{Virtual Vegan Potluck} Rainbow Salad with Chilli-Mint-Lime Dressing

rainbowsalad1Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck and a beautiful, warm spring day at my place.

The tiny vegans have set the table on the verandah, and 7-year-old Tiny Vegan is waiting to pour you a refreshing drink. Just be careful where you rest your glass – Little Baker (21 months) may snatch your ice or straw!

Sit down, relax, and enjoy the view of distant mountains while you indulge in a bowl of my potluck offering:  Rainbow Salad with Chilli, Mint and Lime Dressing.

This colourful salad is a scrumptious medley of vegetables, herbs and dry-roasted cashews. A flavoursome, mildly spicy dressing of red chilli, coconut sugar, lime, garlic, tamari, and mint leaves completes the recipe. rainbowsalad2

Ingredients

serves: 4-6 as a side salad

2 x medium zucchini, chopped into matchsticks (I use a julienne peeler)

2 x medium carrot, chopped into matchsticks (again, I use a julienne peeler)

1 medium red capsicum (bell pepper), thinly sliced

1 shallot (green or spring onion), finely chopped

1/2 cup beetroot (beet) leaves, destalked, and finely chopped

2/3 cup finely chopped coriander, stem and leaves

6 large, fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1/2 of a medium raw beetroot (beet), peeled and grated

1 cup raw cashews

for the dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red chilli (birds eye), seeds removed, and finely chopped

6 large, fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

juice and pulp of 1 freshly-squeezed lime

1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1 tsp coconut sugar or brown sugar

1/4 tsp vegan fish sauce (optional)

Method

1. On a low-medium heat, dry roast the cashews in a fry pan or skillet until they begin to turn golden brown. Set aside.

2. Prepare the dressing: Add all of the ingredients to a small mixing bowl or glass jug, and mix well with a fork. Set aside.

3. Add the vegetables and herbs to a large mixing bowl in the order that they are listed. Mix well, but gently. Then add the dry-roasted cashews (set a few aside for garnishing). Toss the salad gently until the cashews are incorporated.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to distribute the dressing.

5. Garnish with mint or basil leaves, and cashews.

6. Serve immediately.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

Regular readers know that I usually mention the opinions of the tiny vegans (my children).

In this case, only 9-year-old Tiny Vegan and Little Baker were offered the Rainbow Salad. They both enjoyed their portions.

The addition of a tiny amount of chilli in the dressing makes this salad a ‘tiny vegan’- friendly recipe. If you prefer a spicier dressing, add the chilli seeds as well.

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I hope you have enjoyed your time with us. Your food journey continues! To visit The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado, and indulge in Megan’s delectable recipe, click here.

rainbowsalad5If you missed the delicious offering from Janae at Bring Joy, click here.

If you want to go to the beginning of the Virtual Vegan Potluck, click here.

rainbowsalad4Thanks for stopping by! I hope to see you again soon.

I apologise for the beetroot stain on your shirt – Little Baker doesn’t usually throw food. 🙂

If you are new to Made of Stars, please consider signing up for email updates, following the blog through WordPress, or joining us on Facebook and Twitter.

Ally 🙂

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…to The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado

***

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…to Bring Joy

vvpLOGOThanks to Annie and Keely for their support and assistance.

{Recipe} Nut-free lunchbox snacks: chilli and parsley crackers; oaty carob bites

The following recipes are suitable for a nut-free lunchbox.

Many of the lunchbox snacks that I prepare at home contain nuts, as my school-aged tiny vegans are not restricted from bringing nuts to school. However, 4 year old Tiny Vegan began attending a ‘nut-free’ pre-school earlier this year. Consequently, this has inspired me to experiment with nut-free lunchbox snacks.

chillicrackers1

These tasty crackers consist of dried chilli flakes, fresh parsley, nutritional yeast, ground flaxseeds, tahini, oats and brown rice flour.

This recipe was inspired by a gluten-free cracker that I featured during Vegan MoFo. I decided to experiment with a nut-free cracker recipe that consists of pantry staples – like dried chilli flakes and tahini – and fresh herbs. I chose parsley as it grows so abundantly in our little herb garden.

