Nuggets of love

My kids are not avid fans of nuggets, but their interest in the breaded world is broadening. They eat these and the store bought variety now but that wasn’t always the case. I know most kids love this kind of stuff, I figure yours might! I know I love these and its fun to create your own breadcrumbs (this part my kids enjoy)

I cannot access my old photos or I would show you what my kids think of these things. I have seen boats made out of them, I have seen the breading peeled off,  I have also seen them eaten. My kids as I said eat these now but they still would rather just have the plain tofu or pan-fried

Choose your tofu well, you want a firm or extra firm tofu so that it holds up but you want it to also be fairly moist and airy so that it doesnt end up like biting into a dry rock when baked. I prefer to use Liberte tofu for this. I have also used Presidents Choice with success, but I tried a couple others that just did not cut it.   I have to be honest, egg whites make the best binder here, but I have made this with vegan egg replacers with some success. Banana does not work unless you like banana flavoured nuggets!!!! Apple sauce is also a fail here. I have had success with Flax and with commercial egg replacer.  if someone invents me a liquid egg replacer that keeps in the fridge and works for this as well as baking I will love them forever. The difference between the replacers and actual egg is that the egg creates a sort of web that allows the breading to stay not only together but adhere to your tofu stick. truly resembling frozen nuggets.  When I make this vegan the breading ends up much flakier.

Tofu nuggets

Serves: 3                        Prep time: 20min                                      Cook:20 min

Ingredients:
1 pkg extra firm tofu
1/4 cup flour (I use oat flour for gluten-free)
1 egg equivalent 1 cup bread crumbs. (I use a seasoned blend usually, and sometimes we crush our own cereal crumbs. Plain Chex makes a nice sorta sweet gluten-free breading)
1 tsp garlic powder
1tsp paprika

Method:
cut tofu into sticks (or cut into sheets horizontally and use a small cookie cutter to cut shapes – pinterest style nuggets ;))

1. spread flour in thick layer on small plate
2. beat egg replacer in a bowl or shallow dish that is large enough to dunk the tofu into.
3. mix crumbs and spices in another bowl or shallow dish

4. Dip each piece of tofu in the flour coating it completely, then dunk in binder and finally into the bread crumbs. place directly  on greased cookie sheet (if using egg there isnt a need to grease, but all the vegan ones stick if I do not grease the sheet.)

5. Put sheet in fridge for about 1hr (or up to 1 day) this helps set the coating. its not necessary but I find the coating sticks better and it great as a make ahead step.

6. bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until crisp. (appearance and time sorta depends on the bread crumbs used, chilled ones also tend to take longer)

I like this with a creamy dip.

The kids like it with ketchup.

tofunuggetboats

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Sweet potatoes…. I love you, I love you not

IMG_4493We hung out with our cousins one weekend this summer (well many weekends, but one particular weekend inspired this post). It was fun, and I discovered that their kid too used to love sweet potatoes and now turns his nose up at them. I’ve heard this strange story from other parents too. I understand sometimes liking things sometimes not, I understand liking only certain preparations of foods, but going from basically a sweet potato monster to absolutely refusing to eat them, this fairly typical toddler transition baffles me.

For us, and my cousin, this happened sometime before their 3rd birthdays. Now, just after their 4th birthday I am starting to see a sweet potato revival. I have continued to cook with and serve sweet potatoes. Usually accepting that the leftover sweet potato dish would be my lunch.

I really like sweet potatoes, it was the magical food on holiday plates. Cooked in generous amounts of butter and brown sugar candied sweet potatoes and I are good friends. Yet even prepared this way (with vegan butter) my children refused to touch them, I was baffled. I still am because I am drooling just thinking about these!

I tried mashing them with vegan butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie type spices and still nope. I tried plain and boiled
(sometimes with toddlers the simpler the better) big nope. I tried in soups and stews, which worked only if accidentally ingested. I tried fries (only if the frozen variety, made by the grandparents and served with mayo). I roasted them in very shape I could think of (nope). I was out of ideas. Then my mother had a craving for sweet potato chips. So we made some. In the oven, with olive oil and salt. And 2 out of 3 preschool aged children ate them. (The lone hold out has since relented to these) We had a collective mom mouth drop and a way to make sweet potato chips for the future:

Sweet Potato Chips

serves: 6                prep time: 15minutes          bake time:40min approx

Ingredients:
3 sweet potatoes cut into chips, carefully!, with mandolin or by hand
1-2  tsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 400
Lay sliced potato out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (you may need to make 2 batches) sprinkle half the salt and the pepper over the potatoes drizzle the oil over them toss with your hands to coat them all toss with rest of salt and the lay in a single layer on the baking sheet, any that don’t fit just keep aside for the next batch.
Bake for about 45 min turning once or twice, watch carefully as they go from perfect to burnt very quickly. They are still a little soft when “perfect” allow to cool a few minutes on a cooling sheet or wooden board. They will crisp up a bit more as they cool.

Easy, healthy (use other seasonings, or salt preparations like herbamare to cut back on the sodium content), and sweet potato hating kid approved!

Since this particular weekend, homemade sweet potato chips and fries go over extraordinarily well. We even had a french fry dinner.

 

Stopping to smell the roses

Train of thought prose. I particularly enjoy this style of writing and I hope you enjoy reading it.

In the journey of parenting, sometimes we are so busy rushing on to the next milestone, the next hurdle, the next TANTRUM that we forget to savour those sweet moments of nothingness or wonderful moments of cheerfulness.

I am still actively dealing with the health issues that took me of work this summer and being tired, easily run down, dealing with discomfort and the stress of not knowing why exactly I developed this makes parenting challenging to say the least. I have had the luxury this week of seeing the light in the eyes of my children more than once. The pleasure in the little things like pouches of freeze-dried apples, access to mummy’s watercolour pencils and expensive paper, The joy in their eyes in having received something made just for them by their Mummy.olaf

 

I painted them this Olaf, (sorry the picture is a little blurry)  and I am working on a TARDIS which my son has decided is for him. I am not a particularly talented painter but I enjoy creating and especially creating for others. When they were 2 I painted them a Kermit which they love. TARDIS in progress

Those roses….. This week I have stopped, I have stopped to take notice of the beautiful smiles on my children’s faces, of the joy they have in spending time with me (a precious commodity). I have stopped to take a moment to care for myself, my health. I have stopped to see just how much my loved ones care about me and my gentle and caring children.

mindfulbasil

Next week I plan to stop even more, to spend more moments simply aware of my surroundings. More showers where all I think about is exactly what I am doing in that moment. More meals without the background noise of the rest of my day. I might not succeed, and as with the theme of most of the rest of my posts on here, that is OK

And in the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt :

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

This works in the past tense too, and is something that another wise person has reminded me of frequently and I struggle to accept in many spheres of my life, because of course, regret is easy. The moment is more difficult but when we learn to appreciate the moment, the rest gets easier too.