Orange Pineapple Smoothie

Orange Pineapple Smoothie (1)

This tropical smoothie is a great way to start the day with an extra vitamin C boost, perfect for keeping those little immune systems strong!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 small banana, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Orange Pineapple Smoothie (1)

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?

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Italian Beans & Farro

Italian Beans and Barley

This hearty dish comes together quickly, thanks to canned ingredients. If you can’t find farro, use barley instead.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 cups chopped green beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) drained and rinsed can chickpeas
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  1. Combine the farro and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the farro is tender. Drain any excess water and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add the green bean mixture to the farro, along with the chickpeas and tomatoes, stirring to combine.

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)

Peach Raspberry Compote

Peach Raspberry Compote (2)

This easy compote is a nice alternative to maple syrup as a pancake topping: sweet, without any added sugar!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups peaches
  • 1 and 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the fruit begins to soften and break down.

Serve with your favorite pancake recipe!

Peach Raspberry Compote (1)

Little Passports: Australia

LP Australia (29)

Strangely, I feel as though Travis’s packages from Little Passports are arriving closer together than one month apart… but during home school, we’re not complaining! Travis couldn’t wait to read “Sam and Sofia’s” letter and do all the usual activities: a sticker for his passport, a pin on his map, a coin for his chart, and a tag on his suitcase.

LP Australia (2)

The booklet had a fun coloring activity about a coral reef, color-coded in such a way that my kindergartner could easily follow along.

LP Australia (3)

The word find, on the other hand, was tough even for this mama! Online featured great extras; Travis particularly enjoyed the photos and clips of Australian music. Australian phrases like “rug up” and “ankle biter” got quite a laugh.

Souvenir:

No sooner was the envelope open than Travis was testing out the scratch art kit. The idea is to introduce kids to Aboriginal dreamtime symbols, and Travis loved the rainbow colors that appeared.

LP Australia (1)

He learned a few symbols (“I get it, because a kangaroo jumps up!” he noted, spotting that one), and then designed his own, which had us veering off in a Star Wars direction.

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Further Activities:

First up was a Didgeridoo Kazoo. Both kids enjoyed decorating an empty paper towel tube with markers.

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A lot of it was their own inventive scribbles, but we worked in some dreamtime symbols, too.

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As they colored, I read about how the didgeridoo dates back thousands of years. Place a square of wax paper over one end of the tube, and secure with a rubber band.

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Hum down into it for a deep, warbling sound. We put on some didgeridoo music to play along too!

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Next up was Animal Art. This project aimed to show the way indigenous Australian art shares stories about animals and nature. First, we cut out the provided animal templates and glued these onto thicker art paper. Travis chose the lizard.

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I encouraged him to use paints and markers to make a landscape for his animal. First he just painted water, and declared it done, but then he got more into the idea of adding traditional symbols (swirls, dots, stripes), and filling in the background.

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You can use cotton swabs for the dots for extra fun!

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Little sister wanted in on this project too, although her kangaroo was soon a bit of a mess!

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The add-on with this package was to grow a coral reef, similar in science to a crystal tree we made around the holidays. We read about coral reefs and what makes them so important as an ecosystem, and then Travis helped set up the provided absorbent paper in the stands.

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Mix the provided powder into warm water, then pour into the bottom of each tray. Whoops! One of corals collapsed right away, although perhaps this was a perfect illustration of how delicate these ecosystems are. Within an hour, we saw the first little crystals forming.

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By morning, they were a riotous display of crystal! We almost thought they looked like cauliflower.

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As the final touch, Travis colored in the Australian flag and we added it to the growing collection above his world map.

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Recipe:

To finish our journey, we baked a popular Australian dessert called Lamingtons, a cake coated in chocolate and coconut. I should note that Little Passport’s recipes aren’t as easy to follow as, say, those from Raddish Kids. As a result, a lot of them become mommy projects after a little help from my sous-chef.

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk

For the frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons melted Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  1. To prepare the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat 1/2 cup butter and the sugar in a stand mixer until creamy. Add the Ener-G eggs and vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and 1/2 cup almond milk, beating until combined.
  3. Pour the batter into a 9×13-inch baking dish lined with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 28 minutes; a wooden pick inserted into the center should come out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then lift out the foil and cool the cake completely on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.
  4. Once the cake is chilled, make the frosting: whisk together the melted butter and 1/2 cup almond milk in a large bowl. Whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the powdered sugar, stirring until smooth.
  5. Cut the cake into 2-inch squares. Working with one square at a time, dip in the chocolate frosting, then immediately coat in the coconut. Transfer to a wire rack or pan to set.

Because the frosting was thick and the cake was very delicate, I found it easier to work by hand instead of dipping pieces in on a fork. This got messy, but sure was yummy!

LP Australia (26)

Pink Milk

Pink Milk (1)

This pretty-in-pink glass of milk is a fun alternative to a plain glass of your non-dairy favorite. All the sweetness comes from fruit, so there’s no added sugar like as with a store-bought smoothie or juice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk
  • 3/4 cup strawberries
  1. Combine the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Strawberry-Oatmeal Squares

Strawberry Oatmeal Squares var

These bake-ahead oatmeal bars will make mornings a cinch, whether you’re dashing to the bus or just making things a little easier on yourself during home school.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 cups plain soy milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  1. In a bowl, combine the oats, pecans, baking powder, and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. Melt the Earth Balance butter in the microwave, then combine in a bowl with the Ener-G eggs, soy milk, and maple syrup. Pour the milk mixture over the oat mixture. Stir in the strawberries.
  3. Spoon the mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Let cool, and then cut into 9 squares.
  4. Reheat individual square in the microwave just before serving in the morning.

Homemade Ranch Dip

Homemade Ranch DIp (2)

This creamy dip is a nice way to get kids to eat their veggies. The perfect snack during home school, perhaps?

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) container non-dairy cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup plain soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and soy milk until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.

Homemade Ranch DIp (1)

We like this with steamed baby carrots and broccoli florets!

Homemade Ranch DIp (4)Celery would also be yummy. You can even use the recipe as a jumping-off point to talk about eating the “rainbow”.

Homemade Ranch DIp (3)

We got to fill in orange and green today!

Vegetable Baked Risotto

Vegetable Risotto

Oven-baked risottos are my favorite way to prepare rice these days. Throw all the ingredients in a pot, cook for about one hour, and forget about it until dinner is served. No stirring required!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup short-grain rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup trimmed green beans
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed canned great northern beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a casserole dish.
  2. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

Let cool slightly before serving.