Cooking with kids is by far one of the best bonding experiences you can have with them and also helps to teach basic life skills early on. With the 'new normal' of social distancing, you might find it hard to fill the day without letting them sit at a screen for hours, and making food together is a wonderful way of spending quality time. It may take some patience (and make a mess), but it can be great fun. Consider it a gift to have time to do things together, and create lasting memories.
Here are three delicious vegan desserts to make at home. All are classic kid favorites, with a special twist that makes them a little more nutritious than usual.
Fluffy Fruit Dip
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (coconut yogurt works best and is great for a dairy-free dessert)
- 1 cup whipped cream (see the below dairy-free recipe)
- Agave nectar or maple syrup to taste
- Assorted fresh fruits; we recommend using strawberries, pineapples and green grapes
- Other dipping options: wafer cookies, chocolate bar squares, graham crackers
Combine yogurt, whipped cream and sweetener together in a mixing bowl with a whisk or electric mixer until smooth. Cut up fresh fruit and serve on a plate with a bowl full of the fluffy fruit dip!
Dirt and Worms
- 1 Pack chocolate sandwich cookies (gluten-free varieties are available; otherwise if you’re struggling with grocery shopping at the moment, grab any cookies you have!)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 3 tbsp of cocoa powder
- 3 to 4 tbsp of agave nectar (can sub with maple syrup)
- Pinch of salt
- Optional: whipped cream for topping (see my dairy-free coconut milk version below)
- Organic/gluten-free/vegan gummy worms (recommended brand: Surf Sweets)
Start by preparing the chia seed pudding. Whisk together the chia seeds, non-dairy milk, agave, salt and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl until ingredients have been well incorporated and there are no clumps of chia seeds or cocoa powder. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours (you could do this step in the morning before starting home-school, then leave them in the fridge as an incentive to get through the work more quickly!).
Once the pudding mixture has set, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
Next, crush the cookies in whatever fashion suits you best: food processor or thrown into a Ziploc bag and let the kids have a bit of fun mashing them up with a rolling pin!
Finally, assemble: to get your little helpers involved you can put each of the ingredients into mixing bowls (crushed cookies, gummy worms, pudding and optional whipped cream) and have them alternate layering into short mason jars (we recommend saving the gummy worms for the top).
Orange or Strawberry Creamsicles
**Popsicle molds are necessary for this recipe, but you can use popsicle sticks and little paper cups!
- 1 cup of cashews soaked in 2 cups of hot (boiling) water for 1 hour
- 1/4 to ½ cup of plant-based milk
- 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- Depending on your chosen flavor, 4 medium sized oranges, peeled and deseeded / a container of strawberries / a container of cherries with stones taken out
- 1 to 2 cups of water
After rinsing the cashews, combine in the blender with your sweetener and ¼ cup of milk on high until blended into a smooth cream consistency. Add more milk if it doesn't combine well at first.
Add cream to the bottom of the popsicle molds/cups; fill about 1/3 of the way and set in the freezer for about 2 hours (don’t cover or put in the tops yet if you’re using popsicle molds; if using popsicle sticks and paper cups it is okay to add them).
While those set, combine your choice of fruit with 1 cup of water in a clean blender. Blend until completely pureed, adding more water if needed. (If you're using oranges and you don't like pulp, you can always run the oranges through a juicer instead or filter with a sieve to separate.) Refrigerate until ready to use.
When the cream is set, pour in the fruit puree to fill the rest of the mold. Add in the tops/sticks and freeze until frozen (around 4-5 hours).
Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
- 1 can chilled coconut cream (if you can’t find coconut cream you can chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge for a day and scrape the top layer of cream off; repurpose the water for other things such as smoothies)
- 4 - 6 tsp powdered sugar
Beat the coconut cream using an electric mixer for just a few minutes until cohesive and no longer chunky, then start adding in the powdered sugar 1 spoon at a time. Continue until the consistency is smooth and whipped.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Madison Eubanks is Holistic Wellness Practitioner and a graduate of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Nutrition and Urban Farming are not only her areas of expertise, but her passion; she loves educating people on the healing powers of food and how they can allow it to “be thy medicine”. Madison also has certifications as a health and life coach and is a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher. She has been a dedicated vegan for over four years, believing it to be one of the best choices she has ever made: ‘there is no better diet that takes in consideration for human health, the environment and animal welfare’.