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Ingredients

(Quantity – approximately 40 small crackers)

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)

1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds (golden or brown)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 – 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 tightly packed tsp of finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp asofoetida (hing) or garlic powder

2 tsp tahini (sesame paste)

5 Tbsp water

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced/350F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Use a food processor or coffee grinder to grind the oats to a fine flour. Add the oats to a mixing bowl.

3. Add the remaining dry ingredients, including the fresh parsley and chilli flakes.

4. Add the tahini and water. Mix well with a spatula or fork, then use your hands to form the mixture into a ball of dough.

5. Sprinkle brown rice flour onto a wooden board or kitchen counter. Knead the dough for several minutes on the floured surface, then divide the dough it into about 6 segments*. Use a rolling pin to roll each segment, one at a time, to a thickness of about 3mm. Use a pizza cutter (or knife) to cut the dough into small crackers, roughly 4cm x 4cm.

6. Transfer the crackers to the baking tray. Prick each cracker with the prongs of a fork a couple of times. Bake for approximately 15 -18 minutes, or until the crackers are a light golden brown colour.

7. The crackers will harden as they cool. Once cooled, store in an air tight container.

*I divide the dough into segments as I find it easier to ‘manage’ (ie. roll and cut) a smaller quantity of dough.

chillicrackers2

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

The tiny vegans are enthusiastic about spicy food, so I use the full 1/4 tsp in this recipe. If you – or your kids – are not keen on spicy crackers, use 1/8 tsp for a subtler ‘kick’.

The tiny vegans enjoy these crackers plain, or with dips like hummus.

***

oatbites1

This recipe is a nut-free version of a recipe that I developed for Vegan MoFo, Nutty Cinnamon Bites.

Ingredients

1 cup oats

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw carob powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup dates

1/2 cup sultanas or pitted prunes

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

coconut sugar and/or shredded coconut for coating

Method

1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor in the order that they are listed.

2. Process the mixture for about 2 minutes, until it clumps together and forms a large ball on the blade. The mixture will stick together when pressed between your fingers and thumb.

3. To form into balls: Scoop out a heaped tablespoon of the mixture, and roll it between the palms of your hands until it forms a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Roll the balls in shredded coconut and/or coconut sugar. Can be eaten immediately, or refrigerated for half an hour before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.

4. To form into bars: Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a loaf tin lined with baking paper. Press the mixture into the tin with your fingers or a spatula. Smooth the top. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours. Remove from the freezer and cut into bars. The bars can be topped with raw cacao nibs or shredded coconut.

oatbars

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

This recipe is a popular lunchbox snack with the tiny vegans – in ball or bar form.

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally 🙂

{Recipe} Chocolate, Raspberry and Walnut Cupcakes

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Just over a week ago, the school-aged tiny vegans were invited to three birthday parties (between them) in one weekend. Clearly, they have a busier social life than I do. I count myself lucky if I meet a friend for coffee once a week. 🙂

I baked a batch of simple muffins as substitutes for the non-vegan birthday cakes. I chose a chocolate, raspberry and walnut combination, using my ‘tried and tested’ chocolate cake recipe as a guide.

Mat and 7-year-old Tiny Vegan took two muffins to the first party of the weekend.

I decided to complicate matters by whipping up a chocolate icing for the remaining muffins – thus, transforming them into cupcakes. I finished with a flourish of vegan 100s and 1000s.

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Children love sprinkles.

On the other hand, I was delighted by the taste of rich chocolate, hints of raspberry and a crunch of walnut. OK….I was charmed by the sprinkles as well. 🙂

I have to be honest with you. After a month of gluten-free baking for Vegan MoFo, I thoroughly enjoyed returning to gluten-loaded baking. It felt comfortable and safe. Importantly, I could toss my frozen raspberries into the batter with wild abandon, without worrying that the batter would freeze. 🙂

chocrasp3Ingredients

(yield – 15 cupcakes or muffins)

2 cups plain wholemeal wheat flour

1 cup raw sugar

1/3 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda, sifted

1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1 1/4 cup cold water

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped organic frozen raspberries

1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts

vegan 100s and 1000s (sprinkles) for decoration

For the frosting:

2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted

3 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

1/4 cup coconut butter

1 Tbsp organic extra virgin coconut oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp hot water

2 Tbsp tinned coconut cream

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C (160C fan forced oven). Arrange silicone baking cups on a baking tray, or grease muffin tray(s).

