Pad Thai Noodles

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Travis was so excited for his latest Raddish Kids box, the Taste of Thailand, that it meant a special trip to the grocery store and racing home to get cooking! As we shopped, we brought along the Thai ingredient scavenger hunt, tracking a down a few items not in the recipes, too, like bird chiles and fish sauce.

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We debated which of the three recipes to make first, and settled on the most iconic: Pad Thai Noodles.

First, cook 8 ounces wide rice noodles: bring water to a boil and add the noodles. Turn off the heat and let stand 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile, we smashed, peeled, and minced two garlic cloves and placed in a bowl.

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Slice 4 green onions and add to the bowl. For this step, I still have Travis hold the handle of a knife with me and guide his hand so he can feel the motion.

Squeeze the juice from two limes and add 3 tablespoons to the bowl. Travis wanted to sip the leftover lime juice! He was thrilled discovering all the smells and tastes of the Thai kitchen.

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Next, add 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup soy sauce to the bowl. Travis used the whisk (his keepsake from his kit) to mix this all together!

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Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Crumble in one-third of a package of firm tofu. Add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the cooked noodles and the sauce; continue to cook for 3 minutes.

Add about 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (i.e. the leaves from one small bunch), 1 cup sprouts, 1 cup shredded carrot, and 1/2 cup chopped peanuts.

Travis was so proud!

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“I love Thailand [sic] food,” he declared, dining noodle by noodle. As he ate, we read more about the skill of whisking. We also discussed the mix of the five flavors in the dish, and I helped him figure out which ingredient added which flavor for the “perfect harmony”. He correctly identified lime for sour, brown sugar for sweetness, etc.

Stay tuned for more Thai recipes soon!

 

Super Healthy Cookie

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Much like the Oatmeal Energy Balls we made a few weeks ago, these cookies are designed to give your kids a boost! They’re perfect for after school or after sports practice.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup flaxseed
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 (6-ounce) bar dark chocolate
  1. First comes the fun part: place the bananas in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until very smooth.
  2. Add the coconut oil, oats, flaxseed, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Chop the chocolate bar into pieces, and stir in.
  4. Drop the dough by tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.

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Marshmallow Launcher Redux

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Every once in a while, it’s fun to repeat an activity at one- or two-year intervals, and see the differences in the way your children play at different ages. Travis and I first made a marshmallow launcher nearly two years ago, but with some extra Dandie’s marshmallows in the pantry, today we decided to do a repeat!

First, cut the bottom from a few paper cups, one for each launcher you want. At nearly 5 years old, Travis can handle the scissors himself, unlike at age 3!

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I tied the end of a balloon into a knot, then had Travis help snip off the top of the balloon.

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Stretch this balloon over the cut end of the cup, and secure with an elastic.

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Place 1 marshmallow in the cup; pull down on the knot of the balloon and release. Boom!

Needless to say, we soon had marshmallow bombs all over the apartment, and an eager little boy who had to run and grab all the ammo.

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For some experimentation, we tested what happened when we put multiple marshmallows inside, but unsurprisingly, they didn’t launch as far. Then we tried to hone our aim, using some unwitting Ninja Turtles as target practice. Here’s a quick clip:

All in all, what fun!

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Oatmeal Energy Balls

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Travis and I have talked a lot lately about energy and inertia and what makes things move. That’s why it was so clever of Kiwi Co to include this recipe in Travis’s inertia crate – a snack designed to power human energy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cups dried cranberries
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.Oatmeal Energy (3)
  2. Shape the mixture into balls (you’ll have enough for about 10 servings) and enjoy!

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Baby’s First Foods

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Starting at five months old, I began introducing Veronika to… food! It quickly became apparent she preferred Baby Led Weaning; this girl wanted to be in charge of her spoon and hold food with her hands! But I am still supplementing with purees, to help her learn the fine arts of pushing food back with the tongue and swallowing. A baby’s nutrition at five or six months should still come almost entirely from breast milk or formula anyway, to the tune of about 24 to 32 ounces a day, so I consider all the recipes below to be “practice.”

Travis’s first meal was mushy peas, but for Veronika, I went with bananas.

