Vegan Homeschool

Our adventures as vegan homeschoolers…

09/09/2013
by VeganMama
4 Comments

Zucchini Squash Pasta

I like to refer to zucchini as the “clutter” of any garden. You start out with just one little plant and it multiplies out of control in no time. Kind of like the clutter on the kitchen table. You lay down ONE envelope and by the end of the day you have a huge pile of clutter that’s threatening to break the legs off the table! Such is the way of the zuke.

But, that’s also one of the coolest things about zucchini! Just one garden on the block growing zucchini can keep the neighborhood stocked. Or one really awesome co-worker at your hubby’s job site. ;) Even with my 1.7 billion zucchini recipes, I’m running out of ideas. My thinker is broken, if you will. That’s how this ridiculously simple supper came to be. Simple, but delicious!

Bonus: This is a GREAT recipe to start teaching the older kids how to chop veggies!

The zucchini, squash and onions don’t need to be nice and uniform. Since this is such a monotone dish (see my fix for that in the last pic) the visual stimulation is going to come from the fact that the veggies are NOT all the same size and shape. It adds visual interest to have chunks and strips and ribbons. :)

 

Zucchini Squash Pasta

See what I mean about monotone? If you serve it over rice, you’ll have a bit more contrast but not much.

 

So, how do we made this delicious and simple recipe with our lovely kiddos? Read on, Mama!

 

Ingredients:

  • zucchini and squash (the amount is going to depend on the size of the veg and the size of your family*)
  • 1/2 of a small vidalia onion (yellow works, just no white onions)
  • 1 clove garlic, diced fine
  • grape tomatoes
  • pasta or rice (make sure you time your rice properly so you don’t end up with soggy veggies because you’re waiting on the rice to cook)
  • olive oil and water (to saute veggies)
  • salt, pepper, nutritional yeast (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Put the pasta pot on to get the water boiling. If you are having rolls or whatnot, pre-heat the oven now.
  2. Wash your zucchini and squash really well. If they are organic, or you know the grower doesn’t use funky chemicals, you are going not going to peel them. If you have no idea about the growing and processing conditions, or if they feel like they’re covered in a waxy substance, peel them.
  3. Helping your kid (use your judgement here as to who is ready for sharp knives), cut off the ends of the squash and zucchini. If there are any really big seeds, scrape them out. Here’s the fun part: cut, chop, julienne and ribbon the zucchini and squash. All different shapes and sizes. 
  4. If your kids aren’t comfortable with onions, diced the onion. If they’re cool with it, go for a bit bigger pieces. Like stir-fry size slices.
  5. Dice the garlic.
  6. Put your pasta in the boiling water and set a timer. Do you need to put some bread in the oven?
  7. Heat up about a teaspoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of water in your skillet. (You want to use a decently big skillet here. Better to have too much room than not enough!) 
  8. Add the veggies to the skillet. Start with the onion! Once it starts to get translucent, add in the garlic. Give the garlic about a minute with the onion and then start adding in the squash and zucchini. You want the biggest pieces first and the ribbons last. Give each size about a minute or so before you add in the next smallest pieces. The ribbons only need, at most, two minutes. If your pan starts to dry out, add another tablespoon of water.
  9. Once your timer goes off for the pasta, drain it and set it aside. Keep some of the water from the pasta! I like to put it in the oven or the microwave to keep it warm and out of the way.
  10. Once your veggies are finished sauteing, plate up the pasta or rice. Add the veggies on top. Take about a tablespoon of the pasta water and pour it over each plate. Toss it a bit to make sure everything is wet. 
  11. Add your seasoning here. We keep it pretty simple here. Just salt and pepper. Over top of everything we sprinkle nutritional yeast.
  12. Drop the grape tomatoes on top and you’re done! 

 

Zucchini Squash Pasta completed

What a difference the grape tomatoes make to the look of this dish!! That beautiful pop of bright red makes it so pretty. :) We had our Zucchini Squash Pasta with a salad and crescent rolls. Whenever I make something that I know one of the boys isn’t a huge fan of (LegoLad isn’t super big on zucchini and squash), I make sure I have one of their favorites on the table. For LegoLad, that’s crescent rolls. For StarWarsBoy, it’s ranch dressing for his salad. If you don’t know how to make vegan ranch dressing, stay tuned. Sign up for updates so you don’t miss it!

 

Pretty simple, right? There is plenty in this recipe for the kids to do. Let them do it all!