2. To a large mixing bowl, add flour, cacao powder, sugar and baking soda. Mix well.

3. In a small mixing bowl, add water, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Mix well with a fork.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are well combined. Gently fold in the raspberries and walnuts, using a spatula.

5. Scoop batter into silicone baking cups (or muffin tray).

6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 14-16 minutes. To test whether they are cooked, insert a skewer into the centre of a cupcake. If the skewer comes out clean, or with only a couple of dry crumbs attached, they are ready. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the cups (or tray). Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a cooling rack before putting them into large, colourful patty pan (paper) cases, and applying the icing.

7. For the icing: To a medium mixing bowl, add the icing sugar and cacao powder. Mix well.

8. In a small bowl, add the coconut butter, coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of hot water and vanilla extract. Stir well. Then add the mixture to the bowl of icing sugar, with the second tablespoon of hot water.

9. Beat the mixture with an electric beater until the ingredients are well combined. The mixture will appear clumpy at this stage.

10. Add the coconut cream. Use a spatula or metal spoon to stir the icing to a smooth consistency. Add additional coconut cream, one teaspoon at a time, if you prefer a runnier consistency.

11. Apply the icing to each cupcake, using a small knife. Sprinkle the cupcakes with 100s and 1000s before the icing sets.

Store leftover cupcakes in a sealed container. I don’t refrigerate my cupcakes, but you may decide to do that if your kitchen is very hot and you are worried that the icing may melt.

***

If you prefer an icing that is free of coconut-based ingredients, refer to the chocolate icing recipe listed here.

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Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too! 

Ally 🙂

{Vegan MoFo} A nut-free, gluten-free lunchbox for a vegan pre-schooler

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My kids are on school holidays at the moment, which means a reprieve from packing lunchboxes.

However, that does not mean you will have a reprieve from hearing about lunchboxes. 🙂

Recently, I featured the lunchboxes of my school-aged kids.

Today, I show you the lunch of 4-year-old Tiny Vegan, who attends a pre-school with a ‘nut-free’ policy.

On Friday, his packed lunch consisted of the following:

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A small bowl of pasta salad – gluten-free spirals, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, celery, red capsicum (bell pepper), freshly picked parsley leaves, and a smidgen of soy mayonnaise.

Strawberries; cucumber and carrot sticks; homemade hommus; chickpeas roasted in vegan worcestershire sauce; goji berries; coconut flakes; sunflower seeds and a bottle of water.

Each child also brings a separate container of cut-up fruit to share with the other children at morning tea. At this time of year, we usually pack orange segments, mandarin segments or strawberries.

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Tiny Vegan’s Verdict

So, what returned home in the afternoon?

A few chickpeas, a few sunflower seeds, a couple of goji berries, a coconut flake or two, a smidgen of hommus, and a segment of the parsley sprig.

I think that’s a ‘thumbs up’. 🙂

***

Check-out my other post on vegan lunchboxes here.

For more vegan pre-school lunchbox inspiration, visit my friend Sarah’s blog Play.Love.Vegan (click here). She is a mum of two tiny vegans, including a pre-schooler. Her lunchboxes are works of art.

Ally

{Vegan MoFo} A gluten-free, vegan lunchbox

Yesterday, I showed you what my kids ate for breakfast.

Today, I show you their lunchboxes.

More specifically, the lunches of my school-aged children.

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One of the valuable aspects of posting (almost) daily during Vegan MoFo, is the opportunity it provides to feature foods that we eat on a day-to-day basis.

I wouldn’t want regular readers to think that we live on cheesecake and cupcakes. 🙂

Although….

I don’t think these lunchboxes help alleviate that impression. Muffins make an appearance. Do they count as cake?

lunchboxa

***

lunch3

***

lunchintroBasmati brown rice with broccoli florets, snowpeas, carrot, tatsoi leaves, tofu, coriander, and a maple-tamari sauce.

***

vanilla2

I used a gluten-free recipe called banana scented vanilla cake to make the vanilla banana muffins. The recipe is available here.

