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.

 

 

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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 Falafel

Vegan Falafel
Vegan Falafel

I know Easter is tomorrow, but it just isn’t a food holiday for me. This year we won’t even be at home. We are taking my 3 year old skiing for the first time! I’m super excited. So instead, Falafel.

Falafel is one of the most perfect foods when done correctly; salty, herbaceous, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, delightful alone and outstanding with a few sauces. The important part of these falafels is that the chickpeas are not cooked, but simply soaked overnight. It takes a little more planning, but is work the effort. The texture is lighter and the flavor more fresh. Serve with your choice of toppings, or just snack on them as is.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (optional)
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour or chickpea flour if gluten-free
  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
  • Toppings of choice.

Instructions

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain.
  2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and half of the flour, and pulse. Continue to add flour and pulse until the dough  easily forms a ball when shaped with your hands, and is no longer sticky.
  4. Once dough is the right consistency, cover it and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight. You can cook it right away, but the texture is better if you allow it to sit.
  5. When ready to use remove the dough from the refrigerator and form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
  6. Heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a wide deep pot and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour and try again.  Then fry falafel balls in batches being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry until all sides are golden brown turning as needed.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. I like my falafel best with baba ganouj and tahini sauce for dipping. Many like a sandwich in pita bread. Always serve with pickled or fermented something for that sour note.

Note:

For tahini sauce simply stir together tahini, water, lemon juice, salt and minced fresh garlic in proportions you like. I start with 2 TBL tahini, 2 TBL water, squeeze of lemon, one small clove of garlic, and a dash of salt. Minced fresh herbs go nicely here if you have extra parsley or cilantro.

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.

Vegetarian Tater Tot Hot Dish or as I like to call it “Careful, your Midwest is showing”

Tater Tot Breakfast Hot Dish
Tater Tot Breakfast Hot Dish

I blame Pinterest for this one, and the short days, and just feeling a little homesick after the move. Not that this dish would be found anywhere near Cambridge, MA, but it would be found in Wisconsin where I’m originally from. All I can think when I look at this is “careful, your midwest is showing.”  That being said it is everything a midwest dish should be; homey, salty, comforting, easy, cheesy, serves a crowd, and topped with tater tots. It is truly perfect for New Year’s Day because you can make it ahead of time, and just hang out drinking coffee while it bakes in the morning. You can start your New Years resolution eating at lunch.

This is a perfect dish for when you have overnight guests as it feeds a crowd with minimal effort, and will make most anyone happy if they are ok with tater tots for breakfast. And if they aren’t, well, you might want to decide if you need that kind of negativity in your life. If you really want to make it minimal effort in the morning just sauté your vegetables the night before and assemble the morning of.

Happy Midwestern Breakfast to you. I hope you’re holidays are merry and bright.

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.