Week Two: Dietary & Lifestyle Restrictions
We love eating all the vegan food we can, but it’s good to learn how to cook for those who may have allergies or intolerances — and challenge ourselves in the process.
Another day, another way to use oats. This one is a more novel usage than yesterday’s rather predictable oatmeal cookies: nuggets! More specifically, chickpea nuggets made with oat flour.
This super-simple recipe from the Kitchn relies on aquafaba to bind chickpeas and oat flour together, then incorporates a simple toasted panko coating for a little crunch. I was wary at first; I’ve had plenty of nugget-making experiences where the coating just won’t stick or involves a complicated milk-bath-plus-flour-plus-roll-in-the-coating technique that leaves you with crummy fingers and soggy nuggets. But this method worked out great! Everything came together quickly and with no hassle at all. Plus, because they’re baked, the nuggets won’t fall apart in the frying pan.
A few reviewers remarked that the nuggets were a bit bland (presumably because this is a kid-focused recipe), so I opted to season mine with a big scoop of Italian seasoning that I’ve probably had for seven years. *insert embarrassed-face emoji here* If anything, my nuggets were a little over seasoned! But not in a bad way. I served them with some homemade baked sweet potato fries and a big pile of sautéed kale. An easy, healthy dinner.
This is a great recipe — there’s no vital wheat gluten involved, so if you use gluten-free oats and gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs, you can easily make these gluten-free. Of course, there’s a bit of a trade-off in texture compared to a more traditional seitan-based nugget — the insides are a little soft, though not unpleasantly so — but for a quick, kid-friendly recipe that uses minimal ingredients, I’d say it’s worth it. And if you’re thinking, “But I don’t have oat flour in my pantry,” don’t worry! You simply grind up rolled oats in your food processor or the dry attachment of a Vitamix. (Both I and my grocery store were out of rolled oats, so I used ground quick oats instead and they worked a treat.)
So, oat flour-based chickpea nuggets? A total win. What’s your most unexpected use of oats?
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Week Four: Entertaining
Meals for the young (at heart)!
Maybe this is my idealistic, kid-free self shining through, but here’s what I think: If you introduce a variety of foods to kids early on, if you don’t make a big deal about any of them, if you encourage kids to try everything and reintroduce foods later if kids balk at them immediately, if you invite them to help out in the kitchen and make some meal decisions themselves, you can probably tamp down on that whole “kids are so picky!” thing. Sure, some kids are absolutely pickier than others, and we all have our own taste/texture preferences, but I think parents unwittingly do a bit of the damage themselves when they don’t model healthy, curious eating patterns or when they build up “eating your veggies” as a chore that must be completed, not a normal part of life that’s tasty and fun.*
Which is why I believe all foods are for all bodies, big or small, young or old! Eat what you want, when you want! Make most of it healthy, but don’t worry about the junk food and sweets too much.
So, to the prompt. Frankly, I’m just as likely to enjoy so-called kid-friendly recipes as an actual kid! I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat googly-eye chocolate pretzel “screams” or homemade gelatin-free Lucky Charms?! Does that make me young at heart? Ehhh… I just like cute things. ;)
But anyway — I do understand the point here. As adventurous an eater as your kid is, kids in general will typically prefer simpler flavors and familiar meals. Here are a few of those, both from me and from others around the web.
- Kids love crunching and munching handfuls of snacks, so how about some granola? Try this peanut butter-chocolate chip version, or strawberry-coconut for a more allergy-friendly version. Or add it to yogurt for a filling breakfast.
- These cinnamon crackers would also be fun to munch! (Be sure to check out the kid-friendly tag at Fork and Beans — she makes some seriously fun food.)
- For lunch or a snack, how about these homemade broccoli tater tots? They’re packed with veggies but feel like junk food!
- Super simple, toddler-endorsed, pasta. The sauce is made of hummus!
- Colcannon — mashed potatoes with a healthy twist.
- Mac and cheese! Start your kid off on the good stuff (like this one) and they’ll never crave Kraft.
- This colorful fruit pizza would be fun to make and fun to eat.
*Having said this, I will probably end up with the pickiest, most obstinate eater if I ever do decide to have a child. Oops.