I reduced the amount of sugar specified in the recipe by a quarter of a cup, and poured the batter into 15 silicone baking cups. I baked the muffins on 160C (fan forced oven) for 16 minutes.

I think this recipe will become my ‘go to’ gluten-free muffin. I anticipate experimenting with flavour combinations in the near future – chocolate chai sounds appealing. 🙂

The (biggest) Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

We can ascertain their ‘verdicts’ based on the remnants that returned home in the lunchboxes.

My daughter’s mandarin segments made the trip home. My son’s lunchbox still contained a few pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes. And all of the rockmelon chunks. But, I won’t hold that against him. During the morning rush (and the lunchbox photography session!), I forgot that he doesn’t like rockmelon.

Ally

{Guest post} Does apple juice have eggs in it?

I am thrilled to be guest blogging at Appetite Affliction today.  🙂

I write about my experiences of parenting tiny vegans, in the 0-5 age range.

Nat is the creator of Appetite Affliction. Some of you already know her. But for those who don’t, Nat is a vegan, a lover of tahini and, like me, she lives in Australia and shares her home with mischievous magpies. 😉

I also regard her as a friend.

magpie

A mischievous magpie.

***

Does apple juice have eggs in it?

My daughter was 3 years old when she posed this question. It marks the first occasion that she asked about the ‘vegan status’ of a food. It was an important milestone in my eyes, and I remember the moment fondly.

Today, I have been sharing my life with tiny vegans for almost a decade.

To continue reading this post, click here.

***

A massive thank you to Nat, for giving me the opportunity to share my vegan parenting journey with the readers of Appetite Affliction.

To readers of Made of Stars, I encourage you to explore the recipes and restaurant reviews on Appetite Affliction.

Also, I direct all Star Wars fans to this page. I am considering the Banana-Passionfruit Lego Stormtrooper cake for a tiny vegan’s up-coming birthday party.

Ally 

The Littlest Kitten Drinks Cows’ Milk

My toddler (AKA Little Baker) is enamoured by a small cardboard book called The Littlest Kitten. The book contains an orange finger puppet head for the main character, a kitten. The Littlest Kitten.

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The Littlest Kitten; the biggest head.

I think the finger puppet head is the aspect that draws his interest. Also, the book is toddler-sized: perfect for tiny fingers. He likes to cuddle the book while breastfeeding, and he laughs when I animate the finger puppet. It is a very short book, only eight pages.

Despite its brevity, I have not read the book in its entirety to him. When I attempt to read it, Little Baker just keeps turning the pages, back and forth. He isn’t interested in the story at the moment.

This week, we were snuggled on the bed, and I was preparing to read it to him. He was turning the pages, back and forth. My daughter approached us: ‘Oh, I don’t like that book’, she announced. ‘I don’t now why he likes it so much’.

Naturally, a book that appeals to a toddler is unlikely to hold the interest of a 9 year old. Clearly, my daughter is not in the target age group* for this book, so I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t like it. But she seemed particularly passionate in her dislike.

What don’t you like about it? 

The floodgates opened:

‘It’s ridiculous’! she proclaimed. ‘It’s called the Littlest Kitten, but look at his head. It’s huge. He looks creepy’.

Just to drive home the point, she concluded with a dose of hyperbole: ‘It’s the creepiest kitten in history’!

Despite her distaste for the book about the ‘creepiest kitten in history’, she sat down with us as Little Baker and I flicked through the book.

I focused on pointing to the animals and naming them, while I read the text to myself.

I can now wholeheartedly assert that I’m not a big fan of the book either.

The reason? Page 4:

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The creepiest kitten in history drinks cows’ milk. That may explain the enlarged head!

‘The cow barn is our favorite place.

Sometimes I get milk on my face

“Drink your breakfast” Mom meows.

We love milk from happy cows’.

The mother cat implores her kittens to drink their breakfast – a bowl of cow’s milk.

This is ludicrous! Why are they drinking the milk of a cow, and not the milk of their own mother?

Cows’ milk – as a health beverage, and as a source of calcium – is so entrenched in our culture. Even the animals in our storybooks drink it.

Of course, the cow is a happy cow. She is happy that the kittens are drinking her milk. I suppose she is happy about her enslavement too.