  • pre-heat the oven
  • put the bread choice on the pan
  • fill the pot for the pasta and add the pasta to the pot
  • add the olive oil and water to the pan
  • wash the veg
  • cut the veggies (use common sense here)
  • set the table and plate up the food

 

You really just need to be there as support. Again, this all depends on your kiddos age/s and maturity. Our boys are comfortable in the kitchen because we’ve always allowed them to be in the kitchen. We do use recipes as fractions practice, we do teach practical life skills, we do NOT tell them that cooking and baking is for grown ups. I’ve actually heard this come out of a woman’s mouth. I’m pretty sure my jaw did, in fact, hit the floor.

Please don’t tell your kids that cooking is only for grown-ups! 

Creating a passion for cooking is an awesome gift to give your child. Heck, just teaching them the basics is great! I’ve said it a million times I’m sure, but there is just no substitute for the wonderful memories you can make with your kids spending time in the kitchen together. :)

Let me know what you think of this recipe! How did your kids like it?

And, did you let your kids help you in the kitchen? :)

09/04/2013
by VeganMama
0 comments

Farmer’s Market Haul

Farmer's Market haul

The weekend before last I went to the local farmer’s market and scored some gorgeous local veggies and herbs. I got a dozen bi-color corn, a dozen white corn, organic kale, tons of tomatoes, carrots, basil, catnip for Gryphon, and patty pan squash. In the basket is some yellow squash and zucchini from a man at my husband’s work.

 

Closeup of some of the veggies from my Farmer's Market haul

So I know tomatoes aren’t a veg, but here’s a closeup of some of the goodies from my haul. Aren’t the colors beautiful?! :sigh: I love fresh food.

 

Another closeup of my Farmer's Market haul

Here we have the organic kale, squash, corn and some really pretty orange tomatoes. We’ve had a bit of everything already. It is sooooo yummy! I have the corn in the freezer for winter. I leave it in the husk and just throw it in a paper bag. Voila! How easy peasy is that?

08/27/2013
by VeganMama
12 Comments

Cherokee National Forest

Creek in Cherokee National Forest

This creek was a short walk from where we were camping in the Cherokee National Forest. It was beautiful! And COLD!! Cherokee has sites all through it where you can camp. You don’t have to be in a campground in most of the national forests in the US. It’s call dispersed camping. Some sites are right off the road and some are a good hike through the forest. If you’ve never done dispersed or boondock camping, a national forest is a great place to start! Give it a try. You might just be surprised at how much you love it!

 

Cherokee National Forest

Another shot of “the falls” as our boys called them. :) They love to be near the water. It’s just good for the soul. They definitely get that from me. I need water nearby or I’m restless. Ocean, lake or stream. The size doesn’t matter.

 

Cherokee National Forest

It was so relaxing sitting on a log by the water. You can imagine the sound of the water flowing, the birds calling and all of the insect life. There was even a fish swimming in the water that we watched for awhile. Then we went on a garbage cleanup hike. We always do a cleanup hike when we go camping. Leave No Trace.

 

 

08/26/2013
by VeganMama
2 Comments

Vegan Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through a link I may receive a small commission. Please see my Disclosure Policy for full details.

Oh yes. You read that right. Vegan Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake. Mmhmm. It’s beautiful, delicious and cruelty-free. That means dairy-free and egg-free cheesecake. I’m not saying it’s healthy, but it’s sooooo good. This is what my kids ask for as their birthday cake! The recipe isn’t mine, so I will only be sharing the ingredients with you and linking you to the genius behind the recipe for the instructions. Give her a little shout out when you visit! Tell her that her genius is off the charts and then come back here and tell me you love me for introducing you to it and her.  :D

 

Vegan Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Promise me you will TRY not to eat it all in one sitting. Yes, it’s that good.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 container (8 oz) Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (get this one if you can; if not, this one is perfectly fine)
  • 1 container (~12 oz) light firm silken tofu (or extra-firm)   (get a case of firm tofu and get a case of this for the leftovers…yuuuuum!!!!)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or sugar – we only buy Florida Crystals Evaporated Cane Sugar and Demerara because it’s harvested in the US, evaporated cane juice, vegan (so no animal bones), carbon neutral)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (don’t overthink this – it’s delicious)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (get the good stuff if you can and USE A BIT LESS THAN CALLED FOR IN RECIPES IF YOU USE THE NIELSEN-MASSEY, it’s pure and intense)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned, not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 teaspoons rum (optional but really good – if you’re doing this recipe with the kids for TKCM, you probably want to skip this :) )
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar or natural sugar (I use Florida Crystals Demerara here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg (Susan is adamant about the fresh nutmeg – don’t tell her, but I’ve never even seen fresh nutmeg)
  • 1 pre-made 8-inch graham cracker crust (or oatmeal cookie crust – I just use a Keebler one unless I have an Arrowhead Mills one)

