Our Summer of Food, or the Lack Thereof

Well, here’s what happened. The summer started, we blinked our eyes, and it’s over! Too much fun though. And in terms of food, we are finding ourselves in a really interesting place. Will, who still loves to cook and bake, has very typically become addicted to certain foods and is determined to only eat those things for the rest of his life. Now, we know this won’t last forever, but when you hear “I only want MY food” a few times a day, the routine can become tedious. On the flip side, we have Will’s sister, Josephine, who is now one and a half and thankfully is not allergic to any foods (yet). So while I have given her organic eggs and a little cheese here and there along with other products containing cow’s milk proteins, her diet has been that of Will’s… The Meat Eating Vegan. But things are changing.

Josephine has recently decided to become, not only a foodie — rejecting any and all pre-made baby foods, but also a cut-throat critic who has no problem throwing your cuisine back into your face. Nice, right?

So here I am. Will & Jo’s Mom, with the extremes of food meeting me at every meal. The boy that only wants “his food” and the girl that wants something new and interesting every time she sits down to dine. Time to get creative… and honestly, it’s okay because Will still wants to work with me, despite turning down all offers to taste. So… he’s a survivalist, maybe. The Meat Eating Vegan Survivalist Celebrity Chef. One thing is for sure, he still loves to cook!

This summer we made a few faves: Chocolate Chip Cookies (of course); Corn Bread; Focaccia; Blueberry Muffins; Blueberry Waffles & Pancakes (same recipe); Potato Pancakes, of which we just modified the recipe to use apple sauce instead of egg-replacer; Turkey Meatballs; Turkey sliders; Chicken Fajitas.

With Jo’s newly found palatte, Will and I are getting geared up to try all kinds of new recipes. I’m hoping that she’ll love our dairy & nut-free pesto and, what was once one of Will’s favorites — Falafels. Yesterday we found ourselves all sticky making Glazed Chicken Drumsticks (check out our fancy recipe format tool!):

Sticky Sweet Chicken Drumsticks
Print
Author: Will’s Mom
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-5 kids
have napkins handy!
Ingredients
  • 5 Chicken Drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/3 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 tbsp Worcester Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Panko
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Wash & Score the fleshy part of the drumsticks
  3. Mix together the Honey, Lemon Juice, Orange Juice, Worcester Sauce, Ketchup & Panko
  4. Pour the mixture over the chicken and bake for 45 minutes
Notes

Modified from The Big Book of Recipes for Babies, Toddlers & Children

And the NOSH – Did Will eat it? After much explanation, no. Maybe this trend of only eating the same thing everyday will wear off… in oh, 20 years. As you can see, Josephine was quite pleased.

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Hey Hey We’re the Monkeys…

A few weeks ago, in celebration of the end of the school year, Will’s school put on a performance at the local high school.

This was a big deal because the High School is really, REALLY big in the mind of a 4 year old. There was a little anxiety, but all in all, Will and the rest of his classmates did a great job… The girls danced to a song about bunnies and the boys, including Will danced to the Monkees “Hey Hey We’re the Monkeys”. It was hilarious…. and I cried! I know. I am that Mom!

Here’s Will (furthest on the right) and the rest of the Monkeys:

After the performances there was a quick party and we were asked to bring in cookies in the shapes of moons and stars — the perfect opportunity to attempt our Sugar Cookies, especially since we fell short at Valentines day. This time we borrowed a recipe from my Mom that calls for Orange Juice and were very pleasantly surprised! Thanks Mom!

Here is her recipe and our modifications:

Oven: 375°

2/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated
1 teaspoon vanilla

Replacement for 1 egg — 1/2 cup of applesauce
4 teaspoons orange juice
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla.  Add egg; beat till light and fluffy. Stir in orange juice. Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Chill 1 hour (we allowed the dough to chill overnight).

Using one of the dough halves at a time–leave the other one chilling until ready to use. On a lightly floured surface, roll to 1/8 inch thickness.  cut in desired shapes with cutters. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 about 6-8 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from pan.

 

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ROAR!

Yay! March is here! Which only means that SPRING will be arriving in a few short weeks. Yes, we know. We could still see some drama — freezing temps, snow, sleet… ICE. But the weather isn’t going to stop the days from getting longer, which is always helpful.