Children are exposed to the myth of the ‘happy cow’ in storybooks, children’s TV shows, TV advertisements, and in the classroom. Cows are portrayed frequently as willing participants; benevolent givers of their milk. Calves are invisible in the happy cow narrative.

happycow

A ‘happy cow’

On a positive note, this book inspired a conversation with my daughter about the ‘happy cow’ myth. Specifically, cows aren’t happy about ‘giving’ their milk after all; they’d rather have their babies with them.

Furthermore, I do not normalise cows’ milk consumption to my children. When Little Baker is a little older, I will tell him that kittens drink their mother’s milk, and that cows make milk for their own babies.

I could get rid of the book by throwing it in the recycling bin (after decapitating the puppet head) or depositing it in a charity bin. But, Little Baker loves it. I don’t have the heart to make it disappear.

Besides, this type of book is a good educational tool. Parents can use the ‘non-vegan’ content to inspire discussion with their children about vegan values. We can promote empathy and compassion in our children by encouraging them to think about situations from the perspectives of the animal characters.

Also, we can talk to our children about biological norms – calves drink cows’ milk, human babies drink human milk, and kittens – even kittens with big heads – drink cats’ milk. 

***

* Oddly, the book’s back cover states: ‘Ages 5+’. Perhaps the puppet head is regarded as a choking hazard. The publisher is dreaming; the story is not engaging enough for kids aged 5 and over.

What is your child’s current favourite book? Does it promote vegan values?

Ally 

{Recipe} Winter Smoothies

wintersmooth

Today I am featuring a sample of the smoothies that we have been enjoying over winter. These smoothies take advantage of seasonal fruits – apples, pears, strawberries, oranges, and avocados. Small, sweet bananas are in season all year round in my neck of the woods, so they feature prominently in my smoothies. I prefer to use bananas that have been frozen, as they impart a creamy, thick consistency to smoothies. I keep my freezer stocked with a steady supply of banana pieces.

I am fortunate to have a high-speed blender in my kitchen (Blendtec), but you can prepare these smoothies in a ‘regular’ blender. If you think that your blender could not cope with a particular ingredient – like apples or pumpkin seeds – leave it out or substitute. Don’t leave out the green leaves though!

applepear

Apple-Pear Green Smoothie

This smoothie is delightfully thick and satisfying. A good breakfast smoothie.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 Tbsp coconut butter (optional)

1 pear, cored

1 apple, cored (or another pear, cored)

flesh of 1/2 an avocado

3 Tbsp rolled oats (or gluten-free oats)

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds (linseeds)

2 cups baby cos lettuce (romaine) leaves

2 cups baby spinach leaves

 2 small dinosaur kale (tuscan cabbage) leaves, de-stemmed

2 small frozen bananas

Method

1. Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

2. Serve in tall glasses.

***

berrycitrus

Berry-Citrus Green Smoothie

A subtle hint of citrus, and the health-giving properties of berries and pumpkin seeds.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1 orange, peeled

1 cup strawberries

flesh of 1/2 an avocado

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds (linseeds)

1 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 cup baby cos (romaine) lettuce leaves

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1 cup curly kale leaves, de-stemmed

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I use organic, frozen)

1 small frozen banana

Method

1. Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

2. Serve in tall glasses.

***

straw1

The following recipes are designed to be ‘kid friendly’. They contain a small amount of leafy greens, but are not green in appearance.

In our household, the tiniest Tiny Vegans adore green smoothies and happily drink them. Unfortunately, my older children are not as keen. They prefer non-dairy milk-based smoothies, like the following three recipes.

strawberryban

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Delightfully creamy. A delicious after school snack.

Serves 1 (or makes 2 child-sized serves)

Ingredients:

1 cup of non-dairy milk (I use soy or unsweetened almond)

1 cup strawberries

flesh of 1/4 avocado

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds (linseeds)

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

2 baby cos (romaine) lettuce leaves, stem section removed

2 small frozen bananas

Method

1. Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

2. Decorate glass with a strawberry.

***

chocmint

Choc-Mint Smoothie

A refreshing burst of mint. Not strictly a winter blend, but a delectable flavour combination nonetheless.