Banana Mash

Peel one ripe organic banana and cut in half (reserve the other half for another use, or a hungry sibling!). Mash until very smooth with a fork.

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Squash Puree

Peel, seed, and chop one organic butternut squash to yield 1 cup cubes. Steam in a steamer basket for 10 minutes, until very soft. Puree in a food processor, adding additional cooking liquid until very smooth.

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Baby’s First Rice Cereal

Mix 1 tablespoon of a store-bought prepared rice cereal with 4 tablespoons breast milk (or formula). This makes a very soupy mixture. Once baby seems to like it, make the mixture thicker by using less milk.

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After the first few tries, I began making the cereal with hemp milk, since this is the milk I hope Veronika will graduate to once she weans. My preference for a rice cereal? Earth’s Best Organic.

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Sweet Potato Puree

Peel and cube 1 medium organic sweet potato. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the potato; cook for 10 minutes, until tender. Transfer the sweet potato to a food processor and process until smooth, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to make a thin puree.

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Note: Of all the veggies she tried in her first month, this was Veronika’s favorite!

Sweet Pea Puree

Steam 1 cup frozen organic peas in about 1/4 cup water for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. I recommend straining this one through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.

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Apple Puree

Peel and chop 2 organic apples. We tried this recipe with Red Delicious, Braeburn, and Gala apples – all are nicely sweet!

Place the apples in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water; cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth

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Avocado Mash

This is the easiest “recipe” of all time! Halve 1 organic avocado. Scoop the flesh from one side, reserving the other half for another use (or tomorrow’s mash). Mash with a fork until very smooth.

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Green Bean Puree

Steam 1 cup organic green beans in 1/4 cup water for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. As with the peas, strain this one through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.

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Pear Puree

Peel and chop 2 organic pears. Place in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup water and cook for 5 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth.

Pear Puree

Dried Plum Puree

Combine 2/3 cup pitted prunes in a food processor with 3 tablespoons water; process until smooth.

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If they are in season, use fresh plums instead! Just peel and chop before adding to the food processor.

Peach Puree

I recommend using frozen peaches, since the season for stone fruits is so fleeting, unless you happen to be making this for your baby in the early summer months. Otherwise, thaw 1 cup frozen organic peaches. Combine in a food processor with 2 tablespoons water and process until smooth.

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Apricot Puree

Peel and pit 4 apricots. Combine the apricots in a food processor with 2 tablespoons water, and process until smooth. If apricots are out of season, use dried ones instead; just simmer for about 8 minutes before adding to the food processor.

Apricot Puree

Mango Puree

Peel 1 mango, and cut the halves from the pit. Chop and transfer to a blender, along with about 2 tablespoons water; process until smooth. Note: Frozen (thawed) mango slices work in a pinch!

Mango Puree

Papaya Puree

Cut a papaya in half, and scoop out the seeds. Spoon the flesh out from one half, reserving the other papaya half for another use. Transfer to a bowl along with 2 tablespoons breast milk or other milk of choice; mash with a fork until very smooth.

Papaya Puree

For her first combo food, we made:

Apricot and Apple Puree

Soak 1/2 cup organic dried apricots in water overnight. Transfer to a saucepan and simmer in the same liquid for 25 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, peel and chop 2 sweet apples. Simmer in a little water for 10 minutes.

Puree the apricots and apples in a food processor, working in batches if necessary.

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It’s a good idea to wait about 3 days after introducing each food, to make sure your little one has no allergies. But after that, it’s time to mix and match! For all the recipes below, stir together 2 tablespoons from each recipe. Where pumpkin is listed, I simply crack open a can of organic pumpkin puree from the store! Just make sure you’re using pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix, which is loaded with sugar.

