Blueberry Granita

This fresh fruit sorbet is the perfect treat on a summer day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup lemonade
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze.
  2. Every two hours or so, scrape with a fork, then return to the freezer. Ours was the perfect consistency after about 8 hours.

Broiled Pineapple with Vanilla Yogurt

The contrast between warm broiled pineapple and frozen vanilla yogurt makes this dessert a treat for the senses!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-dairy vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cups pineapple, cubed
  1. Spoon the yogurt into a freezer-safe dish and freeze for one hour. Stir, then freeze for an additional 30 minutes or so.
  2. Meanwhile, arrange the pineapple cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, to desired tenderness. The edges should be lightly browned.
  3. Spoon the frozen yogurt over the warm pineapple. For maximum contrast in temperature, this dish is best served immediately.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Pie

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This chilled dessert feels just right on a hot night, just layers of vegan whipped topping and chocolate chip cookies. For something truly decadent, use double the ingredients listed below, and repeat the layers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • 6 ounces vegan chocolate chip cookies
  • Mini chocolate chips, for garnish
  1. Spread half of the whipped topping in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Top with the cookies, breaking into smaller pieces as necessary to evenly cover the surface.
  2. Top with the remaining whipped topping. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours, and up to 12 hours.
  3. Just before serving, decorate the rim of the pie with mini chocolate chips.

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Orange Coconut Sorbet

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This icy treat is a cinch to make, with just three ingredients and a little time in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  1. Combine the orange juice, coconut milk, and agave in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze. Every 2 hours or so, fluff with a fork and then return to the freezer until the mixture reaches desired consistency. We loved ours after about 8 hours, when it was almost like an orange slush. Give it closer to 10 or 12 hours for a smoother sorbet.

Vanilla Maple Rice Pudding

Here’s the perfect warm dessert for those evenings that need just a little dose of extra coziness.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • Blueberries, for serving (optional)
  1. Combine the soy milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in an oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then stir in the rice.
  2. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven; bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring about halfway through.
  3. Serve warm, with blueberries on the side if desired!

Little Passports: Israel

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Travis latest package from Little Passports was all about Israel; the activities for this particular country were less hands-on than previous packages he’s received. Still, Travis is always excited for the latest from “Sam and Sofia”!

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Through the booklet, he learned about ancient artifacts that have been found in Israel, sea creatures of the Red Sea, shuk shopping markets, and more. Most were age-appropriate for a 1st grader except a tough mystery to solve using Hebrew letter characters.

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Souvenir:

I wish Travis had received this particular kit back in December, because the souvenir was a game of dreidel, complete with a spinning top and a set of felt gold coins. Even though it wasn’t Hanukkah, Travis loved playing a few rounds!

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Further Activities:

Of course next we needed to color in the flag of Israel, and there was also a coloring page to teach about the holiday of Tu B’Shvat (new years for the trees), which Travis colored quite carefully.

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Next up was a science experiment to see what salt does to objects in water, as with the salty Dead Sea. The original instructions were to do this activity with an egg, but we used carrots to make it vegan. Fill each of 2 glass cups with 3/4 cup warm water. Add 1 baby carrot to the first cup. Ker-plop, it sinks!

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Next, add 1/4 cup salt to the second cup, stirring until it dissolves. We added a second baby carrot… and it floats!

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From here, we turned to Little Passport’s blog for a DIY Hanukkah Menorah. To start, cut a large paper plate in half, then mark 8 notches at the top with blue marker. Use the marker to connect these, so you have a series of increasingly smaller U shapes.

Next, we colored 9 clothespins with blue marker and decorated with silver glitter glue; let dry, then twist a small piece of yellow or gold pipe cleaner and use hot glue to attach to the open end of each clothespin. Cut a small paper plate in half; make slits in each half, as well as two slits in the bottom of the larger plate so they notch together to form a stand. Finally, attach the clothespins as the candles!

