Strawberry Cupcakes and Veg Kids

A few weeks ago my super-southern mother-in-law made a strawberry cake. It was beautiful, but not vegan and, as it turns out, not even vegetarian. The ‘strawberry’-ness comes from……a box of strawberry Jello. Hmmmph. I decided I needed to try to make a vegan strawberry cake, and luckily, my husband was given several quarts of fresh strawberries that were leftover at a concert reception. We are fortunate to live 10 miles from a fabulous strawberry farm, so fresh strawberries are absolutely wonderful right now. My three-year old helped me make these. She put the liners in the cupcake pans, dumped flour, and helped stir. She is a sweet baking assistant!

I don’t know what the Jello strawberry cake tasted like, but this was delicious. It was not as beautiful as the food-coloring-saturated cake, but it was still pretty, and taste is way more important than looks, right? My daughter has not yet hit the ‘princess’ stage (and I really hope she never does), but these would be a great birthday cupcake for a princess-y party.

makes 12 cupcakes

about 2 cups fresh strawberries

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1.2 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup soymilk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups flour

extra strawberries for decorating, optional

Put strawberries, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl; using an immersion blender, blend until somewhat smooth. Some texture/chunks of strawberry is okay. Add in the other liquid ingredients and stir well; add in dry ingredients, except for baking powder, and stir gently. Fold in baking powder gently.

Pour into lined cupcake pans. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until top is dry. Frosting with vanilla frosting (I used Earth Balance, vanilla, a splash of soymilk, and confectioners’ sugar).

On to the subject of veg kids….

Last week I had an involved email conversation with an old friend from college, who was my inspriation to become vegan 17 years ago. (Side note: one of my great shames in life is that although I’ve been vegan for a long time and feel very passionately about it, I have never, to my knowledge, converted anyone to veganism. I’ve gotten a few people, including my husband, to be vegetarian, but not vegan. In contrast, I’ve been using cloth diapers with my kids for a little over 3 years, and I’ve convinced at least 5 people to use cloth diapers…..so why can’t I get anyone to become vegan? Argh! Anyways…..) We live multiple states away from each other, but we’re still close and have so much in common. We were discussing raising vegan kids, and the lack of resources for explaining veganism/vegetarianism to kids. There are a good number of cookbooks with kid-friendly vegan/vegetarian recipes, but not many books out there to help explain to kids why we don’t eat animals. The NYTimes reviewed a book last week on the subject but it was for older kids, not pre-schoolers. My three-year-old has been asking questions lately, and I would really like a book to read with her to help answer some of those questions. So far we’ve just been telling her that we don’t eat animals because we love them and eating them hurts them, but I know she will continue to ask questions. Also, we are raising both of our girls vegetarian as opposed to vegan (for several reasons, which I will cover in another post), although they both eat a vegan diet probably 98% of the time. My friend and I decided that there needed to be more resources about raising veg kids; I am planning to do a few blog posts about what has worked for us and what I would like to see happen. In the meantime,  two questions:

1. Are you raising a child vegan or vegetarian? What has helped you to make that decision? and

2. Are there any resources – books, videos, etc. that you have used with your child to explain the ethics of eating and that you would recommend, or not recommend, to others?

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