Cooking with Toddlers: Lavender Flower and Honey Bread

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The first time Fig and I ate this bread it was ,no joke, like eating a bar of soap. Needless to say, it took us a few attempts to get the proportions just right but once perfected I succumed to it’s deliciousness, devouring an entire loaf in one day. Since eating an entire loaf of bread is never good for one’s thighs, Fig and I have vowed to make this only for special occasions. Luckily we have Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve approaching. All legit holidays and thus a perfectly acceptable reason to make these loaves.

Despite this being insanely delicious and a perfect pairing with tea, the recipe was inspired by a not-so inspiring day of toddler shenanigans. A few weeks ago, Fig was having the worst day known to humanity. Everything was a major deal and cause for a complete breakdown. For example, forbidding him to clobber his baby brother with a wooden block? TEARS. Asking him to not paint on the wall with his watercolors. TEARS. Setting him down for lunch? TEARS. Taking away said lunch because nothing had been eaten? TEARS. No matter what I did or didn’t do that day resulted in, you guessed it, TEARS.

By 3 PM my patience was out and I was near tears myself when I decided we might as well bake some bread. Seeing as we both needed to unwind, lavender ( way too much of it in fact) was thrown into the dough last minute and upon trying it ( and consequently gagging), decided that it certainly had potential if we could make it less soapy and more bready.

Now, after many attempts, and a few extra pounds, Fig and I give you our perfected Lavender Flower and Honey Bread; the perfect antidote for a stressed out mama and a cranky toddler. Making it soothing and so is eating it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of finely crushed lavender flowers
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 1 package of dry active yeast (1/4 oz)
  • 3/4 cups of warm water, possibly a bit more depending on how the kneading the dough goes.

Directions:

  • Crush lavender flowers finely ( I used a mortar and pestle to do this)
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, honey, sea salt, lavender, yeast, and warm water.
  • Knead very well ( 5 minutes or more) and form into a rounded ball.
  • Place bread in floured bowl, cover, and let sit in a warm place for about 2 hours.
  • After two hours, divide dough in half. On a floured work surface, form each piece of dough into a rounded loaf shape.
  • Bake at 400 for about 30-35 minutes, checking frequently to ensure the bread doesn’t over-brown.
  • Let cool before serving.

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Cooking with Toddlers: Pumpkin, Chia, and Flax Seed Falafel

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Things have been crazy around here the last few weeks. Working from home full time with a toddler and a baby that is about to pop out in a few weeks ( or sooner!) is no joke. There is a distinct possibility that our brand new baby might come home from the birth center naked since I have yet to buy a single piece of clothing for him/her. Nesting clearly hasn’t happened to me but avoidance and procrastination has.

To say I’m behind on life is a bit of an understatement but no matter how behind I am on my ever growing “to do” list we still have to eat. Which brings me to a wonderful dish that little Fig and I cooked up the other day; Pumpkin, Chia and Flax Seed Falafel. This recipe was inspired by The Vibrant Table again. As usual, we didn’t have several ingredients that she called for; so we improvised quite a bit.

Fig LOVED making the Falafel “balls” because he could really sink his hands into the mixture. The actual act of “making balls” ( as he says it) was a very engrossing activity. Fig is so full of energy that it’s always nice to see him highly focused on a task and I’ve found that quiet kitchen activities are really beneficial for him. While he’s fairly good at balancing his own inner equilibrium he sometimes needs my help. Dishes that have a sensory aspect ( a mixture, dough, or batter etc) and a fine motor skill ( the act of creating balls manually) always draws Fig into a quiet focus and falafel is an awesome combination of both.

I was also highly skeptical he’d actually eat the finished product but he did with gusto!

Pumpkin, Chia and Flax Seed Falafel

  • 4 tablespoons of ground flax seed
  • 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 a regular can of cooked chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 garlic minced
  • 1/8 cup of chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste ( taste the mixture as you go to determine the amount)

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Directions:

  • Grind up the pumpkin seeds so they are very small in a food processor
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Take out several spoonfuls of the pumpkin seed and set aside to coat falafel with later.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients ( aside from the sesame seeds) in the processor and pulse until blended yet chunky
  • Here’s where an eager toddler comes into play; Form little rounded balls and coat with remaining pumpkin and sesame seed mix.
  • Place on a lightly oiled baking dish and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with warm flatbread and either hummus or a tahini sauce.

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My toddler ate dog food and other concerns

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So far, I’ve been unsuccessful in enticing Fig to eat avocados. This is a pity because avocados are one of my favorite foods not to mention superbly nutritious. S0, when I stumbled across this recipe by Oh, She Glows for 15 minute creamy avocado pasta I was confident I’d hit the jackpot. Not only does it take 15 minutes to make ( 30 with a toddler) but because Fig is a sucker for all things pasta,  I was confident it would be the solution to our avocado woes.

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And because Pasta is the perfect vehicle to sneak more veggies into my little guy, I decided to add freshly shelled sweet peas, fresh corn  and a little cilantro; we are in Mexico after all. All was going as planned until I left for two minutes.

As any mama knows, a toddler can accomplish an incredible amount of mischief in less than 30 seconds flat. Less time is needed with an accomplice.

Enter, Mafalda the Dachshund. A sneaky, sassy little sausage dog with a weakness for freshly shelled pea. 2 minutes is all it took for 1/2 our peas to go down the hatch of a veggie loving dachshund with the help of a two year old sous chef.

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Dog

I walked in on the pea debacle in full swing, quickly realizing I had nobody to blame but myself. Rule # 1 of cooking with toddlers, never leave them unattended, especially with a dog.

We had plenty of corn and cilantro, so our recipe wasn’t shot yet.  Next we set out to make the avocado sauce only to find that Mexico City’s rainy season had other plans for us. With the power going on and off, we weren’t able to make use of the blender. No matter, hand grinding did the trick and was deliciously fun for my little chef.

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With the avocado’s prepared, back to the kitchen we went to assemble our creation. As I’m adding the garlic, lemon, and cilantro the dish I feel Fig’s presence behind me; quietly absorbed in some task. I want to take a picture of our final product since it looks quite lovely and am scrambling to do so before the lights turn off from the storm.

2 minutes pass with no peep from Fig. As I turn around to bring the meal towards the table I see him squatted by the dog’s bowl, back towards me, the rhythmic motion of his jaws moving up and down.  It takes me a full 5 seconds to realize he is scarfing down the dog’s food.

That night, Fig did not eat his Avocado Pasta. He was too full off of kibble ( albeit, high quality organic kibble from Whole Foods, but kibble nonetheless).My only consolation was the several dozen peas that made it into his stomach prior to giving the rest to the dog, the tiny bit of avocado he tried while processing it, and the plethora of dried vegetables and fruit found in the kibble.

We’ll redefine success for the day and call it a win.