It’s been a quick and crazy 10 months since last Spring when Will’s sister Josephine was born and we are FINALLY finding balance and time to get back to things in Will’s Kitchen. I’ve always said that pregnancy should also include an infant’s 1st year of life — the nine month incubation period (which feels like 12 months anyway) and then the first year of life until they start to show signs of independence — sitting up, rolling, crawling and then walking… talking, grabbing. Aside from the occasional bonk on the head, our little Jo is practically out the door! And with that we are finding time to get back on the food allergy research — following up on links and findings that might help and/or effect our daily lives… Although they might not be weekly, a little link love is always nice!

LINK LOVE!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies!

Please allow your mouth to start watering now….

Our good friend Amanda (Will calls her JA-Manda) just started a new food blog called Big City Kitchen, and since Will was bringing cookies to school today for Valentine’s Day, we jumped all over her recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies. It was really easy to make this dairy free — although I must warn, the cookies are very rich. Not that there’s anything wrong with being rich…. Don’t mind if we do!

For our swap-outs, we used Enjoy Life Dairy Free Chocolate Chunks — which we have also used on our donuts. We also substituted 1/4 Cup of Unsweetened Apple Sauce for the Large Egg. And, since we were making these for the kids, we also elected to drop the Espresso Powder. So, on this day of love and chocolate, we highly recommend JA-Manda’s new blog — not only do the recipes look fantastic, but the photography is gorgeous and the narrative is rather en-tah-taining. We do love to be en-tah-tained.

And the NOSH – Did Will eat it? YES! And, his classmates were covered in yummy chocolate when I picked him up from school… only bouncing off the walls a little bit. You know those parents love me. :)

 

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Handling Will’s Allergies with School Projects — Baking White Bread

 

Will is currently at an amazing Preschool that practices a nut-free environment. We are extremely grateful that we don’t have to worry about his exposure to peanuts or tree-nuts, but that only covers two of Will’s six food allergies. And since we are understanding and aware that we cannot ask an entire community to discount cow’s milk, eggs, bananas and strawberries so as to accommodate one child, we have become more involved with the activities in the classroom. Today the class was baking white bread.

When I saw the activity on the calendar, I requested a copy of the bread recipe a few days before they were scheduled to bake. In this case, the white bread recipe was extremely simple and therefore not hard at all to modify so that Will could participate in the project. I then stayed up late last night to bake and make sure that the result was edible — Will has had a cold these past few days and wasn’t really up for baking, not to mention that he is not a bread fan and so I doubted his interest to do this at home… At school, however, I didn’t want him to be left out or set aside to avoid exposure to the dairy products.To my surprise, the bread was delicious, and the replacement items were so easy that I decided to send him into school with the alternate ingredients.

Makes 2 Loaves of White Bread

Active Yeast Packets – 2
Warm Water – 1/4 Cup
White Flour – 4-5 Cups
Sugar – 2 Tablespoons
Salt – 2 Teaspoons
Baking Powder – 2 Teaspoons
TO REPLACE BUTTERMILK: Soy Milk – 2 Cups + Apple Cider Vinegar – 2 Tablespoons Combined
TO REPLACE BUTTER OR MARGARINE: 4 Tablespoons Soy Margarine
Non-Dairy Cooking Spray to Grease your pans

You will need: measuring tools; 2 small mixing bowls; 1 large mixing bowl; wire whisk; rubber spatula; 2 bread pans

In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the active yeast in the warm water and then whisk 4 1/2 cups of flour plus the rest of the dried ingredients together in your large mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Add the yeast and soy mixtures to the flour and then knead while adding more flour as needed until you can form two loaves. Grease your pans, add the dough and then set in a warm place for 45 minutes to rise.

Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.

And the NOSH – Did Will eat it? No. He didn’t eat it here at home and he told his teacher that we is waiting until he’s a grownup before he ever eats bread. Because, you know, eating bread is so mature, right?

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Christmas Cookies & Holiday Hearts

That’s the way the holidays start…

And I can hear the song playing off of my parent’s record player as my Mom, sisters and I made sugar cookies every Christmas — ending with Goodie, Goodie, Yum, Yum, Yum… A not so typical holiday song from the 1950s — and ever so eclectic when being played on vinyl.

Will’s class at preschool is having a holiday party on Friday and is also baking for the holidays tomorrow as a ‘Tastes of Christmas’ theme, so we had to pull ourselves together to try to find the perfect, non-allergen sugar cookie recipe. Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there yet — although this attempt did leave us with some very yummy cookies, the dough is hard to work with.  So, here’s what where we are now with plans to be perfected by Valentine’s Day! Enjoy!