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Recipe:

It was time to end the exploration with dessert. We prepared a recipe for traditional Hamantaschen, a triangle-shaped pastry eaten during the holiday of Purim. Pinching the cookies into triangles took a bit of practice, but soon we had a knack for it!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup jam, any flavor
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and orange juice.
  3. Whisk the flaxseed into the warm water to make 1 flax egg. Add to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to make circles. Spoon a scant tablespoon of jam into the center of each, then pinch the dough into a triangle, forming three corners with your fingers.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

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Apple Pear Crisp

Apple Pear Crisp (1)This easy dessert lets the natural sweetness of the fruit shine. Serve with your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream if your kids like their dessert served a la mode!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pears
  • 3 apples
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance butter
  • Cooking spray
  1. Peel, core, and thinly slice the pears and apples; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vanilla, flour, oats, and butter.
  3. Spoon the fruit into a 13×9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, then top evenly with the brown sugar mixture. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes and let cool slightly before serving.

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Chocolate Pomegranate Dip

Chocolate Pomegranate Dip (2)

Sneak a little pomegranate into your family’s repertoire with this yummy snack dip!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dairy-free chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 and 1/2 cups oat milk
  • 1 cup non-dairy sour cream
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Combine the pudding mix and oat milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until blended.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat to combine. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill for 1 hour.

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We love this served with fresh fruit like orange segments for dipping! You can also dunk in slices of pound cake. Or just eat it up with a spoon!

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Cherry Apple Coconut Rice Pudding

Cherry Coconut Rice Pudding (1)This dessert pudding couldn’t be easier to put together or bake, making it easy enough for even a weeknight.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen cherries, thawed
  • 1 cup applesauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a 2-quart casserole dish.
  2. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Little Passports: England

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Travis enjoyed learning about England in this month’s kit from Little Passports, not least of all because it involved lots of puzzles (and I mean lots!). As with the India package, he had a personal interest, too, because he has some English heritage.

After familiar finds in his package like a world coin and stickers for his map, passport, and suitcase, we turned to the booklet.

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This month’s booklet allowed him to tackle a crossword puzzle, spot four-of-a-kind images, and do a mapping activity.

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That last is the only one I would say was beyond his grade level.

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Souvenir:

The souvenir was a 3-D puzzle of Big Ben, a huge hit because Travis once had an obsession with this clock tower (yes, we used to watch videos of it chiming). Now we could build it!

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The puzzle slots together easily, but a parental note of caution: it didn’t last long because Travis wanted to play with it more like an action figure.

Further Activities:

I was happy to see a wide variety of activities this month, both in the booklet and continued online. For science, we printed out a template for Newton’s color wheel. After learning briefly who Newton was, Travis colored in the provided circle in a rainbow.

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Glue onto cardboard for sturdiness and then thread onto a string that is 30 inches long. Wind the string up and then let it spin until unwound; it rotates fast enough that the colors blur back to white.

The website also had a printout of a British afternoon tea spread to color, which you can then cut apart and re-do as a puzzle.

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Travis wasn’t terribly interested, but it was nice to color side by side.

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There were two available add-ons from the company with the England kit, and we opted for both. To extrapolate on the theme of Shakespeare and the theater, Travis made shadow puppets. He loved slotting together and decorating the cardboard theater first.

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Turn on the battery-operated lights, and then it’s time for felt puppets to take center stage! This is sure to be a great toy to play with even completely separate from this Little Passport’s package.

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The second add-on circled back to themes of mapping and puzzles: a 3-D puzzle of London.

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The puzzle was far beyond my 6 year old’s ability, but he loved slotting the landmarks into their spaces, and we read about each one in the provided insert.

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And after all that, the neatest project by far was to make Stonehenge from homemade play dough! We mixed 2 cups flour and 1 cup salt in a large bowl. We wanted to make it black, so added red, blue, and green food coloring to 1/2 cup water. It turned our mixture more gray than black, but that’s probably closer to Stonehenge’s hue anyway. Stir until the color is incorporated, then add an additional 1/4 cup water. Knead until you have a workable play dough.

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We arranged the plinths and monoliths on a piece of cardboard and left it to dry for about 1 day. Not only did this look awesome, but it was a great background for his Lego figures to play in, too!

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Recipe:

We always end these country kits in the kitchen. This month’s recipe was for Awesome Apple Crumble, which lived up to its name!

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Ingredients:

For the topping:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance butter, cubed

For the filling:

  • 1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  1. To prepare the topping, combine 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and the salt in a bowl. Add the Earth Balance butter and use your fingers to mix until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs; set aside.
  2. To prepare the apples, place the slices in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and the cinnamon, stirring to coat.
  3. Spoon the apples into a 9×9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the apples and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve warm and drizzle with a little non-dairy creamer, which is closer to how the Brits would serve it than serving American-style with ice cream.

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