Friday, April 27, 2007

experiments

I tried a few new recipes from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook just to avoid a trip to the health food store. The Chedda Cheez came out pretty good and has a nice flavor. The kids said it was too spicy to replace Vegan Gourmet cheddar, but they think it would be good as nacho cheese. It has a really strong roasted pepper flavor which might be why they called it spicy. It's always fun to cook with agar!!



Next was the Creamy Roquefort Dressing and Dip. Bland, bland, bland. I was really looking forward to this one but it was a disappointment. Partly because I loved Roquefort before being vegan, but mostly because I spent ALOT of money on the Umeboshi paste that the recipe calls for.




This last experiment was something my husband suggested, because of his love for Matzah Lasagna, and his desire to make a dent in the dozens of boxes of matzahs we have in the pantry. I thought it was a completely weird idea, but as usually happens when he comes up with an idea for a new dish, it was REALLY good!! So, introducing Enchilatzah Casserole!!!



This version was made with potatoes, black beans, and MSF Chik'n Strips. I meant to put greens in, but forgot. None of us liked the Chik'n strips so we've decided next try will be more potatoes and maybe taco flavored lentils.


I will leave you with a picture of the "breakfast in bed" my girls surprised me with a few days ago. Leftover Enchilatzahs, tortilla chips, carrots, cucumbers, and ice water. So sweet!

greens

Two recent meals that were devoured by the whole family. I may have to change the name of the blog soon as the whining is becoming very infrequent. Asking for salads...eating greens...what's next!?!

Spanakorizo from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian



Lentil and Greens Stew (recipe) made with chard and kale. Served in a bread bowl. Gotta love that edible dinnerware! :)



Seriously, I am really seeing a change in my kids lately. Sometimes, I can't believe it. Mainly talking about my 6, 8, and 16 year olds (the 5 and 3 year olds are still not on board yet!) They discuss with me how sick they feel when they eat certain old favorites, and how much better they feel when eating healthy...they comment on how good dinner smells and then sit down and dig in, not questioning what the ingredients are...they specifically REQUEST undisguised, veggie-filled dinners...I could go on. This might not sound so amazing to some of you but it's like a complete turn around for them. Along with our bad choices in food, we had some pretty bad behavior in our kids at the dinner table. Who knew changing their diets would help in so many ways?

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

vacation, families, and food

I've recently returned from vacation, had a wonderful time visiting extended family in San Diego and Sacramento. We ate so much garbage though. I'm really disappointed in myself. I want to be an inspiration and an example to my family and, instead, I eat what's easy and what's offered just to not be difficult. On one occasion, I contributed some food to a meal and with the exception of a few "What's that?" questions, it sat untouched and ignored by all but myself, my husband and my dad. When I try to teach them about eating better I get called a food nazi. So, I retreat, hoping some day they will understand that they can feel better if they eat better. Then, maybe they'll want to listen?

I was determined to avoid the fast food rut that we get into on long drives. I packed a snack bag for each of us to have in the car. It included crackers, sliced vegan cheese, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, apple slices, water bottle, Fruitabu (new Costco item - yay! LOVE that they call it "smooshed" and printed it right on the box. How fun! and that they are trying to give us parents an option for Fruit Roll-ups- THANK YOU Stretch Island!), and homemade chocolate chip cookies. The kids loved having control of their own snacks and it kept them fed and busy most of the way.

The kids and husband were begging to eat healthy the minute we got home. My husband has requested more greens, at every meal. So, I tracked down some interesting recipes to try out this week. The first was Sauteed Mustard Greens with Chorizo and Corn. I have fallen in love with mustard greens. Just used vegan ingredients with this recipe. Try it with Field Grain Roast Mexican Chipotle sausage



This is a keeper. The first night we had it served over brown rice. The next morning for breakfast, we stirred the leftover rice into the greens and wrapped it in a multigrain tortilla. For dinner, homemade tomato soup with a big scoop of the leftover greens. As much as I like freshly cooked greens, I'm really liking the precooked greens mixture in the fridge, ready to go into anything.

We also tried Pasilla chilies for the first time. I see them all the time at the market - beautiful, shiny, green chilies - but I didn't know what to do with them so I never bought any. They are so delicious and SPICY! We roasted them, stuffed them with cheesy smashed potatoes, coated with spicy breading and baked them. Good stuff. Too hot for all but one of the kids but easily cooled off with some ranch dressing or sour cream.

