Swedish Pancakes

Swedish Pancakes (3)

This pancake batter whips up in a blender for easy prep, and results in a thinner, crepe-like pancake. The recipe was a fun addendum to recent Swedish dishes Travis has prepared.

Swedish Pancakes (1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Strawberry jam
  1. In a blender, combine the Ener-G eggs, almond milk, butter, flour, sugar, and salt. Process until smooth.
  2. Heat a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup batter and swirl so the batter reaches the edges of the pan. Cook for 1 minute; then flip and cook for about 20 seconds on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  3. Serve with strawberry jam and powdered sugar, if desired.

Swedish Pancakes (2)

Kids can fold these up and eat them as little hand-held pockets. If your kids don’t want them with jam and powdered sugar, simply top with more familiar maple syrup instead!

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs (6)

Travis and I got into a hygge Scandinavian mode making these Swedish meatballs tonight, complete with Swedish music in the background in a playlist provided by Raddish Kids.

Swedish Meatballs (1)

I appreciated the company’s thoughtful provision of a vegan alternative to ground beef, using sauteed mushrooms as the base of the meatballs instead.

Swedish Meatballs (2)

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 24 ounces button mushrooms
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

For the gravy:

  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy creamer
  1. To prepare the meatballs, chop the mushrooms  and then saute for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are very tender and the liquid is evaporated.
  2. Combine the mushrooms in a large bowl with the Ener-G eggs, breadcrumbs, oats, salt, onion powder, and allspice. Transfer the mixture to a food process or blender and process until finely minced.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Shape the mushroom mixture into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet; bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy: melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour; cook for 3 minutes, whisking frequently.
  5. Add the vegetable broth. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, until thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the creamer.

Swedish Meatballs (3)

Now Travis got to test out the tongs that came with this month’s kit!

Swedish Meatballs (7)

Transfer the cooked meatballs to the gravy, and let warm over low heat. You can serve the meatballs with a little bit of cranberry jam for garnish, if desired. We actually added a dollop of mixed berry jam!

Swedish Meatballs (5)

In addition to the Swedish music, Travis had fun with the recipe card’s tidbits about Viking history, and a true-or-false quiz about Swedish facts.

Northern Lights Illuminated

Northern Lights (8)

With a few Swedish recipes to prepare from Raddish Kids this month, Travis and I sat down to learn about the Northern Lights, a neat STEAM lesson alongside the Swedish cuisine.

I started be asking him to picture dancing lights in the sky, and he immediately got very silly imagining twirling reds, greens, and blues. But I told him this really exists! An informative website and video helped him visualize and understand the concepts further. Help your child walk away with new vocab, like solar flare and solar wind.

So now it was time to paint the northern lights! Using black construction paper as our background, I invited Travis to craft the lights however he felt inspired. He started with blue paint…

Northern Lights (3)

…but soon liked the way that just water looked when swirled on the black page.

Northern Lights (5)

He added in a bit of color, then more water, for a very ethereal effect.

Northern Lights (6)

As we painted, we listened to ambient music from Mannheim Steamroller. Once he finished painting, it was time to dance and be the auroras.

Northern Lights (1)

With scarves as props, he got really into his swirly, twirly, silly dance moves. And so did little sister!

Northern Lights (7)

For a final scientific component, we made the “Northern lights” in food coloring and oat milk. Set out paper plates filled with the milk and add a few drops of food coloring to each.

Northern Lights (9)

Dip a q-tip into dish soap, then touch this to the milk. The food coloring will dance and skitter and mix.

Northern Lights (10)

This had a big wow factor. I had hoped for it to be a little bit of a science lesson, thinking there might be a difference between our full fat and low fat oat milks in the fridge, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

Northern Lights (12)

For variation, we tried it in glue, too. (Note: You can let a glue version dry for a full week, then pull it off the paper plate and hang as a “suncatcher.”

Northern Lights (11)

Last up was a little bedtime reading from the library. Check out Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean Pendziwol; Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer, or Auroras: Fire in the Sky by Dan Bortolotti.

Northern Lights alt

I loved that this lesson got Travis to learn, to create, and to get active!

