Cucumber Garden Salsa

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This bonus recipe from the Garden Party Raddish kit was a great chance to let vegetables shine. There’s almost nothing here except fresh veggies and Travis loved seeing the different ways that each one was chopped and prepared, how they smelled and tasted plain, and then how it all mixed together into one great whole! He got a kick out of swearing sunglasses while we chopped the onion, to keep his eyes from watering!

Cucumber Salsa (3)Ingredients:

  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Peel the cucumber and cut into rounds; finely chop and transfer to a large bowl.Cucumber Salsa (2)
  2. Cut the tomato into slices and then finely chop; add to the bowl.
  3. Add the red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.Cucumber Salsa (5)
  4. Serve with tortilla chips!

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Strawberry Shortcakes

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This dessert (from Travis’s Garden Party Raddish Kids) was a delight. The biscuits were some of the best I’ve ever produced in my kitchen, and it was my four-year-old who helped make it happen!

To prepare the strawberries, cut off the tops and thinly slice. Travis is just starting to use a knife with my guidance, but preferred to watch this time around. His job was to transfer our strawberry slices to a bowl!

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Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar, stir, and set aside to macerate.

To prepare the dough, combine 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar.

Cut 6 tablespoons Earth Balance butter into small pieces and add to the dough. Use the pastry blender (this month’s keepsake tool) to work the mixture until it is crumbly. Travis couldn’t wait to use the pastry blender from the moment he spotted it, so he loved this step.

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Stir in 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used coconut) and stir until smooth.

Drop the dough by 1/3 cup measures onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.

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Let cool, then cut in half with a serrated knife.

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To assemble each shortcake, top the bottom half of each biscuit with some of the strawberries and a dollop of non-dairy whipped cream.

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Note: Raddish did provide a way to make vegan whipped cream from full-fat coconut milk and powdered sugar, but we opted for a store-bought can.

Top with the other half of the biscuit and serve!

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I had a very proud chef.

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As he ate, we read the feature on the recipe card about edible plant parts, and he said his favorite is the leaves (like spinach). We also read more about the science behind whipped cream.

Homemade Butterfly Feeder

Butterfly Feeder (5)Travis and I have made bird feeders before… but never a butterfly feeder! So we were delighted to make this simple little craft, connected to his Garden Party Raddish Kids crate.

Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar; reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Cool completely.

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Use a pen or pencil to punch a hole near the top of a sponge. Travis loved this part! Thread twine or string through the hole.

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Carefully submerge the sponge in the sugar syrup. We found that it helped to use a stick to push the sponge down, so our fingers didn’t get sticky.

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Hold the sponge over the bowl to let any excess drip off, then hang some place that will attract butterflies outside.

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The craft was beautiful already, even without any visitors. I will post an update picture if a butterfly comes calling!

Farmer’s Flatbread

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This gorgeous flatbread recipe from Raddish Kids has all the flavors of summer rolled into one bite – perfect for the Garden Party-themed kit! Travis loved helping, although he did tire out about halfway through as can sometimes be the case with more complicated Raddish recipes. But when we cook together, I love simply seeing him get his hands in there, learn a skill or two, understand where food comes from, and have tons of fun!

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As a vegan family, we had an extra step to start out: tofu ricotta in place of regular ricotta cheese. In a food processor, combine 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1 (14-ounce package) firm tofu, an 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Anything with the food processor is a big hit around here!

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Process until smooth and creamy and refrigerate until ready to use.

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To prepare the flatbread dough, combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in 3/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons olive oil, to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured cutting board and knead for about 4 minutes. This was definitely Travis’s favorite part!

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We read the kneading instructions on the back of our recipe card, adding more flour as needed, but really he just loved getting his fingers good and messy!

As a result, our dough wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t deter us. Again, the idea with these recipes is the fun and the learning. So as best we could, we rolled it out into an 11×16 inch rectangle and transferred to a baking sheet. I admit we patched a few holes in the dough!

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To prepare the white sauce, whisk together 1/2 cup prepared tofu ricotta, 1/3 cup plain non-dairy creamer, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Spread over the dough, leaving a little crust at the edge.

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Sprinkle with 2 cups shredded Daiya mozzarella, 3 tablespoons vegan Parmesan sprinkles and 1 cup frozen corn. Add 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes. Bake at 425 degrees F for 22 minutes.

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Sprinkle with 8 minced basil leaves and serve!

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I had one very proud chef, who also enjoyed the farm vocab quiz and the farmers’ market facts on the recipe card as we dined.

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Agave Granola Bars

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Travis opened up his latest kit from Raddish Kids today, and discovered a garden party theme! We had to adapt the first recipe we tackled – no-bake granola bars – to make them vegan, using agave instead of honey. This meant that the accompanying lesson on beekeeping was a bit of a moot point, but they were still fun to make!

First, coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups quick oats, 1 and 1/2 cups rice cereal, and 3/4 cup raisins.

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Melt 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup agave nectar. Bring to a boil, then continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Pour the hot mixture over the oats mixture and stir to coat. Spoon into the prepared baking pan and cover with wax paper. Press down firmly until you have a smooth, flat layer. This part was good fun!

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Refrigerate for 1 hour.

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Cut the granola into bars, and enjoy! They will keep best stored in the fridge.

As we did a taste test, I read the facts about honey to Travis; even though we don’t eat it, it’s fun to learn about bees, or the fact that honey never goes bad! The recipe card also featured a bug-themed word scramble, too advanced for my pre-reader, but he was able to guess all the words based on the clues underneath. Check back for more garden-themed recipes soon!

