flat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups creamy tomato soup
  • 1 cup canned black beans
  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • Plain non-dairy yogurt
  1. Heat the soup in a saucepan until warm. Add the beans and cooked pasta, stirring until combined.
  2. Ladle the soup into bowls, and top each with about 1 tablespoon yogurt.

Orzo with Creamy Tomato Spinach Sauce

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Relying on jarred marinara sauce as the base of this recipe makes it a cinch, but it sneaks in extra nutrition for your little ones!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach
  • 2/3 cup uncooked orzo
  1. Combine the first three ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and heat until warm.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Stir the orzo into the sauce, and let cool slightly before serving.

Orzo with Spinach Sauce

Crispy Potato Latkes

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This recipe from Travis’s Holiday Traditions Raddish Kids crate makes latkes that are cooked in the oven, not fried. Still, the recipe was a great deal oilier and saltier than we normally cook in our home, but as a special treat for the holiday, it was worth the indulgence. Travis loved all the steps involved to peel and grate the potatoes!

First, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 3 large potatoes and cook for 20 minutes.

Transfer the potatoes carefully to a large bowl filled with ice. Travis loved watching them cool, and heaping extra ice over them.

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The skins will begin to slip off as the potatoes cool. Use a peeler to carefully peel the rest of the way, then use the large holes of a box grater to shred the potatoes. Transfer to a large bowl.

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Add 2 Ener-G eggs, 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 2 teaspoons salt to the shredded potato. Mix well.

Divide the mixture into 16 portions, about 1/4 cup each, and arrange on 2 baking sheets covered with greased foil (8 latkes per sheet). Coat the bottom of a measuring cup with cooking spray and press each portion into a circle.

Drizzle each baking sheet with 3 tablespoons canola oil and sprinkle each with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes. Flip the latkes and bake an additional 10 minutes, until browned and crisp.

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We like these with non-dairy sour cream and applesauce. For the latter, use store-bought or cinnamon-laced homemade!

The recipe card featured a little background on traditional Hanukkah foods, as well as lots of suggestions for family traditions to uphold or begin. We know we love the following recommendations: checking out neighborhood holiday lights; reading holiday books; donating to charities; gifting baked goods to friends; and of course making holiday cookies!