Sporty Cookie Cake

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Every good game needs a sweet finish, and this giant cookie from Travis’s Game Day Raddish Kids is perfect if you’re watching sports with a crowd this fall!

First, combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3/4 cup softened Earth Balance butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Beat until combined. Add 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax whisked into 3 tablespoons water) and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat until creamy. Watching the stand mixer is always Travis’s favorite part!

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Add the flour mixture and 1 cup vegan chocolate chips to the wet ingredients; beat until combined.

Pat the dough into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes; the edges should be browned and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean (as long as you don’t hit a melted chocolate chip!).

Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons plain non-dairy creamer in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, and stir until the chocolate is melted.

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Spoon the chocolate mixture into a zip-top plastic bag and snip a hole in one corner. Decorate the cake to look like your kids’ favorite sports ball.

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Travis chose a baseball!

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This dessert was declared a big winner.

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Game Day Guacamole

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It was a lazy football Sunday for us today, and that meant whipping up a batch of game day guac! Kids will love scooping avocado flesh from the peels and mashing everything up!

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  1. Cut the avocados in half and pit. Spoon the flesh into a bowl.Game Day Guac (2)
  2. Mash with a potato masher.Game Day Guac (3)
  3. Core and chop the tomato; add to the bowl along with the cilantro.
  4. Cut the lime in half and squeeze over the avocado mixture, stirring to combine

Serve with tortilla chips of course.

While shopping for ingredients, we also took the opportunity to hunt for iconic fall harvest foods.

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Travis helped spot pumpkins, pears, apples, and more.

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It can also be interesting to point out items that aren’t in season, a quick lesson for kids on modern grocery stores versus traditional seasonal foods.

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Game on!

Football Math Touchdown

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This math-heavy lesson from Raddish Kids was a little tough to tailor to a kindergartner, but I appreciated the challenge, and that Raddish had us thinking about new concepts and skills. We’re excited to make more ballpark fare to go along with the learning!

The lesson begins with brainstorming a list of sports. I put white poster board up on the wall just like a teacher and gave Travis a big sports-couch-voice, “Go!” He soon had a great list.

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I told him today we would focus on football, and went through some of the facts that Raddish provided. Did you know that the first official football game was all the way back in 1869? We watched a quick overview of the rules and took a look at all the gear players have to wear.

Pause a moment and make a second chart with your child, focusing on what we learn from losing and what we learn from winning. I was proud of Travis coming up with items like, “You learn not to cheat” and “not getting upset when you lose”.

Now go over a bit of football facts and figures (6 points for a touchdown, 3 points for a field goal etc.) and set up some math problems with manipulatives. We used dried beans, and I talked Travis through three problems. First up, addition:

If the Dallas Cowboys scored 2 touchdowns and 2 extra points, how many points did they have altogether?

Travis counted out 6 beans for each touchdown, plus the extra two, then added them all up. This is a sophisticated problem for a kindergartner, and I don’t think he even realized it!

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We next did subtraction:

Last night the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New York Jets by a score of 7 to 10. How many fewer points did the Chiefs have?

Again, manipulatives made it a cinch. He counted out each team’s score in beans, then took away 7 from the Jets pile. How many were left? “Three!” he declared.

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Finally, fractions:

If there are 4 quarters in a game and 2 have been played, how many are left?

Beans made the answer clear.

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After that big brain workout, we needed a physical one! We played two fun variations on “football” that we found online, adapting them to be a mom-and-son game instead of requiring teams. For the first, I set up a yoga mat as the end zone. His job was to get as many balls as possible into the end zone in 1 minute.

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For the second, he stood on a target (we used stacking rings) and had to catch a ball. If he caught it, he moved the target to his end zone for a point.

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We even had an adorable cheerleader on the sidelines!

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Finish up with a football read at storytime. Travis enjoyed A Running Back Can’t Always Rush, by Nate LeBoutillier

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Ballpark Pretzels

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Let the games begin! Travis launched into his Game Day Raddish Kids crate with this recipe for classic ballpark pretzels.

First we needed to combine 1 cup warm water in a bowl with 1 packet rapid rise yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. I had recently boiled water, so we cooled it down quickly with a few ice cubes, a process Travis loved watching! (Ideally your water should be about 110 degrees F for best results with yeast).

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Whisk until the sugar and yeast dissolve.

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Add 2 and 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to form a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 portions. At this point, Travis decided he didn’t want to get his hands messy so he watched as I shaped our dough into two forms.

For half of the dough, I shaped into a classic pretzel  twist, following Raddish’s tutorial on the recipe card. The remaining three pieces were folded in half and then twisted to form long twists. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet.

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In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup warm water and 2 teaspoons baking soda. Travis used this month’s keepsake, a pastry brush, to brush the water mixture over the tops of the pretzels.

Sprinkle the classic twists with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over the long twists.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

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We made a few other serving variations as well. One of the pretzels was brushed with melted Earth Balance butter fresh out of the oven and sprinkled with a little vegan Parmesan. This turned out to be Travis’s favorite!

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Finally, we made a dipping sauce to try with some of the savory pretzels: In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, and 2 tablespoons agave nectar.

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We read the facts on the recipe card about other popular stadium snacks, then couldn’t resist watching a few iconic baseball moments as we snacked!

