Cooking with Kids

Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Bread

I talk about my girls on a fairly regular basis. They are my daily companions, and continually push me to be a better person. One of their greatest lessons for me is patience. I get to practice this skill daily, in many ways, but especially when my ladies help me cook. I have to let go of perfection, and allow them to try and try, and make mistakes, and be ok with things being “wrong.” When I do I can accept and appreciate their help, when I’m having trouble with this, it is a long and painful process to cook with them. Over time I have figured out where they can be successful, and a few tips to help us both feel good working together.

Pictured above is sourdough bread. We are working on sourdough bread and bagels today and it always reminds me of this quote from my three year old: “I’m making bagels; they take a couple days.” She is talking about sourdough bagels. She is used to working on projects that take a long time, she knows the reward is worth it, and is happy to help each step of the way.

Tips For Cooking With Kids

  • Give them to correct tools for the job.
    • They both have plastic knives they use to cut real vegetables we will actually be using.
  • Plan enough time.
    • Always, always, leave more time than you think you will need. Plan to clean up messes and spills, to mediate arguments, and to offer praise throughout the project.
  • Think ahead so they will have things to do the majority of the time you are cooking.
    • Idle time does not go well, so plan for things to be stirred, cut, or washed.
  • Doing dishes is fun.
    • It can be a bit of a mess, but nothing keeps them occupied longer than a sink of warm water and some dishes.
  • Give them real tasks.
    • My girls will help me with many things including: cut vegetables, knead dough, use a pastry brush to brush oil on vegetables, measure, and stir.
  • Let them taste.
    • The number of vegetables my girls have tried while helping is far more than they ever would have at the table. They love to take bites, to smell, touch, and explore everything we are working with.
  • Keep it safe.
    • Remember to move anything sharp, breakable, or unsanitary away from children before turning your back.

 

 

Zucchini Date Oatmeal – vegan and gluten free

I haven’t written a post about oatmeal in a while. I’m sure you have been dying for a new version of oatmeal the whole time. This should do the trick. This is a favorite of both by girls and they love to help make it. They can both eat dates while I chop, then my 3 year old helps me shred the zucchini. They take turns dumping in the ingredients, and impatiently wait as it cooks, and cools enough for them to eat. We rarely eat this for breakfast, but often make it for our mid-morning snack, or lunch. The girls also like it cold and room temperature so it is a stable in our snack bag. This oatmeal is sweet, cinnamony, and filled with vegetables! Everything you could ask for in an oatmeal. If you are serving it to a green vegetable averse person you can peel the zucchini before shredding.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, one small
  • 11/4 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • heaping 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 TBL hemp seeds (optional)
  • cinnamon to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan combine dates, zucchini, water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Once boiling stir in the rolled oats, hemp seeds, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently until the water is absorbed and the oatmeal is the consistency you prefer.
  3. Serve warm.

 

Easy 3 Ingredient Vegan Mother’s Day Crêpe -Gluten Free Vegan

Being a mom I think Mother’s Day is great. I get to sit around while someone else cooks and cleans for a day. Sounds like perfection. I know if you’re the one doing the cooking and cleaning for a day it might seem a little overwhelming. I’m here to help. These three ingredient Crêpes are incredibly simply, yet sure to wow. Pictured is simple the Crêpe with some store-bought raspberry jam and a little powdered sugar sprinkled over the top. Beautiful right? You could also find some vegan chocolate hazelnut butter . Perhaps a mimosa and some breakfast potatoes or scrambled tofu and you are good to go!

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (165 grams) chickpea (Besan) flour -You can find this in any good grocery store by the gluten free foods or specialty flour section.
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 grams) water
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Cooking spray or Oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Whisk together flour, water and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes for flour to absorb water.
  2. Once batter has hydrated heat a 11″ non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Spray with cooking spray, or add a small amount of oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add 1/3 cup of the batter and swirl the pan so the batter coats the bottom of the pan in a thin layer.
  5. Cook over medium heat until bottom is golden brown, flip the crepe and cook on the second side until it is also golden brown.
  6. Continue cooking crepes one at a time until batter is gone.
  7. Serve with toppings of choice or use for dipping.

Vegan Colcannon non-traditional

Vegan Colcannon
Vegan Colcannon

Happy soon to be St. Patrick’s Day! Let’s celebrate with some yumminess. In the past I’ve done green food like these pancakes, and these muffins, and vegan Irish cream. This year we’re focusing on the potato. Oh how I love a potato. I’m going to play up the awesomeness of the Yukon Gold potato in this variation of  Colcannon, or mashed potatoes with green stuff if you aren’t Irish.

Traditionally Colcannon is as Irish dish made from mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage folded in. It is often perked up with scallions or leeks. For this vegan variation I am sautéing leeks and folding them in, and garnishing with kale chips. It’s pretty, yummy, and my girls love to pick the kale chips off the top. Honestly, that’s the only part they eat. I think I have the only kids in the world who won’t eat mashed potatoes.