Here are a few ideas:

2 tablespoons prepared Rice Cereal with…

  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin and 2 tablespoons Pear PureePumpkin Pear Rice.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Green Bean PureeGreen Bean and Rice.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Mango Puree and 2 tablespoons Peach PureeMango Peach Rice.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Green Bean Puree and 2 tablespoons Mango PureeGreen Bean Mango Rice Cereal.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Banana Mash and 2 tablespoons Sweet Pea PureeBanana Pea Rice.JPG

2 tablespoons prepared infant Oatmeal (such as Earth’s Best Organic) with…

  • 2 tablespoons Banana MashBanana Oatmeal.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Papaya Puree and 2 tablespoons Pear PureePapaya Pear Oatmeal.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Banana Mash and 2 tablespoons Apricot PureeBanana Apricot Oatmeal.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Apple PureeApple Oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin and 2 tablespoons Peach PureePumpkin Peach Oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons Papaya Puree and 2 tablespoons Apple PureePapapya Apple Oatmeal.JPG

2 tablespoons prepared barley cereal (for this one I like Earth’s Best Multigrain, or you can puree your own barely until it is about as fine as barley flour) with…

  • 2 tablespoons Avocado MashAvocado Barley.JPG
  • 2 tablespoons Dried Plum Pureeplum barley cereal
  • 2 tablespoons Apricot Puree and 2 tablespoons Dried Plum Puree
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Puree and 2 tablespoons pumpkin

A few further ideas to mix and match. Use 2 tablespoons of each ingredient:

  • Avocado Mash with Banana MashAvocado Banana Mash.JPG
  • Pear Puree with Mango PureePear Mango.JPG
  • Papaya Puree with Banana MashPapaya Banana Mash
  • Apricot Puree with Pear Puree
  • Sweet Pea Puree with Apple PureeSweet Pea Apple.JPG
  • Peach Puree with Avocado Mashpeach avocado.JPG
  • Mango Puree with Apricot Puree
  • Avocado Mash with pumpkinavocado pumpkin
  • Dried Plum Puree with Pear Puree
  • Peach Puree with Pear PureePear Peach.JPG
  • Banana Mash with pumpkinBanana Pumpkin Mash.JPG
  • Green Bean Puree with Avocado Mash
  • Sweet Pea Puree with Mango PureeSweet Pea Mango.JPG

Berry Good Muffin Bites

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Is it just me, or does everything taste better when it’s in miniature form? These adorable muffin bites are almost too cute to eat. Almost. Serve these as part of a brunch, or throw a couple in a lunchbox for a sweet snack.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup crushed freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, Ener-G eggs, agave, butter, vanilla, and lemon extract.
  2. Fold in the flours, baking powder, and crushed strawberries.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among 24 mini muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees F for 11 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 8 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To prepare the glaze, whisk together the yogurt, powdered sugar, and lemon juice Drizzle over the cooled muffins.

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Rainbow Taco Salad

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Travis and I have come to the end of his Cook the Rainbow kit from Raddish Kids, and the final recipe did not disappoint! This one looked complicated at the outset, but was simple enough to throw together after a busy afternoon out and about.

To start, thinly slice one head of romaine lettuce. Travis is getting good at holding onto a knife handle with me, while I guide the motions of applying pressure and slicing. Place the lettuce in a large bowl.

Now set out 6 bowls; these will hold all the toppings, which makes this recipe a great example of mise en place (and there is a cute write-up about mise en place on the back of the recipe card, since this concept was the recipe’s featured culinary skill).

Pour 1 cup salsa into the first bowl – red!

Place 1 cup shredded Daiya cheddar in the second bowl – orange!

Drain 1 cup canned corn and place in the third bowl – yellow!

Peel and pit 1 avocado. Travis loved twisting the avocado halves apart and scooping out the flesh. Finely chop and place in the fourth bowl – green!

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Place 1/4 cup shredded purple cabbage in the fifth bowl – blue/purple!

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Now that we had our rainbow, we added an additional yellow: Place 3 cups tortilla chips in a zip-top bag. Seal and crush with your hands. Easily a favorite step.

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Finally, crumble 1 package meatless crumbles (such as Lightlife) into a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, until browned.

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Set this salad up as a buffet where everyone can choose how much of the rainbow to add as their toppings.

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Alternateivley, you can plate it in a big bowl, and have people scoop in to the rainbow.

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The recipe card also featured a few fun math problems about quantities and costs of ingredients. Some of these were over Travis’s head (fractions and multiplication) but he was able to do this one: If each child in the family ate 1 cup lettuce and each adult ate 2 cups, how many cups of lettuce do we need?