Directions:

Head over to visit Susan at Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen for the directions. This is her recipe! We love this vegan cheesecake. It really is the best out there, vegan or not

I make this with my boys all the time! They love to add the ingredients to the food processor and to spread the mixes into the crust. Let your kids help in the kitchen! The time you spend together is priceless. They’re not always going to want to cook with Mom and Dad. They will be evil teenagers one day!! :D  And one day they won’t be living at home any more. Take the extra few minutes it may add to your cooking time to let little hands help. I promise you it’s more than worth it.

 

As always, I would LOVE to see pics if you make this with your kiddos! Heck, if you make it by yourself. :) Let me know in the comments how it worked out for you. If you have your own favorite vegan cheesecake recipe, link it up! I’m always looking for new recipes to try.

 

Green Smoothie

08/19/2013
by VeganMama
0 comments

Green Smoothie Recipe for Kids

We have a Green Smoothie recipe that is great to introduce your kids to green smoothies. I know it’s hard to get your kiddos to try something like this if they haven’t been raised drinking them. This green smoothie recipe is light on the leafy greens, but it is wonderful for easing your kids into the wonderful world of green smoothies!

If you can’t get your kids on board with just trying a sip, put it in an opaque cup with a lid. A lot of kids can’t get past the green color. You don’t want to fight them, but there’s nothing wrong with a little subterfuge! :D Or, you can call it a monster smoothie. Our boys found that hilarious!! Frankenstein Smoothie.

Our boys prefer green smoothies over green juice, with one exception. I make a green juice that tastes like chocolate milk! It’s romaine lettuce, 1/2 green apple and a carrot. Unreal.

 

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie for kids

 

Green Smoothie for Kids

Ingredients:

1-2 leaves from a dark green (kale, spinach, romaine, etc – romaine is the mildest flavor)

1 Granny Smith Apple

1 frozen banana (peel and slice it before you freeze it!)

1/2 cup water if necessary to thin it out

1/2-1 cup ice (optional)

 

Directions:

Depending on your blender, you’ll either start with a bit of water and the apple or with the ice and then the banana. We have a Ninja and we have to start with the ice first, then the banana, then the apple and greens. The big thing is to get it SMOOTH. No big chunks or your kids will probably be turned off immediately.

 

Please don’t be afraid to try this with your kids! If they’re super not into it, you drink it and give it a try again later. Be sure to ask what it was that they didn’t like. If it was the texture, try playing around with it! If it was the taste, find out what was wrong. Was it too sour? Too much leafy greens? You can adjust it to your kids’ tastes! Try Googling “green smoothie for kids” and see what you come up with. I’m sure there are tons of recipes out there!

Please feel free to contact me!! I am always here to help. You can leave your question in the comments below or use the Contact Me tab at the top of every page. 

If you try this green smoothie for kids, let me know how your little ones liked it! Drop me a line in the comments section below. I love hearing how these things turn out for you. :)

08/12/2013
by VeganMama
3 Comments

Vegan Zucchini Bread Recipe for TKCM

For today’s The Kids Cook Monday, we made vegan zucchini bread. The recipe I used before becoming vegan was pretty good when I veganized it, but Isa’s vegan zucchini bread recipe over at The PPK is the best I’ve ever had! So that’s the recipe we’ll be sharing today. I neglected to snap any pics of the bread yesterday and I sent it to work with the hubby this morning, so I don’t have any pics for you this week. Sorry about that! I am making this bread again today or tomorrow for our boys and I will get some photos then. They prefer it in muffin form, but it’s all the same. ;)

I will post the ingredient list for you here, but I will link you to The PPK for the instructions. Please do follow them closely. It will make a difference! If you don’t have the same size loaf pan that Isa recommends, then go with the muffins. It will NOT turn out in a 9×5 pan. You need the 8×4 for her recipe. I don’t know how it can make that much of a difference, but it truly does. In a 9×5 pan your vegan zucchini bread will turn out too wet in the middle and it will be a really short loaf. No height at all. Not that I would know that from experience or anything. ;)

Vegan Zucchini Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

1 large very ripe banana
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (this is important)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice (I use nutmeg instead)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (or chocolate chips!)