Kale chips are a huge hit in our house, but they shatter and always leave tiny little pieces at the bottom of the container. This is a perfect way to use them up. And a perfect excuse to try making kale chips if you haven’t yet.

The twist in this recipe is adding the salt and vinegar to the cooking water for the potatoes. When you do this the potatoes are flavored from the inside out and each and every bite becomes a perfectly seasoned flavor bomb.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/4 cubes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 large leek cut lengthwise, and then into 1/4 half moons
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk (plain unsweetened)
  • 1 TBL nutritional yeast
  • kale chips for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a 3qt pot and cover with cold water to 1″ above the potatoes.
  2. Add salt and vinegar to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Continue boiling until potatoes are tender, 10-12 min.
  4. While potatoes are cooking heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add leeks and sauté until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat if potatoes are not yet cooked.
  6. Once potatoes are cooked drain them and return to the cooking pot. Add butter, milk, and nutritional yeast and mash to your desired consistency.
  7. Fold in cooked leeks, taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. Garnish with kale chips and serve immediately.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spiced Muffins – Paleo, grain free, dairy free

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spiced Muffins - Paleo, grain free, dairy free
Gluten Free Pumpkin Spiced Muffins – Paleo, grain free, dairy free

I’m so sorry I have skipped a few weeks lately. Things have been crazy around here. We are getting ready to move across the country, from the Boston area to the Seattle area.  With two kids under the age of 3. I’m very excited, but, as I said, it’s been a bit crazy. Please forgive me if this are a bit slow in the next few weeks, but I hope to back up to speed for the holidays. I hope.

These delightful little nuggets of joy were a fun find from The Texanerian. I changed a few things but that was my inspiration.  These are perfect for fall and a wonderful, fairly healthy, way to start Halloween. full of actual pumpkin and lots of meat free sources of protein these guys will fill you up. My older daughter ate them one after another until I had to cut her off! Also a hit with the neighborhood kids, and adults. Yummy!

 Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (66 grams) coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) almond flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 7 tablespoons (98 grams) coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a mini muffin pan with 24 muffin liners or oil pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, pumpkin, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mxture and stir just until combined.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the muffin liners, filling each liner until almost completely full. You’ll likely have enough batter for another six. I scooped them into a big muffin pan so I could cook them at the same time and they were flat but perfectly yummy.
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. These need to rest for at least an hour before serving, both because of taste and texture.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Best in the first 2 days.

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Pumpkin Spiced French Toast
Pumpkin Spiced French Toast

It still feels like summer here on the East Coast, but fall is fast approaching. Fall is my favorite! I can’t wait for the cooler days and the leaves to change color, to be able to wear jeans without sweating to death, and sweatshirts. Who doesn’t love a cozy sweatshirt? There have been a few hints of fall this week with a couple of leaves falling and the nights becoming slightly cooler. It has gotten me in the mood. I make pumpkin muffins at the beginning of the week, and here we are making pumpkin spiced french toast. No, I do not drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, that’s yucky, too sweet, but I love the real stuff. Also, pumpkin is a vegetable, and, to be honest, I used butternut squash puree today so it’s another sneaky way for me to put veggies in everything. Toddler approved!

Top this fragrant french toast with maple syrup, coconut whipped cream, cinnamon roll topping, or anything else your heart desires.

 Ingredients

  • 2 happy eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • few dashes nutmeg
  • 6 slices whole grain bread (I used a flourless sprouted bread)
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Whisk the eggs until uniformly yellow.
  2. Add pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg whisking to combine.
  3. Dip bread into batter one slice at a time, and allow to rest while your pan pre-heats. This lets the batter soak into the bread a bit which makes for a better texture.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Once the pan is hot add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add bread in a single layer leaving room between the slices. I have to cook this in 2 batches.
  7. Cook on the first side until golden brown, 2-3 minutes, flip and cook until the second side is also golden brown, a few more minutes.
  8. Serve hot with topping of choice.

Sweet Potato Pancakes- toddler friendly

sweet potato pancakes
sweet potato pancakes

My little lovelies enjoy their pancakes. Traditional pancakes are not a nutritional powerhouse, but we can fix that! These are made with whole grains, add protein with the eggs, some vegetables, and pack in the flavor. All that, and they’re still light and fluffy! I can’t wait until my girls are old enough to be shocked by the fact that most pancakes don’t have vegetables in them (insert evil laugh here). I mix it up with the vegetables, but sweet potato, pumpkin puree, or spinach are the favorites in our house. This week will focus on the beautiful sweet potato.

For my girls I serve them plain, no butter or syrup, and then pack them to go. These also freeze extremely well and will thaw on the go if you like to do big batch cooking.

