Raw Snickerdoodle Donut Holes (paleo, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free)

Over the summer, this recipe crossed my inbox, and I took the cutest video of my then-3-year-old helping me roll out the balls and add the topping. I made this recipe throughout the entire summer because the ingredients were pantry staples and it was so easy to throw together with my little kitchen helper.

 

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes aka Raw Snickerdoodle Donut Holes by Betty Rawker <– how cool is that name?!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 2 T grade b maple syrup or raw local honey

Topping

  • 1 T coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 T shredded unsweetened coconut

1. Add coconut to your food processor and run for 30 seconds to one minute to release the oils.

2. Add the whole almonds and process with the coconut until well ground and combined.

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Shredded coconut and whole almonds in the food processor.

3. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt, and process until a fine consistency is reached.

4. Add dates. Process.

5. Add honey, Process.

6. Pour the mixture onto a flat surface, and begin rolling into balls. I prefer to use my melon baller to make the process move more quickly.

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My 3-year old helper rolling out the snack balls to make them consistent and perfectly round!

 

7. Roll each ball in the separate topping until well coated.

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My 3-year old kitchen helper coating the snacks with the special topping

8. Eat immediately, refrigerate, or freeze.

Non-Dairy Cheesy Kale Chips (raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free)

My husband is out of town this week (snowboarding in Vancouver with the boys — tough life!), and you’d think that I’d be less efficient getting things done around the house. Unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite because I realize he’s not around to pick up my slack. Last night, I sat down with the kids at the dinner table, and we talked about what they wanted for breakfast and in their lunches the following day. They all decided on Vegan Overnight Oats for breakfast (their favorite!). My 4-year old wanted crackers for lunch, and I realized I didn’t have any on hand, but I did have a bunch of heads of kale and all the basic ingredients to make chips, so vegan cheesy kale chips it was!

Non-Dairy Cheesy Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of kale (I prefer curly or red kale for kale chips because they hold up their texture and shape the best after being marinated and dehydrated, but any type of kale will do)
  • 1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped (I prefer red, orange, or yellow)
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c tahini butter
  • 2 Tbsp unpasteurized miso paste

Optional: chipotle pepper, jalapeno, curry powder

Directions

1. Wash and remove the coarse stems from both bunches of kale, and tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. A quick trick: hold the bottom of the stem in one hand, and with the other hand slowly slide your hand up the stem. The leaves will slide right off.

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Washed and cleaned kale

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Easily remove the leaves by (1) holding the bottom of the stem with one hand,

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and (2) slide the other hand up the stem as the leaves fall off.

2. Place all of the ingredients, except for the kale, in a high powered blender. Mix on high until well blended.

2. Pour the dressing on top of the kale, and use your hands to massage dressing into the kale leaves. If you enjoy the true taste of kale, I recommend mixing just until combined. If you are still getting used to the taste and texture of kale, then I recommend massaging the dressing into the kale for several minutes until the leaves start to break down and become more pliable.

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Nondairy cheesy dressing poured on top of the kale pieces

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Gently massage the dressing into the kale with your hands.

3. Evenly space the kale pieces on dehydrator sheets. The pieces will stick together after they’ve been dehydrated, so be sure to give them a lot of room. I used four dehydrator sheets for two bunches of kale.

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Evenly spread out kale chips on a dehydrator sheet.

4. Dehydrate at 145 degrees for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 118 degrees and dehydrate for 6-8 hours or until crunchy.

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Crunchy and full nondairy vegan kale chips!

My kids prefer to eat their kale chips when they are still wet from the dressing, but they keep much better in their lunches when they are crunchy. Nothing makes me happier than when they sneak raw kale from the dehydrator when they think I’m not looking.

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Sticky fingers stealing the raw cheesy kale chips!

What is your favorite kale chip recipe?

Pumpkin Bread Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan)

If you are looking for a muffin that you can’t possible screw up, this is the one for you. Rather than a muffin, it’s more of a banana-bread type consistency that I put in muffin cups. It cooks at a lower temperature and for a longer period of time than usual, just like a quick bread. It’s dense and hearty for breakfast or snacks, but sweet enough for dessert. You can even bake them in donut baking tray, and the kids will be thrilled to have donuts for lunch!

I have made this recipe six times now, and I have made it differently every single time. I have doubled it (WOW that made a ton!!), halved it, forgotten one of the three flours and only used two, forgot the flax egg, used honey one time then sugar another time, used half honey half sugar, used only pumpkin and used a combination of pumpkin and delicata squash, made mini muffins and full size muffins, and used a combination of oil and grass fed ghee. The only constant is that I’ve always used homemade pumpkin or squash cooked in my crock pot. I’ve made this by myself, with my kids, and with four sets of kids in the 2nd and 3rd grade. Every time, the results are magic. Without further ado, here is the recipe!