For the cooking instructions, please visit ThePPK.com! You really will love it. Promise!

As always, I would love to know how this turned out for you. This is a great, simple recipe to try baking with your kids.

And, if you’ve never tried vegan baking before, this is a great recipe to start with!

If you know anyone that is growing zucchini this year, I’m sure they have plenty to share. There is an awesome man at my husband’s work that has shared his zucchini overgrowth with us! When he sends the small ones, then I cook those up but when it’s the really huge ones, I use those for baking! What I don’t plan to use right away, I’m shredding it and freezing it in one cup servings. That seems to be the most common measurement in any recipe that calls for shredded zucchini. Just thaw it in a colander and it’s ready to use!

Thanks for stopping by for today’s The Kids Cook Monday. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, why not take a minute right now to do so?  :)

Vegan Stromboli

07/29/2013
by VeganMama
6 Comments

Vegan Stromboli Recipe for The Kids Cook Monday

Vegan Stromboli

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through a link I may receive a small commission. Please see my Disclosure Policy for full details.

For today’s The Kids Cook Monday, the boys made vegan stromboli. This one is so much fun to make together as a family! You can make small individual rolls so that everyone has their favorite ingredients. Our boys prefer to have just Daiya cheese and sauce in their vegan stromboli. Sometimes our oldest will add in some vegan pepperoni. We don’t buy it often, but it’s a fun addition for a treat. :)  The Hubs and I like to add in all sorts of veggies, never really making the same one twice. Some veggies, like broccoli, need to be softened up a bit beforehand.

My Vegan Stromboli Helper and I made a picture tutorial for today’s recipe.

Here is your ingredients list:

At least one Stromboli Helper (isn't mine cute?!)

At least one Stromboli Helper (isn’t mine cute?!)

Your favorite sturdy pizza dough

Your favorite sturdy pizza dough

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Yeast

Daiya Mozzarella Shreds

Daiya Mozzarella Shreds

 

And here are the directions for our vegan stromboli:

Roll out the dough into a rough pizza shape or rectangle (not too thin!!)

Roll out the dough into a rough pizza shape or rectangle (not too thin!!)

Add the pizza sauce like you would for any pizza

Add the pizza sauce like you would for any pizza

Sprinkle the nutritional yeast all around

Sprinkle the nutritional yeast all around

Add the Daiya shreds and any other topping you want. Easy on the wet ingredients.

Add the Daiya shreds and any other topping you want. Easy on the wet ingredients.

Roll the vegan stromboli up into a log. Pinch your edges and press the seam. Poke some holes with a fork.

Roll the vegan stromboli up into a log. Pinch your edges and press the seam. Poke some holes with a fork.

 

Bake this in an oven that’s been pre-heated to about 325°. This will depend a lot on your toppings and how wet it is inside. I would say 350° is the highest you should go. You need to make sure it bakes inside without browning the outside too much. For us and our gas oven, 325° works perfectly for our vegan stromboli. :)   A smaller log will cook in roughly 12 minutes. Thicker ones will take longer of course, with a temperature on the lower end of our scale. Just keep an eye on them. They should look like this when they are done.

Yummy vegan stromboli ready to be devoured!

Yummy vegan stromboli ready to be devoured!

Notice how it’s a little flaky and lightly browned? We have a spice mix that we got at the Amish grocery store that is for pizzas. It’s basil, garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley. Soooo gooooood!

 

I would like to encourage you to let your kiddos do this one on their own. Be there to encourage them and only step in to help them if they start to get frustrated or just don’t know what to do next. Try to help them by relaying verbal instructions first. Don’t just jump in and take over. Cooking is such a great ego boost for kids! If you are too quick to take over they will likely view it as a failure on their part when really they just needed a little bit of guidance. :)  Your kids are capable of doing this one all by themselves. Mine do! I am always right there with them, but I let them take care of everything from mixing the dough to taking it out of the oven. My boys are a bit older (11 and almost 9), so use common sense on the oven part. ;)

I would love to see your kids’ pics of their vegan stromboli! Leave me some links in the comments section to your blog post about making vegan stromboli with your own family!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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