Carrot Cake Cookies

Carrot Cake Cookies (6)

Here’s the second recipe from Raddish’s Kids kit featuring spring produce, this time sneaking grated carrots into yummy cookies. It was interesting to see Travis’s reaction when he realized we were adding carrot into the batter. He loves carrots, but couldn’t comprehend that they could go in a sugary cake recipe! I’m happy to report the final result got big smiles.

Carrot Cake Cookies (1)

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 2 Ener-G eggs

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter with the brown sugar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, beating until combined.
  3. Add the grated carrot and Ener-G eggs, beating until blended.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the carrot mixture, beating until combined. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  5. Line two sheets with foil, and then roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, arranging 15 per sheet. Wet your fingers and press into the center of the cookies to flatten. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.Carrot Cake Cookies (2)
  6. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pans.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: combine the cream cheese, 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a stand mixer; beat until smooth.
  8. Spread the frosting onto half of the cooled cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top to make cookie sandwiches.

We finished with a read about others signs of spring on the recipe card, like birds and flowers, and also got ideas for more ways to sneak veggies into our desserts in the future – beet red velvet cake anyone?

Carrot Cake Cookies (5)

 

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (5)

Travis’s Raddish Kids this month is all about spring produce, celebrating the seasons’s beauty and bounty. The timing is so apt, a reminder that there is still fresh food and a beautiful spring, even during social distancing.

This first recipe was big on mise en place. Travis helped prep all the components and we arranged them in pretty colored bowls before setting the dinner table!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound firm tofu
  • 4 sliced green onions
  1. Tear the lettuce leaves away from the head of romaine, so they form individual cups. The best ones are about the size of your hand, so you might want to save the large, outer leaves for another use. Set aside.Chicken Lettuce Wraps (1)
  2. Meanwhile, peel and grate the carrot; place in a bowl.
  3. Cut the bell pepper into strips and then dice; place in a bowl.
  4. Place the peanuts in a bowl; set aside.
  5. To make the sauce, whisk together the garlic, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch; set aside.
  6. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the tofu into the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the green onions.
  7. To prepare the dish, spoon a little tofu mixture into each lettuce cups.Chicken Lettuce Wraps alt
  8. Have kids add their favorite toppings directly at the table!Chicken Lettuce Wraps (3)

Migration Means Moving

Migration (5)

Spring is in the air, and with it all the migrating animals that might be returning to your area. So it’s the perfect time for a little lesson on migration! This lesson kicked off what will be a series of spring-themed recipes from Raddish Kids in the coming weeks.

The lesson plan from Raddish featured the movement of both animals and people. However, I felt that the topic of children migrating, particularly due to conflict, would be upsetting to Travis. So we focused on the animal aspect of migration, beginning with a few suggested videos. If your child is older, consider sharing an online read of Where Will I Live, by Rosemary McCarney. You can ask your child about times your family has moved, and reasons why people might move, or discuss what makes migration different from a vacation.

Migration (1)

After the intro videos, we set off a nature walk in search of a migrating animal! I thought the best we might luck into was a duck or a goose, so we were legitimately thrilled to spot two great blue herons. Wow!

Migration (3)

We also spotted what might have been a snake hole, which was a great opportunity to point out the difference between hibernation versus migration as a winter strategy.

Migration (2)

When we got home, it was time for a research project. This kind of project is new and advanced for Travis as a kindergartner, so I helped him pull up a picture of the great blue heron online, as well as a map of its range. He color-coded the map according to their winter, summer, and year-round habitats. We watched a few final videos about the bird to finish the lesson.

Migration (4)

Older kids can again get more detailed. Consider painting aspects of a particular animal’s migration, or posing bigger questions like how the animal finds its way, and how far it goes.

POPcorn

POPcorn (5)

On the heels of jazzy jambalya and bluesy blueberries, Travis helped make one final musical recipe today from Raddish Kids. With a rainstorm outside, it was the perfect time for an indoor party of Pop music and and popcorn!

To start, heat 2 tablespoon canola oil in a large heavy pot. Add just 1 corn kernel and wait until it pops. To pass the time, we queued up Pop music on Spotify.

POPcorn (1)

As soon as that one kernel pops, your oil is hot enough. We added 1/2 cup additional kernels to the pot. Hold onto the pot with potholders and shake while the kernels are popping. I had to do this step since our pot was heavy, but Travis loved watching… And listening! Pop pop pop.

POPcorn (3)

Wait until you only hear 1 pop per second, then remove from heat. We got surprised by a few final kernels popping up at us, which Travis loved!

POPcorn (4)

Transfer the popcron to a large bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter in the microwave and drizzle over the popcorn. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Now you’re ready for a movie and popcorn afternoon!

Samba Salsa

Samba Salsa (3)

This bonus recipe from Travis’s Musical Meals Raddish Kids had a samba soundtrack to go along with it as we cooked!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 small onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 5 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Chop the onion, tomatoes, and bell pepper, and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the parsley, then add the vinegar, olive oil, and salt, stirring to combine.

Travis was so proud to have made this!

Samba Salsa (2)

Serve with chips or veggies for dipping.

Samba Salsa (4)

Country Western Breakfast

Country Scramble (5)

This hearty breakfast recipe from Raddish Kids was such a different way to start the day in our household, making leisurely time to cook together and listening to country tunes all the while.

Country Scramble (3)

Perfect for a weekend morning, in sum! Travis’s favorite part was peeling the potatoes.