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Be a Food Historian

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Of all the lessons that have accompanied Travis’s Raddish Kids recipes so far, this one was the least accessible to a preschooler. I did my best to adapt it for Travis and it turned out to be sort of his first social studies project!

First, I set out some of the Thai ingredients we had used in our recipes and grocery store hunt, and invited Travis to test them out with all his senses. He was almost scared by the smell of little bird chiles!

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And incidentally loves soy sauce plain. Invite your child to taste, smell, and touch if appropriate, and add items like lemongrass, sugar, lime juice, or ginger.

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Big kids can go in depth here into the history of Thai food and learn that being a food historian is a real job; however, the suggested links from Raddish were heavy on text rather than video.

Instead, I showed Travis images of a few other iconic food/country pairs, including:

  • Tacos & Mexico
  • Baguettes & France
  • Sushi & Japan
  • Pizza & Italy

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I then asked him which he wanted to explore more in-depth. He’s been very into Japan lately (ninjas, in particular), so chose that pairing. Again, there were many suggested links to web resources for big kids, but these were text-heavy and not of interest to my preschooler.
Instead, we located Japan on a world map. We then thought of a few things he knew about the country and printed out pictures of each.

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He helped write the word ‘Japan’ across the top, and we glued down the pictures.

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Voila! His first social studies project. I was proud he stuck with me for this lesson, which ultimately ended up being quite cute.

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Thai Lettuce Wraps

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We’re on a Thai-food kick thanks to a fantastic crate from Raddish Kids. Travis was eager to put together this bonus recipe; he’s loving common flavors of Thai cuisine now, like soy sauce, lime juice, and cilantro.

Ingredients:

  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 (1-pound) package firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and lime juice. Set aside.Thai Lettuce (1)
  2. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble the tofu into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook an additional 3 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the cilantro.Thai Lettuce (2)
  3. Place the lettuce leaves on plates, and fill each with about 2 tablespoons tofu mixture. Sprinkle evenly with the shredded carrots.

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Carved Fruit Swan

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As a fun bonus to compliment his Taste of Thai recipes, Travis learned to make a fruit sculpture today, a popular activity with a rich history in Thailand!

To start, juice one lemon.

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Add the lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill with water to equal 1 cup. This will prevent your apple slices from browning as you work – be sure to dip each slice in the mixture before adding to the “swan”.

Cut an apple into three pieces vertically, so you have two rounded sides and the core.

Make two slits in the core piece to resemble the shape of a swan’s neck, as shown; discard the rest of the core, but save two seeds for the eyes!

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Now cut the round edge from one side piece, so it sits flat.

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Add the swan neck, securing with a toothpick. The toothpicks were Travis’s favorite part, and when our actual sculpting was complete, he loved adding a few more toothpicks just for fun!

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Thinly slice the remaining side piece of apple. Start adding to the base of the swan, using the largest pieces first and ending with the smallest.

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This was not only a great craft, but a fantastic snack as well. There was something about tearing apart a sculpture before eating that greatly appealed to Travis, too – go figure!

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Seitan Satay Skewers

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Tonight Travis made the third and final recipes from his Taste of Thailand Raddish Kids package. I was so proud of him throughout this month’s kit, since it exposed him to lots of new flavors and cooking methods, but he was game to try everything!

First, make the marinade:

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Smash, peel, and mince two garlic cloves. Place in a large bowl, along with 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 tablespoon canola oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Time to whisk! Travis is loving this latest keepsake.

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The original recipe from Raddish called for chicken tenders but suggested 8 ounces seitan as the vegan alternative. Add seitan strips to the marinade and let stand for about 15 minutes.

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As every vegan knows, the size of seitan pieces in a package can vary widely. So while we were able to thread the biggest pieces onto skewers, as shown in the recipe, many small ones were too delicate or not the right shape. I arranged our skewered ones on a baking sheet lined with foil, and added the others to bake along the side. Which luckily worked just fine!

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Bake at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, to prepare the dipping sauce whisk together 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter and 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl. Peel 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger and grate – another great culinary lesson.

Add the ginger to the sunflower seed sauce, along with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Whisk (again, yay!) to combine.

This was honestly some of the best seitan I’ve ever had. Travis wasn’t wild about the sauce, but I was proud of him for trying it! We finished by learning a little about Thai foods (like kaffir lime leaves) and Thai culture as we dined, thanks to the information on the recipe card. What a great culinary adventure!

Mango Sticky Rice

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On the heels of our recipe for Pad Thai Noodles, Travis and I traveled back to Thailand in the kitchen today for dessert!

In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup sushi rice and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the burner but leave the rice in the pan.

Meanwhile, we checked out Raddish Kids’ detailed instructions on how to cut a mango. First, we squeezed our mangoes to make sure they were ripe. Yup!

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I cut the sides from the mangoes with a sharp knife but then let Travis take over with a butter knife. After showing him an example, he scored the mangoes like a tic-tac-toe board.

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Finally, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Travis needed a few bites right away, of course!

In a saucepan, combine 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; continue to cook for 3 minutes. This step was another great chance to use the kit’s whisk!

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Ladle half of the coconut milk mixture into the cooked rice. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

To serve, scoop about 1/2 cup rice mixture into a bowl. Drizzle with leftover coconut sauce and top with mango.

As Travis dined, we also read the recipe’s informative sections on Thai greetings and traditional Thai cooking equipment. How do you say delicious in Thai? Yum!

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