Kids' brains fascinate me. Jackson has never ridden a horse. He's only seen a real horse once or twice. He's seen them in books and on TV, but never shown a real interest. Now, all of a sudden, he's getting the broom out of the closet every chance he gets and riding his "horsey" all around the house!
How do they come up with these ideas, without any kind of suggestion? I don't know, I just think it's really neat. I never spent a great deal of time around little kids before I had my own. Sometimes I feel like a scientist observing these two tiny alien creatures all day long to discover their thought patterns and behaviors. It's amazing what they seem to "know" without being told. They are always watching and listening, though. Little sponges.
That is one reason why I like to have them in the kitchen with me. I don't have any grand ideas about them becoming famous vegan chefs because they helped me make pasta salad as toddlers, but I'd like them to enjoy and appreciate food and take an interest in how it is prepared.
Last night Jackson helped me make the Garden Rotini from Vegan on the Cheap. He added the different veggies to the bowl, and stirred it all together. I subbed almonds for cashews in the goddess dressing this time around. Aren't pasta salads the best in summer? I eat it cold right out of the fridge.
This morning we met up with another mama for a play date. As I positioned Olivia in the baby swing, I realized it was her first time on a swing! Jackson and I spent tons of time at the playground last summer, but Olivia was too little. Now she gets to try it out. She loved it! Jackson got bored after a minute and wanted to get down and run around, but Miss O was happy to swing back and forth.
Jackson prefers slides over swings these days.
After we got home, we did some more cooking together. First we made lamingtons.
A few weeks ago, I won a giveaway for the Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale cookbook. I asked the author, Carla Kelly, which recipe I should start with, and she said that the lamingtons were a favorite among her testers. I hadn't heard of lamingtons, but apparently they are a popular treat in Australia. Squares of vanilla sponge cake are dipped in chocolate icing, then in shredded coconut.
I have to say, I was really impressed that I baked something that turned out looking this good. Kind of shocked, actually!
I'm not much of a sweets baker, but Carla's directions were very easy to follow and the results were beautiful. And tasty! These would be great for a kids' party, work potluck, or, yes, a bake sale! Thanks to Carla and her publisher, The Experiment, for doing the giveaway! I can't wait to try some other recipes from this book.
My sous-chefs and I weren't quite finished in the kitchen. For dinner we made the Arabian Lentil & Rice Soup from Appetite for Reduction.
So good. It's my favorite recipe from AfR and that's saying a lot because there are so many winners. Cumin-y, lemony, creamy (from the cooked-down red lentils), amazing.
Jackson enjoyed the fruits of his labors, too, but he had to eat and run.
A boy and his horsey, galloping off into the sunset.