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

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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

Griddled Banana Bread with Maple Syrup

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Here’s an adaptation from a recipe in Country Living, perfect for these first few cozy mornings that feel like fall. For a more classic taste, use cinnamon instead of the nutmeg and cloves.

Griddled Banana Bread (1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/3 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt
  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar and butter; beat for about 2 minutes at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the Ener-g eggs, followed by the vanilla yogurt, bananas, and vanilla extract, beating after each addition.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating at slow speed until just combined. Spoon the batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 65 minutes. Cool completely, then transfer to a cutting board (or refrigerate overnight).
  5. Cut the loaf into 1/2-inch thick slices. Melt additional Earth Balance butter to taste in the bottom of a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add the banana bread slices in batches, cooking for about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Serve with warm maple syrup!

The kids helped prepare this as a birthday breakfast-in-bed surprise; it’s definitely a recipe with a special occasion feel to it.

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Sandwich Roll-Ups

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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…

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…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.

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!

Sprinkle Party Cake

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This cake is adapted from one of Molly Yeh’s recipes and her ingenious idea to use marzipan for cake “stickers”,  which lets you transform a regular cake into a Ninjago party cake! I found that the rainbow sprinkles from Whole Foods worked perfectly, without the colors bleeding.

Sprinkle Cake (1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks Earth Balance butter (1 cup)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup plain almond milk
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • 1 (7-ounce) tube marzipan
  • Food coloring
  • Powdered sugar
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  3. Add the Ener-G eggs, followed by the canola oil, vanilla, and almond extract, beating for an additional 2 minutes or so.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and almond milk, beating at low speed after each addition. Gently fold in the sprinkles.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Once cool, frost with the vanilla frosting of choice, whether homemade or store-bought.
  7. To prepare the “sticker”, separate out a portion of marzipan and tint with food coloring for the Ninjago mask of choice. We used blue! Knead until the color is incorporated. Dust a work surface with a little powdered sugar and roll out the marzipan. Cut out the shape of an upside-down kidney bean as the mask and place on the cake.
  8. Tint an additional portion of marzipan yellow. Cut out thin slits for eyebrows and two small circles for eyes and place over the mask.

Sprinkle Cake (4)

Zucchini Yachts

We’ve made simple boat recipes before, but today we got even fancier with zucchini yachts!

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh from the halves to form two shallow shells; save the flesh for another use.
  2. In a bowl, combine the yellow squash, mango, red onion, cilantro, and olive oil, tossing to combine.
  3. Spoon the mango mixture into the zucchini shells, and sail these to the dinner table!

Summer Guacamole

Guacamole is the perfect nosh any time of year, but this chunky version is best in the summer, when you can choose the ripest farm-fresh tomato and herbs!

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocado
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  1. Peel and pit the avocados and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash to desired consistency.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine.

Grilled Summer Vegetables

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These veggies are super simple to grill up, even if you’re a grilling novice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  1. To start, wrap all the vegetables in aluminum foil to form packets. Grill for 7 minutes, or to desired tenderness.
  2. Arrange the vegetables on a platter and drizzle with the dressing just before serving.

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