Cooking with Toddlers: Flower Petal Cookies

Flower Petal Cookies

Toddlers love to pluck and pick things from the earth. I know because I have a bald apple tree. My dear little toddler has managed to pluck off the vast majority of blossoms from our beautiful apple tree. I also caught him “pruning” the lilac trees. And by pruning I mean ripping all the flowers, branches and leaves off.

Clearly Fig is into flowers.

In an attempt to quell his shrubbery inquisition (before I lost every single tree and plant in our yard) we decided to gather all our edible flowers and turn them into a cookie.

Most toddlers will be keen on flower gathering. It’s an easy way to involve them in the kitchen even if you don’t have the time or desire to involve them in the rest of the recipe.  It’s also a natural way to teach kids about flowers without actually any formal lesson. I explained to Fig that we only wanted the flower petals for this cookie; not the leaves, not the stems, not the sepals etc. After a bit, he got the hang of it.

You can use any edible flowers for these cookies. We choose lavender, calendula, lilacs, kale flowers ( also known as kale raab) and clover. A combination of fresh and dried will do just fine. Make sure you don’t put too much lavender in these cookies or they will start tasting like a face mask.

More information on edible flowers can be found here.

Cooking with Toddlers

Cooking with Toddlers

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Cooking with Flowers

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of edible flowers, dried or fresh.
  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup of hemp seeds
  • 1 cup of almond flower
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk ( any milk will do if you don’t have almond milk handy)
  • 3 tbs of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 F
  • Wash flowers well and pick off petals and place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Combine flowers with sunflower seeds, flax, hemp, almond flowers and chia seeds. Mix well.
  • Stir in the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and almond milk to the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  • Line a baking sheet and spread out mixture to about 1/4 of an inch high.
  • Bake for between 20-25 minutes; checking frequently to ensure the cookies are not browning too much. They should be lightly toasted.
  • Cool, cut, and serve with tea.

Toddler Friendly Parts of this Recipe:

  • Gathering edible flowers
  • Plucking the petals off the flowers
  • Measuring out the seeds
  • Stirring the cookie mix

Flower Petal Cookies

Flower Petal Cookies

 

 

Cooking with Toddlers: Cabbage Bowls with Quinoa and Sorrel in an Almond Sauce

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Cabbage bowls; the perfect dish for when all your dishes are dirty.

Our house is wired in such a way that you can’t have both the laundry machine and the dishwasher going simultaneously. This is rather unfortunate given that Fig rolls around in the mud all day long and has a remarkable talent for dirtying up clothes. I often find myself pondering if I should wash the feral cat poo Fig accidentally meandered into or the dishes. Poo always wins.

Which is why you’ll frequently find Fig eating his lunch on cutting boards or devouring his sandwich out of a bowl ( mom fail). A two year old could really care less if his quesadilla is jammed into a bowl but it always gives me pause. It was on a particularly horrendous laundry day that we decided to test out cabbage leaves in lieu of proper dishware. Not only are they pretty but there are no extra dishes! The scraps were fed to our worm farm post-lunch.

The wonderful thing about these bowls is you can really dress them up anyway you want and include a little one in the process. We chose quinoa, corn, sorrel, and avocado (aka what was left over in our fridge) and dressed it up with our homemade version of yum sauce.

Fig loves scooping and cutting and had a great deal of fun designing his own little bowl. His bowl turned out a little more messy avant garde but toddlers are passionate and temperamental artists and are best left alone in matters like these.

Cabbage Bowls:

These are quite simple. All you need is cabbage leaves, fixings and a killer sauce. Mix your fixings of choice in the cabbage bowl and drizzle with sauce. Relax for an extra 10 minutes after lunch since there are no dishes 🙂

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Cooking with Toddlers: Coconut Ice Cream with Bee Pollen

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Ice and cream; two words, when combined and subsequently uttered in the presence of a two year old, will result in deliberate, merciless and unrelenting harassment.