This is a picture of them after roasting and peeling...



and here they are after baking...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Childhood Obesity TV special

Not sure how this will be presented, but I'm going to check it out. I thought others might be interested, too.

Food Network Special

AIR TIMES:
March 31, 2007 9:00 PM ET/PT
April 01, 2007 12:00 AM ET/PT
April 07, 2007 5:00 PM ET/PT
April 08, 2007 6:00 PM ET/PT


Childhood Obesity: Danger Zone
Obesity—it's the fastest growing cause of disease and death in our country, and it's attacking more than 12 million of our children. The Food Network goes to the front lines of the childhood obesity epidemic to find out what's fueling the explosion in overweight children and teenagers and what parents, teachers, doctors and public officials are doing to fight a problem the U.S. Surgeon General calls "more serious" than terrorism. While weight is the last thing most overweight teenagers want to talk about, we profile a 500–pound 18-year-old who's become a radio celebrity speaking candidly about his own struggle with obesity and his last-ditch effort to finally get his weight under control. We travel to Arkansas where governor Mike Huckabee has turned a personal weight battle into a public policy initiative designed to target at-risk children. We also meet an inspirational 14-year-old whose dramatic diet and lifestyle changes reversed his obesity-related disease. We learn how one Connecticut doctor is fighting back against unhealthy food by teaching kids how to become "supermarket spies" and "nutrition detectives." Finally, we visit a New Jersey school that transformed a budget cut into a student exercise opportunity, and a professional chef who's turning school lunch in Cambridge, Mass., into a healthy dining experience.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

long time, no blog!

Sorry for the long absence! Life outside the computer has kept me very busy. Things are changing, and along with the things, priorities have. We have added a new item to the list of things we can't eat - gluten. This seems to be the greatest challenge yet. We started with some prepackaged, vegan, gluten free foods and, well, they're just yucky. A big waste of money when it comes to the kids. So, for now, while I learn about it, we're just trying to leave out everything containing gluten and slowly add in homemade replacements. Lots of GREAT blogs with tried and true tips and recipes out there...just trying to find the time to read and learn.

Here are pictures of our African food night. The kids had great attitudes about trying everything and especially loved eating with their hands. We all agreed that the flavor was a little exotic for us to love it on the first try but we are willing to try again. The injera I made was from a recipe by Rebecca Wood and I enjoyed the process right up until I tried to cook the bread! Then, I felt like a completely inept beginner! :) It was hard. I messed up about 90% of them. Luckily, they taste fine whether they're in pieces or not, and they have to be torn to eat with them anyway. I made seitan berbere stew, vegetable alecha, and injera. My favorite was the alecha. Very yum!





Next is Real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, served in tortilla bowls. This was a big hit! I was feeling very bad about the fried tortilla thing (DEEP fried even!) but the kids just thought it was so cool to eat their bowl and I justified it by reminding myself we eat really good MOST of the time. :) That's sauteed kale with garlic and tomatoes on top. The red beans were most popular with my 15 year old son, and the little girls liked the kale best.




The previous night we had taco salads, which was the first time I had attempted to serve my kids salad as a main course. It went over very well!

Tex Mex "egg" rolls with creamy cilantro dipping sauce. These were delicious, baked instead of fried, reminiscent of restaurant appetizers. We actually made them our meal. Definately going to make these again.



Sorry about the lack of links to recipes, etc. I will add those later when I have time.

I'll leave you with this, made by my 8 yr old. This is what happens when I serve mashed potatoes...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

playing catch up and dinner travel

Homeschooling and spring cleaning has kept me very busy. I had a few minutes and wanted to throw some pictures on here that have been piling up.

We tried Mochi finally! The kids loved watching it cook! They liked the taste of the original flavor and didn't even want to try the pizza flavor! huh? Oh, well. My husband and I liked it. I ate my original flavor stuffed with homemade kimchi and the pizza flavor dipped in homemade marinara mixed with Vegan Gourmet cheese.






Here is some quickie sausage I made from frozen Boca burgers and a spice blend I found on the internet. Just threw it all in the food processor and shaped into small patties. Turned out really good! The kids liked it even though they won't touch Boca burgers.



Made some Foccacia Bread from Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons The family loved it! I thought it was quick, easy and good, except that the garlic and herb topping burned. Yuck! Not much worse than burnt garlic.



Oh, this was delicious! Texas Rainbow Greens. My husband and I ate it with quinoa. I didn't even try to serve it to the kids.



