Mini-Muffin Pancake Bites

Muffin Pancakes (2)

You may have heard of the cronut or cruffin, and now you can thank High Five magazine for inventing your next favorite hybrid breakfast food – Muffin Pancakes! Puffins? Mufcakes? Whatever you call them, kids will love helping bake up a batch of these for breakfast!

Start with your favorite pancake mix, and add the wet ingredients as directed. We love Annie’s vegan pancake mix. Stir in about 2 cups mixed berries. We used frozen ones, but next time I would use fresh, since the frozen tinted our batter blue. Small berries (blueberries, raspberries), will work larger than big ones like strawberries.

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Divide the batter evenly among 24 mini muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before removing form the pan

Add a bowl of syrup on the side for dipping!

Butterfly Pasta

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Butterfly-shaped pasta is perfect for springtime, and this recipe is simple enough for even a preschooler to help. It’s a great activity for talking about all the verbs that go into a recipe, too.

Scoop peas into a bowl of cooked pasta.

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Spoon in pesto.

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Mix it all together.

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Sprinkle with your favorite non-dairy cheese!

Thanks to Veronika’s latest High Five magazine for this interactive cooking lesson!

Cucumber Boats

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Sleet and winter weather have us dreaming of tropical islands these days! One fun way to bring summer into a winter home is to play with your food, so we loved this recipe from Veronika’s latest High Five magazine.

In a bowl, combine your favorite fish-less tuna with sweet relish, chopped carrots, and vegan mayo to taste.

Hollow out cucumber halves, and then fill each “boat” with some of the tuna mixture. We added a carrot sail on a toothpick as the finishing touch!

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Note: If your kids aren’t fans of fish-less tuna, use mashed chickpeas instead.

Breakfast on a Stick

It’s a truism that food on a stick just tastes better, right? This fun tweak on weekend brunch is perfect for little kids; even preschoolers can help assemble the items onto the skewers, once you’ve prepared all the different foods. If you’re worried about little ones pricking their fingers, considering using straws instead of kebab sticks.

Our breakfast stick included:

Berries

Mini waffles

Vegan breakfast sausage

Just Egg

Sweet potato tots

Drizzle with maple syrup as the finishing touch.

Ginger Cake Squares

Ginger Cake (1)

Instead of more traditional gingerbread cookies, we made ginger cake this year. This cake will make your whole house smell like Christmas as it bakes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups blackstrap molasses
  • 2 vegan eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups boiling water
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, molasses, and vegan eggs of your choice; set aside.
  2. In a second bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined.
  3. Add the boiling water and whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes; a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  5. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack, then serve warm or cool completely.
  6. We love this dolloped with non-dairy whipped cream for serving! And yes we’re going to leave one piece out for Santa!

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Chewy Chocolate Coconut Treat

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Our original plan was to bake a chocolate mochi treat, using a recipe from Veronika’s latest High Five magazine, but we couldn’t find sweet rice flour at the store. In a pinch, we tried coconut flour and up with this delicious chocolatey treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 vegan eggs
  1. In a bowl, combine the coconut flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
  2. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and vegan eggs of choice, stirring to combine; the batter will be thick.
  3. Pour into an 11×7-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut into squares to serve.

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We left our treat plain, but a dusting of powdered sugar would be pretty on top!

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International Recipe Round-up

Turkish Hummus (1)

Travis and I have had so much international fun in the kitchen over this past month, making five recipes from five different Little Passports country packages, all of which we adapted to fit our vegan family. Our culinary journey took us all around the world!

Turkey: Turkish Hummus

Turkish Hummus (2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Vegan jerky
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic; saute for 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minuets; the liquid should be nearly all evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the lemon, then cut in half and squeeze the juice.
  3. Transfer the zest and juice to a blender, along with the chickpea mixture, tahini, cumin, paprika, and salt. Process until smooth.
  4. Spoon the mixture into an oven-proof dish or skillet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, until warmed.
  5. To serve, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and garnish with slices of vegan jerky, our nearest approximation to Turkish dried beef. Skip the bread and eat directly with a spoon!

Canada: Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile whisk the flaxseed into the water to make 1 egg.
  3. Add the flax mixture, vanilla, and maple syrup to the butter mixture; beat until combined.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat gently until combined.
  5. Roll the dough into one-inch balls and roll in the sugar, then transfer to baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Poland: Potato Pancakes

Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 3 vegan eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Non-dairy sour cream
  • Applesauce
  1. Peel and grate the potatoes and place in a large bowl.
  2. Make your favorite vegan eggs of choice and add to the potatoes, stirring to coat. Add the salt and flour, adding up to 2 tablespoons until the mixture sticks together.
  3. Coat a skillet with canola oil and heat on medium-high heat.
  4. Add the potato mixture by spoonfuls. Cook on both sides until brown and crispy, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates lined with paper towels to drain and repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
  5. Serve warm with non-dairy sour cream and applesauce!

