Monday, December 5, 2016

Vegan Christmas Treat Assortment

Vegan Christmas Goodies Assortment
Need some Vegan ideas for Christmas Treats - whether for gift giving, to take to a party or to
celebrate at home?

Here is an entire list of different ideas - nearly all of them simple enough that a school aged child can do them with a tiny bit of help.

They're all Advent-Friendly. 


Have a Wonderful Christmas!

Easy Vegan Cut-Out Cookies for the Kids' Party

Make One Mix - Make 10 Different Cookies!

Make One Mix, Make 5 Kinds of Fudge!

For your Friend Who is Gluten Free or a Raw Foodist, Here's a Nice Rawish Goodie Assortment

Need the perfect Brownies to go with Ice Cream? 

A wonderful Greek Samali for the Potluck

And, for St. Basil's Day (New Year's Day) Easy, No Knead Vegan Vasilopita!

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Proverbs 31

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekly Vegan Advent Menu

Weekly Advent Menu

Advent is a Lenten Season, when Orthodox Christians are encouraged to abstain from Meat, Poultry, Dairy & Eggs. Fish is sometimes permitted during this Fasting period.

Here's a menu for your family to try during this preparatory season. 

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Sunday: Oregano Seasoned Red Potatoes in the Slow Cooker, Black-Eyed Pea Salad, Green Salad, Bread (Baked Lemon-Pepper Salmon for the Omnivores)

Monday: Greek Okra & Tomato Stew (Bamies Yachni), Bread, Salad

Tuesday: Stuffed Manicotti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Wednesday: Homemade Copycat Skyline Black Beans & Rice

Thursday:  Dinner out OR Alphabet Soup, Salad, Easy Homemade Bread

Friday: Fill your own Tortilla, using Easy, Healthy Refried Beans

Saturday: Eggplant Stew over Rice, Salad

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kids' Cookie Decorating Party - Vegan Cut Out Cookies

These Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are patted out by the kids : )
Cutting out & decorating Sugar Cookies at Christmas is a great memory-making activity for kids. My little girl and one of her BFFs had a blast making these.

We just used my Slice-and-Bake Dough recipe, and instead of rolling it into a log to slice it, they patted it out into circles and cut it out with cookie cutters.

After they were baked, the kids decorated them with frosting and candies.

If you're looking for a Great Christmas Party idea for kids, try having a Decorate-Your-Own-Cookie party - just set out the baked cookies with the frostings and candies. They'll have a blast!

These are authentic family-made cookies - not those fake-looking things you buy at upscale bakeries for  $5. each!

The BFF's

My little girl's

Vegan Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
2 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix (see below)
1/3 Cup Oil
1/4 Cup Applesauce
Mix well, then pat balls of dough out evenly into circles big enough for your cookie cutter. Cut out & place on pan. Bake. These don't spread, so no need for much room between cookies.

Baking Directions
These Cookies are mixed with a spoon, then mixed together by hand (I'm sure if you have a fancy machine - like a Kitchen Aid - that would work too!). They're Baked on a Cookie Sheet,  at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes - till tops are lightly browned, and bottoms are golden Brown. I bake mine on a non-stick surface, and I don't oil or grease the pan. This year, I'm actually baking these on my non-stick Perforated Pizza Pans - and it's working great!

For a Children's Version of this recipe, check out this post!   (the children's version makes 1 cookie for an Easy-Bake or other brand of toy oven)

Stuffedveggies Cookie & Cake Mix
Shake together in large Canister or Zippered Gallon Bag:
9 Cups All Purpose Flour*
4 Cups Sugar*
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Science: Fun Home School Video Day

I'm not what most people would call a "Fun Mom" - certainly not when it comes to homeschooling! I
believe in hitting the books hard, being self-disciplined, and all that good, old-fashioned stuff.

BUT - there are times for for a fun day - or a fun hour. When I'm sick. When she's sick. When we're looking forward to some exciting event and have trouble focusing. When Mom has to meet with a professional like a plumber or a realtor. When we just need a break.

Now, many a parent-educator would say, "Just take the day off!"

And, certainly that is an option - an option that we sometimes take!