 Ingredients

  • 1 small very ripe banana or an additional 1/2 cup puree of choice, they just won’t be quite as sweet
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree, or pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour or more whole grain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 3/4 cup milk, kiefer, water, or a mixture of these – nondairy is fine

Instructions

  1. Mash banana in a medium bowl with the sweet potato puree.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla whisking to combine.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt,spices, and milk and stir together. If mixture needs more liquid add it to your desired consistency. Thicker batter makes thicker pancakes, thinner batter makes thinner pancakes.
  4. Heat a large skillet, I use my biggest cast iron pan, over medium heat.
  5. Once pan is hot add a small amount of oil to prevent pancakes from sticking.
  6. Pour batter into the pan making sure to leave enough room between the pancakes to flip them!
  7. Cook on first side until bubbles that form on pancakes burst and edges start to dry out.
  8. Flip and cook until golden brown on second side.
  9. Serve hot.

Almond French Toast

Almond French Toast
Almond French Toast

French toast is a lovely, quick breakfast. It is one of my go to breakfasts for my toddler. By using a sprouted grain bread and add a few things I am increasing the nutritional value and converting a quick diner breakfast into a healthy start to you day.  I have a few versions, one with pumpkin to continue on my quest for veggies in everything, and this one that just adds a bit more protein and nutrients from the almonds. This french toast is filled with almond goodness and bursting in with flavor. I love to top it with plain yogurt, bananas, and a light drizzle of maple syrup.

 Ingredients

  • 2 happy eggs
  • 1 TBL milk or nondairy milk
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 slices sprouted grain bread
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl until uniformly yellow in color.
  2. Add milk, almond meal, vanilla, and almond and whisk to combine.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, when hot melt a little coconut oil in the bottom, just enough to coat the pan you are using.
  4. Dip the bread in the egg mixture one slice at a time making sure each slice is completely coated with egg mixture on all sides.
  5. Place egg coated bread in the hot skillet and cook until golden brown on the first side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the second side is also golden brown. 2-3 minute more.
  6. Serve hot with your choice of toppings.

St. Patrick’s Day Green Muffins (Zucchini-Spinach, sugar free, vegan, toddler approved)

Spinach Zucchini Muffins -date sweetened
Spinach Zucchini Muffins -date sweetened

Who doesn’t love green food? Oh, yeah, toddlers. Well, except mine who things it needs to be green to be edible! These yummy muffins are packed with vegetables, take their sweetness from the dates, and are good enough I was sneaking them when my daughter wasn’t looking. These are quite green from all the vegetables and would be perfect to introduce on St. Patrick’s Day if you have a picky eater. Also perfect to bring to work to nourish you throughout the day to prepare you for your evening activities. Spread a little almond butter on these and you have yourself a meal.

Makes 12 regular muffins

 Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dates (about 5-7 dates)
  • hot water to cover dates
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 packed cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 TBL chia seeds
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or by lightly oiling the pan.
    2. Place chopped dates in a glass measuring cup, pour boiling water over the top just to cover the dates, and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes.
    3. In a mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, flour through cinnamon.
    4. When dates are soft place them, the soaking water, coconut oil, and the baby spinach in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
    5. Pour date mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, add chia seeds, zucchini, and vanilla stirring to combine.
    6. Divide the batter evenly into prepared muffin tine and bake 18-20 minutes until tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
    7. Remove from the pan and allow to cool a bit before eating.

Tofuballs with Extra Veggies

 Ingredients

  • 2 TBL oilve oil
  • 11/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 11/2 cups finely chopped spinach
  • 3 mushrooms, minced
  • 1 lb water packed extra firm tofu
  • 1 TBL Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg beaten (omit if vegan, or try 2 TBL aquafaba lightly beaten with a fork)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup vegan bread crumbs
  • Neutral flavored oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add oil, zucchini, onion, spinach, and mushrooms and cook 5-8 minutes or until most of the water has been released and cooked off.
  3. Mash tofu in a large bowl with your hands or a potato masher.
  4. Add Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, egg, cooked vegetables, and nutritional yeast and stir together.
  5. Add bread crumbs a few tablespoons at a time stirring to combine. The mixture should start to stick together.
  6. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. Heat about a 1/4″ of oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet to about 350 degrees. I never actually check this with a thermometer, but you should. It should be hot, but not smoking, and when you flick a few drops of water into the oil it should sizzle and pop.
  8. Form the tofu mixture into walnut sized balls with your hands. Pack them a bit, but don’t worry if they feel loose as long as they hold their shape in your hand. If they don’t add more breadcrumbs until they do.
  9. Carefully place the tofu balls in the hot oil, and cook until one side is golden brown (3-4 minutes), flip them and cook on the other side another 3 minutes or so until golden brown.
  10. Unless you have a super huge skillet you will need to work in batches. You might need to add more oil between batches. If this happens don’t forget to reheat the oil before frying.
  11. Once cooked remove the tofu balls and place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
  12. Serve hot with pasta and sauce, or just eat as is. Super yummy snack!
  13. You could also bake these on an oiled baking sheet at 375 for about 20 minutes. Still good, but not quite the same.