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Both recipes were made with brown rice flour, freshly ground oat flour, and tapioca flour. On the left: recipe was halved and made with organic cane sugar and delicata squash puree / On the right: full recipe was made with honey and pumpkin puree

 

Pumpkin Bread Muffins

Recipe Adapted from Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (each egg = 1 T. flax seed meal + 3 T. warm water)
  • ⅔ c. brown rice flour*
  • ½ c. buckwheat flour*
  • ½ c. arrowroot starch**
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. honey OR ¾ c. sugar
  • ½ c. melted coconut oil or Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
  • 1¼ c. pumpkin puree or any other winter squash (canned or homemade)
  • If needed: ¼ c. cold water

*You can substitute any other medium weight flour, such as oat flour (grind your own oats in your high speed blender if you don’t have them on hand!), buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, or teff flour. Try to use two different flours for each of the medium weight flours. But, this recipe is magic, so it may work just fine with only one type!

**You can substitute any other light weight flour, such as tapioca starch, potato starch, or even organic corn starch.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Make your flax egg(s). Warm your measured water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, and add flax seed meal to the warm water. Stir and let sit for 5+ minutes, or until it has an egg-like consistency. Set aside.
  3. Add all of your dry ingredients to a bowl. Stir.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the top of the dry ingredients in the same bowl.
  5. Stir as few times as possible, just until dry and wet ingredients are combined. The more you stir, the tougher your muffin bread will be.

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    Oops – My 2nd and 3rd graders over-mixed their batch!

  6. Add up to 1/4 c. of cold water to the mixture if it needs more movement.
  7. Line muffin tins with muffin liners and pour the batter into each liner until it is 3/4 full.
  8. For regular sized muffins, bake for 42-44 minutes; for mini muffins, bake for 20-22 minutes.

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    Yummy finished mini muffins and mini donuts!

Frozen Grapes on a Toothpick

It sounds silly, but it is the simplest snack, and kids gobble them up! We made freshly squeezed lemonade in my son’s 2nd/3rd grade class today, and it was a simple customized mixture for each child that consisted of lemon juice, organic sugar, and water. But the crowd pleaser was the grape “ice cubes”! I washed the grapes the night before (this step helps create the icy outer layer), laced three grapes on each toothpick (slice grapes in half for children under age 3), then left them in the freezer overnight. I was barely able to leave the house with them because they were under attack by my children.

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Frozen Halved Grapes on a Toothpick (for children ages 3 years and younger)

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Frozen Whole Grapes on a Toothpick

Thank you, outdoor pool in Las Vegas, for the idea. They were just as fabulous to a crew of 18 moms in 100 degree weather as they were to a group of seven year olds.

Apple Chips Two Ways: Crispy or Soft

It’s that time of year again where I begin allergy-free cooking in my son’s classroom! This year we have a few highly severe nut allergies who are sensitive to touch, so while I am well-versed in allergy-free cooking, it is extra stressful making sure I keep these children absolutely safe! Fortunately, I am confident that I can (1) create a fabulous allergy-free cooking program that the kids will learn from as it ties to the curriculum, (2) have fun as we create new foods, (3) teach them to enjoy healthy, nutritious, unprocessed snacks, and (4) keep all of the allergy-free kids perfectly safe!

The first cooking lesson began with Apple Chips. The students were learning about Now and Long Ago, so they compared what we do today to what we did 100 years ago. (Sidebar: Brody told his teacher that his grandma would be 101 years old on Halloween this year, and she asked if he could bring her in! I thought that was the cutest thing — taking my adorable grandma to Brody’s school, so kids could ask her about her age.)

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Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer

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Mandoline by Pampered Chef

I chose to make Apple Chips because I could show the students what an antique apple peeler/corer/slicer looked like, and we could use one in class. We also used a mandoline and apple corer and said that they also used them 100 years ago. Below are the modern-day tools we used in our classroom:We used the dehydrator to make the Apple Chips, so I could compare them to the way that fruit used to be sun-dried in order to preserve it. I also baked a batch in the oven for the sake of comparison. Each student had their own preference for dehydrated Apple Chips, which made them soft, or baked Apple Chips, which made them crunchy. Here are recipes for both.

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Watching the Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer in action.

Apple Chips – Crispy & Crunchy (raw, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe (but not soft) apples
  • optional: cinnamon

Tools:

  • Oven
  • Parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray
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Raw apples spread out on the sheet.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees

2. Slice the apples very thinly using a knife, mandoline, or apple peeler/corer/slicer. I prefer using a mandolin for the most uniformly sized slices.

3. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, or cover it with parchment paper to prevent the apples from sticking.

4. Spread the apples out evenly on the baking sheet. Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon.

5. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the apples reach your desired crunchiness.

Apple Chips – Soft & Chewy (raw, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free)

Ingredients:

    • 2 ripe (but not soft) apples

optional: cinnamon

Tools

  • Dehydrator

Directions:

1. Slice the apples very thinly using a knife, mandoline, or apple peeler/corer/slicer. I prefer using a mandolin for the most uniformly sized slices.