Italy: Marinara

Marinara

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Simmer for about 15 minuets, breaking the tomatoes apart as they cook.
  3. Just before serving, tear up the basil leaves and stir into the sauce.

We tried this sauce not just over pasta, but also vegan meatballs, Italian bread, and sauteed eggplant Note: Next time we would use a can of diced tomatoes instead of the whole ones, which resulted in some fairly large chunks.

Iceland: Cocoa Soup

Cocoa Soup

It was hard for us to believe that this rich thick chocolate soup is a main course in Iceland, not just a beverage. We had ours for a snack, but if you add warm bread on the side, it definitely could make a meal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  1. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan until warm but not boiling. Mix together the cocoa powder and sugar in a small bowl and add to the milk, whisking until combined. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Add to the cocoa mixture, then bring to a boil and cook for an additional minute, until thickened.

Which country did your family like visiting in the kitchen best? Please share in the comments!

Cheese Bites

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The ever-expanding non-dairy cheese aisle is truly exceptional these days. To wit, we followed along with suggestions for cheese and snack pairings in Veronika’s latest issue of High Five, and managed to make them all vegan! These were fun to make as little “recipes”, too, since even the youngest kids can help out arranging slices of cheese and fruit on a plate for a mid-day snack.

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The kids tested out the following:

  • Colby jack (Violife) with red grapes and celery
  • Cheddar (Daiya) with apple slices and Tofurky
  • Soft cheese (Treeline) with red bell pepper and peaches
  • Gouda (Daiya) with pears and kiwi slices
  • Mozzarella (Miyoko’s Creamery) with Spanish olives
  • Feta (Follow Your Heart) with cucumber

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The winner? Hands-down it was the apple and cheddar. Meanwhile, olives and mozzarella got a big thumbs down. Do your kids have a favorite non-dairy cheese? Please share in the comments!

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Fall Birthday Treats

The flavors of fall lend themselves perfectly to drinks, desserts, and other treats for special occasions. I prepared the following two recipes as part of Veronika’s third celebration, but they would be equally at home at a grown-up birthday party or other fall gathering!

Pumpkin Poke Cake:

  • 1 (15-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar non-dairy caramel topping
  • 1 (11-ounce) jar sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 2 cups non-dairy heavy whipping cream (such as Silk)
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the cake mix and cinnamon, then add the pumpkin and stir until moist. Spoon the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish; the batter will be thick.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  3. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. This is a fantastic step for kids to join in! Reserve 1/4 cup caramel topping for later, and stir together the remaining caramel topping and condensed coconut milk. Pour over the cake and into the holes, spreading evenly.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream with a stand mixer until medium peaks form (about 3 minutes). Spoon over the cake, spreading evenly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  5. Just before serving, dust the cake with additional cinnamon to taste and drizzle with the reserved 1/4 cup caramel topping.

Slow-Cooker Pear Cider

Ingredients:

  • 8 pears
  • 1 orange
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  1. Cut the pears into quarters and place in the bottom of a slow-cooker. We used a mix of red Bartlett and green Anjou pears, for a beautiful color contrast.
  2. Peel and slice the orange and add to the slow-cooker, along with the cinnamon sticks, ginger, and cloves. Cover and cook on high for 4 and 1/2 hours.
  3. Srain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher. Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup, and chill until ready to serve.

The cider can be served warm or chilled.

Squiggle Cookies

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Let’s face it: any food that has a silly face is infinitely more fun for kids to eat. This “cookie” recipe from High Five comes together so easily, and turned out to be a fantastic sibling project that both my kids adored!

To start, I prepared a batch of vanilla frosting, then divided it among three zip-top plastic bags. The kids’ job was to add drops of food coloring, then seal and mush with their hands until all the color was incorporated. I loved watching big brother Travis coach Veronika through this step.

Squiggle Cookies (1)

Next, separate graham cracker sheets into individual rectangles. Travis decided we should leave some of the sheets intact so we could have a family: Big mommy and daddy rectangles, and smaller baby ones!

Squiggle Cookies (2)

Snip a small hole in the bottom corner of each frosting bag, then pipe the frosting onto the cookies. This step was tricky for Veronika, but Travis loved being in charge while she got to take an early taste test.

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Raisin eyes were the finishing touch.

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Travis proudly added the decorations to the Daddy Rectangle.

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It’s hard to say which part the kids enjoyed more: making these cookies or eating them!

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