Unfortunately, that has some drawbacks: 1) We don't make as much academic progress as we'd like, 2) we can end up always focusing on favorite, easy subjects while neglecting to master those that require a little more effort, or 3) Boredom can set in (especially on those days when playing outside isn't an option) and we can end up with idle hands - and we all know what they say about idle hands.

So, I researched a set of go-to videos and activities that are ready to go whenever we need them.

In the process, we discovered that these videos also make a nice way to add a little EXTRA productivity to those busy, rigorous days. They provide relaxation and down time  between the morning's drill and the afternoon's academic endeavors and can educate and entertain all at the same time. A "working lunch" if you will ; )

So, these videos have become an everyday thing for us. I schedule one or two subjects for each school day - and it's a portion of the day that is enjoyed and anticipated while still being productive.

A wonderful added plus to these videos? Sometimes we easily and enjoyably master memory work before we ever are introduced to the material it relates to. Then, mid-text, my daughter will tie in the memory work she's done to the material she's reading - usually by singing the appropriate line or two from a song. Can't beat that for delight in learning, huh? 

Unfortunately, on Youtube the commercials aren't targeted to the audience, and sometimes very inappropriate things are shown. Which means that there are times that I've had a h0rr0r film ad (or other junk I'd rather not see) pop up right before a preschool video with puppets. For this reason, and because I like to be sure that junk in general isn't coming into our school day while I'm folding laundry, I save the videos to a desk top folder for convenience.  And, if a favorite video is "taken down," we still have it. It's also nice if the internet crashes while we're doing school : )

I like this site for saving my videos - it's free and I've never had any trouble from it. 

So - here are our favorite SCIENCE fun videos (other subjects, God Willing, coming soon!):

The Minerals Song

The Periodic Table Song, with helpful visuals

The Same Periodic Table Song, done by a cute 6-year old

The Cell Song

Classical Conversations - some Songs from Cycle 2

Classical Conversations - Some Science Songs from Cycle 3

Classical Conversations - More Science Songs from Cycle 3

Scientific Method Song

Solar System Song

Planets Song (to Memorize the List)

Hope you & your kids enjoy them! 


If you like this, you might also like some of my other homeschooling posts:

Concord Cunningham, the Scripture Sleuth
Design Your Own Mini Unit Study 
Home School for Cheap or Free: Why Greek is Better than Latin!
Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Reading
Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Conversation
Teaching Math: Home School for Cheap or Free
Teaching Music: Homeschool for Cheap or Free
Teach Reading with Confidence: Homeschool for Chea...
My Amazing Mother's Kid Tips
Raising Kids Who Aren't Picky  
2 1/2 Minute Homeschool Lesson Planning
10 Homeschool Lessons from ACE Curriculum 
The Perfect Homeschool Organizer  


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Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Easy, No Knead Vegan Cinnamon Roll Crescents

Easy, No Knead Vegan Cinnamon Roll Crescents
Who doesn't love Cinnamon Rolls? And, who doesn't love easy?

These Cinnamon Crescents are quick and easy. I keep the No Knead Vegan Brioche type dough in my refrigerator - it takes less than 10 minutes to make the dough - and I can have a batch of these in the oven in a matter of minutes. They're tender, moist, and pull apart in layers.

The use of Tapioca Starch, Potato, and Sugar tenderizes & moisturizes the dough, and make a moist, tender, fluffy roll without the use of oil or eggs.  

It is SOOO easy to make - and produces such spectacular results! This recipe produces about 3 dozen Crescent Rolls (if you'd like a smaller batch, scroll down)

This is the same dough I use for several other breads on this site, so you can make a big batch and keep it on hand to use for lots of different breads.

Easy, No Knead, Vegan Cinnamon Roll Crescents

Easy, No Knead, Vegan Crescent Roll Dough **** (Scroll Down for Smaller Batch)
This recipe makes about 3 dozen rolls, or 18 rolls & 1 large Challah.
Measure into a 6 quart container*, in this order
3 Cups Warm Water (baby bath water temperature. If in doubt, make it too cool rather than too warm)
5 1/4 Cups Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch (you can substitute Cornstarch, if you like)
1 Cup Potato Flakes (yes, that's right, the stuff people use to make Instant Mashed Potatoes)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1 Tablespoon Salt
Stir well with a spoon till no patches of dry Flour remain.

The dough should look like this right after you stir it.