“Hey Fig, want to help mama make some ice cream?”. The words just slipped out of my mouth before I knew it and everything went downhill from there.

Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Mom can I have some ice cream? Is the ice cream ready? Ice cream. I want ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Hey mom, is the ice cream ready. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. iceeee creaam ….

This went on for an entire day because, as the name implies, making homemade frozen desserts requires time to freeze. Time and toddlers don’t go well together especially when ice cream is on the line.

While this is an incredibly easy recipe to make with a toddler, I’d suggest you don’t mention what it is unless you want to be pecked to death for the next 12 hours.

No Churn Coconut Ice Cream with Bee Pollen

Everything is in bloom here, spring is everywhere and so are our allergies. I decided to throw some local bee pollen in for decoration + to help with our runny eyes. This is vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free.

Ingredients:

  • Two 15 oz cans of coconut cream.
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar (optional, but adds a bit of sweetness to this rich cream).
  • Bee pollen for garnish.

Directions

  • Scoop out the two cans of coconut cream into a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk on high for several minutes until the cream is light and fluffy.
  • Pour mixture into a 12 X 8 baking dish and freeze ( we left ours for 12 hours).
  • Once the ice cream is frozen, you’ll need to let it thaw for quite some time. We let ours sit in the sun for around 20 minutes before we were able to scoop it out.
  • Serve in cones or bowls and sprinkle with bee pollen.

Toddler Friendly Parts of this Recipe

  • Scoping the coconut cream into the bowl.
  • Pouring in the vanilla extract.
  • Licking the whisk attachment ( Fig considers this crucial).
  • Sprinkling the bee pollen on the cones.

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Zucchini Noodles in a Minty Pea Sauce

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Looking for a green St. Patrick’s day dish? Check out my recipe for Zucchini Noodles in a Minty Pea Sauce over at Growing Up Herbal. It’s my favorite resource for all things herbs and has excellent information on herbal medicine for young ones!

Cooking with Toddlers: Braised Fennel and Mandarinquats

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The other day as Fig, Cedar ( our newest sous chef; aged 3 months)  and I were doing a bit of grocery shopping we stumbled upon a Mandarinquat. Mandarinquats, as the name suggests, are a Mandarin and Kumquat hybrid. And since I’m a sucker for over-priced produce with fancy names I bought as many as would fit in a produce bag and hauled it home.

Fig loves fennel and will eat it raw but he’s especially keen on braised fennel. So we decided to do our usual braised fennel dish but with the lovely addition of our new citrus friends.

Since both the fennel and the mandarinquats are a bit tough to cut I pre-chopped everything for Fig so it was a bit easier for him to handle. Of course, he did a little dicing and slicing but mostly shoved everything in his mouth as fast as he could.

Ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 mandarinquats (kumquats will also work if you can’t find mandarinquats)
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions: 

  • Chop up fennel and Mandrianquats in even uniform pieces.
  • Sear the fennel in a pan at medium to high for about a minute or two with olive oil and salt.
  • Turn down the heat to low. Add the Mandrianquats.
  • Fennel is ready when its juicy and tender. This could take around 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fennel.
  • Serve warm.

Toddler Friendly Parts of this Recipe: 

  • Chopping ( however, its best if everything is pre-chopped for easier handling)
  • Adding chopped pieces to the pan.
  • Adding a dash of salt when vegetables are in the pan.

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Cooking with Toddlers: Rose Infused Vegan Cheesecakes

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I am pleased to contribute to one of my favorite blogs Growing Up Herbal. We’re big believers in herbs and herbal medicine and I frequent the blog for ideas and remedies for my two little ones. I highly recommend checking the site out if you’re interested in herbs for children. While you’re there check out my recipe for Vegan Infused Rose Cheesecakes; just in times for Valentines day!

