Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vegan Black Bean Cornbread, a Lesson in Perseverance, and Not So Vegan Butter

I can't remember where I got the idea for this from, I've googled away most of nap time to no avail....sigh. I can tell you that this is a great recipe for the kiddos, because it is basically measuring pouring and stirring. I love baking vegan goods with my three year old, because she gets the satisfaction of licking the spoon, and I don't have to worry about food poisoning. Also it works with most cornbread mixes and recipes that I have tried, so feel free to use your own favorite mix. I was just tired and reached for the nearest box.

The dry stuff:
1 box, bag, recipe, cornbread mix....except I think that Jiffy uses lard...so probably not them
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Chili powder
1/4 tsp creole seasoning
Dash o' cayenne

The "secret" ingredient:
1 can of Amy's black bean soup

Mix together all of the dry ingredients, and stir in the soup. At this point you can actually taste the batter, and adjust the seasonings to your taste. I would have used more cayenne, if not for my kids. Pour into a greased muffin pan and bake @ 375...mine took about 25 minutes, however my oven is 20 years old. I am guessing it might take 15-20 minutes in a newer oven.

Learning with butter....because everything is better with butter

What you'll need
1 somewhat attentive three year old
heavy whipping cream
1 small Tupperware or other food container with a tight fitting lid

First we practiced saying perseverance. Next I explained that perseverance is when you keep on doing something, even when it gets tough, or takes longer than you thought it would. Then I explained how we were going to make butter out of heavy cream. We filled our Tupperware 2/3 of the way with cream, and she shook it until the slosh sloshing of cream turned into the thud thud splashing of butter in buttermilk. It all took about ten minutes, the cream will get thicker and thicker, until the solids separate from the liquid and you will have some buttery stuff surrounded by a watery mess.
She persevered, and was rewarded with muffins and butter that she had made (almost) all by herself. I wish you could have seen the sparkle in her eyes when she presented her dish to the hubster, priceless. Alternatively this lesson can be adapted for a group of children by letting them each take a turn shaking, and explaining the benefits of team work and taking turns.

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