Country Scramble (1)

Ingredients:

For the potato hash:

  • 1 pound yellow potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

For the tofu scramble:

  • 1 (1-pound) package extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (8- ounce) package button mushrooms, chopped
  1. To prepare the hash, peel and cube the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Chop the onion and bell pepper and add to the potatoes; drizzle with the canola oil.
  2. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, the garlic powder, paprika, and thyme, stirring to coat. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for 33 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the tofu scramble: crumble the tofu into a bowl, and stir in the turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tofu mixture and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Note: You can add shredded non-dairy cheddar, if desired, although we skipped it today.

Country Scramble (2)

Yee haw! Both kids loved the scramble, and the hash was a close second. As we dined, I read Travis the facts about country music on the recipe card, as well as an informative sound bite about how to build a balanced meal from at least 3 food groups.

Country Scramble (6)

Blues-berry Crumb Bars

Bluesberry Bars (5)

What a clever and fun riff this was from Raddish Kids: making a blueberry dessert and enjoying blues music while we cooked!

Bluesberry Bars (6)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water

For the filling:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 lemon
  1. To prepare the crust, combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces, and add to the bowl. Travis loved dropping these in like craters on the moon! Use your fingers to mix until the dough is crumbly.Bluesberry Bars (1)
  3. Whisk together the flaxseed and water to make 1 flax egg. Add to the bowl and stir; it will still be dry and crumbly.
  4. Press 1 and 1/2 cups dough into the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bluesberry Bars (2)
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Mix together the blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the blueberry mixture and stir to combine.Bluesberry Bars (3)
  6. Spoon the blueberry filling over the dough. Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture on top. Bake at 375 degrees F for 43 minutes.

Bluesberry Bars (4)

Cut into squares to serve!

Bluesberry Bars (7)

Travis honestly loved the raw dough more than he did the final result, but either way he enjoyed making these. Don’t forget to serve up fun facts from the recipe card, like the roots of Blues music and an interesting blurb about why restaurants play music for ambiance.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras (7)

In conjunction with a spicy, jazzy jambalaya, Travis and I did a social studies lesson today on Mardi Gras, care of Raddish Kids.

To get in the mood, fire up some Mardi Gras tunes online. As the band began to play, I read Travis some talking points about the festival. We checked out where Louisiana and New Orleans were on his U.S. map, and then discussed the party atmosphere of floats and parades. He thought it sounded neat, especially the masks!

Mardi Gras (1)

Using the traditional colors of gold, green, and purple, we “celebrated” in 3 ways. First, he drew a picture of a Carnival king; note the big purple mask.

Mardi Gras (6)

Then we made costumes! Travis helped craft a felt mask and an “armband”. The latter was a paper cup with the top cut off, which we surrounded in purple, yellow, and green masking tape.

Mardi Gras (2)

We added items from the dress-up bin, including a purple cape, a boa for sparkle, and of course a king’s crown. He’s ready to parade!

Mardi Gras (3)

Finally, I gave him a mini piano lesson of When The Saints Go Marching In, thanks to an online tutorial.

Mardi Gras (5)

Finish up with a story about Mardi Gras. We enjoyed the silly Dinosaur Mardi Gras, by Dianne De las Casas, but you can find more serious titles at a book store or library, too.

Mardi Gras (4)

Jazzy Jambalaya

Jazzy Jambalaya (2)

Cue up the jazz music and get kids cooking with this recipe from Raddish Kids!

Jazzy Jambalaya (1)

There’s lots of chopping prep work for this recipe, which is great practice for budding chefs. Tailor the knife skills to your child’s age; Travis helps me hold the knife hilt while I guide the motion. Older kids can try chopping by themselves!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Field Roast Italian sausage links, sliced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned.
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the paprika, oregano, thyme, rice, tomatoes, broth, and kidney beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Jazzy Jambalaya (3)

We finished the fun with information on the recipe card, including elements of New Orleans’ culture and a jazz instrument matching game.

Kitchen Instruments

Kitchen Instruments (6)

Travis and I plan to make a few “musical meals” soon thanks to his latest Raddish Kids, so this morning we made some simple instruments with kitchen objects to kick off the fun!

The most complicated was a Pop Stick Kazoo. You’ll need two leftover Popsicle sticks (or craft sticks) for this instrument. First, wrap one stick with a thick rubber band lengthwise.

Kitchen Instruments (1)

Cut 2 (1-inch) pieces of drinking straw and slip under the rubber band. Secure a second Popsicle stick on top using two thin rubber bands. Blow for a kazoo-like sound!

Kitchen Instruments (2)

Next we made Cereal Box Guitars: Cut a circle in the middle of an empty cereal box and stretch long rubber bands over the box for the strings. We made a smaller version using a cracker box for baby sister, and decided this was her ukulele!

For Water Bottle Maracas, we filled empty water bottles about a third of the way with rice and glued on the lids.

For Tin Can Drums, simply turn empty, rinsed out metal cans upside down. Add chopsticks to play!

Kitchen Instruments alt

We sat down to rock with our band, and what fun the kids had!

Kitchen Instruments (5)

Travis’s favorite was the guitar, which he loved strumming with extra cut straws or chopsticks.

Kitchen Instruments (10)

Veronika gravitated towards the shaky maracas.

Kitchen Instruments (9)

Both kids loved drumming with chopsticks. For some musical learning, we went over a few concepts. First up, Travis thought of a beat (a.k.a. rhythm, or a pattern that repeats). His was “Bo-ba, Bo-ba, Bo-ba”.

Kitchen Instruments (7)

Then we played around with speed (a.k.a. tempo). We practiced his beat super fast, and then slow on the drum.s

Next you can try making up silly lyrics, although this was harder for Travis to do on the spot. I also challenged him to add style (a.k.a. dynamics), sometimes quiet, sometimes loud.

Kitchen Instruments (12)

Don’t forget to harmonize as you all sing and play along! In sum, there’s lots of musical exploration to be had, just in your kitchen.

Kitchen Instruments var