Tag Archives: cooking with kids

Cooking as Curriculum

Greetings,

I hope that you are enjoying the holiday season.   We have definitely been enjoying spending time with family, cooking, and eating.  Especially the eating.

Being vegan for only 4 years, cooking food for the holidays has been a learning process.  There is always the simple route – grabbing some Tofurky and a box a stuffing, but that’s not my style.  For the past few years, I have been making a vegan gumbo with ample sides for Thanksgiving.  This year, I included my son in the cooking process from start to finish.  He washed, chopped, stirred, and baked to his heart’s content.

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Having fun making potato salad.

Which brings me to the reason for this post, do you include cooking classes in your child’s curriculum?  If so, for which reasons?  If not, for which reasons?  Personally, I believe that Home Economics are a natural part of the homeschooling environment.  Children being involved in these processes is fun and teaches them to be responsible adults.  I still remember recipes from cooking with my grandmother at age 9 or 10.

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Vegan gumbo, potato salad, coleslaw, and hot water cornbread.

So, you may be wondering, where do I start?  I would recommend starting with these awesome no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies, great for any age, Kindergarten and up, with adult supervision.  We adapted this to vegan by using almond milk and Earth Balance butter.  We also sprinkled in a few vegan chocolate chips and threw some coconut flakes on top.

Vegan gluten free no bake oatmeal chocolate peanut butter cookies.

Vegan gluten free no bake oatmeal chocolate peanut butter cookies.

 

You can also check out this neat list of vegan no-bake desserts if you want to keep it simple and healthy.

Here is a cool Pinterest collection of vegan recipes for children.

Understanding that everyone is not vegan, here is an awesome collection of omnivore recipes from Kid’s Health.

And a whole host of kid-friendly recipes from All Recipes.

Enjoy making some of these delicious recipes with your little shining stars and we will chat again soon!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indoor Container Gardening

herbs

Greetings,

We recently purchased a little pot of lavender with the goal of starting a small indoor container garden of herbs and vegetables.  For those of us who are yard space-challenged, indoor gardening may be an optimal option to get in touch with our green thumbs.  Our lavender has already grown to about 150% of its original size within 3 weeks.  With this in mind, we will be expanding our indoor garden to include more herbs and a few vegetables.

Gardening is a valuable component of a well-rounded homeschol curriculum.  If you would like to join us in our indoor gardening venture, please visit the following links:

Easiest Vegetables to Grow Indoors: Lettuce is at the top. Spinach, radishes, and tomatoes (using an aero garden) are also viable.

Herbs to Grow Indoors: Any herbs can be grown indoors, under the right conditions.

How to Grow an Herbal Tea Indoor Garden: Chamomile and Mint Tea is great for the kids and for you too!

Gardening Lesson Plans for kids: Awesome lesson plans from Growing Minds.

More Gardening Lesson Plans: Lesson plans for kids from Utah State University

Enjoy your indoor garden and let us know know it goes!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Livin’ Healthy with Vegan Soul Food (Plus Recipes!)

Get your Veggies!

Greetings!

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful week.  As homeschooling parents, one of our everyday responsibilities is cooking.  One of the biggest challenges for the African American community (and Americans in general) is healthy eating.

We have easy access to fast food restaurants and processed foods that seem to make our lives simpler, but wreak havoc on our bodies.  Not only does the food lose nutrients during processing, the additives contained in them, such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colorings, and trans-fatty acids,  cause serious damage such as migraines, diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and much more. :(

(View Chart of Effects of Processing on Food Here)

There are many reasons to eat healthier and institute healthier diets for our children.  We may have more energy, be in better moods, attain and maintain our ideal weights, and prevent common diseases (even those that we believed were hereditary).

Our children may be calmer and more well-balanced after we remove stimulants such as caffeine, high fructose syrup, artificial colorings, and refined sugars from their diets.  Their focus may improve, so that they can concentrate on learning rather than excess fidgeting or being subject to frequent cravings throughout the day.

Implementing a healthy diet may also be an effective assistant to managing ADHD, autism, or other difficult issues.  If your child has health issues, please begin a research process on the effects of diet on your child’s issue if you have not done this already.  I would be interested to know what you find!

In the African American community, many of us have been raised on fried foods, refined sugars and grains, white rice, and delicious  high fat desserts.  Now that we have children of our own, we can create new traditions.

As a step towards healthy living, I would like to share links to vegan/vegetarian soul food sites.

PETA Vegetarian Soul Food Recipes: PETA shares recipes for vegan meatloaf, hoppin’ john, sweet potato pie, and more.  The recipes look tasty, but I tend to avoid margarine because of negative health effects.  Earth Balance vegan butter is a better product.  Smart Balance also manufactures a healthy vegan butter.  Too much soy is not good for you, so enjoy these recipes and stay as close as you can to whole fresh foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains) in your everyday life.

West African Vegan/Vegetarian Recipes: Many of the West African recipes that we base African American soul food on are naturally vegan or vegetarian.  Enjoy delicious foods such as red beans, chickpea soup, baked sweet potatoes, and banana fritters with no guilt afterwards!

Vegan/Vegetarian Caribbean Recipes: Another sister to African American soul food is Caribbean food.  Islands such as Jamaica and Haiti received the same West African migrants as the American South.  Try some savory tempeh patties, steamed callaloo, black bean and potato soup and coconut rice.  Who said healthy vegan food had to be tofu and carrot sticks?

Enjoy cooking these scrumptious recipes!  If your children are old enough, maybe they can help out in the kitchen.

Be sure to comment back and let me know which worked best for you!

Here’s to a healthy and happy new year!

All Best,

Nikala Asante