Cooking with Toddlers: Sage Crackers

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We recently moved into a new place with a massive front and backyard. The previous owners had the teeniest tiniest patch of garden and I never understood why until we started expanding it. The amount of crap we’ve unearthed is truly astounding ( see picture below for a sampling of the loot).

My first thought when we commenced Project Garden Expansion and quickly started exhuming a multitude of thingy-ma jigs was “What if we find buried treasure!” quickly followed by the morose thought of ” What if we find a coffin?”. This second scenario is much more likely  given the trajectory of our findings ( i.e. glasses , cuff links and a hammer).

Anyway, we’ve also realized that the previous folks remedy to every garden conundrum was to “put some hay on it!”. Have you seen that Portlandia skit where they put a bird on everything? This hay situation is pretty much the exact the same thing. HAY ON EVERYTHING. My husband and I joke that they probably didn’t even clean the house, they just threw some hay on it!

However, after some deep meditative thought I realized I am in no place to judge our hay-loving friends given I do the exact same thing with sage.

I solve any and all recipe problems with sage.  In fact, my first thought when thinking of what to cook for dinner typically starts with ” I wonder what I could do with all that sage in the fridge. There is usually no less than several bushels of Sage in our fridge. Yes I said bushels.

So yet again, Fig and I found our way into the kitchen after a long day out in the garden hauling hay and busted out the sage for some good old fashioned crackers. Really, can you ever have enough sage?

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Sage Crackers:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoons of cold butter
  • 1 bunch of chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Olive oil for brushing

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Add the salt and flour to a large mixing bowl
  • With your hands work in the butter until it resembles bread crumbs ( this can take upwards of 5 solid minutes).
  • Chop sage finely and add it to the flour.
  • Pour in heavy cream and stir well. Let dough sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.
  • With your hands  knead the dough well and then divide it into two pieces. With a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball very thin ( as thin as you want the crackers to be).
  • Brush with olive oil and sprinkle salt before placing in the oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden.
  • Cool and then slice into little squares and eat!

Toddler Friendly Parts of this Recipe: 

  • Mixing the salt and flour
  • Working in the butter
  • Chopping with sage ( with a kid-friendly knife and supervised)
  • Kneading Bread
  • Rolling out the dough ( I always give my little guy some “scrap” dough that he can play with)
  • Brushing the olive oil on the rolled out dough.

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Cooking with Toddlers: Candied Saged Walnuts

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I’m a huge fan of dandelion greens. For me, the bitter flavor is exquisite. To make a killer salad I chop up a bunch of dandelion greens, throw in some candied walnuts, dried cranberries and feta. Add a dash of olive oil, salt, and lemon juice for a dressing and viola; amazing.  

I wasn’t joking about it being a killer salad; I gave some to my husband and it literally almost killed him. After gagging and choking on what he thought surely must be poison, he concluded that the salad tastes like nail polish remover ( a slight over exaggeration in my opinion). This is totally fine by me since it means I don’t have to share.

Everytime I do make the salad however,  I  have a twinge of guilt. The cost of candied walnuts are pretty outrageous. So I started making my own with bulk organic raw walnuts. I decided to enlist the help of little Fig, since I’ve been trying to get him on the walnut-train with limited success. Fig can eat cashews and sunflower seeds by the fistful but isn’t keen on walnuts. Walnuts are extremely healthy and full of beneficial nutrients and minerals but, according to Fig, “me no like da walnuts. Mo’ cashoes please!!”.

These walnuts were a total hit with my two year old, both to make and eat. It’s a pretty simple recipe that’s super easy to make with a toddler since it doesn’t take long. Plus, they make for a nice, slightly sweet snack. Fig believes he’s getting some kind of forbidden dessert , sneaking off to his bedroom to eat his walnuts in peace only to return 5 minutes later, begging for “mo’ nutz”.