Serves 1 (makes 2 child-sized serves)

Ingredients:

1 cup non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened almond)

1/2 Tbsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds (linseeds)

3 medjool dates, pitted, and soaked until soft (optional)

1/4 cup freshly picked mint leaves

2 small frozen bananas

Method

1. Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

2. Pour into glass and top with a sprinkling of cacao nibs.

***

pear1

Pear-Chocolate Chai Smoothie

Dark caramel in colour. A satisfying hint of chai-inspired spices and a welcome burst of chocolate.

Serves 1 (makes 2 child-sized serves)

Ingredients:

1 cup non-dairy milk (I use soy)

1 pear, cored

1 heaped tsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/16 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

a generous pinch of ground cardamon

a pinch of ground cloves

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds (linseeds)

6 baby spinach leaves, end stems removed

1 small frozen banana

Method

1. Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.

2. Pour into glass and top with a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.

***

What are your favourite winter smoothie combinations?

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or more!) that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally  :)

For summer-inspired smoothies, see this post.

Linking up with Healthy Vegan Fridays.

{Recipe} Vegan Lunchbox Snacks

After last week’s booze-soaked, caffeine-fueled decadence, it’s time to re-focus on child-friendly recipes. 🙂

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Last week, a friend was lamenting the relentlessness of the school lunchbox routine. I can relate!

So, for those that suffer from periodic (or chronic) lunchbox loathing, I am featuring three recipes that may provide some much-needed inspiration.

1. Baked Crackers – Spelt and Spicy Wheat

2. Cinnamon Cookie Dough Bars

3. Crispy Edamame

At the end of this post, I have included links to other ‘lunchbox-friendly’ recipes on Made of Stars.

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Most store-bought crackers are heavy on sodium. Many contain palm oil (for info on why palm oil is not a cruelty-free food, see this post). Some contain undesirable additives.

These crackers are tasty on their own or teamed with a dip, such as hummus. My daughter enjoys them with avocado. They are simple to prepare, and my kids are enthusiastic about helping to make them. They particularly enjoy rolling and cutting the dough, and sprinkling the seeds on top.

I have included recipes for two different varieties:

Spelt Crackers

(Adapted from this recipe)

Quantity- 26 small crackers

**Ingredients**

1 cup wholemeal spelt flour

4 Tbsp water

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 Tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)

1/4 tsp ground cumin

poppy seeds

sesame seeds

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.

2. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the cumin. Mix well.

3. Add the water to a small jug. Add the salt to the jug and stir well until salt is dissolved.

4. Add the oil to the jug, and mix. Then pour the liquid into the mixing bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

5. As the flour begins to clump together, and becomes difficult to stir with the wooden spoon, use your hands to form the mixture into a dough. Work the dough until it becomes malleable.

6. Lightly flour the kitchen bench with additional flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin sheet.

7. It is preferable to have crackers that are roughly the same size (about 4.5 x 3cm). To achieve this, use a pizza cutter to cut the sheet of dough into a symmetrical rectangle. Retain the ‘off cuts’.  Cut the crackers with the pizza cutter, then place them onto a large, lined baking tray.

8. Repeat the process with the remaining dough (the ‘off cuts’). To obtain a consistent size, you can use a cut cracker as a guide.

9. Evenly space all of the crackers on the baking tray. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Use the rolling pin (or your fingers) to press the seeds onto the crackers.

10. Bake for 12 minutes.

11. Remove from oven and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

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***

Spicy Wheat Crackers

(Adapted from this recipe)

Quantity – 11 large crackers

**Ingredients**

1 cup wholemeal wheat flour

1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp dried marjoram

4 Tbsp water

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)

Poppy seeds

Sesame seeds

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

2. Add flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the cayenne pepper and marjoram. Mix well.

3. Follow steps 3-6 in the previous recipe.

4. If you want to make larger crackers (as we did), cut them into 7 x 5 cm rectangles, and bake for 14 minutes (otherwise follow steps 7-10 above).

5. Once cooled, store crackers in an air tight container.

crackerslast

***

bars1

Cinnamon Cookie Dough Bars

These bars are rich and decadent, and free of oil and refined sugar. They are a simple, yet satisfying snack.