 

 

Nordic Cinnamon Buns

Nordic Cinnamon Buns (4)

Known as kanelbullar in Scandinavia, these twisted cinnamon rolls were the first recipe from Travis’s Swedish Eats Raddish Kids. What a sweet start these give to a weekend brunch!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oat milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. To prepare the dough, heat the oat milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk and canola oil, stirring to form a dough.Nordic Cinnamon Buns (1)
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth. Raddish always gifts us with the most wonderfully workable dough, neither too sticky nor too floury!
  4. Roll the dough until you have a rectangle that measures 8 inches x 20 inches. Don’t worry if you get a tear or two; you can easily patch this dough from a thicker portion.
  5. Brush the melted butter over the dough. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the dough.
  6. Fold the dough in half, then use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 strips.Nordic Cinnamon Buns (2)
  7. Working with one portion at a time, twist the strip, then fold into a knot and tuck the ends under (almost like a soft pretzel shape). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
  8. Let rise for 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can stop here, cover the dough, and let rise overnight in the fridge).Nordic Cinnamon Buns (3)
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes. Immediately transfer to a platter and dust with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, if desired,

Travis was a huge fan! As a fun bonus, Travis learned a bit about Scandinavia and a few Swedish words on the recipe card.

Nordic Cinnamon Buns (5)

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies (7).JPG

The first day of the year always seems like the perfect day to nest, perhaps not even to get the kids out of their pajamas, to let everyone sleep in a little later (we made it to 7!) and of course, for baking or other food fun. Today, Travis woke up having dreamed about cookies, so we quickly set about making real ones, using a recipe from his Raddish Kids Holiday Traditions kit.

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 3 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses

For the icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy creamer
  1. To prepare the dough, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the Ener-egg and molasses; beat until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until you form a dough.
  4. Divide the dough into two equal portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.Gingerbread Cookies (1)
  5. Once chilled, dust a cutting boat with flour and roll one portion of the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. (Note: alternatively roll the dough thinner for crispier gingerbread, but we like ours a bit soft and chewy). Raddish provided a gingerbread cookie cutter that made generously-sized people! Gingerbread Cookies (2)
  6. Place the cookie shapes on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Gather the scraps of dough and repeat until the sheets are filled, then bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes.Gingerbread Cookies (4)
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the icing: whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and creamer. Add more powdered sugar if your icing seems too thin or more creamer if it seems too thick. Raddish also provided a piping bottle, and Travis loved using this to apply the icing! That meant some of our gingerbread people had big globs, but some featured more traditional eyes, smiles, and buttons.

Gingerbread Cookies (6)

These made for the perfect winter snack! We made up silly gingerbread man rhymes while he noshed and learned more about the history of gingerbread houses from the recipe card. Happy 2020!

Gingerbread Cookies (5)

Crispy Potato Latkes

Crispy Potato Latkes (5)

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.

Crispy Potato Latkes (1)

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.

Crispy Potato Latkes (3)

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.

Crispy Potato Latkes (4)

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!

Flavor Bases Around the Globe

Flavor Bases (5).JPG

It can be hard to get kids to try new flavors; Travis might enjoy eating his vegan chick’n nuggets, for example, but he doesn’t want them spiced in a new way! So I appreciated this unit on flavor bases from around the world, part of a lesson to go with the Raddish Kids‘ recipe Travis prepared for chickpea soup, one that used a French mirepoix as the base.

I kept the lesson very light for a kindergartner. We watched a quick video on how to chop a mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery), and then discussed how an aromatic base might differ in other countries, whether with a different fat (coconut oil in parts of Asia) or different aromatics (ginger, garlic).  Older kids can delve into math ratios for the best flavor here!

Flavor Bases (1)

The true challenge was to cook one protein in three different flavor bases. I knew Travis would never have the patience to prepare three recipes, but instead presented him with three sauces to spice his chick’n at lunch. We checked them out on a world map next to their countries, first!

He loved dipping into each. “Not the favorite,” he declared after one bite of Chinese hoisin sauce. Indian masala got a maybe, but Mexican taco sauce was the clear winner. He kept asking for more!

Flavor Bases (4)

Have fun flipping through food magazines or cookbooks as a finale to the lesson. Travis pointed out recipes that interested him, and I helped read the ingredients that went into the flavor base. This is a great way to get your little chef thinking even deeper about food and culture.