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Argentine Empanadas

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These savory empanadas were the bonus recipe from Travis’s Comida Argentina Raddish Kids; truth be told, it was mostly a mom endeavor, but my little sous-chef loved helping with the filling once I’d made the dough!

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup cold water, divided

For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 8 ounces Lightlife ground beef
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  1. To prepare the dough, combine the flour, salt, and butter in a bowl. Cut with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly (or alternatively, use a food processor and pulse until crumbly).
  2. Whisk the flax into 3 tablespoons water to make 1 flax egg. Add to the bowl along with the remaining 1/4 cup water and stir to form a dough.
  3. Divide the dough in two. Working with one portion at a time, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Cut with a 3-inch cookie cutter to make circles.Empanada (1)
  4. Stack the circles of dough between pieces of parchment paper in the fridge until ready to serve.
  5. To prepare the filling, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, oregano, and raisins; cook for 1 minute.Empanada (2)
  6. Crumble the beef into the pan and add the water and salt. Cook for 5 minutes.Empanada (3)
  7. Set 8 dough circles on a baking sheet. Top each with 2 tablespoons filling.Empanada (4)
  8. Moisten your finger with water and run around the edge of each dough circle, then fold the dough over the filling. Press the edges with a fork to seal.Empanada (5)
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Travis loved these, and especially that they could be eaten on the go, a little snack wrapped up in its own edible wrapper.

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Patagonian Potato Salad

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Having become an expert now on the Patagonia region and the hemispheres, it was time for Travis to put his culinary skills to the test in a classic Patagonian recipe.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and help your child carefully add 1 (24-ounce) bag baby red potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt. Boil for 20 minutes, until tender.

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Drain the potatoes, then transfer to a bowl filled with ice. Travis loved watching the potatoes get this ice bath!

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Cut the potatoes into quarters and place in a large bowl. Thinly slice 4 green onions and add to the bowl, along with 2 tablespoons minced parsley.

To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/3 cup olive oil.

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Drizzle over the potato mixture and toss to coat.

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A victorious chef!

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Travis enjoyed reading a few final facts about Aregntina on the recipe card, including the ritual of drinking mate tea and the afternoon siesta. I even let him try a sip of mate, a hit!

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Seasons in the Hemispheres

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This very simply lesson from Raddish Kids was informative, though it lacked the “wow” factor of other lessons from the company. Still, Travis was intrigued and stuck with it from start to finish.

First, I asked him to name the four seasons. Chart your child’s answers, and then make a list of different aspects of the seasons. Travis came up with things like: cold versus hot; snow versus sun; and different colors, like white versus green.

Now time for a little lesson; the world is divided into northern and southern hemispheres, separated by an imaginary line called the Equator. When it it is summer in the north, it is winter in the south, and vice versa.

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To illustrate this point in a tangible way, draw a line around an orange. We labeled the top N and the bottom S. I had him point out where we lived, and we drew a simple outline for North America. An outline of Argentina, where our recipes came from, went into the south.

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Spear the orange with a chopstick from “north pole to south pole” to show Earth’s axis. Now hold up a soccer ball as your sun. As you rotate the “Earth” around at a slight tilt (fun fact, Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees), your child will start to see why sometimes it is summer and sometimes winter.

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We watched two suggested videos for a slightly more in depth explanation.

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Now it was time for Travis to plan his winter birthday party! As a summer baby, I had him imagine what it would be like to live in a southern continent. He decided it would be an ice party, where everyone drank hot cocoa and came in snow boots.

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If you really wanted to go all out for this lesson plan, you could recreate a mini birthday celebration of opposite seasons for your kids! At the very least, celebrate with some dulce de leche cookies.

Finally, we checked out the difference in temperature in the hemispheres today. Because it is fall/spring, the difference wasn’t thrillingly obvious. Older kids may want to pick a city in the opposite hemisphere and chart the differences in temp over a whole week.

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Exploring Patagonia

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Here was a very different lesson plan from Raddish Kids, in conjunction with the Comida Argentina recipes Travis has been cooking up. My kindergartner got to learn social studies, all about one region of the world!

Truth be told, the unit was quite simple compared to many Raddish lessons. I showed Travis the Patagonia region on a fantastic map we have featuring elevated surfaces for mountains. He immediately picked up on how mountainous the region was, and also how close to the ocean.

We read a few fun facts about the area, including the discovery of dinosaur fossils. Then it was time for a video!

Raddish provided a worksheet for children to draw images of what they learned in the travel video. Travis immediately paused it and said, “Mom, there’s water!” His delight was infectious, pausing the clip every few seconds to draw the glaciers (“silvery mountains!”), desert, flies, or any other things that jumped out to a five-year-old boy.

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There are numerous ways to continue the lesson from here. Children are encouraged to present their knowledge while pretending to be something, be that an archaeologist, chef, journalist, or artist.

Because Travis loves YouTube clips, I suggested he be a travel blogger giving his review of Patagonia. But first, he wanted to make those glaciers! He raided the craft bin and wrapped Styrofoam balls in aluminum foil. These were glued to a sheet of shiny cardstock as “ice”. He added dowels as “desert”. All of this received lots of glue on top as snow.

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Without further ado, here’s my little travel blogger, enticing you to Patagonia!

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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