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Saged Candied Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of raw walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

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IMG_2095Directions

  • Preheat oven to 300
  • Add coconut oil and sage to a pan and on a low heat setting, cook sage until tender and fragrant.
  • In a bowl, add walnuts, sugar, salt and syrup. Mix well.
  • Pour sage and coconut oil over the walnuts. Mix well.
  • Spread walnuts on a baking sheet making sure each nut has ample space. Cook for 30 minutes, flipping ( as best you can) the nuts at 15 minutes.
  • Eat plain or serve in salads

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Cooking with Toddlers: Hemp, Tomato and Cilantro Salad

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Fig usually doesn’t help me with salad preparation except when all other attempts to “inspire” him to eat his veggies fail. No matter how I serve , prepare, or disguise it, there are some vegetables that Fig won’t come within a mile of unless he’s preparing them. Case in point this amazingly delicious Hemp, Tomato, and Cilantro salad. Fig categorically rejects all things involving fresh tomatoes unless he’s chopping them. Something about slicing those babies in half makes them suddenly OK to eat.

So, on this particular day, when Fig had pretty much only eaten cream cheese and bread all day I decided it was time to bust out his kid friendly knife and do some veggie chopping for my most beloved of all salads. Of course, I had to redo much of his work ( toddler’s apparently don’t pay much attention to aesthetics! ) but he ate about 10 tomatoes and about $10.00 worth of hemp seeds ( an excellent source of omega fatty acids) so I was happy to oblige.

I make this salad in massive bunches on the weekend for weekday lunches. By Tuesday it’s certainly gone and I’m always looking forward to making it again on the weekend, it’s that good.

Hemp, Cilantro, and Tomato Salad:

  • 1 cup of hemp seeds
  • I dry pint of cherries tomatoes
  • 1 cup of finely diced cilantro
  • 1/2 a lemon’s juice
  • 1 large garlic cloves, crushed into a paste with a pestle and mortar if possible.
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Try not to eat the entire salad in one sitting.

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Baking with Toddlers: Black Bean, Pumpkin and Chia Seed Cookies

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Getting out of the house with a newborn and a toddler is like trying to herd a pack of cats. So far, our attempts to leave the house have gone like this:

1) Start packing the 900 items we need 2 hours in advance of departure.

2) 30 minutes before departure, sit two year old on potty. He ” no have go”.

3) Change baby’s diaper and nurse him.

4) Put baby in carseat.

5) Baby has an explosion in his diaper; change baby.

6) Toddler now pees on carpet while saying “I had an accident; no biggie!”

7) Clean up carpet, change toddler’s clothes.

8) Toddler proclaims ” I’m pooing” which is code for ” I need to go use the potty”.

9) Set toddler on potty; wait for 10 minutes while he does his business. Congratulate him profusely for letting us know he had to go.

10) Clean up potty and toddler.

11) Baby now cries due to hunger.

12) Nurse baby.

13) Baby has another explosion in diaper.

14) Toddler now cries due to hunger

15) Repeat process until by some stroke of luck, the stars align and we are able to make it out the door only two hours behind schedule.

Needless to say, we’ve tried to stick as close to home as possible since having our second baby. While my husband and I have attempted to remain as zen as possible during this transition, we’re both ready for a stiff drink by the time 8 PM rolls around.

So, in our time spent at home,  Fig and I have been up to lots of cooking projects, our most recent being Black Bean, Pumpkin and Chia Seed Cookies! While these certainly have a lot of sugar they are not totally an empty calorie food due the beans, pumpkin and chia seeds. I feel a little bit better about giving them to Fig as a sweet treat. After all, having a new baby brother is hard work and sometimes a cookie is just what the doctor ordered.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups of black beans
  • 1 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree ( our puree was homemade from our recent pumpkin patch trip but canned would probably work just as well).
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate or carob chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips, sugar, flour and chia seeds in a food processor until smooth
  •  Pour mixture into a bowl, mix in chia seeds,flour, sugar, and chocolate chips
  • Spoon out batter  (about two tablespoons per cookie) on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Recipe makes about 15 good sized cookies

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