Please note that this is a 2 day project and will leave you at least 3 cookie sheets of cookies — the exact number depends on the cookies cutters that you decide to use.

Earth Balance Shortening – 1 Cup
Sugar – 2 Cups
Unsweetened Applesauce – 1 Cup
Vanilla Extract – 1 1/2 Teaspoons
Flour – 3 Cups + More for rolling out the dough.
Baking Powder – 1Teaspoon
Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon
Sprinkles or colored sugar for decorating

You will need: 2 mixing bowls; mixer; wire whisk; plastic wrap; rolling pin; parchment paper; cookie sheets; cookie cutters — get creative!

Using your mixer, combine the Earth Balance, Sugar, Applesauce and Vanilla until smooth. In the 2nd bowl, combine the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt and stir with the wire whisk. Add the flour mixture to the shortening combo and then mix on low until the dough is combined and somewhat solid — not too sticky. If you find that it is too sticky, start to add in a little more flour until the consistency allows you to make a dough ball.

Once you have your dough ball complete, wrap it in plastic wrap or place in a covered bowl and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

12 hours later…. Preheat your oven to 375°. Take the chilled dough ball and start to roll it out on a floured surface. Again, if the dough starts to become sticky as it warms up, throw a little more flour on it to prevent it from sticking. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/4″ thickness and then start to cut out your cookies. Place each cookie onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and decorate as you see fit. Of course, you don’t have to garnish if you don’t want, but COME ON, what fun is that?

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until the are a little golden — not too dark though as they become very hard when baked too long.

And the NOSH – Did Will eat it? But of COURSE! AND he’s super excited to bring some dough in to his class so that he can participate in making cookies with his friends…. We’ll supply him with some extra cookies too, just in case the dough finds its way into his tummy before the oven…..

In other news, Will’s Kitchen has added another site to our list of advertisers, A Vapid Blonde!! She’s a dear friend that write with hilarity and choice vocabulary… We wish she wrote more — maybe if everyone goes to her site, she’ll be inspired! GO THERE NOW! And for the repetition, we are also running ads over at http://sprocketink.com/ and http://www.minimunchers.com/ — if you have a website that you would like for us to advertise on, please let us know!

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Donuts… Chocolate Dipped. Enough Said.

It’s almost obscene to have the ability to make these so easily!

We went back and modified the recipe that we originally found from Vegan Yum•Yum so that an egg substitute, such as Energ-G Egg Replacer, is not necessary. Instead we used apple sauce, which is usually our go-to replacement for the all-mighty egg…. The result is actually a much lighter, fluffier dough… Yum.

Flour – 1 Cup
Sugar – 1/2 Cup
Baking Powder – 1 1/2 Teaspoons
Salt – 1/4 Teaspoon
Nutmeg – Just a dash
Cinnamon – Just a dash
Soymilk – 1/2 Cup
Apple Cider Vinegar – 1/2 Teaspoon
Vanilla Extract – 1/2 Teaspoon
Applesauce – 1/4 Cup
Earth Balance (or non-dairy margarine) – 4 Tablespoons

Dairy Free Chocolate Chips or Chucks for melting — we used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (try not to eat them all before melting!)

You will need: 2 mixing bowls + one glass bowl for melting chocolate & one sauce pot that is equal in size; wire whisk; spoon for mixing; donut maker;

Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another and set your chocolate chunks (or chips) to melt. In order to melt without burning, fill the pot with about an inch of water and then place a glass bowl that just fits in, but does not touch the water, into the pot — add the chocolate and then turn on the burner. Once the water starts to steam, you can turn off the burner — the chocolate should melt accordingly, and remove from the heat once it is all melted. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and then set the donut maker to heat — as mentioned in a previous post, our donut maker is by babycakes, which makes mini donuts.

Once the donut maker is ready, spoon in about a tablespoon of the batter per donut mold and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the donuts and let them cool until warm — not hot or cold, but warm. Carefully dip each donut into the melted chocolate and then try not to eat them until they have cooled… The longer the donuts cool, the harder the chocolate will become.

Whatever you do, do NOT forget to lick your fingers.

And the NOSH – Did Will eat it? YES! Although he really loved the chocolate before it was melted because it wasn’t as messy. Such a PERFECTIONIST!