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Using our fingers, he helped me count out: 1 +1 + 2+ 2 = 6. Great practice!

Technicolor Tartlets

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For Travis’s second Cook the Rainbow Raddish Kids recipe, we made desserts with all the colors of the rainbow! The tarts are prepared in this month’s keepsake: silicone tart pans in fun, bold colors.

First, we prepared the crust: in a stand mixer, we combined 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 and 1/4 cups flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt Beat for about 2 minutes; the dough should be starting to clump.

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Divide the dough evenly among the 4 tartlet pans – about 1/2 cup per pan – and pat with your fingers to press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pans. Travis preferred watching me do this step. Our dough was quite crumbly, and I think we needed just a touch more butter.

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Use a fork to prick the bottom of each crust 8 times. Good counting practice! Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, we made the filling: in a stand mixer, combine 1/2 cup softened non-dariy cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until combined.

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Spoon the filling evenly into the cooled crusts, and spread to the edges with a spatula.

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To prepare our fruit topping, we sliced 4 strawberries, cut 1/2 cup green grapes in half, cut canned pineapple rings into pieces, drained a can of mandarin oranges, andd measured out a 1/4 cup of blueberries. Travis loved helping rinse all the fruits!

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We lined these up in a rainbow row – and needed to taste some fruit, of course.

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The recipe instructions suggested several ways to top our tartlets. First, we made a classic rainbow, of course.

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The second version featured a pattern shape, sort of like a star.

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For the third we made a glaze: microwave 2 tablespoons jelly with 1 tablespoon water for 30 seconds, and brush over the tart.

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For the final tart, we stacked the fruit up to add height to it.

 

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They looked so pretty all together!

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As we dined, we colored in the Rainbow Challenge card that came with this month’s kit – how many days will it take Travis to fill in his rainbow?

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Thanks to this dessert, he already had one mark for every color.

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Update: It took about 11 days for Travis to fill in his full rainbow – quite a proud accomplishment!

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Teach Your Cat to High-Five

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Here is an adorable challenge from Travis’s Highlights magazine: Can you teach your cat a trick? Travis was gamely up for trying, and although we didn’t exactly succeed, our cat was an eager participant! It was a great way to engage my son with our companion animal in a new way – cat and boy both enjoyed it!

The goal was to teach our cat, Krishna, to high-five with his paw touching our hand.

Hold a cat treat in your right hand.

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Hold your left hand up just slightly above the cat’s head, as if you’re waiting for a high-five. Now hover the hand with the treat in front of that. The cat will (hopefully) paw for the treat.

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We gave praise, and then tried again, over the course of a few days!

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Okay, so we never got a paw to palm, since Krishna wanted to go in each time with his nose. But it was fun to have his nose nuzzle up to the palm.

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In sum, what great inter-species play! Has your child ever taught the family dog or cat a trick? Please share in the comments.

Pot o’ Gold Scrambles

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It was another rainy day here which meant another day where our heads were on a swivel for a rainbow.

It had us talking about the mythical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, which made it the perfect day for this recipe from Raddish Kids!  The original was an egg-based scramble but the company suggested this fantastic vegan version.

Crumble 1 (1 pound) package firm tofu into a large bowl. Travis was impish and wanted to gobble the tofu plain – yup, I have a good vegan on my hands!

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Pat dry with paper towels.

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Sprinkle the tofu with 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine.

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Cut the stem from a head of broccoli, and divide the florets into small pieces. Travis liked tearing up the “tiny trees.” Chop 4 to 5 slices vegan ham (such as Lightlife).

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Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli and ham; cook for 3 minutes.

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Add the tofu mixture and cook for a final 3 minutes. Thanks to the magic of turmeric, it really did look like our scramble was turning gold as it cooked! Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar.

To finish our pots of gold, I divide the mixture evenly among 4 ramekins. Draw a rainbow on paper and you can delight your child when they come to the table!

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As we dined, we talked about the origin of this myth, and also read the recipe’s feature on oven safety. This included a great suggestion to let kids practice opening and closing an oven when cold.

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Travis was thrilled he got to do such a grown-up kitchen task!

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So all-in-all, a great day in the kitchen!

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