2. Spread the apples out evenly on a dehydrator sheet. Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon.

3. Dehydrate at 135 degrees for 15 hours or until the apples reach your desired texture.

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Dehydrated apples after 15 hours of low heat.

Next up: Teaching the students that every part of our food can be reused! Making homemade Apple Cider Vinegar with the left over cores and peels!

Almond Butter Cups (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free option, vegan, raw, paleo option)

I am so excited about these Almond Butter Cups because I am confident that ANY of your favorite snack balls can be used as the base, then you just add a basic chocolate liquid mixture to the top, set in the freezer for 20 minutes, and voila! By customizing the bottom layer, you can make them nut-free, raw, paleo, vegan, high protein, etc.

Almond Butter Cups

Almond Butter Cups (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free option, vegan, raw, paleo option)

Of course, it’s an Oh She Glows recipe, but with a few basic adaptations you can make this your own recipe! Be sure to look at the bottom for other base and chocolate topping suggestions.

Raw Almond Butter Cups by Oh She Glows

for the base:

  • 3/4 cup raw almonds, ground into a meal
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed if necessary
  • 1.5 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt, to taste

 

for the topping:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or 2 tbsp agave nectar)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt, to taste

1. Add almonds and oats into a high-speed blender and blend on high until a flour forms. Dump into a large bowl and break up any clumps with your fingers.

2. Add the nut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup (or agave), cinnamon, vanilla, and salt into the bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined. The dough should be fairly sticky like cookie dough.

3. Line a mini (or regular) muffin tin with paper liners or use a silicone muffin holder. Portion the dough into each muffin cup and press down until even and smooth.

4. To make the chocolate sauce: Whisk together the coconut oil, sweetener, cocoa powder, and salt until no clumps remain. Spoon the sauce over top each of the cups, distributing evenly. Garnish cups with sliced almonds if desired.

5. Place in the freezer in a flat area for 30-45 minutes, until firm. Pop out the cups & enjoy immediately! These are best consumed straight from the freezer.

OTHER BASE OPTIONS:
OTHER CHOCOLATE TOPPING OPTIONS:
Raw Chocolate Two Ways by The Veggie Nook
  • Method 1
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 2/3 cup cacao powder
    • 2 tbsp raw honey/coconut nectar/maple syrup
    • 5 drops stevia
  • Method 2
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 2/3 cup cacao powder
    • 4 tbsp raw honey/coconut nectar/maple syrup

Buffalo-Style Hummus by the No Meat Athlete

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Anne-Michelle harvesting the K/1 student garden plots.

This week’s K/1 cooking project took us outside to our classroom garden to harvest our green and purple lettuces, cabbage, broccoli, and mint that have been growing for a few weeks now. The perfect dipping sauce for raw veggies is hummus, but rather than teach the kids the same old basic hummus recipe, we decided to add a little fire to the sauce and made it a spicy buffalo hummus instead!

The recipe is from the book entitled No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier, and the Buffalo Hummus Recipe can be found here.

We teach the students in three groups of 7-8, so we began our 30 minute cooking session by going out to the garden to harvest their little plots. Each student showed me which plot was theirs that they have been nourishing with water and compost and picking weeds, and we cut through many types of vegetables to bring back to class with us to eat in their raw state.

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Adding all of the ingredients (minus the hot sauce and cayenne) to a bowl, then combined.

I had all of the ingredients lined up on the table, and each student was able to measure out the spice, squeeze lemon, and we stirred it around in the bowl to combine.

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Added the mixed ingredients to the food processor.

I saved the hot sauce (Tabasco) and cayenne pepper for the very end. This step can easily be skipped by placing all the ingredients in the food processor, but with a group of kids the journey is more important than the destination. When they were satisfied with the combination, I added it to the Cuisinart and whirred it for about a minute.

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Placed a portion of the combined hummus back in a bowl, and then added the hot sauce and cayenne for the students who wanted it spicy!

I asked which students wanted it spicy and which did not. Surprisingly, it was about half and half, but eventually everyone tried the spicy and said “this isn’t spicy at all!” I was surprised to receive such a favorable reaction among Kinders and 1st graders, but you should have seen them eating up their lettuce and raw veggies! It’s amazing what kids will open themselves up to when you give them an appealing plate of healthy food.

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Our beautiful harvest! Green lettuce, purple lettuce, broccoli, and even a few innocent little snails.

We also talked about which body parts purple lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli could be good for, in order to circle back around with last week’s lesson about What the shape and color of produce tells us. They remembered a lot more than I expected, and it was refreshing to hear how much they processed from one gardening/cooking lesson.

Later that day, I received a text message from my daughter’s Run Club coach informing me that she just beat two 8th graders in a 200 meter sprint! I told her coach to commend her because of all the healthy foods she eats that make her strong. The girl was on fire!

Next week, we’ll be making Mint Lemonade with mint from our school garden, lemons from all of our student’s trees, and a raw vegan simple syrup made from dates and water! What are your favorite recipes using mint? Our garden has a ton, and we’d love to use it!