Flavor Bases (3)

Rad Dog Treats

Rad Dog Treats (4).JPG

We’ve been busy making holiday gifts for family and friends this year, but don’t forget any canine friends on your Christmas giving list! Travis loved making these dog treats (care of Raddish Kids) for his cousin’s dog.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup flour
  1. Mash the banana in a large bowl. Stir in the peanut butter, then the flour, stirring well until you form a ball. If your dough is too floury, you can add up to 1/4 cup water, but we found we didn’t need any.Rad Dog Treats (1)
  2. Roll the ball to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and set on a baking sheet. You can choose a classic dog bone shape, but Travis opted for holiday candy canes. We later added a few stocking shapes, too.Rad Dog Treats (3)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Yes, your kids can eat these right alongside the puppy recipient! Travis loved eating one as a cookie, and little sister Veronika was a big fan of nibbling at the dough!

What is Philanthropy

Philanthropy (3)

Several of Travis’s subscriptions focused on philanthropy this December, and I was glad of it. I’m hoping to instill in him the idea of giving back: all year, but during the holidays in particular.

First up was this month’s Gallant Challenge in Highlights magazine. Two boys built a “Box of Blessings”, a wooden box outside their home that acted as a food pantry. Those who needed items could take them, and neighbors helped replenish it. We loved the idea, but don’t currently have the ability to build and mount a box.

Luckily, it tied in perfectly with a lesson from Raddish Kids to accompany the Corn Muffins we baked around Thanksgiving.

Start off with a read-through of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. As we read, I had snacks ready to go: apples and oranges to mimic the foods the caterpillar was nibbling. If you like, have even more of the caterpillar’s food items ready for snacking!

Philanthropy (1)

Once the story ended, I asked Travis how the caterpillar felt at the beginning. Travis pinpointed his hunger, and we discussed times that he has felt hungry (like after school when he’s hangry for snack!). It helped him imagine what it might be like to feel hungry but not have access to food once home.

Philanthropy (2)

With older kids, you can delve deeper into the idea of food security here, and reasons some families might not have it: illness, unemployment, old age. I tread lightly over all that with a kindergartner, but talked instead about how we can help: donating food to those who might need it.

Open Table in particular offers the option for Kids’ Bags. Travis and I went over the list of suggested groceries together and purchased the materials to stuff a few bags for our local drop-off center.

Philanthropy (4)

Have fun decorating these! Travis then proudly filled them, assembly-line style, with items like juice boxes and packaged snacks.

Philanthropy (6)

We finished by reading a few additional books including Beatrice’s Goat by Paige McBrier and One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice.

Philanthropy (5)

Another great philanthropy project for even young kids is toy donation, especially just before the holidays. How do your children participate in charity? Please share in the comments!

Pie Crust Science

Pie Crust Science (2)

The lesson plan that went with Travis’s recent Apple Crumb Pie recipe delved deeper into what makes a pie crust so yummy. This was a hard one to tailor for Travis’s age, so here’s just an abbreviated version.

Start off with a read of Enemy Pie by Derek Munson, which you can find at your library or watch a full read-through online. This interesting story will whet the appetite, if you will, for pie!

Pie Crust Science (1)

Travis enjoyed watching, and afterwards we talked about what role pie had played in the story. We talked about pies we’ve made, and specifically about the components that had gone into our recent crust. I helped him remember that we had used:

  • flour
  • sugar
  • salt
  • Earth Balance butter
  • water

You can go through the reasons for each ingredient, as well as definitions for tenderness and flakiness, the two things that people look for in a “successful” crust. Another quick video clip helped Travis understand the idea better.

Raddishthen suggests letting kids become food scientists, making two different pie crusts but only changing one variable. I knew though that Travis would lose interest in taking time to bake two crusts, plus I worried two full pies would go to waste! The idea of independent and dependent variables was also a bit advanced for a kindergartner.

So instead, we baked a store-bought pie shell from our freezer that differed from our homemade crust in one significant way: palm oil as the fat instead of our Earth Balance butter. I had him do a side-by-side taste test of the crusts, both of which he declared delicious.

Pie Crust Science (5).JPG

Older kids can be much more scientific about this. Consider varying the type of flour used, the tool used for mixing, and more. Chart independent and dependent variables along a graph if your kids are old enough for that kind of math. Invite friends over for a complete taste test, if you have the time!

Pie Crust Science (4)

So this was a brief lesson for my little one, but there is lots more to explain here if desired.