I’m sure that regular readers will not be surprised when I reveal the creator of these fabulous bars.

Yes, it’s one of Dreena’s recipes. 😉

The bars consist of cashews, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, rolled oats, dates, and cinnamon. Sunflowers seeds are a good substitution for the hemp seeds. I like to use a combination of cashews and macadamia nuts.

I store the bars in the freezer. I adore their consistency when devoured straight from the freezer. You can freeze the entire slice uncut, and use a sharp knife to cut a slice as desired. However, I prefer to store it pre-sliced.

The recipe is available here.

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***

edamame1

Crispy Edamame

All of the Tiny Vegans enjoy steamed, unshelled edamame -the type that is available in Japanese restaurants. Recently, I purchased a bag of frozen, shelled edamame. I baked them with nutritional yeast, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. They were delicious!

Ingredients

2 cups frozen, and shelled edamame, thawed

1/2 – 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (ie. savoury yeast flakes)

Salt

Pepper

Method

1.Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

2. Add thawed edamame to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with a small quantity of salt and pepper, then add 1/2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast. Mix well to coat the beans. Add another 1/2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast if desired.

3. Spread beans onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 20-25, until beans begin to brown and turn crispy.

4. Allow beans to cool, then store in an airtight container.

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Little Baker adored these beans! For toddlers, omit the salt and pepper.

We added the leftover beans to a tofu and vegetable stir fry.

edamame2

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Check out these vegan lunchbox posts on Made of Stars:

Gluten-free lunchboxes for school kids

A gluten-free lunchbox for a pre-schooler

Nut-free lunchbox snacks

More ‘lunchbox friendly’ recipes:

bars4

Banana Oat Bars

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cupslunchb

Cucumber and Nori Cups

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burger

Nutty Veggie Burgers

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chickpeas

Tamari-roasted Chickpeas

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pecan1

Pecan Date Nibblers

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dateslice2

Cinnamon Date Slice

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pancakelunchbox

Wholemeal Spelt and Chia Pancakes

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What are your children’s favourite lunchbox snacks?  What are your favourite lunchbox snacks?

Ally

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or three!) that is enjoyed by my own family  – I hope your family enjoys it too.

{Recipe} Cucumber and Nori Cups

I was inspired to create Cucumber and Nori Cups after seeing a recipe called Cucumber Cups in the Veggieful e-book, Vegan Party Food. With beautiful photographs and scrumptious recipes, this e-book is a bargain at only $2.95.

I wanted to make an after school snack for my kids that fit the following criteria: healthy, visually appealing, simple to prepare, and not requiring cooking.

I was planning to make Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites (using hommus instead of nut cheese) when I remembered the Cucumber Cups I had seen in Vegan Party Food. Veggieful’s Cucumber Cups are packed with satay tofu. I am yet to make them, but they look truly delectable.

I packed my cucumber cups with ingredients that were available in my kitchen. Then I wrapped them in strips of nori (seaweed).

Cucumbercups

Ingredients

Continental (telegraph) Cucumber

hommus

grated carrot

chopped pineapple

cubed beetroot

raw cashews 

sesame seeds

poppy seeds

raw cashews

nori sheet

Method

1. Cut the cucumber into 3 cm pieces (approximately). Obviously, the length of your cucumber will determine the number of cups. Use more than one cucumber if you want to make a larger quantity.

2. Scoop out some of the flesh using a teaspoon:

cups2

3. Add a dollop of hommus to each cup. Add the grated carrot. Then add pineapple, beetroot, and cashews. Sprinkle some cups with poppy seeds, and some with sesame seeds.

4. Cut thin strips from a sheet of nori. Wrap each strip snuggly around the cups, then moisten the end with water to ‘stick’ it down.

5. Serve.

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This is a very ‘flexible’ recipe. You can use a different combination of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Use nut cheese, nut butter, vegan cream cheese, or other dips instead of hommus. You can omit the nori.

cups3

This recipe need never be the same each time you make it. Be guided by the ingredients in your kitchen.

A tip: If you don’t use hommus, use a ‘thick’ dip. A runny dip will spill over the sides when you add the rest of the ingredients. Yes, it happened to me. 🙂

What is your favourite party food? 

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Sharing this recipe with Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Ally

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