Weird "meat" in a can. My husband is curious about it, so a can usually ends up in the cart "to try". This was surprisingly good and I think will be one of my favorite dishes to serve to omnis. All but the youngest kid loved it. Companion brand Peking Vegetarian Roast Duck used in a recipe called Hoisin Duck and Greens Stir-fry (from a tiny little cookbook called Asian Food that I picked up at Costco a few years ago.)




Another canned "meat" Cedar Lake Chops coated with spicy breading and lightly fried in cooking spray. Also, surprisingly good. Was just okay straight out of the can. Wish I had more time to make homemade seitan.



I decided to make some Indian food a few nights ago, and, as a way to get my kids excited about trying everything out, I treated it as a "class". We pulled out the atlas and encyclopedia and read a little about the country before "tasting" some of the foods that are eaten in India. Although they didn't all pile their plates full and eat every bite, the kids were thrilled with it! So much so, that we've also "visited" Italy and Mexico since, and the kids requested Africa tomorrow night! I forgot to take any pictures but will be sure to start, especially if this is a recurring event! We may have to change our travel plans to once a week - I can't handle this many dirty dishes every night! :)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

beautiful, delicious roasted veggies


OH, MY! These are so amazing and addictive and I cannot stop eating them! Roasted Sweet Potato Fries and Cauliflower. Forever grateful to Bazu, for sharing this link which inspired me to roast cauliflower.

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries & Cauliflower

4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. hot chili powder
2 tbsp. jalapeno mustard
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. salt
3 cups sweet potato fries
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces


preheat oven to 400 degrees. in a large bowl, stir together first 8 ingredients. add sweet potatoes and cauliflower and stir until evenly coated. arrange veggies in a single layer on baking sheet. bake 20 minutes, turn veggies over, and bake another 10 minutes, until browned. Serve with ranch dressing and TRY TO SHARE!! :)

*cut the first 8 ingredients in half and use for just cauliflower or just sweet potato fries. good stuff!

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Friday, February 02, 2007

curry pasta & kimchi



Found this at Trader Joe's a few months ago and just got around to using it. They're very slightly curry flavored noodles, which is perfect for us because we like curry just a little bit. Used it in a typical breakfast soup. My two oldest girls ate it and liked it a lot, although they thought I went a little crazy on the chili sauce :)



And here's my first batch of kimchi this year. This is something the kids don't touch, but my husband and I love it. It's crunchy and sour and salty and has lots of "good for you" stuff in it. Check out Rejuvenative Foods for a store bought option. Used this recipe for the first time, and although it was barely spicy, it turned out good. I think the problem was that the recipe called for cayenne and not Korean chili powder.

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vita-mix and healthy dessert?

I need a Vita-Mix!! Are they as awesome as they seem?! I was lucky enough to take a trip to Costco last week with just one kid in tow, and was able to actually stand in front of the Vita-Mix demonstrator and see what it's all about. She made: soup in about 2 minutes, throwing whole veggies in the container; sorbet with cabbage, carrots, and fruity things (my 6 yr old PICKY eater ate it!); iced chocolate coffee; fresh fruit/veggie juice, etc. etc. It was so amazing! She made a Chicken Tortilla soup that smelled wonderful and made me want some, so, I came home and made one similar to hers.


I threw some very roughly chopped carrots, celery, zucchini, cilantro, bell peppers, jalapenos, onion, and garlic into a large soup pot with one can of undrained diced tomatoes and some water and seasonings (chili powder, cumin, etc.) Next, I boiled everything until it was soft and then blended it with my hand blender until it was smooth. Last, I added some cooked brown rice, corn, black beans and crushed tortilla chips. My three oldest kids loved it and so did my husband. Very heavy veggie flavor but kid friendly because there were no veggie chunks.

What about that "healthy" dessert?

My 3 yr old's eating habits have been really stressing me out lately. She refuses to eat anything but about 5 foods and we're starting to see "issues" because of it (don't worry - no details) One thing she eats very little of is grains and/or breads. I thought that I would try to make some low sugar oatmeal cookies and see if she would eat them. I never quite got that far though and decided to do a sort of no-bake, rice crispy treat...



This is what I ended up with. What a bomb! It didn't taste like a dessert. puffed brown rice, oatmeal, carob powder, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and soy nut butter. It was not sweet at all and it was so hard I couldn't even flatten it into the pan or cut it into bars or cookies. Needless to say, my 3 yr old didn't touch it. I kept it hoping I could salvage it, but I can't quite figure out how to do that. Any ideas for a healthy sweet with no dates?

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