Cover loosely with lid (don't fasten so securely that it cannot "breathe")
Leave it on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.
Now, put it in the fridge till you're ready to use it **

The dough should look like this after it has sat out on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.

Note - do not "Punch Down" this kind of dough. 

When you're ready to bake the bread, remove it from the refrigerator and dust it VERY WELL with Flour. This is a moist, sticky dough, so don't be afraid to use lots of Flour!

Oil your pan (I use a Perforated, Non-stick Pizza Pan, like this one for baking)

Take one pound of dough (1/4 of the large batch or 1/2 of the small batch) and roll out in a rectangle that is approximately 8"x12".

Roll Dough out into Rectangle.

Spread the Dough with your choice of either Apple Sauce (for oil free) or Buttery Spread, and sprinkle VERY generously with a mixture of Cinnamon & Sugar (I use 1 Part Cinnamon to 4 Parts Sugar). I have tried both Apple Sauce (about 1/4 cup for a batch) & Buttery Spread variations - and they taste the same to me - so don't hesitate to use the Apple Sauce if you're avoiding oil : )

Cut in long, thin triangles. A pizza cutter works great for this job, or just a large Chef's knife that you can press down and cut the dough without pulling.

Roll each triangle up and place it on the pan.

Leave to rise for 30 to 60 minutes (the last time I made these, I only let them rise about 15 minutes - they were still great : )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake in the middle of the oven, without steam for 35-40 minutes.

Upon removing from the oven, you may brush with a buttery spread (or Tapioca Wash for oil free variation) , if you desire.

Then, Drizzle with a Simple Glaze:
Use about a cup of Powdered Sugar and an optional spoonful of Buttery Spread. Add several drops of Vanilla & a dash of Salt - add just enough Non-Dairy Milk to make spreadable. Microwave about 10 seconds to and stir again for optimal smoothness. Then Drizzle over the rolls. If you want to make it pretty, put it in a Zippered Bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner to squeeze the Drizzle onto the Rolls. If you're more casual, just use a fork dripped in drizzle to make little decorations on the rolls.The glaze will melt if applied to hot rolls - if you want to make them pretty, wait for them to cool. But they're tasty either way!

Small Batch Easy, No Knead Vegan Crescent Rolls
 (Makes about 18 rolls)
Follow above directions, but use these amounts
I prepare a batch this size in an 8 Cup Container - the one in the above pictures.
Be sure to add in this order:

1 1/2 Cups Warm Water
2 1/2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch (you can substitute Cornstarch, if you like)
1/2 Cup Potato Flakes
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Tablespoon Salt

Stir well, then follow above directions - the same as for a large batch.

* For my 6 Quart Container, I use a new plastic shoe box from the Dollar Store.
** This dough CAN be used the day it is made - but it is a tad easier to shape after it is refrigerated. It is lightest and fluffiest when used within a day or two of when you make it, but I have used it several days later  - a week or more - and still had very good results.
*** If you bake two large pans of rolls at the same time, put one loaf on the middle rack, and one on the bottom rack. Then, set a timer to switch their positions half-way through baking, so that they brown evenly both on the top and on the bottom.

I always make bread by the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method  (and, I think EVERYONE should own their book!). But, they didn't have a Vegan Brioche-type dough, so I created my own recipe using their method : )

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Monday, October 24, 2016

12 Starchy Sides

Starchy Sides
For many people, many nights, dinner consists of a basic pattern of a protein, a veggie and a starch. And, if you're stuck in rut as far as starchy sides go, you might start feeling like you're having the same meal, night after night. One more night of seasoned-rice-from-a-box can just look discouraging after a while!

Not to mention, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other Feast Days coming up, you might want an additional option or two for that Holiday Table. 

Adding a little variety to your starchy sides selection can make all the difference.

Nearly all of these are Gluten Free, or can easily be made so by substituting GF ingredients like Pasta or Soy Sauce.

Here are 12 to choose from - many of these can also make great Vegan main dishes : )

Baked Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

Bulgur Pilaf ( Pourgouri )

Dijon Potatoes

Greek Inspired Oven Fries

Philippine Style Fried Rice

Rosemary Roast Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet & Sour Sweet Potatoes

Indian Lemon Rice with Peas  

Orzo Pilaf

Savory One Pot Mushroom Noodles 

Confetti Spaghetti

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