In other news, Will’s Kitchen is now running advertising over at http://sprocketink.com/ and http://www.minimunchers.com/ — if you have a website that you would like for us to advertise on, please let us know!

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Donuts — 1st attempt (Also, we love kitchen gadgets)

I know. Who needs a Donut Maker? I mean, one could go through life — several lives, actually and never even once consider how much better things could be if one were to acquire a Donut Maker. Right? Which is exactly why we couldn’t go another day without owning one!

The decision to purchase the Donut Maker required very little thought… Will has been asking to try donuts for a while and none of our local bakers seem to fly without eggs. We also checked the shelves at our grocery stores, but the ingredients were all over the place — cow’s milk, milk fats, eggs, peanut facilities. I investigated recipes for making donuts — all requiring frying, which is delicious, but not really fun for Will when it comes to participating. Buying the appliance was a must — And our first attempt to bake was FUN, the donuts come out mini, perfect for Will sized hands. Not to mention, they were yummy and only took 15 minutes as baking time with the Donut Maker is only 3-5 minutes! Winners, ALL AROUND!

For our trial run, we borrowed a donut recipe from Vegan Yum•Yum. If you haven’t been to this blog, you must go there immediately…. Or in a few minutes when we’re finished with our donuts. The recipe calls for:

Dry Ingredients:
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp (scant) Nutmeg
1 tiny pinch or shake Cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Soymilk
1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Egg Replacer for 1 Egg
4 Tbs Earth Balance

We plan to move on from here — chocolate donuts, jelly… And I’d like to find an egg substitute that doesn’t require an egg replacer… WHO KNOWS, we may just be onto something here!

And the NOSH – Did Will eat it? YES! He loved them. The only thing was that he saw the recipe at Vegan Yum•Yum with sprinkles and he then required them… Not really what we had planned in the health foods department, but it’s all a work in progress!

PS. Many thanks to babycakes for a stellar appliance!!

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Going, Going, Gone… Summer Focaccia

With all the fresh, ripe tomatoes and basil, we are racing to use everything up before it spoils…

 

This is a simple Focaccia Bread combined with almost overly ripe tomatoes and shredded basil. The result is a very sweet bread that takes almost no time to make.

Rapid Rise Highly Active Yeast – 1 package
Warm Water – 1 1/2 Cups
Olive Oil – 4 Tablespoons divided
Basil leaves – 1/2 Cup
Kosher Salt – 1 Tablespoon
Flour – 1 1/4 Cups
Black Pepper – To Taste
Ripe Tomatoes – several

You will need: Measuring Cups & Spoons; 2 small to medium mixing bowls; Wire Whisk; Rubber Spatula; Plastic Wrap; Pizza Pan

Start by emptying the Yeast package into the warm water, whisk and then add in 2 Tablespoons of the Olive Oil — save the other two for later and then set the liquid mixture aside.

Start shredding up the basil — This is where Will comes in with his very dull knife and begins the shredding process. Once the basil is cutup, he starts cutting and mashing the ripe tomatoes…. Since the tomato juices tend to make the Focaccia Bread a little soggy, it is OK for him to crush the fruit… The end result, although not concentric, will have a very rustic look.

While your son and/or daughter is busy with tomatoes, mix together the shredded basil, salt and flour and stir with the wire whisk. Once the dried ingredients are combined, add in the liquid mixture and stir the dough until it forms a ball in the mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 45 minutes — a good amount of time to clean up the tomato mess).

After the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 425° and brush one tablespoon of the olive oil onto your pizza pan, and then smooth the dough out onto the pan. Sprinkle a little more salt and the black pepper over the dough and then let it rise again, this time for about 20 minutes. After it has reached a reasonable height (we prefer about 1 1/2 inches) lay out the tomatoes and any extra basil that you may have and then bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges are a golden brown.

And the NOSH – Did Will eat it? No… no he didn’t. But he did say he would try some later… we still seem to be waiting for that.

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Garden Fresh…

Since the heat has broken, we’ve been working in our garden…

Vegetable Gardening is something that we have always done with Will — even when he was a baby. And now that he’s nearing the big number 4 — he seems to be in charge this summer when it comes to harvesting the herbs and tomatoes. Who knows, maybe one of these days he’ll breakout the big guns and actually take a bite to taste the yummy results of his labor… We can only hope.

Lately, in the world of dairy, egg and nut free:

 

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