Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Son's First Cooking Lesson, Inspired by Mama Pea

I always love seeing an box on my doorstep. Yesterday, I got to witness the actual delivery itself...with gritted teeth, as I watched my mailman shove my watermelon-sized package into my cantaloupe-sized mailbox. *Sigh* At least it was only books and a CD.

The semi-mangled box contained three things I have been eagerly anticipating: Mama Pea's first cookbook, Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love; Vanessa Carlton's new CD (finally!!! FINALLY!!!), Rabbits on the Run; and Kristen Suzanne's Easy Raw Vegan Soups cookbook. Squee!

I immediately threw Vanessa's CD into my laptop and got it cranking while I started perusing Mama Pea's cookbook. I just love Mama Pea. I love her style and reading all about her two adorable and funny little girls, Gigi and Lulu. I showed their pictures to my son, and he declared that they were both pretty, but he was especially partial to 3-year-old Lulu :) Anyway, Mama Pea is always cooking with her girls, and it got me thinking that it was really time to start cooking with my boy. He's only 2, but he loves to help and he has lots of enthusiasm. I figured he'd be game to start his first cooking lesson.

What to make was actually a very easy decision - I wanted to make some healthy snacks for my son, so I decided we'd make two things out of Dreena Burton's second cookbook, Vive Le Vegan! I'd already made both recipes before and knew that they were not only tasty and nutritious (and toddler-approved), but also really easy to make.

First up was the Apple-Hemp Muffins:

These are wholesome, whole-grain muffins sweetened with maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, and applesauce. They also contain my favorite little nonpsychoactive plant, hemp. The USA is the largest importer of hemp products, and yet, it cannot be (legally) grown here. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Tee hee.

But really, the muffins were just a warm-up for the main event...the Energy Cookies.

These are so delicious, it almost seems wrong to call them healthy. When people hear "healthy cookie," they probably think of those Snackwell's cookies that taste like *$!#%^&. These actually taste GOOD. For realz. They are called Energy Cookies because they are loaded with good-for-you-stuff like sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, carob chips, flax meal, maple syrup, and blackstrap molasses. Yes, even carob, maple syrup, and blackstrap molasses have nutrition - carob contains protein, B vitamins, calcium, and iron; maple syrup contains zinc and manganese; and blackstrap molasses is loaded with calcium and iron. All three contain more than what I listed, but these are just a few examples. Reach for these natural sweeteners and throw out the Splenda!

I wish I could say I got pictures of my son stirring the cookie batter, but let me just say, it was a struggle to keep the cookie batter in the bowl and not in my son's mouth.

Here are the cookies and muffins, chillin' out on the cooling racks.

My son was very proud of his first cooking effort, and so was I. The cookies and muffins were delicious, and he's ready to take on his next cooking challenge. I will be, too, once I finish cleaning up :)

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